Any discus owners here?? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-21-2004, 02:45 AM Thread Starter
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Any discus owners here??

I have a 90 gallon tank, heavily planted that is home to 7 large angels and 2 pearl gouramis. I would love to try discus and have the perfect water (I'm told) for them. Anyone see a problem with a couple of discus in this set up? I understand they like warm water, mine is at 78-80 degrees, does it need to be warmer than that. IF so, do the plants mind the warmer temp?? What about nitrate levels??

Ph 6.6
Gh 2
Kh 0 (told you is was perfect for discus! )
Nitrate 10-25 ppm (added with stump remover)
Water change 40% weekly
No added Co2
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-21-2004, 04:52 PM
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Dang, very nice water you have there. The only thing that you would have to worry about is the nitrate levels (try dosing in smaller dosages more often).

You're correct that you will need to increase the water temperature. I would crank your heaters up until you hit around the 86 degrees range. Certain plants won't like the change, but they should be okay with it if you slowly raise it.


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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-21-2004, 05:07 PM
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I'm researching this same question right now. I got rid of the Angels in my 55g and feel I am ready for Discus, but there will have to be a few changes.
1) Raise temp to 82F
2) Remove aggressive eaters (Angels, reduce number of SAEs). Discus are a little slower to feed, especially at first.
3) Add automatic feeder to feed 3x a day.
4) Start with large juvenile or adult discus (3.5"-4" minimum)
Your Angels may or may not be too aggressive as far as beating on the Discus, but they will probably make it difficult for the Discus to eat properly.
Here's a great forum to discuss Planted Discus Tanks...

- Sam P -
plantedtanker in limbo - all tanks currently in storage
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-21-2004, 07:46 PM
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84 to 86

I believe the temp needs to be even higher than that, 84 to 86 normally, 88 for newly aquired fish. (I'm still a novice at discus, keeping discus since June only) And, yes, many plants will be unhappy at those temps, some fish also.

I am also nervous about that low KH, it is perfect for a pH crash.

A couple of discus may not be enough, you will prabably need 6 to spread out the aggression. Smaller groups have a way of dwindling to one, or so I've read.

As GulfCoast said, wander over to SimplyDiscus to read up on planted discus tanks and discus in general.

110G, 10 adult discus, barebottom with plants on wood
58G, 3 adult discus, barebottom with plants on wood
59G thickly planted tanks, rummey nose tetras, kuhlies
300G goldfish pond outside
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-21-2004, 07:55 PM
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I wouldn't worry about the low KH since the water is changed often enough to counter it.

You'll actually need more than four of them to spread that aggression out (unless you go with a pair). Otherwise, you'll have problems with aggression and stunting of the least dominant individual.


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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-21-2004, 08:34 PM
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I went through this experience 2 years ago. You're in for some fun! Discus are beautiful fish.
I agree that the angels can outcompete the discus. But if your discus are large and vigourous it shouldnt be a problem.
The initial problem you will face is that your discus will be scared when you introduce them into the main tank. I strongly advise setting up a stable quarantine tank first. House the discus in tehre for 2 weeks. This allows them to get use to your water and get accustomed to you in a controlled and minimized stress environment. Keep the temp at 86-90. Many times the discus will be shy and wont eat strongly beacuse they are scared or are not use to the new water conditions. The hospital also makes sure tehy wont be harassed whent ehy come in. Also you get a chance to conveniently train them to eat new foods. Once they are strong and not shy anymore and eating well (a healthy discus will devour and attack tehir food with vigor) , you can now add them in your big tank.
If a discus is scared or stressed, many problems can come out. The main one is hexamita or hole in the head. It is always present and manifests when the discus is stressed out for too long.

Other tips:
Don't just get two discus. 4 or 5 is ideal. Any less and one discus will get picked on.
The temp shuold be at 86. Older discus are fine at 82. 86 is convenient because most parasites that effect discus can't survive at this temp.
Watch your phosphates since discus eat alot and thus poop alot.
Beware of costia! Discus seem to have no immunity to this disease. Wiped out half of my discus overnight. Read up on it and be prepared to recognize it.
ALWAYS quarantine new fish.
You're not adding CO2, but if you are, beware not to have it above 25ppm. Discus are sensitive to it especially. The fish will exhibit signs of flukes or ammonia poisoning. But its really CO2. Co2 irritates teh skin below the scales and the low pH can strip their mucus coat.
Buy your discus from a good source!

