The Planted Tank Forum banner
1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
47 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently got a donation of a 150 gallon aquarium . The only request was that it be made into a discus tank . I already have 3 discus 2 wilds and 1 tangerine . I still need a couple more discus and maybe species that can co exist with them , also plants that will look nice and benefit them . Suggestions ?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,600 Posts
I have never had discus personally, but if I did, I would go for a single type of discus. I think a school of uniform discus looks the best. The forum at simplydiscus might give you more feedback on discus.
Discus generally prefer dimmer light, so a low light setup would be great for them. Some swards would be great. Discus also like to graze off the substrate, so a full carpet usually isn't best.
What size are your discus? If your discus are still young and need lots of feedings and require lots of tank cleanings, a sand substrate is easier to clean than gravel. I have seen some nice bare bottom tanks with some plants in nice pots. Once the discus are full grown and don't need to be feed so often, then it is easier to go to a more traditional planted tank.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
544 Posts
On simply discus they will tell you that they MUST live in bare bottomed tanks with 50% wcs daily, species only tanks. Since you already have 3 you know the complications of feeding them so I won´t get into that.

I also have 3 in their own tank but I planted the tank just like my regular, with fluorite substrate and tons of plants. They are doing very well in that tank. Their company includes some zebra danios (again some people will tell you they are too rambunctious for discus, but in my case they keep them happy and not shy), and some neon tetras. Tank is kept at 82° (discus can be kept up to 86°), ph is 6.7, GH is 4°. Nitrates are close to zero because of the plant load and I do a 25% wc biweekly.

Cardinal tetras and some corys are said to be the best company because of water parameters. My zebras and neons adjusted well to the high temp, the zebras actually spawn very often in that tank

Plants I have in that tank include amazon swords, crypts, tonina belem, anubias, and for hardscape I only have driftwood. Again this setup has worked for me, I know a lot of people will tell you discus do not belong in planted tanks. For me a bare bottom tank is just a fish tank, not an aquarium. I like the natural look and so do the fish
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,328 Posts
It is possible to keep discus with a substrate in the tank.

For tankmates, I would suggest Corydoras catfish or hatchetfish. You can also keep tetras with them, but the tetras will snatch the food from the discus, so you should probably add them after the discus accept the food you provide them.

Fast growing stem plants and tall, narrow plants are good. In my tank, I have Rotala rotundifolia, Cabomba furcata, Cryptocorynes, Bacopa, Moss, Vallisneria, and Anubias. It is a good idea to have driftwood in the tank, as it helps the discus feel secure.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
A couple of people have suggested corys already. But the best species by far is Corydoras sterbai. This is because most other corys like lower-end tropical temperatures (mid 70s) and do poorly at the 82 degrees that discus enjoy. C. sterbai do just fine at those temperatures however.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
398 Posts
corys are great for Discus tanks..... otocinclus is also a good choice. feed hikari bloodworms.. if you want a pleco that can survive high temps wit Discus check the golden nugget pleco (Baryancistrus sp.) they are from the amazon.... they feed on mostly meaty foods like blood worms so they are really good for Discus tanks plus me and my friend just went up to a breeder name vla he has beautiful Discus some that most people haven't seen the Butterfly Discus. http://www.vladiscus.com/ if you would ever be interested in when me and my friend Joe go up again let me know. his basement is amazing he has like 30 tanks wit Discus in it and like cardinals and everything. his prices are really good.... dont go by the prices on the site their much cheaper. some Discus he even sells for $30. Blue Diamonds $35 he has all different types. Round and healthy as can be.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,328 Posts
Personally, I have not had problems with discus and Otoclincus, but I have heard stories of otos sucking on discus.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
544 Posts
Hatchet fish would make a really nice dither fish for a discus tank, I never thought about them... they swim at the top, school really nice, eat at the top, peaceful, wonderful bright color that would stand out in a peat colored discus tank... I need to get some!

For feeding them I "trained" my discus to eat from my fingers the chunks, and the zebra danios somehow don´t like my fingers so the discus get their share first, then I feed the danios. I guess you could do that with tetras too. My neons don´t come up to eat, they just wait in the mid zone for leftovers...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
255 Posts
Theres a lot of fish you can keep with discus like tetra's, rainbow's, pleco's (small ones) cory's... ect ect I've kept Discus with my old Asian arowana and my leo's.

