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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know there aren't a lot of discus lovers hanging out here, but it's worth shot. I tried to register at discusforum.com, but my email address is banned there already, and I've never even posted there!! :lol:

Anyway, I'm thinking about keeping discus. This is how I would do it, and I want to know if I have a decent chance of things working out. If not, I'm open to other options.

55 gallon tank - previously used for malawi tank, and just took it down last week
2 Aquaclear 70 filters - were on the malawi tank for a year, and have been floating in my 90 gallon since I took it down, so I'd probably still have a short cycle, but shouldn't have to wait 2 months or anything....
gravel substrate
200 watt heater
shop light
located in bedroom, which is relatively quiet
water change 1-2 weekly, probably 15-20 gallons at each change - I'm putting together a diy python, and hopefully that will lead to more frequent changes, but I'm being realistic here!

stocking:
4 discus -> not sure about juvenile vs adult yet.
small school of tetras (10ish) - > black skirts? Are neons too small?
small school of cories - I have 4 thus far, maybe 8 total?
bristlenose pleco

Did I miss any major details? I'm just tossing around my options for this tank, and if I have to make major changes to keep discus, I'll probably just use one of my other options. Thanks.
 

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up the number of Discus to 6 or 7 in the 55g f you get juvies.
You have to do larger more frequent water changes but it actually makes Discus keeping easier to have enough Discus to spread the aggression. A 4ft tank is ideal, though I wish this was a 75 or 90g tank as the depth helps give the Discus room and water volume.

Feed frequently, use higher heat, and leave the tank with just a scattering of substrate on the bottom for easy cleaning and your Discus will likely thrive.

These fish aren't difficult to keep as long as you stick to the recipes... it's in deviating from the recipes that trouble usually begins and then Discus live up to their reputation of being hard to keep.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
6-7 juvies? Is this anticipating culling/other forms of loss? I was under the impression that discus need approx 10 gallons of water per fish, and I decreased the potential stocking number to 4 due to the dither fish and to reduce bioload and make water changes less critical. Would I be more likely to have aggression issues with only 4 discus?

In terms of water changes, I'm just being honest here. Once the diy python gets finished, I imagine I'll be more likely to do frequent changes, but right now I'm carrying buckets, and occ get busy with work. Just trying to be honest with myself so I don't find myself with a tank full of sick discus and dirty water.

How much gravel? I know bare bottom tanks are ideal....but I can't handle the look. 1/2-1"? Just enough to easily vacuum? I've got a large chunk of driftwood I'd like to toss in there, and it's already soaked for awhile, so hopefully that would be safe. I'd love to do leaf litter for the cories, and I've got a few bags of nice oak leaves, but I'm afraid they would make it harder to clean the tank, and potentially cause probs. Thanks.
 

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10g per Discus is a "rule of thumb" and is not to be taken literally.
in fact, I'd toss it out completely. It leads you to too many errors.
4 Discus often turns into one as everybody picks on the weakest fish... then the next, etc.

If you can't keep up with water changes and wanted a community tank, any consideration of having a mated pair of Discus or even a single loner Discus?
 
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Before you do anything, you should go to discus specific forums and do a lot reading and research. Two notable ones are simplydiscus.com and discusforums.com. In my experience, discus require a lot more work and dedication and things can go wrong quickly and very badly compared to other fish. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
A single discus might not be a bad idea. I'd probably fill the tank with dithers then? How do single discus do? I sorta thought they were happier in schooling type situations.

Basically, it's 6 discus and a few dithers with frequent water changes OR one discus with a bunch of dithers and a little more freedom with water changes? Interesting thoughts. Thanks for your help, O neighbor to the north :thumb:
 

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Head over to simplydiscus.com it's the best online resource for keeping and caring for discus - all of the poster's there are the top breeders and importers in the U.S. and Canada and are very very helpful - they invest a lot of time into giving advice to new hobbyists and ensuring folks provide the proper care for their fish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well, I've already done a fair amount of reading, and most of it conflicts with some other piece of info, so it's not as simple as just reading. Thanks for the simplydiscus reference, as I searched, and google didn't return that on the search.

I'm not sure which route I'm headed at this point, so I'm just getting some background ideas. Just wanted to confirm that I wasn't totally headed down the wrong track. Just partially 8)
 

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I've been breeding discus for close to 15 years now.

A 55 gallon tank is too small for a healthy dispaly of discus and their interactions, to be honest with you.

I would not recommend anything below 90 gallons - discus are a shoaling cichlid and do best in groups of 8 or more.

A group of 4 discus are going to slowly weed eachother out until the weakers ones succumb to illness related to stress - it will be a waste of your money.

Black skirt tetra's can be fin nippers, I would not recommend anything but cardinal or rummynose tetra for discus.

