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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I used to be a regular here (mostly lurking and learning) but I got burned out and had to take a break. To help get some of the spark back I decided to give in to my greatest fish desire and get discus. And yes, I'm doing it in a planted tank, because I just can't take the look of a bare bottom tank. Because of the discus and the extra requirements that come along with them I'm trying to simplify. I've pared down the hardscape and plants to make water changes and cleaning easier. And since I will not be using CO2, I'm keeping mostly lower tech plants..... Anubias, buces, crypts, swords, fissidens... Lights are still the same 4xT5HO 8 hours a day. I've been running this way for a few months now and everything has handled it pretty well. I have not been dosing any fertilizers though. And while all the plants are fine, they are definitely not as healthy as they should be.

Background out of the way now, I'm hoping to get some guidance on what to do for ferts to help everything out. I have all the dry ferts and I'm used to using calculators and mixing them up myself. I'm guessing the plants are getting N and P from the food and waste, but I'll probably need to add K and micros. Im not sure how much though, especially since this isn't a high tech setup, buy it's also not a low light setup. Any advice you could give would be appreciated.


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If you already have the dry ferts you can do PPS Pro, or EI low light once weekly. You can google https://rotalabutterfly.com to get the amount of dry fertilizer to add to your solution. You can also use a all in one like Thrive or Easy green and follow directions on bottle.


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I tried for 3 years to grow plants in my discus tank with very poor success. Now back to just sand.
There are people that are successful, I wasnt one of them.
But, my discus are beautiful :)
 

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Hi
It can be done, you just need to keep water parameters under control.

Discus are large fish, they produce lots of waste that is a source of nitrogen N and phosphorus P. These are plant nutrients but need to be kept under control with healthy plants and water changes. Other plant nutrients are potassium K, magnesium Mg and calcium Ca which can be added with water changes. Trace elements can be dosed daily and be reset by water changes.

At the beginning more testing is needed in order to set the system up and then gradually going with easy routine.

With every water change, K is added with K2SO4, Mg with MgSO4, Ca with CaSO4 (if needed), KH with backing soda (if needed), all per changed water quantity. This keeps the levels consistent. No need to test.

From time to time, first after one week, then two weeks, then monthly will be needed to check NO3, PO4 and TDS. If too high then more water changes are needed.
 

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Just curious but could you run CO2? Still low light plants like Anubias and ferns. A few people have done low light (low fert), CO2 injected discus tanks here and I’ve like the idea of trying to get the best of both worlds but never been sure how it would pan out?
 

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Just curious but could you run CO2? Still low light plants like Anubias and ferns. A few people have done low light (low fert), CO2 injected discus tanks here and I’ve like the idea of trying to get the best of both worlds but never been sure how it would pan out?
Sure it can be done and it is even better because the fish enjoy less alkaline water and plants grow more and healthier. Better growing plants purify more water and the CO2 doesn’t need to be crazy high, any level is better than nothing.

Discus aquarium by Takashi Amano
 

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I would like to see the details on this tank. Are there any?
You are lucky today!

Code:
Dimensions:	W180 x D100 x H80 cm 1440 L , W71 x D39 x H32 inch.  370 gallon
Lighting:	4 x 40W, 14 x 20W NA lamp
Period:		10 hours per day
Filter:		External canister filter x 2, Palm Net, Bio Rio, Activated Charcoal
Substrate:	Powersand, Marine Gravel, Bacter 100, Clear super
Fertilizer:	Brighty Step 2, Brighty K, Green gain
Anti-algae:	Phyton-Git
CO2 supply:	5 bubbles per second, Twin Pollen glass Beetle
Water change:	Once in two weeks, 1/3 of tank water
Temperature:	25C
pH:		7.3
GH:		4 degree
KH:		4 degree
For more information call 1-800-ADA
 

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You are lucky today!

