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Post and discuss your discus

15890 Views 93 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  kingpoiuy
I'm very close now to the purchase! We are going to be getting some discus soon and I want everyone to show off their stuff. I barely ever seen discus on this forum so now's your chance.

Please include as much information as possible as I am also using this to decide on my setup as well. (tank size, number of discus, fish mates, substrate, etc) of course pics are worth a thousand words!

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Welcome to the world of discus. They are truly an amazing fish that dispite what is said a very easy to keep if you fallow some simple rules. They just require more work, no magic beans required.

I have a heavily planted 72g bow front show tank. It includes 7 5inch plus discus all of different strains. My fish include a red turk, brilliant blue, blue diamond, checkerboard pigion, pigion blood, red marlboro, and alenquer. I also have 2 albino bristlenosed plecos along with a group of 5 cory's in the tank.

Here what you have to have to properly keep discus.

- 2 heaters that can consistently keep your water at 84-86 degrees
- A good biological filter
- at least a 55g tank
- a water storage container that can hold at least 75% of your tank volume (if your tap water does not have stable PH)
- the ability to do consistant water changes
- the ability to feed a wide variety of frozen and dry foods sveral times a day.

You will need to decide to either buy adults or grow out juvies. I recommend you buy adults, you will pay more for them but by the time you put the work and food into growing out juveniles it is cheaper to buy adults. Plus you will know exactly what the fish looks like when you buy it. Juveniles change so much you really have no idea how they will turn out. If you want to grow them out do it in a bare bottom tank. Do not put gravel in there! You will need to feed them 4-6 times per day and do at at least 50% water changes every other day but every day would be much better. If you do not keep this up your discus will not grow and will never meet there potential. There's nothing worse then stunted big eyed discus. For a filter you can use sponge, hang on, or canisters. I prefer XP3's on my tanks, but any of them will work. Do not use carbon, only biological filtration. You do not have to RO filter your water, todays discus are hardy and can live in water up to Ph 7.8 easily and water that is very hard. Soft water is only used for wilds and for breeding tanks. You will need to age your water with a air pump and heater for 24hrs before doing your water change to remove any CO2 out of the tap water. If your tap water has consistent PH you can skip aging, but it still must be the same temp as the tank.

Go to and you will find all the info you could ever need about keeping discus. I also recommend buying you fish from a sponser on simplydiscus, only buy local if you have a reputable dealer with great looking stock. You will see pictures on simplydiscus of what fish should and shouldn't look like.
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You can click on my "tanks" button to see the details of my 265G discus setup. But here are the pics:

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I'm pretty new to Discus as well. I think I've only had mine for about 2 months now so they aren't that big yet. I have 7 juvies in a 55g tank. I have an AC110 and an AC70 for filtration as well as 2 200w heaters. I keep the temp at 86 and do one large water change weekly as well as several smaller ones. Mine is bare bottom and currently has no decor besides some floating water sprite. I originally had them in a planted tank but had trouble with them. I also have some cardinal tetras with them.

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Hi all,....I'm new into Discus as well and just keep them for abouth 7 weeks or so.

Back in the 80's my dad kept 2 wc browns and a green one in a 40 gallon tank. I remembered them as shy and very peaceful wonderful colored fish that were fascinating to watch. Now that I'm grown I still was fascinated by their appearance but the high energy costs (heating the tank) and the reputation of Discus being very difficult was holding me back,.....til recent. I have a nice e-mail contact with a great learning master Larry (Apistomaster). Thanks bud for all the info :thumb: He breeds Discus for over 4 decades and is always enthusiastic abouth them. So some pics, some links, some info,.....making me doubt,...and finally I was caught by the Discus addiction. :wink:

I decided to go with youngsters to become more experienced on growing them and to watch them grow up to beautiful adults. Originally I bought 8 alenquer but after all they turn out to be a diferent specie and most likely red scribbled. I put the 3 inch fish into a 50 gallon tank with 1/2 inch of sand substrate, some floating plants and a piece of driftwood. I did daily water changes of 50% to 70% and feed frozen (artemis, bloodworms, whiteworms), 2 times a day beefheartblend and live foods (bloodworms, artemis, daphnia). So far mine refuse pellets and flakes but I guess they are spoiled with the frozen and life foods :?

