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  L# TW's 7 FT 138G (523L) Planted Discus Tank
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SubscribeTW's 7 FT 138G (523L) Planted Discus Tank
LITTLE_FISH
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Robyn,

Besides, I feel the photos show it whiter than it really is.

That is so true and one reason why I didn't like it so much. As you well know, I like to take shots of my tanks, and the white was so hard to balance out against the rest of the tank so that everything else looked too dark in comparison.
But my main reason is that it looks more natural, I think

A whole day plus was spent in washing each 20kg of the stuff. I hope I don't have issues. I'll just have to see how it goes.


I don't know if one can wash it off or if it leaches into the water over time, a slow release so to speak. Even the time when you had the water sitting in the bottom should not have helped with that too much as there was no flow. I guess we will see.

Given that it is rated to kill parasites, do you think it will still be fine for my beneficial bacteria?


You got me, I don't know. The people I know use it for algae control. Besides that, I think your tank will populate beneficial bacteria in no time and not rely on the filter to do so. I believe that the filter's beneficial bacteria hosting is way overstated in regards to a planted tank with loads of surface area (on glass, substrate, plants, rocks, wood, and what not). It will maintain itself.

Do you think I should have more than 15 stems? I can get more this weekend.


15 stems in a 10G is fine, but not in a 138G . I have seen it by now quite a few times, the "I can do without fast growers in a high tech tank" speach. And so far, almost all failed. I would not dare to do it except if the tank is not that important to me and serves as a trial anyway. In my lousy 40G I had about 50 to 80 stems of Rotala Rotundifolia to get it settled, plus some other weeds (wisteria and what not).

Today 96watts for 3 hours & 192watts for 1 hour. Too short?


Is that really what you mean? Or is it 2x96 for 3 hours and 4x96 for 1h? Even the latter I would declare as pushing it. You have CO2, you have AquaSoil, you need some light to balance this. I would say that 6h should be the minimum, with maybe 1 or 2 on all 4 lights. Then I would suggest to expand it to 8 hours by 30min on a weekly (2 weeks if it seems to work better) basis, and after that it is up to you

I believe I will do 2 x 25%, rather than 1 x 50% weekly changes


You know that 2x25 is not 50%, right? It is less. If you do so then keep an eye on the ferts and adjust the EI a little downwards. Ideally you could do 10% every day, that would be great. One thing that seems to become more popular in larger tanks these days is an automatic water changer system that does just that.

Oh, and with regards to EI in the first place. Do not add ferts for at least the first month and do 50% water changes at least twice a week. AquaSoil is so potent that you don't need any ferts during that time, then you can start to add K and then, even later, slowly up the fert dosages to EI levels. I would further assume your current high ammonia levels come at least partially from the AquaSoil as it leaches into the water column (not that there is current).

I personally would not add fish and other critters to the tank for a while (month to two), except if you keep their numbers really low and the water changes high, again for AquaSoil reasons. I had no fish/shrimp in my 40G for a looooong time, forgot all about them, LOL.

Again, as usual, all is IMHO only,

Hope this helps,

Ingo


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Post InfoPosted 24-Jul-2008 19:31Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
NowherMan6
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Given that it is rated to kill parasites, do you think it will still be fine for my beneficial bacteria?



You got me, I don't know. The people I know use it for algae control. Besides that, I think your tank will populate beneficial bacteria in no time and not rely on the filter to do so. I believe that the filter's beneficial bacteria hosting is way overstated in regards to a planted tank with loads of surface area (on glass, substrate, plants, rocks, wood, and what not). It will maintain itself.


Any organism that flows past that UV light a couple times as hour is as good as dead. But like LF said, between the filter, what grows in the substrate, on surfaces of hardscape plus the N removing properties of plants I wouldn't worry about nitrifiers. As I'm sure you already know, I'd avoid stirring up the substrate once it's settled.

Just curious - why bother with the bowl of dead shrimp to begin with? The AS is already leaching plenty of ammonia, it's just going to skew the readings. Keep the plants growing and your eventual fish should be fine.




Back in the saddle!
Post InfoPosted 24-Jul-2008 21:22Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
TW
 
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EditedEdited by TW
Hi Ingo & NowherMan6

Re: the white sand. I don't take so many tank photos. Mainly there's a flurry of pics & questions during setup, or major changes, but that's it. I don't tend to play around with my scapes, like you. When I get happy with a layout, it stays. So, lots of pics would be pretty boring for everyone. My tank is for me to look at & (hopefully) enjoy, so what it actually looks like in real life,is more important than how it photographs. Naturally, I would have liked you to like it, but on this one, we will have to be good friends & disagree I just didn't like the darker look of the ADA at all & purposely went looking for a lighter sand with no pH effect.
don't know if one can wash it off or if it leaches into the water over time ....I guess we will see.
Yeah, guess so. Hope it's ok. Think it will be, as it's exactly the same brand/type/grade that many of the long term discus people in Aus use. They claim to have used it for years, including for tanks of wild discus which require pristine water conditions. So, I'll wait to see if I mirror their experience, or strike problems. They also claim it doesn't have the anerobic & compacting issues of other sands (it has larger grains). This issue discussed a few posts higher up. A suggestion from other users (who also have a thicker pfs bed in places) is that at water change time, not only do you agitate with the the python, but gently move a chopstick in the sand to mix it around (not while cycling though).
"I can do without fast growers in a high tech tank" speach
No, I'm not making that speach. Just underestimated what I needed. I will raid LFS this afternoon, but suspect they won't have the amount of fast growing stems you recommend. I will float some - others will weigh down in terracotta pots, unless you strongly recommend otherwise

or is it 2x96 for 3hrs and 4x96 for 1hr
Yes, that's it. Though it has already increased by 1hr since that post. I will do as you suggest & increase to 6hrs total. Maybe 2x96 for 5hrs & 4x96 for 1hr, increasing as you suggest to 8. Thanks for hints

Thanks for EI & WC advice, which I will take on board. Auto water changer system sounds great, but for now I will battle on with my water ager/storage tank & pump.
I had no fish/shrimp in my 40G for a looooong time, forgot all about them, LOL.
hahaha. Agree I can't move fish in until water conditions are pristine, but how could I forget about my beloved discus. The 165L (where they live) is sitting in the middle of the rumpus room floor, with power cords that don't allow me to shut a cupboard & which I trip on every now & again. So I do hope that by at least a month, I can start the staggerred introduction.

