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Thread: So ya wanna planted Discus tank?

  1. #16
    Registered Member scolley's Avatar
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    Default Re: So ya wanna planted Discus tank?

    Here's a startup schedule that worked pretty well for me in this last tank, my first discus tank. I should mention that this is not completely generic because I used ADA Aquasoil (loaded with ferts) and my tap water has a pretty good bit of N&P in it. Early on, in a new tank I think that's bad - you want to keep the water column lean. But later, a water change for me winds up adding a lot needed macros. But that is just my water. So... here's the schedule that worked very well for me.

    Tanks Startup Principles
    1) Gradual addition of light
    2) Gradual increase in macros, up to constant low level
    3) Gradual increase in micros
    - iron free micro only
    4) Gradual increase in iron
    5) Aggressive algae removal initially
    6) AS provides most of the macro needs for rooted plant (except K & C)
    7) Keep all nutrients low, but never bottom out (daily fertilization)
    8) Don't introduce fish until tank is ready (algae eaters first)
    9) Aggressive early water changing

    This gantt chart below really shows only 16 weeks. But those are the critical weeks. My plan was really that at the 16 week mark, everything would be stable, with no additional changes in tank maintenance routine required. That is, until the AS has run it's course, and that will naturally require some changes in the fert schedule.

    And please note, this does not even include the point where I added discus. That was about 1 month after this schedule completed - lot's to be said for making sure that tank is stable! Hope this helps...

    Last edited by scolley; 01-27-2007 at 07:47 AM.
    Steve -
    Discus novice. Planted tank pilgrim.

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    Registered Member pcsb23's Avatar
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    Default Re: So ya wanna planted Discus tank?

    Quote Originally Posted by tpl*co View Post
    Ummm, Paul...

    As long as you don't put in so many plants that there isn't any more water for the fish to swim through .

    Tina
    I know it almost seems sacrilege but you want to feel as though the fish are pressed against the glass when you first plant it. I use a lot of cheap stem plants and over time they get removed (hence why I use cheap ones).
    Paul

    Comfortably numb.

  3. #18
    Registered Member GrillMaster's Avatar
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    Default Re: So ya wanna planted Discus tank?

    Quote Originally Posted by senso View Post
    That could be an interesting option for set-up, the thing is once you stop CO2, the entire system will need to adjust.

    Another option would be
    - plant tank HEAVILY (as Paul advises) lights about 6 hours, at about 1.5wpg No WC,
    Quote Originally Posted by bastalker
    The next step is to buy plants. When purchasing plants, buy alot!! The more you can plant in the tank the better. To start, the tank should be densely planted. Not just a few here an there but dense!

    The reason is simple. The more plants you have sucking up nutrients, the less the algae will have to suck up.

    This is an example of how I would initially plant a 75G tank.

    12-20 various sword plants. (fert tabs under the roots)
    12-20 crytps.
    40 dwarf sags.
    12 vals. (fert tabs)
    12-20 hygro polysperma
    Just cant stress it enough.

    - week 2 begin to add clean up crew (ottos), Add floating plants, No Wc only top up
    - - week 3 add some shrimp, NO WC
    - week 4 more clean up crew, NO WC begin to increase lights to 6hrs
    - week 6 add some schooling fish if desired (continue topping up only and increase lights to 8 hrs)
    - week 8 add any other fish you are planning to add and do a 20% WC
    - week 12 add the large inhabitants (try lights at 8hrs per day going fwd)
    Quote Originally Posted by bastalker
    Once the tank has been planted, put in cardinals, black neons, or any compatible fish, an a clean up crew. Whatever you like, just compatible with Discus. Let it go for a couple of months. Grow out your discus in a different tank, or buy adults when the time comes. See how the tank is doing. If everything is growing great, an you dont see algae, it is time to move the Discus to their new home.
    Lighting is also an issue alot of people over look. They keep the lights on to long cause they just cant tear their eyes away from the tank long enough. People just setting up a planted tank shouldn't really leave their lights on longer than 6-8 hours.
    We are definately on the same page.
    Mark

  4. #19
    Registered Member GrillMaster's Avatar
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    Default Re: So ya wanna planted Discus tank?

