Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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dylan94 03-14-2010 01:51 PM

Discus and BGK
I originally had a thread about a discus aquarium, but I decided to start a new one because there were like 6 pages of posts and it has been a while since I posted on it. I was in South Africa for about 2 weeks. It was an amzing trip!

I've been back for about a week now and when I stoped by the LFS to get some things to 'rehabilitate' my tank since the person taking care of my tank didnt do a very good job. Im not being unappreciative! I do appreciat their effort. ANYWAYS.. So I saw some black ghost knife fish in an aquarium at feeding time. They were SO COOL. So I obviously went home and saved my tank, then I went to research the black ghost knife fish. Turns out their needs are almost the same as discuses needs. They aren't aggressive to othe species of bigger fish. They are also compatible with bigger tetras. That takes cardinals off the list:( Cories are supposed to be big enough to not fit in their mouthes. Also cories have spiny fins, so the BGKs usually leave them alone. So a 6 foot, 100+ gallon tank, with 8 discus, 1 black ghost knife fish, a school of cories, a school of tetras like black skirts. Maybe even a pair of dwarf cichlids, depending on the size of the aquarium. I want it so that there is ample space for each of the fish to be able to get away from the other species. I think six feet of swimming space is enough.
This is what aqadvisor said:

I read that BGKs could be kept alone in a 55, so I think a 110g is fine... does anybody have an opinion on this setup.

I am actually getting close to getting this project started. I already started saving money, I am at 625$ after only a week or two!!!! I have a feeling my money wont be growing this fast in the future:( We are also almost done finishing the basement the tank will be in!!! HOORAY!:-D

Bhack91 03-14-2010 06:58 PM

Hey, I wouldn't say don't try it but to be careful. The problem would be that BGK is nocturnal, and dicus are delicate fish. The BGK would stress them out at night, not that it would physicaly kill them or anything. Depending on the BGK's temperment it may nip at the discus, and the dicus would stress out very easily if its a full grown BGK. There would be plenty of room so that would not be the issue.Hope that helps your decision.

dylan94 03-14-2010 07:13 PM

I plan on putting tons of plants in the tank, so the fish can hide from each other. I also plan on buying a5-6 inch juvenile bgk. I will feed the bgk bloodworms and brineshrimp. I know bgks like a place to hide during the day. Would plants and driftwood suffice or should I put some pcv pipes and caves type things too?

Bhack91 03-14-2010 08:40 PM

I would suggest getting a good lengthed PVC tube that will last him (12-14inches). And if your going for a natural look which i assume you are buy some rocks to make it appear as a cave. What i did is add river rocks to the ends so that you dont notice the PVC. As for my BGK he is very strict on his nocturnal nature lol, so as soon as I made this cave he loved it. Having a good hiding place will be helpful in reducing the stress, everything you mentioned would be the correct way to take care of him. What I would do after putting them together is to keep a good eye on both the BGK and the discus. See what effects if any they have on each other, its going to be expiremental remember that. And going back and reading through your stock list will be tight, you may want to wait on some more advice. But I would suggest trimming down some where because from what I know that sounds like it could be busy. Like I said I would wait for more advice I dont know much about discus personally, just the BGK. :)

aunt kymmie 03-14-2010 10:43 PM

My discus like to sleep on the very bottom of the tank, nestled against each other, in the back where it is heavily planted. Very curious, not sure if this is common. I would worry about a BGK cruising at night, possibly bothering them. I do have a late night pictus cruiser but he stays away from the plants, preferring to swim up and down the length of the front of the tank, where it's not planted. The pictus and his late night behavior is most likely why my discus sleep where they do. I know I wouldn't put a BGK in my tank, but that's just me.

PS. As much as I like my discus and want them to be comfortable rehoming the pictus isn't an option as he was my very first fish.

dylan94 03-15-2010 03:09 PM

hmmm... interesting:)
If the tank is six foot, I can have it heavily planted on one side and barely planted to not planted on the other side. I read that bgks aren't aggressive towards other fish if they are of a different species. The bgk would probably not be aggresive to the discus, but i agree that his nocturnal habits may disrupt the discus and their sleeping habits.

