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375L Tank suggestions and Discus help
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Phoenix
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Joined: 12 Mar 2004

PostPosted: 2005.05.05(Thu)9:38    Post subject: 375L Tank suggestions and Discus help Reply with quote

Hi,

I have a 375L tank with 1 medium discus, 3 adult Angels, 1 Corry, 1 pleco and 3 tetras. The plants in the tank are artificial, I have 2 Eheim external canister filters and 2 heaters. My tank is kept at pH 6.5 although the water is very soft so I find it drops to about 6.2 sometimes? Ammonia, nitrate and nitrite are all 0 to very low.
I plan to get about another 6 discus and some rams but I want to make sure everything is perfect first. I've had this tank running for about 9 months now and one of the filters is from my previous tank which was running for about 3 years. The pH drop is something that is worrying me as the tap water is 6.5 and I've read that the reason the pH drops in the tank could be because the water is so soft, another article suggested that the filter pads may need to be washed as the dirt collected in them could cause the pH to drop. I'll be honest, although I've kept fish for nearly 4 years and have read countless articles, books and forum posts I still feel I've a lot to learn so I'm hoping you guys can help clear things up for me as many opinions seem to contradict each other:

Water changes: I do a 30 to 50% water change once per week, I've been told that this is fine but also been told that I should do a 20% change twice a week and even told I need to do 2 15% changes plus a 50% change every week? My tank is 375L so its no small job doing a water change so what do you guys think is right?? Also have any of you that have large tanks come up with any good ways of doing the water changes? At the moment I have to fill a large drum with tap water and boil kettles to get it heated up before it can go in, I then hook the hose to one of the filters and have it pump the new water in that way.

Filters: Regarding the filter media I was told to only wash them out in aquarium water once every 3 to 4 months. I do this but about once a month I remove and replace the top layer of synthetic wool too. Do I need to clean the filters out more??

Feeding: I feed them flakes and discus flakes once per day as well as blood worm about 2 to 3 times per week. I've been told to feed them from once every two days to 3 times a day? Which is correct?? Any suggestions of anything else I should be feeding them?

Health: Should I use a tonic once a month to kill parasites in the water and boost the immune system of the fish as some of the products suggest or is this not necessary?

Salt: I've been told that adding salt (from the fish store not table salt) to the water can help keep the fish health but how much should I add?

Temp: I have my tank at 27 degrees but have been told that for optimal health Discus and Angels in particular would be better suited to 30 degrees, I would need to buy another heater for this but wouldn't mind if it meant happier, healthier fish? What do you guys think?

Plants: I'm considering adding plants but wonder if it would be more hassle than its worth as I have been told I would need to replace the pebble gravel I currently have for some special type of gravel that the plants could root in. I've been told I'd need 4 lights instead of the 2 I have which would be a big hassle to install. I've been told I'd need a CO2 injector and lots of different types of fertilizers etc plus I'd need to prune the plants every few days and remove dead leaves etc. And lastly if I have 70% of the tank floor planted what happens when I have to gravel vac, do the plants eat the waste in their area? Again what do you guys think?

Sorry for the huge post but I've just got so confused with all the things I've read that I thought I'd just ask specifically what I need to know and hope you guys can help me out.

Thanks
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discuszeke
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Joined: 18 Jan 2005

PostPosted: 2005.05.05(Thu)15:03    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure about most of what you said, but it sounds like your tank is in good shape. BUT, first, get rid of the angels! Angels often can become too aggressive for most discus - although they both come from the amazon region, they are not found together. I have also heard that plecos and discus do not match (not sure), but if that is true, you should get more corys - they should be kept in a group. Tetras should also be kept in a large group for their benefit and your veiwing benefit. With a tank that large you should get 15 cardinals or rummys for a nice effect. Rams are awesome fish, too.

Water changes: 30 - 50 percent a week is great, just be consistent whatever you do.

