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Thread: Ok here we go. Getting back in but need some help PLEASE!!

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    Default Ok here we go. Getting back in but need some help PLEASE!!

    Ok first i want to apologize out of the gate since this will be a very long post. Out of my 46 years on this earth I have had fish in one way shape or form for 40 years. With several tropical tanks when I was younger I dove in to a 180g reef tank about 12 years ago. Due to a divorce I had to get rid of everything. After a few years out of having a tank I dove back in to the reef hobby with a used 135g. I don't like to go cheap on anything so I would rather wait then buy something twice. So for a year I accumulated everything that I would need for this tank and dove in 1 1/2 years ago. I have decided to get out of the saltwater hobby go back in to Discus. My decision is based on that i have found saltwater can either break you or it will break you. Its very expensive and I have tried to beat several different issue in my tank and once I get ahead something else happens. So I am throwing in the towel on that and starting a new chapter. SO I am going to list my equipment let you know my thoughts on what I want to do and then ask for some advice or suggestions. I dis have a discus tank 15+ years ago but I do know things have changed dramatically.
    Equipment:
    135 gallon tank (4'w X 2' deep X 28" tall) (tank is on the main floor of my house)
    Custom built advanced acrylics sump 60 gallon (sump is in a dedicated fish room in the basement)
    75 gallon fuge in basement
    2x AI (aqua illumination) Hydra 52's
    1x AI Hydra 26
    GHL Profilux 4 controller ultimate set includes ph, conductivity, 2x temp probes and redox
    GHL KH Director
    GHL 2.1 Stand alone doser
    GHL 2.1 Slave Doser
    GHL Expansion Box
    3x GHL Powerbars
    3x 5000ml dosing tanks with GHL magnetic stirrer
    2x Maxspect 230xf gyre with controller
    2x Maxspect 250xf gyre with controller
    8 stage RO/DI 150 gpd (2x sediment, 2x carbon block. 1x big blue chloramine remover, 2x di and the membrane)
    2x 60 gallon holding tanks
    1x Tunze ATO
    2x 500watt Finnex heaters
    Blueline 70HD return pump ( moves water vertically 16' and horizontally 12')

    I have been reading a lot. Have asked a few questions. But want some opinions on my thoughts. I am going to clean everything very thoroughly. Tank with muratic acid to get rid of coraline and other things that have grown in it. I will clean the fuge and sump. Try and clean the pipes as best I can. Sump and fish room will stay in the basement as is.

    I want to have a planted Discus tank. I will take thieving very slow initially and start off with some simple easy potted plants. But if everything goes good I would like to increase the amount of plants and possibly add a CO2 system if required. The tank will have driftwood and aquascpaed very nicely.

    Should I go with plant media as a base with fine black sand over this. I really like the look of a darker tank with very bright Discus?

    I will start the tank with about 12x Rummy Nose Tetras and then add about 12x Cardinal and or Neon Tetras. I will also have a couple of Cory cats and some sort of rare smaller Pleco. This will take a couple of months to accomplish and then I will add 2x 3-4" Discus per month after that until I get a total of around 8.

    The main tank will dump into the fuge initially and this will have about 40-60lbs of Miracle Mud with plants to suck up alot of the nutrients and shrimp in the fuge. The fuge then dumps in to the sump which will have mechanical and biological filtration.

    I plan on selling the AI LED lights as they are not needed for Freshwater and I can buy a new freshwater light and equipment with the money I will get for these lights. I would like some recommendations on lighting that will be needed. (GHL does make a freshwater light but its not cheap)

    I do not plan to breed anything so I dont think I need the RO/DI but you never know . From what I was told I could use regular old aged tap water. I will be checking my water parameters out of the faucet as I am not sure what they are since I used a RO/DI and did not care what they were initially. I know my TDS is 320 before it goes in to the ro/di. But my water here in the country seems to have a lot of minerals as we get black rings in our toilets.

    If I can use tap water then I will keep the 2x 60 gallon drums to age and heat my water. To perform my water changes I was thinking about getting a GHL Maxi doser to perform this all day long. Here is my thoughts on this 120gal in main display, 60 gal in the fuge and 30 in my sump that is a total of about 210 gallons. since I estimate 120 gallons in the display if I change out 30 gallons a day then I would be changing out 25% daily. The water in the sump and fuge should not be adding to the bio load of the system correct? Would this be enough?

    I keep 1x heater in the sump and 1x in the tank controlled by my P4. Are there any trace elements that will need to be dosed?
    I plan on selling a lot of my equipment that will not be used.

    I am sure I will think of more but I think this is enough to start with....

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    Default Re: Ok here we go. Getting back in but need some help PLEASE!!

    Hi Marc,
    Thats one very detailed post! I had to read it several times! I think you will get the most support if you break things out into sections and ask them the specific forum sections as eyes sometimes glaze over when theres too much info.. or you could just focus on one aspect at a time in this thread.

