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Mxx
12-29-2010, 11:40 AM
From reading through these forums I don't doubt that the premise of my proposed discus tank may leave you speechless, especially as it's heresy for anyone that has committed so much of their lives to the orthodox discus keeping practices. In any case, I'm at the start of planning and researching a tank set-up which I'm afraid intentionally breaks practically every one of the normally accepted rules of discus keeping. And what I'd like to know is if anyone else has done something similar this and under what parameters?

What I'm looking to achieve is a spectacularly beautiful densely planted display tank with many beautiful healthy discus combined with a few other select species, (yeah, sure like seeing the Holy Grail, right?). And I'm looking to achieve this via an inexpensive high-tech low -maintenance over-filtered automated set-up with a fair stocking load yet ZERO water changes apart from topping off the tank occasionally with RO water and NO gravel vacuuming, as I have neither the time nor inclination to do regular water changes. I appreciate this is a contentious proposal to this group, but am hoping this can be considered with an open mind and doesn't rile everybody up unnecessarily.

I'm thinking a 78"Lx24"Dx30"W 185 gallon tank, though possibly even the 108" long 280 gallon tank instead which is hardly more costly for the tank itself. Filtration would be one (or two, as need sees fit) generic Sun Sun canister filters, which filter 530 gph and have a filter volume of 4.4 gallons. I'd have two small corner sumps at either end, one as a screened overflow intake with the other returning water along its height through vertical slots and containing the heater, and possibly a return bar with holes drilled across its length running along the bottom back edge as well to ensure some, though low current throughout the tank and the plant beds and water surface. I'd have a DIY pressurized CO2 system connected to the light timer which is run by a digital Ph controller. Lighting would be via a highly energy efficient DIY LED hood with high powered warm-white (which I think provides the most natural looking light) waterproof LED strips, as many as are needed, which are currently sold quite inexpensively in 5 metre spools.

The substrate would be black flourite (or black flourite sand) mixed 50/50 with small grain inert black gravel. The entire bottom would be densely planted, with the likes of large Swordplants, Giant Vallisneria, and a foreground of Dwarf Hairgrass, (temperature range permitting). I may plant the rear wall as well, in case I don't opt for the 3D background which seems a bit pricey. And I'd have branching vertical tree roots extending down through the entire tank depth if I can find a decent source for such wood. I intend to dose liquid fertilizer as necessary, but I'm hoping I can get away without having to dose root tabs at all once the fish and the tank bed is well established.

As for fish I'd intend to start with 12-18 juvenile captive bred natural colour discus some of which I'd sell off as necessary as they grow, perhaps 10-15 Congo Tetras, a few African Butterflyfish, a group of Rams or Bolivian Rams, several Synodontis Angelicus or as shoal of Panda Corys or Brochis, and numerous Bristlenose and Siamese Algae Eaters. For the discus's initial 9 month grow-out period I'm considering possibly holding off on the Tetras, Rams, and Butterflyfish to be able to concentrate on being able to feed the discus heavily without compromising on water quality. I could feed once or twice a day with frozen food, though I may avoid beefheart if it causes water problems, but I could set up an automatic feeder for additional dry feedings during the day. For temperature I'd target 82 degrees to try to balance the discus's requirements with the upper limit for the other species and the plants.

As a kid I'd kept, bred, and reared mainly South American Cichlids, despite the customary sub-par set-ups of a decade or two ago, and with regular weekly water changes. However, the more I look into it now the more I've been discovering that throwing out all the perfectly good well-conditioned water seems altogether unnecessary. Currently I'm running a small test tank with which I'm trying out some of these ideas and to see if I can maintain stable high water quality with 2-3X overstocked tank, a canister filter for a tank 15x larger, and generous feedings, albeit with dosing with Excel for now. That's still in early stages and I'm still modifying the set-up, but water conditions seem great so far with limited algae (after I added phosphate absorber to the filter).

For the benefit of my fish and to reduce their stress (as well as to minimize the triggers for algae growth, the primary goal with water chemistry would be to achieve balanced stability, (to which water changes would actually be detrimental). With a biological filtration volume of the size I'm proposing, I believe that even with moderate stockings and generous feedings, Ammonia and Nitrites should stay near zero. With dense planting and moderate supplemental CO2, dosing liquid fertilizer occasionally, and medium-high lighting levels, I believe the plants should be able to absorb all the Nitrates (or the ammonia directly which is what plants actually prefer), and possibly all the Phosphates as well. I'd have to carefully monitor Nitrate and Phosphate levels at first, and possibly add a Denitrator filter or Denitrate blocks, and Phosphate Absorber to the canister filter should that prove necessary.

The automated CO2 system would be able to maintain the Ph at a fixed acidity, (although it may prove necessary to add a small bag of gasp! crushed coral to the filter which would dissolve slowly enough to react appropriately with and neutralize the organic acids and carbonic acid produced, thereby preventing the Ph from dropping too far while nevertheless fixing the GH and KH at the desirable soft level for discus.

I would also maintain some fast growing floating plants, which I could easily net out as necessary in order to be able to easily take some nutrients back out of the tank, so while this is still not a closed-system, it should basically equate to food and light in/plants out. And I could control the floating plant quantity in order to shade the other plants and slow down their growth later on so that I don't have to be trimming them constantly.

I wouldn't introduce the discus until the plants were firmly rooted and growing well, at which point I'd dial down the CO2 to a moderate level due to the high water temperatures discus require with its accompanying lower O2 levels. I'm sure some careful monitoring, and fine-tuning of the set-up will be necessary at first, but firm stability should be achievable in time.

Thus, with Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates, and Phosphates well under control, and supplemental trace elements and minerals added as necessary, as far as I'm aware at this stage in my research and unless I've thus far missed something, that should perhaps make water changes pointless, shouldn't it? And if that is the case, then shouldn't I be able to keep discus and the other species very happy and healthy in very stable good water conditions, while being able to feed them appropriately to achieve decent growth, with limited maintenance and minor monitoring required once the tank is well established? Iíve seen some mention of potential build-up of vaguely described dissolved organic compounds in addition to nitrates, as well as the suggestion that discus secrete growth inhibiting hormones. I havenít bottomed out this issue, but surely there must be other ways that this can be taken care of, activated carbon added to the filter weekly? I suppose if it proved absolutely necessary then I could do weekly water changes during the grow-out phase. I could install a separate sump tank underneath, with a plumbed faucet, direct drain, and build a utility sink into the downstairs bathroom as I may do anyway then it might be viable in terms of time if I can simply flick a switch to do so, (but NO gravel vacuuming, especially as the tank bed would be fully covered with plants). What by the way would worst-case scenario be? That I end up with a school of a dozen 2/3 grown discus instead? Not ideal perhaps, but not the end of the world I guess as far as experiments go, and thatíd still look spectacular.

I still need to delve into some of the finer points in water chemistry in greater depth and have ordered some books to do so, but I thought I'd put my plan out to the experienced aquarists in this forum as well. I have some time to plan out my tank set-up still, as I'm just now about to embark upon remodeling and extending the living room which will eventually house this display tank, and would appreciate your informed opinions and experience meanwhile. In any case, I'm not looking to breed discus, which I don't really have the time to attend to anyway, I'm just looking to be able to achieve a beautiful natural tank with beautiful fish which I can enjoy without excessive hassle, which to me seems a perfectly reasonable goal to try and attain. Pending success, I may later on also try a similar approach with a small-mid-size marine tank with a trickle filter sump in which I'd be cultivating live rock and Caulerpa algae.

John_Nicholson
12-29-2010, 12:06 PM
Why the zero water changes? Nature does not operate in that manner why would you try to keep your tank that way. They call the Amazon a rain forest because....well it rains there all the blasted time. The fish have been engineered for a long, long time to have a "water" change almost daily. You can try to minimize them, but trying to eliminate them entirely is going against mother nature and that normally ends poorly.

-john

roundfishross
12-29-2010, 12:11 PM
start with the ecology of the planted aquarium, makes for great reading on this subject

exv152
12-29-2010, 02:17 PM
Replacing evaporated water with RO does nothing to reduce nitrates which build up automatically over time, and which have proven to be detrimental to the development and overall health of discus in particular.

RWD HERO
12-29-2010, 03:05 PM
There are a few people on another forum (aquariumforum . com) that have densely planted tanks and do NO water changes. Some of these people also have no filtration. Its really amazing what a heavily planted tank can do. With a substrate made of 1' of peat moss and 1" of sand the plants do great and the peat keeps the ph, gh, and kh really stable. The owner of the tank feeds the fish, the fish feed the plants, and the plants take care of the water. Some reading up on tanks like this is really interesting.

John_Nicholson
12-29-2010, 03:49 PM
It always seems to be great in the short run. It is the long term that seems to become a problem. I will buy it when someone raises discus in the tank and they live for 15 years.....

-john

roundfishross
12-29-2010, 03:51 PM
start with the ecology of the planted aquarium, makes for great reading on this subject


There are a few people on another forum (aquariumforum . com) that have densely planted tanks and do NO water changes. Some of these people also have no filtration. Its really amazing what a heavily planted tank can do. With a substrate made of 1' of peat moss and 1" of sand the plants do great and the peat keeps the ph, gh, and kh really stable. The owner of the tank feeds the fish, the fish feed the plants, and the plants take care of the water. Some reading up on tanks like this is really interesting.

this is the entire theme of the book. it makes for good reading but I do not think it would be optimim for discus

Eddie
12-29-2010, 06:03 PM
Its not optimum for discus and if someone wanted to argue it, they would have to prove it. It always comes down to people thinking discus keeping/raising is a new thing, SORRY...the proven methods have long been done and tried decades ago. Good luck with that.

Mxx
12-29-2010, 06:40 PM
Thanks for all the comments everyone, and I wanted to touch upon a few of those. Eric, I’m afraid you’d missed the point of my discussion. Many have had success with the keeping of discus in bare-bottom tanks with daily water changes techniques, which volume breeders have pioneered and popularized. However, to control nitrates there are more ways than just that one (as well as potentially easier and less wasteful of ways than throwing out several hundred of gallons of pristine water per week by hand. If you enjoy doing daily WC’s then you’re welcome to it, but personally I’d rather be extracting my own teeth. And doesn’t the constant instability of new water of different chemistry being introduced each day put a stressful toll on fish as well?

If fish are in a bare tank with aerobic bio filters and limited plants then of course there are going to be nitrate problems requiring WC’s. However, the nitrate problems I believe seem to stem primarily from the bare tank rearing technique itself. There are two other ways to control nitrates - proper filtration and/or live plants. The use of an anaerobic filter or anaerobic filter medium of denitrator blocks/pumice/volcanic rock will absorb and eliminate nitrates, as will anaerobic activity in for example a tank’s deep substrate. This, and the anaerobic activity within ‘live rock’ is how marine aquarists keep their nitrates at the undetectable levels necessary for their invertebrates. (If you’re smelling Hydrogen Sulfide then that simply means that the anaerobic bacteria need slightly more water flow).

Healthy live plants will absorb ammonia directly before it is even broken down into nitrites and nitrates, and they also absorb nitrates although they can’t utilize it as effectively as ammonia. Many planted fish tank enthusiasts find that they actually have to dose nitrates to maintain levels at the desired 5-10 ppm. Personally I’m not sure quite how much planting would be required to maintain optimal water quality and nitrates for a well-stocked discus tank, so to try and maintain a healthy margin of error I’d want to look at utilizing both methodologies. And those techniques seem a saner approach for me to enjoy this hobby then constantly juggling instable water conditions in a bare-bottom tank which has no outlet for the perpetually escalating nitrate levels.

In my vastly overstocked small pilot tank I was getting some slight blue-green algae growth, which actually flourishes when nitrates are lacking. (The BGA cleared up as soon as I fixed my broken filter return to reintroduce water current and once I got my DIY CO2 brew going which brought down the alkalinity).

So nitrates aside, which can be quite easy to control, it’s these other dissolved organic solids that I’ve heard vague mention of which I’m more concerned about, that is if they do exist and are detrimental, such as ‘growth-retarding hormones’, of which I have yet to see any conclusive evidence for the existence of. And if they are a problem then perhaps further research would reveal that an ozonizer (with or without a freshwater protein skimmer) or UV sterilizer will oxidize those elements into an inert harmless form or one which plants can utilize. Or perhaps an RO unit filtering the tank can eliminate any remaining problematic organic compounds instead?

As for your concerns John, wouldn’t properly filtering the water with aerobic bacteria, anaerobic bacteria, and plants more closely operates in the manner of mother nature and provides higher water quality than going against nature by artificially doing water changes constantly, especially considering the junk water that comes out of our taps full of hardness, phosphates, metals, and chemicals including chlorine?

I appreciate that apart from my pilot tank this isn’t beyond a theoretical discussion at the moment, albeit a necessary discussion to have before I actually attempt this. And as suggested, perhaps 15 years down the road I will be able to successfully report back that there were other easier alternative to the constant water changes so many of you were doing meanwhile. I must admit that I’m taken aback if no one here has actually tried any such approach as this, as the science of it seems sound as far as I’ve heard thus far. But then again, our flat earth theory took a long time to disprove and remained quite resilient in the eyes of the public for centuries as well. ; )

John_Nicholson
12-29-2010, 07:02 PM
"As for your concerns John, wouldnít properly filtering the water with aerobic bacteria, anaerobic bacteria, and plants more closely operates in the manner of mother nature and provides higher water quality than going against nature by artificially doing water changes constantly, especially considering the junk water that comes out of our taps full of hardness, phosphates, metals, and chemicals including chlorine?"

In the Amazon it rain almost everyday...if anything daily water changes would be....on never mind you are going to do what you are going to do. Logic will not stop you so go ahead and do your"experiment" of course it has been tried about a million times so you might as well get over the thought that you are on to something new....


-john

Skip
12-29-2010, 07:03 PM
yikes.. thats like NEVER FLUSHING and trying to filter toilet water and saying.. look.. i can still drink it!!!!! haahaa...

everything looks great on paper, in classroom or in book.. but in field its alot different..
like eddie said.. good luck..take lots of pics and keep us posted..

intect
12-29-2010, 07:14 PM
I believe you can be success eventually if you have a big enough tank with a proper number of fishes and enough time and patience. The real question is how you can achieve this balance. There are probably many times of "trial and error" before you get a comparatively stable tank. Also, to make sure the waste produced by fishes can be degraded well you need introduce some nematodes (not parasites). There were some studied showing that these nematodes can help the bacteria to degrade the waste. There was a thread posted by one of our folks who had one this type of tank. His tank is not very big (75-90gal) but he raised 10 discus Juves in that tank although he have to remove all the plants when the discus reached their full size. He only changes the water 25% per week. I am planing to have a tank like that and it seems more reasonable.The other thing is that you need a long time to set up a successful full-planted tank.

roclement
12-29-2010, 07:45 PM
This was a great discussion I had at MACNA with the "Filter Guys"...why can't, with all technology available to us, we come up with a filter that negates the need for a water changes?

After 7 hours of talk over many beers the sum up is this:

YOU CAN DO IT, BUT THE VOLUME OF FILTER X THE SIZE OF DISPLAY AND QUANTITY OF STOCK MAKE IT NON-VIABLE FOR AVERAGE HOBBYIST.

Roughly, the size of the filatration would have to be so large that it would be financialy non-feasible, same with filters that remove all the "nasties" from the water, you can do it but the cost outweighs the benefits. Bottom line is with current technology, it is easier/more cost viable to do water changes, now if you want to have a pool size filter, planted or otherwise, to run a 55gal tank so you can avoid water changes, good luck! Keep us posted!

Rodrigo

Darrell Ward
12-29-2010, 08:19 PM
People have been trying to "cheat" water changes for as long as I can remember. In the end, the fish always suffer in growth, and overall health.

Skip
12-29-2010, 08:52 PM
People have been trying to "cheat" water changes for as long as I can remember. In the end, the fish always suffer in growth, and overall health.

newbies always know better.. (i thought i did too.. :( but i learned from my mistakes.. even though the SD forum tried their best to warn me )

Eddie
12-29-2010, 09:06 PM
Talkin the talk is much different than walkin the walk. Like I already said, good luck. Document everything if it does work out for you but you won't need much paper. LOL Or in today's computer world, you won't need any kbs.

Mxx
12-29-2010, 09:14 PM
Thanks again for your constructive comments. To be fair to those that have, I'm not the one that has come up with the no-water-change aquarium concept. I've certainly heard of people doing it with different tank types, though not specifically with Discus, which would perhaps be the logical extreme to prove that it's a fully viable methodology . I'll have to get through a copy of Ecology of the Planted Aquarium book to broaden my knowledge on this particular subject before I'd commit to jumping off the deep end with this. But this approach is certainly not new or revolutionary, and the basis of it has kinda basically been happening for a few billion years now. :)

Can any of you tell me though which water parameters other than Nitrates you'd be concerned over though? Nobody seems to have quite answered what exactly they are concerned with doing water changes, so apart from Nitrates which are not so difficult to deal with I'm still at a loss as to exactly what people are worried about with this. Rodrigo, did the "Filter Guys" happen to mention precisely what they thought were the limiting water chemistry factors? If ten gallons of nylon pot scrubbers as biological medium weren't enough then I could always consider partitioning off the back 6 inches of the tank (instead or even in addition to the canisters), and filling that with dividers and pot scrubbers to easily create a 37 gallon biological filter sump maze within the back of the tank. I've seen a 40 gallon plastic garbage can filled with volcanic rock used as a simple and effective makeshift aerobic/anaerobic filter as well before, which could be housed under a tank set to eye level.

Achieving a solid balance of all the necessary planted tank parameters is a delicate dance certainly, as Intect implied, (despite that I'd nevertheless be utilizing some technological 'cheats' to help this), but I'd never heard the nematode thing before so I'll have to look into that.

BTW Warlock, black water recycling, via reed beds or more mechanical means is nothing new. Wisconsin allows recycled "poo water" to be used for washing clothes and cars among other uses. And Australia has been extensively researching its use for drinking water even, despite that doing so has certain psychological barriers for some.

inmisawa
12-29-2010, 09:51 PM
It's certainly an interesting idea, but as many have already commented it's be theorized. Since I am no where the expert on this, I'd just like to give my two cents on your overflow. I would be concerned with the return flow coming up in one of your overflows. I think this would limit your ability to get some good directional flow on the bottom of your substrate where food and feces is going to eventually accumulate, especially around the base of your plants.

I have a trapazoid overflow in the center of my 180 gal with two return lines coming back from the sump, both on individual pumps. Each pump is rated at 350 gph. I have the nozzels for the returns on each side of the overflow, pointed to each forward corner of the tank. It creates a flow that pushes the water in a circular direction on each side, eventually back us tpwards the overflow. It's done a really great job of keeping the bottom of my tank clear of debris, but don't get me wrong, it's not perfect. As for canisters, I'd rather shut my aquarium down than ever have to deal with another one of those things. Keep in mind, that's just my preference.

I understand your desire to not want to do water changes, I work a lot and it limits the time I have to my tank. If you're going to do this, I'd abandon the idea of initially trying to raise juvies in it. I'm doing my best to get water changes in where I can and keeping them fed, but I'm seeing poor results with mine. I'm learning I can't keep on top of this like I would like to. I think I'm just going to buy ful grown fish from now on. If you decide to raise them in the set up, I'd try a couple in your experiment tank first, I'd hate to see you ruin 10-12 fish if it doesn't work the way you want.

Anyway, best of luck. Keep us posted!

Eddie
12-29-2010, 10:27 PM
Thanks again for your constructive comments. To be fair to those that have, I'm not the one that has come up with the no-water-change aquarium concept. I've certainly heard of people doing it with different tank types, though not specifically with Discus, which would perhaps be the logical extreme to prove that it's a fully viable methodology . I'll have to get through a copy of Ecology of the Planted Aquarium book to broaden my knowledge on this particular subject before I'd commit to jumping off the deep end with this. But this approach is certainly not new or revolutionary, and the basis of it has kinda basically been happening for a few billion years now. :)

Can any of you tell me though which water parameters other than Nitrates you'd be concerned over though? Nobody seems to have quite answered what exactly they are concerned with doing water changes, so apart from Nitrates which are not so difficult to deal with I'm still at a loss as to exactly what people are worried about with this. Rodrigo, did the "Filter Guys" happen to mention precisely what they thought were the limiting water chemistry factors? If ten gallons of nylon pot scrubbers as biological medium weren't enough then I could always consider partitioning off the back 6 inches of the tank (instead or even in addition to the canisters), and filling that with dividers and pot scrubbers to easily create a 37 gallon biological filter sump maze within the back of the tank. I've seen a 40 gallon plastic garbage can filled with volcanic rock used as a simple and effective makeshift aerobic/anaerobic filter as well before, which could be housed under a tank set to eye level.

Achieving a solid balance of all the necessary planted tank parameters is a delicate dance certainly, as Intect implied, (despite that I'd nevertheless be utilizing some technological 'cheats' to help this), but I'd never heard the nematode thing before so I'll have to look into that.

BTW Warlock, black water recycling, via reed beds or more mechanical means is nothing new. Wisconsin allows recycled "poo water" to be used for washing clothes and cars among other uses. And Australia has been extensively researching its use for drinking water even, despite that doing so has certain psychological barriers for some.

Nobody is saying the now water change aquarium concept won't work but its just not optimal for discus. It's largely related to, what one person see's/thinks of what a discus is supposed to look like. Sure, keeping a bunch of culls or stunted fish in a no water change set-up is easy.

As far as water parameters related to keeping/raising discus, do some research, get a foundation and then try to do the impossible.

Dkarc@Aol.com
12-29-2010, 11:28 PM
Not economically nor ecologically feasable. Possible? Anything is possible. But it's just not feasable, even with the equipment we can supply. It might work for the first year or two, but eventually things will crash. Biggest issue I encounter when people dont do water changes is their alkalinity crashes (bacteria require it to process the ammonia/nitrite) or their heterotrophs get way out of control. Even with regular dosing of a bicarbonate, a "zero exchange" system is not feasable when discussing your plans. Yes these types of systems are being used on larger commercial shrimp farms, but their water quality requirements are far less than discus needs.

If you're looking for a low maintenance or "zero exchange" fish tank, stick with another type of fish. Dont intend that to be rude, but if you're going to do discus, you need to meet some of their basic needs if you wish to be successful. Granted I have seen some successful discus tanks go with once monthly water changes (50%). But they started with adults and fed very lightly. However, I would love it if you could prove me wrong.

-Ryan

Mxx
12-29-2010, 11:34 PM
Nobody is saying the now water change aquarium concept won't work but its just not optimal for discus. It's largely related to, what one person see's/thinks of what a discus is supposed to look like. Sure, keeping a bunch of culls or stunted fish in a no water change set-up is easy.

As far as water parameters related to keeping/raising discus, do some research, get a foundation and then try to do the impossible.

Hi Eddie, thanks for the input. But pessimism and dogma aside, I still haven't heard anyone here suggest a single water quality parameter that cannot be better controlled or more easily controlled by other means than through constant water changes. And you're yet to put forth any actual reasons as well, so could you please try to? Or apart from saying that that's simply how it's done, explain exactly why this would result in stunted growth or would be impossible to achieve? And I don't see what water filtration the municipal water supply could possibly have that I couldn't better with my own tank in order to achieve better water from my filter than that coming out of the tap.

The most informed looking opinion I'd been able to find on the web thus far in regards to growth limiting/inhibiting hormones (GIS, which I suppose is what we should be concerned by in this discussion) is that they perhaps do actually exist though not at all in the manner that most people believe, and can be mediated by the following means: carbon or zeolite filtering, protein skimmers with or without ozone, water changes, and with the use of live plants and live rock. So I could in that case cover four out of five easily still without the constant laborious water changes. The plants and carbon would take care of any other excess dissolved organic compounds which could be detrimental, (despite that most are apparently beneficial and in fact used by plants).

I ordered half-a-dozen new books on discus the other night so until then it's just internet research at the moment for me such as this forum where I'm consulting those more experienced with regards to particular parameters.

Mxx
12-29-2010, 11:49 PM
Not economically nor ecologically feasable. Possible? Anything is possible. But it's just not feasable, even with the equipment we can supply. It might work for the first year or two, but eventually things will crash. Biggest issue I encounter when people dont do water changes is their alkalinity crashes (bacteria require it to process the ammonia/nitrite) or their heterotrophs get way out of control. Even with regular dosing of a bicarbonate, a "zero exchange" system is not feasable when discussing your plans. Yes these types of systems are being used on larger commercial shrimp farms, but their water quality requirements are far less than discus needs.

If you're looking for a low maintenance or "zero exchange" fish tank, stick with another type of fish. Dont intend that to be rude, but if you're going to do discus, you need to meet some of their basic needs if you wish to be successful. Granted I have seen some successful discus tanks go with once monthly water changes (50%). But they started with adults and fed very lightly. However, I would love it if you could prove me wrong.

