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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I posted this in the discus forum as well.

I have been reading and reading a lot about the discus, and I will starting my new 54 gallon with discus. I purchased a Fluval 405 canister filter, and a very thorough water testing kit. I have the ability to use a number of filtering media since the Fluval 405 has separate compartments for each media to be implemented.

Everything I read shows that the peat granules are great for lowering and stabilizing the ph to better levels of acidity, but that it also tints the water. I was planning on adding some fitering media to help the water to be more crystal clear, but if I add the peat, I am afraid it will couteract the utility of the media. I really don't want tinted water.

If you all have any comments please let me know!

-Justin
 

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The water in the area I live at is very hard, and I've tried to lower it with peat. At first I added a moderate amount of peat to try to lower the pH and alkalinity, I tested after a few days and the pH barely changed and my water was tinted. The carbon didnt remove the tint. I know it removes color so I was assuming the peat was releasing more tannins than the carbon can handle. I knew if I added more peat my tank would turn yellow so I gave up on that idea. Trying to change water chemistry is hard because you cant lower the pH without lowering the GH and KH. The only way I know to soften water is to use RO water or distilled mixed in with tap water.
 

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My Ph tap is 8.8, Gh is 6 drops, Kh is 17 drops. If you are keeping discus like I am(same boat as you right now cept I go pick mine out tomorrow night and P/U saturday). I spent a small amount from aquariumplants.com and got a 25gpd Ro/Di unit and purchased a 45g holding tank for the Ro/Tap 3:1 mix. I used peat at first when I first set up the tank for the plants with tap water, I added 3# of carbon and a bag of floss to my sump and it never got clear. I want a clear tank for my discus also, I did the homework and ro/di w tap mix was the best way to go as is pressurized Co2 in my case, I am heavily planted. my Ph is 6.8 in that tank and will rise no higher then 7.0


Discus are not cheap, had it not been for the tank being free(1200.00 retail) Id have close to 4k wrapped up in this already, I have 1k into the filter system alone,1k in the co2 set up complete set up and 1k in plants and materials needed to set up the tank(gravel heaters ect)

My tank is in a professional office so no corners were cut I went all out. Ive been building the tank for 3 months now and the main fish arent even looked at yet.
 

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RO/DI is absolutely necessary if you have hard water. It is nearly impossible to bring hard tap water down to a healthy range for discus without using lots of peat and having tea-colored water. RO/DI unit for sure (you can probably get a used one for pretty cheap), a little bit of peat, and CO2 system if you can. There are lots of good DIY posts on CO2 dosing on this forum. Spending a little bit of money on equipment at this stage is a lot cheaper than losing your discus.
 

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This is the one I got
Spectrapure 25 Gallon Per Day RO/DI Unit

If its for the discus tank only, this is all you need, I keep 45g on hand and when that reserve tank is full I switch the flow to my ice maker and drinking water system. its pretty easy to hook up.

You cant really go cheap with these fish, some DIY is ok but its mostly easier to buy the right stuff the first time.

My tanks been up for 9 weeks now, and just in the past two weeks has it been in acceptable parameters to introduce discus to the tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ok, I have been talked into the R/O system! My next question would be if I found a system that was only a few gallons per day (7-15) like the Tunze Nano system...wouldn't that be good enough to supply my water for a weekly or bi-weekly partial change? I shouldn't need 25 or 45 GPD should I? After original setup, I imagine 10 gallons avg. per week should suffice for the partial changes on a 54 gal setup. Please let me know if I am not correct.

Thank you all for your help!

-Justin
 

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Ok, I have been talked into the R/O system! My next question would be if I found a system that was only a few gallons per day (7-15) like the Tunze Nano system...wouldn't that be good enough to supply my water for a weekly or bi-weekly partial change? I shouldn't need 25 or 45 GPD should I? After original setup, I imagine 10 gallons avg. per week should suffice for the partial changes on a 54 gal setup. Please let me know if I am not correct.

Thank you all for your help!

-Justin
No, that size will be fine, I keep a 45g holding tank and only produce 25gpd with my RO/DI. it takes 2 days to fill the holding tank but the other 5 days its running for my ice cubes and drinking water

10% is a good weekly, but on discus you might want to double that weekly.