-Aunt Kymmie- I think your discus sleep at the botttom in the plants because they probably feel safe there and because the pictus swims in the open at night. If bgks like to swim in the plants and at the bottom, then wouldn't the discus prefer to sleep higher up? Does anyone know if bgks swim all around the tank at night or do they stay around their territory and at the bottom?

Maybe not including a bgk might be a good idea, but they are sooo cool and I am pretty sure the discus would be fine, especially if there are eight of them!

Bhack91 03-15-2010 04:32 PM

BGK swim all over the aquarium, they can swim backwards as well as fowards. I think it may be best not to mix, because im pretty sure the discus will get stressed out. It is an interesting idea and almost seems like it could work, but sounds a little too risky.

discus lover 03-15-2010 08:36 PM

wow, i also kept discus fish with black ghost knife in my aquarium. they are completely compaatible fish with each other..i have no problem for keeping those fishes..

Byron 03-16-2010 02:18 PM

Some divergent opinions expressed on keeping discus with knifefish; I must weigh in on the side of those who do not recommend it.

Aggression is only one of many considerations when deciding on what fish to put into a community aquarium--community referring to any tank that will house more than one species of fish. To be compatible, all fish in a community aquarium must share the same preferences for water parameters (pH, hardness and temperature), environment (plants, rocks, wood, caves, water movement, light), and behaviours must be compatible. We often think of the latter, which is where the aggression comes in, but infrequently do we consider the very important aspects of what the individual fish need in their environment to be stress-free and thus healthy.

The knifefish being considered is the beautiful black ghost, Apteronotus albifrons, that is found in sections of the Amazon basin. They occur in shallow, fast-flowing streams and rivers with soft substrates of sand and leaf litter. They forage for small prey during the night using their electrical fields. They are rarely found in still or deep-water habitats.

Discus come from very still waters, flooded forests being their preference during the flood season, or otherwise along the quiet banks of streams and rivers with thick vegetation, fallen branches, overhanging vegetation. Dimly lit, with minimal water movement.

I trust it will be obvious that solely in terms of their natural habitats, these two fish are not compatible. If the aquarium has sufficient filtration to create the faster water currents the knifefish require, the discus will be stressed by fighting currents during the day, and at night will have no rest from either this or the nocturnal ramblings of the knifefish. If on the other hand the tank is minimally filtered so the water movement is almost non-existent, the discus will be happier with that but the knifefish will be stressed by being out of its environment, and not only health issues could ensue but behaviour alterations as well. Which applies equally to the discus of course. Any fish under stress from its environment is likely to experience immune system weakness, leading to unsettled anxiety and probable disease.

I checked the link in the first post, and note that it does not recommend this grouping of fish for some good reasons in addition to the above. I didn't elaborate on the earlier mention of the nocturnal habits of the knifefish, but this is a serious consideration with discus and would in my view alone be sufficient to not combine the two.


Bhack91 03-16-2010 06:28 PM

Yea Im going to have to agree that you shouldn't mix them. When you think about it they aren't compatible on behaviour level. Although I have never heard a ghostknife requiring a strong current? Even without that in consideration, the nocturnal behavior which I mentioned before would not be good for this dicus. And to add to that they use an electrical organ to navigate, and granted they aren't an electric eel that would probably cause problems as well. I would think the dicus would feel the pulse at night while the knifefish is exploring even if the knifefish doesn't physically come in thier space (stressing them out keeping them awake sort of speak). And between these two reasons I believe the dicus is just too delicate to keep with the ghostknife. I will ask my LFS sources about the current as that is something I havent heard before. My ghostknife does prefer the side of the tank with the filter outlet, so that sparks my curiosity.(I will post this in the correct thread when I find out whatever I may)

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