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06-25-2013, 04:13 PM #1
Last things needed before I get discus? Pre-filter sponge, aged water, PH, Nitrates?
I've had aquarium for about 18 months now and recently upgraded tank size to try the ultimate: keep a planted discus tank! After a few months of working my aquascape, I'm very close to being ready to add my first discus. A well reputed lfs has some pretty mature wild caught and since I've gotten friendly with manager, is willing to sell me entire school of 7 for under $300. Since I live in Philly, I plan to make a trip to Hans and hand pick the next batch after "get the hang of it." Before I do it, wanted to ask your opinions on the following:
1. I think my nitrates are still a bit high for discus so I wanted to do a few water changes this week and get nitrates down to 5 or so (like it comes out of the tap). It is currently at about 20. Been a few months since changing filter so I will do that tonight which will likely help.
2. I plan to get my water tested for hardness. If it is very hard, I am willing to purchase RO system (see some on CL every once in a while). I am quite sure it is because I have white streaks if I don't wipe it clean.
3. I don't have a pre-filter sponge but have read the sticky and plan to add the filter I had for a 20 gallon tank since it isn't deep like the FX5s and can skim top.
4. How important is it to age water? I used to add 5 gallon buckets at a time just using dechlorinator and moving it around a bit. Now I add the dechlorinator right to the tank and fill it slowly with a water changer direct from sink. In order to maintain 150 gallon, I read to get a 55 gallon food drum and sanitize it then put heater and aerator. This would be challenging to find room for but I would figure it out if it is important.
5. How important is it to have an accurate PH reader for discus? I currently use the API test kit
150 gallon, 72" X 30" X 18", LED from BuildMyLED, sand with some eco complete in heavily planted areas, two (2) FX5 for filtration, no CO2
PH about 6.8 and nitrates about 20
Planted with low to mid light plants - various crypts, vals, anubia, rotala echinodorus tenellus, tiger lotus, heteranthera zosterifolia
Fish - 25 rummynose, 12 emperor, 8 cardinal, 12 corey sterbai, BN pleco, royal farowella, pair of GBR, snails, amano and cherry shrimp
Last edited by Fish from Filly; 06-25-2013 at 04:19 PM.Check out my 55 Gallon, planted, Philly themed community tank! Rummynose and Cardinals, dwarf cichlids, plecos, shrimps
06-25-2013, 04:33 PM #2
Have you considered sump filtration? Its another investment but it adds water volume and a lot more area for a refugium and/or a scrubber to aid in filtration.
How many total discus do you plan? The 300 for the wilds is a great deal considering most wilds that are quality are 300 per.
What is your water change regiment?
06-25-2013, 04:46 PM #3
First, are you completely satisfied with the health and quality of those LFS wild discus ? No doubts at all ? Has the store owner told you the source of these fish, it's reliability, whether they have been de-wormed, etc. A caution here, because when you later introduce fish from Hans, it could have bad results for the new discus if a proper QT is not religiously undertaken.
Yes, your nitrates are too high. You need to do more frequent, larger wcs to get it, and keep it, below 10 ppm.
Your API test kit is ok. How hard is your water ? Have you tested pH right out of the tap, then after some water has sat in a bucket overnite, and what the pH is in your tank on an on going basis ?
This will determine whether or not you need to age water for wcs.
And you may not need to use RO water, depending on the results of the pH testing.
Oh, and I don't expect your cherry shrimps will last long in a discus tank. Perhaps the Amanos will though.
Hope this helps. Let us know the results of your testing.
06-25-2013, 05:35 PM #4
The water our of the tap looks about 7. It usually drops a bit in my tank to 6.8 or sometimes lower. I have not tested it after waiting 24 hours and will try that tonight. Should I test it by just adding conditioner or also heat and aerator?
The amanos are like 3-4" now and hold their own. The cherry hide under the crevices but you're right, I'm sure the small and slow ones won't last. The GBR haven't touched them either which is surprising
Last edited by Fish from Filly; 06-25-2013 at 05:37 PM.Check out my 55 Gallon, planted, Philly themed community tank! Rummynose and Cardinals, dwarf cichlids, plecos, shrimps
06-25-2013, 06:23 PM #5
When you get your discus, I'd recommend you stick to that minimum of 2 X 50% wcs per week, or more often if you can.
