Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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dylan94 01-31-2010 03:15 PM

New 55g tank
I was thinking about setting up a 55g tank. i am torn between two setups.

SETUP #1 :
-4 angels
-8 peppered cories
-2 dwarf gouramis
-8 black skirt tetras

- 6 discus
-8 cardinal tetras
-8 panda cories

I know discus are delicate and specific when it comse to water parameters. I have done a lot of research and I have been keeping tropical fish for about 5 years now. i understand water parameters really well and I will closely monitor their water. (pH 6.5, soft, 80-82 degrees). Any comments will help, are either of those ideas considered overstocked??? I am sure either will look nice, but I love discus. Also I know discus can cost minimum 20$ sometimes... I plan on gettin 6 juveniles and raising them up together, therefore, they will be cheaper and most likely get along well together. Please help :) I cant decide...:-)

rrcoolj 01-31-2010 03:55 PM

Both setups look fine to me just watch out for when or if they pair off, then you could run into trouble. Discus are great but challenging but if you want to go for it, got for it. Again though, watch out for pairs. I would personally do discus since I know they could be a fun fish to keep. Oh and I've seen discus cost twice that so realize thier not cheap fish. Your work will show when they grow up.

Good luck with whatever you choose!

Angel079 01-31-2010 04:24 PM

I think for the long run you'll be MUCH happier with the 1st set up. I'd not house a total of 6 ADULT discus in a 55g that's just wee too tight and asking for troubles. For the Cardinals they'll be to small = snack food once these Discus are adults.

mrdemin 01-31-2010 04:52 PM

Yea 6 fullgrown discus in a 55g will be quiet a lot I'd say, the 4 angels sound much better. I'm a big fan of discus, so why not consider having 4 in there? They do like bigger groups, but I doubt they will be stressed if small peaceful fish are kept with them.

rrcoolj 01-31-2010 06:11 PM

woops I thaught you were looking for a pair or two. Yeah I agree with the above then 6 discus is a bit much for a 55. Four would be much better or maybe a pair.

dylan94 02-01-2010 05:25 PM

If I had a pair would they automatically get along or would there be a chance that they would fight and just not like each other? I have found a way of combining my two stocking ideas...:
- 4 discus
- 8 panda cories
-8 blackskirt tetras
-2 german blue rams

If that is over crowded I wouldn't mind removing the rams. I always wanted GBRs but I decided against them in the past since they are more delicate when it comes to water parameters than other fish, but now that I closely monitoring the discuses water, and the rams have the same requirements as discus I think it will be fine. My one concern is that rams can have hole in the head and it is deadly to discus and I wold not want my 200$ fish to die...(even if they were 5 cents I wouldnt want them to die). I do like angels, they are gorgeous fish but if I could choose between discus and angels i would definateley get discus. Whenevr I go to my LFS I spend like 30 minutes near the discus tanks. They have 10-15 tanks of large and small discus, of all different colours. They have some angelfish in with them, but I wouldnt do that. I also just thought that since the discus would be in a small group of just 4, the rams might stress them out if they start to breed, anyways I will ponder upon this subject and desperately await your responses. (I dont know if its just me, but when I post something i check like every 5 minutes to see if anyone wrote anything ... lol) Thanks for your help this far... Oh and by the way... is there anything i could use to lower the pH to around 6.5 and keep it like that? i heard that bogwood does that but I am not sure, any help will be appreciated... :)

Byron 02-01-2010 07:11 PM

Reading through this thread, I was going to ask about your water parameters. Discus, common (blue) rams and cardinals are all soft acidic water fish. While it may be possible to maintain discus in slightly basic/alkaline water of moderate hardness, it is my view that cardinals and rams will not survive long in such parameters. Discus will be highly unlikely to spawn except in soft acidic water, just a comment in case you are thinking that far ahead. I would not combine blackskirts with discus.

On the water parameters, driftwood will slightly lower the pH but it is minimal, possibly .1 or .2 depending upon the KH of the water and other factors. RO unit would be the best solution if you decide to go with these fish.

