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Trigon 190 - The first adventure!


4 Aug 2013
Nottingham, United Kingdom

I thought that I would post a little plan here (mostly in case I've planned for any big nonos that you might notice?) and also give you the history of this tank!

I got it 2nd hand and the current inhabitants are;
A pair of Discus (believe they are 'Red Cover') that have gone through some illnesses, but seem to be mended now! Also 'proven' though I personally have no proof :)
A proven pair of Longfinned Bristlenose Plecs
Around 20 baby plecs

All of these are up for sale so that I can have a blank canvas and give the tank a good clean. I'm leaning towards keeping the Discus as they're such lovely fish with great personalities, the only thing stopping me is that the tank is very scratched and I'd like to have a go at buffing them out! (not sure how easy it will be on the inside of the bowed glass?) - as well as then being able to take as much time as I like with the initial setting up!

The equipment
Black Trigon 190 + stand
2x 18w T8 Lighting - 1 tropical daylight, 1 community daylight. (bought a blue one too not too fond of it though)
All pond solution 1400+ external filter - with pre filter sponge
Eheim Jager heater 150w - currently heating the tank to 28c
A large air pump with 2 outputs - running 2 sponge bubble blower filter things, and one airstone.
A 3 stage RO machine

2 large pieces of slate, 1 grey 1 purple
1 small round piece of granite
1 slate cave type thing I made
1 tiny piece of wood, 1 large piece, both in a bridgey fashion!
Planning on using a large piece of wood and a bunch of slate roof tiles to create some form of cave complex to go along the flat wall! Planning is the key word :D

The Fish plan
2-4 Rams - would prefer a mated pair, but a group is more likely to be available for me. Bolivian or Electric Blue.
1 Angelfish - would get more but I'm not sure I would fit three+ in the tank without causing issues?
1 Dwarf Gourami
possibly 2 Discus - just because they're so damn lovely :)
A School of 10-12 of either:
Black Widow Tetra​
Five Banded Barbs​
Cardinal Tetra​
Water Plan
Most likely RO water as the majority of the fish prefer soft water, and I already have the RO​
PH 6-7​

Plant Plan
Anubias Nana Bonsai - on some wood​
Cryptocoryne Lucens​
Echinodorus Radicans​
Hygrophila Lancea​
Eleocharis Acicularis - one patch​
Hemianthus Callitrichoides - one patch​
I'd also like something bushy (like a rose bush 'bushy' rather than cabomba 'bushy') But haven't really found anything that stands out yet!

Now here's where I'm unsure - I really like the Unipack Granite Black Sand, and it looks quite affordable - but will it be enough for the plants listed above, or will they need a substrate/fertilising to really do well?
For substrates I was looking at the tetra complete.
If I chose a non complete substrate, would that in effect half the amount of sand I would need?

That's that for now I think! :) Thank for reading, hope to have something pretty to show soon! (Although the camera is too good, and picks up all the scratches, grr!)
Hi Nexuslcon.
Check out these threads in the substrate forum if you're looking for a cheap substrate.
Cat litter | UK Aquatic Plant Society
cat litter | UK Aquatic Plant Society
Dyeing cat litter | UK Aquatic Plant Society
I found these extremely helpful and have just set up my first tank with them.
I've just moved away from the Trigon190 and got a Rio180. I wouldn't even know where to begin with buffing out the scratches.
I would do away with the air pump and I'd have a look at CO2 injection as well. Not as scary as it sounds just have a look in the CO2 section on the forum. Carbon Dioxide (CO2) | UK Aquatic Plant Society It doesn't have to be expensive either.
I would say don't be tempted to rush into it and do plenty of reading up on here first. I made that mistake and it can be very disheartening and costly.
@jy - are you using purely litter? Or do you have a layer of anything on top? Quite like the idea of using it but aesthetically I think I would prefer the granite sand :) but in using the litter underneath would mean I'd need less sand?
Also, I hadn't really planned on using CO2, and all of the plants I've chosen claim to grow fine with or without? What is the reason for ditching the air pump?
Definitely gonna take my time and plan well :) We already rushed into things with the reckord 120 so wont be doing that again! :D

@bigclown - they look pretty decent, have you got personal experience with these? Or with buffing glass in general? I also read somewhere that silicone sealant can work too as a polyfiller of sorts? Not sure how true that is haha

Cheers guys! :)

-Also something I forgot to mention before - I'm planning on using Alder branches (got some from the local(ish) park) for floating, and then possibly some indian fern as a floating plant but not fully decided on that yet. And am also currently using some alder cones in the tank and the plecs seem to like them! :)
Also toying with the idea of black water as I love the look of it, but not sure if I could pull it off well enough!
You need to decide if you want to grow lush & fast or slow & very slow first!

