Decent base soil and top sand to use???

Tim Harrison

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Aquarium gardens do discus plant collections for higher temps. Also this is worth a look too, plants for a Discus aquarium. I think you'd very much regret trying to scape your tank with water and fish in it, especially putting in soil and trying to cap it. In short it won't work, the capping material and soil will mix and you'd end up with a muddy puddle, and very unhappy and stressed fish.

If you don't have anywhere to keep the fish whilst scaping they can be quite happily housed in large storage boxes like these form IKEA for a couple of days. Just transfer the filter and keep it running and the heater etc. That way you can take your time and scape the tank properly. Your fish will be much happier and so will you with the finished scape.
 

Mark Keetch

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Aquarium gardens do discus plant collections for higher temps. Also this is worth a look too, plants for a Discus aquarium. I think you'd very much regret trying to scape your tank with water and fish in it, especially putting in soil and trying to cap it. In short it won't work, the capping material and soil will mix and you'd end up with a muddy puddle, and very unhappy and stressed fish.

If you don't have anywhere to keep the fish whilst scaping they can be quite happily housed in large storage boxes like these form IKEA for a couple of days. Just transfer the filter and keep it running and the heater etc. That way you can take your time and scape the tank properly. Your fish will be much happier and so will you with the finished scape.

Ok thanks bud. I'll check out them links. See what plants they have to offer for the higher temps.

And yeah ok, I can do the storage box option. I have a 60 litre QT tank which is running at the moment but I cant keep all the fish in that, it's far too small. But can get a storage box from IKEA. Plus I suppose now the tank is bare bottom, it will be much easier to catch all the fish. Lol.
 

Mark Keetch

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Anything more to go on? What issues and why is the substrate to blame?
So the issues I had were 2 fish got HITH and 2 others got ulcers. I had granular substrate in the tank mixed with red gravel. I also had no clean up crew in the tank, just algae eaters (I thought they were clean up crew when I bought them). So a few people how have said uneaten food and waste have sunk through the substrate and been left there to rot. Which is now causing the issues I had with the fish.
 

Mark Keetch

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@Tim Harrison just read the link you sent. I never knew lead strips couldn't be used on the plants without the plants dieing. I use lead strips on all my plants when the tank was planted cause they just get ripped out the substrate when the discus are feeding.
 

alto

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think the main issue I'm going to have though is the tank being at 29°C. I know most plants like it at a max of 28 right? Also my tank is live with quite a few fish so im either gonna have to lay down the substrate and gravel with the water and fish still in there (but at a low water line) or stress the fish out by removing them from the tank, keeping them somewhere while I aquascape the tank then put them back in (which will also mean trying to match the water temps in both tanks)

Definitely remove livestock before rescaping!
While you might manage adding some of the manufactured Aquarium Soils (such as Tropica) to an aquarium with water without considerable clouding or release of excess nutrients (imagine ammonia release), this is still going to be much more stressful to fish than moving them to a quiet location

Filipe Oliveira removes fish before completely rescaping this tank
as he’s quick, the temporary “tank” is only needed for some hours, for longer holding time, add some sort of filter or water movement and temperature regulation
I usually fill the bin (I use any food safe plastic bin of suitable size for the fish, sometimes setting up a couple bins depending on livestock) with 50% tank water and 50% tap water (or whatever you use for your aquarium) - then transition fish back to the 100% tap aquarium ...
Note my tap and aquarium water are basically the same, if you’re adjusting water for the aquarium, then check parameters before moving fish
I don’t feed fish in the temporary tank unless I’m adding a filter and doing water changes, ie, treating it like an aquarium rather than a holding tank ... obviously fish density is generally higher in the temporary tank than in the aquarium, so focus on water quality, eg, reduce temp to 27*C for more dissolved oxygen
To minimize fish stress, keep light dim, minimal vibrations (& don’t loom over the fish re temporary bins are often placed on the floor)

After rescaping the tank, it’s often late, so I just leave the fish until next day - this allows you to recheck aquarium parameters before moving fish (maybe even another water change as there may be fines/nutrients released when planting/adjusting hardscape etc), and means moving the fish during their usual “day” cycle, and you can easily monitor fish after the move for several hours
When moving fish back to the aquarium, keep lighting dim - plants will be fine - you can even leave the lights/CO2 on after finishing the rescape, then switchover to no CO2/dim lights for the transfer day

When ordering any “discus” plant collections, I’d confirm plant species to make sure it’s all plants you want

It’s much easier to add discus to an established planted aquarium (that has been set up for discus) than to do it all in one go as you will be doing
I’d set up the temporary “tank” so that it will be comfortable for fish for a few days
I have extra filters and heater etc so that’s easily done, most discus will be fine in a temporary bin with a sponge filter and 90% daily water changes
You don’t mention want your other fish are, I’d be inclined to house the discus separately
Add discus back to the aquarium first, maybe even wait a day before adding the other fish
 

alto

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they just get ripped out the substrate when the discus are feeding.
Plants with good root development should be quite resistant to removal, though if plants are constantly being uprooted by fish, plants can’t root properly
- as you’re going to be planting and returning fish to tank soon after, you’ll need to use at least temporary means to protect plants

There are some very nice discus scapes dominated by epiphyte plants attached to moveable rocks/wood :)
 

alto

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Re plants and temperatures, TropIca is slightly more conservative than Flow Grow

Do you have any idea of planting/scape scheme?