Discus are easily one of the most - if not the most - expensive fresh water cichlids to care for. You're opening yourself up to a black hole in your wallet here and if you cannot afford a larger tank to begin with I would strongly suggest steering clear of them.

They also require at least a 20% water change every other day, with 30-50% daily being more realistic in keeping juvenille's and sub adults healthy.

As I said, head over to simplydiscus.com and post there - read up on everything. The information there is accurate. You're on the wrong forum for any kind of concrete discus advice.
 

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mithesaint said:
A single discus might not be a bad idea. I'd probably fill the tank with dithers then? How do single discus do? I sorta thought they were happier in schooling type situations.
They are fine on their own. Discus are not a true schooling fish as they only school in large groups of related individuals when not breeding. During breeding season, they can become quite territorial in the wild. It's that behaviour that I see in tanks without larger fish or predators to get them to school...

In my humble opinion, a single Discus setup is great. It's a way to enjoy this cichlid without the headaches and constant health battles that you hear about with these fish. I'll never understand why more hobbyists won't try it. There's probably a million single cichlid setups, but somehow this myth of Discus not doing well alone has taken on a life of it's own.

Simplydiscus is a good forum... won't knock it at all... but I don't honestly follow what is so special about domesticated Discus that one can't get their answers here on C-F.
Typical discussions on simply don't really differ... e.g. http://forum.simplydiscus.com/showthread.php?t=62266

5 in a 46g tank (simply), 6 or 7 in a 55g tank (my suggestion), or 8 in a 75g tank (simply) ...

What's the problem? :?

I know the recommendations for Simply are meant well... :) no worries really... but it just strikes me as a bit alarmist when this seems a really simple question.

:thumb:
 

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These contradictions just reinforce my opinion that this is the wrong forum for any concrete advice ;)

Simplydiscus.com is populated by people who are proven successful, quite possibly the best in the United States and Canada.

If you've got the opportunity to speak to the experts, rather then those who are book smart on the concept - you go with the experts.

Just my opinion, though. It's your money and your fish so do what you like. :)
 
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It's like saying that single tropheus set up is great for enjoying tropheus. Yes, it can be done and single tropheus will do fine, but tropheus keepers will not agree. I have kept single discus in a tank and it did fine, but it's nothing like keeping a group of discus. I now have 10 in my 90G, and it's awesome. But one discus set up is not a bad idea for a beginner who needs the practice before really plunging in to the world of discus.

Simply and other discus sites are simply better sites for getting needed info and advise for discus keeping just as this site can't be beat for Africans. That's the fact and we all have to leave with it. :wink:
 

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you both managed to completely miss my point that 5 Discus in a 46g and 8 to 10 in a 75g come from the forum on Simply Discus. But I guess when it's said on Simply it's somehow different than when it's repeated on here... :roll:

So here's the challenge... find one bit of info that I provided above that is not accurate and not what you will find mentioned on Simply Discus.

You can't...
unless you'd like to explain the following:
http://forum.simplydiscus.com/showthread.php?t=62060
or does Elite Aquaria not know what he's talking about? 10 in a 75g? gasp!

or why Larry uses a mated pair of these supposed shoaling fish in a 29g tank
http://www.cichlid-forum.com/phpBB/view ... highlight=

or that small numbers can fail
http://forum.simplydiscus.com/showthread.php?t=61855
but the admin pcsb23 is probably new to Discus or something...

Fishbase needs updating as well I suppose...
http://64.95.130.5/Summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=11185
"Normally in schools, but territorial during breeding season." but what does Kullander know?

I do not deny that these are a social fish... I just deny (from experience) that the socialization must come from other Discus. They seem to do very well in with tank mates and interactions with their owner... like many other wet pet cichlids kept alone...

whatever... the biggest problem with Discus? the snobbery that seems to come along with the fish! :roll:
 

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You seemed to have missed the point that the OP commented on finding conflicting information across the internet using Google. So I pointed him in the direction of a site with multiple levels of feedback from experienced aquarists.

I was not trying to discredit information given in this thread - I was simply pointing towards where I would personally recommend a novice obtain their information to begin caring for these fish.

The fact of the matter is discus are one of if not the hardest cichlid to care for and keep/grow out healthily - as a result a page that specializes specifically in that fish vs. a site like this that covers a broad base of fish would be beneficial.

Juvenille and sub-adult discus do shoal together, most discus will shoal together for 1-2 years before they start to pair off and breed.

If you want to take on the task of trying to teach a novice everything there is to know about discus then be my guest. I was just trying to point him in the right direction for being successful. These are nitrate sensitive fish and their care requirements are hugely different from your average SA/CA cichlid.

Obviously every single forum you visit is going to have conflicting information from novices who try to offer up opinions when they don't know what they're talking about. However, SimplyDiscus has people like Carry Strong and Jack Wattley posting there - along with a large amount of articles and sticky's dedicated strictly to discus.

