View Full Version : My Discus Journey

03-13-2018, 12:00 PM
Hello to all,

I'm starting this journal tonight so that I can one day see how far I've came. I have previously kept discus for around 10 months, I then took a 14 month break due to going through a tough time and having to move town. I had many problems keeping discus, I was new to the hobby of fish keeping and very inexperienced, I rushed into discus and made a mess like a bull in a china shop, I had to put many discus to eternal sleep, it was a absolutely heart breaking experience for me at the time. In the end I sold my surviving discus, one of which I have kept in touch with all that time off and I now own 5 of his babies! I had made a friend back then too, a lady I met in my local pet store and we shared our discus stories, I kept in touch with her too, I now own her 5 adult discus! I decided just over a month ago I would start my 4 foot tank up again and try keeping discus once more, I am passionate about these fish. So I went to my local pet stores over a few weeks period, taking notes of fish they had and other things id need. In one of the stores there was a lonely little stunted discus, I stood their staring at him for awhile, I made plans to save him if he was still there next time I went. A week or so went by, my tank was cycling with some Cories and I went back to that store, the little discus was still there, he was hiding up the back of the tank with his head down, he was sad, I brought him home, in my head I rescued him that day. His name is Tangerine, he is the king of the Cories now because he spent 1 month living alone in my tank with them, the poor cories were charged at, head butted and their foods were under guard by tangerine, it was so funny at the time I couldn't help but cry while I laughed, here is a video of them:

Bringing us up to today, I now have two 4 foot tanks, one grow out tank for my five 3 month old baby discus and one display tank for my 5 adult and 1 stunted (Tangerine) discus. The discus I had previously owned were all juvies, around 4 inches, so I have absolutely no experience with babies or adults and I'm coming undone already with my lack of experience, I'm making stupid mistakes, half of them I should already know better! I'm not giving up though, I want to be a good discus owner one day, these fish have my heart. These 2 videos are of my current tanks, taken a few days ago:

Today I brought some new live plants for my display tank, a green rush, 2 hair grass and a Chinese evergreen plant. And for my grow out tank I brought my babies a moss ball, they also have some type of small plant attached to one of the driftwoods, I have heard not to plant grow out tanks but I thought 2 little plants cant hurt. Both my tanks have 6 Cories in them currently, I did have neon's but the babies thought they were a snack lol so I had them rehomed a couple of days ago.

So that's where I'm at today, I could keep writing more but that is enough for now. If you have any questions, advice or information for me please don't hesitate :)

03-14-2018, 10:58 AM
Good morning all,

So i did a boo boo the other night, i stole a sponge filter from my display tank and put it in my grow out tank (Cross contamination!) because i was having issues with ammonia and nitrite in my grow out tank with my baby discus, the couple of days before this i had removed the bio grid cartridges from both my HOB filters and replaced them with ceramic noodles, hence the loosing cycle. Thanks to the sponge filter i stole the grow out tank now has good water readings PH 7.6 Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0 and Nitrate 10. But i have now lost the cycle in the display tank, readings are now PH 6.8 Ammonia 0.50 Nitrite 0.25 Nitrate 40!! What a silly thing to do, i should have known better. So I dosed the display tank with Prime and Fluval Cycle yesterday to help try to recycle the tank, I'm going to do a 30% water change on the tank later this morning and then later on check the readings again.

The babies are happy, eating well and i think they are growing, I'm unsure at what rate they should be growing though at this stage. I took photos of their live plants, they seem to like the plants, pecking at them all the time.

At feeding times mainly I'm having some aggression type behaviour from my adult discus, the PB is chasing away all the discus except the Red Rose from the foods. I assume the PB is a male and the Red Rose a female with this type of display. I also took photos of the new plants in my display tank, the discus got quiet a fright at the Chinese evergreen plant at first, i think because its quite big. After 24 hours they seem to like it now though, sleeping under it at night.

03-14-2018, 11:33 AM
I think the way you have plants in your tank is ok, the issues are with planted tanks that have a soil substrate. a few plants in your driftwood won't hurt you as long as you clean up their mess when they make it. Your tanks look nice and clean, good luck with your babies.