Plants require C02 to flourish & you need to understand the best ways to offer this to your plants.

Most planted tanks use plants as the main feature & fish to add some extra movement & interest but bare in mind C02 can kill fish so we tend to largely under stock fish - defiantly not overstock!
Have a good read of the major forum headings & take your time.......
I don't honestly mind if the plants take their time to grow, but of course I'd want them looking their best! The only thing I really want is for the carpetting type plants to be contained in an area that I choose, rather than taking over the whole of the tank, not sure what would give this effect, or if it's just a case of keeping them maintained properly?

You've made me think, and I'm not really sure whether the plants or the fish would be the feature for me - I would naturally say the fish, but I guess my job is to keep the plants (and water) - and that in turn will keep the fish healthy and looking at their best?

I've been looking about CO2 and correct me if I'm wrong but due to my lighting would it be needed? I have 36w of light in a 50 US Gal tank - so thats <1WPG?
if you prefer the look of granite sand then a soil substrate would be better. the sand would end up under the cat litter and having a divider can be a huge pain when moving plants around. keep the discus and lose the angels they can be problems feeding discus when kept with angels. and if you want to grow hc cuba co2 is a must.
polishing glass is like polishing brass exept it takes much much longer. you could buy a windscreen chip repair kit to fill the scratches which will polish much easier. I havnt personally used these but I have a friend who restores classic cars and he has done a few over the years with good results.
Ah ok, I didn't notice that on the hc cuba - if that's the only plant on my list that would requite CO2 as a must then I could swap it for more hairgrass or another carpeter like Marsilea Crenata (although it says it requires high lighting) I'm planning on saving for a T5 unit as I've found them for ~80 quid bulbs and all. Or could possibly find another way to add a little extra light into the tank to make it a medium WPG?
I've seen somewhat mixed opinions regarding the angels & discus - is it the case even with adult discus and a juvi angel? Angels are purely for the missus - don't really like them that much myself, but I'm sure the discus can sway her to let the angel go ;]
I notice in your 190 planted tank thread that you have some compost? Is this as a substrate, and is there any in particular to be used/avoided? Or does it need to be actual aquatic soil?
The glass polishing is mega daunting really, terrified of making it worse or weakening the glass too much!
@jy - are you using purely litter? Or do you have a layer of anything on top? Quite like the idea of using it but aesthetically I think I would prefer the granite sand :) but in using the litter underneath would mean I'd need less sand?

Yes I'm just using cat litter with nothing on top. I've put some osmocote in with it at the start but I'm just dosing EI as per the calculator that is on the Nutrients section of the forum. Still early days but when its a bit further along i am going to post some pictures. As Bigclown said the saind would eventually sit under the cat litter without any sort of barrier. The cat litter is very good at storing nutrients from the water column and releasing them to the plants. I haven't had a chance to read the full thread on dyeing the cat litter but this may solve the colour issues.

Also, I hadn't really planned on using CO2, and all of the plants I've chosen claim to grow fine with or without? What is the reason for ditching the air pump?
The reason as for not using an air pump to my mind, and I'm pretty sure I've read it either on here or in a book, is for 2 reasons
i- just the same as pumping CO2 into the tank dissolves CO2 into it then bubbling air through it dissolves air into it.
ii- It increase surface agitation and the area of the water surface, which increases the amount of gas exchange here and would cause more CO2 to be lost.
Someone may correct me here or add to this but this is what i have been told/read.

On a side note my Trigon 190 (also a second hand one) came with the T8 lights and the starter that is built into them isn't great. Sometimes it would come on and some times i would have to switch it off and on a few times. I bought the T5 lighting unit with tubes for about the same and the reflectors to go with it and you could see a drastic improvement in the lighting.
Nothing great but i did post a few pictures of mine here
My Juwel Trigon 190 | UK Aquatic Plant Society
john ines and aquatic soils are tried and tested substrates but others can be used. I think anything with manure in is a no no sciencefiction used b&q own in his tank but im not sure which one
contains a list of ingredients for john ines mixes
it contains lime and other things that affect water quality.
pond soils are a similar basic mix to JI without the added lime superphosphate etc and don't affect water quality.
I've never kept discus but know they can be shy. I once had 6 juvenile angels and sold them all because they were targeting all the other fish. id suggest another tank for the angels if your better half insists rather than take the risk with an expensive fish like discus
Ohhh that's a lot! Here goes! :D

