120 Gallon Planted Discus Tank

RollaPear
  • #1
I've wanted to start this new build for a while now. But between renovations and family life I couldn't find the time. I had a journal on here previously which I closed due to the focus being soley on keeping the discus healthy. Unfortunately, while I kept a laser like focus on that aspect, I paid less attention to other factors of this hobby of ours and eventually, over the course of a few months algae took over. In particular Cynobacteria aka "The unrelenting!" I knew it's composition and what it needs to thrive: Excess Phosphate, Nitrate, Light, and Nutrients but despite my best efforts (and with Phos & Nitrate being high from my water source.) I just couldn't get it under control. And so with this journal, I have decided to return to the much frowned upon (by Discus experts) aspect of the hobby.

A planted tank.

The goal here is simple. Balance. Balance by using plants to consume and absorb the excesses and prevent algae gaining a foothold. But getting to that point in a tank that has to be heated to 28-30C / 82.4 - 86F is the conundrum. As most plants will simply melt at the temperatures discus require.

Due to the melt factor I have been sourcing plants from ebay instead of my usual go to Tropica vendor. To be honest the quality of those ebay plants are not great but financially, given that this may be a process of trial and error paying the lower ebay price seems like the sensible way forward.

Some stats...

Tank Dimensions: 151 X 55 X 66CM
Filtration: Fluval FX6. Oase Biomaster 350
Flora: Valliseneria (Gigantea & spiralis) various cryptocoryne, Crinum and lotus bulbs, and Sagittaria Subulta,
Fauna: 7 Blue Diamond Discus
CO2: Pressurized
Ferts: S. Flourish
Lighting: Juwel Spectrum LED (WRGB programmable)

Due to a mix up with Amazon I didn't get all of the substrate so as things stand the aquarium is only two thirds planted. I plan to get some dithers this weekend and some corydora and although corys may add to the biolad, the discus are really messy eaters and having the corys scavenge may reduce the excess nutrients available. I'm also leaving the feeding of beef heart behind and adding CO2. The lighting isn't set up. In short there is lots to do but for the first time in months I'm hopeful and excited about finding the balance.

FTS

njwstee.jpg
 
Amazoniantanklvr
  • #2
Love it!!

A201, nikm128 and 86 ssinit are the experts here. CrispiI Knows some stuff too. They will all be able to help you out with all your discus questions.
 
RollaPear
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
Love it!!

A201, nikm128 and 86 ssinit are the experts here. CrispiI Knows some stuff too. They will all be able to help you out with all your discus questions.

Indeed indeed!

For example, advice from 86 ssinit literally saved me hundreds of pounds in emergency veterinary fees. Behind the scenes advice from angelcraze earlier this month, reminded me that Jungle Vall could be an option (which is why I have two varients) and is why my new set up looks the way it does.

The advice and musings found on this forum is worth it's weight in gold. Obviously I don't expect smooth sailing for this or any build but being able to be here to converse and research is a blessing.
 
nikm128
  • #5
RollaPear
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
Cardinal Tetras and SterbaI Corydoras are great tank mates for Discus.
Clown loaches can also apparently take the heat

I have been researching these catfish

adolfoi,
burgessi,
davidsandsi,
imitator
delphax,
ostecarus

But so far haven't had much luck in sourcing them.
 
Crispii
  • #7
I have been researching these catfish

adolfoi,
burgessi,
davidsandsi,
imitator
delphax,
ostecarus

But so far haven't had much luck in sourcing them.
You can try ordering one of those species online or ask your LFS if they can special order the fish for you.
 
86 ssinit
  • #8
Don’t get to many catfish. The Cory’s are enough. I have bronze Cory’s in my tank 10. As your looking for them to eat all the food that hits the substrate. They do a great job. I added them first than I added an SAE 2 would be better and 5 Otto cats. As for the heat my tank is at 86 and I have 15 different plants now growing in it. About 7 different types of anubias. Plants do grow in the heat.
 
