View Full Version : A few questions about a Discus aquarium

06-22-2008, 11:12 PM
This is my first post as a new member and I would like to start be saying hello.

I am 60 years old and have kept aquariums most of my life, probably over 50 years. However, I have never kept Discus. For the last 15 years or longer I have primarily kept Saltwater Reef Aquariums but I would like to try my hand with a Discus aquarium.

I am very well versed on water quality and the importance of the right water parameters for the right aquarium inhabitants.

I currently have a 180 gallon aquarium I would to turn into a Discus aquarium. The aquarium has built in twin over flows with a very large sump which could easily be converted into a nice wet dry filter.

I am considering having the aquarium with live plants and am looking for input as to the best recommended lighting and substrate for this aspect of the aquarium. In addition, recommended numbers of Discus and suitable tank mates.

Any advice would be appreciated.

06-23-2008, 12:34 AM
you could have a nice number of discus, 10 discus with a school of 50-100 cardinal tetras would be awesome, and since youve got good filtration you could throw in 15 corys

For lighting, it really depends if you want low light, medium, or high light plants. For substrate, i personally think sand is the best

Evil Slimy
06-23-2008, 12:55 AM
I have not kept discus myself, but I have researched them for quite a bit recently, and the general consensus is that a planted tank is not reccomended if you are planning to raise them from juveniles.
4 inches and up is probably ok, but younger ones require a very clean environment to avoid being stunted and obtain the right body shape and size as adults.
Planted tanks just make the cleaning more difficult. As I mentioned this is not from direct experience, but from what I gathered you will probably have a lot less long term problems if you go with sub adult or adult discus.
A wet/dry filter isn't terribly useful in a planted tank as the plants will do the same job and more efficiently. I would personally keep it as a sump and just add biological and mechanical filtration.

I think what cocoa_pleco suggested would really be a great way to stock it and sand really is very easy to clean and the corydoras will absolutely love it. Just make sure it has rounded grains and isn't too sharp. I really like the quikrete commercial grade in medium. In water it becomes very 'fluffy' and it has a very even grain size (it's sifted) and does not seem to compact. Just have to not be shy about rinsing it several times before adding it to the tank :)

06-23-2008, 01:33 AM
Thanks for the info

06-23-2008, 09:51 PM
I use sand in all my tanks and they are all planted. You can check out my Photobucket page to see them. I think this is a great option. The special substrates eventually lose those nutrients and you have to supplement anyways, so just do it now. There is a whole article on sand in my blog for more information on its use in freshwater aquariums. I use Estes' Marine Sand (not actually marine).

Water quality with a school of discus and the right bottom feeders will not be an isssue in a planted 180. The whole bare bottom thing is mainly when discus are being kept in undersized tanks and mainly to make it easy to clean up extra food. With a school of cories or loaches in there that will be taken care of, naturally.

I think a school of 8-10 and a big school of cardinal tetras would look astounding. I personally would also have some sterbai cories, a gold nugget pleco, and either maybe a few bristlenose plecos or ottos. Some loaches could work as well, in addition to or in place of the cories.

For my planted tanks the most light I have is a double fluorescent, which includes the 150. The bulbs I use are actually the 50/50 6500K with acitnic in one. These provide the proper color for plants, but the actinic helps balance the visual look and keeps the tank and fish looking nice and bright.