It's been a long time NowherMan6. I hope you have some tanks to share here.
Any organism that flows past that UV light a couple times as hour is as good as dead. But like LF said, between the filter, what grows in the substrate, on surfaces of hardscape plus the N removing properties of plants I wouldn't worry about nitrifiers.
I get what you're saying about beneficial bacteria being all over the tank decor, but unsure if you're saying I should (or shouldn't) turn UV on. If it won't slow the cycle down, it would be good for it to be dealing with any algae issues that might crop up.
As I'm sure you already know, I'd avoid stirring up the substrate once it's settled
Do you mean while it's cycling. I'm only taking out water from the mid level water column - no gravel vacing now (apart from a test to see how the sand reacted to the gravel vac). But when it's cycled, I know not to gravel vac ADA AS, but I intend gravel vacing the pfs.
Just curious - why bother with the bowl of dead shrimp to begin with? The AS is already leaching plenty of ammonia, it's just going to skew the readings. Keep the plants growing and your eventual fish should be fine
Never had AS ammonia issues before in my smaller ADA tanks (prev largest is 3ft). Discus, being totally unsuitable as cycling fish, I wanted to do fishless cycle. Hobbyist in Aust can't seem to source pure ammonia, only cloudy. Apparently, the pure is an ingredient in bomb making (or so I'm told) and it's availability is restricted. The prawns seems to be how the Aussies recommend to do a fishless cycle - so that's why I added them. You think I should take them out? My ammonia levels are quite high. Last night tested at 2.0ppm

Thanks for all your input guys.

EDIT: Wiped out LFS supply of wisteria. Additional 50 stems in the tank.

How long does a new tank require the temporary fast growers?


Cheers
TW
Post InfoPosted 25-Jul-2008 06:26Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
FRANK
 
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Hi Robyn,
In reading the posts since my last entry, I'm concerned
with the impression that one can "dial up or down,"
the flow to kill specific "critters" and not kill
others. This is "sort of true" and could lead to
some errors.

In the Drsfostersmith website, there are a series of
well written articles about UV systems. This is one
of them:

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/pic/article.cfm?dept_id=0&siteid=6&acatid=418&aid=435

If you choose too small a pump, while you kill every
living thing that passes through it, you also run the
risk of ruining the system. It depends upon the flow of
water past the bulb to keep it within normal operating
temperatures. These Quartz bulbs run quite hot. Burn
your skin hot!. Do not go below the lowest flow rate
that is specified on your system. If you choose too
high a flow rate then the UV light will barely
affect anything living flowing through the system.
Most will choose the lower of the two rates listed
(Kills bacteria, algae spores, etc.) and will also
kill parasites. Not many who use a UV system choose
the higher flow rate and are concerned only with
parasites ignoring the bacteria and algae.
As was also mentioned you don't want to run it while
cycling the tank, or while medicating the tank.

Also, if you handle the bulb or the quartz sleeve the
bulb fits into, with your bare hands you transfer
body oils to the surfaces. This oil concentrates the
heat and light and the glass will soften and actually
partially melt. This distorts the physical shape of
the bulb, and can make it impossible to remove
the bulb w/o breaking the assembly when it comes time
to replace it. You see this in the old style slide
and movie projectors.

Just some thoughts.

-->>> The Confidence of Amateurs, is the Envy of Professionals <<<--
Post InfoPosted 25-Jul-2008 16:17Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
LITTLE_FISH
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Robyn,

... but on this one, we will have to be good friends & disagree

Sure, no problem, but don't come back crying when you find out that you don't like the color anymore

... but gently move a chopstick in the sand to mix it around

I used to do the "chopstick" method (although I used my tweezers for it) for a while in the 29G, and so did a few others in my local club. But independent from each other we all started to just let the sand sit and to leave it alone. I think the anerobic bubbles issue is more common in deeper layers of sand, if it is not a myth in the first place.

I will float some - others will weigh down in terracotta pots, unless you strongly recommend otherwise

You will know better than me if that works for you, especially with the addition of the new other 50 stems of Wisteria (good job on plundering the LFS). I could imagine that this would create quite some shading and as such hinder the healthy growth of the low and light desiring plants at the bottom of the tank. One way to avoid the issue with having to pull the plants out from the AquaSoil is to not root them but to weigh then down with plant weights. My fast growers were placed in the tank like that, but eventually they rooted anyway (and I can tell you Rotala r. can develop quite some large roots in AquaSoil). Nevertheless, pulling them out made some mess, but overall I sure don't regret it.

The 165L (where they live) is sitting in the middle of the rumpus room floor, with power cords that don't allow me to shut a cupboard & which I trip on every now & again.

The fish don't mind the cords and stuff . One month should be good enough to add the first fish, but time will tell when the tank is settled.

... but unsure if you're saying I should (or shouldn't) turn UV on. If it won't slow the cycle down, it would be good for it to be dealing with any algae issues that might crop up.

My personal opinion would be to turn it on. You will not cycle like a plantless tank anyway, but you know this already anyway (as it is not your first planted tank). Just keep your water changes up.

Never had AS ammonia issues before in my smaller ADA tanks

Might have to do with the fact that these tanks always had a large plant mass from the get-go. But it is most common to see ammonia in newly set up AquaSoil tanks, that's why you do the 2x per week 50% water changes in the first few weeks. As a matter of fact, 50% is recommended for every other day in the first two weeks.

How long does a new tank require the temporary fast growers?