Code:
Dimensions:    W180 x D100 x H80 cm 1440 L , W71 x D39 x H32 inch.  370 gallon
Lighting:    4 x 40W, 14 x 20W NA lamp
Period:        10 hours per day
Filter:        External canister filter x 2, Palm Net, Bio Rio, Activated Charcoal
Substrate:    Powersand, Marine Gravel, Bacter 100, Clear super
Fertilizer:    Brighty Step 2, Brighty K, Green gain
Anti-algae:    Phyton-Git
CO2 supply:    5 bubbles per second, Twin Pollen glass Beetle
Water change:    Once in two weeks, 1/3 of tank water
Temperature:    25C
pH:        7.3
GH:        4 degree
 KH:        4 degree
For more information call 1-800-ADA

How long had this tank up with discus in tank?

Im not trying to be argumentative-= I am genuinely curious.

I really haven't seen any members on here long term with discus, CO2, high fertilization, and plants. I see them come and go, sure.

Unless I missed somebody. Because I would sure like to see a progression over 6 months.

Really!
 

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I really haven't seen any members on here long term with discus, CO2, high fertilization, and plants.
Hi
It would be nice if you could set acceptable variable ranges for discus fish of your choice.

NO3 ppm ?
PO4 ppm
K ppm
Mg ppm
Ca ppm
dKH
dGH
pH
CO2 ppm
TDS ppm or µS
Water changes %
Water changes period
Temperature
Light PAR
Light period

This will demonstrate why discus can or cannot coexist with plants.
 

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Hi
It would be nice if you could set acceptable variable ranges for discus fish of your choice.

NO3 ppm ?
PO4 ppm
K ppm
Mg ppm
Ca ppm
dKH
dGH
pH
CO2 ppm
TDS ppm or µS
Water changes %
Water changes period
Temperature
Light PAR
Light period

This will demonstrate why discus can or cannot coexist with plants.

NO3 ppm 10 ppm
PO4 ppm I dont know
K ppm "
Mg ppm "
Ca ppm "
dKH "
dGH 0-12 ( breeding success higher--hatch [email protected] lower ranges due to ossification of eggs)
pH 5-8 ) Wild and asian import strains tend to need softer water in long term. European varieties have been bred several generations ton thrive in harder water. From neutral to 8 ph.
CO2 ppm -Dont know
TDS ppm or µS- My discus stay between 85-120 ppm TDS.
Water changes % - Depends on age of discus.
Water changes period - Depends on age of discus.
Temperature -Depends on age of discus.
Light PAR -Dont know.
Light period- Dont know
 

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Are planted aquariums and discus fish compatible?


NO3 < 10 ppm
Discus are large fish that produce great amount of waste generating high levels of NO3 which should be maintained by large frequent water changes. Regardless of how large water changes are performed, plants will still have enough NO3 left.

PO4
Same as NO3

K
Discus healthy environment can have 5 – 15 ppm of K which is also suitable for plants.

Mg
Discus healthy environment can have 2 - 5 ppm of Mg (0.5 - 1.1 dGH) which is also suitable for plants.

Ca
Discus healthy environment can have 10 - 20 ppm of Ca (1.4 – 2.8 dGH) which is also suitable for plants.

dKH
Any proper KH for discus is suitable for plants.

dGH 0-12 ( breeding success higher--hatch [email protected] lower ranges due to ossification of eggs)
Difficult fish are not usually bred in planted aquariums however growing and keeping discus in 2 – 4 dGH is healthy and also suitable for plants.

pH 5-8 Wild and asian import strains tend to need softer water in long term. European varieties have been bred several generations to thrive in harder water. From neutral to 8 ph.
Plants also can grow in pH of 5 and up to 7, and most up to 8, just as discus.

CO2
Atmospheric CO2 to aquarium water equilibrium is about 0.5 – 4.5 ppm CO2. Natural waters can have 15 ppm and more therefore there is no reason to suggest that discus could feel uncomfortable in 10 ppm of CO2 which is suitable for plants under low and medium light energy. Furthermore, plants can offer healthier and more natural way of life for the fish.

TDS ppm or µS - My discus stay between 85-120 ppm TDS.
This is also suitable for plants.