    Hi ya Steve! That is a great chart for sure! Alot of valuable info on it. I would definately point anyone who was interested in a high tech tank in your direction!

    Since a planted tank is such a widely diversified subject with thousands of variables, I would like to keep this particular thread as a low tech planted tank. No c02 (unless you would like the expense), no micros, no macros, maybe a few fert tabs here an there for swords, an fish food for fertilizing.

    I really dont want to start confusing the issue with high tech, low tech etc... It wasn't my intention when I started the thread. It was geared more to the discus entusiast, planted tank novice to combine both without alot of frustration.

    Steve you know I value any input you have, so dont stop now!! Just keep it low tech...

    Mark
    Mark

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    Smile Re: So ya wanna planted Discus tank?

    I dont know if this belongs here or not, but if we are talking low tech maybe we should mention how many watts of light are we talking about on any given tank a 55,90,125,etc. I feel lighting is so important. Also some type of design set up. Were does a center piece go or your main focal point and it should not be in the center of the tank. From what I have read on this site most people here do not have planted tanks so they really need to start from the begining. Just some ideas thanks Ed

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    Registered Member GrillMaster's Avatar
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    Default Re: So ya wanna planted Discus tank?

    Hi ya Ed...

    1 1/2 watts per gallon is a very good starting point for a low tech tank. 2 wpg is teetering on the border for using c02.

    Design issues are really up to the type of tank you have, an the design you are looking for. A couple of things to consider are,

    1. How will I plant this tank to make it easy to clean an vacuum. For the first 2-3 months it will not be a problem since no discus will be in there yet. This is why so much attention was being addressed to heavily planting the tank to begin with. When the discus finally go into the the tank, excess plants that are not wanted should have been removed. The swords, sags, crypts etc... should have pretty much established themselves hopefully in a spot where you dont want to move them. Yes you CANmove plants afterwards but a couple of things you need to keep in mind.
    a. If you move swords after putting fert tabs under their roots, GW will be the result 90% of the time.
    b. Moving crypts usually makes them melt again.
    There are ways around both of these issues, but I will not get into here. It would be better in the long run if you planted them in a place where you think they will be permanent.

    2. Having a focal point off center. If a large piece of driftwood for instance is your center piece. Place it off center, an build plants around it. I can get into triangulation, an division of plants in a planted tank, but again, I wont here. For the novice, a simple easy to clean biotope for their discus will be sufficient. The thing to consider is to make the tank flow.

    For someone wanting to try a planted discus tank. I cant stress enough to take your time planting this tank, an be in no rush what soever to add your discus to it. The longer you can wait for the move the better established your plants will be, an the happier your discus will be once you put them in there.
    Mark

  7. #22
    Registered Member standoyo's Avatar
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    Default Re: So ya wanna planted Discus tank?

    Hmmm, this thread is timely. Looks like the experts/advanced wetgreenthumbs have bitten as well!

    I think to begin a discus planted, it really matters on the person's expectation, budget and time to spare. This is because it's not going to be cheap and as mentioned the minimum tank sizes, cost of plants, equipment etc.
    They like to say planted people have to learn a lot more. It's true if you want to have in depth understanding but you can also just skim the surface and buy almost everything from ADA and take your time understanding how everything works.

    That said, I like Steve's approach as his notes are detailed and his tank is worth copying! er... emulating! Hey, Kingborris and Bastalker's are da bomb well!
    Stan Chung

    simple but not easy

  8. #23
    Registered Member scolley's Avatar
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    Default Re: So ya wanna planted Discus tank?

    Quote Originally Posted by bastalker View Post
    Steve you know I value any input you have, so dont stop now!! Just keep it low tech...
    Except for the CO2, that's not "high" tech. If I removed the CO2, and was dosing Excel instead, I would not change a thing. FWIW, that was designed for a tank getting less than 1.5 WPG. Swap out that CO2 with Excel dosing, and you've got a great setup plan for a low tech tank.
    Steve -
    Discus novice. Planted tank pilgrim.