I would suggest to watch the tank and when all looks stable for at least two weeks then start to remove them in stages, some each week. Remember, you have time to make this tank look beautiful, no need to rush.

Hope this helps, and as usual, all is IMHO,

Ingo


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Post InfoPosted 25-Jul-2008 17:58Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
NowherMan6
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If it won't slow the cycle down, it would be good for it to be dealing with any algae issues that might crop up.


I'm still not sure how it would slow the cycle down, especially since, as LF said, you're probably not going to get a traditional cycle while you're stuffed with plants.

As for algae control, keep in mind it will control green water but that's really about it. You can still get BBA, hair algae, diatoms, staghorn - the whole gamut really.

Very old picture, but this was the result of a UV filter and sub-par tank husbandry.



Just wanted to make that distinction in case there was any question - UV filters will not prevent most kinds of algae

Do you mean while it's cycling. I'm only taking out water from the mid level water column - no gravel vacing now (apart from a test to see how the sand reacted to the gravel vac). But when it's cycled, I know not to gravel vac ADA AS, but I intend gravel vacing the pfs.


I just meant in general, especially once the tank settles. Stirring up organic stuff from the substrate is a good way to foul the water. Especially with the peat and other nutrient content of AS, it's a good way to get algae outbreaks and possibly cause stress to your fish. That's all I meant.


Back in the saddle!
Post InfoPosted 25-Jul-2008 21:49Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
TW
 
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Thanks for the replies, Frank, Ingo & NowerwhereMan6

Thanks for the Link Frank. Very helpful. Also, I was careful to match recommended flow rate for max parasite /algae kill on the UV with my filter.

Ingo - these pics are for you, if you pop back

Before Temporary Fast Growers


After Temporary Fast Growers


Sort of ruins the look ...... BUT, I know it's for the best Planted all the wisteria in pots (except I have one floater), so I don't have to deal with the little pumice stones (AS Power Sand) that pops to the surface whenever I pull up a plant.

The shot also shows the old 43G on a removalist type trolley. It's been like this since May, with power cords hanging around, preventing the cupboard behind it shutting
The fish don't mind the cords and stuff . One month should be good enough to add the first fish, but time will tell when the tank is settled.

But hubby does mind. Plus the fish weren't too happy when I tripped over the power cord the night & unknowingly pulled out the filter & heater plugs. 24 hours later I noticed - and that was reported as being our coldest day so far this year I've tucked the cords underneath it more now, so I don't do this again.
Just keep your water changes up.
Been doing around 30% daily. Tomorrow will be 1 week since water. I will drop them to every 2nd day, until day 10 & then will see how I go without water changes until it's cycled. Or, should I keep up weekly changes till then. My past practice with uncycled tanks was not to do any water changes at all till cycled, so this changing of water bus is new for me (when cycling).

Thanks for the algae pic, NowherMan6. I knew that, but thanks for checking that I did. I haven't turned it on yet, as water is not looking green. I removed the prawns, as the AS is producing enough ammonia on it's own. The water quality immediately improved (eg looks clearer & smells better, too for sure). It was developing a smell If the water starts to go green, I'll re-think.

Ammonia is now 1.0ppm.

Thanks for all your input, guys /:'

Cheers
TW
Post InfoPosted 27-Jul-2008 11:52Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
TW
 
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Frank, for some reason the pictures in your link don't work, but I think the 25W Aquastep that site sells for $135.00 is the same one as I have. The reason I'm unsure is they don't mention the brand (Pentair) and the largish price difference. Anyway, this is the one I have http://www.aquariumsuppliesaustralia.com.au/store/cart.php?m=product_detail&p=2186 although the bottom part of the link gives the specs for the 15W & not the 25W.

Cheers, Robyn

Cheers
TW
Post InfoPosted 28-Jul-2008 00:36Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
FRANK
 
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Hi Robyn,
Hummm... That's odd, when I clicked on the brand names
of the UV systems in the first chart, all but one worked
and gave me pictures of each unit. The one gave me an
"I'm sorry" picture with a dog looking sad.

Your's looks great. I noticed the different wattages
available. I don't know if they sell a unit that you can
change bulbs in and perhaps change taps on the transformer,
or if they sell three different models in that brand.

I gotta admit, I sure wish I had someplace to put at tank
like that one! And, I do agree 24 inches would be better
than 18.. but gosh!!! So many possibilities with
aquascaping!

Frank


-->>> The Confidence of Amateurs, is the Envy of Professionals <<<--
Post InfoPosted 28-Jul-2008 01:09Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
TW
 
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Hi Frank
Hummm... That's odd, when I clicked on the brand names of the UV systems in the first chart, all but one worked and gave me pictures of each unit. The one gave me an "I'm sorry" picture with a dog looking sad.
I'll try on the home PC to see if that shows the picture. All I get here are is an X, to click to show the picture - but clicking it doesn't work.
Your's looks great. I noticed the different wattages available. I don't know if they sell a unit that you can change bulbs in and perhaps change taps on the transformer, or if they sell three different models in that brand.
They sell 3 different sizes in the brand. I bought the biggest 25W).
I gotta admit, I sure wish I had someplace to put at tank like that one! And, I do agree 24 inches would be better than 18.. but gosh!!! So many possibilities with
aquascaping!
Do you mean 18" wide. It's 19" wide, but still would be so much better if it was 24" wide. I had the darn cupboard before I got into tanks, so I am stuck. In case you meant the height, it's 20" high, as hubby insisted it matched the height of the African tank, which it is near. Again, I would have liked 24" high.

Cheers, Robyn.

