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Discus Help

778 Views 7 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Chris25

I have discus which I purchased from someone who was keeping them in HMA water from Birmingham which he said has hard water. Before getting them I purchased a HMA filter from devotedly discus so that the water would hopefully be a close match as I too have hard water. However I'm beginning to think that they require RO water to thrive. I've lost a few (I've had them around 5 months) and the 5 I have left haven't grown much and one is smaller than the others and darker.

The Ph is very high at over 8
KH is at 11
GH is at 15

They are in a 100 litre, bare bottom grow out tank. This is filtered with 2 sponge filters and has an air stone and is heated to 30 degrees. I do around 40-50% water changes every other day.

If I get an HMA-RO converter and mix 80% RO with 20% HMA will this be much better for them and get them growing nice and big and happy? Is it that simple to just mix the water as above? Or would more need to be done? If this is the right route to go would I need to slowly introduce the RO water maybe start by adding 20% to the first change, then 40% on the next until I get to 80%?

I want to do everything I can to make them happy and healthy.

Thank you for any advice you can offer.

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What is your tap parameters? You Ph is a bit high but,they should have adjusted. I always just use tap. Post some pictures of them. If,you have had them that long and they haven't grown chances are they are stunted. Are they all eating good? I only use RO if I am getting them to breed

Appropriate comments by Chris Taylor - I suspect he is right on the mark.
Your pH, KH & GH are just fine for discus - no need to unnecessarily complicate things for yourself by taking any other measures.

What size were the discus when you got them , and is your source a breeder or no?
For young discus, large daily wcs and multiple daily feedings in a bb tank are the required elements to produce reasonable growth.

As Chris mentioned, your discus were likely stunted in the first place, and if so, their growth would be slow and inconsistent. And if you lost a few while maintaining the routine you outlined, it's also likely they weren't that healthy when you got them.
Photos would tell more.
That's what I was thinking Paul. I have a few I've taken in that are stunted. Still beautiful fish just not as large as healthy ones. There'd nothing wrong with small discus as long as they are healthy.

Contrary to what, most think if you keep clean water and a stable tank anyone can keep Discus. Just have to know what to watch for. Post some pics and maybe we can give you some tips.


Here are some pictures. I'll check my tap water this evening and post the results.

I am hoping to get a breeding pair and breed them at some stage.




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On the one hand, some of them look like they could be very young fish of around 2" in size, and approx. 2+ months old. But that's definitely not the case, since you've had them for 5 months yourself, and who knows how long the previous owner had them before you got them.
(Do you know if the former owner bred them himself ? And were the fish approx. the same size as they are now when you got them 5 months ago ? Are they around 2" -2.5" ?)

In any event, they are quite obviously stunted fish at that age. The fish in the lower right corner of photo # 3 is a good example of this. And you can readily see the poor football-shape of fish in photo # 5.
Well & properly raised and cared for discus of 6 months or more of age (as yours no doubt are) should have a good coloration by now, approaching their adult coloration (which yours do not), and should be around 4"or more, up to 5" in size, at that point.

The good news is that you appear to be looking after them well enough - they seem alert and reasonably healthy - and while the likelihood of their growing out to any respectable size is very slim indeed, you can nonetheless continue to care well for them and take pleasure from them over time.
Best of luck to you.

Should you wish to further your discus hobby at any time, I would suggest you obtain known good quality, well-shaped discus, from an experienced, reliable, and reputable supply source, whether that be a breeder or importer of quality discus.
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To give you some comparison, and hopefully a better idea of what you should be looking for in future, Chris, here are some approx. 3 month old, young juvenile discus which I had just purchased a week or so before the photos were taken. They were all over 3" in size, some 3.5" and were already beginning to take on some of their near adult, adult coloration.
Some of these same fish can be seen in album # 2, when they were 5-6 months old and approx. 4.5"-5" : ( I had already sold a few to a friend) :

#1 album -
# 2 album -
Thanks for your responses,

I've double checked and they got delivered to me on the 15/11/13 so actually only had them 4 months. They all came in at around the same size and some have grown more than others. The little one in #3 is probably a bit bigger than when I got them and the other 4 have grown more.

I did purchase them online at a good price (too good to be true it appears) as it was my first attempt with discus and I didn't want to spend a fortune on the fish for me to mess it up. The guy did breed them himself.

When I first got them they took a month or two to stop swimming away from me and now readily come to the front of the tank to be fed.

It's just strange as I initially had 10 and they were all ok for around two months before I started loosing them intermittently and have since lost 5 over the past couple of months.
I did mail the guy I got them from asking for his help back on the 11/02/14 with no response. I guess that says something.

I want to do anything I can to help them.

P.S. DiscusPaul, your fish and tanks look stunning!!
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