Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   -   Discus keepers need some advise (

Boscobear 01-27-2012 10:36 PM

Discus keepers need some advise
I just agreed to buy an aquarium from people that live a few miles away, 25. I found their ad in the classified. 180 gallon aquarium, with discus & angel fish.

Tomorrow morning I become the father to 9 discus, and 5 angels fish. Some are as large as the palm of my hand.
I know nothing about discus, besides they like soft water. The tank has 2 marineland 400 filters, and three heaters? It also includes a RO system w/65 gallon tank. Aquarium has had these fish living there for over two years. I have ways to carry the fish, and a good bit of the water. Large coolers, and a few Styrofoam containers.

Any and all advise. I want the fish to be OK in this traumatic experience. I will give them a great home. Just need to get me, and the fish through this transfer.
All water I add after I set up this tank must come from the RO? How long can they stay in the containers?

Just read the profile, and Discus should never be kept with Angelfish . Well nice way for me to start out

SeaHorse 01-27-2012 11:12 PM

Oh you lucky lucky bear!! I am so jealous!! I think you will need at least 3 people maybe 4? Well they've been together so far so you can make changes after you get this tank set up. They can be in their bucket/tub for all day if you give them a heater and air stone. I've moved homes and taken a whole day each time to dedicate to tear down and set up at the new place. Do not open or make any changes to the filters.... do not let the media or contents dry out and get them up and running by the end of the day, 24 hours at the latest. Good luck. Take your camers with you!!!

Christople 01-28-2012 12:00 AM

with the RO system what you do is run water through which purifies it and makes it soft and void of any toxins or minerals. Mix tap water with RO because just RO water is bad for the fish. Discus are delicate fish and need a good diet. Live/frozen foods. Beef heart blood worms brine shrimp and other worms are good. The best pH range for discus is 6.0 -6.5 IMO. For the angel fish very similar to the discus. Have plenty of hiding places consisting of wood,rock, and plants especially. Before adding the RO water before to test the pH so it doesn't change it too much in the tank, and bring it to temp with one of the heaters.

Byron 01-28-2012 08:08 PM

You've read the profile of the discus, and presumably scalare angelfish too. [When used exactly the same in posts as in the profile, the scientific or common name will shade and you can click on that for the profile.] So I will just pick up on a couple of issues in your initial post.

First on the water parameters, it is likely best to stay with whatever they have been accustomed to. Both species will likely have been tank raised, not wild caught.

With respect to both together, this can work but it may not. However, if these fish have been together for a time, it may be fine. The two reasons this is not usually recommended are temperature and feeding.

Discus need warmth, 82F is minimum. This is fine with wild angels, but tank-raised fish do better a bit lower, at normal community temperatures around 77-79F. The difference of a few degrees may not seem like much, but to the fish this is very significant, as temperature affects their entire metabolism and physiology.

The feeding issue refers to the discus much more "laid-back" laissez-fair attitude. Angelfish by contrast and ravenous and determined when eating, and can easily grab all the food before the discus have a chance. Observing your new fish will soon allow you to tell if you will have problems with this aspect.

This is mentioned in the profiles, but I will repeat it because it is very important. Both these fish need less light, as minimal as possible. Floating plants are ideal to aid in this, along with plenty of branches and/or tall plants.


Boscobear 01-28-2012 09:01 PM

Been a long day
Thanks to all for your knowledgeable advice ,and cheerful thoughts. It takes a lot of my stress away knowing there is a way to be given information that takes guessing, and bad mistakes out of the project. It is relaxing to hear written voices that are positive in their remarks.
Took 2.5 hours to tear down the aquarium, and place in my pickup. I was given a RO filtration system, and 65 gallon acrylic holding tank for making water. We brought home most of the water that was in the Aquarium. I was afraid the fish were going to suffer a lot of stress. Took 3 hours to set it back up, in our bedroom.
It is amazing, some times we get lucky, and all goes right. That was the order of today.
The discus are beautiful, and the Angels amazing looking beast. 5 hours after filter start up, water is pretty clear. Just did water test.
Temperature 79
PH 6.0
NH3 1.5
NO2 0.0
NO3 15 ppm
Just added some stress coat.

