Discuss playground tank

Discussion in 'Planted Tank Gallery' started by ty_phan, 25 Jul 2008.

  1. ty_phan

    ty_phan Member

    28 Feb 2008

    This is my one year old tank and still i have alot to learn especially how to compact algaes & why black peppers appear in the Discuss body.

    Dimensions: Aquatlantis 47" x 16" x 20"/120 x 40 x 50 cm, Volume 240 l./53 gal./63 US gal.

    Fish: 2 x 6' Chequerboard Pigeon, 1 x 3'5, and 2 x 2.5' blue diamonds. 30x Cardinal Tetras, 6 x Otocs. Discusses are supplied by Chen's Discuss.

    Glossostigma elatinoides, Tropica Riccia fluitans, Anubias nana, small portion of Hemianthus callitrichoides, Microsorum pteropus ''Narrow'', Microsorum pteropus 'Windeløv', Cryptocoryne undulata, Echinodorus 'Aquartica', Echinodorus 'Ozelot' (green), Vallisneria, Nymphaea lotus (zenkeri), Lotus tiger, Pogostemon helferi , Nymphoides aquatica, Amazon Sword, Rotala macandra (not sure i've got the plant name corrected. They are the red ones next to zenkeri (left side).

    Filtration: 1 x Eheim Professional 3e 2076, 1 x Aqua Aq1000

    Lighting: 3 x 54w T5. tubes and 1 double ballast from Juwel, 1 single 54w ballst from Acra.

    Substrate: Black & White subtrates (not sure the real name) from LFS, and JBL plant subtrates.

    Decor: A branching red moon wood from Aqua Essentials, and a piece of bogwood.

    Background: No. Clear glasses/mirrors around the tank

    Water parameters: Ph 6.8-7.0. Very high GH & KH (8-10?). NO3 = 20 - 40mgl. NO2 = 0.1 - 0.3. PO4 = 2-4mgl. Temp: 78 - 80F. CO2 = yellowish in a double check co2 checker.


    This tank was set up in end of June 2007. The colour pea subtrates replaced in Dec 2007 with 5-7cm black & white colour subtrates plus 1cm JBL plant subtrates. There was only 1 filter at the setup time, the water wasn't clear until an Eheim professional 3e added. I will add one more Eheim prof 3e on to it. The prof 3e filter is making water pretty clear and it sounds very quie as well.

    The Eheim plastic lily pipes were replaced by two glass ware sets, PM Glass Inflow/Outflow Set - 16mm from Aqua Essentials, ordered few months ago. These sets are very breakable hence one of outflows was broken, so decided to replace the broken set with Cal Aqua Inlet/Outlet 17mm from Cal Aqua Labs.

    A double check CO2 checker ordered at the same time the inlet/outset and it was free as they had a promotion at that time. I'm very pleased with the Cal Aqua products. Their stuffs are very top quality. I will order an Inline CO2 Diffuser Type II once it is on for sale in their website.

    I've just started to keep fishes and live plants about a year now. I wanted to have a tank with green plants and healthy fishes but things didn't go as my plans although at the times. Algaes & fishes death were the real problems. I now think the major impact of fish death was the filter wasn't established and not ready, too many stresses & disturbing water changes. With algaes, two facts among others to allow growing are not enough CO2 and nutrients in the tank.


    I started with DIY CO2 over 8 months and noticed that they are not good enough in a heavy plant tank, so I decided to change to pressuried CO2 few months ago. Since then plants grew better, however algaes still grow like mad. I was mad at times and decided to strip the tank and relandscape it quite alot of times. The more i tried to change, strip down the tank, remove the infected plants etc..., the more frustration i had because algaes still go nowhere.

    I used Seachem liquid fertilisers and dosed them as instructed on the guidelines, but plants didn't grow well and look green as i wanted. Until recently (end of June) i decided to change the liquid to dry fertilisers (from Aqua Essentials), and this switch seem worked very well. Plants grow healthy, look green however algaes still present, but not much since dosing dry fertilisers.


