Keeping Discus in planted setup is always a challenge. Careful planning is key to success. Discus love deep water column where they slowly move up and down. So, height and depth of tank come handy. Next would be habitat design.Our first thought was pure hardscape with Malaysian Bogwood, something you would expect in a natural habitat.
Then, We felt that just hard wood might turn a little boring after sometime. We were planning to establish this setup in our family room; hence, some green would be better. Finally we decided to go with a combination of hardscape and plants. We’ll go over the plant selection in a later article of this series.
The space we could spare was a corner of our family room, 4′ x 4′. We decided to make a custom 3 ft glass cube to fit in this space. Depth and height of a 3 ft cube would be ideal for keeping Discus as they love swimming up and down the water column. A 3 ft cube is around 200 gallon. We placed an order for a custom stand (W: 36″ D:36″ H:31″). The tank (W:36″ D:36″) would sit perfectly on this stand. It would flow seamlessly as eyes roll down from the tank to the stand. Given a 36″ high tank, some strengthening with eurobrace on the top was required.
Given the size of this setup, stability over time was of utmost importance. Hence, we built redundancy in the setup by having two parallel filtering systems to circulate water. Each filter system consists of Canister Filter (Fluval FX6), UV Sterilizer (AquaUV, 15W), and Inline Heater (Hydor, 300W). You can see a schematic representation and picture of the plumbing inside the cabinet in the following picture gallery.
We chose stainless steel 5/8″ tube for water inflow and outflow. We used black tube for connecting. Reason for choosing stainless steel and black tube was to eliminate algae formation inside tube from natural light. Also, steel tubes look cool. Check them out!
The next step was to plan a layout for the soil, seiryu stone, and driftwood. By the grace of Lady Luck, we got two amazing pieces of original Malayasian bogwood. These pieces spanned 36″ which was awesome for our setup.
The driftwoods were placed diagonally to give maximum open space in the front and a good corner view when plants grow to full maturity. In this particular design we offered a lot of room in the front and along the depth for the Discus. Driftwood served as the background to set the stage. One of the driftwoods had a very nice arch feature which could be utilized to make a natural tunnel. You can see the cardboard demarcation where we planned to put the soil (ADA Amazonia) and sand (ADA Colorado Sand).
In Part II of the series, I’ll be covering the layering of the substrate.
Stay tuned !