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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently acquired a 75 gallon tank and decided to plant it and eventually move my discus into it. However, I tested the nitrate levels and I'm close to 50-60ppm. Will the plants eventually lower the nitrate level or do I need to lower it myself via water changes or some chemicals? I was able to use some substrate and gravel already in the tank that was grossly neglected for some time. I have vaccuumed the gravel several times and done 3 50% water changes before planting. I also added discus buffer to lower the pH and some "florapride" fertilizer. Other than that just tap water conditioner and co2 recipe in the bottle (the nutrafin/hagen stuff). This is fairly new to me, I have done some research but the nitrate/nitrite cycle with plants is a little hard to figure out. Little help please!
 

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If there is no livestock in the tank I would simply do water changes until you get your nitrate levels down. I would personally never use chemicals to lower nitrate. Plants will remove some, but I doubt they can handle removing levels that high.
 

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I don't know how long you've been keeping tanks for but a planted discus tank is not a newbie friendly setup. I have heard that some with discus set the tank up for plants and make the fish adjust. Others cater to the fish and use hearty plants. Witch ever way you go your should take your time and plant it out. As far as the nitrates they will drop if you have rapid plant growth, most plant tanks run at about 20ppm nitrate. This makes it hard to have sensitive fish with such demanding requirements. Remember what works for a little while may not last, putting in plants and discus is easy. Making the fish and plants thrive for years is the hard part. This setup can be done but it must be planed out, maybe some experienced keepers will pipe in and help. Hope I didn't come off too harsh I just wanted to give you fair warning about what you are venturing into. I had a thriving plant tank for a year with a discus that did not adjust and almost died, while the other fish where fine. just my 2 cents.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I don't know how long you've been keeping tanks for but a planted discus tank is not a newbie friendly setup. I have heard that some with discus set the tank up for plants and make the fish adjust. Others cater to the fish and use hearty plants. Witch ever way you go your should take your time and plant it out. As far as the nitrates they will drop if you have rapid plant growth, most plant tanks run at about 20ppm nitrate. This makes it hard to have sensitive fish with such demanding requirements. Remember what works for a little while may not last, putting in plants and discus is easy. Making the fish and plants thrive for years is the hard part. This setup can be done but it must be planed out, maybe some experienced keepers will pipe in and help. Hope I didn't come off too harsh I just wanted to give you fair warning about what you are venturing into. I had a thriving plant tank for a year with a discus that did not adjust and almost died, while the other fish where fine. just my 2 cents.
I have two tanks ready for just that emergency (55 and a 20). I also realize the fish come first. The plan is to wait and see if the setup works and try 2 before bringing in the rest. I have also begun to condition the discus for lower temp (82) I was keeping them at 86.
 

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I have two tanks ready for just that emergency (55 and a 20). I also realize the fish come first. The plan is to wait and see if the setup works and try 2 before bringing in the rest. I have also begun to condition the discus for lower temp (82) I was keeping them at 86.
some of the best in the business put the fish last, they are more adaptable than the plants. Have you kept a planted tank before? If I was you I might turn that 20 gallon in to a planted tank to get the routine down and learn all I can about every aquarist's best friend, algae :biggrin:. ha ha ha ha Ok we hate it but it is something we all must deal with and know, keep your friends close and your enemy's closer. Glad to hear you put the fish first. Anubis grow big and are easily kept they might look good with your discus. Just my opinion, don't let me slow you down just trying to help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
some of the best in the business put the fish last, they are more adaptable than the plants. Have you kept a planted tank before? If I was you I might turn that 20 gallon in to a planted tank to get the routine down and learn all I can about every aquarist's best friend, algae :biggrin:. ha ha ha ha Ok we hate it but it is something we all must deal with and know, keep your friends close and your enemy's closer. Glad to hear you put the fish first. Anubis grow big and are easily kept they might look good with your discus. Just my opinion, don't let me slow you down just trying to help.
haven't found any anubis locally here, I think someone knew I was coming and cleared out all the cool stuff or hid it in the back:confused:.
I haven't tried ordering plants from net but may give it a try. I also learned my lesson and will never buy any plants from petco again ("lucky" bamboo my #@!). Do you have any suggestions where to buy? I have alot of bare spots yet and could use some suggestions. If you or anyone could tell me how to resize a pic for this site I could upload one for suggestions.
 

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Just look in the mart section of this forum. There are good plants there with wonderful prices, as for photos I use photo bucket and up load them. That is the best way I've found to post picks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Just look in the mart section of this forum. There are good plants there with wonderful prices, as for photos I use photo bucket and up load them. That is the best way I've found to post picks.
Ok here are the pics...
http://s429.photobucket.com/albums/qq20/mcsinny99/

Just fyi I have some driftwood i have been boiling and freezing waiting to go in. It's a work in progress hence the rock just sitting there...
 

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thank you for the picks, the amazon sward is a good choice too. A lot of those plants are beginner and will grow easily. What are the specks on the tank, lighting, fert dosing and what kind of gravel is that? What is the light spectrum in that bulb?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
thank you for the picks, the amazon sward is a good choice too. A lot of those plants are beginner and will grow easily. What are the specks on the tank, lighting, fert dosing and what kind of gravel is that? What is the light spectrum in that bulb?
Hmmm, well
Tank is 75 gal (4'x20"highx18"wide) with tetra tec heated filter(don't know model#)
I am using that hagen/nutrafin yeast recipe for co2 and think this is probably not enough- I have a kegerator I never use and i might steal the co2 regulator and tank from
Lighting is one 24" T5 fullspectrum and 6700k also 4' 40watt fluorescent BUT I have the tank where I can hit it with sunshine by pulling shades for afternoon sunshine
fert dosing is liquid florapride once a week or water change as the bottle says(does this stuff spike nitrates?)
gravel is black (i don't know:rolleyes:) with substrate-came with tank loaded with poop which I am hoping aqua plants like as much as the garden variety
Aslo have extra heater incase of failure
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I the 20 designated for hospital if I need it so I can't plant that one. 55 is setting empty until I get this one going, it is a 55 long so may get rid of it in favor of a taller one.
 