    In the past and now Microsorum pteropus ''Narrow'', 'Windeløv', and Java moss & java fens somehow do not grow well, algaes are growing on them. Brown dusts and few green spots are appeared on the front glass just after 3-4 days. I don’t know whether the lighting period is a cause to allow algae growing. Next week I will reduce the lighting period to see any effects. Lighting periods are: 7:50am to 2:30pm with 2 x 54w, and 1 x 54 switching on between 9am – 2pm. Then they all turn off and then turn on again from 5:30pm to 10pm with 2 x 54w, plus 1 x 54 is on between 6pm-8pm.

    CO2 is supplied 24h. Airstone is on between 12am - 4am every night to drive off CO2.

    I use Estimate Index (EI) method and dose dry fertilisers direct on the tank. Two reasons encouraged me to dose powders in the tank: a) No need to make a stock solution, b) No manual dosing the solution daily.

    I put the powders in an Eheim Tank Mate fish feeder unit, set meal timers to every 6am from Monday to Friday. This feeder unit can feed dry foods as well. Saturday and Sunday I dose the powder manually.


    I do water change every Saturday, with 50% - 70% and replace with HMA waters. Clean and remove infected leaves, start dosing the powders right after the water change with 1 tsp of Potassium Nitrate (KNO3), ¼ tsp of Potassium sulphate (K2SO4), and ¼ of Monopotassium phosphates (KH2PO4), and then the same amount of fertilisers on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Sunday I dose ¼ tsp of Magnesium (MgS04), ½ tsp of Trace Elements mix, and ½ tsp of Iron Sulphate (FeS04) on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday.

    My tank size is 240 l./53 gal./63 US gal without substrates and plants, so I guess now is about 220L with them on it.

    One thing I noticed since using EI method is the Iron level present in the tank. Before using EI method and dry fertilisers, the UV unit was turn on 24h, i dosed Seachem Iron liquid each time of 5ml, 3 times a week, the test result showed the Iron level as always 0mg. Since using EI & dry powders, and the UV unit was turn off, the test result showed 1mg of Iron in the tank. I do not sure whether the UV unit has something to do with this Iron issue. i am studying this issue so i decide to turn the UV unit earlier this evening. I will check the Iron level by Sat to find out what's going on.

    I thought algaes grow due to many seasons, one of them is the balance of KNO3 & KH2PO4. To study this issue I experimented the dosing by adding all nutrients together at the time on Friday morning, and change water by Sat morning, and dosing as usual on the following week, this study resulted that algaes still grow.

    Tank maintenance seems a bit frustration. To be honest I have to clean the tank twice a week before and now, either on Tues or Wed, and Sat. I want to spend less times in maintenance, and in order to do so I need to figure out how to stop algae grow first. Once this matter solves, I guess there is need not to worry about cleaning the glass twice a week.

    What i've learned so far: Do not put fishes on to the tank until the filter is ready, not until at least after 8-12 weeks. Do use pressured CO2 and supply them more than the CO2 checker indicates. And making sure my plants have the correct balance of nutrients is essential for good, strong growth.

    Apart from algae problem, one more important fact i want to study, this is the kind of black peppers appearing on fins and top body of Discuss.

    I try to get rid of algaes completely. Any advices and comments are welcome.
  2. Luketendo

    Luketendo Member

    25 Feb 2008
    West Sussex, England
    Looks really really healthy and flourished to me. Great for Discus.
  3. planter

    planter Member

    7 Nov 2007
    Welcome to UKAPS!

    Congrats on such a beautiful aquarium ....
    Nice to see something a little bit different, The mirrored back certainly adds to the polished look of this tank. It all looks very healthy, plants and fish.

    Well done
  4. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    11 Jul 2007
    Chicago, USA
    Hi ty_phan,
    Gosh that's a lovely tank you've got. Everything looks nice and green and I don't see any evidence of Fe deficiency. I think that it's a waste of time to be constantly testing for Fe or for any of those other parameters. Discus tanks are complicated enough and if you are already dosing the trace element mix then I see no need to dose extra FeSO4. The trace element mix is mostly Fe so you don't need to add Fe separately. If you need more Fe then just add more trace. No need to spend more money buying FeSO4.
    The UV might precipitate some of the Fe but that just means the plants will take it up from the roots and it's uptake will be a bit slower. But that's not a big deal. Dosing per EI means no testing and no complications. Good grief, throw those test kits away. :D

    You also don't need to dose K2SO4 if you are already dosing both KNO3 and KH2PO4. You get enough K from both of these so ditch the SO4 and save money.

