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Re: Planted Discus Tank


I've been lurking for many months now but the planted discus tank discussion
has brought me out from behind my crypts.  I have a 78 gallon tank with a
laterite/sand/gravel base, ph about 7.2, DYI CO2, and a bio/mechanical
filter hung on the back.  My tank is at about 84 degrees.  I never read
measurable nitrites/ammonia.  I have three 40wt fl. bulbs (2 plant, one
sunlight).  Fish so far are 4 hatchetfish, six cherry barbs, one pleco,
eight ottos, two flying fox, and two corys.  Previously I had discus with
this same set-up in a community tank, and am preparing to get some again.
If I can ever find the pleco she/he may go back to the fish store. The now
giant flying fox might go too.  About eight months ago I had to take the
whole tank down (long ugly story involving incompetent flooring people) and
for the last six months have been re-establishing everything.  I have
replanted various annubus (I can't spell, sorry), crypts, hygrophilia,
little grass-like tufts that I never can remember the names of, and water
sprite, two sword plants, and vallisneria.  The hygro is a bit leggy, and
sending out roots along the stem, so they aren't perfect, the crypts are
very happy and growing like crazy, and the annubus is doing pretty well, and
already spreading.  The vallisneria is like a weed, even though I have low
lighting.  My big failures are my sword plants which looks see-through and

Whenever I add the gold liquid fertilizer, I get a nice thick green
hair-like algae that the flying fox fortunately like.  I also get the algae
if I get lazy on the CO2.  I change 20-30% of the water every week.

I am trying to decide whether or not to increase the lighting on this tank.
I know the discus like it dim, but I have enough tall plants that I think
they could find some shade.  I have read all I can about lighting, but am
still very newby and confused.  It sounds like a compact florescent retrofit
in my 2-bulb hood would get me about 220 watts for about $350.  Has anyone
done this?  Any gentle ideas?  This is in my living room, so I don't want
any pendant lighting (plus, the hatchetfish would all commit suicide without
a lid).

I look forward to reading Karen's article on planted discus tanks, and
finding out what I am doing wrong :) ...