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You've got quite a good selection of stem plants. If you plant each individual stem separately about an inch apart they'll do better. When they are planted in such tight groups the bottoms don't get any light, leaves start dieing at the base and the base of the stem may rot. This is especially true for the stem plants with large leaves. Once they get growing and you pinch the tops off, the bases will usually branch and you'll get a fuller stand that way. As it is, there is no room for them to fill in.

Aquatic plants do like the fish waste/mulm build-up as much as terrestrial plants. Be careful that the sunshine doesn't hit the gravel. I ended up with a chronic clado outbreak in one tank in front of a sunny window until I finally wised up and blocked the light from hitting the substrate. Electrical tape along the back of the tank to cover the area where the substrate is works well.
 

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Ok, with the sunshine you are following diana walstad way of doing an elnatural aquairum. This is one way, with the co2 you are doing the high tech mehod that many of us use following tom barr. From my experience these ideas do not mix, I have read diana book but have chosen to followed tom barr. I use the hight tech method, but there is not any thing wrong with diana's way. Study both and pick one, if you do diana way I would read here book "ecology of the planted aquarium". Each method is different, not one better just different results in look, plants and lay out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The sunshine idea is optional I don't need to leave that shade open. Think I'll be going the co2 route and skip the sun, I just thought natural spectrum might be helpful. I also changed 50% of the water and vaccuumed the hell out of it, hopefully that'll make a dent in the 50-60ppm. By the way at what levels do nitrates become harmful to plants? Thanks for the tip on the long stemmed plants I will widen them out tonight. Wish this stupid driftwood would sink, getting sick of cooking wood(and freezing). On the the fertilizer, I read a post saying when they change the water they actually spray it directly on the plants. Does this work better? Or do I even need to be doing that with so much poo in there?:confused:

Thanks for all the help, this forum has answered my questions 100 times better than the pet stores (especially petco which I am starting to believe is owned by satan):mad2:
 

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It is nice to see some one so responsive to advice. If your lighting is over 2wpg you will need co2, more than the yeast can provide. So I say rob the kegerator and go to the world of total control pressurized co2. For the ferts i do the estamative index, tom barr method. Google you will find all you need to know to start dosing, ferts can be purchased via aquariumfertilizer.com . I would start with a low photo period say eight hours. Take your time with the tank, after it has been up and running 6 months with no algae issues think about putting in the discus. Try one first and keep a close eye.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Ok so I spaced them stemmed plants, meaning the big ones in the back. Do need to space ludwigia and pennywort? also I grouped the pigmy swords and moved the vals a little bit. If the co2 needs switching I'll just buy a setup this weekend, I think I still love my kegerator(ahh, good times). Has anyone had this bewitched driftwood issue? I don't really want to drill it and I have so many rocks holding it down in the tub it's ridiculous. Boil, freeze, boil, soak, etc... It's to the point I may just try burning it. Seemed to work in Salem. I will google the fertilizer thing, sounds like I'll need a better test kit(recommendations?). Here are the updated pics, I think all of are getting enough light. Thanks again.

http://s429.photobucket.com/albums/qq20/mcsinny99/
 

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I like hagen test kits. But really you don't need most of them, the ei is based on not using them. Even with co2 just get a drop checker with 4dkh water and let it be. What is the watts per gallon on the tank. Looking like enough lite is not the same as having enough light.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I like hagen test kits. But really you don't need most of them, the ei is based on not using them. Even with co2 just get a drop checker with 4dkh water and let it be. What is the watts per gallon on the tank. Looking like enough lite is not the same as having enough light.
watts per gallon is 28 on the T5 and 40 on the fluorescent
I was told lumins are more important that watts per gallon, i suppose I could add another 24 in T5. I like the look they put out.
What is 4dkh water?
Is the diffuser with the old co2 good or do I need a new one?
I've been reading the co2 jacks up the pH. How much co2 should be added per minute on a 75 gallon tank? I know it needs to be off when the lights are off, but that's about it.
 

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I normally space all my stems out. The larger the stem, the more space. When first planting them I try to plant them so that no more than half a leaf from one stem leaf overlaps a leaf on the stem next to it. This varies depending on the plant and growth habit, but it does help as a general guideline. Plants with small leaves like Rotala sp. green or thin leaves like Ludwigia arcuata can be planted much closer together. Plants that insist on a lot of light I'll plant so that the leaves on one stem barely touch the leaves on the next stem. So I'd space the other stems out as well. They don't need to be as far apart as the larger leaved stems but they'll do better if they have space for light to penetrate to the bottom and water to circulate around them.

I think you've got the CO2/pH relationship backwards. When you add CO2 you're making the pH lower, more acidic. Other than that I'll let someone else answer CO2 questions since I only dose gluteraldehyde (Flourish Excel substitute) as a carbon source and don't mess with CO2 injection.
 
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