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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all - have a 90 gal high tech planted tank with angels. No pair(s) yet. Have always loved discus but thought they were next to impossible to keep. The angels are doing great, as are the plants. Question - how much more fragile / difficult are discus when compared to angels.


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Discus are not at all impossible to keep. In fact, in many ways, they are just as easy to keep as Angels, perhaps even easier, if you follow a few simple guidelines.

My question is: Do you want to keep Angels or Discus ?

For anyone starting out with Discus, it's not a good idea to get your feet wet by keeping them together with Angels, for various reasons, certainly not until you become fairly familiar with discus traits & behaviors.

So, if you do indeed want to keep discus, & successfully, my suggestion would be that you would need to re-home the Angels, and then start fresh with Discus.

If you are prepared to seriously consider that, then let me respectfully suggest that you first have a read of my "Beginner's Guide to Getting Started with Discus", located here in the "FISH" section - click on the only Sticky in the section, and proceed to the 3rd Article mentioned.

Once you have read that, if you care to, and have any questions, or need walk-through help with getting started with discus in your 90 gal tank (Which btw, is a great size for keeping discus), then please don't hesitate to PM me at any time. Glad to be of help to anyone wanting to try their hand with these gorgeous fish.
Best of luck to you in any event.
Regards,
Paul
 

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Meantime, here's an abbreviated version of 6 simple steps to be taken by newcomers to discus, in order to maximize their chances of keeping these beautiful fish successfully:



D-I-S-C-U-S - 6 CARDINAL RULES FOR NEWBIES TO FOLLOW

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 simplydiscus.com forum, particularly the stickies in their 'Discus Basics'
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.

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 maintaining a planted tank. 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 aquascaped environment. 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 params 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.

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

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I would suggest what Paul said, They can be kept together but not if your not experienced. Discus are much more fun! I have both and love Discus a lot more!

-Chris
 

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I would suggest what Paul said, They can be kept together but not if your not experienced. Discus are much more fun! I have both and love Discus a lot more!

-Chris
Chris is right on.
I would suggest to any newcomer to discus who wants to keep discus with angels that they refrain from doing so until they gain reasonable experience keeping discus, to avoid a number of complications that can develop - in particular the possibility of the angels out-competing the discus for food, and displaying aggressive tendencies that may stress the discus. I've seen that scenario a few times.

Sure, lots of discus-keepers keep angels with discus without problems, but they're either experienced with both types of fish, or somewhat lucky, or a bit of both.
If any newcomer to discus was bound & determined to start off keeping them with angels, I'd strongly suggest that he or she make sure the discus are larger than the angels, and not the other way around, and that there are more discus than angels.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Sounds great - yep I've been keeping angels for awhile, but never discus, and my angels are decidedly extremely grumpy as it is. I appreciate the info - looks promising but does look like I'd have to likely start another tank if I wanted to get into discus, as mine is a high tech compressed CO2 tank with gravel substrate. Plus WOW the water change requirements are killer. I do about a 15-20% every other week for my current 90 gallon (which seems to work fine with the plants and the 2 canister filters I'm using). I can't image the pain of a 50% water change 2-3x/week.
 

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Sounds great - yep I've been keeping angels for awhile, but never discus, and my angels are decidedly extremely grumpy as it is. I appreciate the info - looks promising but does look like I'd have to likely start another tank if I wanted to get into discus, as mine is a high tech compressed CO2 tank with gravel substrate. Plus WOW the water change requirements are killer. I do about a 15-20% every other week for my current 90 gallon (which seems to work fine with the plants and the 2 canister filters I'm using). I can't image the pain of a 50% water change 2-3x/week.
Water changes are a breeze and take no time at all when using a python, or other automatic system of removing and replacing tank water.

And the use of CO2 in a planted discus tank is NOT a no-no, after one has gained a reasonable amount of experience keeping discus, and can well manage the CO2 diffusion to avoid any large swings in pH.

Gravel substrate though, is discouraged - due to the difficulty of removing potentially harmful debris matter that has trickled down into the gravel.
 

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P.S.
And you can get by with only one wc per week, if your wallet permits you to get near adult, or adult discus of at least 4" in size, up to 5", and you keep your tank very clean & maintain good water quality & conditions, to avoid the development of stunted fish.
 

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All I know is what works for my fish.

I keep both angels and discus in a 65g with weekley 50% wc's (1/2 ro/di, 1/2 tap), ei dosing, co2 inj on a pH controller, 2 x +100% rated canister filters, a uv sterilizer, 2 power heads with huge sponge filters on the inlets and 1.5" of ecocomplete substrate. I clean the canister filters, vacuum the substrate and clean the power head inlet sponge filters during my weekley maintenance cycle. The maintenance takes 45mins or so... Not too demanding.

I auto feed small amounts of flakes and pellets 2x a day at noon and 3pm. I manually feed blood worm cubes 1-2x a day, normally around 6pm and 8pm.

When I started buying discus, I had 3 discus and 4 angels. Large discus (> 4") are as easy to keep as angels outside the additional filtration expense. Small discus are much more difficult because they tend to be shy.. to a point they can starve. I had problems with the angles chasing discus and eating the nightly blood worms before the "shy-er" discus could work up the nerve to go after the blood worms. So, I moved the lead bully angel and his gf to another tank and it helped. I also bought one of those cheap blood worm feeder surface ring thingys which helped the discus get food before the angels gobbled it all up. They don't fight at the feeder ring, too worried about the blood worms I suppose.

2 of the discus have grown larger than the angels and the chasing has reversed! Discus have more interesting personalities than the angels and the pecking order contests are funny to watch. The alpha discus will flare and bump the beta discus and it goes down the line to the least dominate discus.

I now have 4 discus and 2 angels in the tank and they appear happy. Discus will follow you around (almost like an oscar) and eat from your fingers. If you don't mind filtering the hell out of the tank and the additional maintenance, go for it! IMO, buy a large discus first and learn to make it happy before you try a small discus.
 

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I now have 4 discus and 2 angels in the tank and they appear happy. Discus will follow you around (almost like an oscar) and eat from your fingers. If you don't mind filtering the hell out of the tank and the additional maintenance, go for it! IMO, buy a large discus first and learn to make it happy before you try a small discus.
This is one of my ultimate dreams! (although I'd definitely go with altums, just to up the awesomeness😁)


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