Discus-keeping: For those interested, i'm here to help - Page 2 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #16 of 128 (permalink) Old 03-25-2018, 01:25 AM
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Hi Paul - question for you. I've got a recent issue with one of my 5" adult discus.

I dose liquid ferts in my planted tank once per week (the day after one of my biweekly WC's). I dose Thrive (9 pumps for my 90g set up). I dose the first in to the return pump chamber of my sump so they are evenly dispersed into the water column.

With no changes to this routine, one of my discus seems to have become sensitive to the ferts. Shortly after the ferts enter the tank, and for up to 24hrs after one fish with flick his fins and dart sporadically around the tank. The behavior isn't exhibited any other day of the week, or in any of the 5 other fish.

Thoughts? How can I prevent this? I'm worried that it is overly stressing this fish, or that he will one day injure himself, or leap out of the tank.

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post #17 of 128 (permalink) Old 03-25-2018, 02:03 AM Thread Starter
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That's a tough question, my friend - I've never heard of anything like that before.
What kind of liquid ferts are you dosing, specifically.

Without knowing which fert, or ingredient within it, might be causing the sensitivity - if indeed it is the ferts- for the moment the only thing I can suggest is that you lower/or lessen, the dosage of those ferts by 50% and see what the reaction is.

Is the sporadic darting occurring on a continuous basis over 24 hours after dosage ?
This is mysterious - do you feel your liquid dosing is essential to getting the plant growth results you're looking for or expect ?

This is mysterious - do you feel your liquid dosing is essential to getting the plant growth results you're looking for or expect ?
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post #18 of 128 (permalink) Old 03-25-2018, 02:27 AM
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Paul- I'm using Nilocg Thrive.

From their website - 2mL pump per 10g will add 7ppm NO3, 1.3ppm PO4, 5ppm K, and 0.25ppm Fe
Analysis:[censored] N 3%, P 0.8%, K 9.4%, Fe 0.47%, Mg 0.062%, Cu 0.009%, B 0.023%, Mn 0.06%, Mo 0.0018%, Zn 0.016%


I've been using this fert for the past 6 months and only recently noticed the issue in the past two or three weeks.

I have a lot of water column feeders with masses of java fern and various anubias. Backing off dosing would likely result in some serious issues in plant health.

This is my first go around with discus, I've been growing these fish for nearly a year (with the exception of the white diamond in the lower left, that fish is only about a month old), and were roughly the size of a 50cent piece when I purchased them. The effected fish is the orange/black mut in the upper right. He is some sort of pidgeon blood mash up, which I likely wouldn't have purchased had I known more about discus at the time.

Thanks for your input.

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post #19 of 128 (permalink) Old 03-25-2018, 02:30 AM
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As for the darting, it is only occasional during that 24 hour period. He eats normally, and shoals with the rest of the fish, and otherwise behaves normally. Then out of no where will start twitching his pectoral fins or go dashing around the tank at full speed. After each episode the fish will return to normal for up to several hours before repeating.

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post #20 of 128 (permalink) Old 03-25-2018, 03:16 AM Thread Starter
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Dashing around the tank at full speed on occasion is something I experienced myself quite a few years ago - cause unknown - and I eventually lost that fish when it jumped out of the tank. Quite honestly, I really don't think it has anything to do with the ferts, or any element within them.

I don't know what your w/c & cleansing regime is, but it may be a water quality issue, temporary or otherwise.
The good news is that fish is eating & behaving normally with the others most of the time. Keep observing - it may only be serious if his coloration darkens significantly.
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post #21 of 128 (permalink) Old 03-25-2018, 03:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by discuspaul View Post
Dashing around the tank at full speed on occasion is something I experienced myself quite a few years ago - cause unknown - and I eventually lost that fish when it jumped out of the tank. Quite honestly, I really don't think it has anything to do with the ferts, or any element within them.

I don't know what your w/c & cleansing regime is, but it may be a water quality issue, temporary or otherwise.
The good news is that fish is eating & behaving normally with the others most of the time. Keep observing - it may only be serious if his coloration darkens significantly.
Thanks for the input, much appreciated!

