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Thread: Newbie to Discus

  1. #16
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    Default Re: Newbie to Discus

    Paul,
    Not sure I understand the following" then proceeding to the single discus 'sacrificial lamb' portion of the quarantine on each occasion you do so." I haven't read your QT thread so I assume it will become evident.

    Compared to african cichlids how does the discus appetite differ?

  2. #17
    Moderator Team Filip's Avatar
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    Default Re: Newbie to Discus

    They can be pretty sensitive and prone to diseases when you mix sources and introduce new stock. Other than that they are considered pretty hardy and long lasting .
    They originate from water with very low PH where bacteria or other pathogens are barely present and their immune system is not eqquiped to tolerate high diversity and bacterial count present in water with higher PH . That's why most of the discus keepers tend to keep their water and environment as clean and sterile as possible and insist on Barebottom tanks with less decor and plants and large an frequent waterchanges .
    Having this in mind Bulk WCs with fresh water IMO would be considered better than daily drip and mud or soil would be considered counter productive to the discus needs for fresh and sterile conditions .

  3. #18
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    Default Re: Newbie to Discus

    Quote Originally Posted by NP57 View Post
    Thanks. I have learned so much in one day.
    So starting with 100 neon tetras first along with some clean up crew fish would stress out the discus that followed a few months later? Very sensitive fish these Discus are .
    I have spare tanks to be used as QT/Hospital tanks. I'm a firm believer in QT and will read your thread on how to QT Discus.

    Questions:

    Is it best to implement a constant water changing device or do bulk changes as required? I always felt a constant small change reduces stress by keeping parameters more even keeled.

    Are sump refugiums used with Discus or other Cichlids ?
    It's not so much a question of Neons (which BTW are not very good discus tank-mates, not just because they are usually small enough to be attractive meals for discus, but also due to their generally not doing very well at the higher discus temps - Cardinal Tetras are far better discus tank-mates in this regard), and other species (e.g. clean-up fish) stressing out the discus by being the first inhabitants in a new aquarium set-up, but mainly because the quarantining requirements are not simple in that case and not readily conducive to keeping as many discus as stress-free as possible.
    I believe that will become apparent to you when you think about the cross-contamination probabilities and potential consequences of this process.
    As for your question about the constant water drip method over large single w/c's, I think Filip has answered you very well earlier, and about other matters too.
    And yes, sump refugiums are often used by discus-keepers to advantage.
    Last edited by discuspaul; 04-02-2019 at 08:40 PM.

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    Default Re: Newbie to Discus

    Filip, interesting point about low ph being less conducive to pathogens. That being said wouldn’t keeping a low ph say 5.5 or 6 be best for discus and eliminate all concerns mentioned?
    Water changes in bulk. Check ! Thanks I will have to figure out a way to change large volumes without hauling buckets.
    Thanks again

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    Default Re: Newbie to Discus

    Understood about cardinal tetras. What type of drift wood is best for discus environment

    What water flow do discuss prefer? Does surface agitation upset them? I was planning on 5x tank volume flow through sump. I used to place powerheads low to keep detritus suspended in water column to assist removal from tank by overflows.

  6. #21
    MVP Oct.2015 discuspaul's Avatar
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    Default Re: Newbie to Discus

    Quote Originally Posted by NP57 View Post
    Understood about cardinal tetras. What type of drift wood is best for discus environment

    What water flow do discuss prefer? Does surface agitation upset them? I was planning on 5x tank volume flow through sump. I used to place powerheads low to keep detritus suspended in water column to assist removal from tank by overflows.
    Any natural driftwood is acceptable in a discus tank.

    Discus are not comfortable in any strong water flow - best to maintain a lesser, more moderate flow so that these 'flat' fish can maintain an idling position without strain or obvious effort. Surface agitation doesn't seem to be much of a problem though.

    BTW, I'm sure you realize you're getting about 6 months' worth of discus research homework condensed into a single days' questions & answers - LOL

    P.S. - Anyway, we're all glad to do it, because you're asking the right questions !
    Last edited by discuspaul; 04-02-2019 at 10:04 PM.