Yes, do the pH test after some conditioned tap water has sat in a container overnite. No need to heat or aerate it.
Based on what you have said so far about the pH, your water is not hard, and should be just fine without aging, or using RO water.
But do the test after tap water has sat overnite & let us know.
With that more or less neutral pH, it doesn't seem that you have high mineral content in the tap water, so it should be just fine.
But do test for GH & KH levels - your API test kit should enable you to that. Discus can handle various degrees/ranges of GH & KH, so I don't believe you would have any problem there.
Best of luck to you.
06-25-2013, 06:32 PM #6
I hear great things about Hans and spoke with him for an hour or so and am convinced he is a stellar breeder. The discus from lfs were apparently caught by a breeder who is friends with the store owner and is also a judge in national discus competitions. I will ask store owner today for names as well as take pictures of them. They look to be about 4" on average. They also sell discus from Hans so I figured they could mix. I was not planning to buy juvies because I couldn't keep up with the parameters in a planted tank nor keep up with the feedings
4in discus are barely non-juvi discus. Also, Hans is an importer of Stenker discus. He does not breed though he does sell breeding pairs. They can be in the same store just like they can be in different parts of your house in different tanks. Combining tanks is more tricky. I would rather see you stock your tank with these 7 wilds and see how they fair. They may be more aggressive when you add new discus to the mix too. This is going to be a very wild (parden the pun) mix at the end of the day... Good luck.
I have thought about it but the tank I got came with 2 FX5s and a 406 so I decided to keep them instead of lose money on selling them used.
You can use those in conjunction with a sump if you chose. Honestly I would use them on non discus tanks and just go sump if I was you but its a personal prefrence of mine.
I planned to purchase all 7 now then wait a while to make sure I'm doing well and eventually have 12 or so. I will likely transfer the emperors into a 55 gallon im setting up at work so that would leave 12 discus, 25 rummys, probably up school of cardinals to 25 too, and the 12 coreys. Plus the BN pleco and farowella.
That should be fine as far as number but I just wish they were all from one source... Maybe keep the 7 in the 150 then go add 6 to your 55? You could use the FX's on the 55 if you go sump on the 150.
Your water change regiment is lacking. It needs to step up to 50% w/c or more every other day for these wilds. Your water tests are going to determine the rest needed. I would suggest purchasing a carbon block for the wilds if not an R/O. The 7 to 6.8 drop isnt a concern. Actually the drop down is better than a raise up.
06-25-2013, 07:34 PM #7
I didn't realize discus were that different and understand the concern about mixing, especially wild vs tank raised. I will ask more questions and take pictures of the discus when I'm there later tonight and post in this thread. I will also do the PH test on conditioned tap out of the sink and some that has been aged over night and compare those to "normal" aquarium water right before a water change to see the variances. If they differ by 0.5 or more, I will research RO or carbon block. If not, I will use caution when changing water (not too quick) and make sure I keep up often - minimum 50% twice a week. I'll give some thought to changing out to sump especially once I have another tank to use up canisters on but for now, I will keep As-Is and will likely add the 406 filter once I get more fish.
For the record - I was definitely going to do more w/c once I got discus, especially 4" ones! For now I keep it to once a week mainly because I thought the plants would get established better and the current fish stock have been 20 - 40 nitrates for as long as I had them.Check out my 55 Gallon, planted, Philly themed community tank! Rummynose and Cardinals, dwarf cichlids, plecos, shrimps
06-25-2013, 07:39 PM #8
06-25-2013, 07:55 PM #9
Triple F...that's a new one! Yeah you guys here have been really helpful. I appreciate your advice and try my best to share with new aquarists as much as I can.
BTW - since I have your attention...)I have it up in another thread about creating depth in aquarium but I'll post here too) several people recommended keeping black background but warn against pigeon blood strains because they can pepper. My current blue background looks like it has scratches and I just purchased some oneshot to paint the glass black. This should make the plants and discus pop, especially with the natural sand color.
Here is link to current set up although I did change it slightly last night
06-25-2013, 08:00 PM #10