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"DIY" 150g Reef & bully discus in a 30g fresh


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This site has an amazing amount of data, I'm going to need a major cleanup crew to sift through it all.

Many moons ago I started with a 55g long, that was a bomb as I had no money nor understanding of anything! 10 years later I went at it again with a 30g. I was fairly successful it lasted two years. Looking back I owe my success I think to the live rock which was plentiful in the day... but I moved around back then and the tank suffered and lay in my wake...

Now I'm back, hopefully with much more patience, armed with the internet and a few years accumulated knowledge. I kept that 30g tank and have had it up and running for 2 years with discus (bunch of bullies!) candy cane tetras, neon tetras and cherry shrimp - planted of course. 

I came across a 150g on facebook and thought, why not... So i'm here for the full critique. 

In the past I built my own 5g bucket sump with diy hang-on overflow for that 30g  - that was a lot of fun ;(... I did get it working, but now I'm going to have a go with an internal overflow, and/or  maybe sit-on-top diy using gutter or something... 

I don't plan on more than a handful of critters so I don't feel like I "need" a sump. I just need to polish the water and keep it moving. Coral... I don't know, we'll see, that means par par par

NO live rock these days??? anyone know where I might pick up 10lbs or so in Seattle?

I am only as far as building the stand... Here's a short vid of it:
https://youtu.be/kCYVSYZbLdg

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Looks great! I’m an avid reefer too (300g+) but spend more time with my freshwater fish room. You’ll find most people here are mostly freshwater and planted tanks peeps though. If you scroll through Reef2reef you get lost in build threads.

But maybe I can add my two cents. Lighting in reefs is getting crazy but you can grow a lot of soft corals and mushrooms or even things like a nice Zoa garden with standard “black box” LED fixture from Amazon so don’t get overwhelmed with par. It just depends on what you want kind of corals you like.

A sump will make you life easier and give you more options with protein skimmers, heaters and biological. Most importantly it will add some water volume and make help keep things more stable (which is key to successful tank). 

You can check out how to DIY a sump with a rubber made container or pick up a cheap 20g long and cut your own baffles with acrylic. Is it necessary? No. But it will make things easier in the long run... yes. 

Real “Live” rock is gonna be tough. Maybe try just some dry rock and cycle the long way with household ammonia. Google “fishless cycle reef tank” and you’ll see what I mean. Dry rock is easier to source from a local store, hobbyist or internet retailer and best part is its free from nasty contaminants. Caribsea life rock worked out great for me.

I think your off to a great start! Be patient with the tank and be prepared to look into an empty box of water for a while. That’s totally ok. As the reef saying goes...“only bad things happen quickly”. 

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Thank you so much for that well thought out reply. Yeah, I love my planted freshwater. My daughter has a nano 10g she's been cultivating through this pandemic. A-coop has been a nice floatation device, love the store and all the employees we've met. 


It's funny you mention more water more stability, I totally and wholeheartedly agree, that's one of the reasons I went for it with the 150g instead of a 75 w/ sump.... but I know how this hobby is and ur right I should plan for a sump down the road 🙂  I watched Cory drill some of those tanks and I'm giving it some serious thought.


 I kept all the "live" rock I had from 20 years ago, I always put it in a rock garden in the backyard everywhere I moved, weird eh, I added most of it to my freshwater tank... and a month ago i put it all  in a 7 gallon bucket w/ salt - been dosing it daily with live rock enhance, caribisea purple up, and ammonium chloride to try and bring it back to life. I picked up some "live" sand yesterday and put it all in a 20g long. petco is having their sale right now. 

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On 5/23/2021 at 11:43 PM, Spicy Reef said:

This site has an amazing amount of data, I'm going to need a major cleanup crew to sift through it all.

Many moons ago I started with a 55g long, that was a bomb as I had no money nor understanding of anything! 10 years later I went at it again with a 30g. I was fairly successful it lasted two years. Looking back I owe my success I think to the live rock which was plentiful in the day... but I moved around back then and the tank suffered and lay in my wake...

Now I'm back, hopefully with much more patience, armed with the internet and a few years accumulated knowledge. I kept that 30g tank and have had it up and running for 2 years with discus (bunch of bullies!) candy cane tetras, neon tetras and cherry shrimp - planted of course. 

I came across a 150g on facebook and thought, why not... So i'm here for the full critique. 

In the past I built my own 5g bucket sump with diy hang-on overflow for that 30g  - that was a lot of fun ;(... I did get it working, but now I'm going to have a go with an internal overflow, and/or  maybe sit-on-top diy using gutter or something... 

I don't plan on more than a handful of critters so I don't feel like I "need" a sump. I just need to polish the water and keep it moving. Coral... I don't know, we'll see, that means par par par

NO live rock these days??? anyone know where I might pick up 10lbs or so in Seattle?

I am only as far as building the stand... Here's a short vid of it:
https://youtu.be/kCYVSYZbLdg

there are several options for live rock online btw I haven't tried any gulf live rock, tampa bay rock(temporarily closed while the new owners get set up), kp aquatics. I am trying a reef tank too(innovative marine nuvo 10)

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My Discus...

I have 4, and they are all bullies.