    If you are getting some algae then that means you need to add more of something. That something will depend on what type of algae you have. Take a look at JamesC algae guide and see if you can identify the type of algae you have:=> http://theplantedtank.co.uk/algae.htm

    There is also absolutely no point in shutting all of your lights during the day. Leave them on until the end of the photoperiod. Instead, why don't you consider shutting your CO2 off at night? That would be a better plan.

    I'm not going to belabor your double dropchecker, other than to note how the so-called reference color didn't do you much good, did it? Cal Aqua already knows how I feel about it. :(

    I can't help you with the Discus disease but maybe some of the other members have a better idea.

  5. mick b

    mick b Member

    22 Jul 2008
    Hi Ty-phan,

    Great tank, and the plants seem great (but other plantsmen & women) are more qualified than I, so I will let them comment on the plants/system etc.

    I keep Discus and you have learned the hard way about 'mature filters' :(
    I also note, N02 at 0.1 to 0.3 ppm, this again is not desirable and to some extent, indicates the filter, may be under-performing?

    With regard to the 'peppering' it is NOT a disease!!

    Your Discus are derrived from a basic strain 'pidgeon-blood', and like most ciclids they have 'stress-bars' which are used to show, stress (generally percieved that they are used to camoflage the Discus).

    The pidgeon-bloods have the pigment cells (normally arranged as vertical bars, which go dark if stressed etc) dispersed around the body as small speck's (nose and back main areas as well as the dark./black fringe in fins etc).

    When the Discus is stressed (0.1 to 0.3 NO2 will do this) the specks become darker and more apparent.
    This also happens when the Discus is in a relativly dark 'setting'.
    If you use black gravel/sand the specks (peppering) will show more than if the gravel/sand were changed to white.

    HTH, Cheers, Mick B
  6. Joecoral

    Joecoral Member

    24 Nov 2007
    Neath, South Wales
    tank looks lovely, plants look lush and green
    discus are beauties too, i can personally vouch for the quality of Chens discus, they are top notch
    keep up the good work!
    JC :D
  7. jay

    jay Member

    22 Apr 2008
    Harrow, Middlesex
    Hey ty_phan. Lovely looking discus. Where are you from? if you dont mind me asking.
    Its just that you say you got your discus from Chen's discus, and I live in practical walking distance from where he's based and wondered if you got them mail order or if you live near him.
    Just wondering if you do live near there then how do your discus feel in the local water? Or do you use RO?

    Anyway, really nice tank, but it seems obvious you have, have had an under performing filter.

    In regards to the discus peppering, mick b is 'spot' on with his answer :)
  8. ty_phan

    ty_phan Member

    28 Feb 2008
    First at all I would like to thank you for your kindly complements and secondly thanks for your suggestions.

    - Ceg4048

    The tank parameters are in good balance hence there is no sign of FE deficiency. However plants were suffering Fe deficiency before as UV unit was on and Seachem liquids were used. Since I changed the liquid to dry fertilisers and dose FeSO4 and the UV unit was off, the Fe deficiency has gone.

    As mentioned in my thread, I turned on the UV unit in Wednesday, at 9am today I tested Fe and it showed 0mg/l in the tank. The test was carried out before I do a water change. I noticed there are some old leaves with wholes on them. I again want to understand why so I decided to dose ½ tsp of FeSO4 at 12:30pm today (I usually dose ¼ tsp FeSO4 on Sunday, a day after water change), I retested the Iron at 9:30pm and you guess what, the test showed 0mg/l in the tank. This means there will be FE deficiency if FeSO4 does not dose tomorrow morning. So I wonder now isn’t the UV unit that tell the FeSO4 has gone or you think the plants consumed them all?

    At the moment I can’t sure why FeSO4 has gone so quick, so I want to carry out another experiment. The UV unit has turned off at 10:30pm (26.07) and tomorrow I will dose another ½ tsp of FeSO4 and see what’s happening.

    I use Hegan master test kits. Do you think this is a good one?

