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Thread: My first discus project (125g custom made with sump)

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    Default My first discus project (125g custom made with sump)

    Hi everyone,

    My name is Ovidiu Dominic, 29 yrs old, from France and i have been in this hobby since i was 10 years old. I have enjoyed many projects like: african cichlids, south american cichlids, high tech planted tanks but during the recent years something caught my eye. This expensive to get, expensive to keep, expensive to feed fish has become available at 2 hours distance drive from home (the stendker discus) and this will be my biggest challenge so far. I will say that i am a bit afraid giving the purchase cost of 11 adult discus but with the experience gathered during the years, the study, lurking on the forums and ofcourse with your help, i will try to offer these fish a good home. And now the fun part ... Let's hop into the details

    I have a 125 gallons tank (1500L x 500l x 600h mm) with a full coast 2 coast overflow on the back the aquarium with external overflow, bean animal drain, 65 gallon sump (1 chamber mechanical filtration, 2nd chamber 50 liters of oase helx 13 media and finally the return chamber). The stand is made from aluminium and will be covered with big sheets of wood to give it a minimalistic look. The aquarium is still empty as it hasnt fully cured but.... Tomorrow is the big day and i will be able to start the cycle

    I want to create a planted aquarium with very fine sand so that it will be easier to clean and i will not use any hard scape. The plants will not be a priority so i will go with the easier ones that can grow in higher temp like Vallisneria that will cover the back, Lotus plants that will create the main scape and 2, 3 crypts.

    Now let's talk about water:

    These are the official tap water params in my city: Tests taken a week ago.

    AMMONIUM (EN NH4) <0,05 mg/L
    CHLORE LIBRE * 0,35 mg(Cl2)/L
    CHLORE TOTAL * 0,36 mg(Cl2)/L
    CONDUCTIVITÉ À 25°C 366 µS/cm
    NITRATES (EN NO3) 1,4 mg/L
    PH * 7,9 unité pH

    Based on these tests i will use a HMA filter ( 1micron sediment cartrige, 5 micron high chlorine remover cartrige, 1 micron carbon filter) and just to be sure i will use prime after each water change. I will plan on doing weekly 30 or 50% water chantge in the display tank.

    The filtration for this tank will be made in 3 stages:
    1. Mechanical filtration ( first sump chamber with filter floss and the water will be forced to pass through it) also the water changes from the main DT will be done in the sump so that all the detrius will get trapped in the filter floss before i change it.
    2. Nitrification will be done in the second chamber by the 50 liters of moving bed media plus the plants will help.
    3. Denitrification: i will start by using a lot of different floating plants in the sump where they will have 12h of light during the night to eat the nitrates and stabilize ph also.

    The equipment used for this tank will be:
    4x 54w T5 (10 000k, 9000k, 6000k, 3000k) ofcourse i will use only 2 bulbs for the start.
    Aquamedic t controller duo (300w titanium heater w/ controller) more expensive but better quality and durability.
    Return pump eheim universal 790 gallon.

    This is what i plan to keep in the aquarium:

    100 rummynose tetra
    11 discus

    After the tank has cycled i will add the 100 tetras and let things calm down... during this time i will start to test the water and start feeding more so the system will be ready for the big guys.

    The food will be a home made recipe made of:

    Beefhart
    Salmon
    Sardines
    Shrimp

    Brocolli heads
    Spinach
    Carrots
    Garlic
    Peas

    Spirulina powder
    Vitamins
    Krill powder
    (maybe noori sheets)

    The krill and spirulina powder will be used as binders.

    I have some questions before i start:

    1. Will the current stocking ideea be viable in this system (100 rummynose + 11 discus) ?
    2. Will the floating plants and the ones in the water be enough for removing excess no3 ? i have a big reactor that is waiting to get wet in case i need to make something like a nitrate tower.



    Sorry for the long post but i am so excited to start this project, especially here where the community is kind and willing to help the beginners. Pics will follow soon.

