The Planted Tank Forum banner
1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
394 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there, hoping someone with some expertise can help me out.

Would I be able to keep discus in my 240G low tech / no water change / no c02 tank (Tom Barr no c02 method)? I've never had any problems keeping any species of fish in a no water change tank, but I've never owned discus before. I'm just concerned because I've always read that they need pretty good water conditions. For filtration I will be using a Fluval FX5, so I think the filtration will be more than adequate.

Opinions?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
411 Posts
If your not overstocked, you stock adults not juvies and your nitrates stay low, I don't see why you couldn't. I just don't know how you handle the accumulated dissolved organics over time. Discus are huge ammonia producers + any leftover food = nitrates. That is what they are most sensitive to, increased level of nitrates.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
394 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
If your not overstocked, you stock adults not juvies and your nitrates stay low, I don't see why you couldn't. I just don't know how you handle the accumulated dissolved organics over time. Discus are huge ammonia producers + any leftover food = nitrates. That is what they are most sensitive to, increased level of nitrates.
This helps a lot. The plants/clean up crew should be able to take care of the accumulated dissolved organics

At least that's how it works in my current 55G tank via the same method.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,720 Posts
I've done discus w/o water changes before because my tank was heavily stocked with plants that absorbed nitrates faster than they could produce.
Although my tank had co2 and medium light, resulting plants to take in more nutrients. Although I am sure if you stock that tank enough with plants, you can have enough to absorb all the nitrates in the tank. Ammonia should not be an issue as long as your tank is cycled anyway.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
544 Posts
I am keeping mine with 30% wc each week. Plants take care of the nitrates though, every time I test the color shows pale pink which means less than 5 ppm

I had no idea you could keep a tank with no wc, how do you do it?

If you go simply discus they will tell you that it´s not possible, that you have to keep them in a bare bottom tank, but in truth many people keep them healthy and happy in planted tanks. I guess the trick is to keep your stock low on fish and high on plants
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
569 Posts
Where you could run into issues is when your clean-up crew isn't sufficient enough to consume all the food the Discus might miss. If the excess food just sits there long enough the fish will eat it and eventually get sick.

Cories or some kind of fish that scavenges off the bottom would probably be a good idea. Sterbai are a good choice to keep with Discus because they can handle the higher temps most Discus are kept at. I have a group of Guianacara and a few hundred Cardinals in with my Discus and seldom see food sitting on the bottom for more than a few seconds.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
414 Posts
Put some floating plants in there like amazon frogbit and you wont have to worry about nitrates. Since they float you can keep the tank low-tech and not have to worry about CO2 injection since they take it from the air. They are great nitrate reducers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
394 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks very much everyone!

Does anyone have any recommendations on the best place to buy online? local isn't an option for me.

I've came up with boxlotfish.com
discusmadness.com
tfdfish.com
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
411 Posts
Neither of those two. What you absolutely want to do is buy healthy, healthy discus from a reliable source. Tried to pick a place closer to NM because of overnight shipping charges. Hands down first choice would be Kenny Cheung at http://www.kennysdiscus.net He's in Daly City, CA. Most of my discus are from Kenny. He's the premier supplier on simplydiscus and a heck of a great guy. A little closer to you would be Dan at Gulf Coast Discus who also runs Houston Aquarium Warehouse.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
433 Posts
I think that a FX5 will not be enough filtration for a 240g. I use one on a 90g and still use 2 powerheads.
May I suggest at least on 50% WC at least monthly?

Sunrisetropicals.com is a great place for discus.
 

·
Plant Whisperer
Joined
·
2,550 Posts
pinkertd the link is dead...

