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spike0544 10-18-2013 03:55 PM

Starting a new tank
 
Hello all. It has been about two years since my last post. I got out of the hobby and am finally getting started back up again. I previously kept several planted tanks, so I am not a newbie, but I could use some help and suggestions.
I have decided to do the tank that I have always dreamed of, a 90 gallon discus tank. Filtration will be a Fluval FX6, and two 250 watt heaters. I am using a 3D background from aqua terra, and planning to just do a hardscape with driftwood, and maybe a couple accent rocks. I would rather not plant it, but I haven't decided yet. Currently I only have two 32 watt bulbs for the tank.
For substrate I want to use Eco-complete. I realize this is intended for planted tanks, but I really like the look of it in a tank, and if I ever do include plants I will be in good shape. Will the heterotrophic bacteria in the substrate aid in cycling the tank?
I am still debating about stock, only because of all the varying information I have found. I am planning to include Cardinal tetra, Sterbai Cory Cats, and possibly a Bristlenose along with the Discus. For the Discus, I would really like to purchase 2-2.5" fish due to cost, but I don't want to do daily water changes. Would I be better off buying 4-5" fish in the long run or can I pull this off? What would you recommend for stocking levels?
Also, I was thinking fish less cycle, but I have never done this and every website has a different set of instructions. Any help or resources you could provide on this would be much appreciated.
Thank you all for the help. I am a little nervous about Discus, so anything you could do to put my mind at ease would be great.

keepsmiling 10-18-2013 10:46 PM

Hello and welcome back to the great world of fishkeeping and the people who love it. I have not done discus yet. When I broke down my 90 gallon from sw I really wanted to. I even called Jack Wattleys a couple times and had in mind I could drive down and hand pick them!
Then I got cold feet from the water change regimen and a few other details of keeping them. It seemed harder than saltwater and planted tanks combined! I went fancy goldfish instead.:-)
I am certain we have some resident discus experts here. I will see what I can do about finding one for you. Good luck and I look forward to seeing your progress.

spike0544 10-19-2013 12:34 AM

Thanks for the support. I am sure I can handle it, but I would love some solid info I can trust. My LFS has several Discus display tanks but they make it sound way too easy compared to what I have read. I hope to get the tank up and running in the next week or two and I will start a journal with pics.

badxgillen 10-20-2013 12:08 PM

The eco complete will assist in the cycle but I would still stick with the truth of test kits to be assured the tank is ready. The drift wood will be a good addition and I would add it early on as to help with the softening of the water through natural processes. The tannic acids will lower the PH ever so slightly over a long period of time,dependent on the condition and type of wood.I would also encourage some plants as the sense of security can make the fish less stressed especially in the beginning of the acclimation period. You may not have as many issues with this if the discus are used to foot traffic form the store they are being kept. Low light plants are plentifull including many types of java fern,mosses,crytopcorenes,and tons of anubius.

badxgillen 10-20-2013 12:16 PM

That stock list is BOMB! I love sterbi corys and cardinals,look into the gold neon tetras as well they look good in my eye. As far as stocking the smaller discus that should be fine as long as you don't over stock and properly filter the tank. Basically the higher water temp and higher protein foods you will be using will cause a faster degradation in water chemistry but with this in mind and a proper regiment of clean water you should be alright,twice a week can sufice. Also remember that discus leave less margin for error that most fish but as long as you follow the basic guidelines you should be fine. Check what the chemistry of the tanks they are in at the shop and then test yours prior to putting them in.

Also one other question is whats your source water look like?You don't want to start off doing water changes rapidly if your source water is too hard or high in PH. This would require keeping water on hand that is conditioned properly for water changes.


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