Planted Discus tank discussion

FishDad

Superstar Fish
Mar 4, 2012
1,218
1
38
Cleveland
#1
Thanks for reading. My wife and I want to start a planted discus tank and are new to both. Here is what we have already established. 72 bow, aquaclear 110, 300w heater, hood with incandescent bulbs, large bubble wand, large grade gravel substrate, various stones and driftwood.

A couple things I know... We need to add finer (soil like) substrate ontop of the current. I need full spectrum lighting. My ph from the tap is about 7.8.

Based on that info what else would you guys recommend? What am I missing? Is that PH ok?
 

Feb 27, 2009
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#2
Incandescent lighting will not help plants to grow, so I would recommend replacing with CFL or LED. Also, the 'bubble wand' will off-gas your disolved CO2 so I would not use it.

What kind of plants are you planning on? What amount of light will you ultimately use? Your substrate may be fine as-is, depending on the plants, and the amount of lighting will determine if you will need to add ferts and a source of carbon.
 

FishDad

Superstar Fish
Mar 4, 2012
1,218
1
38
Cleveland
#3
Yes we were def. going to go with different lighting. I was thinking a full spectrum cfl. Good to know about the buble wand, I didn't know that. Which brings me to another question... will CO2 supplements have an adverse effect on the Discus?

As far as amount of lighting.. I open to suggestions. The priority will be the fish, then what ever lighting is best for them will determine the plants I suppose. I know we would really like to have something to use as ground cover like baby tears.
 

Feb 27, 2009
4,395
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#8
The discus fish can adapt to a different pH levels, as long as its stable (as any fish will). The pH is most critical for them if you want to breed them.

When a fish had laid its eggs, the male then fertilizes them, and the eggs 'cure' or harden to protect the develping fry. Fish that need 'soft' water normally produce eggs that 'cure' too quickly in hard water. This prevents the male from being able to fertilize the eggs. Also, the fry cannot break free of the egg when the time comes if in 'hard' water.

If you want to just enjoy the discus, you shouldn't need to worry about chasing a particular pH or hardness.

This link shows plants that do well in the warmer water that discus prefer:

Warm Water/Discus Plants
 

Fuzz16

Superstar Fish
Oct 20, 2006
1,918
3
0
Wellsville, KS
#11
Your pH is fine, but i would recomend you try to find a local breeder so the pH isnt too different from what their raised in. And keep in mind, that big time fish breeders may be using RO water.

Try to get them past 3.5-4" bc they require less WC and less feedings than the youngsters

Dark backing will prevent freckling on the them, also :) Which i personally liked on mine, but some people dont.

Temp should be 82-84 while younger just make sure you have enough flow, too much will stress them though, they are not meant to be in currents. full grown, i kept mine at 82.

Good tank mates for them are panda cories, BN or clown pleco, cardinal/rummynose (not a fan of neons, their die too easily), kuhliis. But they dont see well at night, so kuhliis will for sure steal the eggs if they breed.

You do not have to have SA plants...the others just may not grow as well. its hit or miss. You should choose plats per light more
so than per temp.


Matt will have a lot better input than me, you can look for his threads.




The little scrawny blue guy is a result of someone not taking proper care of him. hes 1.5years old and never grew more and his shape and body never conditioned right. he is "stunted" and was bullied in the tank, so i got him for free and he did better in the bigger group.





I did 2x water changes a week on a 75g with 10-15g each time.
 

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FishDad

Superstar Fish
Mar 4, 2012
1,218
1
38
Cleveland
#12
That is a beautiful discus tank, I tip my hat to you. So if a breeder uses RO water and I do not, is it possible to acclimate them or do I have to then use RO water? There is an independent fish store here that says they can order whatever I want so I'll be sure to confirm RO water or not.
 

Fuzz16

Superstar Fish
Oct 20, 2006
1,918
3
0
Wellsville, KS
#13
It should be fine, it just makes the water less acidic. I only had the RO unit for the saltwater and used half and half with RO and tap but my tap was 7-7.5pH so they can adjust to different pH but its another stressor to add onto new tank, new place, new habitat, shipping.