-Ryan

Hi Ryan, I'll have to look into the heterotroph blooms to find out more about that, but that's exactly the sort of advice I need! To prevent the KH from declining to the point where the organic acids produced by organic activity would cause a PH crash apparently all you need to do is maintain a small sprig of coral or small bag of crushed coral in your filter. It's trial and error to find out exactly how little coral is best to maintain the Kh and Ph at the ideal level, but the coral will slowly dissolve and keep the Ph from crashing all the meanwhile. So as long as you maintain the appropriate amount of that then your Ph should remain safe, and the plants will benefit from a trace of Kh. You could buy a digitally controlled calcium reactor as well, but it's really not necessary.

Kingdom Come Discus
12-30-2010, 12:07 AM
MMX

I know with my 220 FOWLR tank I seldom have to do water changes. I have two very large Angels a Queen and Emperor, three tangs, Betta gamma and a very large Lion-fish. The fish have been thriving for over three years and all but the Queen Angel was the size of my thumb when I put them in the tank. But this is not about a Salt Water Tank I know.

One thing I might have missed but I don't think was mentioned was the water to fish ratio in the Discus natural habitat. Something which just can't be replicated in a closed system.

I am waiting or should I say wishing for a natural system which will grow and maintain Discus the way many grow delicate soft, hard corals and maintain healthy delicate salt water fish using only natural methods. In the meantime I will continue to do massive daily water changes.

I do encourage you to do all the research and experimenting you can. Although, the responses you have received here are from very knowledgeable people, many of which have done years of homework on the subject, you should not be discouraged, as I know most of the responses you didn't want to hear. They are all just trying to keep you from wasting your time. Although, I am sure many tried to do the same for Thomas Edison too.

I wish you the best in your efforts.

Just enjoy what your doing that is all that counts,

mountain_priest
12-30-2010, 12:12 AM
i had my 120 gal tank on this kind of setup for a year for experiment and i say be prepared for a lot of trial and errors and might as well tell your juvies goodbye once you release them in the tank. once the setup is aged(plants rooted and water flow paved their path) everything will become easy... for you but not your discus. ph will linger at 5 or below. i tried raising juvies and adults in there, wild and domestics, and i sum it up as a very expensive experiment. heavy toll on juvies, almost zero on domestics, those that survived were stunts or became deformed on their fins and gill plates. adult domestics tend to get sick easy on this setup. adult wild performed a little better(made my heckel pair spawned, unfortunately i was a novice... fry only lasted a day of free swimming). now the longest i can keep my tank without changing water is 2 weeks, with a huge water change after that. if it goes beyond that without a water change you might end up browsing on the sickness/disease section here. hope this help you a bit. i'll be glad to know how yours will fare.

ejay

Dkarc@Aol.com
12-30-2010, 12:15 AM
Using crushed coral can work, but the issue with it at times is that it can alter your water chemistry drastically (depending on your starting parameters). It can be far easier to consistently dose it, or a calcium reactor as you stated.

Heterotrophs will always be in the system. Cant avoid them. Best thing you can do is control them as best as possible. They will get out of control if the mechanical filtration is not up to par, or is not cleaned frequently enough. They consume detritus, produce ammonia, and consume oxygen in the system. Sure you could go ultra high tech with a drum filter, but that takes big $$$$$. Ozone helps, but it's not a fix. There is no substitute for water changes as there is zero organic build up in new/clean water. From my professional experience, that tends to the be issue with discus or any other sensitive species. They are sensitive to the organic build up in the system. Kind of like really stale air. Livable, but not ideal. You could throw that into the general catagory of "water quality" if you'd like.

Let's say for a minute you think you figured out a way that you can do this feasably. What would you do if a single piece of your equipment fails? Say a water pump fails and you are forced to do a massive water change to correct the water quality (high ammonia/nitrite, low DO, temp, etc...take your pick). How would you handle that if you rely strictly upon this technology? With all the trace element dosing, filter cleaning, testing, monitoring, etc...you would save time and money just doing a simple water change. It's better for the fish and even though there is some work involved, the reward would eventually be large, healthy discus that greet you at the front of the tank begging for food (no better reward than that when working with discus IMO).

Keep this in mind, even the uber high tech reef geeks (myself included) using all the latest gadgets and gizmos to maintain water quality in their systems, still do regular water changes. Ask yourself, if they are relying on calcium reactors, skimmers, ozone, carbon, carbon dosing, etc, then why are they doing water changes too?


-Ryan

antpal01
12-30-2010, 12:18 AM
Mxx, I hear you on the desire to try to avoid WC's period. In my experience with Discus (a lot less than some of the folks replying here), I am not convinved it's possible to create a healthy environment for Discus without frequent water changes. I can see how the fish respond if I wind up not siphoning off the bottom as frequently as I should. For most of us on the forum, we can look at the fish and see if something is not looking right. And the first precaution when that something pops up is to be very aggressive on the WC's. In many cases, that can help (and in most cases, the fish were susceptible to the disease from poor husbandry or too many missed WC's in the first place).

I can not comment on the specific water chemistry parameter changes that happen in a water change. But I think that's really what you are trying to get to: what gets removed in the WC and how can you create a filter/ natural ecosystem balance to reproduce it without the WC. Did I net this out correctly?

I think it's a really interesting topic, and I am eager to see the results. A few ideas to share:

1) Is there a way to set up a control tank? Maybe the same size, stocking, plants, light, feeding, co2, etc but with regular/ frequent water changes? I think this should provide a really good comparison and help you confirm whether the tank with zero WC's is really thriving.

2) I have an automated water change system for my tank. It changes about 80 gallons/ day on a total volume of about 140 gallons. It is 100% automated - I don't touch a thing. The display tank (which is pretty heavily stocked) is upstairs and the sump, where the water change system is set up, is in the basement. In addition to the 80 gallons/ day, I also siphon off the bottom of the display tank every other day or so (takes about 3 minutes). The tank has a few potted plants, but no substrate (I actually started by transforming a planted tank into a discus tank and wound up swapping out the substrate and removing the plants with the exception of a few that are now in pots). In addition to the daily automated changes, usually on the weekends, I change more water. I don't have to kill myself with these changes, though, because I have the automated system (which I can use the change more than 80 gallons/ day if I want).

I'd be happy to share details about it if you'd like to discuss. It's not very high tech, but is really failsafe and easy. I know that you are trying to avoid changes, and this has been a really good way for me to minimize the effort in keeping the tank and maximize time enjoying it. Might be something to consider as a type of compromise from a strict zero water change system.

BTW - have you kept reefs or other fish in addition to what you mentioned in your previous posts? I've had many types of freshwater fish plus actually had a full blown 90 gallon SPS plus LPS and Softies tank w @1,000 watts of light. I did a lot of research and learned through trial and error to finally get to a stable and healthy position with the reef tank and again with the discus tank. The research is really important, but there's no substitue for watching the animals (and plants). They will tell you whether the condiditons are good or not. A really great guy from GARF (Geothernal Aquatic Research Foundation)explained that to me when I first got into Reef tanks - it took a while, but I learned and grew to appreciate what he meant.

Interested to hear what else you learn in your research.

thx,
Ant

scottthomas
12-30-2010, 12:20 AM
The most informed looking opinion I'd been able to find on the web thus far in regards to growth limiting/inhibiting hormones (GIS, which I suppose is what we should be concerned by in this discussion)

Tito? Is that you? I don’t buy the old hormone growth inhibiting argument.

In order to grow out impressive discus that many discriminating enthusiasts on this site consider to have appealing shape, color, and size; you will need to feed very heavily with protein rich foods multiple times a day and still maintain fairly exact water parameters with close to zero nitrites or nitrates, little temp fluctuation below 82 degrees (strong evidence suggests that even warmer temps stimulate maximum appetite and consequently better growth but not so great for plants), keep parasite and bacterial loads to at least very bare minimum, stable pH, no big jumps in CO2 levels, keep a large enough group that they are comfortable as shoaling fish, and many other variables. You will find that there is some debate about with of these factors plays the largest or most important role in raising high quality discus. However, both breeders and successful discus keepers alike on this site have consistently reported from personal experience for years that the best results come from heavy feedings of quality foods and frequent water changes. You may very well have a way to omit frequent water changes. However, I think it would be easier to develop a simple automated water change system rather than the complex and expensive Tank you describe. It takes me about 45 minutes to change a total of almost 200 gallons of water and clean 12 tanks. Most of that time I sit and read a book in my fish room while one tank drains and another fills at the same time.


I am behind you 100% if you love plants and discus and want to keep them together. Just don’t expect to raise show quality specimens in a planted tank.

YSS
12-30-2010, 12:40 AM
Here is an old thread related to this subject...

http://forum.simplydiscus.com/showthread.php?63567-No-water-changes-in-a-discus-tank&highlight=planted

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/photo-album/50456-zero-water-change-20-75-update.html

Len
12-30-2010, 12:46 AM
If I missed your objective, I'll apologize ahead of time but... If you don't have the time or inclination to do water chnages, how are you going to maintain a heavily planted aquarium? Completely putting the discus aside, You will need to test many parameters of your tank regularly. Items like phosphates, nitrates, Ph, Kh, Iron, just to name a few. Then you are going to have to dose chemicals into the tank several times a week to maintain the needed amounts of each of those parameters. Aside from those tasks, regardless of how clean or stable or whatever you keep your tank, you are going to have to clean it in some form or another. plants will decay and sludge will form on the bottom after time and you also will get algae in one form or another. Maybe not lots, but if you don't want it to build up and look ugly, you will be getting your pot scrubby or scraper out to clean it. Don't get me wrong, I love planted tanks, and keep them myself. It's a lot of work, but to me worth it because of what I get back -- but it's a heck of a lot more work than siphoning water out of a bare bottom tank, giving a quick wipe down and then filling back up. Ok so babbling over, using plants to suppliment filtration and reduce nitrate - great plan. Reducing time spent on maintaining tank - just won't happen.

Eddie
12-30-2010, 02:18 AM
Hi Eddie, thanks for the input. But pessimism and dogma aside, I still haven't heard anyone here suggest a single water quality parameter that cannot be better controlled or more easily controlled by other means than through constant water changes. And you're yet to put forth any actual reasons as well, so could you please try to? Or apart from saying that that's simply how it's done, explain exactly why this would result in stunted growth or would be impossible to achieve? And I don't see what water filtration the municipal water supply could possibly have that I couldn't better with my own tank in order to achieve better water from my filter than that coming out of the tap.

The most informed looking opinion I'd been able to find on the web thus far in regards to growth limiting/inhibiting hormones (GIS, which I suppose is what we should be concerned by in this discussion) is that they perhaps do actually exist though not at all in the manner that most people believe, and can be mediated by the following means: carbon or zeolite filtering, protein skimmers with or without ozone, water changes, and with the use of live plants and live rock. So I could in that case cover four out of five easily still without the constant laborious water changes. The plants and carbon would take care of any other excess dissolved organic compounds which could be detrimental, (despite that most are apparently beneficial and in fact used by plants).

I ordered half-a-dozen new books on discus the other night so until then it's just internet research at the moment for me such as this forum where I'm consulting those more experienced with regards to particular parameters.

Actually, what I said was...do some research of your own. You will learn on your own, just as everyone here. There are some good books on discus too, if you would like some good reading. Hope you got some good ones.

Hogman
12-30-2010, 07:39 AM
(If you’re smelling Hydrogen Sulfide then that simply means that the anaerobic bacteria need slightly more water flow). Where are you getting these conclusions from? Anaerobic bacteria do not O2 to survive. It is doubtfull that you will produce "Hydrogen Sulfide" unless its already there. I predict you will be operating a septic tank and producing methane gas. I too, wish you all the best with this project

roclement
12-30-2010, 09:48 AM
This is a matter of cost/work/benefit to me...in order to achieve a "balanced system" without performing WC, you will need to spend so much money replenishing minerals, and on filtration that it makes it un realistic. Sure it can be done but again, if you are willing to spend more money and time in your filtration system than on your display tank/stock. Why do you think every public aquarium in the planet perfomr daily/regular water changes in their display tanks? Don't you think they would wnat the benefit of not hanving to perform WC?

Want a tank mith no WC...easy! Tie in an RO/DI unit to your tank with a booster pump and have your water run through it and then back into the tank, simple right? Now make sure the volume of water going through your unit is at least enough to move at least 100% of the volume of your tank per day, most likely 300% or so in a planted, stocked tank. Now make sure you can figure out how to re-constitute the water automaticaly so you don't end up with no TDS reading water going back into your tank, lastly make sure you exchange the membrane and DI powder as needed, maybe once a week with continuos use?

Now sit back and enjoy!

Rodrigo

scottthomas
12-30-2010, 11:18 AM
Pretty much what I was trying to say. Although I am starting a planted tank this weekend so I understand the attraction of having both disus and planted aquarium.

Mxx
12-30-2010, 11:55 AM
Where are you getting these conclusions from? Anaerobic bacteria do not O2 to survive. It is doubtfull that you will produce "Hydrogen Sulfide" unless its already there. I predict you will be operating a septic tank and producing methane gas. I too, wish you all the best with this project

It was from my research on denitrator filters the other evening. Google denitrator filter and look for the aquaworldaquarium.com article. And Aquaripure sell a filter such as that described in the article. And some of it was from another denitrator filter's set-up guide which I can't seem to relocate the link to again. Denitrator filters can be used on fresh or saltwater. It seems they'd greatly benefit a bare-bottom discus tank as well, if they can keep the nitrates from spiking daily. Doesn't anyone here happen to be using them??

John_Nicholson
12-30-2010, 12:00 PM
Ok we got. You are smarter then the rest of the world, so quit talking about it and get it done. Work your magic and post pictures of your progress. I just ask that you plese do it in an honest manner and do it for the long term. Of course I say this because I am pretty sure how this will end. At first it will work great, then it will tail off, and then it will crash. When it crashes you will probably just disappear.....that is what always happens when type of situation arises.

Good luck.

-john

Mxx
12-30-2010, 12:12 PM
It's certainly an interesting idea, but as many have already commented it's be theorized. Since I am no where the expert on this, I'd just like to give my two cents on your overflow. I would be concerned with the return flow coming up in one of your overflows. I think this would limit your ability to get some good directional flow on the bottom of your substrate where food and feces is going to eventually accumulate, especially around the base of your plants.

I have a trapazoid overflow in the center of my 180 gal with two return lines coming back from the sump, both on individual pumps. Each pump is rated at 350 gph. I have the nozzels for the returns on each side of the overflow, pointed to each forward corner of the tank. It creates a flow that pushes the water in a circular direction on each side, eventually back us tpwards the overflow. It's done a really great job of keeping the bottom of my tank clear of debris, but don't get me wrong, it's not perfect. As for canisters, I'd rather shut my aquarium down than ever have to deal with another one of those things. Keep in mind, that's just my preference.

I understand your desire to not want to do water changes, I work a lot and it limits the time I have to my tank. If you're going to do this, I'd abandon the idea of initially trying to raise juvies in it. I'm doing my best to get water changes in where I can and keeping them fed, but I'm seeing poor results with mine. I'm learning I can't keep on top of this like I would like to. I think I'm just going to buy ful grown fish from now on. If you decide to raise them in the set up, I'd try a couple in your experiment tank first, I'd hate to see you ruin 10-12 fish if it doesn't work the way you want.

Anyway, best of luck. Keep us posted!

In terms of return flow and current, I'd also described that I'd have another return flow pipe along the bottom back edge of the tank, with holes drilled along its length. This should shoot some current across the top of the substrate bed and create a slow upwelling current up the front of the tank, which would help in suspending food so that it doesn't sink to the bottom quite as quickly. With the other overflow return at one end, and the intake at the other, this should supposedly create sort of a slow spiralling barrel of current throughout the length of the tank. That doesn't create quite as much current across the hairgrass carpet as I'd ideally wish to achieve to keep it looking clean, but the foreground is a difficult place to be able to discreetly focus the current upon. In your experience would this sort of a current setup at 1000 gph work well for a 200-300 gallon planted discus tank?

Interesting comment about your canisters though... I wonder if at the end of it I'd be better off creating a bio-medium sump partition the length of the back wall instead.

What do you think might be causing the poor results with your discus though? Accumulating nitrates, or perhaps the mysterious growth-inhibiting-hormones referred to in places? Do you happen to heavy planting in your tank? Or carbon filtration which is changed weekly?

Mxx
12-30-2010, 12:24 PM
i had my 120 gal tank on this kind of setup for a year for experiment and i say be prepared for a lot of trial and errors and might as well tell your juvies goodbye once you release them in the tank. once the setup is aged(plants rooted and water flow paved their path) everything will become easy... for you but not your discus. ph will linger at 5 or below. i tried raising juvies and adults in there, wild and domestics, and i sum it up as a very expensive experiment. heavy toll on juvies, almost zero on domestics, those that survived were stunts or became deformed on their fins and gill plates. adult domestics tend to get sick easy on this setup. adult wild performed a little better(made my heckel pair spawned, unfortunately i was a novice... fry only lasted a day of free swimming). now the longest i can keep my tank without changing water is 2 weeks, with a huge water change after that. if it goes beyond that without a water change you might end up browsing on the sickness/disease section here. hope this help you a bit. i'll be glad to know how yours will fare.

ejay

Thanks for sharing your unfortunate experience, which is perhaps helpful. Can you relate a bit more though? Do you happen to know exactly why yours would have been stunted or deformed though? Do you happen to know what your nitrate levels typically were? It seems that a Ph that low would adversely affect your tank's biological filtration, as well as plant growth. Did you try anything to buffer the Ph upwards, such as the old add a touch of crushed coral technique? Did your set-up have dense planting and activated carbon filtration changed weekly?

roclement
12-30-2010, 12:26 PM
It was from my research on denitrator filters the other evening. Google denitrator filter and look for the aquaworldaquarium.com article. And Aquaripure sell a filter such as that described in the article. And some of it was from another denitrator filter's set-up guide which I can't seem to relocate the link to again. Denitrator filters can be used on fresh or saltwater. It seems they'd greatly benefit a bare-bottom discus tank as well, if they can keep the nitrates from spiking daily. Doesn't anyone here happen to be using them??

For whatever it's worth I think this is Tito posting...

In any case, every filter that has been marketed in the last century claims to eliminate the need for water changes, so best of luck! Last post in this thread for me...

Rodrigo

scottthomas
12-30-2010, 01:51 PM
For whatever it's worth I think this is Tito posting...

lol. I already mentioned that but after further reading the writing style is more thought out...

2wheelsx2
12-30-2010, 01:53 PM
yikes.. thats like NEVER FLUSHING and trying to filter toilet water and saying.. look.. i can still drink it!!!!! haahaa...



You know that's what they do on the space station right? They don't flush the water out into space. They reprocess the urine.

I don't have an opinion either way and think it would be an interesting experiment. The science behind what the OP is doing is also not new and have been tried and true. However, they may just not be appropriate for growing discus properly, that's all.

Skip
12-30-2010, 03:48 PM
For whatever it's worth I think this is Tito posting...

In any case, every filter that has been marketed in the last century claims to eliminate the need for water changes, so best of luck! Last post in this thread for me...

Rodrigo


lol. I already mentioned that but after further reading the writing style is more thought out...

yeah.. TITO. didn't use words this big.. NOR did he RAMBLE ON.. blah blah blah.. my A.D.D. kicks in reading some his posts..



You know that's what they do on the space station right? They don't flush the water out into space. They reprocess the urine.

I don't have an opinion either way and think it would be an interesting experiment. The science behind what the OP is doing is also not new and have been tried and true. However, they may just not be appropriate for growing discus properly, that's all.

i concur.. probably not best for Growing discus.. maybe Catfish

roundfishross
12-30-2010, 05:21 PM
if he makes it through the ecology of the planted aquarium he may be permanently impaired. I couldnt do it personally!!

Mxx
12-30-2010, 07:12 PM
Mxx, I hear you on the desire to try to avoid WC's period. In my experience with Discus (a lot less than some of the folks replying here), I am not convinved it's possible to create a healthy environment for Discus without frequent water changes. I can see how the fish respond if I wind up not siphoning off the bottom as frequently as I should. For most of us on the forum, we can look at the fish and see if something is not looking right. And the first precaution when that something pops up is to be very aggressive on the WC's. In many cases, that can help (and in most cases, the fish were susceptible to the disease from poor husbandry or too many missed WC's in the first place).

I can not comment on the specific water chemistry parameter changes that happen in a water change. But I think that's really what you are trying to get to: what gets removed in the WC and how can you create a filter/ natural ecosystem balance to reproduce it without the WC. Did I net this out correctly?

I think it's a really interesting topic, and I am eager to see the results. A few ideas to share:

1) Is there a way to set up a control tank? Maybe the same size, stocking, plants, light, feeding, co2, etc but with regular/ frequent water changes? I think this should provide a really good comparison and help you confirm whether the tank with zero WC's is really thriving.

2) I have an automated water change system for my tank. It changes about 80 gallons/ day on a total volume of about 140 gallons. It is 100% automated - I don't touch a thing. The display tank (which is pretty heavily stocked) is upstairs and the sump, where the water change system is set up, is in the basement. In addition to the 80 gallons/ day, I also siphon off the bottom of the display tank every other day or so (takes about 3 minutes). The tank has a few potted plants, but no substrate (I actually started by transforming a planted tank into a discus tank and wound up swapping out the substrate and removing the plants with the exception of a few that are now in pots). In addition to the daily automated changes, usually on the weekends, I change more water. I don't have to kill myself with these changes, though, because I have the automated system (which I can use the change more than 80 gallons/ day if I want).

I'd be happy to share details about it if you'd like to discuss. It's not very high tech, but is really failsafe and easy. I know that you are trying to avoid changes, and this has been a really good way for me to minimize the effort in keeping the tank and maximize time enjoying it. Might be something to consider as a type of compromise from a strict zero water change system.

BTW - have you kept reefs or other fish in addition to what you mentioned in your previous posts? I've had many types of freshwater fish plus actually had a full blown 90 gallon SPS plus LPS and Softies tank w @1,000 watts of light. I did a lot of research and learned through trial and error to finally get to a stable and healthy position with the reef tank and again with the discus tank. The research is really important, but there's no substitue for watching the animals (and plants). They will tell you whether the condiditons are good or not. A really great guy from GARF (Geothernal Aquatic Research Foundation)explained that to me when I first got into Reef tanks - it took a while, but I learned and grew to appreciate what he meant.

Interested to hear what else you learn in your research.

thx,
Ant

Hi Antpal,

Please do share the details of your automated water change system. I was thinking about building one into my set-up when I first started thinking about how to do a discus display tank. I'd considered using perhaps a 29 gallon tank underneath in the stand, (which could double as a quarantine/hospital tank if need be). With a plumbing line in and a direct drain out I could preheat, prefilter, and reconstitute the water there as necessary. I suppose a direct plumbing line to the tank, a direct drain out, and a water pump to and from the tank would allow me to just turn on the pump to cycle 29 fresh gallons in, and then 29 old gallons out, turn off the pump, and then open the drain. That still wouldn't deal with siphoning out mulm though, which would have to be done in a separate process. I thought there were several components there which were liable to fail and cause floods if not working perfectly though, so I'd certainly like to hear what your fail-safes are. I don't have a basement however, and can't give up extra space for large maintenance equipment though. So to achieve the required changes and volumes, maybe I would have had to have at least two 37 gallon plastic garbage cans under the tank, if not a third one for a biological filter sump as well...

But then the more I kept thinking it through, the more I started to wonder exactly what I would be accomplishing by doing all that. The influx of new water still would cause some sudden change in Ph and other parameters which could potentially be stress-inducing, and even 29 gallons a go isn't much of a water change out of 200 or 300 gallons or nearly the recommended amount. I suppose another alternative would be to have some sort of a constant slow fresh water line in, although I'd actually need two lines in, one passing through an RO filter, and another passing through a more standard drinking water filter, in order to bring the Ph and hardness down to a reasonable level, while reconstituting it by mixing it with non-RO water. That still sounds very complicated and risky in terms of equipment and possible points of failure!

When I kept a few tanks previously and was doing regular water changes with my Python or Automatic Aquarium Water Changer, I was always paranoid that the new water wasn't exactly the same temperature, that I couldn't pretreat the chlorine and chloramine, that the Ph was considerably different, and that in cold whether the new water was always saturated with dissolved nitrogen gas. And I couldn't help then wonder if I was doing any damage regularly by following the recommended water change regiment. I mean it's one thing for breeders in a greenhouse with concrete floors and floor drains to be performing daily water changes, but it's another case if I'd need to take over the kitchen sink, and was constantly spilling water on new oak floors as inevitably occurs!

I really can't set up a control tank, but if I had discus that achieved good growth without water changes then I suppose that would show the approach is viable. And I don't want to become any more obsessive about this hobby than I am already, I'm afraid. I have two young children and a demanding professional career to attend to as well, not to mention a marriage too which I'd best not neglect, (despite that she first made the mistake of asking if we could get discus after seeing them at a display tank at Kew Gardens)!

I've never had marine tanks, but plan to eventually try one at some point as well in the future. Incidentally, reading about the experiences of some marine aquarists is where I first came across examples of keeping tanks without ever doing water changes, and there seem to be a fair number of people doing that successfully, despite that reef fish and invertebrates are very sensitive to water parameters, stability, and nitrates.