RollaPear
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
You can try ordering one of those species online or ask your LFS if they can special order the fish for you.

I had 25 lemon tetras in the tank up until yesterday. I want to keep the bioload in peak condition and so unfortunately It'll have to be an in store purchase or online order. MY LFS' are terrible at ordering in unless you're prepared to wait a month or two.

I have been using a 4 day discus treatment to speed up the quarantine process for new fish, it hasn't failed me so I'm hoping to get everything in within a week.

Don’t get to many catfish. The Cory’s are enough. I have bronze Cory’s in my tank 10. As your looking for them to eat all the food that hits the substrate. They do a great job. I added them first than I added an SAE 2 would be better and 5 Otto cats. As for the heat my tank is at 86 and I have 15 different plants now growing in it. About 7 different types of anubias. Plants do grow in the heat.

How many Cory cats would you recommend? I'm thinking 7/8. Also I've never asked but what plants are you keeping in your tank. That list would be useful if my plants melt.
 
86 ssinit
  • #10
Let me get that for you later. I’m at work and not really sure of all the names. As to Cory’s mines a 125 and I have 10 Cory’s.
 
angelcraze
  • #11
Just thought i'd throw out another plant, Hygrophila angustifolia (now pantenol). It's a stem plant, but grows nice and flowy with bright green leaves. I'm pretty sure ssinit keeps it in his discus tank.

If I kept discus, and I wanted a little plant at the substrate, I grow stargrass in plain gravel, no root tabs, no ferts. Seen in the pic as well, it's the bright green carpet like plant with the star shaped crowns.

Potted melon swords are another popular option for discus.
 

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86 ssinit
  • #12
Ok it’s a long list .
2 Amazon swords
Red pearl sword
Westeria
Crypt wendit
Cardinal plant
Mellon sword
2 aponogeton crispus
Hygro Agustifolia
Anubias BarterI
Anubias nana
Anubias afzelii
Anubias minima
Anubias lanceolota
Anubias nangi
Anubias frazeri
Dwarf lily
Crypt crispatula
And a few others that I just don’t know what they are . But they are growing well.
BEB4E757-F5F0-47F5-9221-10A7B58DE8E1.jpeg
 
jmaldo
  • #13
And I thought I was the only one struggling with plants at the higher temp.
Watching

Beautiful tank 86 ssinit
 
RollaPear
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
So far... Things are "OK" The Val Gigantea is fairing better than the spirallis but I haven't added carbon yet. I have an old cylinder which appears to have some pressurized CO2 left so I'll be testing that out later today before the lights come on. Speaking of lights, I consider myself technically proficient in terms of tech but the instructions on this customizable led unit are the definition of convoluted.

The good news is the cyno hasn't made a return yet. It usually rears its head within hours which is why I call it "the unrelenting" so I'm sure at that, the very least, I've disrupted it. The rest of the substrate is on the way and I've taken half day from work tomorrow so that I can peruse the lfs and see what I can find in terms of dithers. I had lemons which worked fine but I'm looking to reduce the biolad and so might go back to cardinals because of their smaller footprint... I think I can add 30-35 and still be under the bioload my Lemons produced.

Just thought i'd throw out another plant, Hygrophila angustifolia (now pantenol). It's a stem plant, but grows nice and flowy with bright green leaves. I'm pretty sure ssinit keeps it in his discus tank.

If I kept discus, and I wanted a little plant at the substrate, I grow stargrass in plain gravel, no root tabs, no ferts. Seen in the pic as well, it's the bright green carpet like plant with the star shaped crowns.

Potted melon swords are another popular option for discus.