I would try to find a local fish club to see if anyone breeds discus. that way your paying 20-30$ a fish instead of 60-100$ like pet stores charge and they usually dont tend to know or care where the fish comes from or the health of it.

If you do go the pet store route, you have two options...buy them in the bag when they first get there and hope they were shipped healthy. Or wait two weeks while their at pet store to see if they are healthy and risk them getting sick there or badly cared for resulting in an unhealthy fish

next time around i get discus, i will be ordering from Hans website since Jack Taylor no longer breeds sadly, which is where i got those. minus the wilds, which i had ordered for myself when i worked at Petland


Also, in my tank, i had an angel that was...semi-slow..or most slow. it swam upside down sometimes. it wasnt right. but thats not recommended. also, i had a big fire eel..which you can see in the pic at the top, which is also not recomeneded. i kept platies to breed to make live food for the discus. also bred convicts in a 20l to feed fry to them. Then, the BGK which are okay and a good tank mate for them. and kuhllis...lots and lots of kuhliis. love those things!

and make your own beefheart!! BB tank until their older...if i hadnt been dumb, i would have done it that way and would have saved me a LOT of extra work
 

FishDad

Superstar Fish
Mar 4, 2012
1,218
1
38
Cleveland
#14
A local fish club is a great idea, I hadn't thought of that. Thanks for all the good info Fuzz. Its funny you brought up breeding convicts. The tank that we are converting to a discus is our old SA cichlid tank. We gave all of them away (flowerhorns, Jack D's, Terrors) except for this non breeding pair of convicts that we have had for a year b/c no one wanted them. Well they just bred. So now I have to wait until I can get rid of all of these guys. I think my lfs will take them. Funny how that works. Thanks again Fuzz.
 

Fuzz16

Superstar Fish
Oct 20, 2006
1,918
3
0
Wellsville, KS
#15
no problem :) Convicts are great to have for fish that like live food! (wild discus) but you have to feed them right too. i fed them as wigglers and some free swimming.

good luck with everything :)

also no sharp things in tank, driftwood, oranaments can easily scratch the sides of the fish
 

Jul 9, 2003
8,866
14
38
35
Columbia, SC
www.youtube.com
#17
I keep my discus in tap water, around 7-7.2 pH. Acclimation will be fine. Its easier for a fish to adapt from a low pH to a high pH then a fish to go from high pH to low pH. With a pH of 7.8 you may have problems breeding, but I don't see any reason you can't keep them at 7.8. Its better for it to stay stable then to keep having to adjust it, swings are no good. Basically what has been said above. Agreed, get them as large as you can afford if doing a planted tank.

The absolute best advice I can give regarding discus is keep it as simple as possible. The simpler you go, the easier it is to keep them because it puts less strain on you as the keeper. My tanks consist of a sponge filter and a heater thats it. I realize visually its not for everyone but its quick to clean and easy to keep clean....plus the fish are my focal point rather then the tank.

I have the perfect contact for you regarding dealers. Mike Beals. He is located down in Galena, Ohio and brings in shipments about every month, sometimes every other month. Large variety, competitive prices, and EXCELLENT quality. Met him in person and own fish from him, heck of a nice guy. CENTRAL OHIO DISCUS is his website, you can contact him by email M_Beals@msn.com get in touch with him and let him know what you are looking for as far as colors/strains go. Let him know Matt aka Discus-n00b on simplydiscus (me) sent you....no commission or anything, us in the discus community like to keep the good ones going. There are others out there that can easily ship overnight to you as well (Discus Hans, and my good friend Kenny Cheung).

Feel free to ask any more questions. I'm a discus nut, other then a few wild angels and a geo thats all I keep. Seeing as how more are interested in discus on this site it makes me more inclined to come post. :)
These came from Mike.



And here is one of my wilds.


Others (I have so many more I can't post them all LOL)
 

FishDad

Superstar Fish
Mar 4, 2012
1,218
1
38
Cleveland
#19
Thanks Cichlid-Man! Those photos are incredible, seeing yours and Fuzz16's on the same thread makes me think MFT should have a photo contest. When we are ready I will definitly contact that guy, small world huh? Thanks so much for the info and I'm sure once we get going we will have more questions so keep an eye out for my threads. How many discus would you recommend for a 72bow planted w/ aquaclear 110?