View Full Version : small tank - new @ w/ discus need help please

12-23-2002, 01:00 AM
Heres a e-mail i sent to a few discus breeders looking for answers.....I was hoping to hear some different ones.....

I have been interested in keeping tropical fish as a hobby. About 6 years ago I bought a 20 gallon tank. The first year I had a community tank but soon wanted to focus my attention on one type of fish. I chose the fresh water angel fish. I have been keeping angel fish for about 4 years now and greatly pleased with them. Except ICH wiped out all but one of my fish(including some real nice ones- 5 inchers +)I started to think about maybe a new type of fish. I had always seen the Discus when I went to get my angel fish at local hobbyist stores but I heard they took a lot of care. After reading wed page after web page they sound like all they need is good food, and clean water and space to move. Speaking of space that raises a question- Almost every site I've been on says a different number of Xfish can be kept in a different number of Xgallons. I think it was your site that said 1 adult discus to 10 gallons. As you know I have a 20 gallon tank- hexagon in shape- roughly 18 inches in height and roughy 18 inches arcoss in the MIDDLE ___ (back)
/ \
\ / (sides) } (top veiw of tank)

1)I was wonding if i could buy 3 quater sized discus and have them live and grow happly in this tank with a few tetras.??


That was the e-mail

Here were the answers

1) 3 medium size discus should do fine in your tank except much water changes will need to made.

2)I would try one adult discus with a few tetras, should do ok.

3) Last e-mail did not reply.

*******=ANYONE wany help a poor guy who wants to keep more then just one discus in his "SO called small tank"

I have read about the top 50 sites on keeping discus and all say different things, I'm stuck and need help please help me.

12-23-2002, 01:53 AM
Here's the way it works. You can put 3 quarter sized discus in your 20 gallon, but most likely they will be scared because they are more secure in numbers. Also the more dominant discus will harass the other two until they sicken and die. Juvenile discus like to be in groups of 6 or more. They feel more secure and the agression is spread out.

You can easily start 6 or 8 quarter sized discus in the 20 gallon. When they get to be about 1 1/2 inches they will need to go into a 55 gallon to finish growing. Then you can put 2 adults in the 20, but it may be cramped. I use a 29 gallon for two adult breeders.

With proper care discus grow to be big fish. You need to have enough room.

If you only have room for the 20 and want to try discus perhaps you could buy a couple of small adults from a local hobbiest.
Carol :heart1:

12-23-2002, 02:02 PM
First of all I would like to thank you for your time.

I'm glad to hear you don't suggest just one discus in my tank. A lot of sites say one discus to 10 gallons but guess what they say the same for angel fish.......At one time I had 3 adult angel fish about 5 and 1/2 in. from top fin to bottom.
And about 3or4 3in from top to bottom fin. Is there something wrong with that I mean if I can keep about 3 or 4 times the size most recomended in that amount of space why wouldn't I be able to keep maybe even four discus in my tank given they stay about 3 in. I read that the smaller the tank the discus will just kind of cause their growth to stunt and will stay at a smaller size because of smaller living conditions. But will still thrive in that condition. Nature always has a way of breaking rules. Any one agree with me? *****Do you think I would be able to keep 4, 3inchers in a 20 gallon?****

I mean think about in the wild discus don't have a feeding time some times dont even get one monthly water change.
Some live in small lakes which could reduce to a size of a childern's small swiming pool in the dry season. There might be 20+ adult discus in this type of living condition. I'm not trying to sound like I know everything because I don't I'm just telling you what I have found or from reading.( Don't worry I know they also live in the rivers)Just an ex.

*******OR should I just go back to keeping 2 discus that get along well?*****(I think I would probly Just want 2 discus rather then the 4 )But I also read that two discus alone could kind of beat eachother up because they feel un secure. So the only way I would be able to make it work would be if I bought a breeding pair correct? or just found 2 that got along?
I don't really want to breed I just want a awesome fish that I would have fun taking care of. And I think the discus would be great.

I'm sorry for this being so long - I would welcome any input :)

12-23-2002, 02:51 PM
I agree with Carol on this one altho i am not expert on discus (only been at it 1 1/2yrs) you need a 55 to house 6 discus and have them grow to there full size and max potenial. get that 55gal you wont regret it.

12-23-2002, 03:15 PM
I don't have money or room to invest in a 55 gallon but you have no idea how much I want to. :-\ Maybe in a few years.
But Paul what do you think if I bought 2 young adults as Carol said and have them live in my tank? Any ideas?

Even if I don't get a positive response about the 2 young adult discus I think I may take a 'whack at it' anyway. I mean what else is there to do in my situation? I guess I'm kinda just waiting for someone to say they have done it before to give me more confidence.

Also what do you think would be a good type of discus to start out on? I have read the 'Red turquois' is a hardy type and good for a newb.

Another question you know how everyone says 2 is not a good number becuase they feel unsecure? I have read that a small group of tetras will give a small group of discus more secure feeling? Any one have any input on that?


12-23-2002, 05:07 PM
i agree with Carol you can put 2 Adults in a 20gal but it will be cramped. Are you going to keep other fish in there also??? Im no expert on this Come On guys help EJ out :) :)

12-23-2002, 05:55 PM
THANKS Paul and Carol for helping me out you 2 seem to be the only ones that do.

