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An adventure begins...

Joined
18 Jan 2016
Messages
32
Location
Wirral
Hi everyone,

This is my first real venture into the realms of planted tanks. I have kept plants before in my nano (15 litre) tank but that does not even compare to this project.
Before I go off to university next year, my parents had finally agreed to let me set up a planted discus tank for the living room. We managed to find a used 300L tank with all the equipment for £300. The tank had only been used for around four months so I snapped it up straight away.

Afterwards, I made a quick trip to the Green Machine, where I managed to find some great hardscape material. I also bought a couple of bags of aquasoil and a few tropica 1-2-grow packs. All this was done around November this year and I guess this journal will be a display of the tanks progression over time. This is my first time using a forum too so please bare with me :)

George K.
 
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I absolutely love this piece of wood that I bought from TGM. It is the perfect shape and dimensions for the effect that I envisioned ...
The tank has the dimensions : length 120cm x width 45cm x height 66cm
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I wanted to have a hemianthus carpet in the foreground so I decided to try the Dry Start Method. Unfortunately, I was not able to maintain high enough humidity so the anibus attached to the wood had dried up by the time i got back from school. I managed to recover some of the pieces by moving it to another tank quickly. The plants attached to the rocks are called Riccia I believe.

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I planted some of the Hemianthus callitrichoides "Cuba" at the front. Behind that, I planted Micranthemum "Monte Carlo". I have read that HC is very difficult to maintain in a tank with low light and no CO2. So I figured that if the HC does not survive, the Monte Carlo will take its place as the dominant foreground plant. I do prefer the small leaved Hemianthus as it looks better up close in my opinion so I am hoping it goes well. Behind both of these, I planted some Eleocharis acicularis to increase the height gradient so that it blends into the future stem plants.

I have four 49 watt T5s, do you think that this is enough for such a deep tank?
I was planning on using a Fire Extinguisher CO2 system but I feel like it would be too much of a hassle maintenance-wise. Especially after I go to uni.

( These pictures are still from the past, I will shortly upload some recent pictures)

George K
 
Hi Greenfinger2,
Here is a picture of the tank from about a week ago. I was playing around with the idea of creating dark shadows with the amazon swords.
The hemianthus is growing surprisingly well and I hope I can maintain it that way. Considering I only dose liquid CO2 and have weekly "all-in-one" fertiliser doses, the tank is doing well. The ammonia and nitrates from the aqua soil has settled so I introduced some red cherry shrimps into the tank yesterday.

Since taking this picture, I have decided to move the swords to another tank and replace it with a red tiger lily. I have a tiny bulb with about 5 leaves growing quickly in the background. Hopefully, it will grow up to be a beautiful show piece. The vallisneria on the right was just there to suck up some nitrates and was also moved to another tank.

I will be getting some amano shrimps soon. After that, I will start to build up a shoal of cardinal tetras...

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Well done :)

I'd leave the swords though as the Discus will appreciate them
The val (if still there - or perhaps reintroduce later) will be a good plant when you're away at uni & tank may get erratic attention
 
Thanks guys,
alto, that's a good suggestion, it would be great to see them weave in and out of it!
If I can't get the tiger lotus to grow big and dense then I will definitely replace it with the swords.
I still have a while before I get discus so we'll see what happens :)
Leaving the val is another good idea, but I don't like the position shown on the picture - it really goes against the theme of a slope haha
I might be able to move it to the back. I currently have some hygrophila and cabomba growing as background plants - I believe they are fast growing plants but I am not sure whether they would have the same effect as the valis... What do you think?
 
Oh wow, I never knew that. Is liquid CO2 known to damage any other plants?

Do you know how big a CO2 canister I need for a 300 L tank, and how quickly it is used up?
I have considered a DIY fire extinguisher system as the other systems are well over my budget.
 
If you don't over dose the liquid CO2, I've never had issue with Seachem's Excel & Val ... OTOH I always dilute anything that I might add into the tank (eg, mix whatever with a litre of water & add that rather than straight Excel etc) this prevent livestock being exposed to localized high concentrations.

I think you'll want to remove the cabomba as it likely needs more maintenance than the Val & hygrophila (depending on variant - most have nice flowers if tank is open)

I agree re slope scape BUT from fish perspective, nice to have good hiding/shaded areas at both ends of the tank - especially if a pair forms & begins spawning
 
I will start to dilute what I add to the tank, I never considered that. It'll probably also ensure even distribution as well.
The tank isn't open top... I really wanted to get one so I could have emersed growth but it won't work for this particular tank.