C3H6O3
12-30-2010, 07:14 PM
I have a planted 150gal discus aquarium. Before the plants were well-established and growing robustly, I had to change the water about 5 days a week. I could tell that after (at most) 2 days, the water wasn't as clear. Now, with great/established plant growth, I only do 2 water changes per week -- 45gal each time. Water is crystal-clear.

I might get by with only 1 change of about 60gal per week, if I didn't have freaking trumpet snails! I'm planning on getting some assassin snails, to see if I can control the trumpets. The plants do help immensely in filtering the water, though. I agree with what Rodrigo said about having to have a HUGE filter to have no water changes.

I have some clown loaches to control pond snail growth, as well as corys. These guys help get to the food that the discus can't reach in between plants. But, they also produce their own waste.

In short, I'm sure it's been stated in a few forms so far, an aquarium is an enclosed system -- the Amazon River isn't.

Change your water -- what looks good in paper hardly ever comes out like that in real life. Just ask the Philadelphia Eagles (14pt favorite against the Vikings -- lost to them by 10 pts). :-)

H

antpal01
12-30-2010, 09:07 PM
Mxx, I have two kids and a wife, as well, so I understand and appreciate the need to try to balance time!!! :-)

With that said (and an expectation that it woudl take me a long time away from the family to document all of the specifics), please feel free to call me 973 449 3110 so I can share the details of my auto change system. I've got the water temp right and removed chlorine, so taken away those issues. (I really need to document and post what I have. Mind you it's not necessarily pretty or sophisticated, but it works.)

It soudns like one of the challenges you will have with an auto system is space. I think that there are ways to work through it, though, with some pipe snaking through the walls.

Also, in terms of a slow flow water changing system, there is a very easy, low plumbing one available - dialyseas. Here is the link. http://www.seavisions.com/prod02.htm My father in law had one on his 300 gallon reef - it worked pretty well. The freshwater models are $3k or $1k, so if you want the convenience it's a bit costly. This was kind of the inspiration for my system, although a lot less complex and much less expensive.

Look forward to chatting.

Thx,
Ant

prolude006
12-30-2010, 09:44 PM
Ok so I can say that it is possible to completely make a feasible size system that is fully automated with no water changes. A local guy here raised killifish for many years on a super custom setup he designed and it was just awesome, I wish I had photos. It does require a water source that tops off the tank as water evaporates from the tank. The filter setup is not a closed loop system but its no water changes as far as siphoning out water goes.

Basically he had a tank that was a recreation of the ground outdoors with layers just like you cut out a piece of the earth and put it in a tank. The water pumped out of the planted tank (tanks in this case all connected together) onto a large holding container. The waterfall effect went on to a Tupperware container full of crushed up lava rock which aerates the water as if it was rain. Then the water runs through the bottom and filters down through the different layers of dirt,gravel,sand, and other sediment like it would outdoors. There were plants growing in the lava rock(root feeders) and grass, and various plants in the sediment layers. The natural filter tanks as he called them sat in front of windows so they had natural sunlight, they looked spectacular in their own right. This system let him breed killifish for 7 years straight and it looked like a jungle with the massive amount of plants in each tank. He bred so many killifish with this system. I would love to recreate it someday when I have the resources and time.

It is possible to do no water changes,however, a fully closed loop with no "new water" ever added will kill plants and fish alike, the system fails eventually as we could not artificially recreate fresh water no matter what we tried to add.

David

Mxx
12-30-2010, 09:52 PM
To summarize what Iíve gathered here thus far, according to general consensus; discus will not achieve good growth rates in a planted tank, a planted discus tank cannot be kept clean enough with discus to maintain high water quality, (or basically that healthy discus cannot be raised in planted tank). And discus will certainly not achieve healthy growth without frequent water changes.

Iím still waiting to hear a fully detailed explanation though of precisely why that might be here and what exactly would be inhibiting discus growth in the absence of water changes. Suggestions of why that is or any consensus on this has been pretty thin here, apart from the suggestion of nitrates, which it seems can certainly be dealt with very well in other ways. I do appreciate certain members entertaining this topic with an open mind, and have received some sincere encouragement here at least to pursue this further, (as well as other encouragement to pursue this stemming more out of morbid curiosity)!Ö

From my own reading primarily elsewhere, I now gather that nitrates and growth-inhibiting-hormones (GIH) such as Ďmetabolic ammonia saltsí are the two supposed factors that can inhibit discus growth. With nitrates taken care of naturally through bio-filtration and planting, I still havenít determine exactly how the GIHís might best be taken care of. Apart from just water changes, a protein skimmer with an ozoniser, regularly renewed activated carbon and zeolites, and plant growth are all supposed to help eliminate GIHís as well. (The UV sterilizer built into the Sun sunís might prove to oxidize and break down these compounds too, as they do with certain other organic compounds). Thus, those two growth limiting factors still seem surmountable through comprehensive filtration. And Iím yet to see evidence for the existence of anything else which would prevent my future discus from attaining their mature size as long as I can feed them enough as well. But I would of course commit to researching this particular aspect much further before Iíd dare take the plunge along with any future discus.

Personally Iím undecided still on whether or not I should attempt to altogether do without water changes. I could certainly monitor nitrates and other parameters throughout and use water changes as an emergency backup should those ever begin to escalate too far or in case my filter broke as had been suggested. Nevertheless, water changes or not Iíd still want to establish the best system I can for keeping water conditions as pristine as possible, so my systemís design would still be the same either way.

My goals with this tank would be to
A. keep healthy beautiful discus,
B. maintain a beautifully planted display aquarium
C. minimize unnecessary maintenance as much as possible.
I donít have any interest in showing or breeding and rearing discus though, and even if mine would only reach 90% of their fullest possible size and seemed happy then thatíd still count as a success in my book. I think a nice discus display tank could make a beautiful addition and focal point to my living room, or at least it would if itís a fully planted tank instead of a bare-bottom tank. Rearing healthy discus in a well planted tank certainly couldnít seem to be as ludicrous a proposition as many here seem to make it out to beÖ

And I appreciate that with any tank, planted or bare, that some maintenance including scraping the glass and monitoring and adjusting water conditions will need to be done regularly. Water changes or not, this same maintenance would be necessary with any planted tank and I donít actually mind doing that. As so many planted tank enthusiast have proven however, a well planted balanced tank with robust plant growth can outcompete the algae for available resources. I do wish to avoid unnecessary maintenance, and to me the jury is still out on whether or not that includes performing constant water changes. Even if despite robust plant growth and comprehensive overfiltering it proved necessary to do water changes once or twice a month to maintain good water conditions then thatíd still seem to be an improvement upon what most of you are having to unfortunately deal with for the sake of your discus. And I could try and automate that in some manner, I suppose should I decide that itís nevertheless necessary to perform water changes.

Water chemistry aside, if Ďsewageí did start to build up at the bottom of the tank, or to use the more common term, ďsoilĒ built up, and became a problem aesthetically, then I could reconsider the matter of water changes at that point. A 100% planted tank bottom with good plant growth should perhaps be able to contain and conceal a fair amount of mulm. But if in time it became too visible still or was swirling around excessively then at that point it would also be easy to infrequently vacuum some portion of that out without enormous disturbance to the plants. If however it happened to stay well contained by the planting and substrate then I could potentially let it go, to form a layer of soil substrate (as is the case in any wetland). It should by that point already be reduced biologically to a fairly inert substance as far as Iím aware. I personally still find the idea a little odd that all the substance within the fish food going into the tank wouldnít be going anywhere, apart from into floating plant growth which is netted out occasionally, but many people seem to be doing is successfully still with gorgeous tanks.

And for the record, Iím not trying to prove the approach used by all you lot is wrong, but am certainly trying to milk you for every bit of your knowledge gained from experience to help in critically evaluating one other possible discus keeping approach. So I do appreciate all of your challenges to the hypothesis Iíd put forth. I of course have no experience whatsoever keeping discus, and only just began immersing myself into this topic very recently, so I certainly canít say that I know better than any of you. But as opposed to some views expressed here, I thought it was better to research and discuss this thoroughly first, instead of just deciding that I should Ďquit talkin and gitter doneĒ. But the practical experience of some members here will certainly help guide and inform my further research and experimentation. I ran the same thread on the Planted Tank forum, where the members seemed to have greater familiarity with the concept and the requisite ecological parameters, (as well as were quite open minded for the most part and despite some wildly divergent views and experience there too). In any case, it wouldnít be until later this year that Iíd be starting on this project due to my pending residential remodeling, but I have some time to think about it beforehand, (as well as install the necessary floor reinforcements and any necessary plumbing in advance of this). I am in any case already testing out this hypothesis with my small pilot tank, so before I start this tank I should be able to draw some conclusions from that before attempting such a thing with discus.

And I really have no idea who Tito is, but I at first thought that must have been some sort an obscure Michael Jackson reference though relating to my mention of growth-inhibiting hormones.

All the best and many thanks for sharing your time and thoughts ~

DerekFF
12-30-2010, 10:11 PM
I've seen it done how your saying. It's not cost effective, it needs alterations to a point between a lot of our views and yours. Personal experience-girlfriends dad does it like you, almost to the T. Fish last only about 2-5 years at longest, water changes are required once a month at about 50% in order to keep solid buildup down (poop, detrious, any other solid matter, minerals) its doable, not cost effective, not optimal for your fish and im the long term theyll tell you that.

Jennie
12-30-2010, 10:11 PM
Well everyone here would love to see/hear the results.. are there discus in this test tank???

Derelique
12-30-2010, 10:23 PM
Lot of haters, negativeness, & arrogance here against new ideas!!! :alien: Guess you had to expect that Mxx if you tell zealots they've all been taking the wrong approach and are wasting all there time!!! Go man go, someone always has to be the first to try something!!!! Happy fishing :bandana:

Jennie
12-30-2010, 10:27 PM
And so you add to it with that comment..Nice job

DerekFF
12-30-2010, 10:40 PM
I've seen it done how your saying. It's not cost effective, it needs alterations to a point between a lot of our views and yours. Personal experience-girlfriends dad does it like you, almost to the T. Fish last only about 2-5 years at longest, water changes are required once a month at about 50% in order to keep solid buildup down (poop, detrious, any other solid matter, minerals) its doable, not cost effective, not optimal for your fish and im the long term theyll tell you that.

diveshooter
12-30-2010, 10:42 PM
Why the zero water changes? Nature does not operate in that manner why would you try to keep your tank that way. They call the Amazon a rain forest because....well it rains there all the blasted time. The fish have been engineered for a long, long time to have a "water" change almost daily. You can try to minimize them, but trying to eliminate them entirely is going against mother nature and that normally ends poorly.

-john

Unless Mxx plans to stock his tank with live-caught fish from the Amazon, the captive bred and raised discus the majority of us keep are far, far removed from the natural world.
Good or bad, it will be a learning experience for sure.

Eddie
12-30-2010, 10:51 PM
First clue, nitrates are not your main concern. You'll figure that out in time. ;)

And Derelique, this isn't a new idea, just one that gets brought up day and day out and the results are the same. So before you start calling people names, I'd check yourself.

Eddie

diveshooter
12-30-2010, 10:55 PM
I wonder how many out there would adjust their water changes if you had to pay, say $5.00 a gallon for that water. That day may not be too far off, depending on your location and the effects of climate change due to global warming.

ZX10R
12-30-2010, 10:56 PM
Lot of haters, negativeness, & arrogance here against new ideas!!! :alien: Guess you had to expect that Mxx if you tell zealots they've all been taking the wrong approach and are wasting all there time!!! Go man go, someone always has to be the first to try something!!!! Happy fishing :bandana:

I have to agree seems to me Mxx has done his homework and has a lot of knowledge on this. Not saying he is right and it will work but who knows if he does it he might come up with a new system that solves the issues. Instead of bashing the guy for his idea maybe give him a hand with ideas to try and help him succeed. We might be all thanking him one day for no more water changes. Colonel Sanders (KFC) didn't come up with the original recipe on his first try took years to perfect. Had to throw that one in there since that is all Kentucky is famous for beside Bourbon and Whisky which sounds good right about now.

Eddie
12-30-2010, 11:05 PM
There is a breeder in Israel that does 10% water changes on his tanks and he's won his share of competitions. Mind you, none of his tanks are planted but just to give you some "hope" if you will.

Dkarc@Aol.com
12-30-2010, 11:08 PM
Keep in mind Eddie, his tanks are on properly designed/built recirculating systems.

-Ryan

Eddie
12-30-2010, 11:17 PM
Keep in mind Eddie, his tanks are on properly designed/built recirculating systems.

-Ryan


I was just trying to give the guy some hope. ;)

scottthomas
12-30-2010, 11:51 PM
Lot of haters, negativeness, & arrogance here against new ideas!!! Guess you had to expect that Mxx if you tell zealots they've all been taking the wrong approach and are wasting all there time!!! Go man go, someone always has to be the first to try something!!!! Happy fishing

New Idea? Really? You mean that all this time I thought that changing water was helping to grow my discus but now I find out that it is only due to removing a mysterious growth inhibiting hormone?!!? Man I feel stupid now. After all these years, why hasn’t someone come along before this and revealed this secret about a balanced planted tank with little to no maintenance and far less expense and work. Crap, I will probably go to another source for information from now on since no one here knew about this "new" method. Thanks for enlightening me Mxx. You are my hero. I feel like a complete idiot. Can’t wait to see your planted tank.

waj8
12-31-2010, 07:27 AM
One thing I have noticed is everybody is focusing on the Discus. There is no way to grow plants in a system like that that with that much bioload and no water changes. Discus are huge compared to the average community fish and Juvies are the worst polluters of all. I bet one Discus is the equivalent of 100 tetras. The ammonia produced by that many Discus will cause an Armageddon like algae bloom. You would need an extremely effective biofilter to deal with ammonia and with lots of water flow to circulate the CO2. You would have to be constantly cleaning the filter to remove organic material before it breaks down into Ammonia. Maybe 2 adult discus in a 2 or 3 hundred gallon tank might work. The only way it could be done is to constantly monitor all nutrient levels and dose accordingly. You would need to test for Calcium, Magnesium, N, P, K, CO2 levels, oxygen levels and iron at the least. The aggravation of the constant testing with expensive test kits or the cost of nutrient monitors would drive the average person nuts. This idea is more for an extremely large aquarium where money is no object and where the cost of constant monitoring was worth the cost. It's all way more work than water changes. Not even D.W. would think this is a good idea.

Derelique
12-31-2010, 11:04 AM
First clue, nitrates are not your main concern. You'll figure that out in time. ;)

And Derelique, this isn't a new idea, just one that gets brought up day and day out and the results are the same. So before you start calling people names, I'd check yourself.

Eddie

Hey Eddie, look if you're a guru on this then don't be cryptic and just answer the guy's question! If nitrates aren't the major concern then what is it? And if you and others don't know either then shouldn't everyone be trying to help him figure out what does affect all our fish and their growth?

Being a newbie here the bitter sarcasm of so many is kinda a shock! This a group of happy fish people trying to help educate each other or somekinda cult???

From a fresh point of view the question this guy asked seems much more carefully thought through scientifically than what all the rest of us are actually doing. He also said its not a new idea or his own idea, but it doesn't seem anyone here has actually tried it to the extent he suggests, so who knows if it would work perfectly? Seems that from reading this thread nobody here seems to really know. It's not proven like the usual way, but it seems a lot easier and potentially more attractive a display tank if the plants take off and even if he ends up doing water changes just once or twice a year. But never might still be a stretch. Even if not a new idea it still seems to make it a novel attempt. Maybe we should all look more at what we are practicing and why. What did Socrates have to say about the life unexamined?

With large canister filters or self made bio or trickle filters available cheap maybe I should even try to do plants and megafiltering to see if that reduces my need for water changes. For rooted plants I'd have to either have them in pots which can be moved and gravel-vacd around, or replace my gravel and reverse flow undergravel system with something for plants. Or I could just pimp my lighting and go with some of the floating plants which can use Co2 from the air. I still wouldn't know what I'd need to test for though if not NO3, so hey MXX, if you find out anything else in your studying then make sure to tell us!

Mxx
12-31-2010, 01:00 PM
New Idea? Really? You mean that all this time I thought that changing water was helping to grow my discus but now I find out that it is only due to removing a mysterious growth inhibiting hormone?!!? Man I feel stupid now. After all these years, why hasn’t someone come along before this and revealed this secret about a balanced planted tank with little to no maintenance and far less expense and work. Crap, I will probably go to another source for information from now on since no one here knew about this "new" method. Thanks for enlightening me Mxx. You are my hero. I feel like a complete idiot. Can’t wait to see your planted tank.

Hello Scott, delightful banter aside, what exactly do you actually believe your water changes have been accomplishing? They may have been making your discus grow, but can you or anyone please explain what the chemistry behind that is?

Jack Wattley is one of the breeders that has promoted the hypothesis of discus being sensitive to growth-producing-hormones, it's certainly not my suggestion. Experts seem to have widely varying opinions on the matter, and here is one of the more well-informed sounding threads that I've come across thus far. http://www.aquariumpros.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-1457.html I'd certainly be delighted if that was merely a myth as I then wouldn't worry about trying to deal with activated carbon, a protein skimmer, and ozoniser as well! In my follow-up comments I had credited others with the no-water-change concept as well, but I'm glad to hear further opinions on it specifically in regards to the requirements which Discus have.

I guess if I was to at the end of this conclude that I needed to plan for doing some water changes then I consider incorporating a reliable automatic water changing system then that could consist of something along the lines of a 55 gallon plastic drum mounted on a steel frame over the top of my aquarium with the tank built into the wall. That could be filled and reconstituted as required, and then to change the water I could open a small valve to drain the barrelís contents slowly into my tankís return sump. The intake sump could have a drilled overflow plumbed directly to a drain and thereby accommodate the displaced old water. Still seems like a lot of work to reconstitute large amounts of water regularily, and incredibly wasteful if an RO unit already dumps 4 times as much water as it produces!

But to automatically remove mulm build-up from around my plants in case it began to look too untidy for a display tank, perhaps a Ďflushing pumpí could be used as needed. A Hydor Koralia or Vortech reef tank pump could be turned on to double and triple the water current for a few minutes, perhaps even following feedings each day. The discus should be able to cope with the temporarily increased current without stress as long as theyíre not having to fight it constantly, and that should be able to stir up some of the excess mulm into the filterís intake sump simply by flipping a switch. I could use a large sponge over the intake which would be easer to remove and clean than opening up the canister filter unnecessarily.

Personally Iíve always found throughout my life that there is always more than one solution to any given problem. And perhaps it remains to be seen still if healthy robust discus can be reared just as well through more natural of means than constant manual water changes.

Skip
12-31-2010, 01:29 PM
Mxx.... ooooohhh.. your from London..........

now it all makes sense :gossip:

you are probably right.. i think you should prove all these Doubting Thomas' Wrong.. they are not as enlightened... in their discus keeping experience.. nor from their Collective Knowledge.... :thumbsup:

hurry and start posting them pics for us... send Brewmaster a note to be a HOMESTEADER>. so you can have your own forum (nominal fee).. and start posting those away on your progress so you can prove to all 17,000 members you are on to something!! Zero Water Change/planted Discus tank!! THE HOLY GRAIL!... :idea2:

inmisawa
12-31-2010, 01:45 PM
In terms of return flow and current, I'd also described that I'd have another return flow pipe along the bottom back edge of the tank, with holes drilled along its length. This should shoot some current across the top of the substrate bed and create a slow upwelling current up the front of the tank, which would help in suspending food so that it doesn't sink to the bottom quite as quickly. With the other overflow return at one end, and the intake at the other, this should supposedly create sort of a slow spiralling barrel of current throughout the length of the tank. That doesn't create quite as much current across the hairgrass carpet as I'd ideally wish to achieve to keep it looking clean, but the foreground is a difficult place to be able to discreetly focus the current upon. In your experience would this sort of a current setup at 1000 gph work well for a 200-300 gallon planted discus tank?

Interesting comment about your canisters though... I wonder if at the end of it I'd be better off creating a bio-medium sump partition the length of the back wall instead.

What do you think might be causing the poor results with your discus though? Accumulating nitrates, or perhaps the mysterious growth-inhibiting-hormones referred to in places? Do you happen to heavy planting in your tank? Or carbon filtration which is changed weekly?

I must have missed the part about your return line on the bottom. As far as canisters, I don't like having to take them apart to clean them. They a huge pain in the ***. But that's just my personal experience with them. As far as my problem with growing them, I'd say it's because I'm still trying to figure out what I'm doing. Good luck with your aquarium!

Mxx
12-31-2010, 02:03 PM
Oh, and the latent xenophobia/racism against non-Americans here as well, a lovely home for internet trolls here it seems, we're all very proud. And although it's altogther irrelevant I'm actually American, thanks.

I'm afraid that I'd been referencing the comments of someone that had been misquoting Jack Wattley Discus. Their own apparent words on this site in regards to GIH are as follows. -

"JacKWattleyDiscus
06-07-2002, 01:39 AM
Hello Matt
The GI Toxin or Hormone has been in play for the longest of times. We have run physical experiments sometimes planned others accidentally. Each and every time the smaller fish in the tank even from different strains have just fallen behind and become stunted. Hobbyists today always call the hatchery asking why their smaller 3" discus aren't growing as big as their 5" single fish after 1 years time.
The experiment is being experienced by all who are mixing different size fish every day and don't know that the GIT exists. And no you cannot remove it by doing water changes. I do those on a daily basis and it does not help.
If more true scientific research was placed on the discus community, so much would be revealed. Without the scientific proof we have to accept the results and theorize on the why's.
Can you immagine one little scientific experiment that told us that by adding a little something to our tanks it would diffuse it.  ::) Whishfull thinking.
To shed some light to the rest of the hobbyists, try to purchase and maintain all the discus in a tank of same size to avoid this problem. If you have different sizes in the same tank, get another tank. Heck that's how I did it, except that now I have 326 tanks and too much work."

So the possible GIH which he discuss were in relation to size differential between discus reared together, not in regards to all the discus in a tank growing or not growing. Perhaps there is some sort of a physiological adaptation at play, which triggers size differential within a group, although it would seem that it would potentially need to occur within each fish, and not through something in the water column.

In any case, the topic has been covered at-length in other discussions here, but I just wanted to clarify that bit.

Len
12-31-2010, 02:40 PM
Hey Eddie, look if you're a guru on this then don't be cryptic and just answer the guy's question! If nitrates aren't the major concern then what is it? And if you and others don't know either then shouldn't everyone be trying to help him figure out what does affect all our fish and their growth?

Being a newbie here the bitter sarcasm of so many is kinda a shock! This a group of happy fish people trying to help educate each other or somekinda cult???

From a fresh point of view the question this guy asked seems much more carefully thought through scientifically than what all the rest of us are actually doing. He also said its not a new idea or his own idea, but it doesn't seem anyone here has actually tried it to the extent he suggests, so who knows if it would work perfectly? Seems that from reading this thread nobody here seems to really know. It's not proven like the usual way, but it seems a lot easier and potentially more attractive a display tank if the plants take off and even if he ends up doing water changes just once or twice a year. But never might still be a stretch. Even if not a new idea it still seems to make it a novel attempt. Maybe we should all look more at what we are practicing and why. What did Socrates have to say about the life unexamined?

With large canister filters or self made bio or trickle filters available cheap maybe I should even try to do plants and megafiltering to see if that reduces my need for water changes. For rooted plants I'd have to either have them in pots which can be moved and gravel-vacd around, or replace my gravel and reverse flow undergravel system with something for plants. Or I could just pimp my lighting and go with some of the floating plants which can use Co2 from the air. I still wouldn't know what I'd need to test for though if not NO3, so hey MXX, if you find out anything else in your studying then make sure to tell us!