If I were to keep 2 adult discus the only other fish I would keep with them would be some speices of tetra either Cardinals or Rummy nose. And even that would be a small group maybe 5or6 tetras.
And I have this werid alge eater that I have had for about 6 years at least. He is black with white spots with small rows of spikes going down his back. Hes about the prettiest alge eater I have ever seen. But still can't figure out what type he is. He has never had a problem with any other fish except he does not do his job. He hides in a rock all day then at night he will come out to feed on sinking fish pellets. He wont eat alge or clean the sides. I'm not sure what to do with him. I may leave him in there to or try to sell him to a pet shop. I dont think I would have any trouble selling him hes a very pretty fish and I repeat WILL NOT DIE. lol

But yeah the only thing that would be in there with adult discus would be a small group of tetras and possilby my werid alge eater.

Paul, Carol and anyone else add their 2 cents about anything.

what do you think about a small group of tetras with my adult discus and maybe my agle eater?

12-23-2002, 07:39 PM
Hi EJ:
IF you had posted in the general section you would be getting many more responses - but probably not many to your liking, lol.

When I bought my first discus I had only seen pictures in books and tanish little babies and runts at the pet stores. Fully grown, properly raised discus are 7 inches tall and 7 inches long. Look at a ruler. Hold the ruler up to your 20 hex - not much room to move around is there?

To get the big, colorful discus you have to have room and lots of water changes. That's not going to happen in your lttle hex. It's like the difference between a 1982 Geo Tracker with oxidized paint and a 2003 Lincoln Navigator. Both are vehicles, both can be parked in a single car garage.

Angels are much less demanding than discus when it comes to water conditions. If you must do this, then get two small adults (male and female if possible). The aglea eater will suck on the discus slime, get rid of it. You will be keeping your discus in less than ideal conditions. You will need to change the water in the tank three times a week say 25% each time. Feed tetra bits and whatever they are used to eating.
Carol :heart1:

12-23-2002, 08:45 PM
I know you don't mean to but you make it sound if I was killing them before I even got them.

I want the best for for any type of fish I have. I just wish I could get a bigger tank but i can't, you ask why is that? The fact of a matter is I love fish ever since I was three years old I owned fish. I cried for a week when my first gold fish died. I had about 5, 10 gallons growing up with almost every community type of fish possible. The thing is I'm only 15 years of age. I know, I know what your thinking "a 15 year old kid trying to take care of discus what a joke. But its better then drugs isn't it?" I'm not sure how I'm going to do it either, with sports, friends, family and school. But I want to try. My love for fish has given me much responsibility and with out it I don't think I would be half the person I am today.

I only have a job in the summer so I dont have any money for a tank and if I were to save enough money I would want at least a 75 gallon that might take me 2 or three summers.......with tank, stand, fish, testers, decorations, lights. See where I'm coming from? I have done all the easy fish all the little goldfish to angels I want a challege. I want discus.

Sorry about all that crap up there about my life story but I wanted to make it clear that if I could get a bigger tank I would.

Say if I got 2 small adults....that are like what? 3 inches?
could it be done? Would they be happy?

I know discus can get up to 7 inches plus but angels(givin certin types) can also and I have never seen a angel around where I am bigger then 5 inches come to think of it my angels were the biggest I have seen.(around here) Just because they can get as big as dinner plates dosn't mean they will? or will they? :-\

-if you want to respond do so-

12-23-2002, 10:11 PM
You can try it if you want but you should do 25% water change a day in that tank and that might not be enough with the Tetras and Discus . I hate to sya it but loose the algea eater not good with Discus. We have a freind here on Simply who is about your age Tyler from New Jersey so 15 isnt too young. I would keep a eye out in the newspaper for a used 55 you can pick them up cheap and if they have a set price make them a offer. HTH

12-23-2002, 10:24 PM
paul thanks so much just when I feel as if I shouldn't even try you give me hope once again.

And thats a good idea about the used tank idea. How much would you spend on a used 55?

at what rate will the discus grow? Say if I got 2 smaller ones right now and in 2 years or something get a 55 and transfer them over?

12-23-2002, 10:49 PM
Hey, one of othe administrators here (Ryan) is only 19! Where are you from? Maybe there is a member nearby who could help you out. We have several young men on the board. Tyler is 13 or 14, Bruce is 15 or so. Look in the Hobbiest locator section at the bottom to find people near you and post in the general section to get more replys. Maybe you could start a thread asking how others your age got started . . .

Good advice to look for a used tank!
Carol :heart1:

12-23-2002, 11:22 PM
Carol is your middle name "good ideas" cause if it isn't it should be because you got some good ideas. I may start a thread about younger discus owners and thanks.

12-24-2002, 12:20 AM
ok after doing a week's research and spending 2 days on this forum I have decided to do whats best for the fish. I will hold off getting discus for a few years untill I can get a larger tank and aquire more information on this awesome fish.

I guess I'll go back to my first love the "angel fish" for a few more years.

My special thanks to Carol and Paul for all the help.

I may check in time to time to see how the fish are.

Good luck to all of you - I should be back in a few years.

this is ej saying good night and have a merry christmas!

12-29-2002, 03:57 PM
I just turned 18. It's not hard to keep discus at a young age. And you can afford a 55. I have a 125, a 29, and a 10 in my bedroom. Look in your local paper's classifieds and wait for a tank to pop up. Around Feb/March there will start to be some really good deals, as people got tanks for xmas and then decided not to keep them. I got a 125 gallon tank, all the filters, lights, stand, python, and all the extras for $150. A 55 gallon new at PetSmart is $99. So just shop around. Where are you located, by the way?