Water changes % - Depends on age of discus.
No amount of proper water changes can harm plants.

Water changes period - Depends on age of discus.
No quantity of proper water changes can harm plants.

Temperature -Depends on age of discus.
I was expecting more information about discus temperature requirements because some cases require quite high temperatures which some plant species may not tolerate but those are usually unnecessary or due to fish sickness. When due to sickness then it should be done in hospital aquariums. Recommended temperatures for healthy discus, Juveniles under 3 inch 86F / 30C, sub-adults 3 - 5 inch 84F / 29C, adults 5.5 + inch 82F / 28C.

Light PAR
Discus can feel comfortable under low and medium light intensities which is also suitable for most plants.

Light period
Any natural like light period is also suitable for plants.



As we can see discus fish and most plants are compatible. What I would not recommend is extremes in light intensities, CO2 on - off peak schedules and brute over fertilization. Other than that there is no reason not to have healthy discus with healthy plants.

Thank you for the constructive discussion @Discusluv
Is there anything else to mention?
 

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Are planted aquariums and discus fish compatible?


NO3 < 10 ppm
Discus are large fish that produce great amount of waste generating high levels of NO3 which should be maintained by large frequent water changes. Regardless of how large water changes are performed, plants will still have enough NO3 left.

PO4
Same as NO3

K
Discus healthy environment can have 5 – 15 ppm of K which is also suitable for plants.

Mg
Discus healthy environment can have 2 - 5 ppm of Mg (0.5 - 1.1 dGH) which is also suitable for plants.

Ca
Discus healthy environment can have 10 - 20 ppm of Ca (1.4 – 2.8 dGH) which is also suitable for plants.

dKH
Any proper KH for discus is suitable for plants.

dGH 0-12 ( breeding success higher--hatch [email protected] lower ranges due to ossification of eggs)
Difficult fish are not usually bred in planted aquariums however growing and keeping discus in 2 – 4 dGH is healthy and also suitable for plants.

pH 5-8 Wild and asian import strains tend to need softer water in long term. European varieties have been bred several generations to thrive in harder water. From neutral to 8 ph.
Plants also can grow in pH of 5 and up to 7, and most up to 8, just as discus.

CO2
Atmospheric CO2 to aquarium water equilibrium is about 0.5 – 4.5 ppm CO2. Natural waters can have 15 ppm and more therefore there is no reason to suggest that discus could feel uncomfortable in 10 ppm of CO2 which is suitable for plants under low and medium light energy. Furthermore, plants can offer healthier and more natural way of life for the fish.

TDS ppm or µS - My discus stay between 85-120 ppm TDS.
This is also suitable for plants.

Water changes % - Depends on age of discus.
No amount of proper water changes can harm plants.

Water changes period - Depends on age of discus.
No quantity of proper water changes can harm plants.

Temperature -Depends on age of discus.
I was expecting more information about discus temperature requirements because some cases require quite high temperatures which some plant species may not tolerate but those are usually unnecessary or due to fish sickness. When due to sickness then it should be done in hospital aquariums.

Light PAR
Discus can feel comfortable under low and medium light intensities which is also suitable for most plants.

Light period
Any natural like light period is also suitable for plants.



As we can see discus fish and most plants are compatible. What I would not recommend is extremes in light intensities, CO2 on - off peak schedules and brute over fertilization. Other than that there is no reason not to have healthy discus with healthy plants.

Thank you for the constructive discussion @Discusluv
Is there anything else to mention?
I can provide more information for temperature.

Juveniles under 3 inch- 86 degrees
Sub-adults- 3-5 inch -84 degrees
Adults- 5.5 +: 82 degrees.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I didn't realize this thread was still going on. But thanks for all of the additional information. I'll probably start adding a little bit of K and mix up a micro solution to dose after water changes. I could start running co2 again at low levels and I know it would help the plants, but right now it's not worth it to me. I really want to make sure my Discus grow and stay healthy. CO2 would just be one more variable I have to watch and control, that has the potential to cause problems for the fish. Maybe sometime down the road once I get more comfortable.

