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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I am finally starting my Discus tank and looking for ideas,answers and brutally honest opinions{I'm a big boy and can handle it}
Specs.
Tank 48x18x22 approx.84 gallons
Two 200 watt aqueon heaters and a Finnex temp. controller.Heaters set at 84* controller 82*
One 48" Beamsworks Hi lumen
One 48"Current satellite
Cascade 1500 canister with bottom three baskets assorted sponges coarse to fine and foam,top two with Matrix.
AC70 HOB with one sponge and purigen mainly for water movement.
No co2 to start.
The pics I added are with the Beamsworks and look a little red but will even out when I add the satellite.
First change will probably be removing the Manzenita branchs as I fear that spooking the fish could lead to injury and it is also hard to clean that area and I will be doing a lot of cleaning{called Molly maids but they don't do aquariums}.
Opinions please.
I will do a fish less cycle with used filter medium following Diana'S posts and have done many of these with no problem but the question is timing.If all I have are plants should I not wait until it is closer to the time when I will purchase the fish to do the cycle otherwise I will have to feed with ammonia to keep the cycle going???
I will be using 0+ root tabs under the swords and crypts buried deep in the sand.As it is now I used 90lbs.of pfs for a depth in the front of about an inch to about 2 1/2 in the back.I now have two 40 gal. that I EI dose with co2 and have had good success with so think I should dose at half strength and excel every other day to get plants growing and keep algae at bay.OPINIONS??
Please remember that this is about the discus that is the reason for the sparse planting and plenty of swimming room.
 

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I am finally starting my Discus tank and looking for ideas,answers and brutally honest opinions{I'm a big boy and can handle it}
Specs.
Tank 48x18x22 approx.84 gallons
Two 200 watt aqueon heaters and a Finnex temp. controller.Heaters set at 84* controller 82*
One 48" Beamsworks Hi lumen
One 48"Current satellite
Cascade 1500 canister with bottom three baskets assorted sponges coarse to fine and foam,top two with Matrix.
AC70 HOB with one sponge and purigen mainly for water movement.
No co2 to start.
The pics I added are with the Beamsworks and look a little red but will even out when I add the satellite.
First change will probably be removing the Manzenita branchs as I fear that spooking the fish could lead to injury and it is also hard to clean that area and I will be doing a lot of cleaning{called Molly maids but they don't do aquariums}.
Opinions please.
I will do a fish less cycle with used filter medium following Diana'S posts and have done many of these with no problem but the question is timing.If all I have are plants should I not wait until it is closer to the time when I will purchase the fish to do the cycle otherwise I will have to feed with ammonia to keep the cycle going???
I will be using 0+ root tabs under the swords and crypts buried deep in the sand.As it is now I used 90lbs.of pfs for a depth in the front of about an inch to about 2 1/2 in the back.I now have two 40 gal. that I EI dose with co2 and have had good success with so think I should dose at half strength and excel every other day to get plants growing and keep algae at bay.OPINIONS??
Please remember that this is about the discus that is the reason for the sparse planting and plenty of swimming room.
Tank plans sound like you've got a good idea going. But what are you plans for the fish? Who is your source and what size/age are you planning on stocking? How many fish do you intend to stock? Any dither fish or any other species at all?

I believe the dark background will cause peppering (black spots) on your discus.
This can be true but not every strain displays peppering. Only pigeon blood discus do while the other strains display stress bars (which could also potentially darken up due to the dark background (or a dark substrate could too)). This is one of those things that seems to happen to some but not all and depends on various other factors at play too.
 

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I believe the dark background will cause peppering (black spots) on your discus.

You may possibly be right, but in my experience it's been a dark substrate that has been the major culprit with most peppering. Both a dark background and a dark substrate together is a real no-no.

I had a dark blue background with white sand for years, and never had a trace of peppering occur with red, yellow, orange, or off white or other light-coloured discus. ( And in these cases, one never really knows if there is any pigeon blood based parentage involved.)


To my friend doogy, assuming you're removing the sharp-pointed wood, I can't find any fault whatsoever with your set-up or plans. Just avoid very young discus - get them of a reasonable size - I can't recall what you had planned for size, nor the source of the fish. But I assume you've settled on a high quality source.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the replies,i have been researching breeders and have three in mind,Kenny's,Hans and Chicago Discus.Hope to go with 6 3 1/2- 4 inch or should I go 5+.Chicago Discus web page says they are restocking for the month of February which is fine because I want to get everything calm and comfy.SUGGESTIONS?As for the cycling should I wait for about a week before receiving the fish ?Chicago D is about a 4 1/2 hour drive so am thinking about going that route to save on stress and shipping costs and get to pick on site,if I go delivery route is that a pretty safe way to go?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Made out a list of possibilities.Any opinions here will be appreciated.Last one is if seven won't be to much allowing for a school of cardinals later on.
Discus list
2 4.0 Checkerboard Pigeon
1 4.0 White Butterfly.
1 5.0 Blue Diamond
1 4.5 Albino Yellow Marlboro
1 5.0 Pigeon Albino A Grade Select
1 .5 Albino Red Golden Diamond

https://chicagodiscus.com/shop/
 

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Personally, 7 seems like a lot in this size tank. I stopped keeping them a few years ago, but I was having to do much more than 50% per week when stocking at 15 gallons per adult fish. It gets complicated when using EI or any other dosing because you end up with very different water chemistry after a week. I would definitely stick with 4" plus and you shouldn't have any problem with that length of drive.
 