Perhaps you are correct that the sarcasm is a little high, but on the note about being thought out, I very much disagree. What he is proposing to do is going to come with substantial cost just to get started. Discus can be pricey and besides that is it fair to any living thing to experiment in that fashion just to see if it will work? My personal opinion is that is is not. Also, I don't think it was well thought out in terms of the time spent taking care of the plants. Contrary to what has been said, nitrates are going to be a big concern -- just not in the way they would be from a bare discus only tank. If you have a heavily planted tank, the nitrates produced from the biological breakdown of ammonia are going to be sucked up by the plants quickly and more will have to be added, most likely in the form of KNO3. For this type of tank you are going to want to keep your nitrate levels up at somewhere between 10 - 20 ppm. that is just one of several water parameters will have to be checked regularly and appropriate steps taken to regulate. The same will have to be done for iron, phosphates, ph, CO2, etc, etc. Now assuming that the planted tank part works -- the plants will grow. Now time has to be allotted to trimming and pruning. Regardless of how healthy the plants are, there is going to be some plant decay which if left unchecked will very quickly lend itself to a disaster when the ph crashes. To prevent that unfortunately he will need to do exactly what he is trying to avoid -- water changes and cleaning. He posted his question in a public forum to get feedback and I think for the most part that is what he is getting. Yes - he could have an amazing tank set up if he goes this route and adjusts his expectations in terms of maintaining it, but if his heart is set on no water changes and little time spent then it is only fair to let him know that he will spend a lot of money only to find he didn't reach the expected outcome. Forgetting the fish completely, it takes far more time and effort to keep a nice healthy planted tank going than it will ever take to do simple water changes in a bare bottom tank with whatever kind of fish. On a totally different note I guess I just don't get why anyone would want to do this. I can certainly only speak from my own point of view with certainty, but I would think that for most people keeping discus, planted tanks or some combination of both put the effort into all of these things for the satisfaction they get back. If it were just a tank that you walk by or sit in front of and it just looks nice with no effort, then it isn't really a hobby that you enjoy doing and get satisfaction from, but rather just another object that you own.

scottthomas
12-31-2010, 04:43 PM
From reading through these forums I don't doubt that the premise of my proposed discus tank may leave you speechless, especially as it's heresy for anyone that has committed so much of their lives to the orthodox discus keeping practices. In any case, I'm at the start of planning and researching a tank set-up which I'm afraid intentionally breaks practically every one of the normally accepted rules of discus keeping. And what I'd like to know is if anyone else has done something similar this and under what parameters?

What I'm looking to achieve is a spectacularly beautiful densely planted display tank with many beautiful healthy discus combined with a few other select species, (yeah, sure like seeing the Holy Grail, right?). And I'm looking to achieve this via an inexpensive high-tech low -maintenance over-filtered automated set-up with a fair stocking load yet ZERO water changes apart from topping off the tank occasionally with RO water and NO gravel vacuuming, as I have neither the time nor inclination to do regular water changes. I appreciate this is a contentious proposal to this group, but am hoping this can be considered with an open mind and doesn't rile everybody up unnecessarily.

Mr. Mxx, You asked for opinions about your "unothorthodox" ideas. As indicated in your first post you claimed, or hoped it would be an inexpensive, and fairly maintainance free system. In my OPINION

1. not so new of an idea.
2. many of these topics (hormones etc.) have been discussed many times already.
3. people gave you their honest input and advice but you sound as if you feel you are being attacked by uninformed, inexerienced, closed minded fools. I dont think people are against you.
4. my opinion is simply, as others have also stated, it wont be so inexpensive or maintainance free
5. I say go for it if you like the idea of planted tanks and discus together. It is a great hobby.


Hello Scott, delightful banter aside, what exactly do you actually believe your water changes have been accomplishing? They may have been making your discus grow, but can you or anyone please explain what the chemistry behind that is?

6. I tried to explain in another post that it is difficult to grow the BEST discus in a planted tank. They need super clean water and heavy feedings. (You can even argue hormones) either way, if you can do that in a planted tank, great for you. Better than most of us here. If you dont mind less than perfect discus another plus. (most people on this site are about discus but not all certainly) I anxiously wait to see your results.

Rex82
12-31-2010, 06:18 PM
I reckon what you are trying to do would be similar to a human being living in a closed room with no garbage disposal, Recycling every sceric of water that you drink and bathe in. I dont think anyone would live long in that situation nor want to.

Skip
12-31-2010, 06:41 PM
Oh, and the latent xenophobia/racism against non-Americans here as well, a lovely home for internet trolls here it seems, we're all very proud. And although it's altogether irrelevant I'm actually American, thanks..

:))))) not NON-Americans..

more like NON-Texans ;)

what ever you do.. make sure you use ADULT fish.. will are alot stronger and could be more tolerable to any mistakes or issues that arise to your project..

as for the your Water Chemistry mumbo jumbo (i am not a fan of ANY chemsitry, unless its with the little ladies ;))).. thats way beyond my pay grade.. i am sure if we had a water testing lab instead of the kiddy water test kits we use on our tanks..

then you might be getting the ACTUAL answer you want... (i jus change the water daily.. cuz last time i went against the collective's advice... it cost me 4 fish :(

Mxx
12-31-2010, 06:47 PM
Scott - 1. Definitely not a new idea at all, well proven already by many planted tank enthusiasts, I'd just never heard of it being done with Discus. And those were often for more natural low-tech tanks than what I'd be aiming for, but with little filtration and typically low bio loads. Low tech planted Amano style tanks have become sort of their own art form, but seem to focus more upon the plants than the fish which isn't quite so much my thing personally.
2. Agreed
3. Wasn't sure whether people were considering this with an entirely open mind. The logic seemed to be that if you can rear discus in BB tanks (albeit through immense effort) then why would you consider thinking about doing it any other way? Though by that logic we'd still be living in trees... And the seeming lack of either a scientific or practical basis for objections to the precise method I'd put forth I'm finding frustrating.
4. Definitely wouldn't be maintenance free or cheap exactly, but possibly much less regular maintenance I think then either doing a BB tank with daily water changes, or doing a planted tank with regular water changes as well. If I can build my own LED lighting, use Sun sun canisters, possibly pick up a used CO2 system on Ebay, and purchase my own trace elements and dry fertilizer in bulk then it's easy to save quite a bit compared to many comparable tank set-ups still. So I wouldn't intend to spend more money on this than need be if economies can be achieved in other ways.

IF, and that's a very big 'if' in my humble opinion now, growth inhibiting metabolic byproducts (or hormones) do exist, then that could be a tricky one IF carbon and other means aren't able to absorb them. I still haven't a clue as to whether I'd avoid carbon and zeolites, (as I'd certainly prefer to for other reasons), or whether it'd be better to use them or an ozonized protein skimmer just to try and play it safe just in case these phantom GIH's do happen to be for real. Throughout the threads it nevertheless seems to be nitrates and stress that are the greatest growth inhibiting factors. I would have thought that a large densely planted tank with plenty of shade and shelter and little disturbance from constant water changes and siphoning might very well benefit the stress levels of discus considerably.

And I really don't think a planted tank is for most people as much work as people here are making it out to be. You can carefully give the plants a big boost at the start with heavy lighting, fertilizing, and CO2, and then can dial each of those back once you achieve the plant cover you want in order to slow growth. Then that much trimming and testing isn't required once the system is established and once you've determined a stable weekly dosing routine. Plants tell you too in certain ways as well if they're unhappy or missing certain trace elements. (I'd probably keep up the lighting still, but introduce floating plant cover to be harvested on occasion and in order to filter the tank's lighting levels. It's not as if it's delicate soft corals in a reef tank that I'd be keeping here, and many plants are quite hardy. If at worst they don't grow that much more then that's not necessarily a problem. I wouldn't be quite as confident though of achieving good plant growth and tank stability if I didn't have the options of using technology such as a digital PH controller with a CO2 system, and then buffering against that with slowly dissolving crushed coral. Even if trace elements are slightly off one way or another then that's really not a big deal. Overdosing trace elements has been proven to not cause algae, and if they're lacking then you'll observe some signs in your plants such as yellowing in the leaves. Even in the absence of testing for them you could dose on a trial-and-error basis, and then throw some carbon in the sump once a month to reset the baselines and prevent excessive accumulation. The one thing I would perhaps need to control for is phosphates, in case my plants cannot keep up with the phosphates introduced through heavy feeding. If that was the case then I'd see excess algae, but phosphates can be controlled with phosphate absorber in the filter and/or increasing the growth rate of the surface plants to be harvested.

So far as I'm aware at this stage, if the plants are successfully out-competing the biological filter for any available ammonia produced by the fish and by heavy feeding, then they should have enough organic carbon and be able to thrive just fine even if nitrate levels are at zero. I would want healthy discus of course, so I'd carefully monitor nitrates with or without plants or a nitrate filter. And I certainly wouldn't be making my discus suffer just to make a point! If nitrate levels did begin to escalate too much for optimal discus health then I certainly could do water changes at that point as necessary, as well as adding another nitrate filter if need be. Perhaps it's even possible with adequate planting and appropriately sized filtration to achieve better water quality and lower nitrate levels than the people who are doing water changes each day, I guess in the absence of anyone having tried it it yet remains to be seen, doesn't it?

And Wayne, forget about cleaning the filter medium to remove organic material before it turns to ammonia. Converting organic material into ammonia and the rest of the way down through the nitrogen cycle until it's harmless nitrogen gas is actually supposed to be the job of a good biofilter, as long as the size of it is up to the task. A Co2 drop checker easily monitors levels for months before you need to refresh the indicator solution, and the same goes for a digital Ph controller.

The underlying point is that I just don't wish to unnecessarily devote my free time to maintenance such as water changes if there is a better way of doing it. And I just hope the level of detail required to discuss these matters in-depth hasn't caused too many people to glaze over!

Rex, try looking up Biosphere 2, or the International Space Station, or Planet Earth for that matter even. Those are all examples of closed systems with recycled water and nutrients. Or maybe you'd be better off not reading about exactly where the water you're drinking has been over the past few million years...

dbfzurowski
12-31-2010, 07:04 PM
The organic build up in the tank will lower your ph. I have experienced this when i didnt change any water in my discus tank for over 5 weeks. Nitrate and other stuff was good just the ph dropped by about .8.

Mxx
12-31-2010, 07:41 PM
The organic build up in the tank will lower your ph. I have experienced this when i didnt change any water in my discus tank for over 5 weeks. Nitrate and other stuff was good just the ph dropped by about .8.

That is correct. The plants and organic activity will in time deplete the KH, while the organic acids such carbonic acid will build up. But fortunately that one is an easy fix, for as I'd explained elsewhere in this thread, you can include a bit of crushed coral in your filter of sump just to buffer it slightly but not to bring the Ph above the desired range. And the coral will dissolve at an increasing rates depending upon acidity. It would take a bit of trial and error to achieve the right amount of coral to use, that is unless you have a digital Ph controller with a Co2 dosing solenoid plugged into it, in which case you a have a bit more tolerance.
at varying rates depending upon acidity.

In regards to the previous comment, I suppose that to be able to draw any real and helpful conclusions from doing this I'd actually need to start with no more than mid-size juveniles such as the ones my local breeder markets at 3-3.5" if I'm to find anything out about their growth rates in the absence of WC's. However, as this would actually be my first time keeping discus, there are other factors that would complicate the picture, such as my own ability and availability in ensuring they get all the proper food they require in the right amounts and at the right timing for optimal growth, so perhaps my own experience wouldn't prove to be the last word on the topic.

Frankr409
12-31-2010, 08:39 PM
Dear Mxx,

I for one am interested in your progress, and am sorry for those who have not wished you well. That problem will continue here, sadly. I do a 40% trickle change per day to avoid the water shock you mentioned. Like you I suspect that some of these folks are one bad water change away from a calamity, but we will likely not read about that.

Keep us posted, I suspect there is much that can be learned from your trials, good or bad.

Eddie
12-31-2010, 09:12 PM
Hey Eddie, look if you're a guru on this then don't be cryptic and just answer the guy's question! If nitrates aren't the major concern then what is it? And if you and others don't know either then shouldn't everyone be trying to help him figure out what does affect all our fish and their growth?

Being a newbie here the bitter sarcasm of so many is kinda a shock! This a group of happy fish people trying to help educate each other or somekinda cult???

From a fresh point of view the question this guy asked seems much more carefully thought through scientifically than what all the rest of us are actually doing. He also said its not a new idea or his own idea, but it doesn't seem anyone here has actually tried it to the extent he suggests, so who knows if it would work perfectly? Seems that from reading this thread nobody here seems to really know. It's not proven like the usual way, but it seems a lot easier and potentially more attractive a display tank if the plants take off and even if he ends up doing water changes just once or twice a year. But never might still be a stretch. Even if not a new idea it still seems to make it a novel attempt. Maybe we should all look more at what we are practicing and why. What did Socrates have to say about the life unexamined?

With large canister filters or self made bio or trickle filters available cheap maybe I should even try to do plants and megafiltering to see if that reduces my need for water changes. For rooted plants I'd have to either have them in pots which can be moved and gravel-vacd around, or replace my gravel and reverse flow undergravel system with something for plants. Or I could just pimp my lighting and go with some of the floating plants which can use Co2 from the air. I still wouldn't know what I'd need to test for though if not NO3, so hey MXX, if you find out anything else in your studying then make sure to tell us!


There is plenty of information on here that goes back almost a decade ago. Topics have been recycled and recycled and recycled hundreds of times, to include this one. Seems some folks need to do more reading.

C3H6O3
01-01-2011, 02:56 AM
There is plenty of information on here that goes back almost a decade ago. Topics have been recycled and recycled and recycled hundreds of times, to include this one. Seems some folks need to do more reading.

Eddie,

Well put. It seems like some people always try to reinvent the wheel!!

:-)

H

waj8
01-01-2011, 09:17 AM
The reason I mentioned Ammonia and cleaning the filter is not for the sake of the fish but to avoid algae. Algae uptakes Ammonia very quickly. Nitrifying bacteria will get their share but so will the algae. In a dirty environment such as you propose you are favoring the growth of algae. The algae will actually benefit the fish by removing Ammonia but the tank will not look good. Your plants will end up smothered in algae and won't do the water cleaning job you want. I once saw a tank that contained a giant Gourami. The owner fed it chunks of meat and never changed the water. The water was pea soup green. The fish was alive only because of the high level of algae. That's probably what your tank would look like after a while. Don't know so much about Discus but I am pretty sure that dirty water is not good for them. Anyway, I cannot like the others wish you the best. You are proposing to torture some fish. I don't like it.

Mxx
01-01-2011, 12:16 PM
The reason I mentioned Ammonia and cleaning the filter is not for the sake of the fish but to avoid algae. Algae uptakes Ammonia very quickly. Nitrifying bacteria will get their share but so will the algae. In a dirty environment such as you propose you are favoring the growth of algae. The algae will actually benefit the fish by removing Ammonia but the tank will not look good. Your plants will end up smothered in algae and won't do the water cleaning job you want. I once saw a tank that contained a giant Gourami. The owner fed it chunks of meat and never changed the water. The water was pea soup green. The fish was alive only because of the high level of algae. That's probably what your tank would look like after a while. Don't know so much about Discus but I am pretty sure that dirty water is not good for them. Anyway, I cannot like the others wish you the best. You are proposing to torture some fish. I don't like it.

Now a no-water-change tank which obviously doesn't even have adequate mechanical filtration to remove water-borne algae is not exactly a very good or relative example, is it? And especially with no specs of that tanks bio-filtration and no plants.

The hard-core plant guys maintain that in a balanced planted tank healthy plants will be able to out-compete the algae for ammonia, nitrates, and phosphates, and therefore there will be little algae. This is my experience so far with my pilot tank, although that's not a perfect model of this either as in the absence of an adequate Co2 system at the moment I'm still dosing with Seachem Flourish which does help to suppress algae. Low phosphates are usually what you want to depend upon as the limiting factor for preventing algae growth though. And the secondary means for dealing with ammonia and nitrates would of course be a generously sized bio-filter.

I am actually concerned that if I end up providing TOO much bio-filtration it could potentially out-compete the plants for ammonia/nitrite/nitrate, and then I'd find myself with the hassle of having to dose nitrates instead, thus ending up with low-level daily/weekly nitrate spikes instead of fine-tuned stability. That's one thing that will need to be monitored and monkeyed with until a balance is achieved and the plants are showing at least slow growth, but a decent balance is achievable there.

2wheelsx2
01-01-2011, 12:41 PM
You are correct. Higher plants and algae alike can utilize ammonia preferentially for energy in presence of light. So there is no reason ammonia will trigger algae any more than with nitrates. That's the basis for skipping the cycling process in a planted tank, to stuff it full of fast growing plants in the initial stage to uptake the ammonia.

waj8
01-01-2011, 01:16 PM
If you want to create an algae bloom then just put some Ammonia in your planted tank and provide some light. Actually just about any form of sewage will do the trick. Which is exactly what you will be doing with your project. Try reading the UKAPS website or The Barr Report or some sort of source such as that.

pcsb23
01-01-2011, 02:14 PM
For whatever it's worth I think this is Tito posting...

Nope, it isn't, unless he has moved to the UK or is bouncing his posts via BT ADSL ;)


Oh, and the latent xenophobia/racism against non-Americans here as well, a lovely home for internet trolls here it seems, we're all very proud. And although it's altogther irrelevant I'm actually American, thanks. Ease up my friend, no need to get aggressive or start with any insults. And for the record I am English.

As for your project, good luck.

Frankr409
01-01-2011, 02:18 PM
If you want to create an algae bloom then just put some Ammonia in your planted tank and provide some light. Actually just about any form of sewage will do the trick. Which is exactly what you will be doing with your project. Try reading the UKAPS website or The Barr Report or some sort of source such as that.

Not to deviate from the thread, but I love your website, Wayne. I learned quite a bit from reading there.

DerekFF
01-02-2011, 01:51 AM
Paul your English!!!??? minus points! jk As i posted somehow twice before on accident (iphone lag) i have seen a system very close to your description, and it hasnt worked without modifications. Water changes needed maybe once a month in the 50% range to help with nitrates, detrious, poo particles and the such its just a basic necessity of aquariums, especially with larger fish such as discus, who can lay some really big ones down! Most of the fish as i stated before didnt live that long most in the 2-5 year range. IMO its doable, not optimal, which most of us here aim for as we feel our fish deserve the best and healthiest life we can provide them. Im no scientist, i dont know a whole lot about GIH and i know the basics of nitrates, but ive got a tank full of juvies, who due to my work sched sometimes go 2-3 days without a water change and id have to say could be larger and more vibrant if I could give them the cleanest water that they deserve. Anyways, best of luck, this is my last post here as you seem to have brought some fans from another website perhaps and its turning into a bickerfest, but figured id just throw out my experience as a parting post. Good luck if you try it, its gonna need some sort or water change system/detrious/poo removal system (koralia possible but unsure of the tank size its a long ways back to 1st post)-Derek

Arjunpun
01-02-2011, 06:20 AM
after reading some of the thoughtful post.i noticed some of the new member who joined on 2010 are in favor of raising discus without water change.well i raised angel without waterchange but with discus its impossible period.if this wise guy can have a healthy colorful discus without water change.plz post that document here.

Mxx
01-02-2011, 05:42 PM
after reading some of the thoughtful post.i noticed some of the new member who joined on 2010 are in favor of raising discus without water change.well i raised angel without waterchange but with discus its impossible period.if this wise guy can have a healthy colorful discus without water change.plz post that document here.

Well you know, it's probably just those crazy young people with their radical ideas trying to topple the establishment once again!... ;)

I'm speaking personally now as it sounded as if everyone else has already been keeping Discus for some time, but yes I would be a novice with them. Thus I'm trying to analyse every parameter of their rearing before getting my feet wet, but was finding a few things in the Discus guides which didn't always seem to add up scientifically in my own mind, so I'm trying to sort out hearsay from fact.

A decade or so back I used to keep a few aquariums and breed South American Cichlids. And now that I've finally settled into a new house for a while, I'm getting back into the hobby and had always wanted to try Discus.

The hobby seems to have progressed considerably in certain directions meanwhile, including a great interest in the Takashi Amano inpired planted tanks, to the extent that many aquarists are focusing more upon their plants with the fish being but a secondary concern. I've been perusing through the forums and experience of aquarists on the Planted Tank.net website as well, where many of them are quite into working with the natural ecology of their tanks, with many having lovely tanks and reporting great success with no water changes for years, often-times with little filtration but low stocking densities.

And thanks for sharing your experience. Can you tell me what sort of set-up you had used to raise Angelfish in this manner, including some detail of your planting and filtration? And what is it about Discus in your view that makes them so different than Angelfish, to the extent that it works fine with Angels but is simply impossible with Discus? Is it their sensitivity to nitrates combined with their picky eating habits? For it's not as if nitrates are impossible in any case to control.

P.S. Thanks to the administrator for clearing that up for all of us. And I'm delighted to find out that I'm not this Tito character, for surely he must be quite a villainous scamp if the Administrator is spending time trying to track down his whereabouts! The internal politics of the matter here almost make me want to go and search for his provocations, almost.

Mxx
01-02-2011, 05:54 PM
Paul your English!!!??? minus points! jk As i posted somehow twice before on accident (iphone lag) i have seen a system very close to your description, and it hasnt worked without modifications. Water changes needed maybe once a month in the 50% range to help with nitrates, detrious, poo particles and the such its just a basic necessity of aquariums, especially with larger fish such as discus, who can lay some really big ones down! Most of the fish as i stated before didnt live that long most in the 2-5 year range. IMO its doable, not optimal, which most of us here aim for as we feel our fish deserve the best and healthiest life we can provide them. Im no scientist, i dont know a whole lot about GIH and i know the basics of nitrates, but ive got a tank full of juvies, who due to my work sched sometimes go 2-3 days without a water change and id have to say could be larger and more vibrant if I could give them the cleanest water that they deserve. Anyways, best of luck, this is my last post here as you seem to have brought some fans from another website perhaps and its turning into a bickerfest, but figured id just throw out my experience as a parting post. Good luck if you try it, its gonna need some sort or water change system/detrious/poo removal system (koralia possible but unsure of the tank size its a long ways back to 1st post)-Derek

Hi Derek, disappointing to hear this being your last post on this thread as further information in regards to the aforementioned system would surely have been helpful if you had it, including biological filtration volume versus tank volume, and typical water quality parameters including nitrates. Without this sort of information it doesn't quite provide a very complete picture to draw conclusions from. After hearing views here I'm now definitely leaning towards some sort of a flushing system activated by a submersed booster pump to help keep up the appearance of the proposed display tank.

Mxx
01-02-2011, 09:17 PM
And thanks everyone for airing your views on this query, as well as your commitment and passion for the subject. Several had suggested they had or had seen examples where this didn't work or where discus did not attain their maximum size, but regrettably had never supplied additional information as to what the set-up's specs and water parameters had been. Unfortunately, in the absence of being able to determine whether any of those were actually comparable to what I'm proposing, I still feel as if I'm striking out alone if I'm to attempt this. And I can understand how this might sound ridiculous to those of you that have been working according to very different of practices, and why you would be adamant in defending that.

As suggested, there is a lot more reading on this site that I can do, as well as on other Planted Tank sites which address the ecology of such set-ups more specifically. To reframe the proposal put forth for discussionl, I'm going to refer to the from now as the Organic Water Recycling Rearing Hypothesis, which is more apt and accurate a title than Too Lazy and Careless about my Fish to Lift a Finger.

And there remain many questions still to try and pin down. On the absence of any conclusive evidence for the Growth Inhibiting Hormones hypothesis, I'm going to have to personally come down on the side of being a sceptic and not focus upon trying by random methods to treat something which we can't seem to prove even exists. So I will probably pass on the use of an ozonised protein skimmer and will plan to use carbon only infrequently.

Accordingly, and in the absence of specific advice or literature to the contrary thus far, it's going to be Ammonia, Nitrites, and Nitrates that I'm going to worry about as potential growth-inhibiting-factors in the water. And I want the filtration system to be able to completely handle all of the waste produced. It remains to be determined through further research what bio-filter volume would therefore be required. Currently I've proposed having 10 gallons of foam/nylon pot scrubbers (inexpensive at wholesale and tested to have higher surface area and better flow characteristics than anything else), which with the filter would total about $200. If I need greater bio-filtration than that, then I could increase that by four or eight times with a DIY plastic garbage bin or sump tank filter in the stand. Other very effective alternatives are a wet-dry sump or even fluidized sand bed. (The lone suggestion here has been that I'd have to have a filter the size of a swimming pool). And an extra large Aquaripure Denitrator Filter rated for a 500 gallon tank, and a bag of sugar to run it would total $370. I will have to read around to see if anyone is using a denitrator filter with their discus and how that had worked for them. 1000 GPH of filtration on a 200 gallon tank is considered within the optimal range for a planted tank, although I could double that still and be within the recommended range, but I'd need to review what current is best for discus and likely fine-tune such a set-up through observation fo how well I could get a 'vortex' flow going in the tank.

The dense live planting should of course be able to handle a substantial amount of ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, and other organic compounds as well, but I'm not at all sure what volume of plant matter would actually be required to keep up with a moderate discus bio-load, so I certainly don't wish to rely on that alone. I remain concerned though if the plants and the filter are competing against one another to the detriment of the plants, although that comes secondary to the water quality for the fish so as long as the plants are doing okay I'm not so bothered. The plants will still require a balancing act of trace elements, CO2 and light, but that's not as difficult as it sounds. But as I'd said, many plant enthusiasts report great success with no-water-change tanks.

Aesthetically, and apart from water quality, many of you have suggested that my tank will look like, to use a universal example, 'Nemo's tank' when the filter broke, and will be smothered in algae.. From my own experience and research thus far, that should not be the case as long as the ammonia-nitrates and phosphates are under control and the plants are healthy. The other concern would be that the tank will become flooded with mulm. If this is the case to an unattractive extent, and my planned flushing pump doesn't manage to flush it into the sump for a flter intake sponge to pick up, then I would have to do something along the line of attaching a gravel vac to the filter intake and getting it from the tank into the filter at least. It'll be sitting in the middle of my living room so I'll certainly have to try and make sure it's balanced and maintained well enough to look very good.

