Discus questions!! - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 12 Old 03-20-2012, 12:00 PM Thread Starter
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Discus questions!!

We've ordered a 75g tank and we love Discus. We were going to ask the people at the pet store but I'm not sure how much they actually know, but my questions are... How many can we have in that size of a tank without getting over stocked? (I want to keep them as healthy as possible!) Also what type of plants are good to have in the tank with them? Thanks in advance!!!
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post #2 of 12 Old 03-20-2012, 07:48 PM
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6 would be about the maximum for a 75g tank.

Any of the following plants will do well in a discus tank.

Amazon Sword
Pygmy Chain Sword
Riccia Fluitans
Java Fern
Anubias - larger versions as smaller variety can be eaten.

10g Fry / Hospital / QT tank (as needed)

75g Saltwater Reef, Ocellaris Clownfish, Lyretail Antias (baby), Lemon damsel, Longtail Fairy Wrasse, purple dottyback, snails, crabs and a few LPS corals.

220g Still sitting empty (come on Lottery I need the numbers to come up!)
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post #3 of 12 Old 03-20-2012, 10:33 PM
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If you can keep the nitrate under 20ppm (under 5-10ppm for discus is even better) and they have space they are not overstocked. 'Six' is not an answer. If you aren't doing enough water changes to keep the water quality up two is too many. With enough water changes ten would be fine. It really depends a lot on your water change schedule even more than tank volume.

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post #4 of 12 Old 03-20-2012, 11:40 PM
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Were it me, (and it ain't) I would get the tank well established before adding Discus, planted or otherwise.
Would not rely on fish store for these fish, or advice on care.
Unless you are purchasing adult fish,the young fishes need several small feedings a day to achieve growth potential, and these several small feeding's result in the need for near daily water changes until the fish reach adult size to keep the water from fouling.
Would read all I could find on care of these fish before I considered purchasing them.
They are not particularly difficult fish to care for if their needs are met, but they DO have particular needs.
There is profile of these fish here under fish profiles, and this would be a good place to start.
Personally, I would get the planted tank going and well established, while growing out the young Discus if these are what you wind up with in bare bottom, smaller tank, where water changes will be easier and fish waste and fish food are more easily removed .
Trying to get plants thriving, while at same time trying to maintain water quality for young fish, is not something I would attempt in same tank especially if CO2 injection for plants is consideration.

The most important medication in your fish medicine cabinet is.. Clean water.
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post #5 of 12 Old 03-21-2012, 12:09 PM Thread Starter
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Discus questions!!

I've been reading about Discus for weeks now, but there seems to be so much conflict between what people believe to be best it's hard to find real facts. I'm a SAHM, so the water changes aren't a problem for me-- I have the time. I'm doing my homework and would love to create a perfect plan for that. Do you suggest daily water changes? At what %? Until what age? What is the best ratio of male to female for a harmonious tank? (I would separate a pair if spawning.) Also, what fish in the wild, swim with these fish? If we decide to add another type to the mix, I'd like it to be a fish they are naturally around, not force them into a strange situation for my own benefit. If you know any answers to these questions please let me know, I don't want to make any mistakes if I can help it. Thank you!!!
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post #6 of 12 Old 03-21-2012, 01:17 PM
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You can read the profile here on Discus, just click the shaded name. They are very sedate fish, so any tank mates also need to be slow moving and not rambunctious, aggressive, or fin nippers. Discus also need warmer than usual water, but there are several fish who can live happily in the 80's. The profile will list possible options.

As for water changes, you would have to test your water and see now quickly nitrates are rising. Discus are fairly sensitive fish and nitrates should be kept as close to 0 as possible. Live plants will greatly help with this, floating plants are a must to diffuse the lighting.

I'm sure you've come across this in your research, but you'll most likely have to invest in a RO or DI unit. Discus greatly prefer extreamly soft water, and pretty acidic water (pH in the 5's). Most municipal water is moderate to hard water, and in the basic range (ph 7.5-8.5). If you get ones that have been bred in your local area and with local tap water this is less of an issue.