I returned 2 fish back to the lfs and stick with the 6 best looking fish. I tried to make a mix with my Guianacara but the constant quarreling of the Guianacara made my Discus stressed and even a bit skittish. I decided to take down my future Gymnogeophagus tank (waiting over 1 1/2 year to receive fish) and switch it to a discus tank. I still have to work on the aqua scape and some plants do need to grow larger but so far so good.

The fish are only 5 day's in this tank and still need to get used to their new tank. In the meantime they are grown to 4 inch. After a grow spurt they don't grow much at this moment but i noticed some changes in the body shape.

So far I can tell that Discus are known to be delicate but I don't agrea on that. Like told by an other poster you need to follow some rules and do more water changes compared to most other fish and thats it! No mysteries and no magic treatment needed for happy Discus. I also discovered that discus aren't the dull slow moving specie but do have some character! They definitely act like cichlids! Now I finally keep them I'm very pleased and wish I didn't hold back for so long. They are marvelous fish!

Next thing is to adjust some things to the aquascape and buy me a nice school of rummy nose tetras and a bushy nose pleco. Ooh by the way,.....their curent tankmates are abouth 50 cherry shrimp. Eeeeh,...minus one,.....hahaha! While I wrote this one of them get eaten :lol:

Here is a pic of the curent tank,.....what do you think?

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Wow! Very nice looking discus and tank as well. I imagine we could expect a lot more of long discus related posts from Dutch Dude going forward. :)
Some really great posts everyone! Keep them coming I'm absolutely loving it! Right now I have a 55g (standard 48"l x 18"h x 12"w) which I am planning to put them in. Probably about 4 of them. The tank right now has some neon tetras to get it aged. Not sure about keeping the tetras in there or not.

Love the floating plants Dude!
dntx5b9 and shef, I really like how you've mixed up the colors of discus.
jgentry, some great info thanks alot!

We are hoping to get some fry out of them but wont be disappointed if we don't. There is 1/2" of play sand in the tank now and a large log with some fake plants. I plan on putting real plants in there someday. Ill have to get a good pic of the tank in it's current state.

Any breeder's in West Michigan feel free to PM me.
:lol: Yes you need to prepare yourself for loooooong discus posts :lol: Thanks for the nice words. Right now I'm not satisfied with the aqua scape but considering this tank is set up only 6 day's ago it isn't that bad. No worries guys becouse I used established filter foam and left in abouth 20% of the water from the Gymno tank.

Dntx,....To be honest I'm not a big fan of the Pignon Blood and related Discus and like the more natural colors. That is why I originally bought alenquer. Unfortunately I receved diferent fish but red scribbled and red turquoise I do like. Mine might end up as a cross between blue and red scribbled but time will tell. So if I look at your fish you can guess I like your red turquoise and the large fish in the midle. What color is he,...looks like a wild green. A very nice fish and large to! At first your fish seem to be small but then I noticed your tank is a 265G !!!

Shef, are the Discus doing? Are they growing? Some seem to have rather large eyes compared to their body size. A temp of 86 is a bit high imo. I keep mine at 83.

To all of you,...what are you feeding and how many feedings a day?

Currently I feed BHB (beef hart blend) in the morning, and 3 to 4 feedings of frozen or life.
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Gotta let you know Dude I have gotten a couple of really really positive comments about your tank and your 'scaping from some friends who are not members of the forum. It's a stunning tank indeed!
Dutch, which ones do you think have bigger eyes? I'm finding the blue diamonds are growing painfully slow while the yellows and the red are growing fast (they are much bigger than the others). I will try lowering my temp. I try to feed 4 or 5 times a day using hikari discus, NLS, colorbits and blood worms. They seem to be doing well. This is my first time with Discus too so I really hope they aren't stunted :(

Nice tank Dutch Dude!
Thanks Kingpoiuy and shef :oops:

Shef, me the red turquoise and the blues seem to have large eyes compared to their size. But,...I'm no expert on discus so I can be wrong with that. The red and yellow indeed seem to be quit normal.