In any case, I can assure you that I would be taking utmost care not to "torture" any Discus. And if for example the Nitrates do climb above a predetermined point, say 10 ppm, then I can still do a water change, add filtration, or reduce my bio-load with some culls as the Discus grow. (Though I hate the use of the term 'cull' as that's not quite what it is!

But as long as the parameters stay within healthy bounds I'll try and not throw out any perfectly good water which should be able to be reused indefinitely. And even water-change Python's are incredibly wasteful as well if you can't siphon by gravity instead. Considering how much water I found out that RO units waste, I'm probably against their use now as well. In any case, from the plant forums, they suggest that topping off with RO water is unnecessary, (though carbon prefiltration is nevertheless advised), as the plants actually benefit from the additional minerals which you otherwise need to dose for and soften the water themselves.

And when I do undertake this project, I will make sure to provide an honest and thorough account of what happened. For it it works then I'd be happy to share an alternative approach, but if not then surely I wouldn't want anyone else to try this. Nevertheless, I can't say that one test case would alone be able to provide a thorough and certain test of this hypothesis. If it works perfectly and the discus attain full size and remain healthy then I guess it shows that it does work, but there are many other things that can take place in any tank that might negate this as an accurate assessment.

Mxx
01-02-2011, 09:36 PM
If you want to create an algae bloom then just put some Ammonia in your planted tank and provide some light. Actually just about any form of sewage will do the trick. Which is exactly what you will be doing with your project. Try reading the UKAPS website or The Barr Report or some sort of source such as that.

Thanks for the UKAPS website, which I hadn't seen before. Quite good information there, as well as on your own one. Further reading of the Barr Report is on my reading list, but I'd been focusing upon some of the fundamentals more before I get into his level of detail. He's certainly done some good work, but much of it is more focused upon a simple planted-tank approach while I guess I may be looking at more of a fish and filtration intensive hybrid than that.

2wheelsx2
01-02-2011, 09:44 PM
You should have a look at this setup of Tom's then. It's 40 pages of posts, but this 180 gallon has around 400 fish in it (although 300+ are Cardinal Tetras), so the bioload is not low. However, Tom (That's Tom Barr of the Barr Report) does do 80% changes once a week.

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/tank-journals-photo-album/59705-toms-180-wood-scaping.html

goodoo
01-02-2011, 10:04 PM
Quote "I'm just looking to be able to achieve a beautiful natural tank with beautiful fish which I can enjoy without excessive hassle,"

Not possible with Discus. Discus are a hassle like it or not.

DerekFF
01-02-2011, 11:29 PM
Hi Derek, disappointing to hear this being your last post on this thread as further information in regards to the aforementioned system would surely have been helpful if you had it, including biological filtration volume versus tank volume, and typical water quality parameters including nitrates. Without this sort of information it doesn't quite provide a very complete picture to draw conclusions from. After hearing views here I'm now definitely leaning towards some sort of a flushing system activated by a submersed booster pump to help keep up the appearance of the proposed display tank.

Well thinking about it, its been about 8 years since this venture for him so the technology and information out now has advanced much since then, but heres a quick run down.
150g tank
Filtration-2xcorner overflows 1-leads to a Rena XP4 and the other to a custom made 40g sump with 3 levels of filter pads+bio ball section. I think the Rena XP4 filters 450gph and the custom sump flows 900gph. Heaters are in the sump.

Lights-2x36" T8's :-( I dont think T5's were around then, so running the planted tank off lights 30" off the tank floor putting out what T8's do isnt what we have nowadays.

CO2- He did have some CO2 system running, not sure how he did that part, as at the time it was above my understanding of aquariums, he did however say that he had an issue when it came time to do a water change with the PH shift of incoming new water to the much lower ph of the tank water. He had to place to store water either for aging, so again, not a perfect set up. Not sure if he did ferts or not.

Water params- tank water was usually around 6.5 and his tap was 7.6-7.8 Nitrates were usually low to nil as the plants and overkill bio filtration helped keep it down, also he only had a moderate stocking level. (sorry no exact numbers, just going off what he told me and what i saw)

Heaters- 2x400w heaters placed in the sump. He went a little oversized because the tank was in the basement/workshop and it didnt have a heater down there (Maryland so it gets cold)

Plants- I have no clue what he had initially. The tanks planted system was given up on years before i had seen it (lighting/water ph/overall issues as a whole tank) When i saw it all he had were some plants that didnt have a high light requirement. He has updated to T5's but doesnt want to try the heavy planted tank again. Some driftwood with various mosses and a few swords that got large enough over time to grow to the top and get great light now, so they are doing well.

Stocking-Over the 8-10 years hes had this tank running hes gone through maybe 20-25 discus. Hes down to 5 from a full stocked 10. Always bought adults though. He does 1 feeding a day of various foods. He also has 20-30 neons, 5 clown loaches, 2 big plecos, 3-4 german blue rams, and 6-10 other tetras that i cant remember the name of, but they were small also (glowlights? head tail lights?)

Original idea-very near yours, no water changes, RO/Tap water mix 50:50+RO top offs, heavy plants for a nice amazon look. Also the reason for the overfiltration was the idea of no water changes.

Outcome-Water changes with bottom suction to get all the dead plant matter/poo chunks that were to big to be blows around by basic water movement (discus/pleco poo) WC's were done in the 20-50% range depending on how long he went between cleaning/WC's. The water change amount wasnt so much just for the water swap, just thats how long it took him to get the gravel all clean. Usually did cleanings/WC's at 3-4 weeks.

Thats about all i can recall. Any questions ill try and give you what i know. Again this is my gf's dads tank and i only know what he told me and what ive seen of the tank, so all the little ins and outs i may not have the inside on for you.

Mxx
01-03-2011, 07:57 AM
Well thinking about it, -.

Derek, very helpful information, thanks. That's quite a high stocking load for a 150, with 70 inches of Discus, and about 120 inches of other fish. And interesting thus if he was able to maintain low or nil nitrates purely through planting. Did you guys happen to have any theories as to what the problem was though, which might have been causing the Discus to succumb eventually? Or did the gradual acidification build up over time to cause a crash if it wasn't buffered against? I realize you may not have these answers yourself as it wasn't your tank and was a while ago, but I'm putting them out there as an open question. And is there something in our aquarium chemistry that none of us currently understand I wonder??

The water change/PH would certainly be a concern for me if I was trying to add my 8.2 tap water directly to the tank through a Python without reconstituting and testing it in a big Rubbermaid trash can to match.

Mxx
01-03-2011, 08:06 AM
Quote "I'm just looking to be able to achieve a beautiful natural tank with beautiful fish which I can enjoy without excessive hassle,"

Not possible with Discus. Discus are a hassle like it or not.

I expect they are a hassle, but the key word there in my statement is "excessive".

So perhaps it's necessary to reinvent the wheel from time to time. Not as if we're driving around with original Flintstone type wheels chipped out of granite, now is it? ;)

Mxx
01-03-2011, 08:36 AM
You should have a look at this setup of Tom's then. It's 40 pages of posts, but this 180 gallon has around 400 fish in it (although 300+ are Cardinal Tetras), so the bioload is not low. However, Tom (That's Tom Barr of the Barr Report) does do 80% changes once a week.

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/tank-journals-photo-album/59705-toms-180-wood-scaping.html

That's quite an impressive display! I'd seen photos of one enormous display tank he did for a client as well. I can't really comment about his report and tanks until I get through a substantial amount of reading through it though. He had recently been posting in the Why Do Water Changes? thread on the Planted Tank site, stating that he does use and has mastered both the water change, and no water change methods. To quote him, "I think as a rule, the non CO2, no water change method is woefully under rated and appreciated.". As well as;

As far as finding the perfect research to specifically suit every possible scenario? Come on.......all it takes are few folks who are not doing the water changes in non CO2 system to disprove and really raise questions to the Fear and Worry crowd.

If you are unwilling to test, then you will not learn more about it.
Others will, then perhaps you will still doubt even with multiple lines of evidence showing a general trend otherwise?

All I have to do is to have a successful long term tank to falsify that.
For our purposes, if the fish grow and appear healthy compared to tanks where the water changes are done, and they breed etc, there's little left to really discuss, the proof is rather obvious at that point as far as aquarist are concerned.

Same could be said here for the problems incurred.
Still just takes a few examples to falsify a hypothesis. I think it's clear that has already been done.

Enough said.

Regards,
Tom Barr

I'm still wondering what members here believe is specific to Discus which would make this method not work with them despite that it's proven to work with other fish?? Still failing to fathom as well what mysteriously suspect kind of 'ether' could be in our old water which spoils it and makes it simply unsuitable for re-use? Apart from that, this forum is perhaps not the best place to answer the organic tank ecology questions definitively, as not many are reporting in detail experience in trying such a thing.

Mxx
01-03-2011, 09:18 AM
So last call, I return to work tomorrow. Does anyone have a water chemistry REASON to suggest why this can work fine with other fish but could not work with Discus?? Very helpful if you can provide that, but by this point I suspect not.

Skip
01-03-2011, 10:54 AM
so when are you starting.. ?

Mxx
01-03-2011, 11:03 AM
so when are you starting.. ?

Following completion of the house remodel as mentioned, just got planning permission at appeal for that. So should be sometime later in the year which still gives me some time to plan and research it properly.

If anyone else happens to decide to try additional bio-filtration including a denitrator, or anything else I've mentioned here meanwhile then please do let me know though if you feel that keeps your water quality and nitrates under proper control!

DerekFF
01-03-2011, 12:50 PM
Derek, very helpful information, thanks. That's quite a high stocking load for a 150, with 70 inches of Discus, and about 120 inches of other fish. And interesting thus if he was able to maintain low or nil nitrates purely through planting.

The water change/PH would certainly be a concern for me if I was trying to add my 8.2 tap water directly to the tank through a Python without reconstituting and testing it in a big Rubbermaid trash can to match.

It wasnt through just planting, he has a big FX4 and custom 40g sump+plants made for the low nitrate readings and was flowing 9x the volume of the tank an hour through filtration. As for stocking thats pretty average id say for a planted. Most here use the 1/10g rule wth discus, so having anywhere from 5-10 isnt anywhere close to the max rule that we use +other random fish stock. I think in the end his lack of ability to maintain a same level PH during water changes, lack there of water changes and maybe a failed planted system were culprits to a low life range on fish? Seeing as how the PH fluctuated a lot during WC's, nitrates might have been spiking as plants and poo built up towards the end of a month when it was due for a WC and also as a result could have been acidifying the water. Not sure about nitrate spike, but thats what i could come up with and could make sense as well as water acidification.

brewmaster15
01-03-2011, 03:02 PM
Mxx,
I've read thru this thread and would like to offer you some advice, take it or leave it...is fine by me.:) You came to a Discus Forum where people specialize on keeping discus...Actually you came to one of the Best Discus forums out there, in my biased opinion.;) Many that have commented here have decades of EXPERIENCE. We don't all keep them the same way....and our approaches to keeping them vary considerably....The methods used and promoted by these individuals work and quite frankly been used by many novices to their great success. Thats not to say there are not other ways to keep them successfully....I'm sure there are...and experiments are a great way to learn more ways...thats not to say that when you experiment you ignore what works...actually its usually your starting point and control in an experiment.

When someone comes here asking for input and advice on keeping Discus..I tell them all the same thing, regardless of their fish keeping background...and its not to belittle them or promote Discus keeping dogma... Learn to crawl before you walk and learn to walk before you run. not very original I know...but its relevent to keeping Discus. You may read that discus are like any other fish....sadly that comment has usually been written by someone that has little or no experience at actually keeping them...NO fish species is like any other fish species entirely....and to keep them successfully you must provide what they need to thrive....not just what they need to live often marginally. My advice to you is listen to the experiences of Hobbyists that have walked the walk...Get yourself a tank of discus and try keeping them by the ways proven to work.....and then experiment on variations of those ways.. Keeping discus has a learning curve to it....its best to learn in a tank that has no substrate and is easy to deal with when there is an issue.

Can't tell you how many times I have read that someone has had such great success keeping discus in a heavily planted tank....only to find out their success has spanned a few months and was based on stocking with large adult discus, or that the pictures of the tank show a wonderful planted tank with discus that are runted, stunted and definetly not developed to their full potential. While I think thats all well and good if the owner of those fish is happy...that does not necessarily mean the methods used to achieve that "happiness" something others should follow if their concept of Discus keeping is different.

I've a really good friend out here in CT...Steve Colley, member ID "scolley" thats built an amazing complex planted discus tank...I've seen it in person.. You may want to read his posts...profile here...http://forum.simplydiscus.com/member.php?12239-scolley..I know this tank cost him a pretty penny...and it wasn't zero water changes ...but his system worked...maybe you can learn something from his adventures. He is also at plantedtank.net

What ever you do with your planted tank adventure..I strongly suggest you try raising discus solo first....you may better understand this thread once keeping discus goes from a hypothetical scenario to a reality. Its been my experience that most start this hobby with some misconceptions about discus. Theres no substitute for experience....even with all the great resources the web has to offer.


Best Regards and good luck, Hope to see your progress documented here at Simply.
Al
-just someone thats kept a few Discus.

Mxx
01-03-2011, 07:12 PM
Thanks Al, very good advice there and I'll re-evaluate my examination of these matters carefully and have the time still to do so. Whether I proceed sans substrate or not, I nevertheless do feel I need to get to the bottom of the science behind our practices, at least in order to design the tank set-up for the optimal health of my future Discus. I was hoping some here might be able to provide me with the definitive scientific answers to that, but unfortunately that has not seemed to precisely have been the case, although I did receive quite a decent amount of practical advice and things to consider. I suppose that I must chalk it down to perhaps nobody does know why exactly it works, despite that it might happen to work to change water. And perhaps more complete answers are still to be found elsewhere still. And I'll be happy to read Steve's posts if he has a good set-up to learn from.
All the best

Eddie
01-03-2011, 07:24 PM
So last call, I return to work tomorrow. Does anyone have a water chemistry REASON to suggest why this can work fine with other fish but could not work with Discus?? Very helpful if you can provide that, but by this point I suspect not.


Sure, as I mentioned 3 or 4 times, read about it. You got the books coming as you already stated and there is a ton of information on here. Success with discus is done in more ways than one. ;)

Mxx
01-03-2011, 07:35 PM
It wasnt through just planting, he has a big FX4 and custom 40g sump+plants made for the low nitrate readings and was flowing 9x the volume of the tank an hour through filtration. As for stocking thats pretty average id say for a planted. Most here use the 1/10g rule wth discus, so having anywhere from 5-10 isnt anywhere close to the max rule that we use +other random fish stock. I think in the end his lack of ability to maintain a same level PH during water changes, lack there of water changes and maybe a failed planted system were culprits to a low life range on fish? Seeing as how the PH fluctuated a lot during WC's, nitrates might have been spiking as plants and poo built up towards the end of a month when it was due for a WC and also as a result could have been acidifying the water. Not sure about nitrate spike, but thats what i could come up with and could make sense as well as water acidification.

Tricky one that. Without the addition of a denitrification filter or denitrification medium such as Seachem de nitrate or Matrix (among others) even a 40 gallon bio-filter will likely do nothing to reduce nitrates. So if his plants hadn't actually been able to handle all the nitrates, (as you suggested might be the case) then I guess those would be accumulating and causing his tank problems before long. (Phosphates too are another matter necessary to consider). And the water changes themselves might have been part of the problem for his discus as well you say!? Gradual acidification will occur in any tank if it's not buffered against in some manner, be it through a calcium carbonate reactor, crushed coral, or water changes, and that will eventually hinder the bio-filter and plants too below a certain point. Aren't plecos, particularly large ones dangerous to Discus (with their tasty mucus) as well? Many other potential factors still that could affect things though, feeding, absence of necessary trace elements for Discus, etc. But do let us know if you happen to have the chance to ask him where his nitrate levels or even phosphates were when his plants were healthy if he happens to know, as that might help to answer one piece of this complex puzzle.

erikc
01-04-2011, 04:57 AM
Interesting .... didn't think discus lived in ponds. Must be a new variety, koi-discus ?

Mxx
01-04-2011, 10:40 AM
How much water are people using by the way through water changes? I'm figuring out that if I followed the recommendations here, and I was doing 50% daily water changes on a 300 gallon tank, sucking the water out with a Python (which uses perhaps uses tap water at 50% of the amount siphoned out to create the suction as a conservative estimate), used reconstituted RO water to refill (with RO units discharging 80% of their incoming water they use down the drain to produce the 20% RO water), then that is 5775 gallons per week, or 300,300 gallons per year. Ouch...seems a shocking waste! Are you guys actually doing this? That's 25 times the water usage of the average person here! I thought it's bad but didn't realize it might be quite that much.

Even if I didn't use RO water or a Python to suck it out then I'd still be using 54,750 gallons a year for my fish, which is as much water as five people use each day. And I'd still have very hard tank water with a Ph over 8...

pcsb23
01-04-2011, 11:10 AM
I don't think anyone is telling you to do 50% w/c per day. If you are planning on having a densely planted tank then you should consider stocking it at an appropriate level. In a 300 gallon (US or imperial?) tank then 15 or so adult discus would make quite a spectacle, allowing "room" for some suitable dither fish and clean up crew. I certainly would not go over 15 in this type of tank and probably go nearer 12, but at least there is some wriggle room.

Stocking with adult discus will overcome the real risk of stunting juvenile fish, which is easily done in planted or BB tanks. It will also allow you to feed at a level that won't risk polluting the water. Many people tend to overfeed juvenile discus to ensure they get enough food to grow as not everyone can feed little and often, but this has a consequence regarding water quality (one reason of many to change it). With adults as long as the fish retain their condition feeding can be done twice daily, though ime three times a day is better. Adults can sometimes take a while to adjust to a planted tank too, you have to remember that no matter the source discus do not come from environments with plants.

London water is hard and nasty on the whole so my advice would be to use RO and re-mineralise it. You can reduce the amount of waste water dramatically by using an RO system with multiple membranes and a pressure pump, with three membranes in series you can get close to 1:1 ratio - still means for each litre of product you throw a litre away but much better than throwing 4 for each 1 away.

When I had discus in planted tanks I did one or two water changes a week, changing between 30% and 50% a time. Again my stocking densities were low.

Skip
01-04-2011, 11:51 AM
Mxx.. people with tanks that large.. would use a Pump attached to a hose that goes in the tank and pumps out into predetermined area for the discharge water.. so that would eliminate a big part of your 825 gallons of water per day.. (using your numbers.. which seems a little off for doing 50% change (150 gallon) in the 300 Tank... lol..

dude you are THINKING WAY TOO HARD on this topic.. just use the "K.I.S.S. Method" and you will be just fine!.. that stands for KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID.. ;) this method works great :))))

pcsb23
01-04-2011, 12:38 PM
Mxx.. people with tanks that large.. would use a Pump attached to a hose that goes in the tank and pumps out into predetermined area for the discharge water.. so that would eliminate a big part of your 825 gallons of water per day.. (using your numbers.. which seems a little off for doing 50% change (150 gallon) in the 300 Tank... lol..

dude you are THINKING WAY TOO HARD on this topic.. just use the "K.I.S.S. Method" and you will be just fine!.. that stands for KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID.. ;) this method works great :))))I don't use a pump to drain, only to fill. I just use a long hose to drain.

As for his numbers being out, well they are not. He was calculating using RO water so for every gallon of ro water there would be 4 or so gallons waste water ...

Skip
01-04-2011, 12:55 PM
F'That Ro Stuff.. thats just nuts.. about 800 gallons used to change out 150.. crazy! : /

Mxx
01-04-2011, 01:07 PM
A 40% per week sounds a lot more reasonable of water usage, with a 1:1 wast to discharge RO unit that would equate to about 12,500 gallons a year, certainly less than 300,000 gallons! It made me wonder if people here were aware of how much water they were using though?... If it was to be anywhere 300,000 then Iíd probably have opted for a marine aquarium or other species that prefer hard water instead, as thatís just too much water for me to be conscientiously using. Do you personally use any particular water quality indicators such as nitrate accumulation to determine whether to change more or less water?

I've seen a lot of 3"-3.5" discus advertised from local breeders. I thought juveniles were typically considered to be about 2". Would 3-4" adolescents still have the same problems as juveniles in getting 'lost' and in feeding in a 200 or 300 gallon tank? I guess it felt somehow like I'd be cheating if I bought adults, and wasn't fully partaking in experiencing the hobby, so I'll have to see if I can overcome that. I could supplement feedings with pellets with an automatic feeder during the day as well if I were to start with medium sized discus.

I had previously considered incorporating around a 40 gallon filter sump in the stand which I could also use as a grow-out tank if I were to start with juveniles. The water would still be turning through an unstocked 300 gallon intensely planted tank which would then become part of the bio-filter itself. That would allow the juveniles to be concentrated and fed in a bare-bottom tank, while still conferring the benefits of plant filtration on water quality. Flow could always be diverted as need be to stay just in the sump tank, if need be for medicating. But Iíve veered away from that idea mostly due to impatience of getting things started and looking decent.

I actually thought that about 8 natural colour adult discus in a 300 gallon planted tank would look best, along with a shoal of Congo Tetras which have quite complementary colouring. Appropriately serene for discus, while neither too crowded nor too vacant. And initially Iíd been thinking of starting with about twice that many and then reducing numbers as they mature according to what looks and feels right, and with how water quality is working.

Iíll have to look up here what the best discus keeping books are though. I finished my first one last night and it was rather over-simplistic and out-dated rubbishÖ

And off the subject of this thread now, but Iím liking the look of Herbicideís spectacular 180 gallon certainly. Iíd been looking for a decent Amazonian type of background, and have found these two so far. http://www.notjustfish.com/amazona72x24.html and http://www.aquariums.ltd.uk/Accessory%20Buy.asp?ID=512&ProdGrp=37 But Iíd be limited to a 2 metre 200 gallon tank with them. Iím still debating between one of those and black backpainted back glass mounted with a plastic mesh to create a background entirely of Christmas moss instead.

Skip
01-04-2011, 01:21 PM
Mxx.. its not cheating to get adults.. you have been doing lots of calculating of expenses.. its is cheaper to get the largest fish you can.. since the runts and stunted ones are would have been culled already.. so they would do well your proposed system.. growing out fish is awhole another ball game from what you want.. plus.. it just takes too long to grow them out.. i bought 40 juvies.. in july.. 10 have died (smaller fish are more likely to die more easy).. 15 are 2.5"-3.5".. the other 15 are 2.25" or less.. down to 1".. those small ones were grown in the same tanks, same food, same feedings.. they are just slow growers or just stunted.. so now.. i have to get rid of them.. out of the 15 largest.. 3 for sure i will get rid.. it takes lots of Time, money and energy to grow them out.. (cheaper to go bigger).. i can understand, first hand, why the SD members advised me to get largest fish i could... but as my civil engineer fathers always says.. ANYBODY CAN BE A FLOOD EXPERT AFTER THE RAINS>> lol

pcsb23
01-04-2011, 01:23 PM
F'That Ro Stuff.. thats just nuts.. about 800 gallons used to change out 150.. crazy! : /Unfortunately some of us don't have the choice.!

@Mxx
I think you need to understand that growing out juvenile discus, even sub adult discus, in a planted tank is far more challenging than growing them out in a BB tank. Even experienced hobbyists will struggle to get the best or optimal growth from them. This isn't some myth either, I have done this with varying degrees of success. You are also looking at having a planted tank, which in it's own right is challenging and I am safe in saying the majority of hobbyists are less than successful with them. I'm not knocking those that try, if we didn't where would we be? To take on both is really asking for trouble. Discus that are not stunted up to around 4.5" SL I consider as subadult, under 3.5" SL are juvenile. Look, even growing these out in a BB tank isn't easy.

It is not natural for discus to be in a planted tank. In the rivers and lakes where they come from there are no plants as such, mainly being sandy bottom and root structures. From breeders both European and Asian and American, virtually all are BB.

And a word on local breeders, be very careful, lots of dodgy ones around London. You are much better going to someone like David Lai (Asian discus) or Mark Evenden (Stendker discus) if you wish to visit, if not there are some good suppliers that will ship.

As for the backgrounds, well I am talking to Sue at Aquariums Ltd re a tank for myself, it will be bigger than 200 Gallons and may yet use the background you specify, Sue will make the tank to any size (just about).

Skip
01-04-2011, 01:46 PM
Unfortunately some of us don't have the choice.!