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post #22 of 128 (permalink) Old 03-26-2018, 03:40 PM
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Paul, I'm doing the research for setting up a 75 gallon planted discus tank. I figured I would run my setup and stocking thoughts by you, and see if you recommend anything different.

75g aqeon tank
Ada microferts (sub soil)
Ada powersand s
Ada amazonas cap
Small front area with pool filter sand
Ada rock (nature style)
Twin aquaclear 70's hob
Not sure on heater and lighting

Plants:
Not sure yet...suggestions?

Fish:
3 4.5" discus from Chicago Discus (not decided on strain)
6-12 otocinclus
6-12 Pygmy corydoras
A school of small tetras (rasbora, neon, tummy nose) not sure, but just one species.
2 albino bristlenose plecos
Amani shrimp (if I can make it work as far as water and tank mates go)

Any suggestions at all would be greatly appreciated...I would really like to do it right the first time. I plan on having the tank set up without fish, then after fishless cycle, start slowly introducing fish, allowing for bio to adjust. I'm not sure if there's any truth to it, but I've heard that introducing the tetras after the discus cause them to school better, due to the large fish.

Thanks
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post #23 of 128 (permalink) Old 03-26-2018, 03:52 PM
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Dare I ask??? (long story)
Any thoughts on Discus and gluteraldehyde/seachem flourish excel
or other liquid carbon sources?

Seems to be contradictory thoughts on it.
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post #24 of 128 (permalink) Old 03-26-2018, 06:09 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waltoflorius View Post
Paul, I'm doing the research for setting up a 75 gallon planted discus tank. I figured I would run my setup and stocking thoughts by you, and see if you recommend anything different.

75g aqeon tank
Ada microferts (sub soil)
Ada powersand s
Ada amazonas cap
Small front area with pool filter sand
Ada rock (nature style)
Twin aquaclear 70's hob
Not sure on heater and lighting

Plants:
Not sure yet...suggestions?

Fish:
3 4.5" discus from Chicago Discus (not decided on strain)
6-12 otocinclus
6-12 Pygmy corydoras
A school of small tetras (rasbora, neon, tummy nose) not sure, but just one species.
2 albino bristlenose plecos
Amani shrimp (if I can make it work as far as water and tank mates go)

Any suggestions at all would be greatly appreciated...I would really like to do it right the first time. I plan on having the tank set up without fish, then after fishless cycle, start slowly introducing fish, allowing for bio to adjust. I'm not sure if there's any truth to it, but I've heard that introducing the tetras after the discus cause them to school better, due to the large fish.

Thanks

Hi there,
If you've not kept discus before, I recommend you keep things as simple as possible until you gain several months' experience with keeping discus & get to know their traits & behaviors.


In particular, may I respectfully suggest
that your intended substrate combo of
Ada microferts, powersand, and amazonas cap, while great for growing plants in most situations, may not be the best & safest approach for starting out with discus - it could be difficult to keep properly clean, and might tend to harbor the development of potentially harmful bacteria which could adversely affect water quality & conditions.
Please consider starting out with nothing more than a complete pool filter sand substrate for ease of vacuuming/cleansing of waste matter.


Otherwise your set up is good. Consider low intensity lighting & Eheim 300 w heating.


Plants: Some that do quite well @ the higher discus temps, using root tab fertilizing are:
- Any variety of Amazon Sword
- Bacopas &/or Rotalas
- Cryptocorynes
- Vals & Sag's
- Hygrophilas
- Ludwigia
- Nympheas (Lotuses)
- Anubias


Chicago discus is an excellent source for high quality, well-shaped fish.


Discus tank-mates:
Your suggested species will be compatible with discus, and can readily tolerate the higher discus temps, with the exceptions of:
Otocinclus - which have on occasion as they get lager & older, been known to take a liking to discus' slime coating as part of their diet - it happened to me, more than once - avoid them.


I tried Amanos with discus but they didn't do well and didn't last long.


Neons do not do well @ discus temp - think Cardinals instead.


