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Thread: I'm new to Simply Discus and I have some beginner questions. (Template)

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    Default I'm new to Simply Discus and I have some beginner questions. (Template)

    Using the template questionnaire. I'm a long-winded person in text, so I apologize now, but I colored my responses in red.

    1) Please Introduce your self and tell us what your experience is with fishkeeping, give us as much information as possible as to how long in the hobby, what you have kept in the past and what you currently are working with.

    Hello, I'm Phil or Philip and I live in the Houston, TX area. I have been fish keeping for about 7-8 months now. I have 5 tanks already (I'm addicted as you can tell by the late night post as I research more about Discus). The largest tank I have is a 7 month old 75 gallon tank as a South American biotope, heavily planted with river stones and driftwood and tannin-creating debri. Stocking includes Angels (2), Cardinal Tetras(27), Bleeding Heart Tetras (5) Bolivian Rams (5), Marble Hatches (3), and Corydoras (15), and a load of nerite snails. This was my second tank after buying my son his (and mine) tank which was a 10 gallon with assorted mollies and platys. Those mollies and platys created babies which has now put them in two separate 29 gallon tanks that I built a stand for. I now have another 75 gallon tank that is planned for Discus (I hope).

    2) If you have no previous experience with keeping discus, have you done any research to properly prepare yourself, e.g. have you read any Stickies in this section of SimplyDiscus, or other material?

    I study pretty much everyday (I'm addicted to fish keeping). I watch YouTubers' videos around the clock to watch and learn from and I am a stalker of forums like plantedtank.net and fishlore.com and now Simply Discus after watching some of DIY/Joey's videos on discus. I have read some stickies already as well as some other threads I found interesting. Good information so far!

    3) Describe your tank, its size and dimensions, breeding or display. Include how long it has been setup or if it is still being cycled.

    I'm going to go ahead and just start here with my plans for the Discus 75 gallon tank (48"x18"x21"). It'll be for display and I will have some 30 or 40 gallons set up for a breeding pair (if I'm lucky enough) and quarantine before proceeding with getting any fish

    4) Describe the décor for the tank; type of substrate or bare bottom (BB), whether the tank will be planted or a biotope.

    . I love plants and I feel I have been highly successful so far though the plants I have used have been pretty easy to maintain. Plants for this tank, I just want one or maybe two (If I move my giant amazon sword out of my other 75 gallon). I want it carpeted, dwarf sag or dwarf hair grass, not sure which is one of my questions for which carpeted plant works well with the parameters the discus will need. Also, I plan on using Fluval Stratum as my substrate as I had extra bags from my two 29 gallon tanks. I will not have driftwood, but I will have peat to lower my pH in my canister filter (Fluval FX4, for those curious and still reading). I also have about 5-7 Ohko stones from a previous tank aquascape that I would like to use though I do have concerns there.

    5) Describe your water changes planned or practiced, percentage and how often. Include if you age your water and use of tap/RO or mix.

    For my mollies and platys I just use my tap water with conditioner once a week with a 40% water change. For my 75 gallon tank, I have an RO/DI system I use for water changes which will also be used for the discus tank. I typically fill up the buckets I need the night before so they can increase to room temp as the water from the RODI unit is cold. I do about 40% water changes twice a week on my 75 gallon tank. I have read from stickies here and after listening to some videos and it appears I'll need to do more frequent water changes with the discus tanks.

    6) Describe the type of filtration planned/used for the tank; sponge, HOB and/or sump. Also include the other equipment you are, or will be, using in your tank, e.g. heater, lighting, etc.

    Fluval FX 4 is the filter I have for both of the 75 gallon tanks and I clean them no greater than every 3 months. I will be using a sufficient heater and lighting. I have a powerhead I could use, but may just use that to speed up water changes instead.

    7) If the tank is already setup and running, include the water parameters;

    Although my discus tank isn't set up, my South American tank is going to be similar except for the temperature will be higher on the discus tank.