  7. #22
    Moderator Team Paul Sabucchi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Newbie to Discus

    Belated welcome to Simply Discus, I apologize for my delay but Paul and Filip have covered all the fundamentals. A bit like you I caught the discus bug after I got the African cichlids one (still got two 100 gal mbuna tanks), I also have five low-tech planted tanks of various sizes. This has given me a fair prospective about how useful the discus-specific advice given on this forum has proven compared to what may apply to most other types of freshwater fishtanks. Over the last year and 1/2 I have been growing out in a 100 gal bare bottom tank a dozen discus, purchased when they were 3 months old/2", they now are about 6-7" (in the photo here they are enjoying a bit of sunshine, if you look me up on youtube you can see the progression). As you are quite rightly doing, I did my research first, mostly on this forum, and summarised as follows:
    1) get the best quality discus you can find/afford
    2) don't mix discus of different provenance and be also cautious mixing with other species of fish
    3) give your discus good quality water, particularly if they are still growing, by means of a clean tank and big water changes
    4) give your discus good quality food, plenty and often - again particularly if they are still growing.


    If I were in your shoes I would:
    1) check the quality of your tapwater (pH before and after ageing, hardness and nitrates) to ensure no major issues there.
    2) get a 100/125gal tank, keep it bare bottom, just add a heater and a simple filter: air sponge, HOB or canister (this one preferably with an easy to clean prefilter). Do a fishless cycle with ammonia
    3) kit yourself with whatever will make big daily water changes less of a chore (leave the continuous drip water changes for the future big tank), so a big barrell for ageing, pumps, hoses, pythons, syphons
    4) Once ready get 30-40 juvies to grow out, the sponsors on this forum all have excellent feedback, are there any within your range? Most of them ship anyway.
    While you are having fun growing out your baby discus you can plan and build the big display tank. I think that going bigger than 24" tall and 24" deep makes it awkward to reach the back corner so I would go longer rather than taller and wider. I would set it's sump up at the same time and not wait to recicle the 100/125gal. You can then scape, plant and cycle it.
    5) Once the discus have grown to close to full size move them to the big tank and use the 100-125 gal to quarantine the possible additions (chose amongst cardinals, rummy nose, lemon tetra, possibly pencil fish and for bottom dwellers some heat loving corydoras or Brochis splendens. If they are all ok after 6 weeks take one discus from the big tank (" hero fish ") and put it in the 125 and see what happens over a few weeks. If no issues you can gradually add the new fish to the big tank.
    If you are keen on DIY you could check out what this pal of mine has done, this is his latest (finished 8 months ago) and biggest (1200 gal) glass front/plywood/pondarmor tank and sump self build
    https://youtu.be/aWNh1_DrTgw
    If you scroll back on his youtube channel you can see how he did it bit by bit.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Paul Sabucchi; 04-03-2019 at 11:45 AM.
    My discus are not fat...just big fish-boned

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    Default Re: Newbie to Discus

    LOL! Yes this is a crash course. Lucky for me there is so much information on the this forum. I have started reading some of the beginner threads and intend on rading your pamphlet. thanks again for all you do to help out newbies. When I was keeping Fontosas I did not ahve the luxury of so much informatoin at my finger tips. Also Fontosas are relatively easy to kepp comapred to Discus which helped.
    There are too many Pauls offering assitance so I will respond to you as DPaul going forward. Thanks again.
    Ps. as a fellow Canadian where do you source your Discus? Will US suppliers ship to Canada?
    Cheers.

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    Default Re: Newbie to Discus

    this is duplicate please remove. thx
    Last edited by NP57; 04-03-2019 at 12:23 PM.

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    Default Re: Newbie to Discus

    Thank you. Very informative. FYI I also will be building a plywood tank. I'm 6'2 so 30" is not an issue for me. I like the taller display 30" provides.
    I concur and understand everything you noted except the introduction of a hero discus to the companion aquarium. What are you looking for and what can go wrong ?
    As I was originally setting up for a reef tank I was planning on 2 50gal barrels to hold and mix water. This can easily be used to age water as you mentioned is required.
    So as to not confuse you with discuspaul I will respond to you as PaulS. Thanks again for your input. I'm starting to read as much of this forum as possible and will certainly have more questions. I'm taking things slow and learning as much a s I can before investing time and lots of money in this hobby. I really appreciate all the help and support.

  11. #26
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    Default Re: Newbie to Discus

    Quote Originally Posted by NP57 View Post
    LOL! Yes this is a crash course. Lucky for me there is so much information on the this forum. I have started reading some of the beginner threads and intend on rading your pamphlet. thanks again for all you do to help out newbies. When I was keeping Fontosas I did not ahve the luxury of so much informatoin at my finger tips. Also Fontosas are relatively easy to kepp comapred to Discus which helped.
    There are too many Pauls offering assitance so I will respond to you as DPaul going forward. Thanks again.
    Ps. as a fellow Canadian where do you source your Discus? Will US suppliers ship to Canada?
    Cheers.
    Where are you located in Canada ?

    U.S. discus suppliers will not ship to Canada.