Matt
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,211 Posts
On simply discus they will tell you that they MUST live in bare bottomed tanks with 50% wcs daily, species only tanks. Since you already have 3 you know the complications of feeding them so I won´t get into that.
Yeah, that's the exact same advice I got. I tried to convince them that water quality in planted tanks are usually great, but they just couldn't believe in that:) Anyway, I keep my 3 juvenile discus in heavily planted tank with corys, blue rams, rummynose tetras, ottos and shrimps. My temp is around 81F
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
255 Posts
LOL with my discus I do strait tap water, water changes NO joke discus are hardy fish!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,115 Posts
I have had 7 discus in my 72 gal heavily planted tank since June/July and they are doing great:

http://forum.simplydiscus.com/showthread.php?t=72358

http://forum.simplydiscus.com/showthread.php?t=73829

http://forum.simplydiscus.com/showthread.php?t=74292

There is a very strong prejudice against planted tank discus keepers over at simplydiscus but it's relatively passive.

Here is a list of the fish I have in there with them and they are all doing great at 84/85F:

Cardinal tetras
Golden tetras
Rummy-nosed tetras
Red Phantom tetras
Sterbai cories
Julii cories
Emerald cories
Trilineanus cories
Adolfoi cories
Arcuata cories (aka Skunk cories)
Bushy-nosed Plecos (2)
Otos

I change the water 2x a week, 50% each time. I over-filter with both an Eheim 2028 and a Rena XP3 going.

As for plants here's a list of what in the tank and thriving just fine (I do use pressurized CO2 injected with both an inline PVC reactor and a ceramic disc in glass under a Koralia 2):

Anubias barteri var. nana
Anubias barteri var. nana petite
Blyxa japonica
Crinum calamistratum
Cryptocoryne wendtii
Cryptocoryne parva
Cryptocoryne spiralis 'dwarf'
Echinodorus angustifolius 'vesuvius'
Hygrophila sp. 'Guinea'
Staurogyne sp. 'Bihar'
Limnophila aromatica
Limnophila sp. 'Guinea Broad-Leaf'
Ludwigia arcuata
Ludwigia senegalensis
Marsilea
Nesaea pedicellata
Nymphaea micrantha
Pogostemon stellatus 'narrow'
Polygonum sp. 'Kawagoeanum'
Ranunculus inundatus
Rotala sp. 'Vietnam'
Tonina fluviatilis
Java fern
Needle-leaved Jave Fern
Christmas Moss

As for adding discus make sure you get from a VERY reliable source and it would be best to quarantine them. You should really not keep discus in schools of less than 6 too, so get 3-4 more at least.

The awesome thing is with all this bioload I stopped my EI dosing completely about 4-5 weeks ago and only dose micros (TMG) and potassium and all is doing great (and my levels of Nitrate are about 5-10ppm and Phosphate about 3-4ppm).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discus planted aquarium

Discus keeping in planted aquarium is beneficial for discus. The reason it is suggested that you keep only bare bottom tank is it is easier to feed the fish and then siphon off uneaten stuff. You can then feed them 6-8 times and grow them to good size in 4-6 weeks. Water is also changed almost daily.
There is a discus growing competition on Simply discus where there is one guy trying to it in aquarium with plants- unsure if it is planted or floating- and he is doing as well as the others.
So if you are going to do the above siphoning and stuff then substrate will be a problem- plants get caught, uprooted, need to be replanted= headache.
Now if you want to just keep discus then it will be OK. If yuo are trying to grow them it will be OK too but it wont be fast. Breeding will be difficult- they will lay eggs just right but very difficult to grow them in community tank without the fry being eaten.
My tank- 90 gallon tank with 10 discus- mostly snake skin. Heavily planted, EI dosing (i.e. heavy fertilization), 1 pair, laying eggs pretty regularly.
PH of water 6.0, ground water. CO2 reactor- preassurized tank.
The data on discus being sensitive to Nitrate, phosphate, potassium is unfounded- data presented in Barrreport.com- so fertilization is quite ok.
I have used soil and peat substrate in the past with flourite topping- plants did very well, discus did great for few months then one evening i repositioned plants, changed water and the next day morning they were all dead. I don't know why? Ammonia kills discus, nitrate that plants use do not.

So long answer to your question- it can be done easily- use ecocomplete/flourite substrate, plant fast growing plants, use about 2wpg in T5 light- they will penetrate your tank depth, feed frozen worms(blood worms are better, do not foul the water much) and do not be shy with fertilizer dosing. This is my 3rd planted discus tank and the largest- the first two bombed.
Hope this helps.
BTW what are your tap water parameters?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
411 Posts
I also keep my discus in a planted tank and always have. I have 10 in my 72G bowfront tank. Rich815 I took a look at your threads, your tank is awesome and I see that you also got your discus from Kenny. That is where most of mine are from. Been dealing with Kenny for a few years and he and his fish are awesome!