25gpd was the smallest unit I saw that best suited my needs, I got a 52,45,40,15,10,10 that use this mix, with the 52.45.40 I use maybe 25 gallons for all three water changes per week. and thats at 20%
 

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What are the water conditions of your tap? pH, kH, GH. Is it going to be planted? Is it going to have a CO2 system?

These questions are important in order to know what you actually will need to keep discus. This also determines how much water a discus owner changes a week. In a planted tank I change ~45% a week. In a non-planted tank I know people who change 50%-100% a day. So it all depends on the setup.

Another thing to keep in mind is that just because you have a "x" gallon tank does not mean it has "x" gallons of water in it. For instance I have a 75g tank but I assume it is holding ~65g of water due to the amount of substrate and driftwood in the tank and how full the water is from the top.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
What are the water conditions of your tap? pH, kH, GH. Is it going to be planted? Is it going to have a CO2 system?

These questions are important in order to know what you actually will need to keep discus. This also determines how much water a discus owner changes a week. In a planted tank I change ~45% a week. In a non-planted tank I know people who change 50%-100% a day. So it all depends on the setup.

Another thing to keep in mind is that just because you have a "x" gallon tank does not mean it has "x" gallons of water in it. For instance I have a 75g tank but I assume it is holding ~65g of water due to the amount of substrate and driftwood in the tank and how full the water is from the top.
I will give you my numbers when I get back home as far as the tap water is concerned, but I wasn't going to use any tap water with the introduction of the R/O. No plants and no CO2.

Yes, also with my research I see it may be necessary to do an extensive water change regularly. A 20-30% change with water that is the same temp and from the same R/O system every other day is what I might be looking at now that I have done some extra research. I will have some large flagstones and a thin layer of gravel, hopefully for easier cleaning.

Some other reading I have done has prompted discus owners to not use carbon or ammonia remover as well. Can you comment here?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Okie dokie.. here are my latest numbers...

The tap water: pH = 7.5
G/H = 1 drop or hardness less than 1 degree
K/H = 12 drops or degrees of hardness

R/O water: pH = roughly 6.3-6.5
G/H = 1 drop or hardness of less than 1 degree
K/H = 1 drop or less than 1 degree


My tanks will have no plants and no CO2. I will have some large flagstones, surrounded by a thin 1" - 1.5" layer of standard aquarium gravel with an undergravel filter with two powerheads (170gph) each, a Fluval 405 filter, a Hydor Ario adjustable 20-50 GPH aerator, and 3-4 times per week 25-30% water changes with gravel vacuuming on all changes. The tank will be filled only with the R/O water that has been brought to the temp. of the tank... Does this sound feasible? Please let me know if I am on the right track! Thanks again all!

-Justin
 

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k, now, get your gh to 1-3 drops and your Kh to 3-6 drops, do this by mixing tap and RO water. I am at a ro/tap mix of 3:1 that gives me the 2gh and 5 Kh at 6.8 Ph

I saw a planted discus tank yesterday of size(125g) they love plants and benift greatly from them, I would put some swords in there atleast for them.

I wouldnt do pure RO, I wont and the guy I am getting my discus from(paid 60% deposit last night and picked out the fish by hand) uses tap water with no dechlor because they dont use it in his town.

the incoming water I have at tank temp as well, that is fine.
I use a sprayer tank, a true liquid holding container, drilled a hole for the bulkhead fitting for the hose to run to the tanks and two holes in top, one for Ro and one off the tap. I will take a pic of my RO set up and plumbing today for you and post it here.

you are on the right track, just a little tweaking, you are almost there.

get your gh and kh tests out get a container of Ro and a container of tap, I mix by the ounce on a measured cup, start with straight which you did now mix them 50/50 then go down according to drop movement , mine went dead on at 75% ro and 25% tap.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
How about the issue with the carbon/ammonia reducer?

A few discus enthusiast sites tell me not to use carbon filtration or ammonia removers because they can increase chance for disease? They are saying that the regular water changes are adequate.

What media would you all suggest for my filtration if I am not going to use carbon or ammonia removers?

