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Jagz`s Planted Discus tank

jagz

Member
Joined
20 Jul 2009
Messages
150
Location
Birmingham , Uk
Hi all im fairly new to this forum so i thought i would start a journal, i used to keep discus a then i sold up and converted my tank to a reef tank which i regret so much but hey im back to the fresh water now :clap:

Ok, so i have decided to go back to discus but this time for my tank i have in the house i have decided to do a high tech planted tank for my discus, the equiptment i will be using is as follows

Tank - Juwel rio 400
Filter - Fluval Fx5
Lights - Triple 80w T5s
Co2 - 2 kg Fire extinguisher with aquamedic regulator and solanoid (not to sure on the bubbles per second yet)
Substrate - Akadama Bonsai Soil

ok this is the tank which i had set up for marine and i was using a sump but im fed up of topping this up so i have took out the weir and covered hole in the base so now im just sticking to the external on this tank, so these first picture are from when i converted the stand to house the sump and i have decided to keep the stand as it is as i prefer it this way so here is a little description of what and how i done it

1st of all i had took the stand apart leaving the base and the 2 outside pieces in place i then removed the inner sides of the cupboards and moved them to the rear of the base as shown

IMAGE_02420640x480.jpg


the next step for me was to arrange the power sockets and i didnt want extension lead every where so i got my brother who is a sparky to come round and wire me up 6 double plug sockets and then link them to my mains we mounted these onto a peice of plywood and placed it in the center of the stand

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we then added the top of the stand and cut out a space for the waste pipe from the main tank

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next we had to put the sump into place because the stand would need strenthening but i wouldnt be able to get the sump in after i had done this so it had to go in first

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now the strenthening was done using 2x2 timber i knocked togeter a frame like thing that would lock into the ply wood that the plugs was on then it was all screwed in place

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now the tank wasnt going to move i now added the front which was the peice that oridnally was the rear center section when the stand was factory built this is a perfect fit for the space inbetween the 2 doors i wanted to be able to remove this for maintenance so i used magnet catches on the rear of it and used the 2x2 for the other part of the catch and it has worked out quite well

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and that was it other than putting the doors on

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the stand is exactly the same now as in these above picture but without the sump,
i will add tomorrow the photos bringing this upto where i am now , im hoping to keep this thread active so we can all see progress of my planted tank :D

jagz
 

taylsimon

Member
Joined
5 Jul 2009
Messages
30
Location
Desborough, Northamptonshire
Hey Jagz,

Nice start, looking forward to seeing this one progress. :thumbup:

Do you feel the FX5 will give you enough flow for the planted tank? I know there is a careful balance with plants and discus, as the plants will really appreciate a high flow around the tank with CO2 being distributed, however as you know Discus are not ones to appreciate being tossed around in the current.

Simon.
 

jagz

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Thread starter
Joined
20 Jul 2009
Messages
150
Location
Birmingham , Uk
taylsimon said:
Hey Jagz,

Nice start, looking forward to seeing this one progress. :thumbup:

Do you feel the FX5 will give you enough flow for the planted tank? I know there is a careful balance with plants and discus, as the plants will really appreciate a high flow around the tank with CO2 being distributed, however as you know Discus are not ones to appreciate being tossed around in the current.

Simon.

hi simon thanks for the kinds words , as for the fx5 yes you are quite right about the flow for the discus but it is going to be trial and error at the moment to see if i can find that balance the fx5 turns my tank over 9x but i do have alot of powerheads on stand by if i need them , one thing i do know is that the discus will get used to the flow but im going to have to find that fine line of balance,

glenn said:
this is a very cool idea. hope it goes well for you and keep us updated, oh and let us now how you find the fx5? :thumbup:

yes this served me really well when it was setup for marine and it saved my piggy backed extension leads :crazy:

jagz
 

jagz

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Thread starter
Joined
20 Jul 2009
Messages
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Location
Birmingham , Uk
Right lets bring this tank up todate

Over the last few weeks i have been collecting all the things i needed for this setup so i could set it up all in one go well i now finally have everything i need so its all systems go.

