Fish Forums banner
1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,210 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, hello!
I tend to build a tank for discuses. What subtrate should I use? Is sand okay?
About plants, what do you guys suggest?
And, cuz I'm new to discus, too. So, please help me, any advice is useful!
Thanks alot!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
788 Posts
Well this is the Betta area, but I've bred many discus. If this isn't going to be a show tank then a bare bottom is much better because they are much easier to keep clean. Sand would work, but it does get kicked around pretty easy. Be careful of the kind of snd you get becuase some of the "playsands" are being used in salt tank because they keep the PH up and that is not what you want for discus. I would use Java Fern for your discus tank. They grow very well in almost any PH or lighting .


RC
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,210 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Kay, thanks! Well, Most of the sand here is from the ocean, it may a bit difficult to find such thing, I may need to go find it my self in the South of the country.
Anyway, can Java Fern be planted in pots? I find pot-planting simple and inexpensive.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
788 Posts
Java fern can be pot planted, hooked to anything in the tank or even left floating. Discus are very sensitive to ALL things. You need to keep the water very clean and stable. Discus will not breed in high PH water, but they can be kept in it 7 -7.5 without a problem. When I had discus I did 50% water changes every other day.


RC
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,210 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
???lil_jess????
Well, yeah, I know that. So I'll need a lot of help when the discus tank of mine being established.
Well, can the discuses go with other fish easily? If yes, what should I keep with them? How about lighting condition?
Thanks alot!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,210 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I see, thanks. Ah, I really want to make it as a "natural snapshot" so can I add some angels in?
Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
788 Posts
I would NEVER keep angles with discus. I sold all my Breeding stock and young Discus to a friend. After abut 6 months he called me to come over and help him out. He had lost most of the Discus and when I got there I knew why. He was keeping Angels in with the Discus. That was the one thing I had told him not to do. Discus seems to die from a disease that the Angles seem to be able to fight off. Other people will tell you it's ok to keep Angels with Discus, But I've seen first hand thousands of dollars of Discus killed from it. I know of 3 different times it's happened just to peole I know.


RC
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
55 Posts
Do not use ocean sand for discus, you will kill them. sand has lots of calcium wich will disolve raising the ph. Anything with carbonate hardness will make the water hard and alkaline. Discus need soft and acidic water. Don't use the sand. Aquarium river gravel or nothing at all. If you want plant java is not so good, it doesn't do well in acidic water. Cryptocorines do well in all of my tanks with discus, but most of my fish are in bear bottom tanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,210 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Ok, I'll have freshwater sand taken from the ruvers and ponds here! What type of gravel shopuld I mix up with these sand?
Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
55 Posts
why do you want to use sand, it gets into the filter intake all the time, and will kill your pump faster.
If you use river sand you should make sure you wash it well and dry it out for a few days. Any parasite will die off, if there are any. I wouln't mix the sand with gravel , layer it first 1-2" and then add small river gravel and smooth stones 3" layer. It will not stay perfectly seporated for long, but if you plant all you plants at first and not syphon around them, they will spread faster.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
285 Posts
Ok, I'll have freshwater sand taken from the ruvers and ponds here! What type of gravel shopuld I mix up with these sand?
Thanks!
I wouldn't mix sand and gravel. It will most likely lead to the substrate getting compacted and that can cause problems with anaerobic areas building up under the substrate. If you use local sand, I suggest that you boil it if you can to kill off most of the 'nasties' that may be living in it.

A higher pH will not kill discus (though it does depend on how high of a pH we are talking here). They don't do as well in really high pH though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Well...Here goes.

I have had discus for quite some time now and have been very successful. Everything in my tank is very healthy and I have had no major problems....other than a learning curve in the beginning. I have tried the easiest way to keep the tank clean and maintain PH and temp. You can read about individuals changing water like crazy from adding whatever evaporates all the way to changing 50% every day. The fish seem to be very sensitive and can be stressed easily.