Now we need to learn all we can to be able to keep Discus, and Angels, healthy, and happy.
Waiting for a couple weeks, then we want to start to add real plants. There are 2 now, and 6 faux plants Need to gather some rocks to make more places to hide. There are 2 large fake deco piece. They will stay, a rock cave , and a fake tree stump.
One happy Bear am I , thanks again friends, together you make the hobby a relaxing venture

SeaHorse 01-29-2012 12:31 PM

Wow that went incredibly well from the sound of it. Might we have a picture please? Since we've all been waiting patiently?!! :lol:

Byron 01-29-2012 01:48 PM

Yes, sounds good.

I would not put rocks in there, but rather wood. First, wood is natural to both fish habitats, rocks are not. Second, discus can rub against rocks and damage their skins, which can be very serious as they get infected. Angels might too, but less likely, because of the two I see the discus being the ones more likely to be skittish from the angels. Third, rocks if calcareous will do things with the water chemistry that you do not want. I'll come back to the water momentarily.

Browse some of the aquaria of members (clicking the "Aquariums" tab below member's names on the left will take you to that member's log with photos). Also, to give you an idea of what I am meaning with all this, I'm linking a video of angelfish in one of their habitats. Discus come from identical scenes. The Malaysian Driftwood that seems to be fairly widely available around North America is ideal wood for these fish.

Water. Sounds perfect. you don't need RO or anything if you have pH 6 in the tank. You tap water needs to be checked, but unless it is way off a water change will have minimal effect. We can go into this later.


Boscobear 01-29-2012 02:43 PM

Things happen
This morning we awoke, and found the smallest Discus deceased. Everyone else seems to be doing great. Yes, I will take some photos, and I need to figure out how to put them onto this web site.
Byron is a mind reader, I was thinking all day about getting rocks to make-up some hard water scape hill thing before we start buying the plants. I'm lucky that I did not get the rocks, and now I can just look for driftwood. I saw some artificial wood, but that maybe just as bad as the rocks. When I do the photos you'll see the faux cave thing, and the faux tree stump. The substrate is a course gravel, lite colored, like river pebble. It is also at most an inch deep. I believe I will need to purchase a finer type for the top, Not sure if the plants will root in the course pebble. The aquarium had a custom made fake rock background, I did not put it back in. It made the whole tank dark. It's nice, but I want to look in the back too, LOL. The fish can see out this big window too, and look at the lake out back, and daydream. It's a northern exposure, so no direct sunlight, only at sun rise. All defused lighting.
Really I see the fish looking out the window. They follow me too. When I move to the front of the bedroom, the fish move to the other side of the tank too. I know its because they want me to feed them, maybe they like me too. LOL Who knows, I stare at them, and they are staring back. I am not imagining it either. It is funny.

Today We went and bought a surge protector, and put all the electrical connections into it. Added a light inside the cabinet, and a shelf, and some cup hooks. Had to get spring hook locks for the cabinet doors. I watch the 2 year old grandson all week from 7 am to 6 pm . He would be getting in the bottom of that cabinet.
Tested the water again, nothing changed, except the temperature rose to 89. I did not change the settings on the heaters when I put them back, but the water is warmer. So I knocked each heater down one click. It's taking a long time for the water temperature to fall. I have not seen any of the heater lights come on either. Temp. down 1 little degree now 88 after 2 hours.

Christople 01-29-2012 04:00 PM

water holds it's temp very well.

Boscobear 01-30-2012 10:05 AM

Sopke too soon
I woke this morning to 80 degree water temperature. I pushed just the center heater back up one click.

But that's not the morning big surprise. Noticed the water level was down, a good 2 inches. My heart leaps in my chest. I start looking for the tank leak. Someone up there likes me. It was the Marineland 350 filter. The biofilter wheel spray pipe turned, and was shooting water out of the filter. Lost an estimated 25 - 30 gallons. Could have been a lot worse.
I am going to order a new filtration unit, the Eheim 2180, which comes with an internal heater unit. A bit expensive, but I paid very little for the whole 125 gal tank set up.
Any cons on this filter, besides being a bit large? The specs on the Ehiem web site show that the flow is able to be controlled. I can limit the output if need be. I want one heater, not 3. Easier temperature control, and less stress on the fish, and me.

82 degrees now. It can't be good for the fish to have all this temperature variation.
I'm not adding water at this time because I believe I need to add bottom substrate. It should be deeper than one inch.

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