The Hygro "Angustfolia" seems to be one of those plants with several different names. I love the look of it but it might take a while to narrow down the "true" plant and order it in. Again, thanks for taking the time to give your much needed advice angelcraze

Ok it’s a long list .
2 Amazon swords
Red pearl sword
Westeria
Crypt wendit
Cardinal plant
Mellon sword
2 aponogeton crispus
Hygro Agustifolia
Anubias Barteri
Anubias nana
Anubias afzelii
Anubias minima
Anubias lanceolota
Anubias nangi
Anubias frazeri
Dwarf lily
Crypt crispatula
And a few others that I just don’t know what they are . But they are growing well.View attachment 665513

I appreciate the time taken to compile it. I often forget names of plants once they're up and running so this is a much needed reference point for me.

Are you using CO2?

Your aquarium is looking spectacular as always.

And I thought I was the only one struggling with plants at the higher temp.
Watching

Beautiful tank 86 ssinit

jmaldo My fellow Blue diamond keeper. We shall struggle and persevere together lol. In all seriousness I hope you can get some ideas via my trial and unavoidable errors on this planted build.
 
86 ssinit
  • #15
No I’m not using co2 gas. What I do add is the apI co2 booster. It does help. I also have a uv steralizer and a doctors 3 in 1. Both reduce algae. I feed flourish comprehensive,iron and potassium. Also will add osmacoat and apI root tabs when needed.
 
angelcraze
  • #16
The hygro angustifolia is the narrowleaf version of Hygrophila costata or formerly Hygrophila corymbosa.

I bought angustifolia growing emersed under the name hygro pantenol sp.'wavy'. I mentioned some stems because I like to try and balance 'heavy rooters' with some 'water column filtering' plants. Also floating plants such as water lettuce or amazon frogbit make a nice addition with the roots hanging down in a tall tank (also seen in my pic).
 
Amazoniantanklvr
  • #17
Is amazon frogbit native to the amazon river? If so I might get some.
 
KribensisLover1
  • #18
Just thought i'd throw out another plant, Hygrophila angustifolia (now pantenol). It's a stem plant, but grows nice and flowy with bright green leaves. I'm pretty sure ssinit keeps it in his discus tank.

If I kept discus, and I wanted a little plant at the substrate, I grow stargrass in plain gravel, no root tabs, no ferts. Seen in the pic as well, it's the bright green carpet like plant with the star shaped crowns.

Potted melon swords are another popular option for discus.
My hero
 
KribensisLover1
  • #20
RollaPear
  • Thread Starter
  • #22

Uwxw2u8.jpg

Today's addition felt exciting lol. I know I know it's just Co2 but I'm interested to see what changes (if any) 8 hours of co2 injection will have on my parameters. On the flip side the discus are very wary of any changes so between the constantly swaying vals and this bubble making machine they're acting very skittish. The plan was to go lfs shopping but that's looking unlikely now

No I’m not using co2 gas. What I do add is the apI co2 booster. It does help. I also have a uv steralizer and a doctors 3 in 1. Both reduce algae. I feed flourish comprehensive,iron and potassium. Also will add osmacoat and apI root tabs when needed.

I have 250ml of flourish comprehensive but I'm not sure what dosage to use. I'm thinking 25% of what's recommended and see how thing go from there? MY next WC should be 50% on Wednesday. I'll keep osmacoat and root tabs in mind and figure out the best approach should the vals and other plants show any signs of deficiencies.

The hygro angustifolia is the narrowleaf version of Hygrophila costata or formerly Hygrophila corymbosa.

I bought angustifolia growing emersed under the name hygro pantenol sp.'wavy'. I mentioned some stems because I like to try and balance 'heavy rooters' with some 'water column filtering' plants. Also floating plants such as water lettuce or amazon frogbit make a nice addition with the roots hanging down in a tall tank (also seen in my pic).

I searched the angustifolia and came across a bunch of results that all differed from each other. If I thought they'd survive the journey I'd buy a few clippings from you asap. I sent an email to tropica and hopefully they'll get back to me soon.

Due to co2 and higher temps I can't keep floating plants just yet, or at least, I haven't found a way to. MY surface tension will rip them to shreds but I have heard about an airline solution which I need to look into.
 
angelcraze
  • #23
I searched the angustifolia and came across a bunch of results that all differed from each other. If I thought they'd survive the journey I'd buy a few clippings from you asap. I sent an email to tropica and hopefully they'll get back to me soon.