Always introduce discus first to an intended community tank set-up & allow them several weeks to become comfortable with their new surroundings. Add any tank-mates afterwards, following a proper quarantine of course.


Call on me if there's anything more I can help you with.
Best,
Paul

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffkrol View Post
Dare I ask??? (long story)
Any thoughts on Discus and gluteraldehyde/seachem flourish excel
or other liquid carbon sources?

Seems to be contradictory thoughts on it.

Yes there are some contradictory thoughts on it, but I've used Excel/Flourish and other Seachem liquid fert sources with moderation, and with no ill effects.
Give it a go. Shouldn't be a problem.
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post #25 of 128 (permalink) Old 03-26-2018, 09:57 PM
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Here's something I've never understood about discus - why is there a need for so many water changes? I don't accept answers of "they are sensitive fish" or "they are picky about water conditions".

with discus, there seems to be a lot of advice given without reasoning, and no one questions it. And if you don't follow the official discus keeping rules, you are a horrible person. It's strange.
It is one of those things that gets thrown around a LOT in the discus world and everyone simply takes it as fact. I'm not sure if there really is an answer. But I have kept some discus over the past few years; and this advice of frequent water changes is a good beginning guideline. But, I believe what often gets confusing is raising juvenile discus vs. keeping adult discus. Frequent water changes certainly will benefit either situation; but the over the top frequency is really only required for raising juveniles. Adult discus should thrive in a well cared for tank that gets routine water changes to fit that tanks needs.

I completely agree that there are lots of "rules", and advice given about discus with no good data to back it up. However, those people giving those "rules" have proven to be successful when following them so something about it can really work. I think what compounds this is the price of the fish. The price tag on a discus is 10x that of some other aquarium fish. So I think people are more likely to try and follow someone else's rules if they were proven to be successful. The downside of that is what you're seeing in that when you dont follow those "rules" you're almost outcast from certain online communities (some I know Paul frequents) with lots of experts....most of whom have great information to share! But they make it hard to want to be a part of the conversation.


Quote:
Originally Posted by discuspaul View Post
It seems to me, doinkmobb, that you're being unfairly, inaccurately, and overly dramatic with your comments, to the point of seeming to be simply argumentative and not really serious about wanting any kind of serious response.

It's been well shown (proven) over many years by thousands of experienced commercial discus breeders & suppliers, as well as individual hobbyists, that discus grow well and do best when significant attention is paid to fresh water replenishment, and resulting good water quality & conditions, and do poorly when that is not the case and water quality is neglected.
Does that indicate that discus are not tolerant of poor water quality ? - It certainly does, in my view.
I think thats a pretty unfair response to be honest with you Paul. Its about what I'd expect to see on some other site. Keep in mind you went out of your way to offer advice about keeping these fish. The original question asked is clearly only done so after someone tried to research the best they could about keeping discus.I'd go as far as saying you were being more argumentative than the person who asked the question. All you did was remind him again what he's already seen via his own research.

Time and time again there are plenty of people who say and show that good discus come from good water. But the legitimate question asked is WHY? Why is this soooooo much more important with discus than just about every other species out there? Of all those who show the results not many can really explain why they got those results other than explaining what it is they did to reach the goal. I can agree that the proof is in the pudding; it clearly works! But no one is saying it doesnt work and no one is implying that discus are tolerant of poor quality water. I'm just as curious myself to know the actual reason behind this.

As pointed out by @Waltoflorius, and as you confirmed, there are success stories out there even if they dont abide by the discus "laws". Whether or not you agree with it, or whether or not you've seen many success stories (perhaps there are more who never came to boast on the internet); there are success stories from those with poor husbandry skills, and less than ideal tanks, etc. So again the curiosity gets the best of me and I have to wonder why. Especially when the majority of the information out there would imply that is not only unlikely, but impossible.

But keep an open mind to those who want to question this stuff. There is an air of pompousness (is that a word?) almost when it comes to some discus experts. I've been highly turned off by that attitude displayed by other discus keepers in the past and I'm sure it ends up stopping some people dead in their tracks. The price tag is enough of a deterrent, we don't need the ones involved in the hobby to turn away new discus keepers who could end up teaching us all a thing or two someday!

