I am getting back into the hobby after a 30 yr absence. I am thinking of about 4-5 discus in a 55 gal, which is no big deal. My twist on the setup is to keep a few Rams to inhabit the lower section of the tank.
My idea is to set up some driftwood, rocks and live plants in strategic spots to give the Rams a place to play while the Discus are overhead. It is not a combination I've see before but think it's worth a try. What are your thoughts?
The combination of Rams and Discus is quit common and defenately 30 years ago when rummy nose, cardinals and Rams were considered as the best tankmates for discus.
The best and savest number of discus in a tank is 6 or more. The exeption is a proven pair. Before people jump on me I can say that rarely people have success with 4 discus but in most cases it doesn't work out. The size of your tank is imo to small for such a group of discus. Not only the volume of the tank is the reason but more important the footprint (surface aria). On top of that you will lose volume by the substrate wood and rocks. In general rocks is not a good choice for a discus tank but some flat pebbles might be a nice addition dough.
When I look at your proposal and take everything in account I would recommend not to follow through.
A good alternative might be your initial plan but keep a pair of rams and a proven pair of discus in the 55 gallon. There will be some room left for say 15 tetras.