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hc in a discus tank, suitable or recipe for disaster?

mjw1476

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24 Dec 2008
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56
i have a rio 180 with 2 t8's (30 watt) & 2 t5's (39w). CO2 is through a dennerle pressurised system that im looking to run at 2 bubbles p/s. im also looking to dose with EI, of which i have no eperience! ive got 5 4" discus, 15 cardinals and 12 otos. its currently running with some java moss up the sides but due to the hc taking it time to be shipped from malaysia im having a bit of trouble with some hair and string algae, i put a 5 cherry shrimp in but havent seen them since (possibly discus food?) its running on a external fluval 205 with not alot of flow rate and at 80f. ive got some dwarf hairgrass at the back but is starting to develop algae. i put 3 pots of hc a few weeks ago but it just seemed to disintegrate with just a few leggy stem left but picking up some hair algae. hopefully the hc should be here in as few days but could nyone advise me on what to do in the meantime and the best conditions to introduce it into. also would it be advisable to shift the discus out whilst im playing around with dosing and co2 as ive got a 4ft ram breeding tank they would be fine in for a few weeks?

ive kept a planted tank previously but with easier species such as e.tenellus & some sort of hygrophilia. simply dosed with some seachem flourish once a week.

any info or previous experience would be gr8 as ive got no experience with these harder to maintain species.

cheers

Matt
 

ceg4048

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11 Jul 2007
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Chicago, USA
Hi,
There is a 99.9% probability that you are suffering from poor CO2. If you have some place to house your expensive fish you should do so immediately while you figure out how to optimize your CO2/flow/distribution. It would also help tremendously if you lowered the lighting to about half of what you have now. Bubbles per second really has no meaning because bubbles in one diffuser are a different size than in another diffuser. Hair algae and disintegration and other structural failure is a sure indication of Carbon starvation for the level of lighting being provided.

Cheers,
 

mjw1476

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Thread starter
Joined
24 Dec 2008
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56
ok yea ill move the disus because theres like £300's worht of fish there!! will a ph of 6 and kh 0f <1 be any major factor in keeping the plants i want to? is it worth putting some of the gh booster from aquaessentials? think ill just use the t5s for around 10 hours. also have you ever used aqmagic for plants before?

Matt
 

ceg4048

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Hi Matt,
Good idea to move your fish until you get a firm grip on CO2. In general plants don't really care too much about pH, kH or GH although there are a very few exceptions to this rule. As long as their are fed properly, have their water changed frequently and are give adequate levels of CO2 the other parameters are rendered completely unimportant. Having said that though, GH is a direct measure of Magnesium and/or Calcium content, so a teaspoon or two of GH booster after a water change will ensure that you don't fall short.

There is no problem at all dosing EI in a discus tank despite the paranoid delusions of the nitrate haters. I've kept discus for years in heavily dosed EI tanks without negative consequences. I gave up because RO management became tiresome. Discus require impeccably clean waters and elevated temperatures to thrive, which is entirely consistent with the requirements of your plants. You do have to be careful with CO2 application though as larger fish seem to be more susceptible to it's toxic affects. Having excellent flow will improve the efficiency of it's consumption and allow you to maintain a lower the injection rate than you would otherwise require with less-than-optimal flow.

I don't recognize the vendor your referenced as "aqmagic" but there is a popular Asian ebay vendor known as "AquaticMagic" which I have used, however you should only buy plants from them that you can't find from UK/European stockists since shipping times are unreliable due to variations in postal services, and the freight costs may cause it to be less of a bargain.

Cheers,
 

mjw1476

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24 Dec 2008
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im finding that with the shipping, ordered them on boxing day and still havent recieved anything, hoping im going to get some turn up soon! ive seen hc to be a bit of hit and miss so hopefully with the increased co2 and EI dosing it should be ok, do you know of anything that compliments it well? ive got some dwarf hairgrass and java moss on the sides, looking for a nice compact midgroung plant that i could use as a background plant behind the grass.

how did you find the cleaning with the discus? im looking to get some more shrimp to eat any uneaten food that inevitably occurs but did you just russle up the bottom as im looking to carpet with hc.

cheers
 

ceg4048

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Hi mjw,
Well it depends on how much you feed of course. I never tried to maximize the growth of my discus by feeding them 14 times a day or anything like that. I just fed normal amounts but predominantly live or frozen foods. I'm not really a crustacean guy so dwarf chiclids did all my cleanup. During water change I would often control plant growth by topping the stems and replanting so this gave me a chance to dig up a lot of dirt that accumulates in the back of the tank without having to disturb the carpet up front. Passing a siphon hose with an attached filter tube grill does an OK job of vacuuming the HC. Entire mats of HC can pull up very easily if you are sloppy with initial planting (which I was) so my policy was basically hands off. I later got annoyed with it and switched to P. helferi for my carpet. Much more civilized I reckon.

As far as what compliments HC, just about anything does, depending on your scape. B. japonica makes a nice transition from a low growing carpet to midground size as well.

Cheers,
 

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