They are beautiful fish though. I'd like to give them a try, but I don't think I'm ready to jump into them yet. Perhaps if my 125g tank goes well with Angels I can plan on a future tank with Discus.
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post #7 of 12 Old 03-21-2012, 05:58 PM
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I came across your (Samr) two threads on discus so I have combined them into one. Topics were already beginning to overlap, and keeping everything in one thread will make it easier for members to see what's been said and respond, and provide better advice for you.

As some have suggested, check our profiles, both species of discus are included. When fish names shade in posts you can click the name to see the profile. Discus and Heckel Discus are the two common names.

And welcome to TFK forum. I think I may have welcomed you in another thread...but no matter, you're doubly welcomed in that case.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #8 of 12 Old 03-21-2012, 08:34 PM
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You don't have to use RO/DI water. Discus will breed in a pH of 7.6 or more, no need to bend over backwards to get the same result. Water quality is MUCH more important than the specific parameters of pH etc.

Discus are from the Amazon where hundreds of species of aquarium fish are from. I know people treat them like they are form some super-heated, super-acidic lake with no other fish, but we are talking about the Amazon here. That means tetras, cories, plecos, angelfish, rams, and many others. Depending on the temp you keep the discus at some of these are better suited than others. Most people keep discus in the 82-84F range in which case cardinal tetras, rummynose tetras, sterbai cories, bristlenose plecos, gold nugget plecos, rams, apistogrammas, and MANY others would be perfect.

Double check fishbase.org for accurate information in the actual wild temp, pH, size, etc. for different species of fish. Most hobbyist sites just repeat the last hobbyist site but since fishbase.org is maintained and used by scientists it is a much more reliable source of information.

Do whatever water changes are needed to keep the nitrate within 5-10ppm of your tap water. This may mean 25% twice each week, it may mean 50% every other day. You will have to test and see how your tank runs with the temp and feeding you keep it at.

Owner: Aquarium and Pet Care Company
Owner: Web Design Company
Brian's Aquarium Care: Lots of Informative Articles
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post #9 of 12 Old 03-22-2012, 01:01 AM
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I agree with Fishguy that water quality /stability is more important than attempting to raise/lower pH which usually present's more problems than neccessary.
I have kept these fish in moderately hard water, for they were domestic fish, rather than wild caught and fishes did well with proper care.
Doubt that they will sucessfully breed in hard water, but they may indeed deposit eggs and go through the motions.
Is said by those that raise these fishes for their livliehoods,that hard water makes it difficult for eggs/embryo's to become fertilized (sperm can't penetrate) but if you are not interested in breeding,then most any water will do within reason for domestic/tank raised fish.
I would NOT add any fishes to the system with Discus that were not quarantined for minimum of four weeks.
WOULD, try and get young fishes on variety of foods early on so that they do not fixate on foods like beef heart,blood worms.
Would see that any foods that went uneaten, were removed via syphon/water change within an hour after feeding's to prevent water from fouling.
These fish are not unlike other large cichlids that will eat a lot, and as result,will excrete a lot of poo, which works aginst maintaining good water quality which is important for all fishes.
The health and appearance of the fishes,will be entirely based on ones expectation's, and care they are willing to provide.
Seen plenty of stunted,bugeyed,egg shaped fishes, where care was lacking early on, and have also seen result's from more care offered , Large ,beautiful fish.
I kinda like large and beautiful .

If I can help further,feel free to ask.

The most important medication in your fish medicine cabinet is.. Clean water.

Last edited by 1077; 03-22-2012 at 01:04 AM.
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post #10 of 12 Old 03-22-2012, 06:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Fishguy2727 View Post
Double check fishbase.org for accurate information in the actual wild temp, pH, size, etc. for different species of fish. Most hobbyist sites just repeat the last hobbyist site but since fishbase.org is maintained and used by scientists it is a much more reliable source of information.
Even that site says nearly the same thing.

Freshwater; benthopelagic; pH range: 4.2 - 6.2; dH range: ? - 1

But like I said, tank bred will be more adaptable. Wild caught will be more picky.
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