Cheers
TW
Post InfoPosted 28-Jul-2008 06:11Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
FRANK
 
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Hi,
Yup, I meant the width. 2 feet would have been
"nicer" but heck, it's great!
Frank


-->>> The Confidence of Amateurs, is the Envy of Professionals <<<--
Post InfoPosted 28-Jul-2008 08:16Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
TW
 
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Frank, the pics in the link worked at home. This is the one I have, the 25W model http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=13954 I wish our 2 countries shared the same power voltage (Aus = 240W, US = 110W). Otherwise, I would buy all my tank electrical appliances from US on line & have them shipped. The price difference is in the $100's & I bought 2 of them

Cheers
TW
Post InfoPosted 29-Jul-2008 05:55Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
FRANK
 
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Hi Robyn,
For some reason it never occured to me that you all
used 240V as a household standard vs the 110VAC that
we use here in the States.
I knew Europe was different but not Ya'll.
I wonder, is your AC Voltage at 60 Hz as is
ours? Perhaps the expense of a converter might make
it more profitable to purchase the less expensive
stuff from the States?

Frank


-->>> The Confidence of Amateurs, is the Envy of Professionals <<<--
Post InfoPosted 29-Jul-2008 11:08Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
catdancer
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Frank,

you won't believe it but the Aussies have a lot in common with Europe. They use the metric system instead of puzzing around with 3/8 of an obscure inch versus what-not and they calculate distance in kilometers versus miles

Buying from Europe is probably not an option due to the exchange rate of the Euro and shipment charges ...
Post InfoPosted 30-Jul-2008 00:36Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
TW
 
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We spell the British way as well, which is why sometimes you might think I can't spell (sometimes you'd be right, too), but a lot of the time it will be because we spell the English way & USA have changed the spelling of some English words.

Buying from Europe is probably not an option due to the exchange rate of the Euro and shipment charges ...
Buying from US certainly is an option. As at today, the Australian Dollar = 0.952925 US Dollar. I recently bought a Timex GPS Navman (for running - not for street directions) on-line from www.prosportwatches.com Shipping was only about $29 to Aus from memory. Again, I saved $100's. The biggest hassle was that Timex wouldn't allow prosport to sell to an end user outside of the US, so we had to scrounge around to find someone in the US to have the item posted to, who then posted it to us. Other products from that site can be sent direct (eg I nearly bought the garmin instead & they can post that direct). I don't think the site you gave me, Frank, ships to Aus (not positive, though) but I have another US aquarium site that will. I can get converters you mention, but it's just one more thing to have to plug in & I don't really want that. Just wish we had the same voltage or that someone would stop over charging us here. I'll get off my soap box now


Claudia, did you get my 2 pm's. I'm still not sure if one of them went through to you. You didn't say anything about my new tank pictures. Did you see them?

Cheers, Robyn.

Cheers
TW
Post InfoPosted 30-Jul-2008 01:23Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
TW
 
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EditedEdited by TW
Hey Claudia, here's an example of the savings on my UV purchase, if I had bought on line from US.

I paid AU$858 for 2 x Pentair Aquastep 25W UV's

Link provided to me by Frank has them selling for US$135.

Converted at today's exchange rate, I would pay $AU282 for 2 of the US products (plus postage), instead of AU$858. A massive saving.

Cheers
TW
Post InfoPosted 30-Jul-2008 01:29Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
catdancer
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EditedEdited by catdancer
We spell the British way as well, which is why sometimes you might think I can't spell


Don't worry, I learned British English in school and I prefer the metric system not only because I am still a European by heart but because I am a scientist (science uses the metric system).

I did get the PM THANK YOU and I owe you detailed responses to be delivered ASAP!!

I am aghast about the prices you have to pay in AUS and I think I already commented on the difficulties to receive plants from abroad (although this is also very difficult here in the US!)

Claudia
Post InfoPosted 30-Jul-2008 05:12Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Countryfish
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Hi Robyn ... Tank looks fantastic .... Like Ingo I would suggest that you plan to make room for some fast growers to be a permanant part of your scape . I always found Giant Hygro does the job in a back corner for me . Unlike Ingo .. I love the white sand look ...hope it stays white for you over time .


Garry
Post InfoPosted 02-Sep-2008 14:59Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
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First off, I'd like to say that the tank (aside from the temp fast growers) is looking great so far! And I agree with you that the new pool filter sand looks better (though less natural) than what your originally had in there. I do think that you need a little more 'big' hardscape... maybe a few large rocks... possibly one propped up/laying across/over one of the rock ridges?

About the hydrogen sulfide... no, it is NOT a myth. It's a very real problem in sand. I've had it in two of my tanks before. I had a 10 gallon tank with an RUGF filter that I built specifically to stir the sand... there were a few dead spots, and when I was digging in the sand about a year later, I ran into a few pockets, and it was nasty! I also had it in my 29 gal planted tank (which had pea gravel and MTS... no sand). I couldn't clean the areas that were too densely planted, and the MTS didn't go in the plant roots... I had a lot of pockets when I tore down that tank... bleh. Anyway, be careful about hydrogen sulfide... it's nasty. I'd put some MTS in the tank to keep the sand stirred (even if it's shallow sand), and be sure to manually stir it around every now and then.

You say you're planning on adding fish every few days... I don't see why you even need to go that fast at all. You've got a lot of time, money, and hard work put into this tank... why risk it by adding fish too fast? I vote a good 2-3 months to let the tank not only cycle, but to let the plants establish root systems and to let micro-organisms (paramecia, random protists, infusoria, etc... just not algae and diatoms) establish themselves. It may not be entirely necessary, but it definitely wouldn't hurt to do it. It'd also be a chance to let your fish QT for longer.

Btw, Australia does have the same 240v 50Hz power standard as Europe.

And I need to quit babbling...

Anyway, the tank looks good so far... have fun with it, and keep us updated
Post InfoPosted 04-Sep-2008 14:37Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
TW
 
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EditedEdited by tw
Hi Garry

Thanks for popping in. The only permanent fast grower is the Willow Hygro. For the time being, still many pots of wisteria in there. I have begun the task of gradually removal.