03-14-2018, 11:42 AM
Thank you George :)

03-16-2018, 01:45 PM
So it seems discus keeping has never ending complications, if its not a sick fish, its Nitrate or a filter not working properly among others things. I'm trying to stay positive, I know all good things take time.
My original stunted discus Tangerine is now in a hospital tank with what looks like hole in the head disease, there is about 6 white pimples on his head, I hope he pulls through, its so depressing when your fish get sick.
The babies are going well, lots of fighting at the moment though, guess they are trying to sort out who's going to be boss of the tank and the herd. I have a canister filter on hold for the grow out tank now.
The adults seem to be ok at the moment, I just spent hours installing a new canister filter on their tank, they were not impressed with the water change and installation of the new filter. But its now 2 hours later and they seem happy again.
I have had some really good help on this site already, I'm very impressed with Simply Discus. People seem happy to help and make ideas and suggestions, which is a great help to me.
Just some odd photos to follow over the last few days..

03-18-2018, 03:43 PM
My babies are growing, I'm convinced they have had a growth spurt in the last 2 days, they are really starting to loo like discus now. When I take the lid off to feed them they are now racing up to my hand and attacking the freeze dried cube before I can even stick it to the glass haha :D
The adults are doing ok, they are still very weary of me, they absolutely hate the LED tank light, every time I turn it on they either freeze or take off and smack into the other end of the tank, I have no idea why they are doing this, so I rarely ever turn it on now. At feeding time the PB constantly bullies the others, except the Red Rose, for some reason she is allowed to eat, the others have to sneak up and grab a bite while the PB is not looking. So I have been cutting the freeze dried cube in half and placing half at one end of the tank and the other at the other end of the tank. Which causes a lot of racing around the tank, but I'm not sure what else to do about it.



03-22-2018, 08:56 PM
So today my adult discus let me turn on the LED light! I can actually see the tank is a mess now, its been hard cleaning it without the light on. They sit in a group like this with the light on, its been on 2 hours and they have not moved, they just sitting there like stunned mullets lol

The babies are growing nicely and showing more colour each day, but are mostly still white in colour. They are very bossy at feeding times and ive had to cut the cubes in half so each get a bite. I am buying a canister filter for their tank on Tuesday next week, so they will be enjoying better water quality soon, I just hope the flow of the big filter isn't too much for them to handle.. Here is a quick video of them

03-24-2018, 10:05 AM
I lost another discus yesterday, the beautiful big Turq. I tried to save it but it died within 12 hours of me finding it sitting on the sand. I had been watching for a week the PB bullying the Turq at feeding times, not letting it get even a bite of food. Add that to the week previous when they were new to my tank and not eating much equals close to 2 weeks without hardly any food for the Turq. I believe it died due to the bullying and lack of food. I'm so sad to loose 2 discus in under a week :(
Due to the PB and the Red Rose becoming what I think is a pair and would explain the bullying from both of them towards the others, I have removed the 2 Red & Whites from the display tank, leaving the PB and Red Rose alone in there. I wasn't going to sit by and watch them bully the other 2 to death as well. It pained me to do this and I know it could cause more issues but I placed the 2 Red & Whites into my grow out tank with my babies, I had no other option. The babies don't even care, all they want is food. I'm feeling disheartened by this weeks events, ive tried to do everything I can to give my fish the best possible life but still I get the hard road with discus. Hoping for better times moving forward from today

03-24-2018, 10:34 AM
Hang in there Sabrina it will improve. We just need to keep working and learning. Fish just like any other animal can be cruel to each other sometimes to death. I've woken up to find that a couple of my fish have been torn to pieces during the night, mating can do that, probably to many males lol, always a problem when there isn't enough females lol. Once you get the right combo of fish together it will all calm down.

03-24-2018, 03:46 PM
Thanks George, I will hang in there..