@jy - I read the dye post and there's no result posted! A little bickering though hehe entertaining read at least! Look forward to seeing the pictures mate :) All this substrate lark is tempting me to stay BB and just attach plants to wood :p I would bet that there is some dark cat litter somewhere on the market though?
Yeah I see your point about the air - I guess just like having too much CO2 for fish, there would be too much oxygen for plants, right? I'm by no means attached to the bubbles though :p

@gary - I saw that one when I was browsing through! Was wondering where you got the flap unit from as a whole? Mine are in three very separate pieces! (and the LED flap appears to be one solid one?) hehe Quite in love with the inside of your cabinet too ;] I think the LED is something else for me to save towards as its quite out of my budget at the moment! but I quite like the GroBeams :) Just one groBeam with my T8 would give me ~48w total and cost the same as a t5 unit =/

@clown - I guess I'll need to be careful with that then for the discus and their soft water? The two that I have aren't shy at all with people, they always come to the front of the glass when we're around and dont care about my hands in the tank :p but then you never know what adding something new will do really! (I like the idea of convincing her we need another tank too!)

Will post some pictures of the tank atm soon!
Hello all!

It's been pretty eventful since last night! The Discus decided to lay eggs for the 2nd time now in the tank - and I actually got to see it this time, so now know that I do in fact have a male and female :p He seemed pretty keen to get his job done too so lets hope he has! This morning/afternoon the female seemed to have had enough of him and was constantly pecking his mouth whenever he was too close, and then eventually chasing over to the opposite side of the tank to give him a lashing =/ Seems to have calmed down now though and she's actually letting him fan the eggs, so fingers crossed!

Here are some pictures of the tank atm, very boring I know :p Scratches dont really look too bad in these, and after giving them a feel (and using the guides on the scratch fixing site linked above) I have light to medium scratches as there are only 1 or two big ones that I can feel, but not get a tug on! So that gives me a little more confidence that I could possibly buff them out!



Not to do with plants - but great news - the Discus eggs are wiggling! Only three of them, and they're covered in fuzz, but at least we know they're fertile and just need more practice! :) Looks like funding an even bigger tank is getting closer ;] haha! Glad I thought of the shrimp tank idea now too, least I get something to decorate :p
Ok so here's the plan now

Stripped the black paint off the back of the tank.
Filter is running in the nano tank to keep it all alive - will possibly add some seachem matrix media in there too later on.
I'll be getting a pair of red devil rams to go into the trigon but homing them temporarily in the nano, or the 120 liter community at a push (may cause issues with the pearl gourami.) - so the mineralisation will need to be quite quick!

JI1 compost base ~12 liters sloped at the back, capped with fiji sand and some river stone/pebble type things.
Hardscape of some slate, wood, and granite.
Plants - hairgrass, some crypts and swords, maybe some other interesting bushy plants too. Anubias and moss on the wood.
Fish - German rams, angelfish, cardinal tetra, black widow tetra, dwarf gourami.

Plan is to set it up and monitor the ammonia in the hope that it drops down within a week or two - is this too hopeful?
Regarding fertilising I'm as confused as ever - surely using compost means I wont need to fertilise for a good while as that will give them a jump start? And the fish will then proceed to fertilise them? - or is the compost merely a home for said fertilisers?Failing that I would probably go for the EI as described in the article on this site :)
Ok so it's done! All that's left is to add fish :)

Stuff used:
  • John Innes #1 compost
  • Homebase 10mm gravel
  • Homebase 20mm gravel (scarcely)
  • 2 pieces of slate
  • 1 home made slate cave
  • 1 piece of wood
  • 2 bags of decorative stones from tesco
  • Eleocharis acicularis x2
  • Cyperus Helferi x2
  • Anubias Nana
  • Cryptocoryne Beckettii
  • Cryptocoryne Amicorum
  • Elodea Canadensis (a few stems pulled from our 120 litre)
I followed the method by Troi (The Soil Substrate Planted Tank - A How to Guide | UK Aquatic Plant Society)


Bare tank after stripping the black paint!

Gravel in tights!

Layer of soil, with an empty border.

The start of the gravel

Final layer of gravel

Added hardscape.

From above

After filling (the wood floated...) and my home made cave :)
Planted what I had to start with.


First day.

Final scape.






Thats all :) Now the final hurdle!
Also, no ammonia spike yet after three days of running! Maybe the filters just that good? ;]

The revised fish plan:
4 German rams
1 Angel
10 Cardinal tetra
10 Black skirt tetra
1 Dwarf Gourami

and all I need to figure is the cleanup crew!
We were thinking BN plecs, but I think they'll kick up too much crap when they're on one. Then I thought panda cories - but I guess the gravel is too coarse for them? I wanted rabbit snails, but fear for the hairgrass :p shrimp would get eaten by the rams/angels? ahhhh! haha :)

Hope you guys like it :)