    I’ve looked at James’ planted tank algae guides few months ago, and revisit last night after read your suggestion, I can identify the algaes in my tank as follow:

    Cladophora, Blanket Weed
    James’ site mentioned the causes are low CO2 and low nutrient levels.

    My opinions about these causes are that I don’t think that the CO2 level in the tank is low, because the CO2 drop checker is always show green/yellowish. I even increased the CO2 bubbles in near a week to monitor the algae and this experiment does not mean the algae kind stops growing. At least the drop checker I have now is showing incorrect.

    But yes, I was very amazed with JBL CO2 checker liquid once. My tiger king plec was almost got killed if I didn’t change my mind to do a water change. The colour in the drop checker was always green, I didn’t realise that the CO2 level was very high at the time. I only knew it when my plec didn’t move at all even I pointed fingers at him. When the Cal Aqua drop checker replaced the JBL, the colour showed straight up to the yellow colour.

    Well, anyway, with low nutrient levels, I checked nutrient levels this morning before my water change time and they are all in good balances. Even NO3 almost over 110mg/l. The only reason I might agree is the water circulation in the tank. I read about the water circulation affections, so I decided to place one of the lily outlet on a right hand side (see the picture) and setup a max pump rate (7 green bars showed in the Eheim Prof 3e). The movement is more than good enough to create circulations and move water around to the end of the other side of the tank. On the other end of the tank, I place another lily outlet which is attached to AquaVital 1000 filter. The movement is not power enough compare it to the pump rate on the right hand side, but it is still enough to move water within slowly. I must admit the AquaVital 1000 filter is under performance (this was the reason I decided to add Eheim Prof 3e filter). I consider replacing this filter with an Eheim filter.

    Green Spot Algae
    The spots appear in the glass within 2-3 days. Since I introduced pressurised CO2 bottle, I can see that green spots didn’t present on the plants at all. With information stated in James’ algae guide: low PO4, low CO2, and too long a lighting period? Well, PO4 level checked this morning it showed 1mg/l. Is this still low? Lighting period, you can read my lighting period above.

    Here are the rest of algae kinds I can identify so far at the moment in the tank. The causes stated in James’ are all about low co2, low nutrient levels etc…

    Hair, Thread, Fuzz,

    I have to admit Staghorm kind is presenting in the tank always. I guess this is where I might need to look at and find the causes.

    For information purpose, a water test was carried out this morning at 9:30am before doing a usual water change and the correct parameters at the time as follow:

    Ph: 7.0. NO3: 100mg/l. NO2: 0. NH3: 0.0. PO4: 1.0. FE: 0mg/l. Temp: 80F.

    And after water changed with 60% of HMA water, added 2/3 tsp of KNO3, 1/4 of K2SO4, no KH2PO4 because it already presents in the water (i usually add 1/4 tsp at the water change day. Today i want to experiement without dosing it), 1/2 tsp of FeSO4. A water test was carried out at 9:30pm and the correct parameters at the time are:

    NO3: 40mg/l. NO2: 0. PO4: 1. FE: 0. Temp 82F.

    My tap water is very hard. Good thing about this water is it already has PO4 (4mg/l) and NO3 (20mg/l) in it. However I do dose the nutrients after water change because of the heavy plants.

    I just start (begin of July) dosing dry fertilisers using EI method so I guess I do need the test kit to help me to understand the parameters and keep the water in balance of nutrients. I record the doses and take notices until I feel I have got the dose reference correctly, until then I might not need the test kit. But I would not throw it away even though the plants & fishes doing fine. You never know this kind of things…We might need it when it is needed.

    - Mick B
    Very appreciated for your inputs. I think I’ll properly need more time to understand about why “peppering” occurred in our tanks, not being occurred in the dealer’s tank. This makes me curious to learn, and it made me to buy the fishes from Chen’s. The fishes are very clean and white at the time they are in his tanks. Right now I have no clues about it…

    Do you think it is possible to prevent the peppering?

    I asked Chen’s on the day I visit his place, he mentioned briefly that it was the water that caused the peppering. He suggested NOT add any chemicals in the tank, even Discus Vitamins, which I used to treat the discus after a water change for a month before I met Chen’s last month. The chemical means include new wormer plus? I don’t know about you guys but I treated the fishes twice with wormer plus. The last time was about two weeks ago. Speaking of water qualities I don’t know whether it might help to prevent peppering if RO water is used instead of HMA.

