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tell me about discus please.

923 Views 6 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  crazie.eddie
im converting my 65 gal marine aquarium into a freshwater planted. moving all my corals into a nano. im selling all my larger fish and plan to buy some freshwater fish with this money. i have a 10 gal planted tank that im really enjoying and plan to move it all into the 65.

in the 65 i plan for a school of 30 or so neons. many cherry shrimp and some amano shrimp.

i would very much like to add a discus or two. what do i need to know? my ph seems to run 7.6 even with some CO2 added. my alkalinity is high, we use well water. i plan to add RO water to adjust the alk.

my biggest concern is if the 65 gal is to small for discus. if i somehow get 2-3, will i have issues with aggression? at a LFS i once worked at, i believe i remember discus would be aggressive towards each other.
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Discus can be aggressive to one another if they are kept in numbers like 2s and 3s. Discus should be kept in a minimum group of 4. I've found that and even bigger group works best. Your fish are still going to develop a pecking order though. Even though your pH is a bit high if you are buying captive bred and not wild caught then you should be fine. I have an acquaintance who keeps his Discus in that same pH and has done so quite successfully for years. His fish still display great color and are just what you would expect from Discus.

BTW, if you are more than likely going to have to choose between the shrimp and the Discus. There is a good possibility that the shrimp will become a nice snack for the Discus.
I spent a few years trying to keep discus in a planted tank and had lots of problems. Ultimately, I gave it up when I moved as I did not have a place in my home for a large tank (I did not want it on wood floors or carpet.

My advice is to get the plants established, growing and stable. Also, get a cleaning crew (ottos, bushy nose plecos, corys) and 30+ neons first and let them grow a little (I caught a discus devouring a neon or two when small).
When everything is going well, instead of getting 4-5 young or adult discus, purchase a breeding pair. It may be expensive (though you can get ones that are not fertile, are unsuccessfull or are not perfect shape for less), but what it allows you to do is not overstock the tank with too many discus and avoids the problem of having 2 discuss that are agressive to one another.
Discus are sensitive fish and need warm, stable water. You need to be able to keep the tank at 83* and keep the pH constant. A little high all the time is way better than 7, then 7.8, then 7.4 and so on. I've been told they're very susceptable to disease too.

this is just some general info I've gathered from the forums. I wish I could remember the site, but there is a forum dedicated to discus care. You should look it up and read...a lot. I too want to keep these fish eventually. Just rememer, they're very unforgiving and can die on you in a hurry. is a great site for info. I have four discus in my planted tank and so far so good. I've read that it is best to add adult discus to a planted tank as juveniles require heavy feedings, but that IMHO isnt necessarily incompatible with plants. It jsut takes a balance between the two. I feed my discus beef heart, pellets and blood worms. With such heavy feeding im in the process of tweaking my fertilization. But my discus certainly appreciate the plants and they do look great together. Good luck!
i have decided that discus are not for me, not yet. im going to make another thread to give me some ideas on what a centerpiece fish could be that will do well with neons and shrimp.
Too bad you are giving up on discus. They are not really that difficult to keep as long as you keep up with regular maintenance and select a healthy group. My first group of discus, granted I bought/traded some, I still have and are doing well in my 125 gallon unplanted tank (regular tap water).
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