Low Maintenance Show Tank With Adult Discus

Summary

My tank journal consists of the following parts:

Part 1 Introduction
Part 2 The Fish
Part 3 Maintaining a Clean Tank
Part 4 The Filtration System
Part 5 How the Filtration System Functions
Part 6 LED Lighting System
Part 7 Water Exchange

Part 1 Introduction

This journal is about my 100 g show tank that displays the beautiful colors of my fish, creating healthy conditions for them, and yet requires a minimum amount of maintenance to keep it pristine clean. I have approached this from every aspect that I can think of in an effort to maximize the esthetic beauty of the fish and the tank environment, while not going all the way with a planted tank. This is because I am simply not willing to invest the time and effort required to maintain such a tank. In fact, I have put together a non-planted tank that requires an absolute minimum effort to keep it clean. To accomplish the visual appeal of my tank requires attention to many different factors, including lighting, water clarity, choice of decorative items, the type and style of tank, filtration system, tank water circulation, what and how the fish are fed, and other factors. In my tank journal, I'm going to explain all the different systems that I have designed and built that support the show tank. This effort is a work in progress because I still making modifications even after several years.

What Is Low Maintenance-- Once a month I spend about two hours cleaning the tank and the filters. Other than that the only thing I do is feed the fish daily. There's no need to vacuum feces or uneaten food from the tank because the filtration system removes it automatically. Algae and slime are eliminated so that tank cleaning at the end of the month is very simple to accomplish. The tank remains pristine clean during the entire month because the filtration system does most of the work for me. I plan to present a detailed description about what these systems are, and how they function.

The Setup for the Tank and Supporting Systems-- The show tank is located in our family room which is adjacent to the kitchen. The pumps, filtration, and water exchange systems are all located in the basement where they are out of sight, quiet, and easily accessed for servicing. I chose an all glass bow tank from Aqua Vim. I wanted to stay away from acrylic because it scratches ealsiy and this really messes up the visual appeal. The glass is 1/2 inch thick and after having it for a few years, there no scratches whatsoever on on the front glass. The glass bow front has been perfectly formed without any distortion at all. I chose black cherry for the cabinet and I'm really glad I did. When one first looks at the aquarium, they are immediately drawn to look at what's inside the tank rather than looking at the cabinet which is somewhat invisible (almost stealthy). Visitors to our home are always sucked into looking at the aquarium and commenting on it. The top part of the cabinet hides the lighting fixtures and tank top which are accessible with a hinged door that opens upward. The overall impact is really quite stunning. It presents a challenge to photograph, however, because there's such a huge contrast difference between the black cabinet and the lighted tank.

Picture 1-1 100g Aqua Vim Corner Bow, Black Cherry Cabinet:
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Emergency Backup Power System--We live in a rural area in Arkansas where we are subject to ice storms. Once we were without power for ten days. So we installed a 17.5 KW generator that will run everything in the house, including the air conditioner if necessary. It runs on propane and there is a 1000 gal tank that will provide us service for 30 days (assuming 24/7 operation). It is not uncommon to be without utility power for at least a day or two during the winter here, so it's comforting to know that my fish will survive thru most emergencies.

Source Water-- We also have our own water source (private well). The water comes from 500 feet down and is really nice stuff for keeping discus. The water has been tested a few times and the results always comes up free from heavy metals with zero ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, and phosphates. There is no variation in TDS, Ph, or temperature throughout the year. The price is right too, electrical cost to pump 1000 gal is $0.18.