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- Cichlids (http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/cichlids/)
- - Discus Tank (http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/cichlids/discus-tank-128502/)
So, I got a 90 gallon tank for my birthday last week. It's set up and cycling right now.
I've wanted to do discus since I got into the aquarium hobby. And now that I finally have a tank to do it in, I plan on starting it.
It's going to take a while to set it up. I plan on cycling it and planting it, and then making sure it's maintaining well before getting the discus to add to it.
I'm using a mix of dirt and sand as a substrate, the water in my tank has already cleared up from the dirt. I actually feel like the water got clear a lot faster than any other tank I've used dirt in has.
So I know when I plant the tank I need to choose plants that can tolerate high temperature and moderate lighting. I was thinking about putting some small snails in the tank since it is going to be a planted tank, like ramshorn snails and trumpet snails.
So here are my questions (at least for now, I'm sure as soon as I'm done typing this I'll think of a billion more).
As far as lighting, what should I go with? I don't want to overdo it for the discus as I know they don't like too much, but I want my plants to be able to grow as well.
Also, the pH of my water at home tends to be low. It comes out of the faucet at about 8ish, but after aerating over night it drops to about 6. Which is fine for the discus; but if I've read that CO2 will drop my pH. I'm still unsure whether I'm going to/will need to add CO2; but if I'm adding CO2 for the plants, will that drop my pH significantly/too much for the discus? And if so, how do I keep the pH stable but low without it dropping too much?
Last (for now), how would I go about the snails? I would only be putting in some of the smaller ones, no mystery snails or anything big like that. But they need calcium, which would make the water harder, which would make the discus unhappy. So should I just forget about them? (I'm not really too stuck on them, so if I can't put them in I just won't, I wouldn't be too upset about that.) Or is there a way I can get them calcium without making the water too hard for the discus?
As for cycling though, you needn't bother if you have live plants. Floating plants are ideal for this, as they use more nutrients (=ammonia/ammonium especially), and floating plants are natural to the discus habitat so a double benefit. I would get the tank planted, and add some of the other intended fish. After a few weeks, discus.
Over a 90g I would use a dual-tube T8 fixture that takes two 48-inch T8 tubes. I have this on my 70g, 90g and 115g tanks, and the named plants do very well. You can see photos in the log under "Aquariums" tab below my name on the left. Any less light and the plants will struggle and most not survive. You can use the floating plants to help shade the tank, as I do.
Wow, I was unaware the plants would use the ammonia/ammonium. I know they'll use nitrates. What about nitrites? Will the plants metabolize all the ammonia and prevent a cycle entirely? Or will there still be a bacteria converting from ammonia -> nitrites -> nitrates? And would the plants be able to metabolize nitrites as well? Or just the ammonia/ammonium and nitrates?
A good number of the plants you mentioned are actually ones I was thinking of using. I've been reading quite a bit about what plants would do well in a discus tank, so I know what I have to choose from and whatnot.
As for light fixtures, do you have any suggestions on where I can buy these online? I usually use kensfish.com, but he doesn't really seem to have much other than just the bulbs.
And yes, my tap is soft. I had called my water company a while back to find out what was going on with the water. I'm not sure what they use, but they had said they artificially raise the pH of their water which is why the pH drops so much after aerating it over night. The tap GH is 0 once the water has sat out/aerated over night. I'm not sure what it is straight out of the tap if it's any higher, but I don't use the water until it's had a chance to aerate and even out.
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