Thanks, I've been reading over at simply discus, lots of good info. My plan is to start the 7 very small discus in a 12x8x6" refugium inside the bare bottom 10 gallon (the breeder suggested I started in something smaller than a 10 gallon), them move them to a 10 gallon bare bottom tank then to a 20 gallon and then hopefully into a 55 gallon low tech planted tank (could be a 75 gallon though). I'm going to feed them mainly beef heart in the beginning then mix in beef heart and worm flake later.
For 7 fish, your breeder has given you excellent advice. I would suggest though, that your young ones might be better off starting them in the 10 gal right off the bat, rather than the smaller refugium, if only for the fact that multiple, fairly frequent transfers to other tanks while young can tend to stress them more than they need to be. And the smaller tank will likely need more frequent cleaning and closer attention to parameters, based strictly on water quantity.
I know nothing about discus but find it interesting that they can stunt simply by being raised in a planted tank. Why is that?
There are a variety of reasons, but the use of a BB tank as opposed to planted mainly boils down to swimming/exercise space to build appetite in young fish, the ease of maintaining higher water quality in it, ease of rigorous tank cleaning, ability to feed messier (but more nutritious) foods, in a bare-bottom tank.
Example: feeding beefheart mixtures can easily cloud & pollute a planted tank, whereas BB allows all uneaten food to be vacced up readily & fully.
(Also provides a much easier observational and medicating environment, if necessary).
A BB environment allows discus growth to as full a potential as possible, whereas the routines involved in maintaining a planted tank, (One example is fertilizing plants & the use of CO2)- which may not be conducive to optimum fish growth).
Also planted tanks do not usually receive the rigorous and religious cleansing possible in BB, further aggravating growth possibilities.
That's about the best way I can put it. Although there are other reasons, but I don't want to write a book & bore you.
Hope that answers.