320l Discus tank, becoming planted !

Tony Swinney

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I’ve had this tank running for about 2 years now, and it was set up as a discus tank, but as the “planted” bug bites more and more, I’ve been introducing some foliage and plan to add some hardscape too. James3200's and steve2tanks discus set ups have shown me that planted and discus can work together beautifully ! :D

The tank is 320l, with 2 Eheim filters, pressurised CO2, and has 218w of T5 light - more details in the spec below. There is an automatic water change system which drops 50l of water a day, and replenishes with pre-mixed RO/HMA blend from a storage tank.

It runs at around 6.5ph, and 29Ëšc. The substrate is just silver sand.

Its certainly not a ‘scaped’ tank (yet !) but there are a couple of varieties of Vallis across the back (spiralis and nana I think), some Amazon Swords on the right, and a crypt or 2 on the left. I’ve been adding some other samples in the last few days, just to see how they grow in the tank conditions really - HC, Crypt Becketti Petchii, Limnophila Heterophylia, Pogostemon Helferi, Ludwigia Arcuata and Rotala Wallichi, and some Blyxa Japonica too (thanks Steve). I have some more redmoor roots which I might use too.

I dose with Tropica + (32ml per week), and also with EasyCarbo (56ml per week) daily through an autodoser. Though I do plan to move onto EI with dry ferts soon - just have to get my head around it a bit more first !

The fish stock include 13 discus (alenquers, pigeon silvers, marlboro reds, red turqs, and royal blues), 30 rummy nose tetras, 2 sae’s, 6 botia striata, 2 golden nugget plec, 2 cory gossei, 14 cory sterbia, 16 amano and 2 mountain shrimp. Its a little overstocked at the minute, but I have another tank starting up soon so will relocate some then !

Now for the questions and queries :?: !

- The CO2 is pumping out at about 4bpm, but the drop checker is only just turning green from blue. My swords and the Becketti have some melting going on, and the HC is really struggling. I’ve another CO2 diffuser which I could add to increase the CO2, or should I reduce the lighting instead. I have a little algae, mainly on the upper vallis leaves right in the flow of one of the filter outlets. I thought this was Staghorn, but having read JamesC’s algae info I’m not so sure as it is in the high flow area ?

- I guess the auto waterchange is removing the TPN+ / EasyCarbo to some degree, as the 50L trickles out of the tank over 24 hrs, and is replenished via a float switch. Would it be better to remove the 50L in one go before lights and dosing in the morning, so that the ferts stay in the tank for the next 20 or so hours ?

- Is there anything I can do to improve the substrate? I presently add root tabs around the planting, but wonder if there are any other options ? I cant move the discus out to do it though !

Here are some pics of it all:

_MUS3419.jpg


_MUS3438.jpg


The HC has a tough time staying planted in the silver sand, with the attentions of the corys and the discus:
_MUS3395.jpg


Some of the samples planted yesterday:

Limnophila_Heterophylia:
Limnophila_Heterophylia_3.jpg


RotalaWallichi
RotalaWallichi.jpg


LudwigiaArcuata
LudwigiaArcuata.jpg


Pogostemon_Helferi
Pogostemon_Helferi_1.jpg


The algae :twisted:
_MUS3460.jpg


Behind the scenes :D
_MUS3447.jpg


Front of house:
_MUS3443.jpg


And the tank when it was first installed in the wall (Jan08) with the redmoor root disguised as a redmoor "tree" :lol:
TankFront_DSC_3354.jpg


And here is the spec:

60" x 18" x 24" tank, holding approx 320l / 86 US gall
Auto water change 50l / day - RO/HMA blend.
2 x Eheim 2026 filters
2 x Hydor 300w inline heaters
UV steriliser - 9am > 5pm

Pressurised CO2 through diffuser mounted under filter inlet (approx 4bpm) - 9am > 5pm
1 x Arcadia T5 54w marine white - 9.30am > 5.30pm
1 x Arcadia T5 54w plant pro - 9.30am > 5.30pm
2 x Interpet TriPlus 55w compacts - 10.30am > 4.30pm

Eheim air pump, with 2 outlets - 7pm > 1am



Thanks for looking, and please post up any thoughts or comments - they'd all be much appreciated.

Cheers

Tony
 

vauxhallmark

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29 Jan 2008
Messages
569
Wow, amazing setup! I think it looks stunning already.

Sorry to make a point that's not mentioned in your original post, but can you do anything about the gap between the two feeding flaps? Maybe it doesn't show as much in life, but in photos it really distracts from a system that you've obviously spent many hours and £££s on. You must spend hours in front of (and behind) that tank!

