South American Cichlids • Discus question

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Discus question

Postby ramireziguy » Wed Aug 06, 2008 6:25 am

It seems that after reading several posts and doing some research, that Discus' are very sensitive to water conditions. Does this apply to Tank bred and raised Discus? Or does it apply just to wild caught Discus? I would think that after several generations of tank bred/raising, this would no long be a real issue.

I am asking because I recently purchased a 125G tank(courtesy of craigslist) which will be my second tank(my primary tank to be set up once I move.) and I would like to add some discus, but seeing that the water requirements are more stringent than most fish.

Doing multiple water changes per week with a 125G tank is not ideal especially with the water bill. :)

I currently have a 35G High tank which I will be moving the inhabitants into the 125.
Stocking list for the 35 is as follows.
2 Giant Danios
2 longfin Danios
1 Glow lite Danio
2 Bosemoni Rainbow
4 Neon Tetra
3 Glow lite Tetra
2 Black tetra
1 Common Pleco
2 Oto
2 Juli Corydoras
4 Treadfin Rainbows
1 German Blue Ram
1 Apistogramma Cacituoides

The 35G tank is planted and has lots of rainbow rock slates that
act as caves and hiding places

Filtration is 1 Penguin 200 bio-wheel and 1 Eheim 2028.
Once I get the 125G up and running, I plan on hooking up the Eheim 2028 to it and buy another Eheim 2028 or the 2080 for it.
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2008 10:59 pm
Location: MA USA

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Postby jgentry » Wed Aug 06, 2008 8:22 am

Your Danio's and Rainbows are going to be to active for discus, some of your fish will not like the higher temp either. They don't like fish darting around like crazy above them in a tank. Tank raised discus do not require soft water and low PH like wild caught discus, but they still require clean water. If you are not willing to do multiple large water changes every week discus are not for you. They are a great fish, but you have to be willing to dedicate about 5 times the amount of effort to keep them compared to other fresh water fish. Discus need a higher temp, lots of food, and lots of water changes.
Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 8:33 am

Postby cc_woman » Wed Aug 06, 2008 3:52 pm

I agree with jgentry. After all my difficulty with them, they are still definitely some of my favorite fish to keep. Tank raised will be less sensitive especially if they are raised in the same conditions as your water. If maintaining them will be a problem for you, then they possibly are not the right fish for you at this time. Honestly I don't care if my water bills are slightly higher, I will be continuing to do at least 50% water changes every 2 days. I have found out that water condition is extremely important with them, and if you have a GBR already, you should already know that they too prefer top water conditions as well to successfully keep them.

Not all fish will like the higher temps that the discus prefer, so danios are definitely not good tank mates being they prefer cooler waters. There are many tetras who are able to tolerate higher temps, cardinals was one someone recommended to me. I would also worry about having a common pleco in with them. I have heard of them sucking on the sides of fish, especially ones like discus, and they create lot's of waste. In my experience so far with pleco's, I have found that bristle or bushy nose pleco's are the best ones to get for a wide variety of fish. I personally have no experience with rainbows, so I cannot give you specific advice on them, but the corydoras, rams, apistos, oto's, and some other tetras should work. But you have to remember when keeping schooling fish, they like to be kept in groups of 6 or more of their own species.

I would honestly say for every schooling fish you have there, either get rid of some, and increase your numbers of what ones you want to keep. There will be too much going on with so many different schools of fish, it might stress even other fish out more. But don't give up on discus, if you really want them, keep reading up on them and doing more research......they are definitely rewarding fish to keep when things are done properly :thumb:
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2008 9:24 pm

Postby Dutch Dude » Thu Aug 07, 2008 5:14 am

It seems that after reading several posts and doing some research, that Discus' are very sensitive to water conditions.

Discus indeed needs clean water. Wilds should be more sensitive to that and especially heckle discus. Heckels need extreme clean extremely soft water. Domesticated discus are more easy if it comes to PH and GH but still need clean water. I keep mine at PH=7.2 and KH=2 (I ran out of GH test but probably around 7) and a conductivity of 415 micro Siemens. I do every other day a 70% water change. Youngsters can reduce growth when the water is not clean enough. I feed beefheart blend and lots of frozen. This makes the water dirty quit fast. Adult discus can be cut back on frozen and don't necessary need beefheart blend. So in the future the cleanings will probably be reduced to 3 times a week 50%.

A 125 is a nice size for discus. Yes it is a lot of work! People keep saying discus are difficult fish but if you keep up the multiple feedings, good qualety food and do the water changes they aren't difficult at all,...only a lot more work!

I suspect the water bill isn't the biggest issue,....the electricity bill is something diferent! :wink:

If you keep the stock levels low you maybe can cut back on water changes as well. With a lot stock level you maybe can keep up with 2 water changes of 50% and in between a small water change to remove poo. All depends on the readings of the water dough and you should keep the nitrate below 15.

Of your curent stock list only a few fish are suitable as tank mates for discus. Those are the apisto's, GBR and the tetras. I have some doubts about some of the other fish but this list is save. NO go are definitely the pleco and oto's. Those can attach to the discus and damage their skin and stress them out. Some pleco's are possible but I would stick to BN pleco or Peckoltia species. Those feed on food leftovers and especially the Peckoltia do a great job on that. One of those probably eat the same quantity on food particles of at least 4 corydoras.

So in your situation I would probably add 6 (5+ inch or adult) discus, get some male/female for the apisto's and GBR so you will have at least pairs or small harems and get a nice group of 20 to 30 tetras, and 2 BN pleco's or a BN and a Peckoltia.

Only one or 2 large sword plants (in pots), driftwood, floating plants and only 1/4 inch to max 1/2 inch sand substrate (just enough to cover the bottom) for making it easy to clean the substrate and let it look nice.

So how does this sound?
Dutch Dude
Joined: Thu Sep 14, 2006 4:08 pm
Location: Holland

Postby ramireziguy » Thu Aug 07, 2008 5:22 pm

Thanks guys for you replies.

As beautiful as Discus' fish are, I think I am going to stay away from them. Although I am very thorough with the maintenance of my tanks, I am going to pass.

When I get my 125G set up, I plan on adding a Female GBR and 2 Female Apistos.
In my 35 the cichlids are the display fish. In a 125G they will be lost in it. So I was thinking about a nice Main attraction fish that was large enough and peaceful with the other inhabitants that will be in there.

Any Ideas would be great. I'm not in to C/A cichlids all that much. No offense to those that do.
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2008 10:59 pm
Location: MA USA

Postby jgentry » Thu Aug 07, 2008 5:49 pm

Your could try

Kehole cichlids
Possibly a group of 3 or 4 Uaru's (they might eat some of your tetras when they get bigger)

Those are the only 5 that come to mind from SA that I can think of but I'm sure there are several more that would work.

Kribensis might also be a good choice, but they are from Africa

Good luck
Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 8:33 am

Postby Dutch Dude » Thu Aug 07, 2008 7:25 pm

What would you think of Geophagus? Angelfish will snack on small tetras just like the M festivum, keyholes and curviceps are a nice suggestion
Dutch Dude
Joined: Thu Sep 14, 2006 4:08 pm
Location: Holland

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