For future problems, get to know metro drug well and prazi.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-21-2004, 08:35 PM
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All very good advice - a few things I can add are.....

1) Discus do best in groups of 5 or more as they are a very social creature and enjoy the company of other Discus. That doesn't mean that you can't have two and have some good results - some have done this quite successfully. However Discus stress very easily, and they seem to be able to handle it better when they are in a group.
2) The tank should be located in an area of the house that is realatively secluded from passers by. Having it in the hallway or near an area that people walk by frequently isn't good as Discus can be easily startled, and again, may become overly stressed by this.
3) When discus get stressed, they are more subject to contrating diseases - so care must be taken to reduce stressors. Having a hospital tank standing by "just in case" is always a wise investment. This should be a bare bones (BB) tank with only a heater & sponge filter. Since hospital tanks for Discus routinely require at least a 50% water change daily, having a fully cycled tank on standby isn't really neccessary.
4) Adult Discus can be maintained with only one feeding per day, but that one feeding needs to be a protien rich one (anything other then adults do require multible feedings per day - usually 3). A feeding net or cone is a good idea to keep the detrius & left over food at a minumum when keeping adults. A good group of "grounds keepers" (corries, ect.) is a must. Also, I wouldn't feed frozen beef heart to Dicus in a heavily planted tank. This causes a huge bioload on the tank - but if you must - then be sure to vacume the gravel below the feeding cone/net immediatly after each feeding. Failure to do so can lead to some pretty nasty water conditions. You should keep in mind that most Discus prefer a varried diet, so after you determine what foods you are going to use (and the ones your Discus prefer), vary them throughout the week.
5) These fish are very easy to take care of as long as your water quality remains consistant... so regular testing of water parameters is a must. I see from your post that you KH is 0 degrees - which means the buffering capacity of the water is too low to maintain a steady pH. I would suggest you increase the KH of your water to prevent pH swings. Also, bringing the NO3 down to 10ppm would be wise too.
6) Last but not least, when you decide to purchase you Discus get them through a reputable breeder (not the LFS).

The link in GulfCoastAquarian's post is a very good forum for Discus in planted tanks - but be sure to also pruse through the remaining forum discussion areas as well. You will learn a great deal about the special needs and concerns that need to be addressed when keeping Discus in your tank. You can also learn about most of the breeders, and what they specialize in rasing/selling (pigeon bloods, snakeskins, turks, wilds, marlburos, ect.). IMO nothing looks better then wilds in a planted tank- so if this is going to be your choice, then you should contact Al (brewmaster15) on that forum in regards to getting some wilds for your tank.

Bet of luck on your quest for Discus

Mark K...
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Custom All Glass 90 Gal (48x14x30) - Eheim 2028 Pro II - 8w AquaUV Sterilizer - 48" Aqualight 2-65W 6700K & 2-55W 9325K - (4) 3/4Watt Aqualight Lunar Blue-Moon-Glow LEDs - 160lbs EcoComplete substrate - Dupla Therm 500 substrate heater w/Temp Control - Hydor ETH300 inline heater - pressurized Co2 w/pH controller - Reactor 1000 CO2 - & lots of other misc. crap
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-21-2004, 08:38 PM
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Your nitrates are fine. KH is fine. Discus dont seem sensitive to nitrates from my experience. Mainly they are sensitive to pH swings and temperature dips.
Also dont feed them dry pellets w/o soaking in water first. They will get bloat and usually end up dead. Their GI tract is too compressed to accomodate an expanded pellet so it gets clogged.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-22-2004, 01:56 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you all so much. Great information!! It was suggested that I get rid of the aggressive eaters such as angels. These angels I have had since dime size and they are about the size of my hand. I could NOT part with them! I was asking if the Discus could go into the angel tank. Is it not wise to have them together?? Thanks for all the help!!
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