Discus: a couple of questions
Sorry I ask too many dumb questions. Normally, I would read a few books, but I have noticed most books out there are outdated.
Anyhow, I am thinking about setting up a Discus tank sometime in the next few months and I'm doing some research. Right now, a couple of items I am not particularly clear on, and would appreciate some input, are:
- I read from a few different sources that, while discus prefer softer, more acidic water, they tend to do fine in harder water, and that some breeders have been having success at a PH of 8.2 or so. While I do not intend to breed in the foreseeable future, I would like to keep the fish healthy. Can you tell me anything about this?
- I am going to have gravel in my tank, and I am going to have some rocks, I just don't want a bare tank. Now, while plants are great for water quality I read your water changes in a discus tank should be more frequent and larger than other tanks (bi-weekly, up to 50%) - Additionally, keeping the gravel clean is easier without very many plants. So, my question is, considering the frequent and large water changes, am I better off without plants?
- With proper filtration, say, two filters rated for an 80 gallon tank in a 65 gallon, are the frequent and large changes still necessary? To clarify, when I say frequent, I mean more frequent than with other fish.
Thanks in advance for your help.
I've kept Discus in the past so I'll wade in a bit here. Keep in mind I'm absolutely, positively NOT an expert.
As for the PH...I wouldn't take any chances with the health of your fish. Just because you "can" keep a fish, at a different PH than is optimal, doesn't mean you should. I'm speaking in terms of general health and longevity. It is my experience that, more so than most other fish, a discus will color up according to its health. You want to keep this fish in the water it prefers -- in fact I'd say it is critical. They'll look better and be healthier for it. I've no experience breeding them intentionally though. None-the-less...I feel that these guys are sensitive enough that you really want to make sure the PH is spot on. That's not always the case...but in this I think it is.
I've never done a 100% real plant tank simply because it can be a hassle when trying to clean around them. HOWEVER I've noticed the tanks with larger populations of plants seem to be more stable and healthy. I don't think going 100% real plant is necessary but it does help to have some greenery in the tank that is live. If you can settle for the tedious cleaning around a few plants than I'd say they are definitely worth it.
As for the water changes...I'm a pretty firm believer that there is no substitute for water changes. The filtration system like your talking about should be fine. In fact your water quality is probably gonna be pretty spectacular as long as you maintain them. But a water change should still be done at least 25% twice a month. And that's a pretty low amount of changes but I don't think that is excessive...and in fact I'd call that the bare minimum.
Others may be able to be much more specific or might disagree. But this is just from my perspective.
This is from the discus subforum
and so is this: http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aqua...ad.php?t=25386
Looks like a bare bottom is preferred - frequent water changes even with good filtration.
Not a good choice if you aren't prepared to do the work or don't have the appropriate pH, etc.
Last edited by imma24; 11-15-2013 at 06:12 PM.
46 gal fw tank with black skirt tetras, neon tetras, spotted corys, cherry barbs, otoclinus, snails & 4 amano shrimp - plastic & live plants
5 gal QT
Remember: Our job is to take care of the water our fish live in
Stable ph is the most important aspect in regard to ph unless you're planning on stocking wild discus. Clean water, very clean water is extremely important so I would not use gravel, too many openings for excess food and poop will cause an excess in nitrates and with discus you want your nitrates to be below 10ppm. The more filtration the better but you will still need to do water changes to keep the nitrates as low as possible. I have a 135 gallon tank with 40 gallon sump (6 discus in the main tank right now) and I do a minimum of three 50%+ water changes a week. You can go bare bottom or with a low sand bed. Also important is the size of discus, juvenile discus require as many as 6 feedings a day (daily water changes) while adult can be fed 2-3 times per day.
Plants are fine but must be able to tolerate the minimum 82 to 86 temperature that is required for discus so amazon swords, crypts, anubias, java ferns, bolbitus are a few that can be used and also other than the swords & crypts be attached to rocks or driftwod.
Last edited by JudiJetson; 11-15-2013 at 08:16 PM.