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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; --> Ordering equipment online shouldn't be an issue from the US to Canada, unlike fish and plants; Others have mentioned Fosters& Smith, Aquarium Guys, maybe ...

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Old 02-07-2010, 06:21 PM   #51
 
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Ordering equipment online shouldn't be an issue from the US to Canada, unlike fish and plants; Others have mentioned Fosters& Smith, Aquarium Guys, maybe some others I can't recall.

On the discus water parameters, I would find out from the store what their water is like before worrying; if it is necessary we can discuss options once we know the difference. My advice is to get the tank running and resolve the water issues (mixing RO and tap water to be consistent) before there are fish involved, rather than setting it up one way and then with fish in it start fiddling with parameters. Fish including discus can always be slowly acclimated, and this will be much less stressful than putting up with fluctuating conditions in the tank.

There are some discus aquarists here that can best respond to your question on harder water for juveniles, I believe 1077 has raised discus, you could PM him. Personally I can't understand the concept, unless it had something to do with acclimating them to harder water. They certainly do not encounter hard water in their habitat.

On the companion fish, iamntbatman had some good suggestions. Pencilfish are good tankmates, they like the warmth, are colourful, peaceful (males get boisterous among themselves and sometimes drive the females quite hard, but are relatively peaceful with other fish. Hatchets are a favourite of mine, any of the five species/subspecies in the genus Carnegiella would be perfect for surface fish, and the two marble species, Carnegiella strigata strigata and/or C. strigata fasciata, can be combined; they must be in a group, and a dozen would suit your proposed aquarium fine.

Some other characin suggestions are several of the species in Hyphessobrycon that tolerate warmer temperatures. H. herbertaxelrodi, the black neon, is one, or the Black Phantom, H. megalopterus, then any of the rosy group, H. bentosi, H. rosaceus, H. robertsi, the Flag Tetra H. heterorhabdus, etc. Congo tetras, Phenacogrammus interruptus, is a beautiful African characin; it's been a couple decades since I had them, but very nice fish. All these need a group of course, 7+. Lots of options.

You might want to rethink 3 BN cats, the males at 5 inches can be territorial although not much of a problem in a large enough tank. Just a thought.

Byron.
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Old 02-07-2010, 07:33 PM   #52
 
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I think this is what I will do for stocking:
- 8 discus
-8 sterbai cories
- 10 cardinal tetras
-8 congo tetras
-3 german blue rams
-8 marbled hatchetfish

I agree with what you are saying, the discus don't come across harder water in the wild so I think frequent PWCs will be sufficient as well as a proper diet, water params, space, etc.

If am assuming the discus water is generally soft and acidic at the pet store, but if not it is most likely not over 10dGH and 7.2 pH. By acclimating them do you mean:
-floating the bag in the tank for 30 minutes
-adding some tank water to the bag
-wait 15-30 minutes
-adding more tank water to the bag
-wait 15-30 minutes
-repeat the cycle several times

I am planning on adding the tetras and hatchets, as well as the cories first, then the rams, then the discus. I also agree that the bristlenose plecos might stress the discus out a bit. It isn't a BIG concern, however, i would rather avoid that situation entirely if I can, which I can.

Once I have my pure RO water, can I add some of my tankwater from my other tanks to it, adjust the hardness? Or should I just use dechlorinated tap water? How do I determine how much tap water I use compared to RO water? Will 50% weekly water changes suffice or should I do two 50% water changes every week. If I don't have time to wait for the RO unit to do its thing can I filter water in advanced and store it in a large rubbermaid bin or a bin of similar ressemblance for when I need the water. Once I know how much tap water to RO water I need, can I add the RO water into the tank and then add the tap water right afterwards, or would it be safer to mix it before adding it to the aquarium and testing the GH levels? Do I want 2-3 dGH or 2-3 dKH?

I really need to cut back on the question asking!

Thanks

Dylan.
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Old 02-07-2010, 08:09 PM   #53
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dylan94 View Post
I think this is what I will do for stocking:
- 8 discus
-8 sterbai cories
- 10 cardinal tetras
-8 congo tetras
-3 german blue rams
-8 marbled hatchetfish

I agree with what you are saying, the discus don't come across harder water in the wild so I think frequent PWCs will be sufficient as well as a proper diet, water params, space, etc.

