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Old 11-23-2008, 11:30 PM   #1
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75 Gallon Planted Discus Project

Hey all, I've been working on something for a few months and thought I'd post a couple of shots.
Keeping Discus in a high light tank and trying to keep it balanced has been probably the toughest challenge I've faced yet.

Both require allot of time and dedication to nurture to their full potential, one almost negates the other. What makes plants happy is not the best for your Discus, what makes Discus happy is not so great for your plants. Discus are big, messy fish that need allot of food and make allot of waste. This alone can destroy a finely tuned planted tank. Factor in 84 degree temps needed for Discus and you find you are limited to what species will tolerate those kind of temps. Half my plants died off.

You also should do more than 1x50% water change per week with Discus to keep them healthy and happy. I do two at the moment. That messes big time with your fert levels.
It took awhile and it's been quite a challenge but I'm getting a handle on it. Sourced out higher temp tolerant species and started over.
Discus have stolen my heart. I finally found a fish that can rival my love for planted tanks. Got to get another one going!
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90 gallon, Crypt undulata "broad leaf" Lobelia cardinalis small and large form. H.corymbosa "compact" Crypt parva, Crypt Red Wendetti Downoi, Bacopa, Samolus Valerandi, Limnophilla Aromatica Alternanthera Reineckii lilacina(purple)
2x 150 Wt 10000k HQI Metal Halide, 2x 65 Wt 6700k-Colourmax
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Old 11-23-2008, 11:41 PM   #2
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Looking absolutely fantastic. I can relate to the issues with a planted discus tank. It is hard to maintain water for both plants and discus. You have done an amazing job!
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Old 11-23-2008, 11:53 PM   #3
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Looks amazing, keep up the good work!
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Old 11-24-2008, 10:55 AM   #4
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Dude, big fish and crypt tank envy. Your erupting volcano of Java over Anubias reminds me of a great section of Travis's tank in a good way.
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Old 11-24-2008, 01:40 PM   #5
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Looking good glen. I've almost jumped into that a few times, but always scare myself away.
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Old 11-24-2008, 06:46 PM   #6
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Thanks guys, it's coming along. I have lots of Crypts and Anubias happening(never grew Anubias before Discus, not crazy about it) as these are some of the plants that will grow well for me in 84 degree temps. They are under high light, 2 x 150 wt Metal Halides and doing very well. They provide enough shade for the Discus to get out of the light if they choose to. Surprisingly, they don't seem to mind it. Brings their color out really nice as well

Discus are a whole new learning curve for sure. They can look great one day and be sick the next. I lost a few, learned allot. You have to start with healthy fish. Once you get them accumulated to your tank conditions they are just as tough as any other fish. I invested in a microscope as well. If they look sick or are acting funny, you can look at their poop and see most parasites. Helps to treat them with the right med the first time instead of stressing them out trying med after med. Having said that, if I didn't have a bit of planted tank experience I would not have attempted this. It's like taking everything you know you should'nt be doing to your nice balanced planted tank and doing it, then try to get it back on track plantwise. It's been a tough go. This hobby is about challenge, it was time for a different one

I have a really nice planted 90 coming along, no Discus in that one. I'll post shots when it's worthy
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90 gallon, Crypt undulata "broad leaf" Lobelia cardinalis small and large form. H.corymbosa "compact" Crypt parva, Crypt Red Wendetti Downoi, Bacopa, Samolus Valerandi, Limnophilla Aromatica Alternanthera Reineckii lilacina(purple)
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Old 11-24-2008, 06:49 PM   #7
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fish look nice and healthy
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Old 11-24-2008, 06:52 PM   #8
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oh lets see pics when its unworthy so we can compare .
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Old 11-24-2008, 08:18 PM   #9
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Beautiful tank, Glen!
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Old 11-24-2008, 10:32 PM   #10
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looks awesome!!
I agree with brutus want to see 90GL tank when it is "unworthy" so I dont feel bad about my tank !!
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Old 11-25-2008, 09:25 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shrek_vn2002 View Post
looks awesome!!
I agree with brutus want to see 90GL tank when it is "unworthy" so I dont feel bad about my tank !!

LOL, his "unworthy" will best many of our tanks.

Lookin good Glen.
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Old 11-25-2008, 06:02 PM   #12
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WOW! Beautiful. You're brave to tackle such a demanding task. It gives me the courage to try it, too. - Not!
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Old 11-25-2008, 10:40 PM   #13
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Wow, I never considered the temperature aspect though have experienced more difficulty and free floating algae with warmer water. I mean, I figured it was hard to keep Discus and high tech planted because I've seen maybe a half dozen tanks of your talent level or higher with progressive pics of Discus growing, and Discus keepers without planted tanks get automatic props. I understood enough to know I had no idea how hard it is because I've never done it, but am getting an appreciation my idea of how hard it is is no where close to how hard it is. What an interesting challenge.

I wonder if this is why we also don't see more Rams in professional planted tanks, or if the Rams we do see are simply in sub, say, 80 degree temps.
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Old 01-26-2009, 03:32 PM   #14
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Yes czcz, it is a very tough thing to balance. I'm beginning to think you just can't keep Discus in a high tech, ADA level tank. Average planted tank, yes. ADA level, not for long, a year maybe maybe if are diligent in your up keep and never, I mean never miss a water change. The Discus will survive, the plants most likely won't, at least not in my tanks. I'm seeing all kinds of strange, tough resistant algea I've not dealt with before. Old fix, crank the C02, adjust fert levels where needed. Can't do that with Discus in the tank. For one, Drops the Ph to much. PH fluctuation is very bad for Discus. 84 degree temps play havoc with most species I can grow. Discus ain't cheap. Discus win, plants lose.

I think pics you see of Discus in an ADA level tank are just that, pics set up for a photo shoot then the Discus are removed. I doubt very much any of those Discus are kept in those tanks for very long.

I started a planted 90 gallon sans Discus. My 125 and 75 are pretty much trashed and I needed to satisfy my plant and aquascaping addiction.

I'll post a few shots once I scape it a bit more, I thought it was ready till I stopped in here today and saw how much the bar has been raised. Bravo to all the great scapers here, thanks for the inspiration. I am blown away!

Since the tank is not up to par, I'll show you a couple of my beautiful Altum Flora Discus. They have stolen my heart, and my scaping skills have suffered. You guys have shown me that These Discus are in with plants, but the plants are in pots, the tank is bare bottom
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Old 01-26-2009, 03:49 PM   #15
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Wow those are some gorgeous fish! And the tank doesn't look bad either!
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Old 01-26-2009, 10:29 PM   #16
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The Discus are beautiful.

Being 6 months new to the hobby, I don't understand all the problems involved in keeping Discus in an ADA level planted aquarium... and, BTW, in my way of seeing things, ADA is just one standard - but certainly not the Gold Standard.

Are there any workarounds such as using particular plant selections that can thrive in 84 degree temps? And why no substrate?
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Old 01-26-2009, 10:44 PM   #17
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I completely understand the difficulties of keeping discus and plants. Everything you say I have experienced. In order to keep plants you need to adjust ph and CO2. Both cause problems for discus. Not to mention that changing dosing schedules to accomodate plants also promotes problems in discus.

You have to decide if you want a planted discus tank or a ADA tank with some other fish. I have also fallen in love with discus and have chosen the planted discus tank. It may not win any top planted tank awards but I love it and my discus.

Your tank looks great and your discus are gorgeous!
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Old 01-26-2009, 11:09 PM   #18
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Very interesting insight and beautiful fish!
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