Can't wait to see its development.

Mark
 

steve2tanks

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9 Mar 2008
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Durham
Wow,love the behind the scene part,it looks great built into the wall like that :D

Keep us updated on how you progress :D
 

james3200

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13 Aug 2007
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CROYDON
Loving the work gone into this, lots of potential on the planted side of things!

Co2, ever thought of getting an inline reactor, always found they are more efficient, i use a aquamedic 1000, used it also on a trigon 350 years ago and worked great.

Would it be better to remove the 50L in one go before lights and dosing in the morning, so that the ferts stay in the tank for the next 20 or so hours
Probably, i would give it a go and find out.

Is there anything I can do to improve the substrate? I presently add root tabs around the planting, but wonder if there are any other options ? I cant move the discus out to do it though !
Not a huge amount without removing the discus.. In the long run a planted tank substrate will help allot. On my tank I dose lightly and the ADA soil does the rest really. Depends what you want to grow in the tank.. I am sure you could carpet that tank though with the right plant choice and keep your substrate with some EI dosing.
 

Tony Swinney

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14 Dec 2008
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Location
Cobham, Surrey
Thanks for the comments guys. I quite like the behind the scenes bit too - if my wife cant find me, thats where I'll be hiding :lol: ! I'm into the techy side of things and automation as you can tell :D

but can you do anything about the gap between the two feeding flaps?
Yep I need to sort that gap out Mark - it will be done ! :)

Co2, ever thought of getting an inline reactor, always found they are more efficient, i use a aquamedic 1000, used it also on a trigon 350 years ago and worked great.
I have one of Ed's on order James ! I ordered it for the new planted tank, but think I'll use it on this one, and get another if Ed makes a second batch.

I'm going to try the "quick drop" water change, I'm sure if will be more efficient for the ferts / CO2 in the daytime.

Depends what you want to grow in the tank.. I am sure you could carpet that tank though with the right plant choice and keep your substrate with some EI dosing.
Any suggestions on the carpeting plant ? I really like the look of Utricularia Graminiflora, but hear it is tricky stuff to grow :?:


I had a panic this morning :wideyed:. I got back home at 11am to find all the rummys swimming at the surface, and the discus all at the opposite end of the tank from the wood (where they always hangout). They were also all leaning over quite a bit. The shrimps and the SAEs were making darting runs to the surface too. The CO2 was pouring out of the diffuser at a heck of a rate, and the DC was almost yellow - I reckon I must have caught the adjuster on the reg last night when cleaning up. The pH was down to 5.1. I switched off the CO2, and switched on the air pump, and did a 20% water change to get the pH rising gradually. Its back up to 5.8 now, and the fish are all happy again, thank god ! :)

Having read about Saintlys disaster last night it made me realise just how easily these things can happen.

On the plus side it gave me an idea of how far I can push the CO2 - I might just to it a bit more gradually next time :lol:

Tony
 

Tony Swinney

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Cobham, Surrey
Was just about to PM you re the Dragon Stone James, but I see its gone :( Would have been a good excuse to come and have a look at your setup, and the Tefe's :D

Tony
 

altaaffe

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Thornhill, Egremont, Cumbria
Great looking setup and glad you caught the CO2 on time (not as glad as you I'll bet).

That's the type of set-up I'd like for a fish room, with a room within a room so that all you see is the fronts of the tanks.
 

Ray

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31 Oct 2007
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Switzerland
Lovelytank and beautiful discus. Cryptocoryne Becketti Pechetti is perhaps my favorite crypt.

I'd do the water change in 1 shot, just before you auto dose the ferts and start the CO2. Speaking of which - you say 4bpm - 4 bubbles per minute? I presume you mean per second? On my 200 litre I run at 2bps to get to bottle green, 3 or 4 bps to get to lime green. But this depends on the size of your bubbles really. With your lighting I'd shoot for a nice grass green as a minimum.

If you drop the lighting, the plants (and hence algae) will be more forgiving with the CO2 and nutrient requirements. You could start at partial lighting and later add a midday burst once you have things running nicely.

Finally I'm not sure you TPN+ is enough - your 32ml will only bring NO3 up to 6ppm, then if we consider the water changes it will back down close to 0. I'm not sure if the discus will add enough extra. I suspect you need to do EI to get to the 20ppm NO3 target EI folks go for - especially since you have an inert substrate. However, if you dose CO2 and full EI everything should grow.

You could add some Osmocote to the substrate as per JamesC - search for posts by him with the word Osmocote - it will save you changing the substrate over.
 

hellohefalump

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Newhaven, east sussex
Really brilliant looking tank! I love how you've put it in the wall aswell. Beautiful discus.

