View Full Version : Setting up a new tank

12-29-2008, 02:26 AM
A friend of a friend raises discus, and I would really like to set up a tank. He says 7.0 PH will not be a problem. Do you agree?

I am looking at buying a 150 gal (48x24x31) set up from glasscages.com. It includes the tank, stand, cover and canopy for $1,065. This is a far better deal than anything I can find locally. Any other website recommendations?

Do I need to go bare bottomed, or would sand be ok? If so, what kind? Also, what kind of filtration is recommended? Lighting?

How many half-dollar sized fish would be best to start with? Is it ok to mix different colors? Tank mates?

Sorry so many questions, but I want to make sure that if I do this, I do it right.

12-29-2008, 02:29 AM
What tankmates were you thinking of?

Sand is fine. I only use or recommend Estes' Marine Sand.

7.0 is fine, especially if that is what he keeps his at.

I would use a Fluval FX5.

Lighting depends on whether you are going planted or not. Do you want plants?

Mixing colors is fine. I would start with about 8-10.

12-29-2008, 03:10 AM
Thanks Fishguy2727! I would like to have some Amazon swords or other plants. Are these ok for discus? What kind of lighting would be best? Also, I have read that cardinal tetras are a good match, and I think a large school would be nice. Are there any kind of bottom dwellers that would work?

I have been having a problem with my PH going up from 7.0 (tap) to 8.0 when I test the tanks. Any thoughts on why? I posted a detailed question on the general forum.

12-29-2008, 04:33 AM
That usually happens when the pH is neutralized by the city or your home system (whether you have city or well water). A neutralizer will change it temporarily but after a day or two it goes back to its natural pH.

Cardinals are a great pick. Sterbai cories are a great bottom feeder for a discus tank. I also have a gold nugget pleco in with mine, bristlenose plecos work well too.

Lighting really depends on what you are willing to spend. the tank is short length-wise, but tall. This means you will need lots of light on there to penetrate the whole depth of the tank. With 24" of width you do have the room for that. Many people are using the newer high output (HO) T5s. The best come with individual reflectors and for that tank you may need about 8 bulbs or so. I would not stick with just swords, there are lots of great options for plants. I have swords, tiger lotus, cabomba, vals, moneywort, moss balls, and some others. Don't go by the lighting suggestions in books, I have found that these are not accurate (or it means that is the light it will THRIVE in, but the plants will do very well in other conditions). I just buy what I like and see how it does.

12-29-2008, 04:40 AM
Thanks! The reason I was thinking about getting a tall tank, is because I thought that was the best for discus. Would you recommend a shorter, longer tank? I have city treated water. If my true PH is 8.0, then are discus still even an option? I really appreciate your advice.

12-29-2008, 04:49 AM
Mine is also hard like that, but most discus come from much softer breeders. If you are not dead set on discus I wouldn't suggest them. There are other colorful options that are more likely to thrive. With hard water my two top picks would be peacock cichlids and fancy goldfish (not together). There are articles on each in my blog and pics of each in my photobucket page.

12-29-2008, 05:03 AM
Thanks! I'll check it out, but my heart is really set on discus. Is there anything that can be done? A reverse osmosis system?

12-29-2008, 05:11 AM
Yes, an RO unit could make a huge difference. It would let you start with 'raw' water.

12-29-2008, 05:16 AM
I have found them online in a big price range. Do they all work? Does the RO process lower the PH?

12-29-2008, 05:22 AM
RO removes a lot of things out of the tap water: nitrate phosphate, silicate, carbonates, etc. The carbonates are what harden the water, the hardness dictates the pH. RO water is usually very low in pH and very soft. RO removes so much that even with discus you need to add some back, either by mixing in some untreated water or by adding special additives like 'discus trace' and similar products made for use with RO water. I would buy one from a known company (like Coralife). You can check ebay for some good prices on them. The gallons per day (gpd) will depend on your needs. If you have a small holding container for the RO water you don't need a big RO unit.

12-29-2008, 05:31 AM
Would 50 gallons per day be ok for a 115 gal tank?

12-29-2008, 05:37 AM
I thought you were getting a 150?

Yes, that would be good. But you also need a container large enough to store a lot of water. Many people use large trash cans they bought new and use only for water. You will also need a float valve to turn off the flow when the container is full. As an added backup it doesn't hurt to put in a bulkhead in the top of the container as an overflow and run a hose from that to a drain so you don't flood the house if the float valve fails.

12-29-2008, 05:46 AM
Yes, sorry, a 150 tall is what I am looking at (once I figured out it would not cost much more than a 115.) Would you recommend a shorter tank? We are converting our attached garage into a large rec room once the new garage is finished being built, so space won't be a big issue. The rest is getting a little over my head. A large garbage can would be no problem, and I'm sure I could learn about the rest. Do you know of a good site/post that would educate me?

12-29-2008, 06:07 AM
Educate you about what exactly?

If space is not an issue go as big as possible. If you can fit a 500 gallon, do it. Save money and make your own stand. It isn't too hard to make an overkill stand with 4x4s, 2x4s, big nuts and bolts, etc. You can fancy up the outside with nice wood and in the end save money over manufactured stands.

Do you want to go well-planted?

12-29-2008, 06:35 AM
I guess I should clarify :). Space is somewhat of an issue, but the difference between a 4' length and a 6' length wouldn't be a big deal. Can you just keep uping the amt. of discus as the tank size goes up? I'm fairly industrious, but I would be afraid to build a stand for a 10 gal tank! My dad (retired carpenter among other things) will be building the bar and cabinets, but I would be a little afraid to have him build something that needs to hold 1,500+ lbs. The fish are my number one priority, so if a taller tank is better for them at the sacrifice of having plants, I can live with that. If you were setting up an new tank, what would you do? Also, I know what a float valve is, but would have no clue how to set one up. (Yes, I am definate uneducated on a lot of this, and LFS is no help at all.)

12-29-2008, 02:12 PM
There is a minimal height, but it doesn't need to be that deep. Even 21" is fine, but 24 tall would be a little better. I think a 180 (6' long, 2' wide, 2' tall) would be ideal.

I would keep the number of discus about the same and just add more of the other fish (like larger schools of cardinal tetras and sterbai cories).