Veteran Advice Needed On A 75 Gallon Tank
So what I want to do is turn this 75 Gallon Into A Clown Loach And Discus Tank. Below I will list what I have planned for filter and such. I would like all input from the veterans on this forum when it comes to the fish themselves and all equipment. Hold nothing back because I know I will have a lot of money tied up into the discus.
4 Clown Loaches - 10 Discus (That may be too many let me know your thoughts)
Aquaclear 110 and an under gravel filter. I dont know much about under gravel filters though so advice is much needed.
Gravel substrate with rock formations (rock will be from my local lake park and I will boil them first as I have in the past for my 30 gallon)
I will have live plants in there so please let me know what kind of lighting is best. I am a total newb to lighting so be specific.
I might be forgetting some stuff so anything you guys can think of to add on or change just let me know. Thanks a lot in advance for taking the time to help someone rather new to the fish hobby. It's a new love and my crack (lol).
IDK anything but watch out while boiling the rock, they can explode.
I must be frank that you are starting with one of the most difficult fish, so this will be a real challenge for you, as you're new to fish, but as this is what you want I'll offer my suggestions to help you, and there are some things we need to know.
What is the pH and hardness of your water? If it's not acidic and soft, have you thought about how you are going to alter its chemistry? Discus are very intolerant of hard water, and while some aquarists say they can be "kept" in hard alkaline water, the discus will not really thrive, and that can lead to stress and disease.
A 75 g is a good size for a discus aquarium, but I would certainly not add clown loaches. These fish can reach 12 inches, and even if they max out at 6-7 inches in an aquarium (as they often do, probably due to stunted growth from the space restrictions and water conditions) they are not good companions for discus. Corydoras catfish are usually chosen for bottom dwellers, but some of the smaller and peaceful loaches would work, such as the dwarf loach, horseface loach, and a couple of others I can't think of just now.
I would not use an undergravel filter, nor an Aquaclear. Discus as I said are fussy about the water. An outside canister filter is the best. Not only is it more reliable at performance but it will provide better filtration with less current, something necessary for discus. It also is idea for adding media like peat which will be necessary if your water is not soft and under pH 7.
On heaters I would say buy the best. Two 150w or 200w heaters are recommended for a 75g tank, one heater at each end (one next to the filter intake and one next to the filter return). This saves wear and tear on a single heater which means better life and service. And discus need warm water (around 29C, 84F), so you don't want the heater failing.
I would not put rock in with discus. First, it is not natural for them, but more importantly it can leech minerals 9or unknown toxic substances depending what it may have come into contact with over the years) into the water and affect the chemistry, something you never need (unless it is planned) but especially with discus. Bogwood is ideal. And they will feel much more secure (and thus be less stressed and prone to bacteria) with lots of plants. They like to have hiding places if they feel threatened. On a 75g tank, two 40w full spectrum (6500K or better) flourescent tubes will provide adequate light. Amazon sword plants (Echindorus species) will grow nicely in a small-grain gravel with this light; you can see the photos of my 70g and 90g South American tanks for proof, I have plain gravel, two tubes and weekly liquid fertilizer and the tanks are full of swords. I would not advocate plant additives in the substrate, as these will get into the water column and could cause fluctuating water conditions which is something you have to avoid with discus. Although I feel that discus can (and should) be kept in planted aquaria, it is due to the water quality issues that many discus keepers use bare tanks and perform daily water changes of up to 50%.
I think you can manage with weekly partial water changes, but they will have to be carried out regularly. Deteriorating water quality is a prime reason for discus bacteria and parasite problems.
Let us know your water parameters (pH and hardness) and we may have further suggestions.
Great advice Byron!
And I agree about no UGF. I have one in one of my tanks now, it will be history when I get some time to remove it.
The best type of display for discus is going to have many live plants and bogwood with few rocks. As far as water chemistry goes, you might want to check your tap water to see if you will need an R.O. unit. If your water tests less than 7.0ph you might be ok if you have plenty of bogwood in there to lower your water buffering capabilities even more. Discus have to be the pickiest of fish about water quality, even more so than african cichlids. So if this is your first tank, just be warned that it will be easy to get discouraged. I would recommend setting up the tank with decor and plants first and let them grow for a few months. Then I would add a 2 bristlenose plecos(for algae control and to cycle your tank) and wait for another month. If at this time all your water parameters seem like they are staying stable, then and only then start to add your discus.
As for filtration, your discus and plants will not like a lot of current, but will need quite a bit of biological filtering. High filtering translates to high current on HOBs and UGFs, but not necessarily canisters. That is why I would recommend the eheim ECCO 2236 as your filter. It will have plenty of filtering capability for your tank without the current (only185gph).
I agree with much of what 's been said. Were it me,,(and it aint) I would get the planted tank established and then add the discus in a group of no more than five in 75 gal. I would select adult or sub adult fish and I would be very careful as to where I puchased them from. Juvenile discus attain most of their growth during the first year. In order to achieve proper growth,, they must receive several small feedings a day and water changes on the order of three to four times a week minimum in my view to prevent stunting. That is why many grow them out in bare bottom tanks to make it easier to clean up the waste from food that is not eaten. If you are not interested in attaining maximum growth then three small feedings per day with twice weekly water changes may work. I have kept TANK RAISED Discus in water with pH of 7.4 but they would not spawn in this water. As mentioned, They would do much better in lower pH values. I use two Emperor 400's on 75 gal with Discus and they don't seem to mind the current as I often see them playing in the return flow. But for planted tank ,,I too would suggest canister. I use a HYDOR 400 watt heater and probably should add another smaller one for safety sake (one goes down). Keep in mind that some plants won't much care for temp needed for Discus. I also agree with not placing clown loaches with Discus though many have. The clown loaches are busy at night as well as the day which would or could stress the Discus with their puppy like antics. Better tto get the Discus established and then introduce SMALL clown loaches(3) if you have your heart set on them. I cannot stress enough,,that frequent water changes will be needed for long term health of the Discus for they are intolerant of poor water conditions.
For selecting your Discus,, You want fish that are round like their name implies (discus) Not oblong shaped or egg shaped. Fins should be erect and round not saw toothed looking. They should be wide across the forehead above and behind the eyes. Stay clear of fish that look pinched at the forehead area as though someone had pinched the head with thumb and fore finger. The eyes should appear small,Avoid fish with very large eyes ,for this ,,along with pinched look in forehead indicate fish that were not properly fed and also could indicate stunted fish. Eyes should look clear with no chips like one might observe with a marble that had chipped place on it. If you can, observe the fishes breathing. The breating should not be rapid or labored. Both gills should be working equally and mouth should open and close at a rate of aprrox. two times per second. Fish that are breathing rapidly ar no doubt stressed. Avoid fish that are very dark in color or who are huddled at the back or corner of the tank facing the glass. This is a sure sign of abnormal behaivor or possible sick fish. Discus should all come to the front of glass anticipating food when food is offered. Be sure and find out what the fish have been eating for it is not uncommon for these fish to go weeks without food upon arrival to new setting ,and having some food they are familiar with will be helpful. Hope some of this proves helpful.;-)
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