My new fish tank – a working progress

I started off a few years ago with a 20L tank raising guppies, and since then have keep a range of different fish and have learnt a lot through this journey. Currently I’m raising Discus “The King of Freshwater Fish” due to its high requirements for survival in an aquarium.

I have had Discus for about 2 years now; having raised 5 of them since juvenile into young adults in a 60L tank, this tank was getting cramped and therefore I sought out to move onto a bigger tank, along with this came the challenges of improving and maintaining this new tank. This is my continual journey and process of learning in improving and maintaining my tank.

In this tank I had a blue diamond; a blue colbalt; a rose red; a blue turquoise; and a red map Discus; all 5 of different strains. Along with them I also had my long standing golden bristlenose pleco nicknamed “Goldie” who has been with me through many cycles of fish tanks since my initial guppy raising tanks.

Day One: Moved from the 60L tank to the 100L tank. Bare bottom tank, with a white polystyrene backboard.

Within a week my water started to turn green, probably due to an algae boom. Though the set up was the same as when I had a smaller tank, this was insufficient to maintain an optimal biological system in the new tank; this resulted in an excess of nutrients and wastes (high ammonia, nitrite and phosphate) in the tank.

Tank water became cloudy and green, with signs of illness from the fish. (Note: background colour/picture was changed and additional light coloured stone added to a side of the tank)

This lead to me seeking for improvements to optimise the quality of the water and ecosystem in my tank. Through thorough research I first decided to add in a sponge filter (the most inexpensive option) to help mechanical filtration and provide more surface area for the beneficial bacteria to grow on. This filter was simple to set up and operated by an air pump; aerating the water at the same time, hitting two birds with one stone. After a few days, this made the water seem clearer, ammonia levels dropped to zero but the nitrite levels were still high and the water remained green with algae.

A week after the addition of the sponge filters, slight improvement with clarity of water.

Upon further research I came across a product from Seachem called “Purigen”; a chemical filtration media that absorbs organic waste (things that are harmful to the fish, which also provides nutrients for the algae) in the tank water. I initially debated over whether to get Fluval’s Clearmax or Purigen a similar product by a different company; I decided upon Purigen due to it’s regenerable properties and therefore long-lasting use. As per the product information of the Purigen it will darken as it exhausts; I used 100g in my filter and I did notice the white beads had turned red.

A few days later, the nitrite levels did decrease and I had healthier looking fish. Due to interactions of the Discus within my tank, I sold the rose red Discus to minimise persistent conflict. I also decided at this point I wanted to introduce Tetra species into the tank to create more of a community. I chose the black phantom tetras and rosy tetras for their peaceful qualities and their living requirements were similar to those of the Discus (both soft and acidic). Now a school of Tetra swim amongst my Discus, and has made the Discus swim more freely.

4 Discus with the newly introduced Tetras (note: a change of background to a royal blue – to promote better colour development of the Discus)

However despite all this the algae problem whilst reduced still remained. I sought out to buy a second hand 9W UV filter from blue planet, that will kill free swimming algae/bacteria and polish the water clean. UV filters do not need to be kept on long term, initially it should be on until the algae problem improve, thereafter periodically turning it on for 24 hours will be sufficient (the UV filter I purchased seemed to have been overused prior, thereby reducing its lifetime). Please note whilst the UV filter is operation introduction of beneficial bacteria during usual filter maintenance will be redundant as these bacteria will also be killed by the UV filter.

24 hours after having the UV filter on, I noticed a significant difference, and an even more improved water clarity at 48 hours. After 7 days of use, I now have crystal clear water; which I believe aided in the successful pairing my two of my Discus. Yes! (this lead to more problems — but that’s for another day).

Crystal clear water, with separated pair on the left.

Direct comparisons of the before and after.

Wow that was a lot in one post! Hope this helped you in raising your own fish.

Please leave comments on anything you would like more details about or anything you want to suggest I try~~~

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