Discus most certainly can be raised successfully in a planted tank without stunting them. I would not suggest it for a novice who doesn't really understand precisely how their tank works, nor for someone who doesn't keep their tank substrate really well cleaned. The biggest reason by far for the strong recommendation to grow the discus out in a barebottom tank is a lot of discus keepers are pummeling the young discus several times a day with raw beef heart to accelerate their growth. Any leftover beef heart/beef heart fat (which the discus no not eat) will very, very quickly foul the water. The staple foods for my discus are frozen bloodworms, ocean nutrition flakes and NLS pellets supplemented with my own live white worms.

I have kept various fish with the discus over the years and prefer the black neon tetras over the cardinals and regular neons. They are much hardier tetras and long lived, even spawning in the discus tank. And lots of sterbai cories on the bottom. I'm keeping several amano shrimp in there as well to help keep the tank clean in amongst the thick plants. My rummynoses stay mostly in the plants now that they are older and there are fewer of them, they seem to be afraid of the size of the discus now. I have two otos in the tank and have had otos go after the discus slime coat when they run out of biofilm to eat. I started out with more and removed a couple I caught doing this and placed them in a non-discus tank, so beware. A few otos can clean a large tank in no time, then they are hungry. It is very difficult to get otos to accept any kind of supplemental food with the exception of very soft zucchini....not something I want in my discus tank as it breaks down quickly in those warm temps. A lot of people like to keep rams in their discus tank but I found them too aggresive toward the discus when they spawn. For plants I have mostly an assortment of crypts, my tank is low light, low tech, round river bottom gravel substrate. They do very well in my hard tap water. I too use municipal tap water with conditioner. My discus are all adults now so I am now doing one large water change of about 80% once/week.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
659 Posts
I have had 7 discus in my 72 gal heavily planted tank since June/July and they are doing great:

http://forum.simplydiscus.com/showthread.php?t=72358

http://forum.simplydiscus.com/showthread.php?t=73829

http://forum.simplydiscus.com/showthread.php?t=74292

There is a very strong prejudice against planted tank discus keepers over at simplydiscus but it's relatively passive.

Here is a list of the fish I have in there with them and they are all doing great at 84/85F:

Cardinal tetras
Golden tetras
Rummy-nosed tetras
Red Phantom tetras
Sterbai cories
Julii cories
Emerald cories
Trilineanus cories
Adolfoi cories
Arcuata cories (aka Skunk cories)
Bushy-nosed Plecos (2)
Otos

I change the water 2x a week, 50% each time. I over-filter with both an Eheim 2028 and a Rena XP3 going.

As for plants here's a list of what in the tank and thriving just fine (I do use pressurized CO2 injected with both an inline PVC reactor and a ceramic disc in glass under a Koralia 2):

Anubias barteri var. nana
Anubias barteri var. nana petite
Blyxa japonica
Crinum calamistratum
Cryptocoryne wendtii
Cryptocoryne parva
Cryptocoryne spiralis 'dwarf'
Echinodorus angustifolius 'vesuvius'
Hygrophila sp. 'Guinea'
Staurogyne sp. 'Bihar'
Limnophila aromatica
Limnophila sp. 'Guinea Broad-Leaf'
Ludwigia arcuata
Ludwigia senegalensis
Marsilea
Nesaea pedicellata
Nymphaea micrantha
Pogostemon stellatus 'narrow'
Polygonum sp. 'Kawagoeanum'
Ranunculus inundatus
Rotala sp. 'Vietnam'
Tonina fluviatilis
Java fern
Needle-leaved Jave Fern
Christmas Moss

As for adding discus make sure you get from a VERY reliable source and it would be best to quarantine them. You should really not keep discus in schools of less than 6 too, so get 3-4 more at least.

The awesome thing is with all this bioload I stopped my EI dosing completely about 4-5 weeks ago and only dose micros (TMG) and potassium and all is doing great (and my levels of Nitrate are about 5-10ppm and Phosphate about 3-4ppm).

I'm planing on getting back in to discus, I have a snow-white x leopard pair right now, and my 75 gallon. what all do I need to do to the planted tank to get it ready for discus, it has java fern and driftwood in it, with eco-complete. it does already have little fish in it though. harlequin rasboras, neon tetras,glow light tetras,flame tetras,albino cherry barbs,
dwarf gouramis, cory catfish, and otto catfish. what out of those do I need to take out of the tank? and I'll still need to age my water, or get a r/o or r/o-di unit right?