Lighting?
CO2?

Discus will usually do fine at 27/28*C and this will allow your plants a bit more latitude than 29/30*C
 

Mark Keetch

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Re plants and temperatures, TropIca is slightly more conservative than Flow Grow

Do you have any idea of planting/scape scheme?

Lighting?
CO2?

Discus will usually do fine at 27/28*C and this will allow your plants a bit more latitude than 29/30*C
Ok I can move them to a 90 litre tank I have just found in my cupboard. Can wash it out before filling with tank water. So holding tank to be 50/50 but when filling up main tank again, fill up 100% with fresh water. Dont put the holding tank water back into the main tank???
I reckon if I start early in the day I could get it all done in a day. But I might leave them in holding tank overnight so it let's the main tank settle down a bit before adding the fish back in. I will just have to try and get all the plants in the same day so I can plant them before filling the tank up with water. I have a matured sponge filter and a spare 200w heater so that wont be a problem.

No idea on the scheme yet but I do have a few decent pieces of wood and some grey rocks. I need to look at some journals to get some ideas.

So I have an LED light which is on for 8 hours a day. I have a C02 set up with an in tank diffuser but am thinking of plumbing in a reactor to my fluval FX5 when I go back to planted.
 

sparkyweasel

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So the issues I had were 2 fish got HITH and 2 others got ulcers. I had granular substrate in the tank mixed with red gravel. I also had no clean up crew in the tank, just algae eaters (I thought they were clean up crew when I bought them). So a few people how have said uneaten food and waste have sunk through the substrate and been left there to rot. Which is now causing the issues I had with the fish.
So shouldn't you be addressing the uneaten food and waste problem? I don't see how a different substrate will help. Any food left uneaten after a short time needs to be removed. And the substrate needs to be regularly syphoned over to remove waste and muck before it can work its way into the lower levels where you can't remove it so easily.
For 'clean up crew' you could consider Malaysian Burrowing Snails (aka Malaysian Trumpet Snails). As they burrow they are good at getting at any food that does make its way into the substrate despite your best efforts at removing it.
 

Mark Keetch

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So shouldn't you be addressing the uneaten food and waste problem? I don't see how a different substrate will help. Any food left uneaten after a short time needs to be removed. And the substrate needs to be regularly syphoned over to remove waste and muck before it can work its way into the lower levels where you can't remove it so easily.
For 'clean up crew' you could consider Malaysian Burrowing Snails (aka Malaysian Trumpet Snails). As they burrow they are good at getting at any food that does make its way into the substrate despite your best efforts at removing it.
Yeah your definitely right. The issue I had was I couldn't see the uneaten food on the substrate. The discus take a massive mouthful of beefheart, chew it up a bit then spit loads of it out. So it ends up in tiny pieces, like dust if you know what I mean. Settles in between the granular substrate/gravel and sits there because I didnt have a clean up crew in the tank. I had no corys, no snails, hardly any shrimp. And I could never get between the plants to use a gravel vac to turn over the substrate and clean it. Not without disturbing the plants anyway.
So I've been told because I had granular substrate/gravel, it made the problem worst cause waste could easily fall between it and get buried. Whereas if I had a soil underneath then more of a top sand rather than gravel on top (like a course sand, not a fine sand), then it would be harder/take longer for the waste to get through before the clean up crew come along and munch it all up.

Ok.....I can put Malaysian trumpet snails on the list too. I was also going to get corys, a crap load of ammano shrimp, and assassin snails. Can Malaysian snails go with assassin snails?
 

sparkyweasel

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Can Malaysian snails go with assassin snails?
I haven't tried, but I think the assassins would eat them, as far as I know they will eat any snails. That's their main diet; some people believe they eat shrimps as well, others are not convinced about that.
 

Mark Keetch

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I haven't tried, but I think the assassins would eat them, as far as I know they will eat any snails. That's their main diet; some people believe they eat shrimps as well, others are not convinced about that.
Ah damn. Ok. If that's the case then I will go with Malaysian snails instead of assassins. I like ammano shrimp so dont wanna get them out the tank just for assassin snails
 

alto

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a crap load of ammano shrimp
yum yum said the discus :D
(eventually)

What other fish do you have?