    - Jay
    I live in East London, about 10 miles from Chen’s area. I visited Chen’s place two times, and he visited my place one time. It was for my first visit and my last visit. I kindly asked him to bring the fishes & beef hearts on the second time and he was happy to do that with a £10 delivery charge. To be honest I prefer to visit his place because it gives me a great opportunity to meet the fishes in person and i can decide to pick the best colourful & health fishes

    I don’t know how the Discus feel about the water they are living in. I wish I could read their minds so that there were no deaths and diseases. Just kidding myself. Well, I think they are doing well in my tank. The water is very hard and I use HMA water. The HMA unit ordered from devotedly discus.

    I hope someone can tell me now that do use RO water because it would prevent the black peppering and NO algaes.

    Jay, in which way and information did you mention I had a under performance filter? I am interested to learn.

    I am doing a new experiment: turn off the UV unit, change the lighting period to 7:45am – 17:00, no break, start with 2 x 54w tubes, plus 1 x 54w tube from 9am – 4pm to increase the uptakes. Will update information next week with the experiement.

    Thanks for reading.
  9. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    11 Jul 2007
    Chicago, USA
    Hi ty_phan,
    The best thing to do is to take all of your test kits and throw them in the bin. As usual with test kits, they are causing you to make bad decisions and are only prolonging your agony because they lie. It wouldn't be so bad if they told you that you have less nutrients than you needed, but they always seem to tell you that you have more than you have. Good test kits cost hundreds of pounds. Any hobby grade test kit is worthless specifically because of this problem. It's highly unlikely that you have 110 ppm NO3 if you are changing your water regularly and if you haven't dosed that quantity, but you don't have BGA so the nitrate levels are probably OK. How did I reach this conclusion? Simple. You haven't reported BGA. Algae is your test kit.

    Algae never lie. If you have staghorn and hair algae it's because you have low CO2 or low CO2 distribution/circulation. This means that you may have to either think about upgrading the flow rate or adding some powerheads (the cheap solution). You also need to at least contemplate using spraybars mounted along the top back wall. You need some combination of flow velocity and outlet positioning that will distribute the nutrients and CO2 better than they are now. Check the EI dosing article in the Tutorial section. You are focusing much too much on Fe when your tank is likely starving of K, PO4 and CO2 due to poor distribution.

    A high tech 240L tank needs the following baseline dosing scheme.

    3X per week 3/4 teaspoon KNO3
    3X per week 1/4 teaspoon KH2PO4
    2X per week 1/4 teaspoon Trace element mix
    A few teaspoons epsom salts once or twice a week.

    With poor flow and poor distribution, you likely need to double those amounts to compensate for the inefficiency of your distribution. This basic scheme guarantees you that your tank will receive at least a weekly input of 20 ppm NO3, 30 ppm K, 3 ppm PO4 and 0.5 ppm Fe in addition to whatever else is being supplied by fish food and tap water. You don't need to monitor this via test kit. Its guaranteed. If you do multiple water changes during the week then you need to dose more often.

    With all these measurements you are just confusing yourself. The Seachem and other commercial products are very weak so that in a high light tank their nutrients get consumed very quickly unless you double or triple dose. The dosing scheme on the bottle is only useful if you have a low tech non-injected tank. It's not surprising therefore that you would have deficiencies if you dosed these per bottle instructions.

  10. LondonDragon

    LondonDragon Administrator Staff Member

    21 Feb 2008
    Tank looks great, just follow what ceg has to offer in terms of advice and you will get rid of that algae.
    I followed his advice to the letter and since then I have been free from algae which never had in the past :)
    Keep us posted with some more photos, some nice close-ups would be nice ;)
  11. jay

    jay Member

    22 Apr 2008
    Harrow, Middlesex
    Sorry about being vague, what I meant by 'under performing' is it sounds like the biological filter mature enough to cope with the load of discus in the tank.
    Whether you stocked it too soon or perhaps something is killing some of the bacteria during water changes, I'm not sure.
  12. George Farmer