If am assuming the discus water is generally soft and acidic at the pet store, but if not it is most likely not over 10dGH and 7.2 pH. By acclimating them do you mean:
-floating the bag in the tank for 30 minutes
-adding some tank water to the bag
-wait 15-30 minutes
-adding more tank water to the bag
-wait 15-30 minutes
-repeat the cycle several times

I am planning on adding the tetras and hatchets, as well as the cories first, then the rams, then the discus. I also agree that the bristlenose plecos might stress the discus out a bit. It isn't a BIG concern, however, i would rather avoid that situation entirely if I can, which I can.

Once I have my pure RO water, can I add some of my tankwater from my other tanks to it, adjust the hardness? Or should I just use dechlorinated tap water? How do I determine how much tap water I use compared to RO water? Will 50% weekly water changes suffice or should I do two 50% water changes every week. If I don't have time to wait for the RO unit to do its thing can I filter water in advanced and store it in a large rubbermaid bin or a bin of similar ressemblance for when I need the water. Once I know how much tap water to RO water I need, can I add the RO water into the tank and then add the tap water right afterwards, or would it be safer to mix it before adding it to the aquarium and testing the GH levels? Do I want 2-3 dGH or 2-3 dKH?

I really need to cut back on the question asking!

Thanks

Dylan.
I'm not going to say much at all about the RO because I've never used one, so someone who has can comment. A couple of related issues though: don't use water from existing tanks, use tap water to mix with the RO water and use a good water conditioner on the entire mix. The purpose of the tap water is just to add some mineral. And other tank water will have ammonia, nitrite, perhaps pathogens that you don't want to introduce to the discus tank. And second I would think the water should be mixed and have the correct parameters, or close, before it goes into the aquarium. Water added during a pwc does not have to be exactly like the aquarium, as long as the difference in pH/hardness/temperature is not too great. I did my pwc today; my tap water is pH 7.2, and in the 115g which was pH 6.2 before the pwc, half the tank was replaced, and 20 minutes later the pH was 6.4 which is not at all troublesome to the fish. There is also CO2 in tap water which has an impact on all this.

As for the acclimation, I would use a drip method with discus if there is a significant difference in pH and hardness. There are those who do not use any method. Perhaps here again we can get the views of the discus folks. But first, we need to know what the difference may be before we start guessing on complicated methods.

Byron.
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Old 02-07-2010, 10:08 PM   #54
 
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Wow on the Emperor's notes from Byron; can't say mine acted any what like that so far since I got the they eat nicely alongside everybody else (spc the Rummy's which was a BIG issue back when there was Sepae's in that tank) maybe I have a diff species then B. since his are the "true" one's...I have Nematobrycon palmeri and no feeding issue.
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Old 02-08-2010, 04:13 AM   #55
 
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If you're just getting something in the 55-75g range, I would only get two rams instead of three. They can be difficult to sex at the store. What this means for you is that if you bought three, you'd either have all three fish of one sex or two of one sex and one of the other. If all three were the same sex, each fish would need its own territory. If two were the same sex, you'd likely end up with them pairing up and spawning (whether they're successful or not is another matter). Even if they aren't, they'll get a lot more aggressive toward the "odd man out" and may kill him/her.

If you only had two, you'd either just have a pair or have two fish that don't like each other much and will just stake out territories at opposite ends of the tank. In a big enough tank you should have room for more, though.
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Old 02-08-2010, 04:16 PM   #56
 
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Thank you iamntbatman, angel079 and byron. I do like how the emperor tetras look, however I think I am going to stay with my current stocking list. If I get a 75g or less, I will only get 2 rams, but if I get a 75g or more, I will get 3 most likely. Hopefully I get a pair out of the rams :)

For adjusting the hardness of the RO water. Is there a rule as to how much tap to add if I want 2-3dGH, or will I have to do some experimenting :) EXAMPLE: If the rule is 1 teaspoon per gallon of RO, does that also mean that 274 teaspoons per 274 gallons will work? Do the values depend on the quantity or simply the ratio?