  9. #24
    Registered Member GrillMaster's Avatar
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    Default Re: So ya wanna planted Discus tank?

    I probably wouldn't dose KN03, K2S04, KH2P04 in a low light tank with different varieties of echinodurus, an crypts in it. Fert tabs would be sufficient since they are root feeders, the crypts would do fine with the heavy fish feedings.

    Thats all I would consider in my own discus tank. I wouldn't even do crypts.This way fert tabs here an there are just fine. More natural looking as well with some well placed driftwood. That IMO would be the easiest way to set it up an it look good. I am going to do this in a couple of weeks an show you what exactly I am talking about. I need a place for about 4 SS's anyways

    As mentioned earlier, it really depends on what you want your tank to look like, how much money you want to spend etc...Do you want fast growing stem plants in your tank, anubias, crypts, an various others plants? Some might. Some might not care if it looks natural or not. We had a discussion a while back about fertilizing with heavy fish feedings, or EI in a low tech tank. The consensus was mixed. But the replies from the ones who kept low tech tanks were that they dont fertilize, they just feed the fish very good.

    Dosing fertilizers in a low light tank will get a novice in a hurry pretty quick even with c02. I have seen alot of people, an I mean alot go out an buy all the expensive c02 systems, reactors, diffusers, etc...Then get a tank full of algae an simply give up. I was one of them who almost did.

    Mark
    Mark

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    Smile Re: So ya wanna planted Discus tank?

    Hi Mark, I am setting up a 45 gallon low tech, planted tank. This will be non discus, just some angels. Can I use pool filter silcia sand. I have heard pros and cons, what do you think thanks Ed

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    Registered Member GrillMaster's Avatar
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    Default Re: So ya wanna planted Discus tank?

    Sure you can Ed. Many people with planted tanks have used it.

    I planted my 55G some time back with play sand from Home depot. I put a small layer of gravel in an put the sand over that an everything grew great. Easier to keep clean, an easier to plant in.

    Use a fert tab under the sand for any rooted plants you plan on keeping though.

    Some claim anarobic pockets will form in places, or it compacts. I only had it in there for 1 1/2 years an never had problems, but thats not to say it wont over time. HTH

    Mark
    Mark

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    Smile Re: So ya wanna planted Discus tank?

    Nice thread. So much good info!! This should have a sticky. I have been raising discus for a year and half. I have wanted to convert my 180 gallon to a planted discus tank. It's nice to see someone else do one and provide helpful info to others instead of saying it's too hard. I just got a 110 gallon tank to house my discus while I change out my 180 gallon. Dan from Gulf Coast Discus has been extremely helpful with the planning of the tank. I'll keep you guys posted

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    Registered Member sonflowerjoela's Avatar
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    Default Re: So ya wanna planted Discus tank?

    This is a great thread with so much info. Thanks to you all. It really should be a sticky. About the root tabs under swords and vals? should they be directly under them or just in the area? Thanks
    <'(((>< <'(((><
    ><)))'>

  14. #29
    SimplyDiscus Sponsor Ardan's Avatar
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    Default Re: So ya wanna planted Discus tank?

    A lot of good info.
    I will sticky it
    How often do you put in a fert tab/stick under the roots?

    Thanks
    Ardan

  15. #30
    Registered Member GrillMaster's Avatar
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    Default Re: So ya wanna planted Discus tank?

    Quote Originally Posted by sunflowerjoela
    About the root tabs under swords and vals? should they be directly under them or just in the area? Thanks
    You should try an get the fert sticks as close to under the roots as you can. Also, push them down into the subsrtate a good 2-3 inches. It will avoid leaching into the water colum this way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ardan
    How often do you put in a fert tab/stick under the roots?
    There is no real set time. Watch the plants, they will let you know when they need another one. If a leaf starts yellowing, it is a sign that a fert tab should be added again. Dont add another fert stick or tab under the plants unless they show you they need one.

    hth
    Mark
    Last edited by GrillMaster; 02-28-2007 at 12:55 PM.

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