WHOA!~

Mxx
01-04-2011, 02:45 PM
Mxx.. people with tanks that large.. would use a Pump attached to a hose that goes in the tank and pumps out into predetermined area for the discharge water.. so that would eliminate a big part of your 825 gallons of water per day.. (using your numbers.. which seems a little off for doing 50% change (150 gallon) in the 300 Tank... lol..

dude you are THINKING WAY TOO HARD on this topic.. just use the "K.I.S.S. Method" and you will be just fine!.. that stands for KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID.. ;) this method works great :))))

Should thinking and reading detailed analysis here be not your thing then perhaps researching Animal close up with a wide angle lens on Youtube would be more befitting. Some of us however enjoy scientific analysis and intellectual rigour in our pursuits. Suppose I could otherwise get some gold fish and just stick them in a bowl, eh? ;)

Skip
01-04-2011, 03:24 PM
Should thinking and reading detailed analysis here be not your thing then perhaps researching Animal close up with a wide angle lens on Youtube would be more befitting. Some of us however enjoy scientific analysis and intellectual rigour in our pursuits. Suppose I could otherwise get some gold fish and just stick them in a bowl, eh? ;)

Better yet, how about Bettas!!?! i should have stuck to those little buggers! ps.. do like your timeline and quest for knowledge in your pursuit.. you have WAY MORE patience then i did.. 6 months ago.. Derek wanted to "Strangle" me to slow down LOL!!!!!!!!!!!

Mxx
01-04-2011, 04:31 PM
Unfortunately some of us don't have the choice.!

@Mxx
I think you need to understand that growing out juvenile discus, even sub adult discus, in a planted tank is far more challenging than growing them out in a BB tank. Even experienced hobbyists will struggle to get the best or optimal growth from them. This isn't some myth either, I have done this with varying degrees of success. You are also looking at having a planted tank, which in it's own right is challenging and I am safe in saying the majority of hobbyists are less than successful with them. I'm not knocking those that try, if we didn't where would we be? To take on both is really asking for trouble. Discus that are not stunted up to around 4.5" SL I consider as subadult, under 3.5" SL are juvenile. Look, even growing these out in a BB tank isn't easy.

It is not natural for discus to be in a planted tank. In the rivers and lakes where they come from there are no plants as such, mainly being sandy bottom and root structures. From breeders both European and Asian and American, virtually all are BB.

And a word on local breeders, be very careful, lots of dodgy ones around London. You are much better going to someone like or Mark Evenden (Stendker discus) if you wish to visit, if not there are some good suppliers that will ship.

As for the backgrounds, well I am talking to Sue at Aquariums Ltd re a tank for myself, it will be bigger than 200 Gallons and may yet use the background you specify, Sue will make the tank to any size (just about).

I appreciate that they would have been reared in bare tanks, but I thought they might nevertheless feel more confident and outgoing if they do have a fair amount of shelter available in case of 'danger' regardless of whether that is plants in an aquarium or trees and tree roots in rivers and in flooded forests. And especially so if usual household activity is happening in the same room, for which a deep and wide aquarium may help as well.

Did Sue's prices just go up by about 30% though? From what I'd copied down a month or two ago it appears to be the case. I was looking at their 27" high, 30" wide, and either 78" or 108" long tanks. I'd have liked a taller tank but don't want to have to don a snorkel to take care of aquascaping...

Mark's discus at Devotedly Discus were the ones I had been most interested in. I'm just not crazy in the least with all the different strains though, and usually prefer a relatively natural strain looking strain. I'm not seeing a whole lot of those being advertised though. His website isn't the most comprehensive, but it looked as if he had one or two strains that I quite liked.

pcsb23
01-04-2011, 04:54 PM
There is a saying with discus that goes something like this - "Give them something to hide behind and they will hide!" The saying is based in general on truth too. It is not necessary to give discus something to hide in or behind. None of my discus tanks have anything the discus can hide behind or in and none of my discus are bothered either. Well, that is excluding those in breeding cubes, as they have a sponge and a cone and a heater, but you get the drift. I have seen more stressed discus in planted tanks than any other type.

As for prices going up, well first off VAT has gone up by 2.5% and the price of glass has soared recently so I wouldn't be surprised.

Mark gets decent quality Stendkers in and can usually get to order if given a call. If you are after the more natural coloured (I'm guessing more like wild caught) then the Alenquers he has been getting have been very nice, tbh though the good old fashioned Red Turk still takes some beating. ime a single strain in a planted tank works very well indeed.

Mxx
01-04-2011, 07:48 PM
Good thing to know for aquascaping. Might make sense then to try and keep the planting to things they cannot so readily hide behind, be it low level carpeting plants, a planted screen rear wall potentially, long thin tree roots, and perhaps giant vallisneria.

I'd choose discus from a robust lineage that has been captive bred for some time, but am split between wild colour Heckel/Green/Blue, and the spectacular iridescence of the Brilliant Turquoise, Royal Blue, and Cobalt strains, in case you happen to have a quality breeder/supplier to suggest. The Brown, Red, and subsequently Alenquers don't capture light in quite the same way though for me.

I believe those prices are exclusive of VAT, which is a cost that businesses can recover anyway. But strange certainly for glass prices to have escalated while still in the grips of the great recession. Steel has as well. Both of which had skyrocketed pre-crash due to the boom's insatiable demand, so you'd think something doesn't add up very well there in terms of fundamentals.

scottthomas
01-05-2011, 06:47 PM
I like the blue strains in a heavily planted tank. I have seen some beautiful planted tanks with a group of blue diamonds or cobalts. IMO wild look a little out of place in a planted environment.

goodoo
01-06-2011, 06:01 AM
I dont agree with the. They will hide if they can theory Initially yes after that never, as long as they are happy they will never hide even though they have a thousand hiding places. They like a spot were they can see me . I have been learning about planted discus tanks for as long as I have been keeping discus. About a year. Discus are more skittish in bare tanks. Although I have never had more than 6 or 7 discus in a tank at one time, I reckon they would be fine in a bare tank in large groups. My discus are more skittish when the tank is bare. I think the simple planted tank is best for me. Mxx you could be a planted tank genius for all I know. I think you are in for a world of hurt. If you love discus you will come out the other end with a beautifull planted tank. More likely you will be posting in the disease section. I hope you pull it off. The world needs people who push the envelope, good luck, But if your fish get sick just change the damb water or keep angels instead. sorry bout bad english.

Chad Hughes
01-07-2011, 02:08 PM
I think that we all need to remember that everyone has their way and at some point we have to agree to disagree.

It has been proven that planted tanks REDUCE the need for water changes, but water changes will NEVER be completely elimintaed without a huge investment in expensive water purification equipment. I may be a dedicated discus keeper, but I'm not (that) crazy. LOL!

Bottom line, bare bottom and daily water changes is the EASIEST way to keep discus. WIth a little effort, some research, and the willingness to try new things it is possible to reduce the maintennace levels and water consumption of the discus tank. I think I proved that rather well in the last Hobbiest Challenge. Take a look at the threads (http://forum.simplydiscus.com/forumdisplay.php?170-avionics30-(Chad-H)). It's hard to argue with that type of data.

Anyway, let's keep in civil folks. Thanks!

Mxx
01-07-2011, 08:20 PM
I think that we all need to remember that everyone has their way and at some point we have to agree to disagree.

It has been proven that planted tanks REDUCE the need for water changes, but water changes will NEVER be completely elimintaed without a huge investment in expensive water purification equipment. I may be a dedicated discus keeper, but I'm not (that) crazy. LOL!

Bottom line, bare bottom and daily water changes is the EASIEST way to keep discus. WIth a little effort, some research, and the willingness to try new things it is possible to reduce the maintennace levels and water consumption of the discus tank. I think I proved that rather well in the last Hobbiest Challenge. Take a look at the threads (http://forum.simplydiscus.com/forumdisplay.php?170-avionics30-(Chad-H)). It's hard to argue with that type of data.

Anyway, let's keep in civil folks. Thanks!

Hi Chad, and thanks for the comments, here and elsewhere. You were actually just the person I had wanted to talk to today! I was researching ozone systems and came across a comment of yours on aquaricentral.com, which had a link to your tank's water quality thread here. Sounds like a brilliant system you have there, as well as quite an in-depth understanding of the matters these concerns relate to.

In addition to the basic biological filtration and plants for dealing with the basic organic compounds that need to be processed, ozone certainly sounds like the most promising way to effectively deal with anything beyond the capabilities of those. After reading various articles, I'm still not sure precisely what the other dissolved organic compounds which ozone deals with, (or perhaps doesn't deal with for that matter), but it certainly does sound very capable in dealing with most of the substances that could hinder our fish, apart from phosphates and nitrates. Perhaps we aquarists simply do not at this time possess complete knowledge about all of these organic processes and water chemistry matters though.

In any case, I hope you wouldn't mind if I ask you a few particular questions about your system. To begin with, I was wondering if you could tell us whether your protein skimmer collects a sufficient quantity of effluent to make it an important component of your filtration system? I've been reading that ozone is generally more effective when used in a reaction chamber than it is in a protein skimmer, so unless yours is doing an enormous amount, I'd probably rather opt for using it alone with a reaction chamber. It seems the by-products of the use of ozone can also be consumed by a denitrifying filter rather than a carbon chamber. Is this something you had ever considered? I'm liking the idea of a nitrate filter anyway, so it'd be great if that could double up and potentially avoid the requirement for using and changing carbon, especially if I could vent the air exhaust from the ozone reaction chamber directly outdoors. Do you take any readings to check for airborne ozone around your tank? Fo you happen to know whether your use of ozone is increasing your dissolved oxygen levels by any appreciable degree? And finally, do you have any theories on what your water changes are removing from your system that your filtration does not?

Len
01-07-2011, 11:05 PM
http://img24.imageshack.us/img24/4462/img2355q.jpg
http://img577.imageshack.us/img577/651/img2375q.jpg
http://img145.imageshack.us/img145/7664/img2763s.jpg
http://img3.imageshack.us/img3/7480/img3133dt.jpg

MMX, for what it's worth, you can raise discus in a planted tank and in my own experience, it doesn't stunt their growth. In the photos above you can see 2 Blue Turks that I raise to about 6 inches, and the Baby Red Turks that I bought from a simply member, I raised in the same tank. Of the two that I have now, they are also about 6 inches. These were all raised in the same tank, but not without water changes several times per week straight from the tap using a dechlorinator. I ran a marineland canister filter (C-350) with a homemade spraybar to keep water current down, and used a large DIY CO2 setup and because of the plants had to regularly dose Nitrates (KNO3), trace elements, Iron, etc. While you are talking about much more elaborate filtration, you also keep mentioning a nitrate filter. That isn't going to work out for you in a planted environment because your plants will suck the nitrates from the water as it is and you will have to add them - not remove them. I can also say that my fish did not hide in the plants, but just the opposite. When I walked in front of the tank they swam right up to the glass looking for food (lots of it). You can have the best of both worlds if you are willing to work for it, but if I may make a suggestion. Instead of going hog wild with equipment that may or may not be needed, why not start with the best biological filtration you can and then build on it as you get your feet wet and as needed. Researching is great before diving in, but learn through experience as you go along. This may save you considerable money and disappointment in buying things that you don't need and in fact can't use -- nitrate filter, maybe RO unit etc :-) I would recommend a decent CO2 injection system though, as in the end my DIY cheapness was my own downfall and led to disaster and loss of fish. I do wish you the best in your adventure but just make sure you keep it enjoyable for yourself.

Len
01-07-2011, 11:06 PM
hmm, I know my photography skills leave a lot to be desired, but there should be pics there.

Posted links instead since they took up the whole screen when I got them to show. Sorry for the confusion.

Mxx
01-08-2011, 06:04 PM
http://img24.imageshack.us/img24/4462/img2355q.jpg
http://img577.imageshack.us/img577/651/img2375q.jpg
http://img145.imageshack.us/img145/7664/img2763s.jpg
http://img3.imageshack.us/img3/7480/img3133dt.jpg

MMX, for what it's worth, you can raise discus in a planted tank and in my own experience, it doesn't stunt their growth. In the photos above you can see 2 Blue Turks that I raise to about 6 inches, and the Baby Red Turks that I bought from a simply member, I raised in the same tank. Of the two that I have now, they are also about 6 inches. These were all raised in the same tank, but not without water changes several times per week straight from the tap using a dechlorinator. I ran a marineland canister filter (C-350) with a homemade spraybar to keep water current down, and used a large DIY CO2 setup and because of the plants had to regularly dose Nitrates (KNO3), trace elements, Iron, etc. While you are talking about much more elaborate filtration, you also keep mentioning a nitrate filter. That isn't going to work out for you in a planted environment because your plants will suck the nitrates from the water as it is and you will have to add them - not remove them. I can also say that my fish did not hide in the plants, but just the opposite. When I walked in front of the tank they swam right up to the glass looking for food (lots of it). You can have the best of both worlds if you are willing to work for it, but if I may make a suggestion. Instead of going hog wild with equipment that may or may not be needed, why not start with the best biological filtration you can and then build on it as you get your feet wet and as needed. Researching is great before diving in, but learn through experience as you go along. This may save you considerable money and disappointment in buying things that you don't need and in fact can't use -- nitrate filter, maybe RO unit etc :-) I would recommend a decent CO2 injection system though, as in the end my DIY cheapness was my own downfall and led to disaster and loss of fish. I do wish you the best in your adventure but just make sure you keep it enjoyable for yourself.

Hi Len, thanks for the input. That was certainly one thing I was worried about, that a denitrator and biological filter might outcompete the plants for the organic carbon they require . But I also had no idea whether the plants would be able to keep up with the nitrates produced in a moderately stocked tank with generous feeding. It sounds as if you think they might be able to? If that's the case then it would be much better to start a bit smaller with the filtration, and add components as need be as long as the system is designed to allow such flexibility. Even an ozoniser would reduce ammonia and nitrites to nitrates making the biological filter in part redundant. A nitrate filter can also consume the byproducts produced by ammonia thereby replacing the necessity for an activated carbon water filter behind an ozone reactor, so it does have a secondary purpose still but perhaps wouldn't need to be very big in that case.

Can you share what your tank size and stocking levels were, as well as at what level the plants were able to keep the nitrates down to (zero?) to the extent that you were actually having to dump extra nitrates into your system? I could count thirteen discus in one of the shots. Great looking tank as well!

scottthomas
01-08-2011, 06:34 PM
Maybe I'm just not seeing correctly but the last picture looks like discus in a bare bottom tank? Picture 2 and 3 are 6 inch discus raised in a planted tank?



http://img24.imageshack.us/img24/4462/img2355q.jpg
http://img577.imageshack.us/img577/651/img2375q.jpg
http://img145.imageshack.us/img145/7664/img2763s.jpg
http://img3.imageshack.us/img3/7480/img3133dt.jpg

Len
01-08-2011, 06:52 PM
I did small water changes every day while I used the gravel cleaner on my python. There were 20 small red turks so the feedings were substancial as they were growing fast and eating like pigs, but you always have some food left over settling on the bottom. These were also the 3 Blue turks that were quite a bit larger in there and I also grew them out from about 3 inches. The tank was very heavily stocked with shrimp as well, helping to keep algae down. When I took the tank down in November to move, I actually gave away about 100 tiger shrimp and cherry shrimp and still had a few hundred that I saved and took with me. There were Some bronze corys, salt and pepper corys, sterbas corys, and albino BN plecos as well. The SAE that you may have seen in the photos were a bad idea and were too busy all the time so I got rid of them. The tank is 77Gal and had flourite substrate. Also to answer your question about nitrates, if I didn't dose regularly, the plants would reduce the levels to zero within days. I like to go camping on weekends in the summer and each time I would go away for a weekend, when I would return I would check all of my parameters right away. Ammonia, nitrite and nitrate all zero. With a heavily planted tank you dont want them at zero, however and to balance the plant needs with keeping discus i dosed to 10 ppm.

Len
01-08-2011, 06:54 PM
Maybe I'm just not seeing correctly but the last picture looks like discus in a bare bottom tank? Picture 2 and 3 are 6 inch discus raised in a planted tank?

It is a bare bottom tank. After I moved in November, I went bare bottom in my 77 Gal and planted in my 130 gal. I wanted to show the discus that were grown in the planted tank as a reference. They are the same fish that are shown as juvies in the planted tank. I just got lazy and didnt take many photos in months because its always too hard for me to get good shots. I suck at photography.

Mxx
01-08-2011, 07:30 PM
I did small water changes every day while I used the gravel cleaner on my python. There were 20 small red turks so the feedings were substancial as they were growing fast and eating like pigs, but you always have some food left over settling on the bottom. These were also the 3 Blue turks that were quite a bit larger in there and I also grew them out from about 3 inches. The tank was very heavily stocked with shrimp as well, helping to keep algae down. When I took the tank down in November to move, I actually gave away about 100 tiger shrimp and cherry shrimp and still had a few hundred that I saved and took with me. There were Some bronze corys, salt and pepper corys, sterbas corys, and albino BN plecos as well. The SAE that you may have seen in the photos were a bad idea and were too busy all the time so I got rid of them. The tank is 77Gal and had flourite substrate. Also to answer your question about nitrates, if I didn't dose regularly, the plants would reduce the levels to zero within days. I like to go camping on weekends in the summer and each time I would go away for a weekend, when I would return I would check all of my parameters right away. Ammonia, nitrite and nitrate all zero. With a heavily planted tank you dont want them at zero, however and to balance the plant needs with keeping discus i dosed to 10 ppm.

I'm actually surprised that with that animal-load in a 77G your plants were able to keep your nitrogens to zero! And with a shrimp population such as that it sounds as it was about time to yourself start testing whether they are edible? Alternately, for the benefit of your plants you could have practically made a habit of taking a pee in the tank in order to keep your tank's nitrates at proper levels!... In any case, with your nitrogen levels in check were you using water changed just to remove food and detritus, or are you of the opinion that there is something else in the water which gets 'stale' and therefore must be refreshed?

2wheelsx2
01-08-2011, 08:23 PM
It's not that surprising. With enough light and enough plant load, you can bottom your nitrates no problem. My 125 started out with SA cichlids and one thing led to another and the lightly planted, low light tank turned into a CO2 injected densely planted tank with Java Fern, Java Moss, hundreds of Jungle Vals, 2 dozen or so Amazon swords, 100's of Anubias and the nitrates bottomed every 2nd day with my EI dosing to 5 PPM. The stock at the time, was 1 8" Oscar, 2x 10" Chocolate Cichlids, 1 6" JD, 30 Corydoras, 1 Sailfin Pleco (11"), and 4x 6" silvers dollars. Doesn't sound like much, but these guys went through a 5 lb tub of NLS large fish formula every 6 months, on top of 1 whole zucchini a week, algae wafers, and 2 oz of frozen bloodworms. I don't know how much Discus eat, but I'm sure that would be on par with any grown discus.

Len
01-08-2011, 10:37 PM
To be honest, my main goal in the water changes was to keep the bottom clean. I don't know if there is some mystery substance we are removing when we do water changes, but beyond the ammonia that fish excrement contains, I'm sure there must be some bacteria and other nasties in it that need to be removed otherwise a dirty toilet comes to mind. As to 2wheelsx2 comment about light, he is correct, this was a high light tank with 8 T5 bulbs operated on 2 timers, so that is probably partly the reason why the nitrates dropped out so quickly. The bioload in the tank wasn't really that high though. most of the discus were small and shrimp don't impact the load hardly at all. They make nice little janitors though :)

2wheelsx2, 30 corys in a tank must have looked pretty sharp. What kind did you have, and did they breed successfully? Mine bred and I didnt even notice until I saw a little tiny one swimm around a few months back. Unfortunately he was the only one and must have been there for some time before I saw him as he was about .5 inch long by then.

2wheelsx2
01-08-2011, 10:43 PM
Len, I really like having the cories, and I got into a pleco obsession, so now both my big tanks have cories and plecos. I have 20+ Corydoras Agassizi and 6 or so Julii's. It's hard to count as they are moving around all the time. I'm sure they have bred, but I still have one JD and the 10" chocolate, plus a host of plecos in the 125 gallon, so I don't think the eggs ever survive.

I now also have 24 or so Sterbai in the 100 gallon cube with my 5 wild discus, and am hoping to see some breeding in that tank.

Len
01-09-2011, 02:32 AM
Mine spawn frequently, and its pretty cool to see. The chase each other like crazy and then the female just drops hundreds of eggs almost looking like a hail storm. I've never tried to get the eggs out of the tank to hatch them so they end up as caviar for the discus and such. I think it was just a fluke that the one little guy survived.

Chad Hughes
01-10-2011, 03:40 PM
No problem....

To answer your questions:

No, the protein skimmer produces zero effluent. It's used strictly as a reactor. This works for small applications, but a reactor would be more efficient in larger applications where the budget may be a little bigger.

I have never used nor considered a denitrifying chamber so I cannot comment on that.

I do not take any residual ozone readings in the surrounding environment. If I can smell it, it's there. LOL!

I've never tested for any increse in dissovled oxygen levels while using ozone, only ORP.

I'm fairly certain that there are byproducts left behind in the filtration process, hence the need for water changes. There isn't a sinlge body of water on this planet that doesn't receive the ocassional dose of fresh water. Those that receive less fresh water than others contain life that can handle that type of enviroment. Discus simply require a bit better water quality.

I'm all about extending the period of time between water changes but I believe the technology and expense you would be faced with to eliminate water changes completely is beyond the scope of a hobby. It's too small scale and just easier to change water. Now, if you had a 20,000 gallon tank, obviously you want to employ the absolute best filtration you can find. It's all relative to your application I guess.

I hope that answers your questions!







In any case, I hope you wouldn't mind if I ask you a few particular questions about your system. To begin with, I was wondering if you could tell us whether your protein skimmer collects a sufficient quantity of effluent to make it an important component of your filtration system? I've been reading that ozone is generally more effective when used in a reaction chamber than it is in a protein skimmer, so unless yours is doing an enormous amount, I'd probably rather opt for using it alone with a reaction chamber. It seems the by-products of the use of ozone can also be consumed by a denitrifying filter rather than a carbon chamber. Is this something you had ever considered? I'm liking the idea of a nitrate filter anyway, so it'd be great if that could double up and potentially avoid the requirement for using and changing carbon, especially if I could vent the air exhaust from the ozone reaction chamber directly outdoors. Do you take any readings to check for airborne ozone around your tank? Fo you happen to know whether your use of ozone is increasing your dissolved oxygen levels by any appreciable degree? And finally, do you have any theories on what your water changes are removing from your system that your filtration does not?

Skip
07-15-2011, 08:09 PM
well.. what is the update on the zero water changes?

JL15219
07-15-2011, 10:40 PM
well.. what is the update on the zero water changes?
+1

greengreen84
07-16-2011, 02:07 AM
I have to say after reading that I hope you have alot of experience with planted tanks and discus because you will need it! not trying to offened you but their's alot of challanges in both sides of the hobby and to intergrate them together can be a challange it self as well.

mikmaq
07-26-2011, 09:42 AM
this will be my first post in here, I much rather sit back and read.

I very much enjoyed this thread, it seems to me the topic caused alot of heated debate and just the idea of no water changes made some members gasp in horror judging from their responses!

I have been maintaing fresh and salt water aquariums for at least 25 years and my absolute favorites always have been well planted low maintenance aquariums.
In fact my newest project I will be starting in the next few weeks will be a 300 gallon acrylic tank with a 75 gallon wet and dry sump! My plans are to create a beautiful Takashi Amano style planted tank! My main display fish will be 8 to 12 Discus!

from my experience minimum water changes is feesable, I can not say no water changes since I have never attempted such but once a well planted tank has been well established and there is a some type of clean up crew, perhaps bamboo shrimp and snails, perhaps a zero water change could be reached.

Myself personally, even with my 75 gallon wet and dry sump I will do at least a partial water change from time to time, but the idea of no water change does sound tempting and I am definately looking foward to seeing the results. But for now, for me at least, I like to to maintain a small water change of 10 to 20% once per week!

just my two cents!

Statik
09-23-2011, 08:05 PM
To Mxx,

I read your thread on the zero water change proposal and i though it was very interesting. I encourage you to try it and hope you will succeed. My suggestion is that u start with a planted tank and a hardier fish species maybe american or african cichlids. I have succesfully kept africans and americans in a densely planted tank at neutral ph. and they were spawning all the time. Some people on this forum are obsessed with wc. and cant understand that others think differently. I think in the not so distant future, water will be so precious that we wont have the means or privileges to pursue this hobby with the same ideology. We will have no choice but to lean towards solutions that require minimum water changes.

So what if some fish get sick or die in the process of your experiment? Does that mean that u failed? I think not.
How many people can say theyve never had fish fatalities or sickness? No method is 100% bulletproof.
I think you have some good ideas and hope you will pursue with your theory.

Good luck!

steakman
09-23-2011, 10:07 PM
I've had 7 adult discus in a 75 gallon low-tech planted tank for about a year now. At first, I did 50% WC every other day

Then 6 months ago, I started to test my theory believing that fish will adjust to the environment they live in if you do it GRADUALLY.

I've changed the WC intervals by stretching it a little longer at a time.

About 2 months ago, the WCs go like once a week. Now it's only 1 per 10 days and still 50%/time.

All 7 fish adjusted well. They are still eating heartily. I feed them 2 times/day, all flakes, TerraBit pellets, and FDBW, the regular flakes no BH.

I observe them closely for any troubles, any changes in water parameter. And so far, no illness, no disease, no strange acts, no dead, and no nothing.

IMO, I am not so sure about Zero WC, but you don't have to do 50% every day, specially adult discus.

