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New 55g tank

This is a discussion on New 55g tank within the Cichlids forums, part of the Freshwater and Tropical Fish category; --> I read some reviews for the API gadget and I am now coting against it. People say it needs frequent cartridge replacements as it ...

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Old 02-07-2010, 08:10 AM   #41
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I read some reviews for the API gadget and I am now coting against it. People say it needs frequent cartridge replacements as it does not last very long.

Therefore, I am planning on getting a very simple 35GPD, 3 or 4 step reverse osmosis unit. Once I have that I will be able to set my PCW water to a hardness of 3 by adding some of my tap water. One question, if the RO water is lets say 7.0 and my tap water is 7.2, how will I be able to lower the pH of the RO water by adding tap water? Will I have to buy some Seachem pH down, or will adding soft water to my tank automatically bring down the pH?

I am still looking for good deals on 55 gallon tanks or higher. I am mostly looking for 55 gallons, but I occasionally stumble upon an ad for 100 gallon tanks, 150, 175, etc. That aren't any cheaper than the 55 gallons (like the ad I showed you <Byron> in the other thread.) Will a bigger tank be ideal or will it be more of a pain to control the pH. maybe it will even be less of a pain because there is a larger quantity of water? I know the discus will definately benefit from the larger swimming space as will the other fish, however if the larger amount of water poses a challenge to keep a steady pH and hardness, I would stay smaller. I am assuming the fish would rather ideal water parameters than extra swimming space, but I can't ask them so I don't know! :)


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Old 02-07-2010, 09:24 AM   #42
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Dylan, I would absolutely go for the largest tank you can manage (cost and space). Water stability is easier the more water there is because it resists sudden fluctuations. And the more fish and plants, the more stable the water will be.

The RO unit will remove minerals from the tap water so the hardness will basically be zero. The pH will be neutral to slightly acidic. You add (mix) a little tap water in with this "pure" water to add some mineral which is good for fish and plants, probably aim in this case for a hardness around 2-3 dGH. Once you have a RO unit you will experiment to get this balance. Discus and cardinals will absolutely thrive in this water. Then once the tank is running with fish in it, the pH will slowly lower due to the biological actions. The water will be low in hardness so little buffering. After a few months I would expect, all being equal, a pH around 6.

Obviously you will get all this working before adding discus. The plants and other fish--corydoras, cardinals, whatever--will establish the biological equilibrium.

Do not under any circumstance use chemicals to fiddle with the water. Once the tank pH lowers, and it will, the partial water changes using RO and tap water mixed will not be a significant issue for the pH. My 90g has a pH of 5 with zero hardness, and I do a 50% pwc weekly with tap water having a pH of 7 or 7.2 and no hardness, and the tank barely fluctuates. In my 115g the pH is 6.0 and the GH is 2, and the pwc again has no affect on pH of consequence. The larger water volume (that stability I mentioned at the top) plus the biological establishment in the tanks, maintains a steady environment. It takes a couple months to achieve this, then it lasts years.

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Old 02-07-2010, 10:01 AM   #43
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Here is what I understand from ALL of this:
1- I get the largest tank possible
2- I fill it with 2-3dGH water
3- Fill with as many plants as possible
4-Let it run for a few days to a week
5-Considering temperature and parameters are right, add some sterbai cories.
6-Wait a week, test wate, add cardinal tetras
7- Wait until pH=6 or about that, add german blue rams
8-Once tank has had steady water parameters for at least a month, add DISCUS!!!
9- Thereafter, perform weekly or more frequent water changes using R/O water at 2-3 dH

P.S. If my tank is 6 feet long, (100 gallons +) I will probably have 6-8 discus. Also, if the tank is that big, I wil consider adding more fish, to keep balance in my tank. Any suggestions of fish that fit the Amazon biotope, that I could add to this tank. I don't want to overstock, but I don't want to understock either :)

If I want to include bogwood in my tank will the bogwood affect the pH. Should I be concerned about this? I know it probably won't affect the pH or hardness too much, but you never know ;)

For the filter, should I remove the carbon. If I remove the carbon, should I replace it with peat, replace it with something else, or just not replace it at all?

I wanted to make it a blackwater tank, would the bogwood do the trick or do I need peat pr blackwater extract. I know the carbon in filters gets rid of the amber like colour so that is why I suggested to remove the carbon.

My backyard is a forest/swamp as you may know, and there a pieces of wood lying around. They look very natural and very bogwood-ish. If I bring them in the house and boil them, can I use them as décor for my tank? What is bogwood anyways? Is it a specific type of wood? I feel dumb for talking about it so much without knowing what it actually is.

At my LFS, I saw plants called anubias and they were the most expensive plant at 10$. They were gorgeous big plants. Does anybody know about anubias, would they ne good in my tank? Why were they so expensive? Do they need coldwater? The only reason I ask this is because they were in the big fancy goldfish tank.