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post #26 of 128 (permalink) Old 03-27-2018, 07:21 AM
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All are open to question the methods of the discus breeders and experts (such as @discuspaul) who have been raising and breeding discus for decades and have had the experience to see firsthand what these methods produce.

By all means, question each assertion: from water change frequency, to feeding, to substrate and decor. Of course, like I said, you are welcome to it.

Do the experiment-- all of us who have kept discus for decades ( consistent with the same guidelines that Paul outlines) would love for you to share your results.

Certainly, do less water changes, feed differently, raise juveniles in a planted tank-- whatever skepticism you hold for the methods of the breeders/long-term discus fish-keepers--- modify them.

However, before you do, make sure you know what a discus looks like who has been raised to its full potential and compare it to the discus you find in your tank after a year.

I would be really interested in seeing what you end up with.

To tell you the truth, I am skeptical because in my nearly two decades of raising discus I have seen what lack of regard to methods looks like.

But, hey--- maybe Ive been doing all those water changes for naught and you have something to teach me. Or maybe not.
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post #27 of 128 (permalink) Old 03-27-2018, 03:24 PM
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All are open to question the methods of the discus breeders and experts (such as @discuspaul) who have been raising and breeding discus for decades and have had the experience to see firsthand what these methods produce.

By all means, question each assertion: from water change frequency, to feeding, to substrate and decor. Of course, like I said, you are welcome to it.

Do the experiment-- all of us who have kept discus for decades ( consistent with the same guidelines that Paul outlines) would love for you to share your results.

Certainly, do less water changes, feed differently, raise juveniles in a planted tank-- whatever skepticism you hold for the methods of the breeders/long-term discus fish-keepers--- modify them.

However, before you do, make sure you know what a discus looks like who has been raised to its full potential and compare it to the discus you find in your tank after a year.

I would be really interested in seeing what you end up with.

To tell you the truth, I am skeptical because in my nearly two decades of raising discus I have seen what lack of regard to methods looks like.

But, hey--- maybe Ive been doing all those water changes for naught and you have something to teach me. Or maybe not.

These discus discussions have a way of running around in circles; no matter where they are heard. I'm not sure if this is a direct response to my post earlier; but I'm not skeptical at all. I know the "discus laws" produce results. I've raised (both successfully and maybe not so successfully) a few groups of juvenile discus. I know that skimping on maintenance can quickly turn what could have been an amazing group of fish into so so fish or worse. The question however is why? Why is it that this is so much more important with discus than other species?

Why does the discussion always turn to sarcasm where someone dares another to prove them wrong by trying a different way? Have you been doing water changes for naught and do you still have something to learn? Well if you cant explain why exactly all those water changes produce the results you see then there is still some knowledge left to be had there! But, hey - - maybe I'm wrong and you just decided to keep that knowledge to yourself rather than help pass it along in the community. Or maybe not.

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post #28 of 128 (permalink) Old 03-27-2018, 03:34 PM
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C'mon people, sharing and learning can be more fun then bickering.

Did I read somewhere that Discus secrete hormones that inhibit growth of conspecifics?

If true, then WC sounds like a sound hormone therapy.

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post #29 of 128 (permalink) Old 03-27-2018, 03:46 PM Thread Starter
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@ lksdrinker:

You can think what you like - you're certainly entitled to your opinion.
Seems a bit strange though, that at least 4 others were obviously in concert my comments, with you being the only dissenter.

Please know that, like most people, I expect the nature and terminology of questions to be done in a mature, responsible and polite way, and I don't react well to the tenure of any poster's apparent (to me anyway) immoderate, inflammatorily worded approach. I wonder how you might realistically react to an inquirer who used similar type of imagery?

In any event, I believe the well published multitude of successful discus-keeping results based on maintaining the best water quality & conditions, mainly through large, frequent water changes & tank cleansing, speaks for itself, and provides all the data one needs to be convinced of this being the obvious way to go in order to succeed at keeping discus thriving & healthy.