Hi Poisonwaffle

Thanks for the tank compliment. I don't think I have room for additional big pieces of hardscape. I've several large pieces of wood in there & by the time you work around them, deduct sand space - I don't have much room for plants. Mightn't seem so in the pics - but in reality, when looking for planting space, already there is not so much. Any place from where a piece of wood ends to the tank walls, another piece of wood, rock or sand is not very much space at all. I appreciate the advice though.

Re: sand & anaerobic issues. I've asked about this on several forums. Here's a summary of the end result of my queries:-

1. pool filter sand has larger grains than sand usually used in tanks. Because of the larger grain size, it doesn't compact.
2. pool filter sand is made to stay moving, ie not compact, otherwise it would not filter. Sand that clumps would do so, even in the current of a pumped water column
3. To prevent sand compacting,when you vacuum/clean the substrate use something like a chopstick or BBQ stick to turn the sand, so dead spots & pockets do not develop in the first place. Use gravel vac to dig down in non planted areas to turn the sand. Plants roots will aerate the areas they are in.

I've received enough advice from long term users of pool filter sand in discus tanks, that I feel safe. I always stir up the sand when I vac. Means removing pots each time, but as these are being gradually removed, it will get easier with each pot removed. Even if plant roots don't aerate sand, I don't have plants in the sand, so I'm able to stir up all areas of sand with each water change. Water change is twice a week, so it's stirred fairly often. I'm very grateful to everyone who brought up the issue here though, as I wasn't aware of it previously. I have some well loved discus, which I would not want to loose to hydrogen sulphide poisoning.

You say you're planning on adding fish every few days... I don't see why you even need to go that fast at all
A big motivation was the trolley with the old tank & grumpy hubby who was sick of it. Because I had planned for this tank so long in advance, one of it's 2 filters was running on another tank since Sept 07. The 2nd filter was running on another tank for several months. The tank was set up as a terrarium for 2 months, which according to Tom Barr = a fully cycled tank on 1st fill-up. I researched and planned for so long, that I was fairly sure it was safe. Still, I didn't just rush in & do it. Water tests were done, yet more advice asked & 1st residents observed carefully. By now, all are in the tank, very happy and my rumpus room no longer has a "trolley tank". Rest assured, I wouldn't have gone ahead with stocking, had my discus shown signs of distress - grumpy hubby or not LOL. The fish didn't need to QT. They are already my long owned & loved pets, many eat out of my hand. I do have 3 new wild discus in QT though.

The only fish I wish I hadn't added are my sterbai corries. HC root system wasn't sufficiently established. They promptly dug it all up. Given up on HC now, as if I replant it, they just dig it out again. Grrrr. Currently deciding an alternative foreground plant.
Btw, Australia does have the same 240v 50Hz power standard as Europe
. Yes, as does most of Asia. USA seems to mostly be the odd man out. It was USA prices I was comparing to. At that time, exchange rate between AU$ & US$ was favourable for me.
And I need to quit babbling...
Not all. Pls keep up the babbling

Sorry, this post ended up longer than thought.


Cheers
TW
Post InfoPosted 05-Sep-2008 02:18Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
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Gotcha, gotcha, gotcha, and gotcha...

I suppose I should look at post dates before I reply to them... I hadn't realized that it'd been two months since your last reply to this thread o.O

So, how is the tank going? Any new pics?
Post InfoPosted 05-Sep-2008 09:04Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
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I suppose I should look at post dates before I reply to them...
I usually don't think to look at them either. Having plant issues in this tank I haven't struck before. Annubia's leaves melting & dying - very strange.

On the right side I have Apongeton crispus green & Apongeton crispus red. They have grown heaps, their long leaves bend across the top of the tank reach the front wall. Downside is this has left what lines the back wall as all stem. They are starting to melt & die off, I think because one row of my lights isn't working properly. Flickers, but won't turn on. Need to investigate solution.

As well as HC now being out, I am moving away from having riccia. It was one thing to do the work of maintaining a few rocks of riccia in a small tank, but this is too much. May try moss on the rocks instead.

As the "pots of wisteria" ruin the look, I've been reluctant to take new pictures.

Any suggestions for small foreground plants, that won't become dirt traps would be greatly appreciated.

cheers, Robyn

Cheers
TW
Post InfoPosted 07-Sep-2008 06:45Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
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I think because one row of my lights isn't working properly. Flickers, but won't turn on. Need to investigate solution.
It sounds like your ballast has seen better days. You are using power compact lights correct? If so I would recommend getting your hands on a work horse ballast. They have some really nice wiring diagrams and their staff is quite helpful. I got mine from here.

Here is the website to the maker of the ballast.

Any suggestions for small foreground plants, that won't become dirt traps would be greatly appreciated.
I am not sure there is one that doesn't trap dirt. Maybe a sand foreground
. My problem is I don't want to suck up any baby shrimp in from the foreground plants.

55G Planted tank thread
19G Container Pond
[IMG]http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y118/Wingsdlc/Ric
Post InfoPosted 07-Sep-2008 14:56Profile AIM PM Edit Delete Report 
TW
 
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EditedEdited by tw
Thanks for the ballast tips, wings. Tank manufacturer says it's a tube problem, not a ballast problem. Might be right, as same thing was happening in the 4ft & I fiddled with the tubes a few times & no more flickering.

The 7ft lamp is hard for me to turn upside down to get to the tubes, so waiting till hubby can help. Hopefully that will do the trick.

I don't dare add shrimps - I'm sure they'd be discus dinner all too soon.

The right hand side of tank doesn't have so many "wisteria pots", so I thought I'd post an update. No point showing the left - wisteria pots block the view. You can see I've given up on the hc. I'm trying some pogostemon helferi. I only have 3 small plants - can't get more. Can't find it anywhere in LFS, or on-line. Bought this from a hobbyist. Hope my corries give it time to take proper root.

The rocks have what is meant to be Christmas moss (added 3-4 days ago). Not so sure it is Christmas moss. Bought a more expensive batch of it on ebay the other day & it is much lighter & many more of stem have the Christmas tree shape. I am thinking this 1st lot might be mainly java with some Christmas moss mixed in. A bit disappointing.