I don't think it is a good idea to keep discus with no water changes ever. The organics would definitely accumulate over time even if the cleanup crew ate them. They have to poop too and that poop hangs around the tank as mulm (not absorbed by plants).
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
411 Posts
Fixed the link.
Topfrog you would plan to refresh the water periodically, correct? I took your questions as meaning foregoing weekly routine water changes. But every tank has to be refreshed periodically. There's a ton of terrific minerals in water that the fish will exhaust over time. In nature, it is not a closed system as in an aquarium so essential water minerals are always available to fish.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
398 Posts
ok honestly.. this is my opinion on this. Discus need water changes because if they don't have them especially at a young age it stuns their growth.. you should at least do water changes 3 times a week with Discus.......... just because your ammonia nitirites and nitrates are low doesnt mean anything they need water changes and if you can't do them than ya dont deserve beautiful fish like Discus. sounds kinda harsh but thats my opinion
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
569 Posts
3x per week sounds a bit excessive but Discus won't object to fresh, clean water whenever they can get it. My breeders and fry get at least that many w/c's per week but they are in barebottom tanks with little surface area for bacteria colonies and no scavengers to clean the bottom.

The Discus in my planted 180 get a w/c about every 2 weeks. Any fish will require some work but when the work interferes with the enjoyment time people tend to lose interest. The trick to it is keeping the bio load in tune with your personal schedule and that only comes from experience and observation. More fish = more work. Folks have been trying to fool that system for decades and still haven't perfected their tactics.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
411 Posts
There's a lot of variables that would change the answer to go in different directions. So far it's only been asked if it could be done. There are many, many scenarios where this just wouldn't work for instance with juvie discus. Juvie discus need frequent feedings for quite some time. Frequent feedings = more chance of excess food trapped in plants + increased nitrates = deteriorating water quality....so it would require regular and frequent tank maintenance.

In a 240G planted tank, lightly stocked with say about 8 Adult discus and a few bottom dwellers and maybe a large school of small tetras like embers, and with discus feeding experience, I think your water changes could be very, very minimal. A lot of water and relatively few fish. The filter and plants won't do everything you need to do to keep fish water top notch. Filtration works to basically do 3 main jobs: 1) process the ammonia & nitrite into nitrate, and 2) pull some of the solids out of the water column, and 3) circulate the water. Plants will consume nitrates and in doing so will keep the nitrate level low. But neither filters nor plants can make old tank water new. And old tank water will eventually take a toll on any fish.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
394 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
So if I'm going to do this I should buy adults if I don't want to do frequent water changes, if I get juveniles I'll have to do 1-3X a week water changes?

Many people have a hard time believing my 55G has had only 2-3 water changes in 1.5 years and that the water/fish are fine! Every 2-3 weeks I top off evaporated water, I use glass tops so evaporation is pretty minimal. My current stock includes, rummies, mollies, common pleco, CAE, dwarf puffer, red skirt tetra, otto's, RCS, and MTS.

After reading the above posts, I realize there are some mixed opinions. I think I may try what Pinkertd has mentioned, 8 adult discus, a school of rummies (10-30), cleaning crew, and very heavily planted with floating plants (thanks Postal Penguin).

I want to avoid water changes because it's really kind of a PIA for me, and it's not something I enjoy doing. I could see myself getting annoyed if I were having to change 120G once or twice a week with a python.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,507 Posts
Topping off for evaporations without actual water changes = HIGH TSD. All the evaporated water leaves the precipitates behind & they accumulate. It's sure to be a problem for Discus after some time. I've tried the "total use of waste by plants" thing years ago. It only works just so long. Mathias @ Discusmadness is great. His fish are top notch & the first ones I got from him were shipped packed REALLY nicely, but I still don't know if I'd have him ship from Jersey to NM.

BTW, here's my new ones from Mathias:





Tommy


Tommy
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
394 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Topping off for evaporations without actual water changes = HIGH TSD. All the evaporated water leaves the precipitates behind & they accumulate. It's sure to be a problem for Discus after some time. I've tried the "total use of waste by plants" thing years ago. It only works just so long. Mathias @ Discusmadness is great. His fish are top notch & the first ones I got from him were shipped packed REALLY nicely, but I still don't know if I'd have him ship from Jersey to NM.
Tommy
Those are beautiful discus for sure.

I may be missing the obvious, but what is TSD?

Also, just inquiring here: Why would precipitates be a problem to discus and not other fish?
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top