I started off with a nicely aquascaped tank, rocks and plants for hiding etc... added 4 discus all got along fine for the first few months then one of them started herding the other three behind and under a large rock. when feeding time came, I put food all over the tank. this is the recommended plan by the discus king breeder who Cory visited many moons ago. It kind of makes sense unless you have a serious bully, this guy went out of his way to herd the other 3 during feeding time. He would grab a bite then thrash the others around and keep them from eating. I thought at the time they must still be getting enough food as they would come out during feeding. 

Finally one day I removed the rocks and the smallest one was so sad looking. The big bully was twice its size, all 4 were the same size when I got them. I couldn't find anything online how to deal with this. that's why I put him in jail. When I did this, the next largest started bullying the remaining two!

Has anyone else had to deal with this? 

IMG_0357.JPG

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  • 2 weeks later...

Not giving up on the discus just yet, while i've always had a planted tank someone mentioned I should try some large amazon sword? somehow it's like putting their heads in the sand, if they float between a few blades they feel protected? anyone hear of this? 

the type B and C's hang out at the bottom in the grass mostly so maybe....

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I got LIVE ROCK, REAL live rock from gulfliverock.com - THANKS FOR THE TIP!
I purchased 20lb, put any rock that had stuff growing on it (sponges, halimeda!, gracilaria) in one of my 20g longs pictured above, along with "dead live rock" so let's start the clock and see how long it takes the dead stuff to show any signs of coraline etc...
I put the rest of the real live rock "cooking" in a bucket
Here's a pic

IMG_0636.JPG

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32 minutes ago, quirkylemon103 said:

do you mind me asking why you are running 2 build threads for the same tank on different forums? 

Calling me out eh 😉

I don't think everyone here is over there and visa versa, also, am on a couple others. I would be missing some advice I just shared here about discus otherwise. 

I hope it's ok?

How's the nuvo 10 coming along?

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, Spicy Reef said:

Calling me out eh 😉

I don't think everyone here is over there and visa versa, also, am on a couple others. I would be missing some advice I just shared here about discus otherwise. 

I hope it's ok?

How's the nuvo 10 coming along?

the nuvo 10 is going good I have a aquascape and I added water now I am slowly adding salt 

here is the build thread -> https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/the-worst-nano-you-will-ever-see.835923/

Edited by quirkylemon103
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1 hour ago, quirkylemon103 said:

the nuvo 10 is going good I have a aquascape and I added water now I am slowly adding salt 

here is the build thread -> https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/the-worst-nano-you-will-ever-see.835923/

Nice!

But seriously, is there something just a little off with me having two threads on two different forums? I'm not new to the internet but I can't say I know everything about it 🙂  

Thanks - Patrick

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Posted (edited)
28 minutes ago, Spicy Reef said:

 

But seriously, is there something just a little off with me having two threads on two different forums? I'm not new to the internet but I can't say I know everything about it 🙂  

Thanks - Patrick

Its not at all off! Is this forum your sharing on too reef to reef? Plantedtank forum? The majority of people here are freshwater nerms, so I doubt most would be on reef2reef. 

I love seeing your tanks coming together! and some very pretty discus you have, if only they would get along with eachother😍.

Keep sharing, we love seeing your progress!

Edited by James Black
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Posted (edited)

Ok, even bully discus have to eat 🙂

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PkUNcnrLTPo

Anyone have a planted tank full of tall amazon sward or similar planted aquarium to test this out. Either donate, lend or sell plants... or want to have a go at hosting 4 discus and report back? Have to be willing to let me film the transfer... Cory?

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...
On 7/10/2021 at 2:53 PM, Colu said:

Your discus could pairing up that is why your seeing the bullying have you not any breeding behaviour

Thanks for the feedback, you're the first 🙂

I wish that was the case, and I'm no expert... the big one keeps #2 in a corner 24/7 except for feeding time (he's too busy eating and I put plenty in there so #2 get some). I'll have to research more on breeding behavior to be sure though. I added more plants, it's only helped a tiny bit. #2 still has to cram in the corner in an awkward tilted position. I'm about ready to give up. Might have to turn one of my nano20long into a sump situation and put him in there. The smaller two #3 and 4 still duke it out a bit but they are very equal in size now, maybe that's the key... keep them separate until they grow up?

 

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On 7/23/2021 at 9:31 AM, Spicy Reef said:

Thanks for the feedback, you're the first 🙂

I wish that was the case, and I'm no expert... the big one keeps #2 in a corner 24/7 except for feeding time (he's too busy eating and I put plenty in there so #2 get some). I'll have to research more on breeding behavior to be sure though. I added more plants, it's only helped a tiny bit. #2 still has to cram in the corner in an awkward tilted position. I'm about ready to give up. Might have to turn one of my nano20long into a sump situation and put him in there. The smaller two #3 and 4 still duke it out a bit but they are very equal in size now, maybe that's the key... keep them separate until they grow up?

 

Discus are extremely political and have a pecking order just like chickens. There is usually a dominant fish who enforces its dominance by bullying. Once you removed the first bully, it gave room for the second fish to become the bully. This is totally natural and there is no way to stop this other than to keep a large school of discus so that any bullying effects are very diffuse. It two pair up they do not try and enforce dominance over the other but instead mate and raise babies.

At about 12 the discus will school nicely and bullying is not a problem.

835191584_bigtank.jpg.7fb633168d09d9742ca21754984d2f0d.jpg

After they pair up, they will set up territories and tend to just guard the boundary areas.

 

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