Discus keeping in planted aquarium is beneficial for discus. The reason it is suggested that you keep only bare bottom tank is it is easier to feed the fish and then siphon off uneaten stuff. You can then feed them 6-8 times and grow them to good size in 4-6 weeks. Water is also changed almost daily.
There is a discus growing competition on Simply discus where there is one guy trying to it in aquarium with plants- unsure if it is planted or floating- and he is doing as well as the others.
So if you are going to do the above siphoning and stuff then substrate will be a problem- plants get caught, uprooted, need to be replanted= headache.Now if you want to just keep discus then it will be OK. If yuo are trying to grow them it will be OK too but it wont be fast. Breeding will be difficult- they will lay eggs just right but very difficult to grow them in community tank without the fry being eaten.My tank- 90 gallon tank with 10 discus- mostly snake skin. Heavily planted, EI dosing (i.e. heavy fertilization), 1 pair, laying eggs pretty regularly.PH of water 6.0, ground water. CO2 reactor- preassurized tank.The data on discus being sensitive to Nitrate, phosphate, potassium is unfounded- data presented in Barrreport.com- so fertilization is quite ok.I have used soil and peat substrate in the past with flourite topping- plants did very well, discus did great for few months then one evening i repositioned plants, changed water and the next day morning they were all dead. I don't know why? Ammonia kills discus, nitrate that plants use do not.

So long answer to your question- it can be done easily- use ecocomplete/flourite substrate, plant fast growing plants, use about 2wpg in T5 light- they will penetrate your tank depth, feed frozen worms(blood worms are better, do not foul the water much) and do not be shy with fertilizer dosing. This is my 3rd planted discus tank and the largest- the first two bombed.
Hope this helps.
BTW what are your tap water parameters?
I basicly got the same question, so if I've set up my tank and it been running with a emperor 400, eco-complete,java fern,and driftwood what else do I need to do to make it discus ready?, I will still need to age the water for discus right?

I also keep my discus in a planted tank and always have. I have 10 in my 72G bowfront tank. Rich815 I took a look at your threads, your tank is awesome and I see that you also got your discus from Kenny. That is where most of mine are from. Been dealing with Kenny for a few years and he and his fish are awesome!

Discus most certainly can be raised successfully in a planted tank without stunting them. I would not suggest it for a novice who doesn't really understand precisely how their tank works, nor for someone who doesn't keep their tank substrate really well cleaned. The biggest reason by far for the strong recommendation to grow the discus out in a barebottom tank is a lot of discus keepers are pummeling the young discus several times a day with raw beef heart to accelerate their growth. Any leftover beef heart/beef heart fat (which the discus no not eat) will very, very quickly foul the water. The staple foods for my discus are frozen bloodworms, ocean nutrition flakes and NLS pellets supplemented with my own live white worms.

I have kept various fish with the discus over the years and prefer the black neon tetras over the cardinals and regular neons. They are much hardier tetras and long lived, even spawning in the discus tank. And lots of sterbai cories on the bottom. I'm keeping several amano shrimp in there as well to help keep the tank clean in amongst the thick plants. My rummynoses stay mostly in the plants now that they are older and there are fewer of them, they seem to be afraid of the size of the discus now. I have two otos in the tank and have had otos go after the discus slime coat when they run out of biofilm to eat. I started out with more and removed a couple I caught doing this and placed them in a non-discus tank, so beware. A few otos can clean a large tank in no time, then they are hungry. It is very difficult to get otos to accept any kind of supplemental food with the exception of very soft zucchini....not something I want in my discus tank as it breaks down quickly in those warm temps. A lot of people like to keep rams in their discus tank but I found them too aggresive toward the discus when they spawn. For plants I have mostly an assortment of crypts, my tank is low light, low tech, round river bottom gravel substrate. They do very well in my hard tap water. I too use municipal tap water with conditioner. My discus are all adults now so I am now doing one large water change of about 80% once/week.
are you going straight from the tap to the tank, then squirting prime?
or are you aging the water for 24 hours first, then putting it in the tank?
if just going straight from tap to tank, are you having any problems with ammonia poisioning the gills of the discus?

thanks JOEY.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,507 Posts
I've kept discus on and off for years. I currently have 4 nice tank bred & raised Red Turqs in my 58 along with Colombian Red Tetras, Cardinals, Harlequin Rasboras, Glass Cats, Indian Glass Fish, Marble & Silver Hatchets, Threadfins, White Clouds, Glo Lite Danios, Rhombo Barbs, Rummies, Furcatas, CPDs, Amano shrimp, Mexican Dwarf Crayfish, a 4" YO-YO, a 4" SAE & some MTS. Lots of plants, fluorite substrate, 76* F @ roughly 76 Ph before the CO2 comes on in the morning, 66 Ph when it shuts down at nite. Everyone gets along just fine, show great appetite & color. Heck, I hand feed the Discus frozen blood worms & they bang at it like Piranhas in a bad horror flick.