Forgot to say, the tank filtering system includes: Eheim Pro II 2026, and AC 110. There are 12 terras, and 10 juvies German Blue Ram in the tank with the discus.

walt3
09-24-2011, 01:11 PM
seems to me the rainforest is one big water change... constant rain and one the biggest rivers out there so the water to fish ratio is crazy! pristine fresh water constantly. how is a no fresh water system like nature??? it isnt!

steakman
09-24-2011, 01:28 PM
It forever will be controversial.
You can't duplicate natures. Yes, you do want the fish to be in an environment as close as the environment their "ancestors" lived, if you are talking about "wild caught" discus.
These discus were tank bred for generations. They have never felt how the rain water was like ... :D. 99% of them are man-made discus.
I just only want to share my own experience.
I am happy with it, and so are my discus.

Skip
09-24-2011, 01:39 PM
steak.. yes.. adults are more forgiving.. since they are bigger/stronger..

however.. people want to acquire 2" discus and want to only do monthly water changes.. no bueno!

steakman
09-24-2011, 04:04 PM
adults are more forgiving.. since they are bigger/stronger.. and they eat a whole lot less too

warlock, I agreed with you 99.95% ... :D

Mxx
09-26-2011, 10:56 AM
I just received an email update which said there had been activity on this thread, so thanks for the continued interest in this discussion. I'd received a major work contract and have been preoccupied with that for the time-being, so annoyingly enough other things such as this project have gone on hold for the moment still. Very much looking forward to doing this still, and have been spending some free time researching relevant matters such as the use of ozone which potentially sounds quite helpful as it performs a similar function to water changes by reducing organic pollutants and thus raising Redox levels, and how to best grow plants in low-maintenance set-up, though that might come as rather a shock to this forum as well, if I happened to suggest that I was going to start off a discus tank by dumping several bags of manure into it... But with a mineralized soil underlay you don't have to worry particularly about doing EI nutrient dosing for the plants. In any case, the delayed start has been beneficial in enabling me to further refine the plans for the system.

x2h
09-26-2011, 12:15 PM
adults are more forgiving.. since they are bigger/stronger.. and they eat a whole lot less too

warlock, I agreed with you 99.95% ... :D

wait a minute, adults are bigger so they should eat more than juvies right. of couse they might be fed less frequently, so at the end it equals out. :D

Skip
09-26-2011, 02:06 PM
eat Less times since they don't need to eat as much as Juvies.. (if you don't want to stunt them)

steakman
09-26-2011, 03:11 PM
wait a minute, adults are bigger so they should eat more than juvies right. of couse they might be fed less frequently, so at the end it equals out. :D

Nope, I eat a whole lot less to compare with when I was 17 years old, and my belly still growing bigger every day.

Same thing with discus, I guess.

Eat less, poop less, then using water less ... :D

Skip
09-03-2012, 11:25 AM
did you ever set up tank?

ccbeauch
09-25-2012, 12:14 AM
I have had discus for over a year now and I try to limit the water changes. I do mine once a week because I just set up a new tank but prior to that I was doing it almost monthly. Reading all of you crazed WC people makes me fearful that maybe I have been doing something wrong and should have killed all the discus I have come to love and own. Glad I was doing my own experimenting before reading this thread a year ago. Would have made it hard to sleep at night knowing I hadn't done a WC in over a week.

Did you ever get around to setting up this tank you talked about?

Plus I wasn't trying to go against what people told me. The local fish store guy just told me once a week would be fine and then forgetting a few times showed me that even once a week could be too often. However I do pay really close to the water surface and when bubbles started to hold longer is when I knew I had to do one asap just to keep peace of mind.

Larry Bugg
09-25-2012, 08:45 AM
I'm curious. You talk about how you did it differently but you didn't really share any of your results with us. There are a lot of posters that come on this forum and talk about how it can be done differently but it is rare for them to stick around and show what they have done and their successes. I would appreciate your sharing more about your experience. Can I ask a few questions.............When you started out over a year ago what size/age discus did you start with? Since it has been over a year now, what is their current size? Can you share some pictures with us? I ask these specific questions because the consensus on the forum is that it is very difficult to grow out young discus to their potential in a planted tank and in particular without frequent heavy water changes. If you have done differently please share more of your experience with us. It would be very helpful.

BobDaniel
09-25-2012, 12:37 PM
Give it a try MXX. You could update us periodically and we'll see how it goes.

x2h
10-03-2012, 04:16 PM
I did it..but not with Discus. I don't have the gut to experiment with my beautiful discus. But I have done this with my other 29 gallon heavily planted tank in which I have 20+ neon/cardinal tetras, 8 Rasbora hets, 2 Bolivian rams, 3 plecos. My last water change was back in January. Since then I have only had to top it off once a month. The water is hardly filtered because I have not touched the filter system either and it's clogged up and the water stream is very weak. I have broad leaf Anubias and Java fern in the tank. The Anubias plants are pretty much filling all the space and are growing out of water now. This is low tech with low- to medium-lighting with no CO2. No fertilization. No algae. ;)

This is not an experiment though, it's called "laziness". :o

willzy
10-04-2012, 06:54 AM
This youtube clip shows a guy who does minimal water changes in his discus display tank.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yqdrtVYBQDY

Pickled_Herring
10-04-2012, 09:46 AM
My current research in to water conservation and raising Discus has led me to the field of Aquaponics. Many of the goals of Aquaponics seem to coincide what Discus breeders want to achieve. One of the goals in Aquaponics is to raise fish and plants for consumption in a closed loop symbiotic system. Simplified:The fish provide waste which is transferred to a growing medium that supports Bacteria/Worms and the root structure of the plants. The Bacteria and Worms, in the growing medium, break down the fish waste much like a sponge filter and convert it to Nitrates. The plants remove the Nitrates in the water and it is then recycled back to fish tanks. The goal is to optimize the growth of both the fish and plants. The fish and plants are not necessarily for consumption and both may be ornamental. It really doesn't matter if the fish are Tilapia or Koi and if the plants are vegetables or flowers. From personal experience I know that plants grown emersed (i.e partially in water) grown much faster than completely submerged plants and in fact many aquatic plant nurseries start many on the common aquatic plants, that they sell, out this way. I think that great water quality and rapid fish growth can be obtained using a system like this. I plan in the near future to setup a system like this and test it. I encourage anybody that may be interested in something like this to visit some of the Aquaponics forums and see what they have achieved. I found the Backyard Aquaponics forum to be particularly helpful.

x2h
10-05-2012, 10:35 AM
i've seen an internet video of such a system utilized by a fish farm, so I know it's doable. Not sure about discus tho. In the video it's mostly hardy fish being raised this way. i guess one has to be brave+rich enough to do such an experiment. I am brave, so I just need a rich partner. ;)

John_Nicholson
10-05-2012, 10:40 AM
It is not that it can't be done...It is the size of the operation that is a problem. If you want to have a 1000+ gallon heavily planted tank with a very, very small number of fish then fine, but that setup does not work for most of us.

-john

Pickled_Herring
10-05-2012, 01:48 PM
True it wouldn't be for anybody who has limited space or funds. The benefit of an Aquaponic system is that it could increase the planted area by using terrestrial plants, in a separate plant bed, which do a better job of waste removal thus allowing you to decrease the plants in the aquarium or increase the density of fish. You would be able to obtain similar results as a refugium except the plants would pull more waste out.

bogia99
10-05-2012, 02:15 PM
bottom line is if it is going to cost more in time+space+energy to recirculate the water then an average hobbyist will not likely to implement it.

x2h
10-11-2012, 12:00 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biosphere_2

jozwikjp
10-21-2012, 11:22 AM
This youtube clip shows a guy who does minimal water changes in his discus display tank.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yqdrtVYBQDY

I bought one of these last week as for a place to grow macro algae to eat more nitrates. I also have been researching the Korallin Biodenitrator which take the nitrates to zero, but I don't think that would work well with a planted tank.

I use mostly RO/DI water for water changes on a 220 gallon tank so its over 1000 gallons a week in water changes which is abit much.

Alfredo Llecha
11-06-2012, 03:56 PM
Hey

You could see your nitrates al 0 levels, but your TDS is increasing exponentially because the metals ions and non nitrate ions, literally you could end up with no nitrates but salty water.

kalawai
11-18-2012, 07:52 PM
Hey

You could see your nitrates al 0 levels, but your TDS is increasing exponentially because the metals ions and non nitrate ions, literally you could end up with no nitrates but salty water.


Yuck

Mxx
12-19-2012, 09:10 AM
Ah, Ladies and Gentleman, I'm afraid I've been away, but thanks for your comments and concerns. My project is still on hold, awaiting the success of my other project before I can get rolling here and have my 'tank-space' constructed. In the interim I've been considering the matter further, and spent a good deal of time researching Reefkeeping, being that they are arguably significantly more sophisticated than the freshwater community in terms of the their practices for keeping delicate organisms thriving.

A few things I've found of particular interest with their methodologies is their use of refugiums with plant life for nutrient control, biological carbon dosing (via carbohydrates, vinegar or vodka), protein skimming, ozone, their reliance on porous rock for denitrification, deep sand beds for denitrification, their preference for high flow and intense lighting, and the use of detrivores to keep the tank clean. Water changes are usually comparatively small, and most advanced hobbyists insist their importance is primarily for replacing the many minor trace elements which are not usually supplemented or tested for.

Not everything could be carried over of course, for protein skimming and therefore carbon dosing wouldn't work, (unless we were able to find some way or some additive to enable foaming to occur in soft freshwater to enable a protein skimmer to work). A deep sand bed of 4-6" medium grain fine sand could reasonably be utilized for denitrification however, and similar detrivores, such as Malaysian Trumpet Snails and possibly even live blackworms could be introduced to burrow through the sand bed and keep it aerated, turned over, and healthy in the same way. With less flow than most marine tanks I suppose it'd be advisable to keep to the shallower end of the scale however. The emerging consensus in the reefing community seems to be that a deep sand bed is more effective than live rock for denitrification in the long term, as the porousness of live rock can get 'clogged' over time while the detrivores can maintain the viability of the DSB in the long term. Plant roots would no doubt help keep a substrate healthy with the activity of their roots, and greater flow would help the biological activity and optimal oxygenation. Other detrivores including various snails and shrimp would offer additional benefits as well.

Phosphates are of significant concern in reefing, though you seldom hear them discussed for freshwater though I wonder if they might be slightly detrimental too in FW fish tanks?... I'm not quite clear, but if there were plants in the equation then those should effectively take care of them, subject to receiving enough light/etc.

As mentioned a la Alfredo, it is correct that TDS/salinity would be a concern over time which is a factor I was not aware of when I initially created the thread but which I realized eventually. The system could be designed in various ways to buffer and remineralize itself in a stable manner, but as those minerals combine with the organic acids which are a byproduct of metabolism then that produces various kinds of 'salts' which will result in a slow increase in TDS and salinity...

One way of addressing this which could be considered is to incorporate what is basically a water recycling filter. What I had in mind is to maintain a reservoir of water in a tub inside the stand, to which a multi-stage DI filter with a booster pump is connected. The DI filter would run the water through various mechanical and chemical prefilters to remove sediment, organic materials, phosphates, silicates, etc before the water passes through a decent sized Kati-Ani Deionising compartments. Therefore, the water in the reservoir would be filtered down to 0 TDS. Utilizing that purified water then would consist of turning off the DI unit, throwing in the measured amount of Discus Buffer, and turning on a pump to pump the reservoir water into the tank to be replaced with 'old' tank water via an overflow. Let that run for an hour, reverse the two switches again, and the 'old' water would start to be purified again. DI resin is rechargeable, and after discussing this with The Filter Guys, it appears that I could recycle a quarter of the tank's water every week for potentially about 9 months before I would need to recharge the resin so long as I maintained relatively soft water for discus. Without practical testing I can't confirm that, but it could be worth a shot. It seems it should be very easy of a system to run once implemented, and means that I would be using very little new water, apart from what I'd need to replace for evaporation. The second advantage of such a system is that it'd be easy to use the reservoir for an automated top-off as well of course.

My expectation is that some would think that's ludicrous to recycle tank water instead of just using tap water, but my tank water would be a lot softer than my tap water would be. With this approach I wouldn't be losing an enormous amount of water to RO filter discharge, and my DI resin would last five times longer then it would if I used it on my tapwater instead. There are some concerns here, such as the prefilters fouling if I wasn't trickling water through them all the time. But if it turned out to be a fail then I could just revert the DI unit to filtering tap water instead of tank water, and discharging the overflow tank water directly down a plumbed drain. And filter cartridges would need to be replaced and resin recharged, so it's not as if this would be entirely free of impact upon environmental sustainability.

I realize this revised plan does differ from the initial hypothesis I set out to analyze, as recycling tank water via a water purification filter is not so different than doing water changes of course, but it still should be a relatively time effective way to maintain quality water and optimal trace elements if all it takes on a weekly basis is dosing a spoonful of supplement and throwing a pair of switches? And my time is the most expensive/valuable factor in the entire equation, so if it saves any of that then a more sophisticated approach should potentially be worthwhile.

2wheelsx2
12-19-2012, 01:12 PM
I realize this revised plan does differ from the initial hypothesis I set out to analyze, as recycling tank water via a water purification filter is not so different than doing water changes of course, but it still should be a relatively time effective way to maintain quality water and optimal trace elements if all it takes on a weekly basis is dosing a spoonful of supplement and throwing a pair of switches? And my time is the most expensive/valuable factor in the entire equation, so if it saves any of that then a more sophisticated approach should potentially be worthwhile.

If time saving is the objective, I would think a continuous system with a sump would be much more cost effective and essentially take no more maintenance than with any sump. And it would be totally hands off. Why go to all this water purification and complication when all you want is clean water, if the original objective of zero water change is not being met?

Mxx
12-19-2012, 01:46 PM
This system still would potentially achieve a number of objectives however; save time, save effort, save water, maintain stability, maintain optimal trace element balance, maintain water quality. Perhaps the real objective is to find a way to maintain water as an infinitely recyclable resource?

A more common automated water change system using tap water could be used instead of course, but this water recycling system proposed seems a little simpler perhaps with less potential for failure/floods. Using tap water I'd either be wasting a lot of water via RO discharge or burn through a lot of DI resin very very quickly if an RO membrane was not utilized.

As I'd said in my last last post, due to the gradual accumulation of 'organic salts' in the water, I now believe that an entirely 'no-water change system' is (perhaps) not 100% achievable if there is not any way to remove these organic salts. With that said, these salts could be removed via DI resin by the method stated, or perhaps there is another way still. I'm not sure for example if plants or some plants accumulate TDS in their tissue and then those could be harvested to remove those nutrients from the system. A quick search didn't yet unveil any answers in research, but perhaps there are answers out there.

pastry
12-19-2012, 01:51 PM
Mxx, you lost me at, "Ah, Ladies and Gentleman, I'm afraid I've been away...". Hey, anyone on here that's seen my posts know I'm open to almost anything and support all sorts of stuff but come on, now. You've had this going for so long. I mean this in the nicest way: Sh** or get off the pot.

Skip
12-19-2012, 01:57 PM
;)

Mxx
12-19-2012, 04:35 PM
Mxx, you lost me at, "Ah, Ladies and Gentleman, I'm afraid I've been away...". Hey, anyone on here that's seen my posts know I'm open to almost anything and support all sorts of stuff but come on, now. You've had this going for so long. I mean this in the nicest way: Sh** or get off the pot.

Cute.

I'd left this thread alone but there were still some people commenting on it so thought I should responsibly weigh in on my evolving thinking here. It's unfortunate I haven't had the chance to launch this tank build yet, but can't exactly do that before the room is built. At least I've had the time to research and reflect on the matter further, and will take this up in due course. I'm not sure what the rush is, but if that's a problem then consider going and occupying Wall Street to see what you can fix. ;)

pastry
12-19-2012, 09:33 PM
Aaah... a "cheeky" fellow we have here. That's alright, preach on. I'm sure that if you speak the way that you write then you don't have many to speak with. And please, let's leave Wall Street and the overall worldwide economic downfall off SD. Some of us actually come here to escape that reality... yet many of us don't come on here to create fantasy either.

Mxx
12-20-2012, 05:33 AM
Sigh... I wish this forum wasn't so negative and full of heckeling. That aspect, which I see across so many different threads keeps stifling my enthusiasm for doing discus even.

If people should disagree then that's lovely, but let's keep it fun and dispense with the insults already. Seriously. Perhaps other forums might prove more constructive...

pastry
12-20-2012, 08:28 AM
Look, sorry to have been negative but I remember when joining and this thead was started around the same time. I was extremely curious to see what happened and was pretty taken back by some of the oppositition to your idea... until I started to see nothing happening. The whole time I've felt strung along and the recipient of the worst case of literary blue balls that I never thought possible. Some great info has been passed even during heated responses back and forth.... so it's not like nothing good has come out of this... but I highly doubt you'll ever make an attempt.

Also (some constructive criticism that now I'm thinking about my own threads) you repeatedly write too much. Less is more on here.

So any how, I've gone from someone who has been entertained by this thread to someone who just sees smoke and mirrors. Hell, even the appearance of smoke and mirrors would be "something". This thread started in December 2010 and it's now December 2012. "What's the rush?" No rush, just need substance. I'd like to own a big yacht some day and be rich but I don't go on a yacht blog and chat it up with folks on how someday I'm going to show them that I have a super yacht that they don't have yet I'd like to generate healthy discussions about it while not making their blood boil. Sorry, not trying to heckle but just trying to give you a different sort of visual of how I see this thread.

Would I like to see you succeed? Yes... hell, even if you failed then I think it'd be great that you tried. But like I said in my first post: Sh** or get off the pot.

Len
12-20-2012, 10:02 AM
That isn't completely fair. Sometimes life gets in the way of our best intentions and other things come up. It will also take considerable money so I can see for most people it would be a slow process. In any event, keep it civil and professional.

pastry
12-20-2012, 10:10 AM
-

pastry
12-20-2012, 10:23 AM
Oh Lord. Don't worry Len, there's no monkeys in here slinging poo. Guess most of us are used to seeing some sort of action behind something with this much thought put into it. I fully understand how life could get in the way but I just have my doubts on this one.

Okay, no more getting sucked into this further for me. I wish this guy or gal good luck and who knows, maybe something good will be discovered if this experiment is ever done.

Skip
12-20-2012, 01:28 PM
GEEZUS!

edited

Second Hand Pat
12-20-2012, 01:42 PM
Skip, you are not helping here.

Elliots
12-20-2012, 02:20 PM
What do you mean Skip is not helping? He is either helping, funny or at his worst, entertaining!! His last post was only entertaining!

Mxx
12-21-2012, 08:48 AM
Look, sorry to have been negative but I remember when joining and this thead was started around the same time. I was extremely curious to see what happened and was pretty taken back by some of the oppositition to your idea... until I started to see nothing happening. The whole time I've felt strung along and the recipient of the worst case of literary blue balls that I never thought possible. Some great info has been passed even during heated responses back and forth.... so it's not like nothing good has come out of this... but I highly doubt you'll ever make an attempt.

Also (some constructive criticism that now I'm thinking about my own threads) you repeatedly write too much. Less is more on here.

So any how, I've gone from someone who has been entertained by this thread to someone who just sees smoke and mirrors. Hell, even the appearance of smoke and mirrors would be "something". This thread started in December 2010 and it's now December 2012. "What's the rush?" No rush, just need substance. I'd like to own a big yacht some day and be rich but I don't go on a yacht blog and chat it up with folks on how someday I'm going to show them that I have a super yacht that they don't have yet I'd like to generate healthy discussions about it while not making their blood boil. Sorry, not trying to heckle but just trying to give you a different sort of visual of how I see this thread.

Would I like to see you succeed? Yes... hell, even if you failed then I think it'd be great that you tried. But like I said in my first post: Sh** or get off the pot.

Umm, thanks... I think!...

Is it truly of relevance to get into detailing personal matters here really? Due to f'ing about by the local authority, it took far longer to get planning permission for my extension than it should have and I had to win that at appeal even. I got all the necessary paperwork in place, I had the construction drawings completed, I had the financing approved, but then I rang the lender to inquire about expanding the scope of the build further and they came back to say that they'd pulled their offer... We appealed their ridiculous conclusion, which they refused again. Due to tax legislation changes, my designation had shifted from a consultant to an independent Contractor, and as I hadn't yet at that point had a three year working history as 'self-employed', I hadn't been able to qualify for financing for the extension elsewhere for the time-being. Around the same time, the commercial lender for my project dropped out due to their sudden panic over the position of a culvert in the ground, and it took ten months to find a replacement which also cost me the Contractor and resulted in having to appoint a more expensive one, which delayed the proceeds from that as well which might have been the alternative funding. Not my intention to delay in any case, but more the result of the extremely challenging financing environment which is lacking in capital.

So yeah, life happens. It's still in the plan, but it might take another few months, a year, or longer even to do the extension and subsequently the tank. So as disconcerting as it is for you to see these plans not having been carried out, I can assure you that it pales in comparison to my own impatience over these delays!

A 1000 liter high quality display tank is not an inexpensive proposition as one had mentioned, and certainly not if I'd want to have it done well. In any case I'm not going to do it yet if I'm expecting to gut the entire house in the near future. Regardless, it was not intended as wistful speculation. I feel it's necessary to scrutinize things in thorough detail, particularly if trying an unconventional approach, but if that detail is not to someones taste or capabilities then just pass my threads by please! That's just how I work. It's fortunate in some ways that I've had the extra time to reconsider the plan and to test a few mock-ups, as otherwise I'd have jumped into a build which I'd have been partially unhappy with later.

But to be honest I was also considering whether I should avoid this forum and stick to others instead. It seems that many people are rather a but on edge here, which can create an energy I was feeling I don't need in my own life. Honest debates quickly get run off track into personal territory and diluted, which is really not a productive use of my time. There have been many that do offer helpful and constructive criticism however which I've very much appreciated and would like to be able to offer in return, but often what I'd read, the unpleasant language, or having to justify my opinions would leave me feeling rather fed-up as well far too many times... I suppose specialist hobbies such as this facet draw a fair amount of somewhat obsessive individuals who have to be quite passionate about it to maintain a constant presence here, a description which I should include myself in I guess. But when I was seeing individuals getting blasted here by self-appointed 'experts' just for asking quite sincere questions here then I didn't think that was healthy at all, and that's not a pattern I've seen across other aquarist forums.

There was one real risk to the plan however, and that was my budding interest in reefing which I'd developed through researching the methodologies in that side of the hobby as well. I'm running a medium nano reef tank now, and do admit that I was considering doing my intended large display tank as a reef instead... My conclusion however is that actually the cool colour of lighting from a big reef tank would throw the atmosphere of the room in a manner which isn't entirely complementary. I've found 2700K room lighting to be preferable, and even 3000K LED room lighting to be too starkly cool. Thus I think I'd be better to stick with a monster discus display tank, and maintain a nano reef tank which I might instead keep in my office. I might drill it still to be reef-ready should I ever decide to later switch to that route instead though.

Anyway, to try and get back to a healthy discussion, if I'm going to try to not do water changes then I need to ensure I have a healthy fully functioning 'ecosystem' in the tank with various organisms fulfilling various different roles, (as practiced by reef aquarists), and have a way to ensure a healthy balance of trace elements and remove organic salts. Water changes or a water recycling systems are way to do that latter two, but I may investigate other options as well meanwhile.

Cheers.

Mxx
12-21-2012, 08:48 AM
Double post.

Skip
12-21-2012, 01:19 PM
Mxx.. Dude all that red tape stuff sucks! Alot!

cubert
12-22-2012, 03:32 AM
I know I'm way late to this post....and I'm a rookie discus keeper......but ....that's a lot of work, effort, and just a ridiculous amount of time and anxiety to worry about a few water changes a week, and especially this thread was started years ago? Wow. Good luck dude.

ynot
03-22-2013, 01:19 AM
Wow, after reading this thread my faith in God is restored. No matter how much,how few or even no water changes, look at how much goes into keeping an ecosystem going. I know for sure it takes a creator to keep this planet going!

Jeff O
03-22-2013, 03:04 AM
Wow, after reading this thread my faith in God is restored. No matter how much,how few or even no water changes, look at how much goes into keeping an ecosystem going. I know for sure it takes a creator to keep this planet going!

This is the best post in this entire thread LOL

Greghp90x
03-22-2013, 10:22 AM
This is one of my favorite thread. I believe this can be done with enough time and research anything is possible. Rome was not built in a day! Either will be a system that eliminate water changes for discus!

a volar
03-23-2013, 03:27 AM
This is one of my favorite thread. I believe this can be done with enough time and research anything is possible. Rome was not built in a day! Either will be a system that eliminate water changes for discus!

And LOTS and LOTS of money.............. Just not worth it.

Skip
03-23-2013, 09:26 AM
This is one of my favorite thread. I believe this can be done with enough time and research anything is possible. Rome was not built in a day! Either will be a system that eliminate water changes for discus!