    I obtain all my discus from Rick Grange of Canadian Aqua Farm located in suburban B.C. (near Vancouver)

    CAF/Rick is a reliable long-time experienced importer of high quality discus from Forrest Discus of Malaysia - who ships across Canada @ reasonable shipping costs, and guarantees live delivery. You can't go wrong with Rick - who is a long-time sponsor on this forum - see his threads in the "Sponsors" section for contact info, gallery & discus prices.

  12. #27
    Moderator Team Paul Sabucchi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Newbie to Discus

    As Filip was saying, discus seem to be more susceptible to falling ill to opportunistic pathogens that can be harboured with little or no apparent harm to the fish of other species that carry them but that can rampage out of control once contracted by discus. Why this often happens is still a matter of debate but, as with so many aspects of discus-keeping, the practical observations of the people who have kept these fish over the last 60 years are the most reliable thing we have to go by. I also think that current ornamental-fish trade practices have complicated the issue, with the import let's say in North America of fish originally from South America but now intensively farmed in Asia. Once your other fish are quarantined you will be reasonably sure they are not carrying any pathogens that can harm them but you want to be reasonably sure they are not carrying anything dangerous to your discus, you put just one of your discus in with the new fish as a "canary" to warn you if there is going to be an issue before you introduce a potential problem to your other dozens of valuable duscus
    Last edited by Paul Sabucchi; 04-03-2019 at 01:55 PM.
    My discus are not fat...just big fish-boned

  13. #28
    Registered Member Cove Beach's Avatar
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    Default Re: Newbie to Discus

    Hello, and welcome to Simply. I had a similar start to yours. I was a long time fish keeper and the last 15 yrs reef. Like you I come from practice of big water-stable water. My starting discus tank is a 245gal with a 180 sump. Starting out big is great as long as you are preparing for the maintenance involved with these wonderful fish. A lot depends on what you want the end result to be also. You have to decide if you want to start from juvies or go with sub adults or adults. This will dictate bare bottom or not. Since you are thinking of going plywood with some depth, making it so you have front,back and at least one end accessible to make working on the tank as simple as possible. Water changes are key with any size discus, and being able to do the largest in the simplest manner is best. I prefer turning valves and flipping switches to lifting buckets and dragging hoses. Something else to consider is put the support equipment in place for the future big tank but run it on what you start with. No such thing as over filtering. If you go to the tank journal section you can see what others have done and pick what fits your situation and budget. Mine is titled Sweetwater Reef for example. The best thing here is that folks are always willing to answer your questions.

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    Default Re: Newbie to Discus

    Quote Originally Posted by discuspaul View Post
    Where are you located in Canada ?

    U.S. discus suppliers will not ship to Canada.

    I obtain all my discus from Rick Grange of Canadian Aqua Farm located in suburban B.C. (near Vancouver)

    CAF/Rick is a reliable long-time experienced importer of high quality discus from Forrest Discus of Malaysia - who ships across Canada @ reasonable shipping costs, and guarantees live delivery. You can't go wrong with Rick - who is a long-time sponsor on this forum - see his threads in the "Sponsors" section for contact info, gallery & discus prices.
    2 thumbs up for Canadian Aqua Farm.

    If you search the thread "Eugene' Contest Treat - 65 gal grow out Journey" This is the quality of discus he carried. I am very happy of the outcome of my discus (both health and color)

  15. #30
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    Default Re: Newbie to Discus

    To NP 57:
    You'll recall I mentioned the term 'sacrificial lamb' when speaking of the 'second leg' of a quarantine which involves adding a single discus from your main tank to a quarantine tank containing any number of other fish species intended to be discus tank-mates.
    Paul S. referred to this discus as a 'hero fish' - same thing as - 'sacrificial lamb'.

    This 'second leg' of the QT involves placing your least desirable discus into the tank-mates quarantine tank and leaving it there with the tank-mates for a period of at least 6 weeks or more, up to 8 weeks, which should be sufficient time to determine whether or not the tank-mates have passed on any harmful pathogen which they carry but are themselves resistant to - on to the hero discus which is not immune & becomes adversely affected.

    This follows the first leg of a normal quarantine, which is an approximate 3 week period of QT following purchase of these intended tank-mates, this being simply a reasonable period in which to satisfy yourself that the tank-mates are indeed healthy & thriving before adding the single discus.

    Should the discus display no ill effects from the QT - then all the fish in QT may be placed in the main tank with the other discus.
    If the discus in QT develops ill-health & needs medicational treatment to resolve the issue, then obviously these tank-mates are not to be added to the main tank, and others from another source need to be considered.
    Hope this explains satisfactorily.

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