View Full Version : New to forum and Discus

10-20-2008, 03:19 PM
Hello all, I am new to this forum, I am also planning on keeping Discus for the first time in the very near future, As soon as I clean out my tank.

A little backround, I have benn keeping tropical fish for about 20 years now. I have been keeping Malawi's for the last five years with great success. I am currently cleaning out my Malawi tank to make room for Discus.
I have an 80 gallon tank with a Fluval 405 filter that has worked flawlessly for llas and zebras for the last year. I am aware of the water parameter differences between Africans and Discus, However, I have never kept low PH cichlids before and would appreciate all the advice you can provide.

Thanks, in advance,

10-20-2008, 04:20 PM
hello and welcome:19: :19:

10-20-2008, 05:25 PM
I've read through some of the posts in this forum in the last few hours and have some specific questions:

1) Many people advocate a bare bottom and at the same time a planted tank. How do you accomplish a planted tank if you have no substrate to for the plants to take root in?

2) How do you lower PH. My tap water is exactly 7.0, however, tap water through an inline filter is around 6.5. I know how to raise PH but not lower it.

3) How many fish in an 80 gallon? I also want to add tankmates, maybe schooling fish like tetra or guppies.

4) Do Discuss require water movement?

10-20-2008, 05:41 PM
Hello and welcome!!!!!!!!!!!!!

10-20-2008, 05:58 PM
Welcome To A.c.!!!

10-20-2008, 06:14 PM
Welcome to the forum. Let me answer the questions in order.

Personally I advocate a bare bottom tank as I personally find it much easier to keep clean. I have plants in my bare bottom Discus tank and this is accomplished by planting them in small plastic plant pots with enough gravel to hold the plant down.

Second, you don't need to lower the pH from 7.0 unless you are planning to keep wild Discus. The captive bred discus that are available today are quite adaptable and will do just fine in 7.0. If, however, you can run it through the inline filter and get it to 6.5 I personally believe the Discus will be better off.

The number of adult Discus is generally said to be 1 for every 10gallons. So for your 80gal tank I would suggest a nice group of 8, however because things change slightly with larger tanks and proper filtration, you could go as high as 10 in that tank. It's mainly a matter of fish keeping habits in this area once you get to a tank that size. As for tankmates, the biggest concern for tankmates is the temperature requirements. There are only a few species that can handle the constant high temperatures at which Discus should be kept. I keep my tank at 84F and I keep Rummynose Tetras and Lemon Tetras with them. I wouldn't recommend Guppies for 2 reasons, the first and biggest reason is the temperature, and the second is the fact that guppies could very well be a snack for them, if not the adults, certainly the fry. I've never seen a Discus that would pass up Guppy fry. For a bottom dweller, Brochis splendens makes a great tankmate as does Corydoras sterbai.

Discus are native to very low movement water and do seem to prefer lower flow. The movement provided by your Fluval 405 would, IMO, be perfectly fine for your fish. My Discus pair is kept in a 46gal tank with an Eheim 2215 as the sole filtration.

Hope this helps.

10-21-2008, 03:47 AM
I do want to use a substrate, this tank is a focal point in the room and a bare bottom is not very asthetically pleasing in my opionion. What type of substrate should I use(no sand please) and how deep for plants to root properly?


10-21-2008, 07:09 AM
i keep my discus in a PH of 6.0 and i have gravel thats aprox 2inches thick and all my plants love it

10-21-2008, 07:33 AM
Hello and welcome to the A.C., Marty.

10-21-2008, 12:01 PM
Why not sand?

It is the most natural, best for plants, and great for any sinking foods. There is a whole article on it in my blog if you want to read about it.

Have you had bad experience with it or just heard bad things about it?

10-21-2008, 12:05 PM
Welcome :)

10-21-2008, 12:16 PM
Why not sand?

It is the most natural, best for plants, and great for any sinking foods. There is a whole article on it in my blog if you want to read about it.

Have you had bad experience with it or just heard bad things about it?

I had sand with my africans, 5 inches of fine black reef sand and large white coral skeletons, the tank was beautiful. The problem, when cleaning the tank, the sand gets caught in the magnetic cleaning block and scratches the glass. I could go with a thicker sand, such as pool filter sand, but I don't like the color. I was considering fine gravel.

10-21-2008, 12:30 PM
Why not sand?

Agreed. Your 2 best choices for substrate in a Discus tank are either sand or bare bottom. Gravel is very difficult to keep clean enough. You can't leave decaying food or waste in the bottom of the tank, that all needs to be removed either through filtration or cleaning.

10-21-2008, 03:51 PM
The sand defintiely doesn't need to be that thick. I use the magnetic algae scrapers all the time with no issue. I may leave a 1/4" wide band of algae right at the sand like, but generally I just use algae eaters. For example I have a gold nugget in my 75 that is managing to keep algae very minimal. In addition a planted tank will generally have much less algae than a non-planted tank. So for what little algae may develop, a small group of ottos or a small pleco will keep it clean.

Do you have acrylic tanks?

10-22-2008, 12:22 AM
ok, if I do decide to use sand, what kind(I had tahitian moon sand) and how much?

10-22-2008, 01:12 AM
I use about an inch of Estes' Marine Sand. There is a whole article about sand in my blog, please check it out. (It is based on my experience with sand, which is with Estes' Marine Sand.)

10-23-2008, 05:17 PM
is a CO2 system necassary fore a moderately planted tank?

10-24-2008, 01:00 AM
What is most important is a balance. You need to have a balance between light, carbon (CO2, Flourish Excel, etc.), and fertilizers. Too much of one and certain problems can occur. Too little of one and that will be your limiting factor. I would get the tank going and if it seems like carbon is your limiting factor worry about it then.

10-24-2008, 12:14 PM
Ok, so what do I need (light type, chemicals, etc...) for a planted tank? Excuse my ignorance, this is my first planted tank.


10-24-2008, 12:58 PM
Lots of light. I use glass canopies instead of those plastic hood so I can get more lighting on the tank. I suggest looking into Coralife's double T5 lights. They come with bulbs, are very reasonably priced, and are great lights. I also suggest looking into screw-in compact fluorescent lights. Coralife makes a few bulbs that are compact fluorescent but screw-in to incandescent fixtures. Cheap fixture, reasonably priced bulbs, and tons of light. I have both of these types of lights on my reef tank.

In general you want to have lighting of 6500-10,000K, so it should be white to slightly reddish-white. All my tanks have reef lighting on them and the plants are doing very well. The reef lights I have are Zoo Med's Reef Sun. They are 50/50s, which means they are half 6500K (perfect for the plants), but half actinic (so blues are shown too). So overall the lighting gives the plants what they need while also providing a nice crisp white instead of the reddish-white plant lights usually give off.

For chemicals you just need some fertilizers. I only use Fluorish (made by Seachem), which is a really good company. I use the Tabs (tablets you put in the substrate), the general liquid, and Iron (some of my plants showed signs of iron deficiency). I have not tried it yet (probably will soon), but the Flourish Excel is supposed to be a great way of providing CO2 without buyiing and messing with a gas CO2 system. It is just another liquid additive.

If you don't have any books yet I suggest getting either the MiniEncyclopedia for Aquarium Plants or the Encyclopedia for Aquarium Plants, both published by Barron's. These will provide a good foundation of knowledge for you to start with.

10-24-2008, 03:48 PM
Awsome info Fishguy,I agree totally !:19:

Welcome to the AC! Lots of great info in FishGuys Blob!!!!!

10-25-2008, 12:23 PM
If you plan on using laterite tabs, be prepared for extremely cloudy water.. ugh.. never again