Corydoras panda is not a suitable cory with any of these. Discus, rams and cardinals prefer warmer temperatures than the pandas can tolerate long-term, or perhaps I should say that the pandas require cooler temperatures than the rams and discus will tolerate at all. Cardinals can take normal "community" temperatures along with C. panda, by which I mean 77-79F/25-26C maximum but that is too cool for rams and discus. And from my own experience as well as research, pandas do not thrive above the "community" temperature; they occur in mountain tributary streams of the Rio Ucayali system in Peru having temperatures in the low to mid-70's F.

All this being settled, I would suggest five discus for a 55g, a shoal of cardinals, a pair of rams, and a group of Corydoras sterbai (one of the few corys that can do well in warmer water). All of these fish are shoaling fish, so all will be happier and therefore healthier in groups. If you are consistent with maintenance, and the tank is well planted as it should be for all of these named species, it would make a stunning display. The colours represented among these fish alone would be awesome in a forest of green and brown (lots of bogwood).


dylan94 02-01-2010 07:40 PM

Thank you sooooo much byron. Is a RO unit a "Reverse Osmosis" thing. What do ROs do? Are they outragously expensive? I really like your stocking idea. So here it is:
55 gallons
- 5 discus :)
- 8 corydoras sterbai
- 8 cardinal tetras
- 2 german blue rams

I love that stocking list soo much. I can just imagine it now and it looks gorgeous. I read that discus enjoy a lot of open swimming area and it is necessary for them to grow to their max size. I am thinking of 3-5 pieces of bogwood (big ones), sand as a substrate, lots of amazon swords and java moss. I also wanted one plant that is large and has big leaves. I also thought it would be a good idea to add some ffast growing plants like hornwort since discus like very clean, crystal clear water. If the discus ever breed would it be acceptable to leave the breeding pair in the 55 or would I have to put them in a 29 gallon for themselves. For adding the fish, should I:
- setup the tank and equippement
-set pH and temp and hardness
-add plants
- add cardinals
-add cories
-add rams
-add discus

throughout this all i will closely monitor the water params...

Byron 02-01-2010 08:21 PM

Bienvenu, mon ami. Je pense que je continue en anglais... My now mostly-forgotten high school French will not hold up in scientific discussions.:lol:

RO units are not inexpensive, but long-term they will do the job with reliability. If there is no major industry where you live, rainwater is another option. But of course you need a lot to do weekly water changes regularly. Too bad we can't get a pipeline from Vancouver to Quebec for you;-). Except for the low temperature, you could put discus in Vancouver's water reservoirs and they would thrive; zero hardness and pH in the low 5's.

Water quality is equally important to actual volume. Jack Whattley has frequently written of this, how it is possible to raise discus in smaller tanks with daily 100% water changes. That was an experiment of course, not intended as standard aquarium husbandry.

Swords actually take a lot of nutrients out of the water and are good filters. Pennywort would be a good stem plant; my luck with hornwort was near zero years ago. And floating plants are essential to dim the light and calm the fish, plus being floating plants they are very rapid growing.

You should talk with Kym (Aunt kymmie), she has discus in her 90g, and could tell you how she manages. Her water is not soft if memory serves me, but as I said before discus can be maintained in basic water, it is the rams and cardinals that are less tolerant, and by that I mean they last for a time but no where near their life expectancy of more than 10 years. The minerals in the water cause calcium blockages in the kidney tubes and suchlike.

In their native waters, cardinals are annual fish, only living one season; there is insufficient food for them to last after they spawn. A few years ago there were exports of more than 16 million cardinals every year from Manaus, Brazil, and still the wild population every year was as plentiful as the year before. The aquarium trade actually did good by removing the fish that would otherwise starve to death. Unfortunately that is not the case with many other species, some are now near-extinct.


iamntbatman 02-02-2010 12:18 AM

Looks like Byron's pretty much got things covered.

As far as checking the thread every five minutes, there's no need to do that! You can subscribe to the thread, which should alert you whenever there's a new post here. In the upper right under the "Thread Tools" pull-down menu you'll see the option to subscribe.

In the upper left hand corner of the page you should see the User CP button. Clicking this will take you to your user control panel. Under the "Settings and Options" heading on the left hand side of the User CP is a link to "Edit Options." Click this, and about halfway down you'll see a section for "Default Thread Subscription Mode." You can change this in order to receive emails when new posts have been made in your subscribed threads, with options for daily, weekly or instant email notifications.

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