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Re: New 135

> So the new setup is going to contain:
> - - 135 Gallon (a foot longer than current tank) w/ Black Back & Trickle
> intake
> (I was hoping to go 240gallon, but my better half wasn't so keen on another
> swimming pool. ;> )

Awww it'd just be more work anyway:)
> - - 4 96watt Compaq Flourescent
> (2 from my current setup, 2 to be purchased from AH Supply)

Mix the colors, 6700K and 5000K
> - - Wet/Dry Trickle filter
> - - My Current Eheim ThermoFilter drilled in from back
> (for extra/mechanical filtration)

You will not need this extra item one bit. The wet/dry should be more than
enough(600GPH to 800GPH is enough (compensated at whatever head pressure you
have). A lifeguard Quiet One is not a bad pump/choice. The Supreme is not a
bad choice nor would some of the Ehiem's like the 1060's.
> - - Injected CO2 in the sump
> (from my current setup) with current ph controller IN the sump

Drop the controller part and use the probe as a monitor and run the CO2 at a
constant rate. Also, pH in the sump will much lower than in the well run
tank. Check to make sure.
> - - Dupla Heating Cables
> - - 1 Inch Seachem Flourite

Try 4-6 inches of it and pass on the sand mix.

> - - 2 Inches standard gravel (from old tank after "wastewater rinse" to try to
> avoid a CYCLE which my Discus can't take).

Just use the mulm. Pass on the cables and get 4-6 inches of flourite
instead. Lots cheap and will look better over the course of a few years.
Take the mulm from a good vacuuming amnd mix with the bottom flourite layer.
I've done this a number of times. It works super. Toss 4-5 handfuls of
ground peat to the bottom layer also.
> I got the quote from a local LFS and I'm a bit puzzled by some of their
> numbers (specifically the cost of the dupla cables, and the flourite!)..
> For the Dupla Cables, they're quoting me either 550.00 that includes the Delta
> controller, or 750.00 that includes the Alpha controller. This seems VERY
> expensive! Are there any sites where I can "comparison shop" this item? I
> can't seem to find them! If that's what I gotta pay, then I'll have to just go
> for it, but I don't wanna be a dumb consumer. ;>

You are going to pay a a lot for this item. You can off set this by simply
buying the flourite. Flourite vs cables in sand laterite is a pretty clear
win for the flourite. I've seen the difference over a number of years.
If you are going to get the cable regardless, get dupla's (at least the
cables themselves and anchors).
> For the Flourite (I'm assuming the 7kg bags), I see them on bigals for 12.99
> per bag, but my LFS is listing higher on that (I believe 20bux a bag), so I
> suspect the rest of the bid may be inflated.

Ask for a bulk price then. You spending a big chunk at their place of
business and should get some discount for buying 12 bags instead of 1 or 2.
If you order MO they will charge you for shipping. So it will be close to
20$. The first all flourite tank I did was a high tech 135 Dupla system. We
removed the cables. Next we removed the pH controller and used it for
monitoring only. 12-13 bags of the stuff is far cheaper and easier to deal
with than cables(240-260$ @20$ ea vs 500$). Some folks won't pay this for
gravel. But it's the last time you'll need to mess with it and nothing will
ever "break" or cost you electricity (this adds up over time) and plant
growth will be excellent. You will not have to give it a second thought
I slope the flourite down to the molding so all you see is plant growth and
have it deeper in the back. I can honestly say I do not enjoy a nice view of
gravel in the front.
> And some questions:
> 1 - Which do you think is better for a long-term tank setup; First Layer
> Laterite as first inch, or Seachem's Flourite? How many inches SHOULD a
> substrate be for a tank of 135gallons (18 fronttoback x 72 wide x 24 high).

I'd like about 1-2 inches in the very front sloping up to about 6-8 in the
back. Flourite is better than any gravel set up I've ever done(cables or
> 2 - Is there anything "special" I should know about using wet/dry with planted
> tanks, i.e., special covers, some particular brand that's good for FW...
> Should I use ehfimech instead of bioballs, etc.?

Lava rock or any high surface area media works well.
> 3 - Do I appear to be missing any elements if I want to achieve an optimimum
> setup for a planted discus tank? I wanna do this right the FIRST time! :)

Well, you seem well financed so I'd go with flourite and make your life
simple. Most brands of Wet/drys work well. If you prefer, you can use micron
bag filters popular on Berlin Systems for Reef tanks. These can be used on
wet/drys as well. But you should have some high surface area media somewhere
in the filter. 

They make them down to 5 micron size which will remove most everything you
need to worry about. The Eheim cannot filter like that. The bags are easy
and simple to clean also which is a huge factor in anything that is a
mechanical filter. Your prefilter on the over flow will pick up the lion's
share of the junk and muck. Bio activity will reduce the rest down pretty
well. Water changes will remove some also.

  A UV might interest you but that's an extra to be sure and you will only
use it once a week for a day at most.
External or internal return pump would work either way but a
LifeGuard/Iwaskai pump would be choice and adding a flow valve on the return
to lower the flow if needed. Pass on the extra Ehiem filter. Adding this
will not really help you much. The return would run a spray bar along the
bottom back wall(make sure to drill a small antisiphon hole in the return
right below the surface of your tank's water level!!). CO2, heater would be
placed down in the sump. Allow for the probe to be used in the tank as well
as the sump. A simple pH monitor can be moved around easily.

Get a Lamott NO3 test kit. Other kits: PO4, Fe and certainly KH/GH. These
can be cheaper kits than the Lamott, but you can use the Lamott or Hach kits
too. I run Discus at 82, George at 83 and a number of other folks at 84 and
85F. Plants are fine in this range. Fish are happy.

Area's to look into:
Feeding Discus-variety
Nutrients for the plants
Adding lots of plants from the start
Herbivores that will not be eaten by Discus(SAE's etc)
Doing water changes weekly-python system etc whatever makes your water
changing easy. 
You'll save about 350$ to 1000$ by doing these thing and have a nice easier
to deal with tank. 

Tom Barr