03-26-2018, 07:41 PM
I am happy to report things have been better over the last 2 days here, I moved the Red&Whites back into the display tank with the PB and Red Rose because the 4 of them were stressed being apart. The babies are cheeky as ever, nipping my fingers now when I try putting the food cube on the glass lol
This morning I found a fantastic deal on Ebay, a canister filter 1400 liters an hour with UV light and all filter media for only $84!! So I snapped it up, should be here in a week, it will be going onto the babies tank. I also ordered a air pump that comes with tubing and air stones for my water aging bin I brought last week, and some check valves too. Also some Prime and another jumbo sponge filter for the hospital tank I will be buying in 2 weeks. I love getting items in the mail from Ebay, shiny new things lol
I also brought part of the groceries I need to make home made food for my discus, I checked the price of the shrimp here, $38 a kilo!! And the lean premium beef mince is not cheap either lol
Here are some photos for today, thanks for reading :)


03-28-2018, 12:15 PM
Good morning,
I'm excited to report the canister filter I ordered arrived yesterday, not even 24 hours after I ordered it! Again it took me hours just to assemble it, it is very different to the one I brought last week. It then took hours to install it, I had to rearrange everything in the tank to be able to fit the intake and outtake in the same corner due to the tubing not being long enough to have them at each end of the tank, while the heater was off so I could move it I did a water change and vacuumed the whole tank. The babies were actually pretty well behaved during the install, they just hid in the corner. I almost lost the LED light into the tank, I had it balancing on the HOB and it fell off, luckily the tank brace caught it. So I got the canister installed, primed it by pushing the big button down a number of times, and then turned it on. Ended up having to turn it off and on 3 times before it finally started pumping water through the hoses, it then filled the tank with bubbles and was up and running! I double checked everything was back on and then walked away from the tank and sat down, within 2 minutes the babies raced up to the intake and outtake to inspect them, they were fascinated with the current from the spray bar and the prefilter lol..
I will need to buy new longer tubing for both my canister filters so I can move the intakes to the other end of the tank eventually, probably in a few weeks when I remove the HOB filters from the tanks once the canisters are cycled.
I also replaced the air curtains in both tanks with big round air stones, the curtains were a pain to be honest, looked good but not practical.
I was also lucky to find the perfect prefilter mesh media for the intake strainers, had to trim them to size but they should do the job!
The UV light in the new canister filter is quite big, I was expecting a small light, looks pretty cool..
Here is some photos and a video of the new canister filter for today..



03-28-2018, 02:53 PM
Looking great Sabrina, just one suggestion, put the intake and output at opposite corners of the tank and intake from the bottom and output at the top. This way you turn over your entire tank. Small stuff.

03-28-2018, 04:46 PM
Hi George!
Cheers for that suggestion, I'm working on it, have to wait until I can buy some longer tubing for either the intake or outtake so it can reach from the other end of the tank to the canister at the other end.. Even with the way I have it set up at the moment its turning over the whole tank because I have the canister filter at one end and the HOB and jumbo sponge filter at the other end, this will work until I get the new tubing and remove the HOB filters from my tanks in 3 weeks time :)
I kinda wasn't thinking yesterday morning, I removed the sponge/carbon cartridge from the HOB in the babies tank and replaced it with a new cartridge because the HOB had slowed to a drizzle due to build up on the cartridge and also the carbon was 4 weeks old so due to be changed anyway. I have a bag of ceramic rings in the HOB filter too, and the jumbo sponge filter but I'm still worried I might have messed up the cycle, I will be testing the water at 8pm tonight, that will be 24 hours after the canister install and cartridge change, hoping for the best!

03-28-2018, 05:36 PM
Best of Luck Sabrina.