    Projections:

    - temp will be ~83-86F
    - tank ph ~6.4
    - ammonia reading 0
    - nitrite reading 0
    - nitrate reading 0


    8) Describe your current or planned stocking levels; number/size of discus and number/type of dither fish. Where did you get your discus from or do you have a proposed source for getting your discus?

    This is where I have been having a hard time. Since I'm going for the carpeted tank, I know I'll be doing that for at least a couple months and I wont be adding (too many) fish during that time though I could quickly cycle the take with my existing cycled media. My plan is to take my current cardinal tetras from my other tank and that will be my dither fish as they like the higher temps as well. I have seen some good deals on aquabid.com but not sure where to buy, who to trust, and what to expect. I was thinking about buying about 6 discus. Another concern I have is for the clean up crew. I'm not sure what bottom feeders/cleaners to go with that will handle the higher temps.

    9) Describe your planned or existing feeding regimen. Include what and how often you are feeding on a daily basis.

    Frozen bloodworms, frozen brine shrimp, flakes for the dithers. I've read/seen beef hearts, blackworms, and other homemade mixes but I haven't tried those personally yet.

    10) What are your goals in this hobby? For example are you looking to keep discus in a planted community tank, or do you hope to become a hobby breeder of Discus? Do you want to raise Discus with the hopes of competing in shows?

    My goal is to have a "wow" effect planted tank with discus and cardinals and some bottom feeders. Since discus are cichlids, I will be prepared for breeding tanks should a pair form. If I'm able to breed, that would be very interesting to learn and study in person. Their parenting is one of the things that attracted me to the discus fish from the beginning in that the fry will be feeding off the parent's slime coats and the mom and dad will alternate during this time. Very cool!

    If you have made it this far, I commend you! For those that take on the TLDR effect, here is the quick questions:

    My temperatures will be at 82-85 degrees as my tank is in my garage. It's not set up yet, but is being planned as written above and I need help/reassurance on the planned setup.
    1)What carpeting plants work in this temp range?
    2)What bottom feeders (clean-up crew) do you recommend?
    3)Stocking a 75 gallon. How many discus and bottom feeders to go along with my 27 cardinal tetras?
    4)Where to buy? I'm still undecided on the species of discus I'm going to go with.

    Thanks for all the suggestions, feedback, concerns and thoughts!

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    Registered Member lastflea's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm new to Simply Discus and I have some beginner questions. (Template)

    Hi Philip, I'm also in the process of setting up my first discus tank. Sounds like we have a similar ailment. I think it's commonly known as "new tank syndrome"

    Couple things I can mention. I asked a similar question about bottom feeders and got some good advice on Cory's here...

    http://forum.simplydiscus.com/showth...ch-a-good-idea

    Second. Planted tanks with deep substrate and carpets are a risky thing with discus. I'd say you should read up a lot more before deciding to go down that route. If you're planning to buy juvenile discus then you'd need to be changing the water every day 50/80%, and hoovering up the substrate and wiping the insides probably every other day. Even then the odds are against you raising them successfully. Most likely they'll either be stunted or not make it.

    Am sure others will advise on the rest, but the general rule of thumb is one discus per 10g, so 6 would be a good number for your tank. Not sure how many dithers you can add to that, but others will have an idea.

    Read some of the journals, emergency room threads and all of the beginner section stickies. You'll get a clear idea of how to do it, and how not to.

    Rob

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    Default Re: I'm new to Simply Discus and I have some beginner questions. (Template)

    Hi Philip!
    Welcome to the forum and the hobby of keeping Discus.Thanks for the info on you and your background and goals. Looks like you have jumped into fish keeping running. I like that. We need more hobbyists!

    You set yourself a high bar with the planted display tank especially since you are new to it all.It can be done though.A friend of mine did just that and it was an amazing project.