When I get around to it, will take close up pics of two batches of Christmas moss & see if anyone here can confirm.

Right side Day 1


Right side Tonight (pls pretend the wisteria pots aren't there)


Pogostemon helferi



Some of my Fav Occupants

Wild Royal Blue


Wild Heckels




A 2nd Wild Royal Blue (in QT)


Wild Browns(in QT)


Planing on making the 7ft tank either all "wilds" or all "domestics". Means my poor Africans will need to find another home (I feel like such a bad mum) & their 4ft will become home to whichever discus I decide NOT to keep in the 7ft.

I've heard that wilds aren't so popular in the US, but I am really taken with them.

Enough waffle, cheers, Robyn


Cheers
TW
Post InfoPosted 11-Sep-2008 13:57Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
mattyboombatty
 
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I really like your driftwood. Nice and branchy.

The discus are very nice. I think the reason for choosing the domestic over wild strains is that the domestic ones are cheaper and that they are supposed to be more sturdy. Just from what I've heard anyhow. I'm not a discus keeper.



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Post InfoPosted 11-Sep-2008 16:34Profile Homepage PM Edit Delete Report 
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Things are looking pretty good there! I think I like the moss rocks better than the riccia rocks. It think that is a little more of a popular thing to do these days. What happened to all the anubias on the driftwood?

I've heard that wilds aren't so popular in the US, but I am really taken with them.
Wilds I think are the way to go. They don't tend to take away from the rest of the tank as many of the other color variations do.

55G Planted tank thread
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[IMG]http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y118/Wingsdlc/Ric
Post InfoPosted 12-Sep-2008 00:43Profile AIM PM Edit Delete Report 
TW
 
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EditedEdited by tw
Sorry, such short little Q's, yet another monster reply. I am a champion waffler.

Hey Matty. Glad you found my thread. Thanks for the driftwood compliment.
The discus are very nice. I think the reason for choosing the domestic over wild strains is that the domestic ones are cheaper and that they are supposed to be more sturdy.
Comment about Wilds not being popular in the US (most likely biased) is from a book written by an Asian Discus breeder. His preference is with domestics (given he breeds them). He was discussing discus competitions worldwide, saying wilds were very popular in Europe, but not in the US, where domestics are considered more desirable. Aust didn't even get a mention.

Certainly wilds are more expensive, cost effected by lack of availability. The few of us on my discus forum who have wilds begin to believe their reputation for being less sturdy is untrue. Immune system seems stronger than domestics, which are hybrids inbred to achieve desired colours/pattern. Consensus is wilds are best kept separate from domestics (thus my plan of splitting them between 2 tanks).
I like the moss rocks better than the riccia rocks. It think that is a little more of a popular thing to do these days.
Thanks wings, I'm glad it's not only more popular, as well as easier for a lazy hobbyist to maintain.
What happened to all the anubias on the driftwood?
Originally the anubia were really well attached to some ugly rock/cave structures and were in another terrarium tank for months on end, waiting for the 7ft to be ready. I gently teased the roots away from rock/cave structure and tied them to driftwood in the 7ft (also in terrarium mode). Within a short time, all anubia started to die. I removed them and put them in a tank with water to recover. They continued to die. Some completely and some have recovered enough to return to the tank, but in a much smaller version. I lost a lot of really nice anubia. I will need to get some more when funds allow.

Can only assume their removal from the rock/cave was too much for them. If not that, I have no idea. I've never had anubia die on me before.
Wilds I think are the way to go. They don't tend to take away from the rest of the tank as many of the other color variations do.
Thanks Wings. If I could do it all over again (providing I could find them) I would only have wilds.

My dilemma is which tank for wilds & which for domestics. I much prefer my wilds & would like to give them the increased space in the 7ft. That's probably where they'll end up - but the scape here isn't really a natural looking one. It's more a man made look than I would choose on purpose for wilds. Trouble is, this tank took so long in the planning, that by the time I pulled everything together, my focus had changed.

Anyway, I will soon have a much simpler 4ft planted tank to share with you, in the near future. Probably with the domestics.

Enough Waffle, Robyn


Cheers
TW
Post InfoPosted 12-Sep-2008 11:17Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
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Time for an update.

I regret now that this tank isn't full sand. Amazed at how different the discus look when over the sand, as to how they look when over the planted area. Will keep thinking about it for a bit longer, but may eventually pull everything up, or maybe lower the soil section & add a top layer of sand. Anyway, pictures follow:-

Right Side


Left side Should have tidied the little soil overspill onto sand - lazy !!!


middle


full - hmmm. must trim the willow hygro


I'm still working on the moss rock border. Work in progress

Cheers
TW
Post InfoPosted 19-Oct-2008 11:42Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
TW
 
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a better full shot, I think


Cheers
TW
Post InfoPosted 19-Oct-2008 12:59Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
mattyboombatty
 
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Looks really good robyn. That is one loooong tank. Makes the discus look almost small.



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Post InfoPosted 20-Oct-2008 05:09Profile Homepage PM Edit Delete Report 
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Hi Robyn:

The tank looks great and the length of it makes thhe discus look small. How big are they by now? Of course, I have several other questions: I admire the thicket of green you refer to as the 'willow hygro'. Is this plant hygrophila angustifolia? You have the longest strip of light I have seen in one piece. How long is it and who makes it? Can't wait for another update.

Claudia
Post InfoPosted 20-Oct-2008 13:45Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
TW
 
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Thanks for popping in Matty & Claudia
the thicket of green you refer to as the 'willow hygro'. Is this plant hygrophila angustifolia?
that's the one
You have the longest strip of light I have seen in one piece. How long is it and who makes it?
That's a whole other story. My tank is a non standard size (19" wide & 7' long) so it was custom made. Before I committed to the tank being made, I checked with my lighting retailer to make sure I could actually get a 7ft light, as I had never seen one. I didn't want a hood, or suspended lights. My email subject heading said "7ft Light Quote". All my text therein refered to "7ft Light". He gives me a quote by reply email, so I naturally think this means the light I want is available.