I was planning on using Fluval Clearmax for nitrite. nitrate, and phosphates..along with the carbon and ammonia remover..but maybe not now?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I am getting my discus from angelwingsusa in FL. She keeps the water at 86 and at pH 7.0 I sent her a few emails asking about her water hardness that way I can acclimate better.
She has some great looking strains, and her prices are pretty good too! She sells on ebay and has some great package deals.

Her website is Home of AngelWingsUSA Domestic Breeders of DISCUS, ANGELFISH & FANCY GUPPIES
 

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In a non-planted tank you can get away with low kH and GH 2-3 for each is plenty. The pH can range from 6-7 but I find that the lower, the more colorful they tend to get.

I would stay away from an undegravel filter and just use the Fluval. Then do your water changes like normal with 1-2 light gravel vacuumings a week. I personally do not like to use carbon at all. It may be good for the initial polishing of a tank but after that if you don't keep on top of it, the carbon can begin to leak stuff back into the tank.

For water changes you can just set up a ~20g trash with your DI/RO water that you make. Then add a thermometer to it and add Hardness booster to get the GH and KH to what you want. Then use as much of this as needed for your routine water changes. If you keep it near your tank you can also just pump it directly in with a small pump. Good Luck!
 

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I have been keeping Discus for three years now. Previously I have had African Cyclids and many kinds of marine aquariums since about 1975. Discus are quite a challenge. I have tried carbon, Chimi-pure, Purigen, canister, bio-wheel hang ons, and under gravel filters. I have had varing degrees of success. I do not recommend any of the carbon or chemical filtration. Water changes remove anything carbon or similar filters remove and they are 100% necessary. I condition the water in two 54 gallon trash cans and use chlorine remover and Seachem Discus buffer. I keep the PH at about 6.4 and the temperature at a precise 86.8 degrees. Do not use under gravel filters with Discus. The bio-wheels are good and the canisters are fine but use them in combination because the canister lowers the oxygen content. I find they are very much healthier if I use Brightwell Discus Code and Blackwater extract. It does slightly tint the water and I avoided it for a long time but the Discus are so much healthier and colorful with it in my small tanks that I have started using it in my main tank. The slight tent to the water is no longer a distraction and when I explained to my friends that Discus live in water with a lot of Pete in the aquifer and that is why I changed it from the crystal clear I got with the Purigen and Chemi-Pure they quickly dismiss it because the fish are so pretty and healthy. They even beg me to rub them when I feed them!
I have 9 that are over 5” now and three that stopped growing in the 3” to 4” range. I have a breeding pair of Turqs and one of Pegions.
I have two breeding tanks, 29 gallons each, and only use foam bubblers with weekly water changes of about 80% from the main tank. They are simply the healthiest tanks I have. My main tank is 240 gallons, drilled, with a 110 gallon sump remotely placed in my garage. I recently removed the Fluval FX-5 that contained the Purigen. I am keeping it in ready standby in case something happens to the main sump. The one filter that has been an amazing success is the trickle down I constructed from Lowes 5 gallon buckets. I have two stacks with bio balls in the top of each and had the chemical filtration in the bottom buckets. The water from the tank passes through a 100 micron filter bag filled with floss into a 3” basket that is drilled to allow the water to trickle evenly onto the bio balls. I use computer fans ducted through a gutter type duct to keep fresh air in the bio chamber. That bucket sets down about 3” into the bottom bucket and is drilled to allow water to drain into the bottom chamber. The bottom chamber has holes at the bottom to allow water out. I fill it to just below the rim of the bottom bucket so the eater has to pass through the bottom chamber. Currently I have Ehime substrate in the bottom chamber and am going to add some Pete. The heaters are in the sump and I use an air stone and small on one end and a small lift pump with an air tube in the other end to keep the water turning over and aerated in the sump. I use a gutter type piece to connect to the external pump and place a 200 micron filter bag in the inlet to keep the pump clear. The pump discharges through three 36 watt UV sterilizers in series back to a bottom fill PVC tube drilled at about 2” intervals so the water enters the tank evenly without strong currents. I also have a 1-1/4” siphon with ball valves and a 50 micron filter bag and return directly into the sump that I use to vacuum the tank.
 
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