03-29-2018, 06:08 PM
Cheers George :)
I didn't loose my cycle, there is no ammonia or nitrite in the water, winning! I did however find 2 of my peppered catfish dead this morning, I thought they were acting weird yesterday, very strange that both of them died at the same time, I have no idea what might have caused that, the only thing I can think of is the temp being too high for them or they ate too many black worms and not enough of their own wafer food.
No issues with the canister filters, they are running well, and the prefilters are catching debris already, I can see why its a good idea to have them now.
The adults are still spooked, I think I have lost their trust completely now, they wont eat with the LED on, only when I turn it off will they eat and every time I walk past the tank they hide from me or go crazy, its a bit upsetting. The babies however follow me around like puppies from one end of the tank to the other begging for more food.
Its Easter weekend here in Australia, Happy Easter everyone :)

03-30-2018, 01:08 PM
Good morning,
Its 4am on Easter Saturday here and I'm bright eyed and bushy tailed, so both the tanks are going down for maintenance this morning. I seem to be having issues with high Nitrate in both takes, they are reading at 40ppm..
I'm going to do a 100 liter water change on the babies tank and I need to move the air stone away from the canister filter surface skimmer because it seems the bubbles are going into it and sending air down the intake tube into the canister, then the canister makes a swishing sound and the air gets pushed up the outtake pipe and comes out the spray bar filling the tank with bubbles. Not sure if this is normal but I'm going to move the air stone just in case..
On the adults tank I'm also going to do a 100 liter water change and at the same time I need to remove the spray bar and I'm going to cut the hard tubing a bit so that the spray bar sits a bit higher in the tank, more closer to the surface, because at the moment its so low in the tank that it makes a big hole in the sand and you can see the glass bottom..
I hope the large water changes and vacuuming lower the nitrate in both tanks today.. And I'm going to be a bit more careful with feedings from now on too.

03-30-2018, 02:34 PM
Oh!! I forgot to mention my lucky break, there is a free facebook page in my home town that one of my friends took it upon themselves to post on on my behalf asking for fish tank for me to use as a hospital tank as I cant afford one right now, turns out a tank came up for FREE two days later! Its a 75 liter (20 gallons) fish tank and its absolutely PERFECT!! It was very dirty and had sticky tape resin all around the top of it, so I got the razor blade out and removed as much of the resin as I could and then grabbed the apple cider vinegar and scrubbed the whole tank with it, it looks like a brand new tank now. The only thing it is missing is a lid, it doesn't have a lip around the top that I could put a lid on so I'm currently racking my brain about what I can do for a lid.. I have all the equipment for it except a heater right now, which I just found the right size heater on Ebay for only $26, so I will order that next week. I am SO happy about this find!! Hopefully I never have to use it though, I don't want sick fish..
The water change ect on the babies tank is now done, looks like I need to replace the power board all the power cords plug into, when I switched it off and back on it started making crackling noises at the switch on point! Its on and working fine now but I don't want to take the chance with it blowing up all my equipment, so later today I will buy a new one.
Here is a pic of my new FREE hospital tank and the babies water change :D

03-30-2018, 10:39 PM
The power board on the babies tank has been change to a brand new one.. I also scrubbed the gunk off the walls of their tank during the water change, they are happy little veggie mites now.

So my discus journey has just taken a turn again, I had been watching my adults for the last few days, the PB up to his tricks again stopping the other 3 from eating, trying to starve them to death like he did the Blue Turq last week. I fed them like normal, the PB guards the food no matter where I put it or if I put 2 or 3 different locations in the tank, it got to the point today that the Red Rose wouldn't even come up to eat and the 2 Red&Whites would make a mad dash to the food and peck at it franticly before being beaten off by the PB and chased away. I became very angry today, I have watched this PB chase Tangerine daily until he developed HITH and died 2 days later, I have watched this PB beat up and chase my beautiful Blue Turq until it starved to death and died only a week after Tangerine. Today I was not sitting back and watching that PB try to starve the other 3 discus to death too, it had to go today or I was going to euthanize it. I made a post on a fish keeping facebook page locally about the bully, saying to take him at your own risk, posting him for FREE. He was gone to his new owners in 30 minutes flat, I could not care less what happens to that fish. I now have a struggle to keep the remaining 3 adults alive, and I'm up for another 2 discus to make the group back up to 5 fish, thankfully I have the hospital/quarantine tank now to QT the new ones eventually. To think only 3 weeks ago I started out with 6 healthy adults and now I'm down to 3!! Again I have done everything I could to better their lives as fast as possible, but it seems all in vein. Perhaps I'm not meant to be a fish keeper, or maybe its just discus. Today I feel like I have failed at fish keeping yet again, tomorrow is another day.