So I pay up front for the tank to be made & it is.

Next thing, I go back to the light retailer to order & find we've had a misunderstanding. He's a good guy, but this time things went wrong for me. He says:-

"no such thing as a 7ft light"
"can't do it"
"can't get it"
"no-one makes it"
"sorry, mistake"
"cancel your tank"

which I can't 'cause it's custom made. I fretted & stressed over this. I knew the actual light manufacturer was in QLD (state where Garry lives), so I begged retailer for manufacturers contact details. I put my case to the manufacturer, who told me he doesn't make 7ft lights, because 6ft is longest strip of light he believes is stable & won't bow out of shape. He kindly (& reluctantly) agreed to make a one-off for me, as he knew I was in a bad situation. No guarantee from him it won't bow, but I have a piece of perspex in the middle (where there are no tubes) & this should ensure it won't bow.

The tubes are another issue. Whilst he could stretch the frame, he couldn't stretch the tubes. There are 4 x 96W 3ft tubes, with a 1ft gap in the middle where there are no tubes. You can't really tell, as the reflector spreads the light. So all's well that ends well. I guess it was a lucky mistake, 'cause if I'd had the right answer in the 1st place (that there is no 7ft light) I would only have ordered a 6ft tank. Because of the mistake, I have my 7ft tank & 7ft light, so I'm happy.

Anyway, enough waffle

Cheers
TW
Post InfoPosted 21-Oct-2008 06:37Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
TW
 
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It's been a while, so thought it was time to show how the tank is looking today


Cheers
TW
Post InfoPosted 21-Dec-2008 14:16Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
FRANK
 
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Hi Robyn,
It is indeed a beautiful looking tank!
I remember when you were looking for the light assembly
and I guess I just did not put 2 and 2 together. I figured
that the 7 ft tank was a standard down there, and thus that
the hoods would be available. It's great that there is a
manufacturer there would would special build one for you.

Frank


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Post InfoPosted 21-Dec-2008 17:53Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
mattyboombatty
 
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Wow, that looks great! The only thing I could think of is to make that piece of DW on in the center of the left island a bit more visible. Any chance on some closeups?



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Post InfoPosted 22-Dec-2008 05:31Profile Homepage PM Edit Delete Report 
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wow your discus are stunning... I only hope the two I have can one day be in a tank as stunning... in the making is a similar tank and in the mind is the purchase or many more discus... as for the wild/domestic dilemma: i think it depends on the actual specimen. The guy I bought my two domestics from had bought nearly 20 discus over the 10 month span of his tanks life. He only had 4 survive... my two little guys and two larger ones. He told me that He had bought them form 7 different sources... some were wilds, some were domestics. some were actually imported others were bred a few blocks away... the only ones he had survive were the ones bred closely. they were already used to his water and were comfortable with the move. It definitely depends on the breeder/handler/keeper that sells them prior and the acclimation and tank maintenance process. so many people are afraid of discus because of their delicate and supposed weak nature... I think that they do not know properly how to care for the neons or bettas they have and cannot do perfect care for any fish. I know I am no perfectionist that spends hours a day working on a tank, but I do know that even an adequate and young/relatively un-knowledgeable fish keeper could bring 2 discus along with about 7 other small fish in a 5gallon bucket from 50 miles away on a bumpy highway (get lost along the way back) and acclimate his fish well... I did it with no real prior discus knowledge (but I did know some things about delicate fish and acclimation. Any of you newbies that are coveting TW's tank should know that if you hang around here long enough and you listen well you can one day accomplish such a treasure as seen.... AND IF YOU WANT TO YOU MIGHT WANNA START A LITTLE HUSH FUND FOR IT NOW

TW your tank is a great example of a slow and steady process to set up a large and beautiful tank that can be stable for even the very "delicate" discus... you certainly have put your heart, soul, and life savings into the tank good job... I cant imagine it needing much more improvement!

-Brandon

\\\\\\\"an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure\\\\\\\"
Post InfoPosted 27-Dec-2008 19:30Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
TW
 
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Thanks Matty. Will try to get around to taking close ups soon.

brandeeno, you make be blush Thanks for such nice comments. Re: the wild/domestic issue. I've only had 1 wild die on me. It was never well from the moment I brought him home. I don't think he ever ate even 1 bite. Metro didn't save him - but I don't think my dosing was high or frequent enough, so that may have contributed.

I have not found discus so very hard to maintain. Look after the water & the discus seem to look after themselves. But you do really need to look after the water. Good luck with yours, as well as with the tank you are building.

Cheers
TW
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Sorry I am so late on this....

The tank is looking quite nice. I rather enjoy the anubias mound on the right side of the tank. There is just something about that plant in thick groupings I enjoy greatly.

I am really looking forward to seeing some closeup shots too.

55G Planted tank thread
19G Container Pond
[IMG]http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y118/Wingsdlc/Ric
Post InfoPosted 02-Jan-2009 00:41Profile AIM PM Edit Delete Report 
TW
 
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time for a few new pics, though not much has changed. Sorry, they're blurry Eventually, this will just be for the domestics. I still have some wild browns & blue in this tank, but they'll be moving out soon to the 4ft.

Full Frontal


Though there's plenty of room for the discus to swim behind the rear plants & driftwood, they're always out & about where I can see them.

It's been a while since my last post, but not a lot has changed. I prefer to keep things stable & not disturb the discus too much, so I don't tend to re-scape very much. I thinned out my Cyperus helferi, as it was blocking out most of the wood on the left hand side. I trimmed the top of the c.helferi (love this plant, as you don't need to pull it out & cut from the bottom. Just trim the tops when needed). After the trimming, it was still too thick. The plant had multiplied and I have about 5 spare I'll be trying to sell, when I get around to it.

