View Full Version : Planted tank to a discus tank - A novice at work !!

03-24-2018, 01:44 PM
Hello everyone,

My name is Gautham and I'm from Coimbatore, India. I've been an avid reader of this forum for a while now and after going through all those numerous posts for beginners, I felt intimidated at first and was put off by the demands of growing discus in a bare bottom tank, let alone in a planted tank that I had back then. So, I struck out the whole discus idea and began to concentrate on acquiring some dwarf cichlids, which led me to my search for Apistos, German Blue rams and Bolivian rams. The planted tank had about 3 otos, 10 rummy nose tetras, 10 cardinal tetras and about a dozen cherry barbs at that point and I had to settle for Electric Blue rams due to the unavailability of the other dwarf ones. I bought about 4 small ones and one bugger dropped dead for no apparent reason while I was away on a holiday, and I have to admit that the rams are my favorite fishes I've owned till date, funny little guys. I did get some kribs and Beckford's pencil fish along the way.
All this while, I did search for a good discus seller and found one in my city with a good reputation, but it was for a friend who had sought my help for starting a discus tank. I wanted to help him with cycling his tank and other basic maintenance routines unrelated to discus and that sort of rekindled my interest in keeping discus. I contacted my seller and said I was looking for 4" to 5" pigeon blood or red turquoise or red melon discus, and luckily he had 2 red dragon semi adults up for sale out of 4 fishes that he was holding for a mate of his. I went to his home hurriedly and asked him to pick the 2 better ones in the lot and drove back with a joker sized grin plastered to my face all the way home :D. I temperature acclimatised the duo and transferred them to the planted tank and had a rather sleepless night. The next couple days they were mostly in the hiding, a huge driftwood with plenty of ferns and anubias was their safe haven. A week had passed by and they were still averse to my presence around the tank and they would speed up to their driftwood cave the moment they saw me. They hadn't eaten in a week and that is when I wanted to switch things up, I transferred all the fishes to a plastic tub and I ripped up the entire planted tank. I planned to reuse the driftwood with ferns and anubias and the inert gravel substrate was removed and replaced with Sansibar River substrate.
The discus and the rams were added at first, the cardinals were added a couple days later to encourage the discus to come out of their hiding and boy did it work. The discus duo started scavenging for food and they started accepting food a few days later, it took them roughly 2 weeks from the day I acquired them to start eating, a pretty scary ride. They've been with me for a month now and they are being fed 3 times a day with Exotica discus granules, roughly 15 x 1mm pellets for a fish per feeding. They seem to have a very good appetite and react well to my presence around the tank now. They get spooked from time to time during the feeding time when the rams try to sneak in from behind, hope this behaviour goes away with the addition of 3-4 more discus fishes. Some spedifications about the setup :
Tank size - 48"x18"x18" - 67 US gallons
Lighting - 4x54 W T5 with reflector - Only one 54w light currently used.
Filtration 1 - Eheim 2217
Filtration 2 - Aquaclear 70
Substrate - JBL Sansibar River (couldn't source pool filter sand)
Plants - Java Ferns and anubias
Dosing - Small amounts of macros and micros - Seachem
Water change regime - 35% weekly ( might get berated for this ;) )

Time for some old photographs with a pressurized CO2 setup, evolution of the tank over the years.

http://i1209.photobucket.com/albums/cc385/scapegoat_44/IMG_0691.jpg (http://s1209.photobucket.com/user/scapegoat_44/media/IMG_0691.jpg.html)[/IMG]
http://i1209.photobucket.com/albums/cc385/scapegoat_44/IMG_1421.jpg (http://s1209.photobucket.com/user/scapegoat_44/media/IMG_1421.jpg.html)[/IMG]
http://i1209.photobucket.com/albums/cc385/scapegoat_44/IMG_3568.jpg (http://s1209.photobucket.com/user/scapegoat_44/media/IMG_3568.jpg.html)[/IMG]
http://i1209.photobucket.com/albums/cc385/scapegoat_44/IMG_1726.jpg (http://s1209.photobucket.com/user/scapegoat_44/media/IMG_1726.jpg.html)[/IMG]

Discus in the initial planted setup.

http://i1209.photobucket.com/albums/cc385/scapegoat_44/IMG_0024.jpg (http://s1209.photobucket.com/user/scapegoat_44/media/IMG_0024.jpg.html)[/IMG]

Discus in the rescaped setup.

http://i1209.photobucket.com/albums/cc385/scapegoat_44/IMG_E0092.jpg (http://s1209.photobucket.com/user/scapegoat_44/media/IMG_E0092.jpg.html)[/IMG]
http://i1209.photobucket.com/albums/cc385/scapegoat_44/IMG_E0093.jpg (http://s1209.photobucket.com/user/scapegoat_44/media/IMG_E0093.jpg.html)[/IMG]
http://i1209.photobucket.com/albums/cc385/scapegoat_44/IMG_0098.jpg (http://s1209.photobucket.com/user/scapegoat_44/media/IMG_0098.jpg.html)[/IMG]
http://i1209.photobucket.com/albums/cc385/scapegoat_44/IMG_0113.jpg (http://s1209.photobucket.com/user/scapegoat_44/media/IMG_0113.jpg.html)[/IMG]
http://i1209.photobucket.com/albums/cc385/scapegoat_44/IMG_0122.jpg (http://s1209.photobucket.com/user/scapegoat_44/media/IMG_0122.jpg.html)[/IMG]
http://i1209.photobucket.com/albums/cc385/scapegoat_44/IMG_0124.jpg (http://s1209.photobucket.com/user/scapegoat_44/media/IMG_0124.jpg.html)[/IMG]


03-25-2018, 01:27 PM
Those are some very nice looking discus. The tank looks great. It is true that when you add more discus they will be less skittish as they prefer at least a small group. Make sure if you do add more down the road you QT them. Keep us updated.

03-26-2018, 06:59 PM
really nice looking tank! I'd recommend a cover as they can jump out. Sometimes they get spooked and will shoot up the sides and right out of the tank.

03-29-2018, 09:51 AM

Thanks a lot mate, I will be adding 3 or 4 more discus fish in a month or two. How many granules per feeding do you reckon I can get away with not overfeeding the discus ? They are roughly 4 inches, the granules are 1mm ones and I feed 3 or 4 times a day.


Thanks a lot mate, the tank has a makeshift cover made of thermocol with 2 large openings towards the centre. I've been trying to source the egg crate style cover without much luck.

04-04-2018, 07:24 AM
Hi Mods/Eds,

My previous post is still under moderation, any pointers ? Thanks.


Second Hand Pat
04-04-2018, 07:34 AM
Hi Mods/Eds,

My previous post is still under moderation, any pointers ? Thanks.


Hi Gautham and welcome to the forum. Your post is now visible. Avoid the @ in the next 10 posts and they should not go into moderation.

04-08-2018, 10:17 AM
Hi Gautham and welcome to the forum. Your post is now visible. Avoid the @ in the next 10 posts and they should not go into moderation.

Hey Pat, thank you for the heads-up.


05-09-2018, 11:45 PM
that's a nice looking tank

05-10-2018, 08:23 PM
If your ability to grow plants is anything to go by, this should be a great success. Beautiful discus, plants, and looking forward to seeing the new ones. I'm also a big fan of Rams too. If you don't have a QT then best to set one up if adding more of any fish to a discus tank. Watching with great interest as I'm in build process of my first discus tank :)