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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am setting up a new 135 gallon discus tank. Since I am a newbie, I obviously want good filtration, but I also want a quiet tank. I have several questions under each option and will number them in the hopes that people will be nice enough to respond.

Sump - I would plan to use an Ecotech Vectra M1 which has a stated GPH flow of 2000 (probably somewhat less in operation). I know discus (they are cichlids) don't like a lot of flow but I would assume that there is a tradeoff in the effectiveness of the sump with lower flow rates.

1. What is the recommended gph/turnover rate that I should not exceed.
2. What model of Sump would be recommended? I am a terrible DIY guy, but the premade sumps mostly seem to be made for saltwater. I have looked at the Seamless Sump by Custom Aquariums but it is expensive and I'm not sure it holds enough media.
3. What is the best overflow method. I have a bottom drilled tank now with an internal overflow box and it is noisy. Are there recommended alternatives?

Canisters - I would use two canisters and was thinking of the Eheim Pro+ 600 which has a GPH of 312. I have one of these now and it is very quiet. I know Fluval FX6 is well liked, but seems to be louder.

4. Would the Flow from the 2 Eheims be about right?
5. On one of the canister outflow lines, I would install an in-line heater - either the Hydor of the ISTA - any recommendations?
6. On the other canister, I was thinking of installing an in-line UV filter. Do I need this and if so, any recommendations?

Thanks for your help!!
 

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Shoot for GPH of 8X to 10X hourly.

I have owned both Eheim and Rena Filstar XP series filters. Equally quiet and the XP's are MUCH easier to clean. No disconnecting hoses. Also much less expensive. 10 years and I have yet to replace an impeller.

I see no purpose for a UV filter. I have Hydor heaters in both filter lines.
 

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Regarding this being a Discus setup, I can only give you my experience, and what everyone else I've ever heard of say that have kept Discus for any length of time: minimize your surface area in your setup, because you will be cleaning it very regularly. Most experienced Discus keepers use sponge filters for their filtration. Discus really are on a different level as far as tank husbandry because they are simply unforgiving when it comes to dissolved organics in the water column. I recommend you go to http://www.simplydiscus.com and read the stickies in the Discus Basics for Beginners section of the forums.

Regarding the UV filter, I never used one but I've heard of other Discus keepers having very good success with them in their setup when they also used a flow regulator to keep the water flow slow enough for the UV filter to do it's work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks Ken. I have Africans now, but want to try discus as they are just stunning. I have been reading from the Simply Discus site for a while and it is easy to get intimidated by the whole thing. I think there are a lot of them that are fanatics that do daily water changes, etc... But, there are also a lot of people that are fine with weekly or longer water changes. I posted my same questions there and will see what kind of response I get. On the UV filter, I have one now on my current tank and I suppose it is doing its job. Thanks for your feedback.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
DJRansome said:
Shoot for GPH of 8X to 10X hourly.

I have owned both Eheim and Rena Filstar XP series filters. Equally quiet and the XP's are MUCH easier to clean. No disconnecting hoses. Also much less expensive. 10 years and I have yet to replace an impeller.

I see no purpose for a UV filter. I have Hydor heaters in both filter lines.
Thanks DJ - I will check out the Rena.
 

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Sweetmule said:
Thanks Ken. I have Africans now, but want to try discus as they are just stunning. I have been reading from the Simply Discus site for a while and it is easy to get intimidated by the whole thing. I think there are a lot of them that are fanatics that do daily water changes, etc... But, there are also a lot of people that are fine with weekly or longer water changes. I posted my same questions there and will see what kind of response I get. On the UV filter, I have one now on my current tank and I suppose it is doing its job. Thanks for your feedback.
Discus really are beautiful. I kept Discus for over 18 months and my first set of 6 from the local pet store didn't do well in the tank and all died within a few months. Then I read myself up (simplydiscus is a good resource) and purchased 15 beauties from a breeder in Florida. I came to realize most of the things the people on simplydiscus told me was true, at least the basic things they preached were true and necessary if the fish are to thrive and look beautiful.

I did daily 50% water changes, changed filter media every other day, wipe all surface areas weekly (this would include in the sump). When I slacked on this my fish felt it and suffered, some died. My fellow discus keeper, who also lives here in the islands, kept Discus in a couple of nice planted tanks. She only did weekly water changes. Through the months 60%-70% of her fish survived but they did not grow as well, were stunted and weren't as nice looking.

I've been keeping aquariums since I was 12yrs old, so over 30 years, but keeping Discus taught me so, so much more about aquarium fish keeping, especially about the water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well, I am very nervous about it! Did you keep discus that were smaller and try to grow them out? I have heard/read that discus that are bigger - about 5" are a lot easier to keep - that they don't need to be fed as much and water changes don't need to be as frequent. I have a local guy near me that has kept discus and only changes water every 2 weeks and there do seem to be people that say weekly water changes are fine.
 

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Sweetmule said:
Well, I am very nervous about it! Did you keep discus that were smaller and try to grow them out? I have heard/read that discus that are bigger - about 5" are a lot easier to keep - that they don't need to be fed as much and water changes don't need to be as frequent. I have a local guy near me that has kept discus and only changes water every 2 weeks and there do seem to be people that say weekly water changes are fine.
Yes definitely, after 5" they are more forgiving and weekly water changes are possible, but tank maintenance is still important. After mine were around 5" I could tell they were more robust and forgiving to missing a water change.

When doing grow outs though you do have to take the fanatical approach if you want them to grow properly; no substrate, daily water changes, etc. You really have to experience keeping them to understand the care they need.

Growing them out for me was very satisfying, and rewarding. When they reach adult size they are beautiful but so very boring. Just my opinion.
 

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ken31cay said:
Sweetmule said:
I did daily 50% water changes, changed filter media every other day, wipe all surface areas weekly (this would include in the sump).
Wow. I could not imagine it. It sounds more like a job than a hobby, or a labor of love at the very least.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yes! I have no intent on doing daily water changes. Maybe weekly at most. The true discus guys are extremists!!
 
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