125 gallon densely planted discus aquarium
I didnt know where to post this so feel free to move it. I'm setting up a new 125g wide planted discus tank in january and just had a few questions about lighting, co2 and filtration. For substrate I will use pre additive, 4 bags of eco-complete and 3 bags of flurite (black sand) in that order, as well as nutrient sticks from the local flower shop. 2 Emperor 400's for filtration with peat. 2 Aqueon 250W for heaters. Ive successfully kept 5 discus or the last 5 mo or so in a 55g, densely planted with no co2 and using only fluorish excel. My question about filitration is can I use a hydro sponge filiter along with co2 if set to only run at night or will that be ineffective? I was thinking of using a 360 powerhead with the sponge filter. Im just worried about the 2 emperor 400's not providing enough filitration for discus. As for co2, im still confused on what system to use that would be cost effecient and effective. Im worried about suffocating my discus. :cry: I've been successful with flourish excel however this will not create a carpet effect and can be harmful to fish so I'd like to move past that. As for lighting I'm thinking about going with two 36 inch Coralife Lunar Aqualight T5 HO fixtures. Each fixture is rated at 156 watts per gallon containing two 39 watt 10000k daylight and two 39 watt atnic with led moonlights as well. My question about the lighting is will it be enough or too much with co2 or will I just have to find that happy median in tweaking the co2 rate? I plan on replacing the atnic blues with a florasun equivelant as well. Thats all I can think of at the moment. Thanks in advance.
Disclaimer: This is only my opinion
If I was spending 80+ dollars per fish, I would try my best to keep them in an enviroment as close to their habitat as possible, ie medium-low light, driftwood, floating plants, and tannin-stained water. Their native habitat also contains very few plants, but I think plants have enough of a benefit that exceptions can be made. Even following these suggestions, there are several plants that will give a grass-like look in low light. Glosso, HC, and hairgrass are tough (hairgrass might work), but small crypts, (crypt willissi), "chain" swords like microsword, and dwarf sag can do very well in such a setup. Most rooted plants don't need co2 at all (swords, crypts, aponogetons). Discus really are more colorful and have more natural behavior in such a tank..
If you are dead-set on co2, we can help, but first consider the alternative.
If Byron stops in, several of his tanks are an amazing example of what can be for habitat-mimicing low-light planted aquariums..
Thanks for the quick reply. I absolutely want to mimic their environment and will. Peat filtration will be used as well as driftwood (still searching for a decent supplier) swords crypts etc... The kicker is that id like to have most of this carpeted with echinodorus mini which I believe is a mini tenellus. That's the reason for the co2 inquiries. I've never seen his aquariums however he's helped me on another occasion and would some info on how to achieve this with no co2 and low light
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building on what you just said about being low - moderate lighting redchigh, do you think the 10000k would be over kill? Like I said I will replace the atnic with florasun or something equivelant and now maybe replace the 10000k with 6500k. What do you think?
Keep it simple, don't over think this.
I have to agree with redchigh on this. With such expensive fish, best to not go overboard with things.
Of note is you have two HOBs on your list, I'd replace both of those with a single canister rated for the tank (don't go crazy with something like a Fluval FX5). For one, they agitate the surface which would drive out all the CO2 you'd be adding, you would be wasting your effort and money. With these fish you want a nice gentle flow, nothing even moderately powerful. Your plants do the 'filtering' the mechanical filter's sole purpose in a planted tank is water movement (even temperature, nutrient distribution). It has the added affect of grabbing floating solids making the water look clearer. They are not, in any way, needed for beneficial bacteria in fully planted tanks.
In fact, I'd just not inject CO2 at all. And that goes doubly so with using Excel. Look up the chemical used in that (Glutaraldehyde), it's nasty, not something I put Discus within a 100 feet of.
Pygmy Chain Sword, which is Helanthium tenellum but sometimes still called Echinodorus tenellus, does not need CO2 injection at all. I think this is the plant you were talking about with "mini tenellus". Several people here have it and it grows just fine, myself included.