Its easier jus to do the water changes

Of all the hundreds of threads of how to raise healthy discus. . People still come to this one and disregard the all the others..

Smh

rbarn
03-23-2013, 09:32 AM
Lets says you live Arizona or Western Australia though and have a 400 gallon tank.

Frankly there is no reason this could not be done properly and easily. Reef guys have very delicate fish and do 10% per month water changes.
An insanely strong UV system, chemical filtration using Purigen, carbon and Chemi-pure and GFO reactors (just like the reef guys) with an ozone generator, refugium and nitrate reactor it should work fine. They only thing we would have trouble with is a protein skimmer since freshwater wont foam up like salt-water. But a good refugium and chemical filter system should take care of that. Is it expensive ? Hell yeah, just ask the reef guys, but it is very doable and if you live in a water restrictive area (say like Central Texas) it is also ecologically responsible.

Kal-El
03-23-2013, 10:52 AM
Lets says you live Arizona or Western Australia though and have a 400 gallon tank.

Frankly there is no reason this could not be done properly and easily. Reef guys have very delicate fish and do 10% per month water changes.
An insanely strong UV system, chemical filtration using Purigen, carbon and Chemi-pure and GFO reactors (just like the reef guys) with an ozone generator, refugium and nitrate reactor it should work fine. They only thing we would have trouble with is a protein skimmer since freshwater wont foam up like salt-water. But a good refugium and chemical filter system should take care of that. Is it expensive ? Hell yeah, just ask the reef guys, but it is very doable and if you live in a water restrictive area (say like Central Texas) it is also ecologically responsible.

I agree... if you have the money you can have a very nice setup with a self balance ecosystem with very little WC.

Chad Hughes
03-23-2013, 11:59 AM
Its easier jus to do the water changes

Of all the hundreds of threads of how to raise healthy discus. . People still come to this one and disregard the all the others..

Smh

I wouldn't say that ALL the other threads get disregarded. There's more than one way to keep discus. It's been proven. What works for some doesn't work for others.

Why? Well, I think it's all about what you're comfortable with. It's easy to change water. There is little to no research or knowledge required to change water.

Most people find comfort in easy.

T_om
03-23-2013, 02:54 PM
Have you ever kept a large, fully planted tank? Not talking about the time spent on the fish, just the "show" tank with well thought out and well maintained landscaping? It takes more time than you would think. So much so that the additional time spent changing water is pretty small in the larger scheme of things.

Personally, I went the way of automated water changing since I, too, hated spending the time manually doing it. Discus in a fully planted tank that is well established do not need daily water changes. I got along perfectly well with two 50% automated changes a week for adults.

Tom

Derelique
03-25-2013, 08:09 AM
Loving the widely varying views here, seems to all make for a solid debate!

Can't figure out if that creationist comment was meant genuinely, as that creates all sorts of problematic discussions and circular logic... Say you were God, would you create an 'intelligently designed' global ecosystem which manages to balance itself in a healthy circle of life and recycling of nutrients, or would you create one where you were constantly having to mess around with managing the lives of every organism including every speck of algae and bug, and were doing loads of manual water changes on its oceans?

Maybe these ideas are all going in the wrong direction though, this doesn't really need to be complicated or take any money or weird equipment. All it should take is the right plants and the right light. Depending on what your house is like and where you live you could probably just run the tank water through a reed bed exposed to full sunlight or a refugium with a decent metal halide light or LED's. That alone would take care of all the waste and keep the water entirely clean so long as it's the right size and it gets enough light. Then all you need to do is mow your reed bed/refugium now and then. Carbon might be a good idea still, but GFO isn't necessary as the plants would want and need the phosphates, not to mention nitrates and other byproducts.

John_Nicholson
03-25-2013, 09:07 AM
LOL......I can't believe that this thread is still going......I have said all along that if this is what someone wants to do then please do it.....Do it for the long term and then bring your discus to one of the big NADA shows so that everyone can see you results. Trouble seems to be that either people realize that is does not work that well in the real world or their fish die....anyway we never get to see any real results, just a lot of talk that stirs new folks in the wrong direction for success.

-john

plecocicho
03-25-2013, 10:33 AM
One option would be to have a small plant treatment plants, which work as artificial wetlands.In nature wetlands act as a natural cleaning station for the rivers and lakes. Both plants and different guilds of bacteria on plants and in the soil suck up nutrients, degrade detritus and dco, absorbe and adsorbe heavy metal, etc. So an oversized artificial plant could act both as a nutrient absorber, biological nad biochemical filtration. Soething about that was written in THF few years ago. Too much hassle but if you have to experiencve prolonged water shortage it could be an option.

John_Nicholson
03-25-2013, 10:45 AM
The one thing people seem to forget when they want to design a zero water change system is that it really does not exist in nature......Every time it rains they get a water change.

-john

SMB2
03-25-2013, 10:52 AM
Without doing a lot of research, I would only be guessing, but I suspect the surface area of the "refugium" would have to be quite large relative to the tank volume to support absolutely no water changes. Therefore pretty impractical for most hobbyists.
As always this discussion falls apart due to two different end points. Keeping adult Discus in a closed minimal/no WC system is completely different from raising juveniles to adults in the same fashion. I suspect most people with large show tanks and large adult Discus do fairly well with manageable (read: 1-2 per week) WCs. Still, taking it to the next step and all but eliminating WCs seems to be (like an old professor used to say) like Hobby Horse Manure. Often talked about, but seldom seen.

rbarn
03-25-2013, 11:01 AM
The one thing people seem to forget when they want to design a zero water change system is that it really does not exist in nature......Every time it rains they get a water change.

-john

The problem is 99.99% people who say they want to do this don't go to the extremes that the reef guys do, who understand what it takes to make a no water change system work. The ocean is as open a water system as you can get and people raise reef fish for decades in a tank with only 10% per month water changes.

If you want to make it work, you can. But you have to go over the top on the filtration and parameter monitoring. insane UV to kill pathogens, nitrate reactors, refugiums, ozone to burn out impurities with ORP monitoring, lots of chemical filtration to remove impurities, start with pure RO/DI and reconstitute and top off with only RO/DI and on and on and on.... basically all the stuff that has kept me and most people in the freshwater aquarium world and away from reef tanks.

ltgoof
03-25-2013, 11:10 AM
The one thing people seem to forget when they want to design a zero water change system is that it really does not exist in nature......Every time it rains they get a water change.

-john

I just want to throw some gas into the fire... Im being a devils advocate here...

Isn't it that rain is a distilled water (a product of evaporation)? Then recycle some water through distillation process to emulate such events. :)

John_Nicholson
03-25-2013, 11:41 AM
I just want to throw some gas into the fire... Im being a devils advocate here...

Isn't it that rain is a distilled water (a product of evaporation)? Then recycle some water through distillation process to emulate such events. :)


You could look at it this way...really I don't care. I just get tired of hearing about it but no one ever does it....no one ever shows any proof. I can show you plenty of proof from the bad side of trying to raise discus in a planted tank.....just look at the disease section.

-john

-john

rainforestexperience
03-25-2013, 12:07 PM
I tried doing a 20L Planted community tank back in college and it was really hard to do. I ended up having to use a canister filter rated for 75 gallon, restrict the current by making my own spray bar, a ton of plants, and ended up only able to keep 10 fish in there. The fish were a pair of apistogrammas, 5 rummynose tetras, 2 corys, and one bristlenose pleco. It was a lot of work in preperation/ trial and error and no way near worth it. The tank was so full of plants I could hardly see my fish too.

ynot
03-25-2013, 01:48 PM
Hows it going everyone, yes Derelique the creationist comment was genuine. I'm really not trying to bring religion into the conversation it was just getting late when I finished reading the tread the other night and that thought just came to mind. But just like God we need to be constantly trying to replenish all the nutriants and minerals and all the good things ;in our case; back into the water.At the same time remove all the waste and bad things. God does it through changing the water and so do we. He uses the earth and the atmosphere and fortunately for me I don't have to build that big of mechanical device I can just use His water to change mine. The more water I can change and the more times I can change it just means a healthier enviroment for my aquarium. I too am intrested in stretching out water changes for at times when I am away. For example I leave for the Philippines in 2 weeks for 3 weeks and I have to rely on my 72 year old dad to change water. I'll be lucky if my tank gets 1 a week. But I wouldn't want to give up water changes because thats when I interact with my discus the most.

Larry Bugg
03-25-2013, 02:44 PM
Hows it going everyone, yes Derelique the creationist comment was genuine. I'm really not trying to bring religion into the conversation it was just getting late when I finished reading the tread the other night and that thought just came to mind. But just like God we need to be constantly trying to replenish all the nutriants and minerals and all the good things ;in our case; back into the water.At the same time remove all the waste and bad things. God does it through changing the water and so do we. He uses the earth and the atmosphere and fortunately for me I don't have to build that big of mechanical device I can just use His water to change mine. The more water I can change and the more times I can change it just means a healthier enviroment for my aquarium. I too am intrested in stretching out water changes for at times when I am away. For example I leave for the Philippines in 2 weeks for 3 weeks and I have to rely on my 72 year old dad to change water. I'll be lucky if my tank gets 1 a week. But I wouldn't want to give up water changes because thats when I interact with my discus the most.

In all these conversations people seem to forget what you just stated. Well put!! Lots of people will say "do you know just how dirty that water is in the Amazon. I've seen pictures and it's dirty". Well guess what, it isn't dirty at all. It is actually very clean relevitalely speaking. Why is it clean.....................because the water is constantly "changing".

ltgoof
03-25-2013, 05:19 PM
Hows it going everyone, yes Derelique the creationist comment was genuine. I'm really not trying to bring religion into the conversation it was just getting late when I finished reading the tread the other night and that thought just came to mind. But just like God we need to be constantly trying to replenish all the nutriants and minerals and all the good things ;in our case; back into the water.At the same time remove all the waste and bad things. God does it through changing the water and so do we. He uses the earth and the atmosphere and fortunately for me I don't have to build that big of mechanical device I can just use His water to change mine. The more water I can change and the more times I can change it just means a healthier enviroment for my aquarium. I too am intrested in stretching out water changes for at times when I am away. For example I leave for the Philippines in 2 weeks for 3 weeks and I have to rely on my 72 year old dad to change water. I'll be lucky if my tank gets 1 a week. But I wouldn't want to give up water changes because thats when I interact with my discus the most.

Kabayan, there is such thing as AUTOMATION. No need for Tatay to look after your discus. You can even controll WC remotely from your iPad these days :D

Let's get back to the topic... I don't want to sound like a smart @$$ here, but If I could thrown in there Einstein theory that "Matter could not be created nor destroyed, it only change it's form." Meaning we can re-cycle water back to it's pure form maybe through the proces of distillation, reverse osmosis... and one day the fella who started this thread will be able to knock this down. i don't know... who knows... :D

I think the key is to separate the bad stuff from pure water.

I still hope that some day this will be possible....

Remember when Gallileo said that the world is round, people laugh at him and prosecuted him. ;)

Mxx
03-25-2013, 07:10 PM
I was surprised to receive an email notification of new activity still on this thread (you guys can leave it alone if you like, or appeal to the administrators to close it on account of it corrupting the youth and impiety ;). Hopefully it's at least a critical examination from many different perspectives of what is a major part of discus keeping. I'll try and address these different comments, with a long rambling response so feel free to tune out.

To weigh in upon a few points raised as duty necessitates, experienced reefers generally don't seem to do water changes at all for nutrient export. The informed view there seems to be that the processes of certain animals and invertebrates changes the balance of trace elements in the seawater. Therefore, they're doing it simply to maintain trace elements, which are supposedly found in the right balance in seawater mixes. Otherwise you can test for a few but not all of those including iodine and strontium and dose them if necessary, but most find it easier to just do small water changes instead. Reefers however do test and accordingly dose for calcium, alkalinity, and magnesium regularly. Some also happen to have good reef tanks, do no water changes, do no testing, and just rely upon mineralised top-up water and added food to add whatever is necessary.

Freshwater is of course a slightly different animal than marine, but of course relative in certain ways. We don't have corals building reefs, but we can have plants which do grow and are trimmed. I'm not sure whether anything in freshwater is incorporating and depleting trace elements however, but minerals do need to be replenished.

And rivers do receive fresh rainwater, but the ocean don't and they're still quite teeming with life. The rivers discus inhabit might also have a billion fish and plants upstream as well though, so it's not exactly completely pure water, and the water of some of those rivers certainly are quite filled and cloudy with actual dirt, and if not dirt then at least plenty of tannins in the dark water rivers which is not that different a thing either.

I'm keeping a small/medium reef tank actually, and it's not too much trouble to maintain water quality there. I would however like to add a refugium there for perhaps additional nutrient removal. To keep nitrates in check I have live rock, a fine sandbed, and also have a little bag of carbohydrate pellets tossed into the filter chamber which keeps my nitrates at zero, (the pellets work in conjunction with protein skimming).

Water can be recycled back to full purity, through distallation such as a solar still, or through deonization. You can't of course be doing that on a continuous or drip basis as you'll need to remineralize it before you put it back into the tank (unless you ran it over some sort of remineralizing substrate such as crushed coral and dolomite, which perhaps isn't sufficient either and might be tricky).. Filtering into a reservoir which is used periodically would work though, which is what I mentioned a few pages back as my plan.

Using ozone, UV, nitrate reactors, AND refugiums is a bit redundant. Ozone, a refugium, and carbon filtration would cover those things themselves. I'd certainly want to top-off with RODI water anyway, my tapwater is crap. And it's not necessarily about the size of the refugium, but I thnk much more about the intensity of light. You'd want nutrient availability, not light to be the limiting factor on plant growth. Sunlight in a sunny climate could no doubt achieve that in a relatively small space, but I couldn't quite manage to do that in my own house.

I still haven't a clue whether sufficient plant growth and trimming alone would keep the right water quality. Many people do run natural planted tanks, with little maintenance and great success. I have one of those too, which I checked the salinity on and it came up as zero by the way.

I don't have a problem with maintenance by the way, such as aquascaping and dealing with planted tank matters. But I would like to avoid unnecessary maintenance if I can find a way to 'build a better mousetrap'.

I do still maintain that on our planet that simply put, animal waste = plant food = animal food = animal waste, ad infinitum.

2wheelsx2
03-25-2013, 08:25 PM
And rivers do receive fresh rainwater, but the ocean don't and they're still quite teeming with life. The rivers discus inhabit might also have a billion fish and plants upstream as well though, so it's not exactly completely pure water, and the water of some of those rivers certainly are quite filled and cloudy with actual dirt, and if not dirt then at least plenty of tannins in the dark water rivers which is not that different a thing either.

Of course the oceans receive fresh rainwater. Why wouldn't they? Unless the rain only happens on land....

ynot
03-25-2013, 08:39 PM
Slow down on me there Itgoof. I'm with you man but whether you change water manually or automatically its still changing water. And even if you take your tank water and purify it , I still think its changing your water.

ynot
03-25-2013, 10:45 PM
Hey Mxx glad you checked back in. Yeah I think refugiums are the way to go. Its not only the plants taking out unwanted poisons and adding to the aeration but the substrate has a lot to do with adding back in the right nutrients and such. On what scale your refugium would have to be to keep your water pristine enough to grow out juvenile discus to full jumbo adult discus I don't know. You might want to talk with Leng Sy who owns ecosystems. He is the one who came up with miracle mud for both salt and freshwater refugiums.
But for my pocket I just do the water changes,they work and for me I really do enjoy the work. When my discus come to me and swim in my hand and let me touch them that is one of the biggest rewards for me.

redlionvjx
03-26-2013, 12:06 AM
interesting topic, thanks for the info

GlennR
03-26-2013, 12:20 AM
Sure seems like an automatic WC setup would be a simpler & better solution.

Mxx
03-26-2013, 05:15 AM
Is anyone clear on whether phosphates are bad for fish? I searched but didn't find anything. It's death in reef tanks as high levels inhibit coral calcification, but not sure about fresh other than that it's good for plants.

I certainly haven't done calculations on nitrogen input via feeding vs plant nitrogen uptake per square meter of a specified light intensity. Not sure if I can accurately either. From successful examples I've seen the refugiums have a smaller footprint than the tank. It might need to be just trialed instead on a practical basis. On the other hand, I don't really need a refugium, I could just put in a good cover of some fast growing floating plants which can use atmospheric CO2, and really amp up the LED lights over those, which is what I think I'd intend mostly on doing. For an average discus tank, does anyone know the approximate weight of the food they're putting in each day by the way?

Whether bacteria or plants are better at processing metabolic byproducts is an open question though. A big refugium or sump with a deep sand bed should process a lot of nitrates, but it's of course not just nitrates that we're concerned with and I expect plants absorb and remove a lot that bacteria might not. Some, but not most successful reef tanks do use plant/algae to export nutrients but most rely just upon bacteria and some chemical filtration.

To be honest water purification/recycling of tank water should be four times more efficient/easier if I'm running soft tank water than it would be to purify my very hard tap water. And I was going to automate that, which would give me more focused time to play with my discus if that was the goal :)

How confident are we in our water remineralizing powders and discus buffers that we use with RO water. As mentioned, I've heard of great success and great colour using Leng's Ecoystem's Miracle Mud, which might indicate that these buffers are lacking in some trace elements which are helpful in achieving optimal discus colouration. I don't know if Miracle Mud has anything special in it which regular dirt does not though. So perhaps a more comprehensive source of trace elements is best practice. Or maybe all it'd take is adding vitamins to food.

I wouldn't really say rain acts as water changes to the oceans. That rain was mostly evaporated from the oceans in the first place which therefore left all the stuff that was removed by evaporating it still behind in the oceans. To be honest, maybe the ocean is actually more like what you'd get from taking all the 'bad' water that you throw out while doing water changes, and then evaporating that constantly over a few billion years to form a super-concentrated solution of that discarded water. That's basically what it is, with all the runoff from land and with every stream and river flushing into it. Even so, the clear water particularly in the sunnier areas of the globe is typically devoid of nutrients, as life and plankton so quickly absorbs any that is present. (But yes, people are of course sometimes screwing this up and disrupting these ecosystems with agricultural runoff, mercury, etc).

rbarn
03-26-2013, 09:25 AM
Sure seems like an automatic WC setup would be a simpler & better solution.

It's what I am doing and if you've read along on my build journal you know I'm sparing no expense in cost vs. automation and low maintenance.
The amount of plants needed to break down the waste of well stocked aquarium with fish the size and eating habits of discus would quickly get out of hand.

ynot
03-26-2013, 09:34 AM
Hi Mxx , I found a little info on Phosphates for you. Phosphates in the Aquarium
All living organism contain phosphorus. Phosphorus is an important element of life as a component for cell membranes, as an energy source, and for other bio-chemical processes.

Phosphorus is a very reactive component making it readily absorbed and generally available in aquatic environments as either an organic or inorganic phosphate.

Phosphates (PO4) can be created within the closed aquatic system or imported from the outside.

Phosphate as a by-product of mineralization of dead matter such as plants, bacteria, feces, uneaten food, fish slime etc. are all internal contributors.

Dead plant material or rotting food particles settle either on the substrate or within the filter. Rinsing filter materials and vacuuming the gravel at every water change can significantly reduce potential phosphate accumulation from these internal sources.

Replacement water can also contain phosphate, sometimes surprisingly high concentrations, even if RO units are in use.

Additives such as pH stabilizers or carbon, and frozen fish food are potential external phosphate sources. Avoiding phosphate containing products as well as testing of the replacement water for phosphates can further help prevent accumulation. If in doubt, additives, carbon, pH buffers, and the water should be tested and replaced if necessary.

Prohibiting phosphates from entering the water or from forming within the aquarium is the best safeguard from the harmful consequences of accumulating phosphates.

Inorganic phosphate or orthophosphate is the soluble form. It is readily available and quickly absorbed by plants. Organic phosphate refers to phosphate that is part of a cell structure or organically bound in other ways. Organic phosphate must be broken down by bacteria in order to become soluble orthophosphate.

The biggest source of organic phosphate is fish food. 5 grams of flake food can increase the organic phosphate level by 0.4 ppm. The filters and substrate have to be cleaned regularly before the organic phosphate is mineralized to inorganic orthophosphate.

Some marine and especially reef aquarium set-ups rely on less frequent water changes. The reason for one is a delicately balanced filtration based on live rock and/or the need for nutrient supplementation for coral growth, among others. To compensate for less frequent water changes a protein skimmer is attached, which will remove many waste particles that would otherwise be broken down to soluble orthophosphates.

Unfortunately, protein skimmers do not work in freshwater aquariums and can not be substituted for less frequent water changes. More than 90% of the phosphate contained in the aquarium is organic phosphate. The common test kit measures the inorganic soluble orthophosphate, not the organic form or the total phosphate content.

Generally the measurable phosphate level should be below 0.05 ppm.

Planted tanks have the advantage that plants are capable of storing and consuming phosphates. Plants can only take up in-organic orthophosphate, thus reducing the levels. Saltwater tanks can imitate that by planting macro algae into a refugium or sump.

In reef aquariums Kalkwasser can just about eliminate phosphate. At a pH above 8.9 phosphate precipitates in the water as insoluble phosphate and flocks out. Marine aquariums kept above a pH of 8.4 allow some phosphate to be bound to rocks and substrate in an insoluble form. Nevertheless it will become soluble if the pH drops below 8.

In closing, phosphate can not be entirely removed from the aquarium since organic phosphate is constantly converted into in-organic soluble orthophosphate. Nevertheless, phosphates can be controlled with a good maintenance schedule aimed at keeping organic phosphates at a minimum.

Mxx
03-26-2013, 11:42 AM
Fish of course ingest phosphates with their food, and need some phosphates. I wonder though what a detrimentally high level of phosphates might be though, as I assume that even with fish there is an upper level to that. Interesting to read that bacterial processes are necessary for converting organophosphates to inorganic phosphates, so some degree of biofiltration is necessary, even if you were trying to rely mainly upon plants to absorb phosphates.

Mxx
03-26-2013, 11:50 AM
It's what I am doing and if you've read along on my build journal you know I'm sparing no expense in cost vs. automation and low maintenance.
The amount of plants needed to break down the waste of well stocked aquarium with fish the size and eating habits of discus would quickly get out of hand.

I've been watching your journal, thanks. Most decent planted tanks have nitrate and phosphate levels of zero even if they are generously stocked and fed. So many planted tank enthusiasts are actually dosing those regularly, especially if they're running strong lighting and CO2. If you're doing what most would consider to be overfeeding, then that might be another thing however. Aiming to have a lot of floating plants getting explosively out of hand might be a good approach, being that it'd be easy to net out a bucketful each week.

brewmaster15
03-26-2013, 12:08 PM
Somethings I think people need to think about...

* Fish per area water in both a tank verse au natural
* Growth rates of said fish in both a tank an au natural and the Foods ingested.
* Adult specimens and what is acceptible.. In a tank its one thing, in the wild..its another. The tanks owner maybe looking for specimens that are large, showy, thick and robust...In au natural... The fish just needs to be fit enough to reproduce...after that it really doesn't matter.

Theres always room for improvement in fish keeping skills and technology...However, duplicating nature is something we can't do...its why its so critical to preserve the complex biological systems that already exist.

A tank of fish will never be on par with a natural system.. whether you believe that system to be made by God, or Evolution.. both would be a tad too complex for us duplicate,imo.

Technology is a wonderful thing and with it we can purify water with sufficient equipment and processes...we do it everyday in municipal treatment plants. But its not necessarily scaleable to a fish tank and whats out there that may work is expensive.

hey I have a better idea... shameless plug... http://forum.simplydiscus.com/showthread.php?104050
save some money on your hobby and then buy all the high-tech equipment you want with it.:) or just save some money and Go DO A WATER CHANGE..:)

-al

ynot
03-26-2013, 08:22 PM
Hi Al , very well said. I'v just got back into the hobby this past year after about 27 years. And I have to say I don't remember it being quite this expensive. LOL but I guess thats everything these days. And yes Al I have been thinking about a premium membership but I will have to wait until I get back from the Philippines next month. I appreciate all the good information here especially from all the experienced keepers here at SD.
Thanks,
Tony

rcomeau
03-27-2013, 09:25 AM
Mxx, as you know, this thread was started over 2 years ago. Have you been maintaining a discus tank that long? Is it planted? Have you been changing the water? How are the discus doing? What did you learn from experience the last two years? Are you close to the goal of keeping a discus tank with minimal maintenance? Please be clear about what you accomplished in 2 years to provide a credible baseline for the constructive considerations that you continue to suggest. Thanks

I am anxious to hear about progress given that this thread has given me a clear idea of the difference between a tank and a river. How much water and plants per fish in a river? Thousands? It is about 10 gallons/fish in a tank. When I watch how much a discus eats each day I can't help but think that it is putting a lot of waste in its 10 gallon share. Cleaning that amount of waste per day in that 10 gallons without water changes would be an incredible break through indeed.

So by now, please, credible or incredible?

Skip
03-27-2013, 10:04 AM
Rco.. he has no discus tank.. to date.. he has been planning and then move money for other priorities. .
So for now.. this is all jus theory