I'm wondering if your Co2 is stable. You say you start it at 9am, then lights are on at 9.30. Then you're turning it off half an hour before lights out.

On my 400litre, I'm finding to get the drop checker a consistant colour throughout the lighting period, I'm turning my CO2 on and hour and a half before lights on, and turning it off an hour before lights off. I do have surface agitation though so my levels are dropping a lot at night. I see you have an air pump on at night, so I'd assume your CO2 levels are dropping a lot aswell? If I were you, I'd start turning it on an hour before, to start with and see if it helps with the algae.

You have the same amount of lighting as me, but your tank being slightly smaller, yours is higher light. I'm running my CO2 to give the drop checker a light green colour. I've no idea how many bps, because it's coming out too fast to count.

I'm loving the automatic water change system - I'm hoping to do one on my tank when I move house this year. How exactly did you do yours?

Anyway, brilliant tank, lovely discus, you're obviously doing something right!
 

Tony Swinney

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14 Dec 2008
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Location
Cobham, Surrey
Thanks again for all the comments :D

The setup 'behind the scenes' seem to be well liked ! The tank was going to sit on the sideboard you can see in one of the pics, but we had the builders in last January, and I joked with them one morning about knocking a hole through the 12" wall for the tank to sit in. When I came back that evening they'd done it ! :lol:

The resulting bill was a little startling, but looking back it was well worth it. Having all the stuff hidden, but in plenty of space, and having water supplies, a sink, and drains right at the back of the tank make everything so much easier.

You can come anyway, come when i have the new wilds in a couple of weeks
Will do James, would love to see them.

I'd do the water change in 1 shot, just before you auto dose the ferts and start the CO2. Speaking of which - you say 4bpm - 4 bubbles per minute? I presume you mean per second? On my 200 litre I run at 2bps to get to bottle green, 3 or 4 bps to get to lime green. But this depends on the size of your bubbles really. With your lighting I'd shoot for a nice grass green as a minimum

I suspect you need to do EI to get to the 20ppm NO3 target EI folks go for

You could add some Osmocote to the substrate as per JamesC
Thanks Ray. Yep I meant 4bps ! The DC went to grass green this morning in error, but has been at bottle green all afternoon. I think I'll gradually tweak it up a little and see how the fish get on. I need to do some more reading up on EI by the sound of things, and I'll look up Osmocote too, ta.

If I were you, I'd start turning it on an hour before, to start with and see if it helps with the algae.
That makes sense hellohefalump - the CO2 is definitely somewhat depleted in the morning. I'll try starting it earlier.

The auto water change is pretty simple at the moment. Theres a 6mm siphon pipe from the tank to the drain, with a ball valve inline. I adjusted the valve to allow it to drain 50l every 24hours. There is an AquaDigital top up kit, which pumps water from the storage tank to the maintank when the float switch activates.

I've now ordered an Eheim pump to replace the siphon though, so I can drain the water out with a timer. I'll put a T into the filter outlet and connect it to the pump, and onto the drain. Then have the pump switch on for enough time to take 50l out of the tank before the lights CO2 / ferts are added in the morning. Should be a project for this weekend :D

Cheers

Tony
 

hellohefalump

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The auto water change is pretty simple at the moment. Theres a 6mm siphon pipe from the tank to the drain, with a ball valve inline. I adjusted the valve to allow it to drain 50l every 24hours. There is an AquaDigital top up kit, which pumps water from the storage tank to the maintank when the float switch activates.

I've now ordered an Eheim pump to replace the siphon though, so I can drain the water out with a timer. I'll put a T into the filter outlet and connect it to the pump, and onto the drain. Then have the pump switch on for enough time to take 50l out of the tank before the lights CO2 / ferts are added in the morning. Should be a project for this weekend :D
brilliant! You're so brilliant!
 

Simon D

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22 Sep 2008
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Leicestershire
Stunning set-up, I think everyone would agree the behind scenes eye-opener is fantastic. I'm so jealous

EI is the way to go. I'm looking forward to Ed's reactor too! Shame I won't be able to use it unitil the next tank though.
 

jay

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22 Apr 2008
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Harrow, Middlesex
Great set up. Bet the discus love that water!!
Like the redmoor root hanging down like that, ever thought of adding another?
Maybe some bolbitis attached to them?

Also, I really wouldn't worry about the HC, personally, I'd get rid of it. continue that nice clump of tenellus you got going and maybe get some blyxa in there too.

I love the look of the 'scape when you first set up. (with the redmoor "tree") It looks lke a surrealist desert landscape.

Beautiful ;)
 
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