    I will start by suggesting you dont do it though. ...not right away at least. I would really suggest you start with a group of discus in a bare setting. Tank, discus only, water. and minimize the parameters. Grow them out and learn the ins and outs of raising them... then move them to the planted tank of your dreams. If you go that route you really will have less headaches and you can grow bigger and healthier discus. If you go with a planted tank right off the bat, I would suggest getting 5-6 young adults to adults. For a 75 gal like you are planning... maybe 5 adults would be a good goal.I keep 7-8 in my bare bottom 75s.

    hth,
    al
    Last edited by brewmaster15; 06-01-2018 at 06:52 AM.
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    Default Re: I'm new to Simply Discus and I have some beginner questions. (Template)

    Hi Philip,

    A good compromise between planted and bare bottom would be to use your Fluval Stratum and pot up some swords/crypts in 4"-5" pots. Terracotta pots from a big box store are fine, though I usually use the bottoms of juice bottles, big yogurt containers and other ugly stuff. Gives the tank some greenery without the mess.

    I'd also recommend ditching the RO and peat. I think Houston tap water is somewhere in the 300ppm tds and high 7 pH range? That's fine for discus and most SA fish for that matter.

    For "cleaners," I'd recommend none or a single bristlenose. Bristlenose will clean the glass, but other bottom feeders will just add to the bioload. If you have to have them, sterbai cories are your best bet. Other good options are gossei, haraldschultzi, adolfoi and the other 3 that look like adolfoi: duplicareus, imitator and burgessi. There are some other really pretty ones, but they cost more than the discus you want.

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    Default Re: I'm new to Simply Discus and I have some beginner questions. (Template)

    Welcome to SD Lloyd,
    I agree with others here. At least you were smart seeking advice here before throwing money away on a heavily planted tank with substrate like I did. I tried a thin layer of pool filter sand after more than a year and recently chucked that too. I’ve learned that a healthy discus is a messy discus. Also, you will eventually want to try new foods that they won’t like at first and this really mucks up the substrate.
    They also think it’s hilarious to take a group poop together as soon as I’m done with wc- this doesn’t help as it breaks down by next wc and I think gets mixed in with the sand during the next vacuuming. Then they do it all over again the next day.
    They never tire of this joke.
    Patty

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    Default Re: I'm new to Simply Discus and I have some beginner questions. (Template)

    They also think it’s hilarious to take a group poop together as soon as I’m done with wc. Then they do it all over again the next day. They never tire of this joke.

    Patty, I can't stop laughing......my group of discus do the same thing too.

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    Default Re: I'm new to Simply Discus and I have some beginner questions. (Template)

    Welcome to this forum, I found it invaluable to help me set up my first discus tank. I also join Al and the others in the advice to to think long and hard before attempting to grow out discus in a planted tank. With the hindsight of the last 9 months growing out my fish I fully appreciate the value of Al's words in the video Joey (King of DIY) posted on his YouTube channel. If you want discus in a planted tank you are best purchasing them fully grown or thereabouts. If on the other hand you are going to get juvies then their requirements are going to be hindered by placing substrate, decor and plants in their environment. If your goal is to get the fish to grow to the best of their genetic potential (so it pays to get the best quality fish you can afford, use the budget you save on plants, substrate, ferts etc. to buy better fish) then what they need is good water (i.e. pristine by means of daily massive water changes, no need for RO unless the parameters of your tapwater are extreme), good hygene (syphon leftovers and wipe the tank) and good nutrition. At least you have other tanks where you can get your plant fix (so do I). If you think a tank with just discus+H2O is uninspiring trust me, as soon as you see your discus growing and thriving you will not need anything else to look at. I followed the advice to leave the tank BB and never regretted it, the fish are growing well and not bothered one bit by the absence of places to hide, quite the opposite they are always coming to the front of the tank as soon as they see me. On the other hand for some strange reason both local (Italian) discus forums advise to put a sandy bottom, some roots/bogwood and plants, of the half dozen tanks started more or less at the same time as mine there is not a single one where now you would not say the fish look severely stunted.
    It may be possible to grow out discus in a planted tank but chances are it will be more difficult and the end result will not be as good
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    Last edited by Paul Sabucchi; 06-03-2018 at 06:01 PM.