Switch the discus from beefheart (I’m not even going to get on my soapbox about this :rolleyes:) to Australian black worms (now available freeze dried, flake, pellet etc)

Once introduced, if the Malasian trumpet snails are successful, you will have them forever ;)
 

alto

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Dont put the holding tank water back into the main tank???
I don’t see any reason to do so

If you’re keen to do it, and have a suitable pump, it won’t do any harm ... though even if you put back 75litres (obviously need to do this before placing fish back in the main tank so don’t stress fish by removing too much water), that’s not a major portion of the 350litres, and given it’s already 50% tap water, that’s about 40litres of initial tank water .... so if that’s your game, much easier just to save 40l from tank water at the start and use that (especially as it will be “cleaner” than the holding tank water)
Then you can avoid stressing fish by dropping the water level dramatically in the holding tank

I’m also less keen on returning temporary bin water to the main tank, as it likely has higher levels of stress compounds (released by fish)
 

alto

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I will just have to try and get all the plants in the same day so I can plant them before filling the tank up with water
It’s so much less (person) stressful just to plan on fish being sorted out of the tank for a couple days :)
 

Conort2

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No matter what substrate you have a ‘clean up crew’ isn’t going to help greatly, siphoning is the only way to properly remove waste such as uneaten food in the substrate. I have a tank full of corydoras and hundreds of shrimp, trumpet snails and I still see food trapped down under the substrate level which remains there until I siphon it. You also have to remember adding fish to clean up will actually create more mess as you need to feed more and they also produce waste.

Also as mentioned by Alto you’d be much better feeding freeze dried black worms, these are a much cleaner food than beefheart. Fish go mad for them and it’s a lot more natural than mammal meat.

how often were you doing water changes previously? What amount did you remove and did you vacuum the substrate? As you shouldn’t be getting fish get hith and ulcers. Wouldn’t want you to change your substrate and then for this issue to return.

cheers

Conor
 

Mark Keetch

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yum yum said the discus :D
(eventually)

What other fish do you have?

Switch the discus from beefheart (I’m not even going to get on my soapbox about this :rolleyes:) to Australian black worms (now available freeze dried, flake, pellet etc)

Haha. I have 5 ammanos in there at the moment and they have grown pretty big and have survived. I know someone that keeps cheery shrimp in his discus tank and I think they are smaller than ammano.

Other fish are 10 rummeynoses, 2 Bolivian rams, 2 balloon rams, 4 torpedo barbs, 5 SAE, 5 ammano, 1 yellow phantom plec, 2 angels and 3 ottos.

So how comes you are against BH dude? The discus and all the other fish love the stuff. I make it myself from home rather than buying it from the shops. I make it with mussels, shrimp, banana, eggs, spirulina, vitamins, spinach and garlic. I also feed them freeze dried blackworm twice a day. So BH once a day then FDBW twice a day.

Yep I see your point about the holding tank water. I will just throw that away after then. Might keep 50 litres of tank water to add back after. I'll decide that on the day :)

I suppose I could hold the fish in the holding tank for couple of days. No harm in that, just while the tank settles with the new aquascaping and while I gather all the plants I wish to add. I have a 90 litre plastic storage tub and a 60 litre fish tank. So I suppose I could keep the discus in the storage tub and the other fish in the 60 litre tank.

Ok so the tank is 48x18x24 and I think the LED light is discontinued cause i cant find it on the net. All i can tell you is it's a YF-LED1200A and it is 5-75w. That's all it says on the light unit
 

Mark Keetch

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No matter what substrate you have a ‘clean up crew’ isn’t going to help greatly, siphoning is the only way to properly remove waste such as uneaten food in the substrate. I have a tank full of corydoras and hundreds of shrimp, trumpet snails and I still see food trapped down under the substrate level which remains there until I siphon it. You also have to remember adding fish to clean up will actually create more mess as you need to feed more and they also produce waste.

Also as mentioned by Alto you’d be much better feeding freeze dried black worms, these are a much cleaner food than beefheart. Fish go mad for them and it’s a lot more natural than mammal meat.

how often were you doing water changes previously? What amount did you remove and did you vacuum the substrate? As you shouldn’t be getting fish get hith and ulcers. Wouldn’t want you to change your substrate and then for this issue to return.

cheers

Conor
Hey Conor. Ok yeah that was a massive mess up on my behalf too. I never siphoned the substrate or sloshed it round to get waste out. Reason for this is I didnt want to disturb or rip up the plants while doing so. How do you siphon your substrate without disturbing your plants too much?

I feed the tank FDBW twice a day. And BH once a day. I didnt think the discus would grow fully on just FDBW which is why I feed them BH too. Everyone i know that has discus feeds BH so I just went with the majority ;)

So I was doing 2 WCs a week, at the worst it was 3 times every 2 weeks. And changing 40%-50% each time. As already answered, no I never siphoned the substrate :oops:

It is looking like the diseases came from crap and waste in my substrate. Most likely down to me not siphoning/cleaning it out properly. I just didn't know how to without upsetting the plants/roots.
 

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