I am kind of excited to use this RO unit:) I am more excited to have a huge tank full of discus!!! I cant wait, i think about it all the time. Hopefully, all runs as planned and I end up with THE COOLEST TANK IN THE GREATER MONTREAL REGION!!!!

I read somewhere that a low kH can result in a sudden big drop in pH, what if this happens?

I wonder if you can get fish insurance? You probably can in this crazy world we live in. I know someone who insured their fancy Ed Hardy shirt! I never thought a shirt would be worth insuring. I think a tank like mine would be worth insuring, but I dont think it is actually necessary with all my fancy equipment:)

Anyways, hopefully I can go to the LFS and see what params they keep their discus in:)
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Old 02-08-2010, 04:22 PM   #57
 
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OK now I am confused, I got a PM back from 1077 and this is what it said:

Dylan,
Unless the discus were wild caught specimens, I would expect them to do fine in water with ph of 7.2 and temps no lower than 80 degrees F. Over time, through natural process in aquariums (months), The water will become more acidic. The 7.2 pH will be closer to 7.0.
For breeding purposes,softer water would in my view ,produce best results but if breeeding is not your aim, I would make things easy on myself and use tapwater. Many of the fish offered nowdays, (Discus) have been tank raised and unless as mentioned,,they are wild caught, They should do fine in your water.
Would ask whomever I was getting the discus from what water and foods they are accustomed to and if my water was much different, I would slowly acclimate the fish using drip method . This method is a good idea for all fish actually.
If R/O unit is employed and with pH you posted, I might begin with 50/50 mix of RO /Tapwater but again, If I was not interested in breeding ,I would acclimate the fish to the easiest water that I can readily produce or have access to. (tapwater). All manner of buffers are sometimes needed when using R/O water to keep pH from crashing due to natural processes I spoke of. These buffers are used to maintain the minerals that help keep the pH stable.
I raised the discus I cared for from size of fifty cent piece,to nearly six inches in tapwater with pH of 7.4 and temp of 84 degrees.
A site you may wish to visit www.SimplyDiscus.com is a good place for more information. Good Luck.

I don't know what I should do. If I were to just use tap water, I would have to change my stocking list. I really need to see what the LFS water is like!!! Most people think fishkeeping is easy but it can be quite difficult at times! In the wild discus never come into contact with hard neutral water and I know that they can be acclimated through years of tank breeding, but they must feel safer and generally better in soft acidic water wouldn't they?
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Old 02-08-2010, 11:29 PM   #58
 
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They probably would. 1077's advice is sound, though, so everything we've discussed (including the RO and all that) depends on the store's stock (i.e. wild caught or tank raised) and their water parameters.
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Old 02-09-2010, 09:38 AM   #59
 
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I concur. And I also agree with 1077's advice. Back at the start of this thread (my, it's long) I mentioned that you could keep discus in slightly basic water but likely not spawn them. It was the rams and cardinals that fare much less well.

There are various opinions as to the extent of "adaptation" tank-raised fish have to water parameters that are different from their preferred range. Shorter life spans in many species is a good indication that there is more to this. I got into this discussion a while back elsewhere, over someone keeping rift lake cichlids in water with a pH of 6.6 and soft. I challenged that view, and in spite of his supposed "success" I still do not believe this is good for those fish. All fish have evolved over thousands of years [thinking here of the "recent" changes, in geological time, to the habitats in South America and East Africa as examples] to suit their environment, and expecting to change this blueprint through a few generations of tank raised fish may or may not be realistic.

For myself, I absolutely will not acquire fish that will not be "at home" in the water in my aquaria. I have kept livebearers and rift lake cichlids many years ago, and with my soft acidic tap water, I used dolomite in the substrate to maintain a pH of 7.6 and 8 respectively, and moderately hard water for those tanks. I would not dream of having such fish otherwise.

Byron.

Last edited by Byron; 02-09-2010 at 09:42 AM..
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Old 02-09-2010, 09:51 AM   #60
 
I'm jealous that you have the ability to have discus, they are just too expensive for me! :( They are by far my favorite fish though, they are just so stunning to look at. I find myself at the LFS just starring, the guy always asks if I'm ever going to get any. But the water is too hard for them here, oh well, I can live with just dreaming about keeping them. Or maybe eventually I'll get an RO and large tank for them.
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