    George Farmer Founder Staff Member

    30 Jun 2007
    When I first read the thread, I thought it meant a discussion about a playground tank, not a Discus tank! lol

    Looks stunning, by the way. Well done and thanks for sharing.
  13. ty_phan

    ty_phan Member

    28 Feb 2008
    Below are the photos to illustrate algaes present in the tank:




    Old photos taken last months before EI & dry fertilisers were introduced:


    A week after dry fertilisers & EI:

    After two weeks:

    In the third week:

    The Nymphaea lotus (zenkeri) was rearranged on the left hand side of the tank due to the leaves were growing wide. I saw about 7 baby leaves grew as well. I removed some big tall Lotus tiger leaves due to algaes appeared on them and the heights.

    Forward to the fourth & fifth week:














    Admittedly plant & tank maintenances have been carried out twice a week since dosing dry powders. Foreground infected leaves have been removed frequently during the first & second week. Forward on the fourth & fifth week of EI doses the foreground plants grew so healthy that I can see fewer algae grew over them.
  14. johnny70

    johnny70 Member

    1 Dec 2007
    Bakewell, Derbsyhire
    beautiful tank! thanks for sharing. The discus are stunning :D

    are the discus adult? what size did you put them in?

    any issues with keeping a high quality of water for the discus in a planted tank??

  15. mick b

    mick b Member

    22 Jul 2008
    Hi You wrote
    "- Mick B
    Very appreciated for your inputs. I think I’ll properly need more time to understand about why “peppering” occurred in our tanks, not being occurred in the dealer’s tank. This makes me curious to learn, and it made me to buy the fishes from Chen’s. The fishes are very clean and white at the time they are in his tanks. Right now I have no clues about it…

    Do you think it is possible to prevent the peppering?

    I asked Chen’s on the day I visit his place, he mentioned briefly that it was the water that caused the peppering. He suggested NOT add any chemicals in the tank, even Discus Vitamins, which I used to treat the discus after a water change for a month before I met Chen’s last month. The chemical means include new wormer plus? I don’t know about you guys but I treated the fishes twice with wormer plus. The last time was about two weeks ago. Speaking of water qualities I don’t know whether it might help to prevent peppering if RO water is used instead of HMA."

    IMO Peppering is genetic and can only be 'removed' by selective breeding, BUT, the darker the surroundings, the more the peppering shows, if you put your Discus in a bare-bottom tank with white or pale blue sides/back etc, then the peppering would fade.

    It is not due to the water or minerals IMHO, Cheers, Mick B
    (This is for pidgeon-based Discus, Blue Diomonds and others, do not have peppering)
  16. ty_phan

    ty_phan Member

    28 Feb 2008

    I think you're properly correct about the liquid doses I used before. The Seachem bottles are quite expensive but not quite effective results in return in my tank. I knew there was something wrong with the doses because the plants were yellowish, wholes on the leaves etc. I was afraid of overdoses so I just simply followed the dose guide in the bottles. I guess it is times to throw away the bottles so that the tank cabinet has more spaces for the powder containers.

    With low CO2, I don't know whether this should be corrected but the drop checker is always showing bright green. I purposely increased CO2 so sometimes it is yellowish.

    Is it low CO2 distribution or circulation? Well again I am not sure as the most strong circulation spot (from centre to end of right side) of the tank is where the algeas appear.

    I don't focus on FE, it was simply just because the plants showed Fe deficiency before and the test kit showed Fe level in the tank, plus the UV unit. Hence it made me curious to study.

    I guess now that a power filter, might be a top of the range Eheim Prof 3e 2080, plus a Cal Aqua lab inlet/outlet set, are needed to make better circulations and CO2 distribution. I heard some powerheads noisy and less effective.

    Any suggestions are welcome.
  17. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    11 Jul 2007
    Chicago, USA
    Hi ty_phan,
    I'm always hesitant to suggest increasing the CO2 when uber-expensive fish are involved but if you have already tried increased injection rate into the yellow without issues then it would be better to keep it there. Many time folks use tank water in the dropchecker which always generates a false green reading. The dropchecker should only ever be filled with 4dkh distilled water plus reagent. You can find 4dkh water at AE or you can make it up yourself using RO/distilled water and sodium carbonate. It is never a good idea to vary the CO2 injection rate because it is disruptive to plant health and as a result it actually induces some forms of algae.

