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Discus and BGK

This is a discussion on Discus and BGK within the Cichlids forums, part of the Freshwater and Tropical Fish category; --> Picking up a couple of danger points from the latest posts... Angels and discus are not recommended. Yes, stores have them together, and yes, ...

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Old 03-20-2010, 01:07 PM   #31
 
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Picking up a couple of danger points from the latest posts...

Angels and discus are not recommended. Yes, stores have them together, and yes, some members here will say fine. But they are not compatible due to their feeding habits. Angels are more aggressive and in time will often be so much so that the discus can be stressed and may eventually refuse to eat sufficiently or at all. I have this from Jack Wattley, who at 90 years of age has a long lifetime of experience breeding discus by the thousands, and he knows his stuff; he writes a monthly coloum in TFH and frequently is asked about compatible fish. I tend to listen to such people rather than risk my fish.

Another point on the angels, they will eat all small tetras like neons and cardinals. The particular angels in this or that aquarist's tank may not, now, but this is part of their genetic makeup and you can't change it. It is another risk. Cardinals do extremely well with discus, but not with angels. Even if the angels didn't physically attempt to eat the cardinals, the angels have the instinct to do so, and the cardinals can probably pick this up in the water. Characins have a most unique "sixth sense" (if that is what one calls it in fish) that senses danger before it occurs, and the chemical signals that all predatory fish give off is noticeable to other fish. That's why they have it, nature's way of ensuring survival of some of the preyed-upon fish.

One last caution on the emperor tetras: I would not mix these with discus, same reason as for the angels. Nematobrycon palmeri (and the related N. lacortei) are very aggressive at feeding, considerably moreso than Black Phantoms and cardinals. I speak from experience. I have Poecillocharax weitzmani in my 90g with both species of emperors, and it is a real frustration trying to get the bloodworms in front of Poecillocharax weitzmani; the emperors know what is going on and push (and very well) the Pw out of the way and snap up the bloodworms. I intend moving the emperors this weekend during the partial water change, they are just too rambunctious at feeding time for many of the more sedate fish in this tank (I have hatchets and pencilfish too).

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Old 03-20-2010, 04:28 PM   #32
 
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I was never planning on keeping angels in that tank, however I wanted to know if the apistos are too aggressive with the tetras.

Instead of emperor tetras could I have a school of kerri tetras? Or maybe even serpaes or some kind of pencilfish?

As far as the mikrogeophagus ramirezi go, does it make a difference when choosing between, blue, gold and ballon or do they all have the same temperment. I know albino tiger barbs are generally less healthy than normal tiger barbs because of inbreeding, is this the case with balloon rams?

I love the look of a densly planted aquarium with lots of tetras. I will try to find out about less rambunctious species of tetras and other characins.
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Old 03-20-2010, 04:47 PM   #33
 
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Dylan, go through the Fish Profiles here, the characins section. Many of them will mention discus as suitable fish. Kerri tetras are there; not mentioned with discus because they are a bit active.

The rams I can't answer as far as health issues, I have never had the "artificial" versions, I am one of those who like the real fish and not those from selective breeding or however they do this [shudder]. Sensitivity to water and behaviours I believe are relative the same.

None of the Apistogramma species will be problematic with characins, nor discus, provided the species share the same water requirements (acidic and warmth).

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Old 03-20-2010, 05:26 PM   #34
 
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NEW and IMPORVED stocking list:

- 8 discus (symphysodon aequifasciatus)
- 2 german blue rams (mikrogeophagus ramirezi)
- 2 cockatoo apistos (apistogramma cacatuoides)
- 8 sterba's cories (corydoras sterbai)
- 1 twig catfish (farlowella acus)
- 10 cardinal tetras (paracheirodon axelrodi)
- 8 robert's tetras
- 8 black phantom tetras
- 8 dwarf pencilfish
- 4 sparkling gouramis

I am SUPER excited for this. I have decided that this tank will be separating two rooms, built into the wall. Now I can see it from two rooms in the house! YAY

dwarf pencilfish are gorgeous! The cockatoo apistos at my LFS are soo gorgeous and they have so many colours of discus there. I think I will do 2 cobalt blue, 2 snakeskin, 2 marlboro red and 2 pigeon blood. Each of those colours come at 50 dollars each. I might ask them to give me a discount if I buy eight. So like 350$ for 8 discus.
If the discus ever spawn the fry will be able to sell for so much. Like 20$ each for 3-4" discus. They would definately pay for themselves after a while. But for now, my goal will be to set up their tank and keep them happy and healthy, breeding isnt an option right now at all!
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Old 03-20-2010, 08:39 PM   #35
 
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Only earlier question of rams, I have had gold rams and in my exprience they are same difficulty as german blue rams with sensitivity and such. As for ballon rams I don't like the look of a lot of unnatural fish and so I haven't had any of those.
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Old 03-21-2010, 03:42 AM   #36
 
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Balloon variants also notoriously suffer from swim bladder issues. I'd avoid them. Plus, they look sort of dumb if you ask me.
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Old 03-21-2010, 10:01 AM   #37
 
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Yes, I agree they don't look good at all. I find they look either diseased or their growth was stunted. Especially baloon mollies.

I have noticed that a lot of the more sedate species of tetras have long flimsy fins instead of shorter firm ones. I know the robert's tetras are rare around where I live, so I might have to choose another tetra that I find looks calm and more slow-moving, such as the diamond tetras.

