Seattle_Aquarist Posted April 6, 2022 Share Posted April 6, 2022 (edited) Hi All, A CARE member (@Fish Folk) asked about my discus tank that I mentioned in another thread and rather fill up that thread with non-related information I chose to start a new thread. I've had aquariums and freshwater tropical fish for over 50 years. Over that period of time I've had as many as 14 tanks and as little as one. I took about a 10 year sabbatical from the hobby when career and life got busy and keeping a tank became more of a chore than a happy activity. Then in 2008 I came across an article about planted tanks and how they had progressed in the decade of my absence. My tanks had always had plants but more of an afterthought than part of the focus of a tank. I learned that Seattle had a local aquarium club, Greater Seattle Aquarium Society (gsas.org) and one of the individuals I had been reading about was a member of the club so I decided to check it out. There weren't a lot of club members that were into planted tanks when I joined but that has changed substantially over the last 14 years including the club hosting the Aquatic Gardener's Association (https://www.aquatic-gardeners.org/) 2019 International Convention. I've always tried learn the "Why" about the science of planted tanks so do a lot of reading and experimenting. About 3 years ago Cory took a trip to the Amazon and one of the club members asked me to take care of his 50+ tank fishroom for the 10 days they were gone. When he returned he brought with him some wild Red Spot Green Discus (Symphysodon aequifasciatus) from Rio Nanay in Peru. He asked how he could repay me and I said if he ever got those wild discus to breed I would love to be able to purchase some fry. I had never kept discus basically because I had heard they are very fragile, required a lot of care, and they were expensive. I always like the coloring of the wild discus, not to say the various color variants aren't nice but I felt it was hard to compete with mother nature. Well in the winter of 2017-18 those wild discus bred and seven months later the club member asked if I would like some of the fry. So in July of 2018 I went about setting up my first discus tank a 30 gallon (36" X 12.5" X 16.5"H) for the F1 Symphysodon aequifasciatus fry. The tank had a Fluval 2.0 LED lamp and a Marineland C220 canister filter. I changed the substrate to HTH Pool Filter Sand (inert, no shells, uniform silicone dioxide grains). I set the heater in the tank for 86 degrees F. and started letting the tank cycle. I had added a little mulm from the filter of an existing tank to the filter media of the C220 to jump start the nitrogen cycle process. Now most discus are kept in bare-bottom tanks to maintain cleanliness but since I had decided on filter sand I thought about adding some plants. Now there isn't a lot written about aquarium plants that do well at 86 degrees so I decided to do a little trial and error. I grow a lot of plant species in my four planted tanks and my 'plant bank' that I keep in our unheated attached garage. So I picked a variety of plant species, some were growing emerged in the plant bank and some were growing submerged in my tanks and this was the first result. Those species seemed to so alright so I added a few more species and it evolved into this 2 weeks later: Some did not adapt well to 86 degrees and light fertilization but some thrived, here is the tank about a month after set up. By the time the tank was 2 months old it had evolved into this where are the discus? lol Basically what I found worked well for me was using Osmocote DIY size "00" root tabs (1 per 10 gallons replenished every 5 weeks) along with dosing Seachem Comprehensive for micro-nutrients. Because our water here in Seattle is very, very soft (<1.0 dKH / 3.0 dGH) I have to add calcium and magnesium to all my planted tanks to avoid deficiencies. Yes, it was a forest and I would pull out and sell a load like this every month. In January, about 5 months after setting up the tank, it was time to move the discus to a 75 gallon so they didn't become stunted. This is how the 30 gallon looked just before moving the discus The next installment will be the set-up of the 75 gallon for the rapidly growing 1 yo juvies, hopefully later this week. The plants that did well at 86 degrees F, with lean nutrient dosing, low CO2 (20 ppm) and moderate light were: Nymphoides hydrophylla (aka sp. 'Taiwan') Rotala H'ra Myriophyllum 'Guyana' Ludwigia arcuata Bacopa colorata Limnophila sp. Curly Rotala 'Vietnam' Ceratopteris thalictroides Microsorum pteropus (java fern) 'Trident' Microsorum pteropus (java fern) 'Windelov' Barclaya longifolia Edited April 6, 2022 by Seattle_Aquarist 5 3 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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