So far, so good though. I've had the fish for 3 weeks now and they all seem to be happy and healthy. They all eat constantly and are growing. I've been careful to choose foods that are cleaner and don't brake down easily to help keep the water cleaner. I do water changes as often as I can, which is usually every other day. I know more would be better but I just don't have time to do it that often. And the plants are all still growing. A little bit of algae on the lower leaves but that doesn't bother me too much. We'll see if adding some more ferts helps or makes it worse. I'll try and update this thread later on, if I can remember, and let you know how it goes.
 

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I didn't realize this thread was still going on. But thanks for all of the additional information. I'll probably start adding a little bit of K and mix up a micro solution to dose after water changes. I could start running co2 again at low levels and I know it would help the plants, but right now it's not worth it to me. I really want to make sure my Discus grow and stay healthy. CO2 would just be one more variable I have to watch and control, that has the potential to cause problems for the fish. Maybe sometime down the road once I get more comfortable.

So far, so good though. I've had the fish for 3 weeks now and they all seem to be happy and healthy. They all eat constantly and are growing. I've been careful to choose foods that are cleaner and don't brake down easily to help keep the water cleaner. I do water changes as often as I can, which is usually every other day. I know more would be better but I just don't have time to do it that often. And the plants are all still growing. A little bit of algae on the lower leaves but that doesn't bother me too much. We'll see if adding some more ferts helps or makes it worse. I'll try and update this thread later on, if I can remember, and let you know how it goes.
Yes, its smart to keep it as simple as possible with discus. These fish can be very demanding - especially when juveniles- and any environmental stress can be bring on a flagellete and/or bacterial infection.

Someone very well versed in both high tech systems AND care of discus would definitely have the ability to do it. But, if you are a beginner (or even moderately experienced in either) can present difficulties.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Yes, its smart to keep it as simple as possible with discus. These fish can be very demanding - especially when juveniles- and any environmental stress can be bring on a flagellete and/or bacterial infection.

Someone very well versed in both high tech systems AND care of discus would definitely have the ability to do it. But, if you are a beginner (or even moderately experienced in either) can present difficulties.
I have plenty of experience with high tech, but not a lot with Discus. I tried Discus once before and made some big mistakes. I bought small low quality fish from an unknown seller. I setup a grow out tank in the basement which made water changes very difficult. My job kept me away from the house most of the day, so they didn't get fed well. And then ultimately I went on vacation and forgot to turn the filter back on after the last water change. They were already not doing well before that, but it definitely put them over the edge. Some were dead when I got home. The rest died within the next week or two.

This time I bought really good stock from a reputable supplier (and I can definitely tell a huge difference). I got 4" fish that require a little less work. I put them in my main tank on the main floor where I can do water changes easily, and I walk by often so they get the attention they need, and I get the enjoyment of seeing them often. I'm working from home permanently now so I can feed more often and keep a better eye on them. I am doing a planted tank, which I know is against the advice of the experts, but that's part of the reason I got a little bit bigger fish. But I simplified my design with hardscape that is easy to move for water changes, and plants that are easy to keep. I'm trying to do as many things right as I can to help me be successful. And like I said, so far so good. We'll see if my success continues though.
 

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How long had this tank up with discus in tank?

Im not trying to be argumentative-= I am genuinely curious.

I really haven't seen any members on here long term with discus, CO2, high fertilization, and plants. I see them come and go, sure.

Unless I missed somebody. Because I would sure like to see a progression over 6 months.

Really!
He's a little sparse with the uploads but @Seattle_Aquarist has a heavily planted discus tank running 30 ppm CO2. He's growing them out from juvies and they are putting on size pretty quickly so it appears to be working. Here's the journal:
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/...-red-spot-green-discus-f1-3.html#post11386231
 

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With the tiny bit I know about discus and Takashi Amano I was surprised to see the water change schedule of 1/3 of tank volume every 2 weeks.
 
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