For lighting, 6500K is best for plants. That K number is the color of the light, it isn't something where 'higher' is better or more intense of a light. 10000K is more for a coral reef tank. That said, if you have a dual tube fixture you can do one light as 6500K and the second a 10000K if you are liking the colder look to the light. Or you could use a warmer light (say in the 4000's K) if you like that better. But at least one should be around 6500K.
This is an example of the same 125g tank you have, it's my own that I keep Angelfish in. The lighting is 6 feet of dual T8 6500K lights. I do not inject CO2, and I use regular old play sand substrate (it is not enriched in any way). Discus will look best in a tank that is dim like this due to floating plants. In direct lighting, they'll looked washed out and not as colorful.
Here I am.:wave:
Geomancer's tank in the photo in the previous post is absolutely ideal for discus. You could approach this a couple of ways, such as using more plants than wood (as Geo has done here) or using more wood esp branches and less plants--but still heavy on the floating plants which are important. But the overall ambiance here is exactly what you want.
When I earlier today read your initial post, I decided not to respond then because you seemed set on CO2 and all that. But now that this is out of the picture, I concur with both redchigh's and geo's suggestions.
The photo attached is my 70g which is a representation of a flooded Amazonian forest. This has two 6500K T8 32w tubes over it, and the plant growth is not at all bad. I have thought of raising the temp in this tank, removing some of the fish that couldn't manage with this, and adding discus. Still pondering. But this tank has the Flourite substrate which I intend to pull out prob early in the New Year and replace with sand. I can't have corys in this tank due to the sharpness of the Flourite. This photo was taken about 3 weeks ago. The floating Frogbit has taken off, after months of poor response; I think my thrice weekly doses of Flourish Comp are helping.
But you can see how you can still "carpet" the substrate even with less light and no CO2. In this tank the substrate planting is Helanthium tenellum [previously Echinodorus tenellus], the true species which is narrower leaved and can sometimes have reddish leaves but that needs brighter light. I have the wider-leaf species, Helanthium bolivianus [probably], in my 115g Amazonian riverscape.
Thanks for the input so far. I dont know why I didnt think about the hob filters disturbing the co2. As for lighting I think im going to go with 4 6ft only because Ive had water sprite and watter lettuce as floating plants before it completely blocked out the color on my discus. I also have free access to lamps from work so that will cut costs as well. Both tanks looks amazing and I love the frogbit. What are your thoughts with using a refugium? I was looking at getting an Eco-Systems 3612 system and found one for $410. I recently visited Wet Pets in PA and thats the owner uses for his aquariums. The idea of fewer water changes sounds pretty amazing and beneficial for a densely planted tank. I do think I'll try out co2 just because I've never experimented with it before, I'll just wait a few extra months before I move my discus in. Does anyone think a UV sterilizer would be a bad idea either? They're pricey but the benefits are great. Again thanks for the info and all the help. Have a good holiday and I'll talk to you all soon.
A refugium only moves as much water as the pump lets yo,u correct? From what I've read over the last few days is that it is much better for a planted tank than a hob filter and it actually cuts out most nitrate level as well. One thing I would like to add is that the owner of wet pets in PA runs all his tanks (breeders included) at at least 10x gph with refugium set ups as well as using ONLY zoomed flora sun and reef sun lamp combos. However none of his aquariums are even close to their natural habitat including his 150g show tank. Every tank was extremely bright and the ph was just barely under 7.0 so I would assume the hardness was no different. What I would like to achieve is a setting that is visiually similar to a discus habitat yet densely planted with a choreographed feel, much like a naturescape competetion aquarium. The $ and time is here I just need the expert advice as I've never work with a refugium, co2 or UV sterilizer. Again, thanks for all the help and info. Its much appreciated as you've saved me a lot of time and money. Happy holidays
In heavily planted and lightly stocked aquariums, nitrates aren't usually an issue. I don't really understand why you'd want a "refugium" on a planted tank...
Canister filters usually run at 5-10x gph, and are usually adjustable.
I also agree on letting the plants do most of the filtration... I usually use filters rated one step lower for my heavily planted tanks, and my nitrates stay under 20.
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