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    Default Re: I'm new to Simply Discus and I have some beginner questions. (Template)

    Sorry for the delay in my reply to all of yall's responses. I appreciate all the feedback provided so far. Also just to be clear, I am in the very beginning stages of this idea. I'm not going to be buying any fish for 2-3 months so I have plenty of time to gather more thoughts, concerns, and suggestions from you all. I've really appreciated all the stickies in the planted area of the forum so far and I continue studying more a few hours a day.

    My goal is to have an Iwagumi style aquascape and I feel discus would fit best because of the high temperatures involved as well as just being stunning, beautiful fish to fill the empty space of an Iwagumi tank. Since I have to first develop the carpet (this will take some time) in the main tank, I'll be quarantining and keeping discus in bare bottom tanks as they grow a little larger (most places I see are selling them at about 2 inches in size - as most sellers are claiming they acclimate better than larger discus). I think this will give me some time to get used to keeping discus prior to putting them directly in a planted tank.

    Direct replies to some of the feedback:
    -Looks like I won't continue with the RODI water, which is fine with me so thank you for that advice.
    -Though the tank is going to be carpeted, the substrate doesn't really need to be too deep but will be in some areas to provide more depth to the overall scape.
    -I'm going to have to research the bristlenose cat as I'm not familiar with those, but they look stunning and would definitely be an eye catcher as well.

    Questions:
    -I typically enjoy supporting my local fish store, but I rarely see discus there and I'd like to know where the best places or breeders to buy from are. I love snakeskin and the super red turquoise. Not sure if I want to get 3 of each or 6 of one kind yet, but if anyone has some suggestions please feel free to share.
    -Quarantining. I typically quarantine all of my new fish with the trio preached by the aquarium co-op (erythromycin, general cure, ich-x) before adding to the destination tanks. Should I continue with the same preventative treatment with discus, or is something else recommended?

    Thanks again, everyone!

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    Default Re: I'm new to Simply Discus and I have some beginner questions. (Template)

    Hi Philip,

    For Qt .... check out this thread http://forum.simplydiscus.com/showth...ine-*questions

    I dont believe in using bacterial antibiotics prophylactically as its not good for the fish or us humans. Some do though and if you choose to I would suggest furan 2. Less impact on us, less chance of resistence since its 2 medications in one. Generally though its not necessary if the stock is healthy.

    On where to buy.. Our sponsors here are a great choice and have good reputations. Hobby breeders are also a good choice and you can find them here from time to time. Your best bet is to get to know the discus hobbyists near you...visit their place if they will allow you(most do).
    For the most part Lfs are not great places for discus...the fish does not do well in these settings so you end up with stressed fish before you start.

    hth,
    al
    AquaticSuppliers.com Freeze Dried BlackWorms and other foods your Discus will Love!!!


    >>>>>Do YOU LIKE SIMPLYDISCUS?? Please help Support it today, so its here tomorrow .. DONATE HERE Thanks!


    Al Sabetta
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    SimplyDiscus, where the cool fish swim...

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    Registered Member Paul Sabucchi's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm new to Simply Discus and I have some beginner questions. (Template)

    As you seem really keen on on aquascaping your tank, including carpeting plants I believe there are a few factors to consider, first and foremost the water temperature. Not many plants are happy to grow at 82-84f, if not considerably warmer if you have to use higher temperature as part of treating a disease.
    I could possibly suggest Staurogyne repens, it is also geographically appropriate!
    Also consider that at that temperature the amount of gases that the water will hold is considerably reduced, so it is advisable to have an airstone and/or plenty of surface agitation. If you are planning to use CO2 in the tank the above aspects will make most of it go to waste.
    But what the heck, we all like a challenge so I will follow your progress and wish you all the best. Ciao
    Last edited by Paul Sabucchi; 06-07-2018 at 02:26 PM.

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