Feeding: Only feed bloodworms very occasionally, they are terrible nutritionally. Also, juvenile discus need to be fed at least 3 times a day. I would recommend Colorbits or beefheart as another food to flake if they will take it.

Health: In my opinion, you do not need to add any chemicals to kill parasites or anything like that.

Salt: In my opinion, you do not need to add salt.

Temp: Not sure about celcius Smile but a minimum of 82 degrees farenheit for discus

Plants: You should get plants for sure, as they will help maintain a healthy aquarium. You do not need to upgrade anything in order to grow certain lowlight plants like java fern and anubias and crypts.

-Zeke

PS - I keep 5 discus in a 55 gallon with 5 oto's, 3 corys, and 2 rams. Basic lighting but densely planted with java fern and crypts. Other tank decorations are many pieces of driftwood. Temp - 82. Filtration - penguin 330 Embarassed Food - colorbits and beefheart 3 times per day. Water changes - 15% 2 times per week. My discus are nice and healthy but did not grow to their potential max size.

-also, get discus of similar size to the one you already have
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kjh90
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Joined: 15 Mar 2005
Location: Ohio

PostPosted: 2005.05.05(Thu)15:46    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe Plecos don't go with Discus, because when the Plecos get bigger they will sometimes attach to the side of Discus because they are slow swimming and suck on their mucus layer. This can be very bad for the Discus.
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discuszeke
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Joined: 18 Jan 2005

PostPosted: 2005.05.05(Thu)15:57    Post subject: Reply with quote

Surprisingly, I've also seen one of my oto's try to attach himself to my discus, which obviously ticks off the discus. Anybody else notice this oto behavior?

-Zeke
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Phoenix
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Joined: 12 Mar 2004

PostPosted: 2005.05.06(Fri)5:37    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Guys,

Thanks for your replies. I have actually seen my pleco try that but didn't realize it could do any harm as it usually only lasted a second or two and the fish looked fine. I'm setting up a 100L tank in my office at the moment so I'll move him into that when he's ready but he's a great cleaner so what should I get to replace him that can clean the algae that well? I did have an albino sucking loach for about a year but he developed a swollen belly and died.
I've had my angels since they were very small and they are totally non aggressive, I did have one that was but I gave him to a friend. I have 2 females and 1 male (or 2 males and 1 female not totally sure) but they regularly mate so I'm hoping to breed from them soon so if any aggression happens I should be able to move them to the breeding tank.
I will look into the colorbits but I don't think beefheart is available where I live in Ireland. I had to buy Angel & Discus Power Flakes from Mike Reed at www.mreed.com in the US to get some proper food for my Angels and Discus. His food is excellent and is Really balanced but I am worried that if I gave it to my fish 3 times a day I might end up with the tank getting dirty but then again maybe I just need to give them small amounts 3 times a day instead of a big amount once??
82 degrees F would be 27 degrees C so which is what I have it at so that should be fine then.
So the only thing I'm still a bit worried about is the pH, why would it be dropping from the 6.5 the tap water is when I do a water change to about 6.2 a few days to a week later? Any suggestions? As I said above I was told that it could be because the water is so soft and I would need to add a pH Buffer to fix it such as this: http://www.waterlife.co.uk/waterlife/65buffer.htm
Or it could be because the filter media needs to be cleaned more regularly?
Thanks again
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Josh Hansen
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Joined: 20 Feb 2005
Location: Dayboro, Queensland, Australia

PostPosted: 2005.05.06(Fri)7:49    Post subject: Discus Reply with quote

You need to treat the fish for parasite if you are putting new fish in the tank. You might need to be easier on the beef heart as I heard the beef heart has high fat content.

from Josh
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discuszeke
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Joined: 18 Jan 2005

PostPosted: 2005.05.06(Fri)8:51    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've read that pH is not very critical to fish,as long as it is in a safe range. I keep my discus in about 7.5 pH. If your current discus tolerates the pH change, then I'm sure it will be fine. Regarding the feeding situation, you could siphon off waste everyday after feeding and do a 5 gallon water change. Then do a big 30% water change one time per week. Just a suggestion.