    I think one area we should talk about is this..

    I will start the tank with about 12x Rummy Nose Tetras and then add about 12x Cardinal and or Neon Tetras. I will also have a couple of Cory cats and some sort of rare smaller Pleco. This will take a couple of months to accomplish and then I will add 2x 3-4" Discus per month after that until I get a total of around 8.
    Its not really a good idea Imo. I know alot of people like to add dither fish first but you set yourself up for health issues with your Discus when you do. Tetras in particular are a bad Discus tank fish. They are prone to parasites and handle medication and heat poorly. Discus also munch on them alot .I know they look great in a tank.and many people do keep them and love them. Just understand the inherent risks with them.

    If your focus for the tank is Discus make them your first fish. Give them time to settle in, be sure they are healthy. Also don't get them a few at a time. Get the whole group at one time from one vendor.You don't want to be adding discus without lengthy quarantines... They are much like reef fish in this sense.

    hth,
    al
    AquaticSuppliers.com Freeze Dried BlackWorms and other foods your Discus will Love!!!


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    Moderator Team Filip's Avatar
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    Default Re: Here we go.... Need some advice please!!

    WOW Marc . You have a whole house invested in your reef equipment .

    The logics in discus tanks are completely opposite from the reefs . Your described start where you build your system very slowly adding fish by fish is not used in discus.
    My 2 cents would be to buy your discus batch of let's say 10-12 fully grown discus all together and let them settle for 2-3 months in your bare tank . You will use this time to learn their behaviour and their needs. You will learn when and why they are happy and when and why they act odd .
    Once you and your discus do this then you can put sand , potted plants(pre - sterilized with bleach ) and driftwood to enjoy your tank at fullest .

    Then , you can also add other diether fish in big schools , (You'll need 100-200 tetras or Cardinals for that size tanK so they can look cool IMO) but only after you perform the strict Quarantine procedure with tester discus fully described here on out forum .

    And wolla , in 4-5 months from now you got your self a breathtaking discus planted tank .

    Your system holds total of 210 Gallons of water . Your 2 drums of aged water holds 120 g and that would be totally enough for you to perform 1 or 2 - 120gallon changes per week (that would be 50-60% change ) .
    You don't need anything else IMO to have a beautiful discus display tank and you can sell the rest of the stuff from your ex hobby , reefing that is .

    Good luck and ask away if I have missed something from your long post .

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    Administrator brewmaster15's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ok here we go. Getting back in but need some help PLEASE!!

    I merged the other thread (duplicate ) in the beginners board on this subject.

    al
    AquaticSuppliers.com Freeze Dried BlackWorms and other foods your Discus will Love!!!


    >>>>>We really could use your support. Please DONATE HERE Thanks!


    Al Sabetta
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    Default Re: Ok here we go. Getting back in but need some help PLEASE!!

    Quote Originally Posted by brewmaster15 View Post
    Hi Marc,
    Thats one very detailed post! I had to read it several times! I think you will get the most support if you break things out into sections and ask them the specific forum sections as eyes sometimes glaze over when theres too much info.. or you could just focus on one aspect at a time in this thread.

    I think one area we should talk about is this..


    Its not really a good idea Imo. I know alot of people like to add dither fish first but you set yourself up for health issues with your Discus when you do. Tetras in particular are a bad Discus tank fish. They are prone to parasites and handle medication and heat poorly. Discus also munch on them alot .I know they look great in a tank.and many people do keep them and love them. Just understand the inherent risks with them.

    If your focus for the tank is Discus make them your first fish. Give them time to settle in, be sure they are healthy. Also don't get them a few at a time. Get the whole group at one time from one vendor.You don't want to be adding discus without lengthy quarantines... They are much like reef fish in this sense.

    hth,
    al
    I understand your point and will start bare bottom with Discus first

    Thanks for merging the thread

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    Default Re: Here we go.... Need some advice please!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Filip View Post
    WOW Marc . You have a whole house invested in your reef equipment .

    The logics in discus tanks are completely opposite from the reefs . Your described start where you build your system very slowly adding fish by fish is not used in discus.
    My 2 cents would be to buy your discus batch of let's say 10-12 fully grown discus all together and let them settle for 2-3 months in your bare tank . You will use this time to learn their behaviour and their needs. You will learn when and why they are happy and when and why they act odd .
    Once you and your discus do this then you can put sand , potted plants(pre - sterilized with bleach ) and driftwood to enjoy your tank at fullest .

    Then , you can also add other diether fish in big schools , (You'll need 100-200 tetras or Cardinals for that size tanK so they can look cool IMO) but only after you perform the strict Quarantine procedure with tester discus fully described here on out forum .