    If driving the injection rate into the yellow is too hazardous then you have only two choices to eradicate the CO2 related algae: 1) Lower the lighting or 2) Use a CO2 supplement such as Excel. For large tanks option 2 becomes expensive.

    The increased flow will help distribution, no doubt about it. The problem with deficiency is that many types of deficiencies look exactly alike so that it's difficult to tell the difference between N, Fe and even B deficiency. Therefore my personal policy is to increase everything when a deficiency appears. That eliminates guesswork.

    Some prefer the powerhead method due to lower cost. If you have the means then the extra filtration doesn't hurt and is a more elegant solution.

  18. ty_phan

    ty_phan Member

    28 Feb 2008
    Hi johnyy70

    The adults are about 6 inches, and the smaller ones are about 3' - 3.5'. The small ones putting in the tank about 8 months and the adults putting recently.

    I've started keeping Discus about 8 months so I can only give some advices based on my good & bad experiences and mistakes. I believe other people on the forum will properly enlighten more ideas and experiences.

    My mistakes at first few months were:
    - Created stresses during water change time
    - Replaced cold water about 15F or more below the tank water temp level
    - Left pre-treated tap water over nights. The incident killed fishes within minutes. Some might be recovered but some could not. The fishes include discus, plec, clown loach, cory, angle, and mollies.
    - Introduced new unhealthy fishes
    - Paid too many attentions on plant algaes and moved fishes around.
    - Filters were not established at the time fishes introduced.
    - Unhealthy dies
    - Poor water quality
    - Too much CO2
    - Over feeds at one time per day
    - Feed frozen foods
    - Feed beef hearts daily over two months

    And what I learned so far to improve fish health:
    - Reduced stresses
    - Heated the water in advance to match or closely matched to the tank water temp level
    - Used HMA water instead of pre-treated tap water.
    - Put an extra filter to improve water quality
    - Only introduce new fishes if necessary
    - Feed dry foods and feed them frequently etc: 3 meals per day and each meal containing just enough food.
    - Treat Discus Vitamins after water change. This will make discus hungrier.

    Hope my experiences help.
  19. synspilum

    synspilum Newly Registered

    30 Jul 2008
    My congratulations on what you have achieved with your tank it really does look quite amazing. I have kept discus, i had wilds, German and also fish from the far east, though not mixed you understand. I found German stock to be the stronger strain and they grew extremely well. Now i am not an expert and learnt by trial and error myself but a couple of things i noted may help you and that is that i found they did better in uneven numbers and i also found that they did better if bought at 3 inch and above and preferably added to the tank at the same time, a pecking order would develop but the last one in the chain would be big eneough to look after itself. Normally disese only develops in a discus tank if water changes e.t.c. are not done on a regular basis, i did daily changes but your weekly change is also very good, that said though a discus fish can often be okay one minuite and not feeding the next and then i believe that is when you apply the best discus medicine, that being an increase in temperature, obviously i would do this in a seperate tank so as not to spoil your plants but you can increase the temperature to 90 degrees done slowly over a couple of days and that often stimulates the fish to feed again and then decreas the temp again in the same way when the fish is taking food.
    I used to make my own beefheart mix with the addition of vitamins and spirulina which i fed daily and then fed other foods 3 times a day i.e. little and often.
    I have lost some discus fish and not known why while others have just flourished and grown like dinner plates. Everyone will tell you different when it comes to keeping discus, my advice would be to read all the books then throw them away and trust in what you are doing and keep learning because with these fish you always seem to be learning something new and too many people give up too easily on them, they are in my opinion the only fish to keep. I can't speak as elequently as yourself but i hope this helps a little, take care.
  20. ty_phan

    ty_phan Member

    28 Feb 2008
    Thanks for your suggestions and i hope you are pleased with the photos. My photograph skill is very bad...

    Here are some latest photos. Foregournd plants are growing madly & healthy. I pruned about 6 big leaves of Nymphaea lotus (zenkeri), plus 1 tiger lotus. Cleaned the glass last night as there were some green spots in the front, and some brown dusts.








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