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Discussion Starter #1
I am changing my 55 gal over to a Discus tank with live plants. I am trying to get the plants up and going prior to adding Discs. I bought 2 24 inch 65W 6700K Lamp Fixtures. These sounded about right from what I read. My questions are:

1. Is this lighting OK for Discus and low to medium level plants? Will this light cause algae growth with just a few plants. I want to get more (see next question) but added a couple (water sprite, Marble Queen Ricican Sword, Micro sword) to see how they would do. The Micro and the Marble swords are doing ok but the other is looking week.

2. What types of plants are the easiest to start with that can withstand the 82-84 degree temps required for Discus.

3. I put some substrate (eco or something close to that) and then put small black gravel on top..Do I need to be adding fertilizer right away?

4. This is a bit off the subject but do Discus like Rocks or caves better..I have driftwood and got some rocks ready to ad.

I am sure these questions have been answered somewhere but there is so much info I need to ask as I go. Thanks for your help.
 

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Are u palnning to use CO2..... compressed or fermentation. you are using about 130watts of light.... just under 3watts per gallon........you might run into algae issues.
 

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A 130 watts of light will do good for low, medium & some medium-high light plants. Here is a link with some plants that do well in higher temps... http://www.freshwateraquariumplants.com/amazonbiotope/discus.html

You will need to start adding ferts from day one along with a carbon source. Here is a link that will help you out... http://www.csd.net/~cgadd/aqua/art_plant_fertilizer_intro.htm

I don't think Discus care if you use rocks or wood, go with what you like best.

Here's another site for beginners basics... http://www.aquatic-plants.org/articles/basics/pages/01_intro.html
 

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Discussion Starter #5
That was another question I had. I guess I need to do the CO2.. From what I have been reading on these systems I need a Co2 tank (Is 5 pound enough for a 55 gal and 75 gal), Co2 Tubing, regulator, selonoid (do I need this with an inline reactor), a needle valve and bubble counter. I also want to use an inline reactor... I was trying to find some info on how it hooks up. Is there a link you could provide that explains this? From what I have read I will need all these parts. Is there anything else I would need (or don'tneed) to complete this system. Also any suggestions on the best place to purchase online. Quality is more important to me. Thanks for info on links. I am going to this set-up to avoid the algae issues I have with my current tanks (Green Spot). I really don't want to go through that issue again...If I have a fully planted tank, will that a avoid the algae with the 3 watts per gal issue? Sorry about all the questions at once, but I would rather ask in one post as opposed to continuous questions.. Thanks for your help
 

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I dont think you need CO2, but your plants will deff do much better with it.

You will need ferts, NPK+micros either way IMO.

On the CO2 if you choose, personally I would get a 10# tank, locally they are only ~$20 more to buy and $2 more to fill then a 5#. And for using it on 2 larger tanks a 5# would run out quickly.

You need a Regulator for the CO2, and for 2 tanks you need a splitter with independent needle valves to control the rates. You need a drop checker.

http://www.greenleafaquariums.com/co2-regulators/choice-dual-co2-regulator.html
http://sumoregulator.com/
http://www.bestaquariumregulator.com/CO2.html
That last 1 has dry ferts also
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I will have to have two sytems as one tank is home and the other at office. I am working on the 55 and when I get an understanding of all this I will go to other..I am still not straight on these systems..Thanks for the links..These appear to be complete systems..Would I need anything else other than the cylinder? Also what is the feeling about having a ph regulator?
 

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many feel a PH regulator is not needed. I'm just setting up my system and will not be using one. Just use a sloenoid to turn the CO2 off at night.

You just need a reg good, needle valve and a reactor/diffuser basically. Then depending on the setup a checkvalve is good to have as well as drop checker, bubble counter and solenoid
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for your help
 

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IMO the order of importance you would need from what has been listed:

  • CO2 tank - 10lb would be best
  • regulator and needle valve
  • CO2 safe tubing
  • check valve
  • bubble counter

this is the bare minimum for a pressurized system. to inject the CO2 into your system, you can simply direct the co2 tubing towards the intake of your filter, which can act as a reactor. the downside is that if you inject too much co2, you risk locking up your filter. another indication if you're injecting too much co2 into your tank is the reaction of your fish. if they're hanging at the top of the tank, and appear to be gasping for air, there's too much co2. as well, if you have pleco's/ottos/etc, they could die because they can't gasp for air at the top like other fish.

from here, if you wish you can add the following items, again in order of (IMO) importance:

  • CO2 reactor or diffuser
  • drop checker
  • solenoid
  • ph controller

hope this helps!
 

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A 5lb tank would be enough to run a 55g & 75G separately. But if you go with a larger canister there would be more time between refills. Take a look at this link, it shows different C02 components & their uses.
 

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You don't necessarily need CO2. It will certainly make plants grow faster obviously.

http://thesmileyfish.com/?page_id=11

This guy has what sounds like you're looking for running with a low maintenance setup. He is, however, also pretty vague on how he did it and is selling a book (with a rather dubious looking page for it) that will tell you more of the details. More teaser than help i guess. Not recommending this guy's book btw, just saying, apparently there are other ways.
 

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A 5lb tank would be enough to run a 55g & 75G separately. But if you go with a larger canister there would be more time between refills. Take a look at this link, it shows different C02 components & their uses.
Nice link, I have used co2 for years and this explains it all. I think we should reffer every beginner to this.

As far as needing co2 when you are over 2 wpg it is not realy choice it is needed to keep algae at bay and plants thriving. Study fert dosing too this is just as important and keep a short photo period in the begining. IMO the shorter the photo period the more room for error and vice versa.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks much for all your info...I finally desided on this system from Green Leaf Aquariums...Very nice people to work with

http://www.greenleafaquariums.com/complete-co2-systems/choice-co2-system.html

This was pretty high $ but with my experience I figured it would be best fit for my situation..

I plan on getting this set up (with in-line diffuser he through in for nothing) and adding quite a few plants after I get familiar with system and get water quality to where I want it...This has really been a learning experience which is still not over....Then eventually the Discus will be added...Hope it all works out...Alot of factors in play..If I would be happy to help anyone with my success or set backs with this project..

Thanks again for your help...I'm sure I'll have a few more questions before this is over.
 
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