  2. #2
    Administrator brewmaster15's Avatar
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    Default Re: My first discus project (125g custom made with sump)

    Dominic welcome to the Forum!

    I'm happy to hear you will be trying Discus and very thrilled that you are starting it right by asking first , then doing it! It will make your experience much better!

    To answer your question,

    Will the current stocking ideea be viable in this system (100 rummynose + 11 discus) ? in a 125 gal.. Will be crowded. The discus numbers are fine, but you would probably be better off with a smaller school of tetras..20-40. 100 will be too much I fear , especially at feeding time. Thats just an opinion. I currently have 35 discus at 4" in 125 gal as a grow out tank. Biologically your tank can handle the numbers, but aesthetically it may not work you. Thats a personal call.

    . Will the floating plants and the ones in the water be enough for removing excess no3 ? i have a big reactor that is waiting to get wet in case i need to make something like a nitrate tower.
    will plan on doing weekly 30 or 50% water chantge in the display tank.
    with that kind of water change probably not enough plants, but you are buying adult discus so won't need to feed heavily , which will help alot. This one is one that will vary also depending on what you feed and how much.



    he food will be a home made recipe made of:

    Beefhart
    Salmon
    Sardines
    Shrimp

    Brocolli heads
    Spinach
    Carrots
    Garlic
    Peas

    Spirulina powder
    Vitamins
    Krill powder
    (maybe noori sheets)

    The krill and spirulina powder will be used as binders.
    This mix would be great in a bare bottom tank with lots of water changes, but in your tank, it will probably foul the water and bump up ammonia products.


    I would like to point out a potential weakness in your plan. I would not add the tetras first . Get your Discus first, get them all at once from the same vendor... Let them settle in and take the time to learn about them and get the tank balanced. Add no other fish, not even dither fish...Once you are sure your DIscus are healthy and happy then get your other fish and quarantine them separately for 6 weeks minimum.

    Hth,
    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
    Simplydiscus LLC Owner
    Aquaticsuppliers.com

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    Default Re: My first discus project (125g custom made with sump)

    Thank you for your reply,

    I will go down to 50 tetras instead of 100.

    About buying the discus first its going to be complicated. The reason i wanted to get the tetras first was to get used to the system, feeding and testing the water to see which plan will works best for removing nitrates. I added a lot of new stuff to the tank, like the hma filter, first time using a sump, first time using a moving bed filter... Before i buy the discus i just want to start having a good overall understanding of my system and water changes. I am saying all of this so you understand my thinking but if you think adding discus first is still the best way to go, then i will do it.

    Edit: i am trying to add some photos but i get a message: Upload of photo failed
    Last edited by dominicOv; 09-08-2019 at 11:59 AM.

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    Default Re: My first discus project (125g custom made with sump)

    Update: The aquarium is filled and running like a breeze I am really impressed on how silent is the bean animal overflow.

    Next step, I will seed the aquarium with Tropic Marin Nitribiotic and the recomended dose of Dr Tims ammonium. Will let it run for couple of weeks like this.

    I ordered all the plants today and will have them in about 2 days.

    I checked the moving bed filter and i understand now why its better to use air pump. I bought a 9000 litre wave pump and its not moving anything. I will probably order a bigger air pump.

    Will post pics as soon as i find out why the site doesn't let me upload.

    Cheers!

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    Default Re: My first discus project (125g custom made with sump)

    Webp.net-resizeimage.jpg


    Aaand ... start ... Sorry for the messy photo.

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    Default Re: My first discus project (125g custom made with sump)

    Webp.net-resizeimage4.jpg
    Webp.net-resizeimage (1).jpg
    Webp.net-resizeimage (2).jpg

    It took me a full day to fill it and prepare everything. Work in progress...

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    Default Re: My first discus project (125g custom made with sump)

    ultimas.jpg

    Hello everyone, im back with updates on the tank :

    I finished assembling the outside wooden panels and so far i am pleased with the looks.

