December 2001

December 2001


DPH Tank of the Month questionnaire
With David Clubine

How did you get into keeping a Planted Discus Tank?
My Discus finally grew to a stage where I felt I could keep them in a planted tank safely. While they were growing out I was concerned that the required food would cause a planted tank to become too messy. Now that they're adult I can feed them once or twice a day rather than 5 or 6 times a day. I am also more confident that they can thrive in cooler water as I wanted to keep the tank at 82F. These are all the reasons that I logically list but the real reason is that I was new to Discus & plants and would not have been able to juggle the needs of both with such limited knowledge. Now that I have kept Discus for a couple years I have a better idea of their needs and how far they can be pushed. I also have additional tanks available so I can quickly move the adults back into a bare bottomed tank setting if necessary. I have always wanted to keep my Discus in a planted tank and I started with this type of tank but I was clueless as to the requirements of the plants and killed them with my stupidity.

What do you feel has been the most rewarding aspect of keeping such a tank?
Finally I have a tank that non-Discus folk can appreciate. This hobby takes a lot of time and effort and it is usually unrewarding to those that are not interested in the hobby. They can't relate to a bare tank with a few nice fish swimming in it. They look at you like you're cruel, stupid or both. With a planted tank everyone can relate to the beauty.

What has been the hardest challenge for you in keeping a Planted Discus tank and have you overcome it?
I did a lot of research before beginning this project so most of the steps worked out pretty good. The toughest decision was filtration and in the end I made my own. But with all of the information and support available on the net I found the tank fairly easy. I may be nave and the tank has only been running for 8 weeks so the big challenges may be yet to come. I felt that algae would be the biggest challenge so I put some Otocinclus and Siamese Algae Eaters in the tank at the first sign of algae. I assume that I have not won the war but I am definitely ahead right now.

11 Days

17 Days



What kind of approach do you take in maintaining your tank the High Tech way or a more Natural way?
The High Tech way. I found the best, yet affordable, lights, substrate & CO2 equipment available.

What piece of advice can you give to others who are thinking about setting up a tank like this?
Spend a lot of time researching the tank before beginning. Make a budget of everything you think you will need, where you will get it, what it will cost and how long it will take to get it. Make a list of all the interesting things that you come across that you want to remember, and reference the facts to the source if possible. Plan not only the tank and it's equipment but how you will maintain the tank. When you think you are done find some people that you feel are knowledgeable and present them with your plan. Hopefully they will give you objective opinions.

Equipment listing:

  • 180 gallon locally made tank (72x24x24)
  • Canopy & stand locally made
  • 4x96 watt Compact Fluorescent lights AH Supply
  • CO2 injection kit Dave Gomberg
  • Home made wet/dry filter a la DPH article
  • Mag 5 Water pump
  • 2 of 200 watt Ebo Jager heater
  • 100 watt Aquarium Landscapes heater cable
  • 180 lbs Fluorite substrate
  • 200 lbs silica sand substrate

Plant listing:

  • Micranthemum umbrosum
  • Vallisneria spiralis 'Tiger'
  • Echinodorus 'Ozelot'
  • Hemianthus micranthemoides
  • Ceratopteris thalictroides
  • Rotala wallichii
  • Didiplis diandra
  • Eleocharis acicularis
  • Anubias barteri var. barteri
  • Anubias barteri var. nana
  • Ludwigia repens
  • Bacopa caroliniana
  • Microsorum pteropus
  • Microsorum pteropus 'Windelov'
  • Echinodorus 'Red Flame'

Current Tank Inhabitants:

  • 5 Symphysodon aequifasciatus (Discus, Red Royal Blue, Red Alenquer, Blue Turquoise)
    - there were 7 Discus initially but a pair was formed and were moved to a breeding tank

  • 14 Otocinclus affinis (Oto)

  • 6 Crossocheilus siamensis (Siamese Algae Eater)


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