Do you keep an eye on the nitrate? It should be 15 or lower and preferable below 10. Maybe you can try to feed more heavy frozen stuff like the Bloodworm's and do 2 or 3 feedings of the heavy stuff and 2 of pellets. Don't you wanna try bhb? The frozen and the bhb contains more protein and are quit heavy food. The drawback is that you need to increase water changes. In a 55 with 7 of them I would at least do a 65% wc every other day. I tried les but my nitrate level went up to 15 and this definitely slows down growth.
Good suggestions Dutch Dude. Is BHB beef heart? I've never tried that. I may have to step up water changes. The 2 yellows and the red are voracious eaters while the other 4 aren't as much. I added some driftwood and silk plants to the tank (I also have a bunch of water sprite) yesterday and now they all hide. Not sure if I should take that stuff out or not. The ones you think are turquise are actually spotted greens. I guess if they are stunted even increasing water changes won't fix that will it? This is my very first attempt at Discus so I guess I have a lot to learn. I will test the nitrate right away to see what it is at.
Shef,....BHB is indeed beef heart blend. You can cook it your self but you probably need some experimenting on the recipe. I have experience and ame stuck with 5 lbs of bhb they refuse to eat (probably becouse of the texture and to much spirulina). So I bought frozen Stendker bhb.

Um,...they hide behind the plants? I can't think of a good reason for that. Whether you should remove the plant or not,...I have know idea. I'm new to discus as well and didn't struggled with this issue. Maybe someone can jump in on this. If I was in your position I would remove the water sprite if they hide all day and act to shy or don't come out to feed.

Keeping nitrates low is very important for growing youngsters (not only discus). The large fish also release hormones to the water that slow down the growth of the other fish. So water changes are essential to keep them growing. Stunted fish will never reach their normal size. If they are still growing you might provide them the best change to reach their maximum.

Huh that turquoise are red spotted greens? I'm surprised becouse that doesn't look like spots and more normal patterns for a turq. Well,....I'm jealous right now,.....I get wet dreams of red spotted greens :D

Oooh and I'm curious at the nitrate reading!
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Shef,....are you sure abouth the red spotted greens,....after a close view they look more as snakeskin red to me.
I have heard from others that removing places for discus to hide helps them out on the open and be bolder. But if they are eating, I don't see the need to take the decos out. Also, keeping the temp around 86 or even 88 will help the juvies eat better and be more active. As they get older, you can keep the temp lower. My tank is at 84 to 86 at the moment.

I have 2 wilds and 15 domestic strain discus. Not quite sure what strain my wilds are, but my wild male is huge. He is the biggest guy in my tank. 7" from head to tail. The one in the pic is a smaller one of the two. The second largest is domestic female. Well over 6". The two have paired up and spawned a few times. I actually have three different pairs.
Well they were sold to me a spotted greens. I have a lot of faith in the person I got them from but I guess he could be wrong. It doesn't really matter to me what strain they are, I just like the pattern on them.

My temp is 85 and I did the nitrate test and it was at 10mg/l. I did a 60% water change after that. It sucks that some are stunted. I don't know if I did it to them or if it was done before I got them. I guess the only thing now it to care for them as best I can and hope they stay healthy.
That's alot of water change compared to what my other fish get. I am planning to put water line and drain directly into my tank because I have well water and it's just about perfect for discus. Well, It's hard and ph is 7.6 so I guess you could say it's on the edge of good for discus.

You guys have this type of setup or are you doing all that water changing with buckets? My 75g Malawi has plumbing too and there's no way I'll go back to buckets, it's great! Even if I had city water I would probably have to set up the plumbing to the tub where the water ages then plumb that to the tank. Guess I'm lazy! :lol:
Thats a nice low nitrate level and 10 is fine :thumb:

Those fish are indeed nice once and nice colors and pattern. Once they are grown it will be more easy to determine the exact color.

The stunted once is definitely not created by you! You only keep them for a short period and some seem to grow nicely. Those fish were already behind in development when you bought them. So give them the best circumstances for growth and health is all you can do. I hope they do start to grow but they might end up as small fish. The other fish will grow to normal size as long as you keep on feeding the flakes, pellets along with some more protein rich foods like frozen or live bloodworms and bhb.

After two weeks of a smaller appetite my discus start to feed heavily. Yesterday the eat abouth 1 1/2 times the normal quantity. I guess this will couse a new growth spurt. I removed the sword plant and replaced it for a larger one.
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Thanks Dutch, I too am looking forward to seeing what they look like as adults. I had a hard time getting them to eat anything other than bloodworms at first but they are eating a variety now.

Kingpouiy I do buckets. I have a hose that I can use to fill the tank, but to drain it I need buckets. It kinda sucks but what can you do :lol:
kingpoiuy,...yes I use buckets to drain the tank and to fil it,...just like my 90 gallon Guianacara tank, 30 gallon Apisto tank and 50 gallon planted. So I have quit massive shoulders becouse of this :lol:

A PH of 7.5 is fine for domesticated discus but maybe you can lower it to PH=7 with peat.
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