Does the colour of a discus have any effect on its general health? I thought maybe some of the ones that are entirely red or blue might have gone through more genreations of inbreeding than lets say a snakeskin. That is just a thought I had. Also, the farlowella, I know they are pretty big, will they uproot plants like amazon swords or even carpet plants like hairgrass. I plan on having a lot of java ferns, I will buy 2 or 3 and then plant the daughter plants around them. I also want java moss, amazon frogbit (not too much), cabomba, anubias, crypts, hairgrass and amazon swords. I want to avoid bunch or stem plants, because they always loose the leaves at the bottom and then the bottom of the plant turns brown and rots, then there are floating peices and I have to cut them and plants them but they float and are super easily uprooted.

Do farlowella clean the glass and the décor/plants ? They are a really interesting fish.

The amazon frogbit in my tank will provide many uses. One, provide a sense of safety for the hatchets. Two, provide a nesting spot for the sparkling gouramis to establish territories. Three, provide some shade for the discus, tetras and cichlids to feel more secure and as if it were more similar to their natural habitat.

I was thinking of using a feeding cone to feed worms to the fish. Would all the fish swarm it, making the discus nervous? Should I put two or three, they are only like 1.99ch. For flake food, should I just sprinkle it one the waters surface, or put it in the feeding ring around the cone? I know there is discus food on the market. Would the other fish eat discus pellets, or would only the discus be able to eat it?

I plan on feeding flake food every day. Bloodworms every second day and some other live food 2-3 times a week.

I dont know if that will work. For all my other tanks, feeding is really easy, but this tank, I need help. Can somebody tell me what to feed, when to feed it and how to make sure everybody gets some.
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Old 03-21-2010, 11:00 AM   #38
 
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Farlowella: There are many different species, the one to get is the one included in our Profiles now, Farlowella vittata (though as noted in the text, other species names are often seen for this fish), commonly the twig catfish. Fish like "Royal Farlowella" grow large and can be problematic. The F. vittata is 5-6 inches and so slender it is barely visible if it is motionless. A neat fish. Never digs up anything, spends all day grazing over plant leaves. I have seen it on the tank glass, but I would use a good scraper for the glass and let the Farlowella tend to the plants. It is amazing how they can perch on the narrowest plant leaves, like dwarf Sagittaria and pygmy chain sword; their light weight allows them to do this without breaking the leaves. They love wood; hanging motionless you cannot see them.

Floating plants are always beneficial for the reasons you've stated. Frogbit will multiply very fast once it is established. Last week I thinned it out in my 90g, to where it was less than 1/2 the tank surface. Today, a week later, it is completely covering the surface, the hatchets are under it, there is no open water! It will get thinned again today during the pwc. It also blooms now and then, lovely little white flowers with golden stamens. I keep the water level about 3/4 inch below the tank frame so I can see the blossoms.
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Old 03-21-2010, 11:31 AM   #39
 
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The toughest part of keeping discus in a community tank is feeding, which is why so many discus keepers don't do it. Discus can be incredibly finicky eaters, and they can be very slow eaters. I have one who is so shy and the only thing he is interested in eating is live black worms. I feed him his worms with a syringe. He has learned that this is where the worms come from and isn't shy about coming to the syringe. Luckily for me the only fish that high tail it to the syringe are the other discus.

Cone feeders work well but I can't use them as my loaches aren't shy about "hitting" the cones and my loaches will crowd out the discus and clean out a cone in two minutes flat.

I can't recall where you said you were purchasing your discus but if you are able to observe them for awhile (I watched mine for two hours before I came home with them) and make sure they aren't too shy and are eating well you'll have better success with them.

I think you're going to have a difficult time feeding flake food, in a tank stocked such as yours, and making sure the discus get their fair share. The tetras are so quick they probably will have gobbled it up before the discus even know it's there.
I don't mean to be negative, I just want to prepare you for what could present as far as problems go.

If I had it to do all over again I would have done a discus only tank, it would have been alot easier than what I'm doing now, which is essentially hand target feeding.
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Old 03-21-2010, 05:25 PM   #40
 
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The discus at the LFS are all in tanks with big angels and small angels, so I am pretty sure they aren't very shy eaters. Before I purchase any discus I will ask the people at the LFS to feed the discus and I will see which ones eat the best and I will choose those, provided they are healthy looking and don't seem to have anything wrong with them. Should I feed them frozen blackworms? When black worms are thawed, are the worms alive? I want the discus to be fed on prepared food for a while before introducing live foods.

The tank is long so I can put two feeding stations. I don't think the tetras will bother the discus too much during feeding. All the other fish are small and most aren't bossy eaters. The farlowella eats algae and I am pretty sure the rams won't pose too much of a problem. The discus at the store aren't shy at all, they all get as close to the glass as possible when people walk by. Especially in a group of 8, they should be pretty confident and shouldn't really shy away.

I plan on using Omega fish flakes as a staple in all the fishes diet. I heard it is very good quality and has quite a bit of protein. I plan on feeding frozen bloodworms twice a week and frozen krill twice a week. They sell both of those frozen foods in packages with individual cubes. This diet sounds pretty meaty, should I include some vegetarian thing into their diet, like algae wafers or vegetables?

At my LFS I saw farlowella acus and vittata. The acus were huge and the vitatta were pretty much thick brown needles. They were almost unnoticeable. Do farlowella like to be in shoals or are they okay alone?

Byron, what do you do with all of the extra frogbit? Do you throw it out, compost, throw it in some pond or lake, give it away, etc?

I went to another LFS today and they had a 900 dollar saltwater shark!!! It was pretty cool, anyways they also had some carpet plants on a little plastic 3"x6" plate thing, if I buy those, do I put it in the aquarium just like that or do I take them out of the plastic thing and seperate them so they spread more?

If RO water is the same pH as the tap water and my water is 7.2, and the tank water is like 6, if I do a 50% water change won't that shock the fish? Byron, you said that over time, one of your tanks went down to 5.5 or something like that. Does the pH go up if you add water that has a higher pH level?
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