    And wolla , in 4-5 months from now you got your self a breathtaking discus planted tank .

    Your system holds total of 210 Gallons of water . Your 2 drums of aged water holds 120 g and that would be totally enough for you to perform 1 or 2 - 120gallon changes per week (that would be 50-60% change ) .
    You don't need anything else IMO to have a beautiful discus display tank and you can sell the rest of the stuff from your ex hobby , reefing that is .

    Good luck and ask away if I have missed something from your long post .
    I appreciate the response. I would like to keep the GHL P4 for controlling my heaters, monitoring PH and redox. I know I can utilize it in the future if I implement a CO2 system for the plants. And monitoring top off tanks with possible dosing...

    Would it be beneficial to dose any trace Elements?

    For top off water would I use RO/DI? if use aged tap the mineral content Will increase in the tank as I keep adding

    Is a 50% water change 1x a week enough?

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    Default Re: Ok here we go. Getting back in but need some help PLEASE!!

    Hi Marc,

    welcome to the forum from me, too.

    If I might suggest you have a look at this video, Al ( forum owner) gives a vey comprehensive overview on discus and their requirements in here, including water etc. It’s a bit longer, but well worth a watch and should answer most of your questions.


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    Default Re: Ok here we go. Getting back in but need some help PLEASE!!

    Hi Mark and welcome to Simply Discus. I think you are very wise to do your ground research first. Being a forum dedicated to these fish it follows that most of us tend to prioritize their requirements. It does not mean we are totally oblivious to other flavours of freshwater aquariums (many of us have planted fish tanks, some of them even with discus), but it does mean that we like to see our discus healthy and happy first of all, we also ideally like them big, round and pretty; compared to most if not all other freshwater ornamental fish discus make it really obvious if there is any deficit in their breeding, growing or keeping. If you watch Al's video you will realize though that there are some hard learned facts about what makes a good tank for discus that are quite antithetic to a heavily planted high/medium tech tank. As barren and artificial as it may appear, discus are perfectly happy in a totally bare tank (particularly while they are still growing) and once fully grown they still benefit for most of the volume being left open. Carpeting plants or very bushy plants really get in the way of cleaning, the plants that work best are epiphytes like Microsorum, Anubia, Bucephalandra that are grown on wood, that can be kept off the bottom so it traps the least possible dirt. These are all slow growing plants, they do not require strong lighting, CO2 or a lot of ferts. In a high tech tank you are pushing fast growing plants to absorb and utilize the extra nutrients you are adding with the ferts so to out-compete the algae. Not only the extra light, CO2 and ferts are way surplus to requirements for a discus tank but you also have to consider that the more abundant water changes would waste a lot of the ferts and CO2 you are putting in the tank (in the case of the CO2 a lot would also escape through the surface of the sump and refugium). Some also advice against having a dark substrate in a discus tank as it may make them darken, particularly in the case of Pigeon Blood strains. Why not set up the big tank to suit the discus best and also get a 55-75 gal tank to go the whole hog high tech planted and put the Tetra in that? If you are tempted both by discus and a high tech planted tank, as it would be a tricky juggling act to combine the two, just have them separate. We all succumb to Multiple Tank Syndrome, might as well embrace it!

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    Default Re: Ok here we go. Getting back in but need some help PLEASE!!

    After watching the video and everyone’s advice I have changed my mind. Bare bottom it is with nothing in the tank until they are at least 5” long. Then it will only be some drift wood with plants that grow on the wood. “Low-tech”.... then I will only put about 1/2inch of fine sand in there color is to be determined. I will hold off on the tetras until I see how they do...

    Still have a couple of questions though

    Top off water RO or tap? I’m thinking ro since I don’t want the build up of excess minerals

    Water changes... I would like automate as much as I can and with my P4 I can get the Maxi doser and do constant changes daily @ 20% and then I will get a 135g barrel and do a 50% once a week. Think that would suffice.

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    Default Re: Ok here we go. Getting back in but need some help PLEASE!!

    Quote Originally Posted by MarcVargas View Post
    After watching the video and everyone’s advice I have changed my mind. Bare bottom it is with nothing in the tank until they are at least 5” long. Then it will only be some drift wood with plants that grow on the wood. “Low-tech”.... then I will only put about 1/2inch of fine sand in there color is to be determined. I will hold off on the tetras until I see how they do...

    Still have a couple of questions though

    Top off water RO or tap? I’m thinking ro since I don’t want the build up of excess minerals

    Water changes... I would like automate as much as I can and with my P4 I can get the Maxi doser and do constant changes daily @ 20% and then I will get a 135g barrel and do a 50% once a week. Think that would suffice.
    I’d use the RO for top off, for the reason you mentioned.

    Water changes look good to me. If you’re doing grow outs rather than adults additional daily syphoning will add to the total WC volume as well.

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