First i needed to set up the co2 and filter , the filter is the fluval fx5 which is completely standard i have not changed a thing from standard , the co2 is a 2kg fire extinguisher with a aquamedic regulator (i had this lying around) and then into a solanoid which will turn the co2 on for 1 hour before the lights come on and go off 1 hour before the lights go off , after the solanoid i have a in line non-return valve then into a bubble counter ( not sure on bps yet ) , i have decided on 2 diffusers in the main tank to help even distribution of the co2 iv opted for the rhinox 2000 diffusers and i will place them either side of the main tank, here are a few pics of the co2 and filtler in the cabinet

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now all the filter and co2 are plumbed in i can go ahead with the main tank , the first thing was to sort the substrate , as i said in my first post i will be using akadama which is a bonsai soil but i have seen a few tanks using it and i like the effect it has, this will take alot of rinsing as it is very dusty , i did this using a sieve and done all the soil 1 sieve at a time, in my tank i wanted about 6-8cm of substrate which i worked i needed about 36 litres, well as akadama comes in 14 litre bags for only £12.99 a bag i got 3 bags, so i got 3 bags which gives me 42 litres of substrate for under £40 (bargain),
This is the Akadama i used

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After rinsing i added it to the tank

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once all added to the tank i blasted it one more time with the hose and i mean blasted it this was for 2 reasons 1. to give in one last clean and 2. in akadama there is little wood roots from bonsai plants which i didnt want in the tank , i took out a bit when rinsing but i knew once the tank was full of water the roots would float allowing me to net them out easy enough,
this is the water after a good blasting with the hose
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and this is the roots that i netted out
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i then drain all the dirty water and refilled it with a much gentle flow from the hose so not to disturb more dust, this took a while as you can imagine, if you are wondering why im using the hose this is because i will be fishless cycling this tank so for the first fill up i have prepared the water with declhorinator in stead of using my hma as it would of took me all night to fill :)

this was the tank as of last night after the last fill up and left to heat up
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i will take a pic tonight of how the tank looks today it has cleared up really nice

hope you like this so far:D

jagz
 

soton_dave

Member
Joined
28 Mar 2009
Messages
142
Location
Southampton
looking good,just one bit of advice ,im not sure if it was a typo or not but you say your turning the co2 off 1 hour after lights out,if this is what you meant you will be wasting co2 as plants dont use it in the dark.
as im sure others will say getting your co2 dosing correct takes alot of trial and error,i tried counting bubbles but gave up after 3 or 4 days and now just rely on my dc,my co2 comes on 2 1/2 hrs before lights on and goes off 2 hrs before lights out and stays very light green/yellow all day,any higher and my fish let me know there not happy by mouthing at the surface,it took me a good few weeks to get my co2 running optimaly,dont be scared to experiment with on off times and bubble rates it'll take alot of trial and error to get it running how you want it,and remember you'll have to adjust things slightly when you change the FE each time.

hope this helps

dave
 

jagz

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Joined
20 Jul 2009
Messages
150
Location
Birmingham , Uk
cheers for that dave it was a typo it was supposed to say go off 1 hour before light go off

yea i think im going to have to have a play over the next few weeks to see if i can get a stable reading

one problem im haveing at the moment though is that i have 2 diffusers but one is makeing alot more bubbles than the other how can i equal it out the airlines to each are the same lenght is it as simple as just adding a airline tap to the side with the most bubble and turning it down until they equal out

cheers

jagz

p.s i have now edited the post with the typo
 

soton_dave

Member
Joined
28 Mar 2009
Messages
142
Location
Southampton
i honestly wouldnt like to say about splitting your co2 between 2 diffusers,
why not try one of the cheap ebay inline difusers myself and a few others here use them to good effect,and where they are inline if your filter moves all the water in the tank efficiently it should in theory distribute the co2 efficiently throughout the tank.
 

jagz

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Location
Birmingham , Uk
i have got these rhinox 2000s now so i might aswell put them to use i might just drop down to 1 though and see what sort of distribution i get also im using a fluval fx5 and the pipe is about 25mm would these inline diffusers work with piping this thick

cheers jagz
 

jagz

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a little bit of a update i have now removed 1 of the diffusers and im going to just use the one for now and see if i can get it stable that way, im now just waiting to see the change in the drop checker

jagz
 

jagz

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Update as promised

ok so after i filled up the tank and it was clear i went out and brought a few plants, im only using tropica brand of plants in this tank as i like these alot more than other bunched plants, well after bringing them home i tryed planting them the key word in that last sentance was tryed it was really hard to plant while full of water and to be honest i got really pi55ed off with it and gave up and then made the decision to empty the tank and dry plant it i was sure this was going to be easier so this is where we will pick it up.

i had to really think how i wanted this scaped after a few days i decided on a scape that i would like so with a scape in mind i new i needed one more bag of substrate for the hills and to make more depth of substrate in certain areas so off i went for another bag so that was 4 bags in total in this tank, i got it home and cleaned it in the same way as before. i emptyed all the water from the tank and put in the last bag of substrate and started pushing it about to get the hills and mounds i wanted i finally got there after while.

