Are discus really that hard to keep? - The Planted Tank Forum
  • 2 Post By discuspaul
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-22-2020, 03:13 AM Thread Starter
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jun 2020
Posts: 1
Are discus really that hard to keep?

I really want discus but I have seen conflicting information. Some people say daily 50% water changes and feed a rediculous amount with a bare bottom tank. And some say forget that. Heres what I wanted to do. A 75 gallon with 8 2-3" discus in a heavily planted tank. I would do a 50% water change or more every 5-6 days. Everyone is saying its impossible to raise juvies in planted tanks without doing a ton of water changes and a bunch of other things. I would keep the water at a stable ph and 85 degrees. Just, is it really as hard as people say they are. Its really discouraging because I wanted to do it
as a hobby and something to enjoy rather than dedicating my whole day to taking care of a discus tank. Ive researched a lot so far btw.
Baneyyy is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-22-2020, 03:50 AM
Planted Member
PTrader: (4/100%)
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Bay Area, CA
Posts: 211
Very long time since I've posted here lol..

The answer is yes and no. Adult discus are very easy to care for unless you're a novice to the hobby (i.e. know not to overfeed, keep up weekly maintenance and can identify issues early). They don't need to be fed as frequently and can thrive in a very heavily planted tank, which is it's own filtration system in addition to canisters, overflow filters etc.

Young discus are much harder to care for and really shouldn't be kept in a planted tank unless you are extremely experienced, do daily water changes and are willing to take the challenges that come with it on.

They need to be fed frequently (but carefully) because they can only consume so much at a time and because they are at an optimal and prime stage for growth. Almost every time small discus are raised in planted or non-bare bottom tanks they are stunted or die young. Almost nobody experienced would recommend this.

If you are TRULY bent on quickly putting discus in a planted tank, save the funds and buy at 4-5inches each at the least. I wouldn't go below 5in to be honest but that's just me. If you have time and are patient, grow them out in the bare bottom which is easy to clean and then make it a planted tank after they reach 4.5 or so inches--I've done this with great success but am now about to start a new planted tank buying full grown discus to put in after established for a bit.

Hope that helps.
number1sixerfan is offline  
post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-22-2020, 01:52 PM
Planted Tank Guru
discuspaul's Avatar
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Posts: 3,409
This might help - I developed these rules after keeping discus, on & off for over 30 years -


First I'd just like to mention once again that discus are hardier than many people think, and are not difficult to keep, so long as one is prepared to accept and adhere to a few key practices that will provide the best chances of success with discus.

This listing is recorded more or less in order of importance:

1) - D - Do your homework well before delving into discus. Read and research all you can beforehand. Googling will certainly help, as well as spending a good deal of time reading the posts and threads on the forum, particularly the stickies in the 'Discus Basics for Beginners' section, which will provide you with much of the material you need to digest.

2) - I - Investigate and learn of the best sources to get your discus stock. Find those breeders &/or importers that are long time, well-experienced, responsible, reputable, and known to supply high quality, healthy, and well-shaped discus. Buy your discus from one of these sources in order to insure that you get off on the best footing possible.
This is the single, most important factor in succeeding with discus.
The forum has a sponsors section which lists a good number of high quality discus suppliers in North America. Check it out.

3) - S - Set up and plan to follow a strict regular routine of fresh water changes, tank wipe-downs and cleansing, vacuuming of wastes, and regular filter and media cleaning, changes, replacements, and maintenance. Be fully prepared for the kind of commitment it takes to produce and maintain the highest water quality and conditions that you can.

4) - C - Carefully consider the type of tank set up you start with. Make sure the tank size is ample enough to start with 5 or 6 discus. Don't be tempted to begin with a tank of less than 55 or 60 gallons, and don't try to justify going smaller by just getting 1, 2, 3, or 4 discus for cost or other reasons.
Wait till you have sufficient resources to get a proper-sized tank, and the suitable size and number of fish to insure continuing good health and harmonious discus sociability.
Do not start with small, undersized, very juvenile fish which have not yet developed a more mature immune system, are more demanding to raise properly, and much more prone to health problems and other issues. Get fish of at least 3.0" in size, preferably larger.

5) - U - Undertake to start off with a bare bottom tank, unless you're getting fully adult fish and have previous good experience with fish-keeping generally, and maintaining a planted tank in particular. If you must have some decor, limit yourself to a very thin sand substrate layer, and perhaps a piece of driftwood with just a couple of small plants attached, or one or two potted plants.
Once you gain several months' of experience getting to know your discus' traits & behavior, and your discus get larger, then you may proceed to an aqua-scaped environment, to possibly include some other species of compatible discus tank-mates. Feed a varied diet, several times a day, and learn which foods will achieve a nutritious diet, by researching.

6) - S - Simplify. Keep things as simple as you can to start. Don't complicate your start with discus, at least at first, by placing them in a heavily planted environment, using CO2 and a strict fertilization regime. Make sure your tank is fully cycled before adding the fish, and don't be tempted to alter or change the pH of your water, or modify your water conditions and parameters by using chemicals of any kind. No need to use RO water or adopt any other procedures that would tend to complicate what should be a simple start to your discus launch. If you plan on eventually having a community tank set-up, carefully research the species of other fish you'd like to keep with the discus, to insure they are able to withstand the higher discus temp of at least 82 F, and that they are fully compatible with discus.
And do a complete and proper quarantine before adding any such tank-mates to your discus tank.

Follow these 'rules', and there's little doubt you will succeed with discus !

You might also want to have a read through my lengthy Guide to Getting Started with Discus, located right here in this 'FISH' section, under Articles & FAQ - the first Sticky: click on it here:
reddhawkk and Kubla like this.

Last edited by Darkblade48; 07-23-2020 at 04:27 PM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
discuspaul is offline  
post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-24-2020, 08:14 PM
Algae Grower
Preeths's Avatar
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Bangalore, India
Posts: 132
Discus require relatively warm water compared to other fish. Warm water has less dissolved oxygen compared to cooler water. so they need good aeration in the tank. The only reason I have ever lost discus is because the air pump stopped.Some one turned it off accidentally

They are more sensitive to Ammonia than most of the other fish. This is the reason you need to keep the tank clean and remove uneaten food and wastes. Daily water changes help here because you never let any ammonia,nitrates or nitrites build up.

You can keep them in a well established cycled tank. The canister filters on my discuss tank have 3 bags of Purigen in addition to ceramic rings and other filter media. This has worked well and i usually swap the Purigen every time i clean the filter. 50% Water change is done 2 times a week.

If you ensure good water parameters, correct temperature and good aeration of water, you can keep Discus. Any slip-up even for just a few hours will be fatal to the fish.


Last edited by Preeths; 07-24-2020 at 08:15 PM. Reason: Spelling
Preeths is offline  
post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-26-2020, 01:05 AM
Wannabe Guru
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Denville, NJ
Posts: 1,505
I've had them on and off for years. I wasn't real successful at first because I just plain didn't know enough about them. KI also recommend not buying real young. 4" would be about the smallest I'd buy.

I highly recommend a good breeder. Discus Hans has always done well for me. AFAIK, he's the only official Stendker discus breeder in the US.

Discus Hans USA - World Class Discus Fish


><;;;"> <9))>>{

Eheim Pimp #204.
58 gal planted Oceanic
Japonica shrimp, assorted Blue Eyed Rainbows, Tetras, Hatchets, Danios, Rasboras,
Celestial Pearl Danio (Celestichthys margaritatus) & Emerald Dwarf Rasbora (Microrasbora erythromicron)
LS6 Tommy is offline  


Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome