Could I keep discus?
I've been running a 75 gallon community tank for about 2 years now and have been thinking about transitioning to a discus setup. The tank is well planted with automatic feeders that feed lightly twice a day and a 30% weekly water change.
My water conditions are;
Liquid test kit:
Currently the tank has
~18 glowlight tetras
~18 neon tetras
8 male guppies
5 Siamese algae eaters
The discus setup would have
Either the neon or glowlight tetras (dither fish)
2 German blue rams
(The remaining fish would likely go to family members)
What do you all think? This would be my first attempt with discus. I realize that my pH is a little high but I've seen a lot if mixed reports about the best ph for these fish.
75G Planted Blue Themed Community Tank:
Neon Tetras, Blue Platties, Blue Guppies, Blue Snails, & a pleco
with 4 hang off breeder tanks for Blue/Red Platty Project
Honestly, I think it'd be fine. But up the group to 6 instead of 4.
Are you ready for all those water changes Nic? Discus have quite the bioload and they really do need very clean water. Oh, and don't forget that they are cichlids.
I'd go with 5-6 discus, sand or bare bottom. Discus do have quite the bioload, I feed twice a day, a mix of Aquabites and cobalt flakes in the morning then freeze dried blackworms at night. They are very messy eaters and poop a lot. Waterchanges are done every other day at 50%. Your pH is fine as long as you don't intend to breed and most likely stable (no pH change when in a bucket 24 hours and aerated). They are very aggressive and territorial when guarding eggs so small dither fish can targets. The pleco may damage the discus as they are nocturnal and may attach to the discus to eat their slime coat.
I love mine but they do require very clean water and that means water changes, with a 75 gallon you're probably looking at about 40 minutes every other day using a pump to drain, if you have to age your water (gas off, match temp, stabilize ph) add another 15 minutes to add water to the tank and refill your aging barrel.
I have a 135 gallon with a 40 gallon sump (aging barrels) and it takes me 1-1/2 hours every other day.
I strongly suggest you first do a lot of homework on caring for discus, to ensure you're successful at keeping these expensive fish, particularly when doing so in a well-planted set-up.
If you do this, a must is to get at least 5 good quality, healthy & fairly mature discus of at least near adult in size (4" or more) from a known reputable source for supplying quality discus, and as Judi said, be prepared to do large water changes at least 3 or 4 times a week.
For tank-mates, go with the glowlight tetras rather than the neons which are generally not good tank-mates for discus (except they like to eat them), and omit the SAE's which, like most plecos, can take a liking to discus' slime coats as part of their diet, when they get larger, lazier, and somewhat more aggressive.
You might also consider omitting the Rams, since the combination of 5-6 discus, the 18 tetras and the 6 cories will already represent a relatively high bio-load in a 75 gal planted tank.
Best of luck to you.
Also if you do decide to go with discus buy from a reputable breeder. You'll be glad you did in the long run.