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New Discus Tank - Hardware Setup

Discussion in 'Beginner Questions' started by Sasha Velour, Sep 6, 2019.

  1. Sasha Velour

    Sasha Velour New Member

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    Hi Everyone,

    Apologies in advance if a new thread for this kind of topic is frowned upon but I had a quick look around and think I'm ok.

    I was at the parents this weekend and found my old Trigon 190 that I had to give up when I went to uni about 10 years ago. I kept a decent tropical setup for a couple of years so know the basics.

    I always wanted to keep discus but felt that they were too difficult (and expensive!) so never really got around to it. Now that I am in a position to start from scratch again I would like to have a proper crack at discus keeping.

    For this post I’m asking more about the hardware setup (rather than the details of water quality, fish selection etc, as I can learn that separately) and any recommendations you guys may have. I’d like to get opinions before I go an make decisions on filters, heaters, lighting, substrate etc. I wouldn’t say money is no object, but I am willing to spend the cash to get everything right first time, rather than buy things twice because I made a poor choice the first time. Or end up restricting myself because I don’t have the right equipment.

    I currently have a Trigon 190L corner aquarium with 3D background that’s stuck to the aquarium using sealant. I am fairly limited on space so would like to keep everything related to the tank within the cabinet underneath the tank.

    I still have the “JUWEL BIOFLOW 3.0 (M) COMPLETE FILTER SYSTEM 600L/H” that came with the tank. However, since the filter unit broke away from the sealant I would just bury the unit into the substrate and rest it against the background. This means that I am not restricted to this unit if there are better external options available. I like that the filter unit is neat and self-contained, including the heater and pump, but an external filter would provide more swimming space for the fish.

    So my main questions:

    Would an external filter be better?

    How does an external filter and pump look aesthetically (inside the tank)?

    Are there any recommendations for a really smart and inconspicuous external filter and pump system?

    If I went external, would the heater now have to be visible inside the tank? From what I remember a separate heater would stick to the glass using a suction cup, and since I have the polystyrene background there this is not an option.

    What size filter would you recommend for discus inside this size tank?

    Is there any specific lighting you would recommend?

    Any other hardware you would consider vital?

    Thank you in advance for any comments and for reading if you have made it this far through this long winded post!
     
  2. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    Hi and welcome to the forum :)

    Discus require the same equipment as any other tropical fish. The only thing some people add is a second heater so the heaters don't have to work as much to keep the water warm. Discus like temperatures above 26C and are normally kept at 27-28C+. If they get sick you raise the temperature to 30-32C. Two heaters do this easier than one heater.

    The heaters go inside the tank and will be visible, however you can grow plants in front of them or put some driftwood there to help hide them from view.

    -----------------------
    External canister filters have a couple of hoses that go into the tank and the filter can sit anywhere outside the tank, either next to it or below it. A lot of people have the canister filter under the tank and the 2 hoses go up behind the tank and into the tank.

    Fluval and Eheim do good quality external canister filters.
     
  3. Lilyann

    Lilyann Fish Fanatic

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    Are you doing juvenile discus, sub-adult, or adult? Makes a difference in how you want to set the tank up initially and how you will set it up later.

    A filter recommendation: Look at the Oase Biotherm Filter. It is aesthetically pleasing and includes a built-in heater. One of the best filters out there right now. I am even thinking of getting one and I am a huge Fluvel filter fan.
    You do alot of water changes with discus tanks ( the number and frequency dependent on size of discus) but, I would get at least a filter with a turnover rate of 6-8 x total volume per hour.

    Lighting also depends on what kind of set-up you are doing. With juveniles and subadults you will most likely just be doing a bare-bottom or thin sand base. So, with lighting can get away with a fixture
    in this case, lighting is not too crucial. But, with adults you may want to have a low-tech tank with plants. The Finnex Planted + LED lights are great fixtures for this application.

    As far as other recommendations- really need to know what size discus are planning on getting.
     
  4. Sasha Velour

    Sasha Velour New Member

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    Thank you both so much for your responses!

    By the sounds of it adults will be easier so I think I will start there.

    Thank you for the Oase Biotherm Filter recommendation. Great that the heater is included in the canister, as I am concerned about sticking it to the front pane of my tank.

    I will keep you posted if I have any more questions.

    Thanks again.
     
  5. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    Don't get adult discus as your first fish. They stress more and don't travel as well, and they can be any age and are usually accustomed to a particular food (whatever they have been fed on). This can make it more difficult to get them to eat.

    Don't get baby discus either because they usually starve in the bags and in quarantine.

    Get discus that are 2-4 inches in diameter. These are big enough so they don't starve during transport and while in quarantine, but still young enough to be able to adapt to new foods and new environments.

    When you get them look at their body, in particular the area above their head and upper half of the body. It should be nicely shaped (almost like an upside down U) and not sunken in. If the fish looks skinny anywhere on its body, do not get it.

    Get the shop to feed the fish before you get it to make sure it is eating. Then if the fish is feeding well and showing lots of enthusiasm when it comes to eating, then get the fish. If the shop feeds the fish really well while you are watching, wait a few hours before getting it because the stress of being caught and bagged up can cause the fish to regurgitate food in the bag and pollute the water on the way home. If possible, go back the day after and buy the fish before they are fed.
     
  6. Sasha Velour

    Sasha Velour New Member

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    Just doing a little more research on the OASE filters. The reviews seem really good and I love that the heater is included. Keeps everything uot of sight in the aquarium and gives me back some valuable space.

    Out of interest do you know what the main difference between the Biomaster and the Filtosmart range is? The filtosmart is c£60 cheaper. Happy to splash out but want to make sure I don't spend more for no real reason.

    Also, what size filter are you running relative to tank size? I have 190l so was thinking either the 200 or 250 depending on which range I go with.

    Thanks again for your input.
     
  7. Sasha Velour

    Sasha Velour New Member

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    Noted, thanks!

    Tbh I like that scenario best anyway. Watching them grow and come on is half the fun!
     
  8. Sasha Velour

    Sasha Velour New Member

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    One last question, does anyone have any opinion on what to go for with regards to lighting? I get the impression that things in this area have changed quite a bit since I was last a fish keeper!

    I have a Juwel Trigon, so assume i will just get something from their range? Is there anything you'd recommend specifically for discus?
     

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