Due to co2 and higher temps I can't keep floating plants just yet, or at least, I haven't found a way to. MY surface tension will rip them to shreds but I have heard about an airline solution which I need to look into.
Oops angustifolia means 'narrow leaf', look up hygrophila angustifolia (which is the narrowleaf version hygrophila corymbosa.

Congrats on the co2 addition!
 
RollaPear
  • Thread Starter
  • #24
Oops angustifolia means 'narrow leaf', look up hygrophila angustifolia (which is the narrowleaf version hygrophila corymbosa.

Congrats on the co2 addition!

Thanks Angel

The CO2 is running low and needed to be adjusted a few times today to maintain 0.5bps. I bought the angustfolia and it should arrive later this week
 
86 ssinit
  • #25
The dosage should be on the bottle. I add 12ml twice a week.
 
RollaPear
  • Thread Starter
  • #26
Hygro Angustifola was still incredibly difficult to track down. I messaged a few seller and none really had a clue and so I went with Hygro Costata which seems to be of the same genius and tolerant of my parameters but we'll see.

The dosage should be on the bottle. I add 12ml twice a week.

Yup. 5ml for every 250L/60G. My bad, I should have specified that I meant dosage in terms of plant mass. I don't want to leave any excess so I want to start on the lower end of the scale and build up over time.

What do you think about 4ml?
 
angelcraze
  • #27
Hygro Angustifola was still incredibly difficult to track down. I messaged a few seller and none really had a clue and so I went with Hygro Costata which seems to be of the same genius and tolerant of my parameters but we'll see.
Ok costata (formerly corymbosa) is the original version (shorter leaves) of hygro angustifolia. Also a very nice plant and maybe it would even look better because it's not so similar to the vals in leaf shape. Also hygro angustifolia is now named hygro pantenol sp.wavy. You are right, lots of names for similar plants, but I think you'll like working with that stem.
 
86 ssinit
  • #28
I would go with what it says and do the 10ml. It keeps algae from growing as well as helping the plants.
 
RollaPear
  • Thread Starter
  • #29
Buying plants on ebay is cost effective especially given this builds parameters. But my goodness, some of the packaging and posting is insane. Today I got the Hygro Costata... Inside a sandwich bag pressed tightly between two sheets/pieces of plastic, inside two sandwich bags. And the plants have absolutely zero roots. None whatsoever, The annoying part about this is I emailed prior to the purchase and was assured the plants being sent would have roots. I guess beggars can't be choosers. But then again I am paying.

Today's haul.

w3HhlYN.jpg

EMf7NNy.jpg

I have a black background and at times, when the discus, hang around the top I can get a decent picture. However this is actually a pic of two discus fighting. They're in the tail slapping phase which is just before the "I want to kill you" phase. At one point the fighting got so bad that I had to re-home one which was a terrible day for me. The only positive is that I got to meet a discus keeper who I had been speaking to for some time. He's also against the planted tank route for discus but that's another post altogether. If anyone has any ideas on how to stop the constant fighting I'd be not only interested but eager to hear your thoughts

MCVKdVP.jpg

Ok costata (formerly corymbosa) is the original version (shorter leaves) of hygro angustifolia. Also a very nice plant and maybe it would even look better because it's not so similar to the vals in leaf shape. Also hygro angustifolia is now named hygro pantenol sp.wavy. You are right, lots of names for similar plants, but I think you'll like working with that stem.

Definitely angelcraze It's not in the best condition but it's here. Fingers and toes crossed that it takes. I've done a 70% WC and some tests pre and post WC. I will get a FTS later.

I would go with what it says and do the 10ml. It keeps algae from growing as well as helping the plants.

This is obviously the sensible approach but I can't get a handle on the biomass. I still might start slow and build up to full dose.
 