This site has little to nothing to offer in terms of discus care, aside from what you've posted - which is minimal information. Period.
 

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A site is as strong as the people who put time into it. Sure Discus aren't a specific focus (IMHO they don't need to be either, but that's a side topic) but there is plenty of info to be had and if a few people with 15 yrs of experience or spawning Discus (right dntx5b9? ) would hang out more and respond, then I'm sure like will attract like.

I've gotten some solid responses on Discus info... from solid names.
http://www.cichlid-forum.com/phpBB/view ... ght=discus

I see your Cary Strong and raise you a Heiko Bleher :wink:

My point is... if people don't 100% agree on some Discus info, that is often how information gets truly uncovered... something to consider before just forwarding people to Simply right away...
 

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I can understand your love and dedication to this site and I wouldn't post here if it wasn't a great resource. But quite frankly, Simplydiscus.com is a better site for Discus, it's staff as just as dedicated as the ones here - but it is based solely around one fish.

You won't find the wealth of knowledge on there that you will on here, which is why I pointed him in that direction. Simply reading through the articles and stickies on Simplydiscus will yield what would have taken some one years and years to figure out on their own.
 

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I find this thread interesting because I have only ever kept discus as single specimens in what have generally been well planted amazonian community situations. I'd say I have kept about 6 or 7 discus in this way over the years I have been keeping cichlids, and they have done no better or worse than the other fish they were kept with, i.e in the main they have done well. I have made no special allowances for the discus, they have coped with the same situation as all the other fish in the tanks. I don't keep groups of discus because to be honest I'm not that keen on them, but I do think that an adult specimen in a community tank can look stunning.

quote="DirtyBlackSocks"]The fact of the matter is discus are one of if not the hardest cichlid to care for and keep/grow out healthily
These are nitrate sensitive fish and their care requirements are hugely different from your average SA/CA cichlid.

[/quote]
I have not found that to be the case with regard to single specimens in amazonian community situations. I happily admit I am no expert on discus and have never visisted simply discus, but my tentative conclusion is that the discus reputation for difficulty may be somewhat over-hyped.
 

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I completely agree with you re: the single Discus setups kaphil.
Solitary Discus do seem to be quite tougher than groups.

There is a down side to keeping these social fish alone though... I've found (and others have as well) that once kept alone, they become a bit anti-social and adding Discus later can be hard if not impossible.

So a 55g single Discus setup does sound like what the OP might be up for at this time, but only if it's acknowledged that this might not be a short term choice. 8)
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
WOW. Didn't realize that I'd ignite such a firestorm with a few simple questions. Sorry :oops:

Anyway, my previous point has been illustrated perfectly. How do you keep Discus? Depends who you talk to. Some people want you to keep them in a bare bottom 90 gallon tank with a 50% water change daily, and I'm sure that would work. I've also heard of people keeping them in a 29 gallon and changing the water every 10 days or so, and the fish doing fine. I've read in multiple places where you have to do a daily water change, and other places for a weekly water change. I was really more interested in the stocking list, and I appreciate the advice for that. I was under the impression that Discus would eat neons though? I'd much prefer the neons to the black skirts, so if the discus won't eat them, great! The cories are ok? I'm thinking the leaf litter would probably be a poor idea though, and the gravel should probably be shallow enough to vacuum easily, right?

I was only proposing keeping them in a 55 gallon because I already had everything for it, and it recently became empty. I could go out and buy a 90 gallon and two Eheims and an aquaclear and 10 of the best discus that money could buy, and it wouldn't hurt my check book a bit. That's not the point. Besides, I'd rather fund my 403b and Roth. I have always liked Discus, and thought now might be a nice way to give it a go. I'll just have to give it a try right? Even if I buy 6 discus, and lose all 6, it won't hurt my wallet. Just pride. I was more asking out of concern for the potential future fish. That's compassion, right? 8)
 
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If that's the case, I'd say that you go buy that 90G and get yourself very nice 6 to 8 adult discus. That would set you back at least $150 per fish if not more. Keeping adult discus require less maintenance. As I said before, I kept one discus in a 55G and now I have 10 in my 90G. If you like discus, don't do a single set up. You can't keep neons with discus because of temperature requirements, but cardinals, rummy nose, and serpae would work well. You will have to do more water changes than other tanks you have. I currently do 30 to 40% every other day. I may be able to get away with less, but I don't want to risk it. If you keep up with the water changes, things should be fine. Good luck. I have killed way too many discus over the years, so I don't buy the stuff about discus keeping is over-hyped and stuff. It's like me saying tropheus getting bloat is over blown and keeping tropheus is nothing just because I haven't had any trouble with my 3 groups of tropheus I have kept and currently keeping.
 
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