View Full Version : Build your 210 gal Discus tank here

David Hughes
07-31-2008, 04:59 PM
I need some suggestions for a new 210 gal tank with some big driftwood that I want to build. I have never done anything close to this size but I plan on about 10 - 12 full grown Discus
From my growing tank and maybe a large school of Cardinal or Rummy nose tetras.
I have never done a serious planted tank and may not be apposed to it if it is not a total nightmare to do, maintain or crazy expensive.
Any suggestions on equipment or procedures for something this size would be appreciated

07-31-2008, 05:06 PM
Get the best lite you can get.... and i would go with rummynose..... and just do alot of research

David Hughes
07-31-2008, 06:18 PM
Yeah Rummy & Black Tetras seem to be much hardier than Cardinals, that is for sure.
I could even breed my own blacks from what I have read its pretty easy.
A school of 100-150 would be nice and cheap compared to Cards at $4 + a pop.

When you say "BEST" light? What's you definition for best light?

07-31-2008, 06:36 PM
you are looking for 2-5 watts per gallon for a planted tank if you want to keep higher lighted plants..
( sorry for spelling light lite haa)

Lady Hobbs
07-31-2008, 06:43 PM
Discus are tall and thin fish, like Angels, and plants that are tall and not bushy are nice for them. The tall ones they can swim thru. Vals would be a good one for discus, IMO, and also don't need tons of light and grow well in sand bottoms. They also do well with 2 watts of light.

07-31-2008, 07:51 PM
Discus are big fish around, so it would need to be taller and wider then msot tanks.

07-31-2008, 09:36 PM
Planted tanks can be much cheaper and easier than some make them sound. I think one big difference is whether you want a planted tank with fish or a fish tank with plants. I personally suggest trying the low-tech approach first. Decent lighting, a normal sand substrate, and minimal fertilizers (I just use a few from Flourish by Seachem). Then try different plants and see which ones work and which do not.

For fish there are a lot of options. My number one tetra would be Cardinals. You may have to look around for decent prices. The LFS I work at sells them at the same price as neons, 1.99 each or 3 for 4.99. Bleeding heart tetras are a common tankmate for discus, as are lemon tetras. A school of sterbai cories will help keep the substrate clean. Ottos help keep algae down and will not bother live plants or the discus (a big problems with almost any other sucker-mouthed fish). Gold nugget plecos are generaly safe with discus and make a nice addition to a tank like this. Shrimp can also go very well with them. Amano shrimp are also known as algae-eating shrimp and do just that without bothering plants. These are all nice additions without distracting from the beauty of the discus.

There are many options for plants. The most common is the amazon sword which is not very demanding for light and a great wide-leafed option for discus, it works as a very good midground plant. vals are a great option for the background. Many other swords are also great and not demanding of too much light. My favorite is probably the 'brown ozelot'(?) variety of radican sword. I have discus in a couple of my tanks and low lighting with the following plants: jungle val, giant val, amazon sword, radican sword, Aponogeton ulvaceus, giant hygrophila, moss balls, red bacopa, ambulia, anubias (great for mounting on the driftwood), moneywort, and tons of cabomba.

Remember that with plants it is not about abundance, but a balance of their needs (temp, light, ferts, CO2, etc.).

David Hughes
07-31-2008, 10:22 PM
I'm new to the planted aquarium and from what I have read it seems daunting.
How do you start if you don't know what balanced is?

Using CO2, fertilizer & underground heaters and such, Yikes. this is foreign to me. Fish are tough alone.
Any good books on the subject of how to balance and whats compatible with the fish & water conditions I'm going to have.
Preferably 86 degrees and a 6.8 ph
I have plenty of time since my fish are in the juvee stage.

07-31-2008, 11:54 PM
I don't worry about all that.

I have heard from people who have used both unheated and heated substrates that there are no differences.

I will tell you my way. It is simpler and cheaper and may work out just fine, maybe you will have to make improvements (better to start cheap and added expense if needed than to start expensive assuming the simpler, cheaper way would not have worked).

I have Estes' Marine Sand (not actually a marine sand, so don't worry about that part). I use no other substrates (no soil, laterite, special gravels, anything).

The lighting on my 75 is a double fluorescent with Zoo Med's Reef Sun 50/50 bulbs (they give off both the 6500K, which is ideal for plants, but also give off actinic which provides a visually balanced white color). The lighting on my other tanks is about equal (double fluorescents with the same 50/50 bulbs).

I do not use any type of CO2 system. I have heard too many horror stories about overdosing and causing too much CO2 to go into the tank (causes pH swings, toxic to fish, etc.). Even advanced articles say it si trial and error. My main focus is the fish, not the plants, so I do not risk the fish to help the plants do a little better. I may not have the most impressive planted tanks and win awards for them, but that is not my goal.