86 ssinit
  • #30
That hygro will root right away just tuck it into the gravel and the roots will start right above the gravel and work there way in. That plant is usually sold that way. They cut off the top and sell it. Mine grows like a weed with no root tabs.
 
RollaPear
  • Thread Starter
  • #31
As expected, not all of the plants are surviving. The straight vals are all in bad condition while the gigantea Vals are doing really well and repairing any damage they arrived with. My dithers are currently going through quarantine but I'm going to have to add them as soon as the discus /quaranteen treatment is finished. They (discus) are incredibly skittish in this new build to the point that it's making me uncomfortable seeing them this jumpy.

I hope they're just getting used to the new setup and will eventually go back to debating over the pecking order. But the minute the quaranteen treatment is up all dithers will be added.

But I am stumped as to why they're jumping and what they're jumping about. I'm wondering if it's the vals swaying and them not being used to it, or the new light system which has minI led spot bulbs across it? The substrate is inert and the water chemistry is exactly the same so to say I'm confused is an understatement.

New Led reflecting on the water surface

JC8LcLp.jpg

That hygro will root right away just tuck it into the gravel and the roots will start right above the gravel and work there way in. That plant is usually sold that way. They cut off the top and sell it. Mine grows like a weed with no root tabs.

This is promising.

All the clippings are planted and they look to be in better condition now as opposed to when they first arrived. I have my fingers and toes crossed just in case good luck is needed.
 
Amazoniantanklvr
  • #32
Can I get as pic of that tank? What are the dithers?
 
86 ssinit
  • #33
Vals are known for melting when new. If the leaves die off let it sit fo a month or more they may come back. This plant came back months later. So long after I thought it died I’m not sure what it is. A Val or a crypt. But it’s growing so well it’s now in all of my tank .
19BA2F55-62F3-4FED-8515-A6A62ED7798B.jpegDiscus could be skittish from all the new stuff. Did you move anything from the old tank?
 
Amazoniantanklvr
  • #34
It's been a month and my vals are still recovering. I just waiting on them now.
 
RollaPear
  • Thread Starter
  • #35
Can I get as pic of that tank? What are the dithers?

The dithers are sterbaI cory and neon tetra. Here's a pic of the tank from Friday unfinished scape due to Amazon messing up my substrate order...


njwstee-jpg.jpg



Vals are known for melting when new. If the leaves die off let it sit fo a month or more they may come back. This plant came back months later. So long after I thought it died I’m not sure what it is. A Val or a crypt. But it’s growing so well it’s now in all of my tank .Discus could be skittish from all the new stuff. Did you move anything from the old tank?
It's been a month and my vals are still recovering. I just waiting on them now.

86 ssinit That's cryptocoryne balansae. Once it gets going it can be hard to stop.

As for the vals the problem isn't just the stems, the roots are turning to brown mush putting it beyond melt and into rot territory. If this were a different setup I'd be more than willing to wait and see if they can be saved. But I have Cynobacteria proverbially breathing down my neck, which unfortunately for me makes time much less of an option.
 
Amazoniantanklvr
  • #36
I'm sorry tell you but neons aren't temp compatible. The hottest that they can get is 79. Cardinal tetras would be a much, much better choise.
 
RollaPear
  • Thread Starter
  • #37
I'm sorry tell you but neons aren't temp compatible. The hottest that they can get is 79. Cardinal tetras would be a much, much better choise.

My bad. I meant black neon tetra.
 
Amazoniantanklvr
  • #38
Then what do you keep the tank at?
 
NC122606
  • #39
Totally missed this, following!
 
RollaPear
  • Thread Starter
  • #40
Then what do you keep the tank at?

Right now it's 29C

I didn't even realize that black neons were compatible until a suggestion over on the discus forums. It seems they've been kept at higher temps without issue. I can get 35 while still maintaining a lower bioload than I had with the 25 lemons due to size. And I'm in need of some dithering lol

Totally missed this, following!

HI NC122606 I appreciate the extra eyes on this
 

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