    One thing that i really want to point out: The tropic marin bacteria solution is by far the best i have used so far: It looks exaclty like the brown "thing" that we find in our filters. I took the filter floss out after couple of days to change it and i was amazed of how much brown stuff was coming out of it ( talking about the bacteria colonizing it). I would really recommend it for someone who wants to start cycling the aquarium with a quality product.

    I have a dilemma though and i would appreciate your insight on this:

    I have added the plants but i didnt do any prior soaking in bleach or anything else. Would this be a danger for the discus later on, like unkown bacteria or other nasty stuff? I was thinking of doing a hydrogen peroxide treatment even if it disturbs the cycle as i am not going to add the fishes this month anyway. I dont want to lose fishes just because of some plants. What do you think is the best approach for this situation?

    Thank you.
    Last edited by dominicOv; 09-16-2019 at 07:51 PM.

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    Registered Member bluelagoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: My first discus project (125g custom made with sump)

    Have you ever had a tank that close to windows before? If so how did you deal with algae?

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    Default Re: My first discus project (125g custom made with sump)

    I think adding the plants in without any treatment will be fine given that they weren't in a aquarium with fish beforehand. I believe that plants won't harbor any bacteria harmful to the fish as these bacteria can't survive on a plant host. I believe doing a hydrogen peroxide treatment would be unnecessary if you have good stock to begin with. Besides, it would be a bigger priority at this point to get the cycle started. It takes quite a while for the beneficial bacteria to build up in the filter and bleaching the tank now would cause a delay. It will take about a month for the filter to become fully established. So just keep running the tank as is and let nature take its course.

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    Default Re: My first discus project (125g custom made with sump)

    Quote Originally Posted by bluelagoon View Post
    Have you ever had a tank that close to windows before? If so how did you deal with algae?
    As someone whose tank is right next to a window, I've observed that the sunlight doesn't cause extra algae growth as long as you keep the water quality in check. If I remember correctly, algae needs a combo of light and nutrients in order to grow. In a discus tank that has clean water, algae cannot grow. Performing regular water changes to eliminate the excess nutrients will prevent algae growth. If the aforementioned theory is wrong, you can always go out and buy a UV clarifier. That will eliminate algae for sure.

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    Default Re: My first discus project (125g custom made with sump)

    There are always some nutrients in the water, especially ammonia from metablized waste and sunlight = algae. UV system would be your best bet that close to sunlight.

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    Default Re: My first discus project (125g custom made with sump)

    I have never had algae problems from the sun because i either cover the side of the aquarium with a black background or just simply keep the curtains closed.

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    Default Re: My first discus project (125g custom made with sump)

    So the fish will arrive in 2 days and here are the latest updates:

    1. I have been dosing ammonia to keep the bacteria in good shape. I do not see detectable No2 after 12/24 hours and the plastic media changed color to a nice brown.
    2. The nitrates stay at @ 10 - 20 daily
    3. I have added a Diy Algae turf scrubber and i can already see some algae that started to develop. Still brown at the moment with some green hues.

    The only problem that i have at this point is cyanobacteria. I dont like it I have lowered the lighting intensity to only 1 t5 bulb 8 hrs a day, have stopped dosing iron and trace elements, did a big water change and still today i see some cyano on the sand. It's driving me crazy Please let me know if i am missing something....

    Here are some pics of the aquarium today. The plants are starting to show new growth and the tiger lotus already reached the top

    resize 1.jpg

    resize 2.jpg

    resize 3.jpg

    resize 4.jpg

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    Default Re: My first discus project (125g custom made with sump)

    Looking good! Excited to see your fish

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    Default Re: My first discus project (125g custom made with sump)

    I have never kept the red lotus before but I have seen really leaFy lotus plants where the leaves are in the lower & mid water column where they can be better viewed. They look amazing when bushy like that. I read that if you pinch the high leaves off they reproduce more and more and end up super bushy (leafy). Again these are things I have read, not experienced.
    Your tank looks sweet!

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