Other than for large volume breeding, I've never bought into the whole "bare bottom only" for Discus thing. Do you thing the Amazon basin has a bare glass bottom?

Tommy
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
659 Posts
I've kept discus on and off for years. I currently have 4 nice tank bred & raised Red Turqs in my 58 along with Colombian Red Tetras, Cardinals, Harlequin Rasboras, Glass Cats, Indian Glass Fish, Marble & Silver Hatchets, Threadfins, White Clouds, Glo Lite Danios, Rhombo Barbs, Rummies, Furcatas, CPDs, Amano shrimp, Mexican Dwarf Crayfish, a 4" YO-YO, a 4" SAE & some MTS. Lots of plants, fluorite substrate, 76* F @ roughly 76 Ph before the CO2 comes on in the morning, 66 Ph when it shuts down at nite. Everyone gets along just fine, show great appetite & color. Heck, I hand feed the Discus frozen blood worms & they bang at it like Piranhas in a bad horror flick.

Other than for large volume breeding, I've never bought into the whole "bare bottom only" for Discus thing. Do you thing the Amazon basin has a bare glass bottom?

Tommy
thanks, so I just need to check my parameters, and raise the temp. up to 84 them?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,507 Posts
I only run 76* F, but my mix of fish/plants are happier at that temp & my discus were slowly adjusted to it so they don't mind the slightly lower temp. If I only had Discus and truly tropical plants, I'd be running 80* or more. If you have access to the breeders of the Disus you get, check with them about temps. My breeder likes 88*F, 6.9-7.2 Ph, 250-350 ppm of hardness for "growing out" juvenile fish & 81-85*F, Ph lower than 7.0, 45-150 ppm hardness for planted Discus tanks. He also feels Discus will thrive in 6.0- 7.6 Ph, 50-450 ppm hardness as longas the changes are made slowly & the fish are given adequate acclimation time. I've found most fish are like people, everyone has a slightly different comfort level & can slowly get used to slightly different parameters.

I'd consider the move up to a cannister or at least a bigger filter, too. I had an Emperor 400 on my tank when I first moved up to the 58 from the 29, but I found I had to do almost weekly maintenance on it to stay ahead of the 58. I now run an Eheim Pro II heated with a pond filter element as a foam prefilter on the inlet. I only have to go into the cannister about once a year as long as I routinely keep the foam prefilter relatively clear. As always, "your mileage may vary".

Here's my guys back in November:





Tommy
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
659 Posts
I only run 76* F, but my mix of fish/plants are happier at that temp & my discus were slowly adjusted to it so they don't mind the slightly lower temp. If I only had Discus and truly tropical plants, I'd be running 80* or more. If you have access to the breeders of the Disus you get, check with them about temps. My breeder likes 88*F, 6.9-7.2 Ph, 250-350 ppm of hardness for "growing out" juvenile fish & 81-85*F, Ph lower than 7.0, 45-150 ppm hardness for planted Discus tanks. He also feels Discus will thrive in 6.0- 7.6 Ph, 50-450 ppm hardness as longas the changes are made slowly & the fish are given adequate acclimation time. I've found most fish are like people, everyone has a slightly different comfort level & can slowly get used to slightly different parameters.

I'd consider the move up to a cannister or at least a bigger filter, too. I had an Emperor 400 on my tank when I first moved up to the 58 from the 29, but I found I had to do almost weekly maintenance on it to stay ahead of the 58. I now run an Eheim Pro II heated with a pond filter element as a foam prefilter on the inlet. I only have to go into the cannister about once a year as long as I routinely keep the foam prefilter relatively clear. As always, "your mileage may vary".

Here's my guys back in November:





Tommy
thanks, the breeder here in town keeps them at 84*degrees and ages tap water thats 8.4 down to 7.0 I also had a penguin 330 on there but I had to take it off because one of the leaves got sucked up the intake, and crapped around the impeller. I'll go put it back on. that will give me nearly 10 times the filtration per hour.(9.7333333~) nice looking turquoise.

there is also a LFS that sells hans and they keep them at 7.2ph at 84*degrees.
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top