-Zeke
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benedictj
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Joined: 05 Dec 2004
Location: new york, ny

PostPosted: 2005.05.06(Fri)9:27    Post subject: Reply with quote

discuszeke wrote:
I've read that pH is not very critical to fish,as long as it is in a safe range.


The bigger problem with a pH as low as you have is its effect on your biofilter and the obvious buffering capacity problem. At a pH of 6.5, biofiltration begins to slow, at 5.5 it suspends completely. While the pH range you are in is probably optimal for discus, and is certainly favored by your angels, if you don't keep a very close eye on the nitrogen situation, problems could arise.

Also, if you ever plan on injecting C02, it could cause major problems with pH crash.

Since we're really talking in theoreticals here, it might be helpful if you posted up your ammo, nitrite and nitrate readings, as well as your KH and GH readings. This will give us a better picture of how to address the pH problem (though it might not really be a problem in some ways).
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dale
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Joined: 10 Jan 2005
Location: Vancouver Canada

PostPosted: 2005.05.06(Fri)22:46    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Phoenix,
Whew, that's quite a post Smile
I'll chip in my 2CW on the issues I have experienced.
For tankmates it might be worth considering the end result you want. If you want a Discus tank then probably the others should go. The angels may not be aggressive now but they do display typical cichlid aggression (as do Discus) and the real fireworks will start when they or the discus pair off and seek territories or when they breed. The problem with a common pleco is that it doesn't do the best job of cleaning up (compared say to a grouping of cories or oto's) and it is a big waste producer which runs against the clean water needed for discus. I guess what I'm saying is don't compromise the main fishes conditions in order to keep some other "odds and sods" fish.
I do partial W/C's once a week (about 30% combined with substrate vacuuming) and this works for me, but a lot of it has to do with the fishload and you will notice a big difference if you nix the pleco.
My philosophy is to clean the filter pads when the output begins to decrease. I think removing the top layer of floss is OK if you are using fine mesh as this quickly becomes plugged. If you are using fine floss try not using it for awhile and see if that affects your pH. The only time I have had a big swing is when I used it (probably just a coincidence Confused ).
If it were me I would not dose the water with "tonics" or salt as this is not needed, a waste of moola and unneccisary chemicals for your fish to process. The best guarentee of fish health is proper isolation upon purchase and good water parameters.
I would try to buy two heaters if you can afford it regardless of the temps you select. This will safeguard your tank from sudden temp drops if one fails. I like two filters too. then you can alternate cleanings and not lose your population of ben. bacteria.
Plants I'll pass on. They are neither good nor bad but they do add a whole other spectrum of requirements to your tank. It just depends on wether you want to fuss with them.
One last note. What's wrong with bloodworms zeke? I feed them to my fish all the time. It all comes down to protein, fat, fibre, vitamins and micronutrients. My research say's they stack up pretty well when supplimented with other foods to balance out the diet. If there is something wrong with them please post a link as I am honestly curious to read about it. And, I only feed once a day.
Blah Blah Blah. You will get many different opinions as everyone keeps their tanks in different ways. My best advise would be to really imagine the end result and the main fish and do everything with those things in mind.
Good luck with the tank Very Happy
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discuszeke
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Joined: 18 Jan 2005

PostPosted: 2005.05.06(Fri)23:57    Post subject: Reply with quote

All that I have heard about bloodworms is that they are terrible for african cichlids and for growing discus. A respectable discus breeder that I know refers to bloodworms as "pure candy," so there you go. They are not bad as a treat but just don't allow discus to become hooked on them like mine did.

I disagree with what you said about live plants, because its a fact that plants benefit the overall health of an aquarium. Healthy plants = healthy fish.

-Zeke
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