1. First thing you want to do (hence the #1) is remember that the discus tank should be kept i a low traffic area of the house and not in direct sunlight all day long. Discus will stress easily from all day movement and with all tanks for many reasons....keep them away from the window.
2. Keep in mind that full grown Discus should be portioned out to one fish per ten gallons of water. Any more will cause overcrowding because they CAN get large. Some can get to 8"-10". I have been using otocinclus to control algae for a very long time and they seem to get along perfectly with the discus. These little guys will not care about your PH and temp, stay small and will not usually bother discus.
3. Lighting is an important key. Remember these fish are from the amazon and expect long days. You don't want to sunburn the poor guys, but any medium lighting will be fine.
4. Planting your tank is completely up to you. Any plant that will grow in medium light will work out great. Since plants are fairly inexpensive, experiment with them and see how they do. Since you will most likely be using some sort of peat or blackwater extract in the water, most plants will thrive. Try Wal-Mart for plants. Really. They have plants FOREVER because no one buys them. They usually average $3.00 and are large from sitting around in the tank. Just check the visual condition of the fish in ALL TANKS before you decide you want one.
5. I have not ever heard of sand being used for discus. I use a medium NON PAINTED natural stone. Painted stone will eventually break down and flake off. Not good. I also keep about a 2"-3" deep gravel. Gravel cleanings should be done often and you want it to be as easily as possible. Sand is not easy...medium gravel is.
6. PH....Sensitive issue with discus. I tried to use Proper PH 6.5 for a while. This product worked out perfectly, but unfortunately the phosphates caused algae growth....lots of algae growth. I switched over to Seachem's Acid Buffer. This product contains no phosphates and works perfectly. Keep an eye on the PH as pften as possible.
7. Water changes.....the most debateable subject. Honestly, I have a 55gal and do a 12gal change every Sunday, and a gravel cleaning twice a month. My tank is perfect, the PH is stable, the fish are happy.....no problems. With this water change I do the following. First you want to make sure that your water is somewhat a good start. I began by going to Home Depot and purchasing a Whole House Filter for around $30.00. I installed it to the faucet that I use for water changes in the basement, and use it only for my tank water. I went to Wal-Mart and purchased two 6 gallon water containers in the camping department for around $8.00 each. I fill the two containers with water and let it sit uncovered overnight. Also with adding water, I add my acid buffer, Start Right, and Blackwater Extract. I use the reccommended dosage of Start Right and Acid Buffer, but only half dose of Blackwater. I noticed that full dose of blackwater tints the water more than I want, but is really a personal preference. The water temp is not a huge deal and will not stress the fish. If you decide to do a large change, you might want to figure out a way to get the water closer to temp before adding it to your tank. Keep an eye on the pH and temp over the next 24 hours. The PH can spike, and the heater will work hard getting the added water to temp and can fail.
8. Buying fish. Find a local breeder....or wholesale house. BE CAREFUL. Don't buy from a mass merchant! Make sure your pet shop has a seperate tank for discus and knows what the hell they are talking about. I have seen discus kept in community tanks with angels and all other aggressive critters. They won't last a week in those conditions and that last thing you want it to start out with stressed fish.
9. Feeding....one again.....personal. You can read bad things about every food if you look hard enough. I alternate and sometimes mix the following with incredible results.
Color Bits, Frozen Bloodworms, Multivitamin and Tubifex worms. Any multivitamin will do. The best diet for fish is variety. Keep an eye on the frozen foods for freezerburn, or the possibility that the food was thawed out and frozen again. Not good. Try different foods for discus...it's all good.



Any other questions...post and I will do my best.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
As far as substrate, I can only tell you what I have had success with. I had a bare bottom for awhile but it just didn't "do it" for me. After an intense DIY background project, I used a 3-layer substrate approch (perhaps a bit over-the-top, but you should see the plants thrive!). First I put down a THIN layer of clay (I live in Atlanta so I just went outside and dug some up, shouldn't be too hard to find @ a local garden store, though), next I mixed 1 part peat moss to appx 5-6 parts potting soil (VERY important to get both clay, moss and soil w/out ANY additives/chemicals). Next I added med. size gravel, put a plate on the bottom of the tank (so as not to stir up the substrate too much) and filled 'er up. Cycle the tank for about a week or two before adding fish, but NOT DISCUS. Your new tank should cycle for at least a month before you add them. I actually cycled mine for 2 months (the background needed some extra time to "set") using run-of-the-mill goldfish/feeders. I have one wild green, a pigeon blood and 4 red truks that seem to love it.
As for tankmates, I have cardinals, snails, and even a harlequin (tetra). Had a teenie albino frog that didn't do anything except float at the surface, and even that made them jittery. NO PLECOS!!! They like to munch on the apparently tasty slime, this will stress out, then kill your discus.
I agree w/ loumarino in many aspects, esp. #s 7, 8 & 9 (a healthy planted tank requires much less leg work in the long run), but I'm not sure about the low traffic thing. I have mine in my living room and whenever any walks by, they follow. Whenever anyone sits down, they hover next to the glass and stare at them. These fish have personality!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Great tips on the multi-level substrate. I have heard from many that this is a great way to go.

As far as the "traffic area"...I mean extreme. I have heard of individuals that want tanks in lobbies of doctors offices and such where there is an extreme volume of traffic. I guess if you really think about it..any fish in that situation would freak out because of the thump of footsteps. Go next to any tank and stomp on the floor.

I would love to see a photo of atltk's tank!
Amazing how the darn fish suck you into their personality. Aside from salt...Discus is probably the only way to go in my personal opinoin. They just amaze me.

And yes..NO PLECOS!!! AAARGH!!!
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top