03-31-2018, 01:05 PM
If you decide to buy new discus and you want to do it the right way , you would have to follow the 1-2 month long QT procedure . That would mean maintaining 3 tanks .
I would try to sell the remaining 3 suspicious in health discus and start over from zip 0 with a new batch of 6 discus instead .

Another idea would be to put the rest 3 discus along with your young discus , since they already shared filters , and focus only on maintaining one healthy tank . In the future if you are ready to buy more you can always start again the second tank .

Leaving the 3 as they are would just lead to creating another bully , just like the one you have donated .

03-31-2018, 09:13 PM
Hi Filip, I have sat and thought thoroughly about your suggestions. I don't mind to maintain 3 tanks, I'm already doing the 2 big ones on a daily basis with not too many issues, so I think I'm going to go with buying 2 more and QT them for some time then place them in with the left over adults I have now, I really like the 3 that are left they are beautiful fish. The 3 left are starting to eat today which is positive, they are still very spooked though.
With placing the adults with the babies all together in the one tank, I wont take the chance, I don't want to compromise the health and growth of my babies and the adults would teach them to duck, scatter and hide and I don't want that for them.
I really appreciate your good suggestions but I'm going to leave things as they are for right now, keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best.
Thanks Filip :)

04-01-2018, 11:08 PM
Filip, you were right! Since removing the bully the remaining 3 have just sat in the one spot and hardly moved, so I decided to go with your suggestion to place all my discus together in the one tank. I removed the 3 adults and placed them in the babies tank, they seem to be much much happier now, they are swimming around again! Thank you :D

04-05-2018, 05:13 PM
Hi guys n girls,
Its been a few days since my last post because I don't have all that much to report, things have been good!! I removed all the Cories from the discus tank a couple of days ago, so its discus only now, the cories have their own 4 foot tank for the moment. My 8 discus are doing really well together, 5 babies and 3 adults, all eating, swimming and just being fishes. The only incident in the last couple of days was with my Red Rose, she is the biggest of the lot, I honestly don't know how she is still alive she is so crazy! I walked past the tank, as I do many times a day, and she went nuts, flew from one end of the tank to the other hit the wall, got stuck between the jumbo sponge filter and the wall, then buried herself in the sand trying to get out, came hurdling out of the sand at high speed only to hit the wall on the other side, which finally stunned her and she came to a stand still! I was flabbergasted to say the least, I thought her gills would be full of sand and the knocks on the head would have killed her, but no, she is alive and well lol
For an odd group of discus they seem to be getting on really well. I will see if I can catch some footage of them later this morning as ive only just finished a large water change :)

04-05-2018, 06:04 PM
Hi Sabrina, glad to see your spirits are up and to read your tanks and fish are settling down. Fish are funny in that they will be all calm for like days on and then out of no where they will get shy and start hiding. When I see my fish start shying away from me I just leave them alone for awhile until they start to settle a bit. I had a couple pair up and start to mate and lay eggs, this also made them a little more aggressive and scared the other fish for a while. The tank is big enough so that eventually everyone settled back down and the pair claimed a small section where all the intakes(3) are. Don't worry over so many things and don't over load yourself with more tanks than you can handle. You have to gleam some pleasure from this and not just a lot of work.

04-09-2018, 11:52 AM
Hi George,
Cheers, yes things have become better with all being together in the 1 tank now, still having trouble with them being skittish and hiding, but I think this is due to their tank being in a high traffic area of my house. I removed a large fake plant yesterday that they were hiding behind all the time and replaced it with a small driftwood and a potted hair grass, so now they have no where to hide, they seem to be moving around more which is great.
Here is a short video I took last night :)


04-17-2018, 02:47 AM
Hi all,
Things have been great, all is running smoothly, well until 5 minutes ago, I walked past the tank and they all got a fright, 1 of the babies went straight up and out a tiny gap in the glass and fell behind the tank! I quickly grabbed the net but I couldn't reach it with that so I reached under and grabbed the fishes tail picked it up and put it in the net and back into the water, I hope it will be ok, I got such a fright :(