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4" discus should be just fine, doogy. And the long drive back home from Chicago should be no problem- I'm sure Miranda @ Chicago Discus will package the fish well for that trip. I've travelled 3.5 hours each way to get discus during the winter months and never had a problem.

7 discus should be a-ok for your 84 gal tank, but that doesn't leave you very much room for other tank-mates. You could, for example, add say approx. 15 Cardinals, but I wouldn't suggest twice that many of them, along with say, 5 or 6 Cories - that would be a pretty heavy bio-load for the tank size. Follow me ?
If you want a good bunch of tank-mates, suggest you get only 6 - 4" discus.
 

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I'd suggest nothing short of full grown adults if you're not doing a bare bottom tank (and am kind of surprised that Paul suggests otherwise actually). The sources you listed are great breeders/importers/sellers and you should have no problem with their fish. As far as your question about cycling; there really should be no question. There is no set amount of time to wait. Cycle the tank and test to confirm. Wait until the cycle is complete before even thinking of adding expensive fish to the tank!
 

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In my opinion buying large fish and get better few fish (4 or 5 adults fish).
Diskus juvenile fish in planted aquarium can not grow well as it grow sterile aquarium.
It all depends on how long time you have to invest in aquarium maintenance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I'd suggest nothing short of full grown adults if you're not doing a bare bottom tank
Hi Iks. thanks for the input and I do understand the concern about young discus and there not fully established immune system but at 4+ inchs their getting close and because I am retired I plan on every other or third day water changes with gravel siphoning to remove uneaten food and a squeaky clean environment.
 

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I'd suggest nothing short of full grown adults if you're not doing a bare bottom tank (and am kind of surprised that Paul suggests otherwise actually). The sources you listed are great breeders/importers/sellers and you should have no problem with their fish. As far as your question about cycling; there really should be no question. There is no set amount of time to wait. Cycle the tank and test to confirm. Wait until the cycle is complete before even thinking of adding expensive fish to the tank!

In my experience discus do not need to be fully grown out to optimum adult size before being taken out of a bare-bottom grow out tank and placed in a lightly planted set-up with reasonably good-sized, frequent wcs, and a good tank cleansing routine, which I have advised doogy to do, and feel quite sure he will.

By the time discus reach 4" in growth, they have developed a near adult immune system and assuming they enjoy good health and are well taken care of, there is little or no risk of them later becoming stunted or poorly-shaped. The only small risk being taken in this case is that an individual fish may potentially only reach 5.5" in size say, rather than up to 6.0 inches -- or more likely, they will reach 6.0", but it will take a little longer to achieve that.

So that is why I'm not adverse to recommending a removal from BB at 4" in size in some situations - which I also do keeping in mind that most hobbyists:
a) Are not at all concerned as to whether or not their discus will reach maximum size; and
b) Since the price of 4" fish is a lot less than buying 6" fish and thereby much more affordable to most people - that's an inducement to proceed getting involved with discus, rather than saying- to heck with it, it's too expensive.

That's my rationale, lksdrinker, which I hope you can understand and appreciate it for what it is, and why I say it.
 

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Hi Iks. thanks for the input and I do understand the concern about young discus and there not fully established immune system but at 4+ inchs their getting close and because I am retired I plan on every other or third day water changes with gravel siphoning to remove uneaten food and a squeaky clean environment.
Squeaky clean in a planted tank is far different than squeaky clean when growing out young discus. Just thought a bit of warning would be a good idea. I know the idea of growing out fish in a barebottom tank does not sound very glamorous. But a little bit of hard work now can lead to a much nicer end result IMO. If you chose to stock in this planted tank, do your best to not make excuses. Stick to a vigorous cleaning routine and try not to skimp. Every third day sounds like a lot for a planted tank.....but not nearly enough to grow young discus. Any idea what you plan on feeding the fish?

In my experience discus do not need to be fully grown out to optimum adult size before being taken out of a bare-bottom grow out tank and placed in a lightly planted set-up with reasonably good-sized, frequent wcs, and a good tank cleansing routine, which I have advised doogy to do, and feel quite sure he will.