As to the deeper "WHY", the only answer I've ever felt comfortable with as dealing with the issue, and that many other experienced discus-keepers also accept to one degree or another, is that the free-flowing, constant fresh & clean water replenishment occurring in the Amazon tributaries of discus habitat for centuries, has genetically pre-disposed them to doing well under similar type of conditions in aquaria, as I mentioned to the poster.

I've not heard any other explanation that is believable to me - it's a bit like the question: "Why have UFO's of believed extra-terrestrial origin spent thousands of years visiting & observing earth ? " No one has any answer to that. LOL
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post #30 of 128 (permalink) Old 03-27-2018, 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by discuspaul View Post
Seems a bit strange though, that at least 4 others were obviously in concert my comments, with you being the only dissenter.

As to the deeper "WHY", the only answer I've ever felt comfortable with as dealing with the issue, and that many other experienced discus-keepers also accept to one degree or another, is that the free-flowing, constant fresh & clean water replenishment occurring in the Amazon tributaries of discus habitat for centuries, has genetically pre-disposed them to doing well under similar type of conditions in aquaria, as I mentioned to the poster.

I've not heard any other explanation that is believable to me - it's a bit like the question: "Why have UFO's of believed extra-terrestrial origin spent thousands of years visiting & observing earth ? " No one has any answer to that. LOL
I'm not a dissenter! I couldnt make myself any more clear that I know this way works. I've dont it myself and have seen it firsthand! However that still doesn't even begin to explain why it might work. You and ever other successful discus keeper can repeat yourself over and over and go through your procedures as many times as you like and say that large water changes speaks for itself. (Its exactly why I followed the paths of successful discus keepers before me) But there still has to be an actual reason that has never been explained!

I'll pass right over your rules about how to ask questions on an internet forum and get to the discus; but dont offer up your service to help on a public forum if you are going to decide who really deserves it.

Its not a deeper answer I'm looking for; but a scientific one. Saying they're pre-disposed to one thing or another is sort of a cop out. They're pre-disposed to living in a river yet we keep them in glass boxes somehow.

If the free flowing, constant fresh and clean water replenishment that occurs in the tributaries of discus habitats have truly pre-disposed them to doing well under similar conditions, then how is it that anyone can keep discus in water that is not identical to that?

Wouldn't that imply that you should keep discus in a recreated mix of white and black amazon water? Full of sediment from the white water, full of tanins from the black water with a ph that fluctuates from barely anything up to 6. something or other.

Why is it that other species from similar waters, areas, tributaries, etc, do not have the same pre-disposition? I think this is the part that amazes me the most. Plenty of other species come from similar if not identical water parameters. Yet they dont require the same regimen that discus do. So is it the water or is it the fish?

Comparing it to a question about UFOs is a bit silly. There has to be a scientific explanation with the discus. If you choose to simply accept it as fact thats fine. Others might be looking for a real explanation and they shouldn't be ostracized for trying to do so. Sometimes an acceptable answer is simply "I do not know". Things like this dont happen for no good reason; even if the explanation is unknown to most of us!

As @OVT pointed out about the hormone secretion theory. Used to be we'd say every group of discus has a few runts and that just sort of happens that way. nothing you can really do about it. But now there are ideas as to why that happens and some facts to back it up. So, yes large, frequent water changes can be a way to combat that aspect of it for sure.

There was a time when everyone used carbon in their tanks. Never questioned it, but everyone did, so that continued. Then HITH and similar symptoms showed up (more so with discus than other species) and people found that the fine carbon dust was "clogging" the sensory pits on discus causing them to become inflamed, infected etc. Now when someone says "dont use carbon it'll kill your fish" there is some factual evidence to cite as to why you perhaps shouldn't use carbon instead of just stepping on someone's head and implying they're a moron for not doing it the way all the others have done it successfully. Hopefully some day we can have a similar answer to give when someone legitimately wants to understand what is truly so different about discus that forces this very specific regimen.

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