Morosith’s 170g Planted Discus Tank

Morosith

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Hello everyone! I’ll be dropping the money soon for my 72 x 18 x 30 discus home. This build will probably take me until fall to truly be where I wanted, but I figured I’d start a thread to track the progress including equipment purchases for all you set up nerds. First stop was Petsmart where I got the Fluval fx6 for $130 off.
 
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Morosith

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The stock list is kind of influx. I have a general idea of what I want to keep, and intend to keep it mostly a true South American tank. I tend to lean towards understocking to start so if i want to add later I can. A rough idea of the stock will be:

8 Discus

30 Cardinal Tetras

3 pairs of dwarf cichlids, heavily leaning towards trying a pair of dark knight rams and maybe a pair of super red Apistos. Still making decisions though.

1-2 bristlenose. Definitely a super red, possibly will add a starlight bristlenose if I can find one.

And about 20 Sterbai Corydoras.
 

nikm128

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Looks like a good plan, do you know what size discus you're getting? What type?
 
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Morosith

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Looks like a good plan, do you know what size discus you're getting? What type?
I enjoy growing out fish so I’ll probably get them in the 2.5-3 inch range. I’ve also decided to go with stendker discus, though I haven’t decided on exact strains or anything.
 

aussieJJDude

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Im tagging along, this sounds like a fun build! Consider a school of hatchets for some added interest at the surface and swapping out the BN for something like farowella - which looks really good alongside with the discus.
 
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Morosith

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Im tagging along, this sounds like a fun build! Consider a school of hatchets for some added interest at the surface and swapping out the BN for something like farowella - which looks really good alongside with the discus.
I have definitely considered marbled hatchets because I love their look and the way they fill the top of an aquarium. I hadn’t thought about the farowella but it’s definitely something to consider. Those super red BN’s are so hard to pass up though!
 

fa4960

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I enjoy growing out fish so I’ll probably get them in the 2.5-3 inch range. I’ve also decided to go with stendker discus, though I haven’t decided on exact strains or anything.
I would absolutely not recommend growing out discus in a planted tank. I have tried that myself and the result is not great. With not great I mean that my Discus did not grow to their full potential and I found there to always be a conflict between heavy feeding, frequent water changes and Plants thriving. My water changes were not frequent enough (1 - 2 times per week of 70 - 80%) and therefore I constantly battled algae due to the heavy feeding, despite massive biological filtration. Had I managed to change water 3 - 4 times per week I would have needed lots of fertilizer to keep the plants happy also.

If you want your grown discus to become 6+ inch fish you want to feed multiple times per day, change water multiple times per week and generally try to keep your water parameters, especially Nitrates as the end product as close to zero as possible at all times. Actually you don't want any other fish either.....

Trust me you do not want a planted tank if growing out discus your decision! Been there, done that and would not repeat it. Grow them out bare bottom and then add plants and other fish after 12 - 18 months. By then you also know how many of the discus are still alive and hence can stock accordingly.

PS: By going Stendker you should be okay in terms of quality of fish. Another mistake on my side was poor quality fish (but you can't see that at 3"....) and hence I now have something like half of the original 42 fish left.
 

nikm128

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I would absolutely not recommend growing out discus in a planted tank. I have tried that myself and the result is not great. With not great I mean that my Discus did not grow to their full potential and I found there to always be a conflict between heavy feeding, frequent water changes and Plants thriving. My water changes were not frequent enough (1 - 2 times per week of 70 - 80%) and therefore I constantly battled algae due to the heavy feeding, despite massive biological filtration. Had I managed to change water 3 - 4 times per week I would have needed lots of fertilizer to keep the plants happy also.

If you want your grown discus to become 6+ inch fish you want to feed multiple times per day, change water multiple times per week and generally try to keep your water parameters, especially Nitrates as the end product as close to zero as possible at all times. Actually you don't want any other fish either.....

Trust me you do not want a planted tank if growing out discus your decision! Been there, done that and would not repeat it. Grow them out bare bottom and then add plants and other fish after 12 - 18 months. By then you also know how many of the discus are still alive and hence can stock accordingly.

PS: By going Stendker you should be okay in terms of quality of fish. Another mistake on my side was poor quality fish (but you can't see that at 3"....) and hence I now have something like half of the original 42 fish left.
Mine are ~5" from barely 2" in a planted tank, it's definitely doable, just a bit more work. Plants help keep the nitrates below 10ppm for them anyway
 

fa4960

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Mine are ~5" from barely 2" in a planted tank, it's definitely doable, just a bit more work. Plants help keep the nitrates below 10ppm for them anyway
I agree it is doable, I just think you will struggle to get them to their full size potential, at least I didn't manage to do it..... Should I start over again I would have heavily planted, waited a few months and then got 12 full size fish plus whatever other stocking to go with them.
 

nikm128

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Maybe, but that's something to start your own thread about so we don't hijack this one. If you do make one, go ahead and tag me
 
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Morosith

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I don’t mind putting in the work honestly. This is my second time keeping discus and I grew them to a healthy 5+ inches before. It is a lot of maintenance to keep everything happy but I don’t mind, especially if I’m only maintaining one tank.
 
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