By the time discus reach 4" in growth, they have developed a near adult immune system and assuming they enjoy good health and are well taken care of, there is little or no risk of them later becoming stunted or poorly-shaped. The only small risk being taken in this case is that an individual fish may potentially only reach 5.5" in size say, rather than up to 6.0 inches -- or more likely, they will reach 6.0", but it will take a little longer to achieve that.

So that is why I'm not adverse to recommending a removal from BB at 4" in size in some situations - which I also do keeping in mind that most hobbyists:
a) Are not at all concerned as to whether or not their discus will reach maximum size; and
b) Since the price of 4" fish is a lot less than buying 6" fish and thereby much more affordable to most people - that's an inducement to proceed getting involved with discus, rather than saying- to heck with it, it's too expensive.

That's my rationale, lksdrinker, which I hope you can understand and appreciate it for what it is, and why I say it.
Understood Paul. I'd still err on the side of caution though (and would expect similar opinions on this over on that other site). Even though 4" discus can be cheaper than a 6" fish they are still quite pricey and loosing one sucks no matter the reason! I'm basing my suggestions on some assumptions from what the OP is saying too. I'll assume the OP has never kept discus and also doesn't quite have a full understanding of the nitrogen cycle. A planted tank with not quite adult discus is not the place I'd like to learn from mistakes!
 

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The bare bottom tank thing is mostly an internet phenomenon among show breeders. I talked to the local discus breeder near where I live and he said he only ever keeps them in bare bottom tanks for breeding and that he doesn't know of anyone who he sells discus to that keeps them like that. In fact the stores show tank has 8 discus in it and he uses a refugium and a heavily planted tank and he said he hasn't changed the water once in 5 years on that tank. Just keeps the nutrients balanced and lets the plants keep the nitrates down.

You'll probably get bigger discus if you keep them bare bottomed and change the water every day while doing multiple daily feedings. You'll get a much bigger chicken doing the same thing. Doesn't make it any better, just bigger.
 

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The bare bottom tank thing is mostly an internet phenomenon among show breeders. I talked to the local discus breeder near where I live and he said he only ever keeps them in bare bottom tanks for breeding and that he doesn't know of anyone who he sells discus to that keeps them like that. In fact the stores show tank has 8 discus in it and he uses a refugium and a heavily planted tank and he said he hasn't changed the water once in 5 years on that tank. Just keeps the nutrients balanced and lets the plants keep the nitrates down.

You'll probably get bigger discus if you keep them bare bottomed and change the water every day while doing multiple daily feedings. You'll get a much bigger chicken doing the same thing. Doesn't make it any better, just bigger.

If I made a living selling discus I'd tell you the same thing. I keep discus and promise I'm from the real world and keep multiple bare bottom tanks to grow out juvenile discus as well as to keep a breeding pair. There is a reason to the madness; its not just some trend or anything. When raising young discus, the cleanliness that can be attained with a bare bottom tank not only helps a discus reach its full size potential; but it also leads to the fish growing into its proper shape. If you've decided to spend the money involved with discus the last thing you want is an expensive small football rather than a nice large round fish that looks like it might actually be worth a few hundred dollars.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Squeaky clean in a planted tank is far different than squeaky clean when growing out young discus. Just thought a bit of warning would be a good idea. I know the idea of growing out fish in a barebottom tank does not sound very glamorous. But a little bit of hard work now can lead to a much nicer end result IMO. If you chose to stock in this planted tank, do your best to not make excuses. Stick to a vigorous cleaning routine and try not to skimp. Every third day sounds like a lot for a planted tank.....but not nearly enough to grow young discus. Any idea what you plan on feeding the fish?
My plan is every other day except on rare occasions.I am in this for the long haul and feel I can handle the work,although this is my first discus foray I have kept and bred fish for over 35 yrs. so do have an idea of what I am doing.i love this hobby and finally after retirement can put some real time and effort into this.I do appreciate your concerns and thank you for the input.As far as feeding that is my next learning curve before getting the fish,could use some input here...thanks
 

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If I made a living selling discus I'd tell you the same thing. I keep discus and promise I'm from the real world and keep multiple bare bottom tanks to grow out juvenile discus as well as to keep a breeding pair. There is a reason to the madness; its not just some trend or anything. When raising young discus, the cleanliness that can be attained with a bare bottom tank not only helps a discus reach its full size potential; but it also leads to the fish growing into its proper shape. If you've decided to spend the money involved with discus the last thing you want is an expensive small football rather than a nice large round fish that looks like it might actually be worth a few hundred dollars.
Yes I asked him about stunting and he said it has to do with hormones released by the larger fish that stunts the growth of the smaller ones. That is why he recommended daily water changes while they grow, to prevent smaller ones from stunting. Nothing to do with what's on the bottom of the tank or not.
 
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