WOW I ask a lot of questions :O :)

You guys are all awesome, :)

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Old 02-07-2010, 10:31 AM   #44
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Hi Dylan, just a thought from my exp: I'd add the Ram's before adding Cardinals (as they're very sensitive to say the least).

Bog or Driftwood can leach into the tank yes; but a washed piece of Bog/ driftwood in a 100+g tank won't have no affect that's even close to being measurable unles you'd go down into the 0.00XX pH range.

As for other smaller fish to add to that set up, maybe Emperor or Kerri Tetra group is a option for you (if you like their looks I don't know, I love mine; not the best show pictures but here are mine

If you're working with RO I'd not on top deal with peat. And yes removing the carbon from the filter in a planted tank will be best and just replace it with a normal sponge pad.

Collected wood from outside will for one be very risky carrying all sorts of organism into your tank that you may not want to have there and two if chosen the "wrong" wood it'll only last you ~1yrs in the tank before its gonna fall apart.

If you have troubles with plant locally; here's where I shop for my plants for a fair price and good quality Sweet Aquatics
And no Anubias will NOT thrive in cold water; all true aquatic plants are tropical plants and need something at 75F and up to thrive.
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Old 02-07-2010, 11:25 AM   #45
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Thank You very much Angel079... for the first time, I have no questions! WOW. I love the emperor tetras and I think I will add a school of them to my tank. I will be sure to post when I have more questions :)
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Old 02-07-2010, 12:50 PM   #46
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I would not suggest Emperors with discus. I have Emperors, both species Nematobrycon palmeri (the true Emperor) and N. lacortei (the "Rainbow" Emperor) and they are very pushy fish at feeding time. I am having a real problem getting food to my darters as they are a bit shy, as are discus at feeding time. This is why angels are not suitable tankmates for discus, too active at feeding and the discus are left out. You may think it odd, but some fish will, if annoyed by more active fish at feeding, simply refuse to eat. Jack Whattley says this is a real concern with discus.

And I would not add rams before cardinals; the latter are much more capable of settling in, although I would still ensure the tank is established. All of the fish named so far are somewhat sensitive to water parameters and quality. When you decide on other tankmates, they may be preferable to any of these within the first month.

With respect to the blackwater, this is your tank but this is something I would tend to avoid. With soft water and an acidic pH, you will be providing the ideal water for all these fish. It is true that some of them do occur in blackwater, but that is not essential and it introduces another step of water adjustment. The blackwater preparations are not inexpensive either.

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Old 02-07-2010, 03:07 PM   #47
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I didn't think of the extra work blackwater will require, so I think I will just forget that since the water changes are already pretty difficult. For equipment, like the RO unit, test kits, etc. I wanted to order online. Does anyone know of any online aquarium stores that ship to Canada (Quebec more precisely)?

I wanted to have at least on more school of tetras. What about black neons? Would it be a good idea to have some sort of livebearer in the tank, like platies? They would provide regular amounts of fry for the discus, rams and everyone else to snack on, unless they survive. I read somewhere that livebearers tend to feed off of the discuses slime coats, so that might be a problem. What about hatchet fish or congo tetras? I was thinking of including a trio of bristlenose plecos. Are shrimp compatible with discus (amano shrimp?) I love amano shrimp but I know they need minerals in their water for their shell, so in extremely soft water it may not be a good idea.

Anyways, I am off to research compatible tankmates for discus :)

-Dylan :)
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Old 02-07-2010, 03:21 PM   #48
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I just remebered something... if the LFS is keeping their discus in higher pH + harder water and I still want to keep them in soft acidic water, should I keep the water the same parameters as at the LFS and then add 2-3dGH RO water during water changes to slowly change the water to the way I want it? How would I go about doing this considering all the other fish. If the discus are in neutral water at the LFS and I bring them to my tank where it is 10 times more acidic, they will suffer from shock won't they? Hopefully they keep their discus in at least 6.5 or less.

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Old 02-07-2010, 04:18 PM   #49
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Definitely a no-go on the livebearers. I've heard of them pecking at discus' slime coats but the other more glaring issue is that they prefer hard, fairly alkaline water. Same goes for the shrimp.

The BN plecos will probably work just fine as they're one of the "discus safe" species of pleco.

What about hatchets or pencilfish as tankmates?
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Old 02-07-2010, 05:55 PM   #50
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Hatchets or pencilfish are a good idea, I will probably get a school of marbled hatchets. Another issue just occured to me. I read in a few places that juvenile discus require medium hard water to completely develop and grow to maximum size. I don't know at what size they are considered adult. If I had juvies, would I have to have harder water and then slowly lower the hardness? I was thinking around 5-10dGH, but I don't know. I will need to research this...

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