With the position of the tank, it'd be viewed from the front and the right hand side. I didn't want the right side to have a bunch of plants, obscuring the view of the fish... So that is why I sloped the tank.
I guess from the fishes perspective it isn't ideal. My understanding is that discus can be shy fish but after they get used to a tank they would roam out into the open. So I am hoping the majority of the group will shoal on the RHS and the weaker fish/ pairs will stay in the plants on the LHS.

I might consider swapping the back ground plants from stem plants to valis and Amazon swords as they'll be easier maintenance. The cabomba is already starting to become messy..

Do you think the discus would uproot stem
plants when they swim through it?
 
If I was to uproot the current plants and replace it with others, what would be the best way to go about it?

Would it cause an ammonia spike?

Would I need to remove the inhabitants?

Thanks, George
 
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This is just a quick update on the tank.
I have added a large group of cardinal tetras. After adding them, a few individuals caught white spot. Is this common when adding new tetras?

I used medication and luckily none of them had died.

The tiger lotus is growing quickly and should be visible in a couple weeks time. The hemianthus carpet is still doing well!! No troubles with the tank so far...

I have started to set up my previous tank upstairs in my bedroom so I will be starting a new journal for that tank soon!





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Thanks greenfingers!
This is my second time buying cardinals and more than half of my first batch died to white spot...

Luckily I spotted it early and had medication from the previous episode so it went away quickly.

Sent from my HTC One_M8 using Tapatalk
 
After adding them, a few individuals caught white spot. Is this common when adding new tetras?
There seems to have been a good amount of "white spot" in fish shipments lately - fish arrive looking fine, but then observe rather significant "spots" that seem to go from zero to LOTS almost overnight ...
hopefully your purchase shop has been helpful.

Fish are generally infected up to several days before visible white spots appear, also if fish have been treated, then shipped, then retailer, then home tank - this is sufficient stress to trigger a new round of infection (past what fish immune system can manage)

Tank is looking great :D
 
There seems to have been a good amount of "white spot" in fish shipments lately - fish arrive looking fine, but then observe rather significant "spots" that seem to go from zero to LOTS almost overnight ...
hopefully your purchase shop has been helpful.

Fish are generally infected up to several days before visible white spots appear, also if fish have been treated, then shipped, then retailer, then home tank - this is sufficient stress to trigger a new round of infection (past what fish immune system can manage)

Tank is looking great :D
Thanks alto, I never had these problems with African cichlids
If you can keep them from killing each other then everything is good aha...

I will be getting discus in a couple of months time, I'm very excited.


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Do you think I'd be able to have 8 adult discus, 25 cardinal tetras and 2 bosemani rainbows in the tank?
It's a 120x45x66 lwh

I'm planning on buying 8 juvies and growing them up and keeping the nicest ones. However it's reassuring to know that the tank would be able to hold that many if I don't manage to get rid off them.



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2 bosemani rainbows
I'd definitely not add these in - Seriously Fish is generally a great starting point when considering tankmates

- Boesman’s rainbowfish can be quite skittish and do far better when kept in a shoal of at least 6-8, preferably more.
- can disturb smaller or slow-moving fish with its rapid movements and relatively large size.


When kept in small numbers, their natural boisterousness can result in some unexpected behaviors ... harassing tankmates, even ramming tankmates ... so you could instead add several bosemani, but then your discus would be stressed by all the rainbow activity - discus fare best in tanks where they are the primary consideration

There is also the consideration of water parametres, bosemani generally fare better in hard alkaline waters, discus in soft acidic waters - if you are going to keep discus in harder etc water, look for locally bred fish that are kept in these conditions.
 
I'm planning on buying 8 juvies and growing them up
I'd actually start with more discus than that & plan on 8 adults longterm in this tank, they really do prefer group living ... depending on size of juvies, 16 might be a better # to start with ... then if you have a few losses & want to select out a few, you'll still have a good sized group to choose from.
Experienced discus keepers do add/remove large discus from established tanks - discus specific forums can be helpful in this regard

Cardinals - again I'd likely bring this # up to 35-40 ... you can also mix in some green neons etc if you want a bit more diversity, maybe some black phantoms or lemon tetras (though it's been awhile since I've seen nicely conformed lemon tetras)
 
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