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Ok, this is for all you discus keepers. I'm playing with the idea of trying discus. I'm just in the research stage right now and trying to get as much info as I can in order to make an informed decision as to if I really want to do this or not. The thing that is making me the most hesitant is the common belief that they are very difficult to keep. So since I'm just starting my research I have a few questions and will probably have lots more so any help would be really appreciated. Ok, here goes:
first, I'm planning on using a 55g tank that I have. It already is set up for central americans and has a heater and an AC500. I'm thinking of adding a Rena XP2 or using the AC500 on another tank I have and using just a Rena XP3 on the 55gal. The XP3 is rated for 175g so will that be enough for a 55g tank with discus or will that be overkill?
1. Are they really that difficult to care for?
2. Do you just use water out of the tap or do you try to soften it with peat or some other substance?
3. I'm thinking of going bare bottom with the tank, is this a good idea? I've read it makes keeping things clean a lot easier.
4. How often do you do water changes? I've read some do them weekly while others do them daily. I can handle weekly but if it's daily, I have to admit I don't have the time for that.
5. How many discus do I go with? I've read 6 is a good number for a 55g but I don't want to overstock and I was thinking 4 would be an ok number.
6. I want this to be a species tank but I would like to add some cory cats as a clean up crew because from what I've read, discus are messy eaters. Which cory cats do ok in the higher temps that discus require?

Well that's it for now. Sorry to ask so many questions but I want to make sure I can take care of these guys properly before I get them.

Thanks
 

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1. Are they really that difficult to care for?
no, they are just tricky and require specific water conditions, like soft water, no phosphates and low ph. those are the top 3

2. Do you just use water out of the tap or do you try to soften it with peat or some other substance?
its best to use an RO(reverse osmosis) unit which basically means a small filter that cleans out all metals and chemicals in the tap, and then you can treat it with various trace elements that will help the discus and their "natural surroundings"
3. I'm thinking of going bare bottom with the tank, is this a good idea? I've read it makes keeping things clean a lot easier.
while it makes cleaning a lot easier, it doesnt provide you with the benefit of plants and a flourite substrate, which also helps with softer water and lower phosphates, so if you can control both of those on your own, and you dont mind having no substrate, then the discus wont care.

however *** always always always found my discus have benefitted greatly from plants.

4. How often do you do water changes? I've read some do them weekly while others do them daily. I can handle weekly but if it's daily, I have to admit I don't have the time for that.
weekly is best, it will keep things on a more consistant basis, daily is too often.

5. How many discus do I go with? I've read 6 is a good number for a 55g but I don't want to overstock and I was thinking 4 would be an ok number.
6 is good, however keep in mind they will get tall

6. I want this to be a species tank but I would like to add some cory cats as a clean up crew because from what I've read, discus are messy eaters. Which cory cats do ok in the higher temps that discus require?

panda coreys did awesome for me

try getting "instant amazon" it mimics the blackwater discus are used to and mine thrived in it.

the parameters for them should look like this.
ph:6.4 - 5.8
amonia:0
nitrate:0
nitrite:20-0
phosphates:0 (takes a while though)
keep water as soft as possible.

if theres anything else just ask
 

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ah and no your filtration isnt overkill, however ...set it up to make sure there isnt much motion of water through the tank, discus hate it

they cant stand movement. so keep that in mind if you ever decide to keep other fish with them as well, nothing fast and nothing big.
 
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