in this scape i have a little plan which i hope will turn out to be a nice suprise once it is finished for for now i will just show you the peice of wood in place it does look a little odd on its own but in time to come it will all come together so here are a few pics for where we are now

this is the odd bit of bogwood on its own

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next i started planting the plants i first planted the tiger vallis (vallisneria spiralis `tiger) there is 4 pots there:chuckle:

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i then wanted a bit of a hill with glossostigma elatinoides on it which in time would spead out all down the hill and along the base of the tank as a carpet i had 2 pots of this

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i then moved into the middle of the tank and planted a plant that i just saw in the shop and i really liked it it is called echinodorus x barthii this was a really need pot and the shop only had the one pot but it was really nice i had to cut it out of the pot because the roots were so big and tangled, i seperated the rockwool and managed to get 3 bunches from the one pot im not sure if this is the final place for this plant yet

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now over to the other side of the tank i wanted to have a single type of behind the wood but something that would spread nice but not get to tall so i decided on dwarf hair grass (eleocharis parvula) i brought 5 pots of this and i managed to cut it up into 18 small bunches which filled the area i wanted really nice

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and last of all i needed a nice foreground plant i after looking about i really liked the rough edges of pogostemon helferi i picked up 6 pots of this and manged to split in into individual stems this plant didnt go quite as far as i thought it would but im happy with what i have got from it , i wanted this plant to work similar to a carpet plant aswell just to add further texture to the floor area,

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well that was all the plants i had i think there was about 20 pots in total which cost £60 and it looks like nothing :chuckle:

i then started filling the tank back up with hma

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after about 3 hours it was full :chuckle:

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so now we are all upto date i am now haveing to work out how to cycle the tank im thinking of adding the media to another empty tank and fishless cycleing that tank and then move some media back to this tank.

jagz

oh can i just thank jenclibee for the planting of the glosso and the p. helferi ;):haha:
 

soton_dave

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Location
Southampton
nice start :thumbup:
i like the idea of the glosso hill,should look good once its spreads.

one bit of advice i was given and would highly recomend is cutting back the hair grass,most if not all of the original stems will die back and make a mess but if you cut it back hard to the substrate leaving about 1cm you will get loads of new shoots in no time and it will send out runners.i had new shoots about 2-3cm away from the main planting after about 10 days,just make sure you turn the filter off before cutting otherwise you'll be there forever trying to get all the bits out....lol

grab them scissors and be brutal :twisted: you'll be glad you did.
 

Mark Evans

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newark notts.
ok, a nice start.

i reckon though that little mound you've created will flatten in time. with glosso, you can trim it to what ever shape you want when it's started to grow.

bang some riccia stones in amongst the glosso and have some real fun.

i did this over a year ago,

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they ended up being huge undulations which looked really effective. i just shaped them how i wanted.i didn't really know what i was doing...probably a good thing when were learning.
 

jagz

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soton_dave said:
nice start :thumbup:
i like the idea of the glosso hill,should look good once its spreads.

one bit of advice i was given and would highly recomend is cutting back the hair grass,most if not all of the original stems will die back and make a mess but if you cut it back hard to the substrate leaving about 1cm you will get loads of new shoots in no time and it will send out runners.i had new shoots about 2-3cm away from the main planting after about 10 days,just make sure you turn the filter off before cutting otherwise you'll be there forever trying to get all the bits out....lol

grab them scissors and be brutal :twisted: you'll be glad you did.

cheers mate , does anybody else recomend cutting back the hair grass im up for doing it if it will help,

cheers jagz
 

jagz

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saintly said:
ok, a nice start.

i reckon though that little mound you've created will flatten in time. with glosso, you can trim it to what ever shape you want when it's started to grow.

bang some riccia stones in amongst the glosso and have some real fun.

i did this over a year ago,

they ended up being huge undulations which looked really effective. i just shaped them how i wanted.i didn't really know what i was doing...probably a good thing when were learning.

cheers mate did the glosso grow over the riccia stones and you just trim around them

jagz
 

Mark Evans

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jagz said:
cheers mate did the glosso grow over the riccia stones and you just trim around them

ooops, sorry sept 01 :oops:

i just let them grow over each other. The riccia spread through the glosso.
 
Joined
9 Mar 2009
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303
thats the coolest rio 400 mod i have seen so far!!! :clap:

i wish i had thought of that before i setup my tank, i am seriously considering doing that with mine now...
 

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