The only fertilizers I use are all Flourish: Tabs, generla liquid, and iron. These are small tablets that slowly release the nutrients (just follow the directions, placing them near bunches of plants). Teh general liquid supplement is quite simple, it is just a measured amount added directly to the tank (some prefer to premix it in tank water and add it to high flow areas). I noticed a couple plants had lighter leaves but the veins were still normal green. This indicates a lack of iron, so I bought the supplement and use it as directed, no issues with iron since.

I just wanted to try some plants. I didn't realize they would all do so well that about a year later all my tanks are now planted (mostly from clippings from my 75) and all the plants are doing very well (some did too well and had to be removed, such as duckweed and crystalwort). Java moss is another that can easily overtake any system if not religiously maintained, so I suggest not even trying it.

08-01-2008, 02:17 AM
My friend keeps Apistos with his Discus.

David Hughes
08-01-2008, 08:51 PM
Wow great,
I had no idea that plants could be that easy.
Are there any precautions or procedures for planting an aquarium?
Quarantine? Special washing etc...
Also do you get them from your LFS or somewhere else.
I see them at Petsmart but I question that stuff.

08-01-2008, 09:34 PM
I have gotten almost all of mine at the LFS I work at, a few (I can only think of one) came from a different LFS.

I do not quarantine or do any special treatment for plants. Some people clean them with a mild chlorine solution, snail killers, etc.

You will get those little snails in on plants, but they do not bother anything and I actually like them.

David Hughes
08-01-2008, 10:03 PM
Is there a good source for plant info?
Conditions they require? I found on the web that Moss Balls like up to 82 degrees so unfortunately not a good choice for my tank.

My tank will be about 86 degrees & a 6.8 ph using Ro & Tap.

Also whats the mixture for a mild chlorine solution?

Also what are people using to clean / disenfect Aquarium equipment these days?

08-01-2008, 10:10 PM
Why are you going to keep the temp so high? Discus only need about 82. That is what Jack Wattley keeps his adults at.

I think Dave has some good plant books in his book list.

The only one I have is Barron's MiniEncyclopedia on Aquarium Plants. They have a larger one that just looks like a larger version of the Mini. I am not sure if there are more plants discussed or what, but I did not buy it because it did not seem like anything I needed. I have gone to aquaticplantcentral.com before, but not much. I think there are enough people on here to help you out with any issues.

David Hughes
08-02-2008, 12:34 AM
ops, I was thinking of my growing tank, I keep the big boys at 83 - 84.
The 3 breeders i know recommend this.

David Hughes
08-02-2008, 03:09 AM
How would you heat & Filter this 210 gal planted :c3: tank?

08-04-2008, 02:18 PM
In my 150 I have the FX5 output turned around with the two adjustable nozzles pointed along the back of the tank. In front of each is one Stealth Heater. The sensor part is closer to the outlet of the filter so the water hits the sensor first and then the heating element. This way all that flow out of the FX5 is heated as soon as it is returned to the tank.

08-06-2008, 12:42 AM
Here is mine.

You will not be sorry.

Also look at ADA has some good stuff on plants and Discus tanks.

08-31-2008, 08:17 PM
I hate to chime-in a month after this was started, but I thought I'd throw in my $.02.

If I were to start a new 200g discus tank, here's what I would do:

Tank / Filtration / Lighting etc...
Overflow filtration system (Keeps the tank surface clean, and is very efficient)
In-line heater on the tank return or under substrate coil heater
Black "Eco Complete" Substrate (Discus look amazing against this and plants love it)
Pangea or other 3d background
T5 fluorescent lighting (2 - 3w / gal)
Full-auto CO2 injection

Fish / Plants
10 - 15 Discus
5 - 10 Rams or Apistos or a combination
A few small plecos (Gold nugget, zebra;s, clowns, etc...)
A few cory's
A few siamese or gold algae eaters (Never had problems with either of these species but many would argue against the golds, so use caution)
30 - 50 Cardinals or Rummys or 50/50 split
A well planned plant layout (amazons and melon swords, one or two tiger lotus's, lots of smaller and medium swords, grasses, ferns and foreground plants. Possibly, attach some annubis to your log as well.

This setup would obviously cost a lot, but could become an amazing showpiece. I'm personally a huge fan of CO2 injection. With a fully-auto system it's very difficult to mess up, and there is no better fertilizer for plants in a discus tank. Additionally, the lowered ph is beneficial for all of the fish listed above, and it makes a great algae controller. I also like the T5 lighting better than anything else, because it is extremely bright, much cheaper than halide or HID, and the tubes are much thinner than other fluorescent types. Also, I would never use a canister filter again on a Discus tank that's over 75g. Overflows prevent surface scum and are much better suited for large tanks.

Anyway, best of luck on your tank.