Left Side



Middle


Right Side


On the right hand side, the Blyxa japonica is far too overgrown. But I'll deal with that after I sell the Cyperus helferi.

There's also a tall growing crypt in the foreground of the right hand side. Something else I have to deal with. It must have been a hitchhiker & when I stop being lazy, I'll replant it toward the back of the tank, 'cause I know it doesn't belong in the front.

Anyway, enough for now. Hope you like it

Cheers
TW
Post InfoPosted 17-Apr-2009 15:14Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
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Hi Robyn,
Beautiful tank and really healthy looking fish as well
as the plants! It looks like all your research and
worry turned to be paying dividends.

Your stream and beach seem to be really white and clean.
For those who are considering that type of aquas-caping,
how are you keeping it that way, what do you do?

Frank


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Post InfoPosted 17-Apr-2009 16:32Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Wingsdlc
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With such a natural looking tank I would personally want to keep the wild discus in there. That is just me though...

The tank sure looks nice. I bet it would look even better if the red on my screen would come back on.... I think my monitor is on its last days...

55G Planted tank thread
19G Container Pond
[IMG]http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y118/Wingsdlc/Ric
Post InfoPosted 17-Apr-2009 17:56Profile AIM PM Edit Delete Report 
TW
 
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EditedEdited by TW
Your stream and beach seem to be really white and clean. For those who are considering that type of aquas-caping,how are you keeping it that way, what do you do?
Hi Frank, thanks for nice comments. Firstly, because this is ultimately a discus tank, things are kept simple. There are no stem plants that have to be regularly pulled out, bottom trimmed & replanted. I think this helps not disturb the planted areas too much. Also to keep things simple, the ricca rocks are gone. Too much work giving all those rocks hair cuts for a tank this size.

IMO the most important part of keeping the area separate is having a good solid retaining wall. I know that's not the amano way, but I can't see his way being practical for a long term tank. He would have you put in temporary dividing cardboard sheets. Pour the 2 diff substrates in & then cover the join with riccia rocks. Never tried it, but I just can't see how any tank with cories & other fish in there will ever keep the substrate division neat.

My retaining wall isn't as good I wanted it. If you scroll back to earlier pages, you see my concept was to silicone the main border rocks in place & then fill in the gaps with small gravel (also siliconed in place). I still think the concept was sound, but I should have done more test runs with substrate & water in (but no livestock). I still have gaps & if there were no fish in there, I could silicone more rocks in those gaps. As it is, I can only jamb in extra rocks & hold them in place with the weight of the sand. When I gravel vac, I tend to mess up the balance, the jambed rock moves & I get a few little spills. I just get my plant tongs & toss the ADA grains back where they belong, but if I could silicone the new rocks in place, problem would eventually be solved. If you look at my latest pics & you will see some border rocks that are lighter in colour. They are new jambing rocks (but the same type rocks). They will eventually get a light algae cover over them & they will blend in.

If you compare my latest shots with earlier shots, you'll also see I've lowered the both substrates a little, on either side of the border (but more so on the sand side). This also helps keep the substrates separated. My first effort was attempting to have the substrates meet the rocks on a level basos. It was too hard to stop the ADA spilling over that way. I had to accept the compromise of having the border sitting above the sand level.

My best advice is to build a good retaining wall & then give in adequest testing time without fish, so you can fix it where needed.

Water went in this tank July 07. Twice since then (one being a few weeks back) I've used a wide hose (like for washing machine waste water) & sucked all the sand out & given it a quick rinse. It really doesn't take long to do that at all. I don't wash it as thoroughly as I would if it were fresh gravel from LFS. Just a few changes of water in a bucket, then back in it went. Trying to shovel the sand out is the pits. Best way is suctioning it out.

With such a natural looking tank I would personally want to keep the wild discus in there. That is just me though...
Was torn at first, as I wanted my wild discus to have the biggest tank. But now I have enough wild browns & blues to fully stock my 4ft as well as enough wild green discus to fully stock my 3ft. According to Heiko (wild discus expert) greens & blues should be kept separate. So that was one factor. The other is that even if the7ft is natural, it's not really mimicking the wilds natural environment. I don't plan on being super strict with the bio type, but I do plan on making it at least semi bio type. This means a light sandy bottom, branchy driftwood that reaches down from the water surface and floating plants. There shouldn't really be plants in the tank, but I have cheated a little & have some n.leaf java fern & moss here and there. I'm still searching for the right floating plants. I've made a start on the brown/blue's tank. The green's are still in BB QT, so their setup will start later down the track, but similar scheme. I don't have a pic of the biotype with fish, sand & plants, but here's a sneaky peak of the day I was playing around with driftwood layout. This is more or less how my driftwood is placed, though I did flip the right side piece so the low long horizontal piece sits more at the rear.



bet it would look even better if the red on my screen would come back on....
Probably not Wings. I don't have any red plants in there, other than crypt tropica. The phantom tall crypt on the right half of the tank, it has pink backed leaves, but it didn't show up in the pics.


Cheers
TW
Post InfoPosted 18-Apr-2009 04:08Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
FRANK
 
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Hi Robyn,
I have flipped back and forth and had, indeed, forgotten
that you'd created a wall between the two. Yes, that does
make a world of difference during cleaning. Simply siphon
out the sand, wash it, and replace it. Good thinking!

I think Wings was talking about the "red" being missing
from his monitor because of what it did to the Red Discus
fish that are in the pictures.

Yes, Wings, I'd definitely replace the monitor!

Frank


-->>> The Confidence of Amateurs, is the Envy of Professionals <<<--
Post InfoPosted 19-Apr-2009 01:43Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Wingsdlc
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Fish and plants look way better when the red comes back on my monitor!!

55G Planted tank thread
19G Container Pond
[IMG]http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y118/Wingsdlc/Ric
Post InfoPosted 19-Apr-2009 23:03Profile AIM PM Edit Delete Report 
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