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Thread: Worried Future Discus Keeper

  1. #1
    Registered Member ericthemantis's Avatar
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    Default Worried Future Discus Keeper

    Hi all!

    Glad to be part of the forum. Joined after watching Al's presentation on youtube (for the 3rd time). Long introductory post ahead!

    I've kept several fish tanks over the last 7 years with luke warm success:

    Utah
    • 10 gallon with Gourami and 4 neon tetras (sold when I got married) (but had the most success)
    • 4 gallon betta fish tank (1st betta lived 4 years, "Peanut" - moved with us from Texas back to Utah, back to Texas, then to Arizona), next one three months "red fish", the next three months "blue fish", current one 4+ months)



    Austin, TX
    • 29 gallon planted with platy (Perry the Platyfish), 6 rummynose tetras, and 3 Angelfish, briefly (1 angel was killed by the other 2, lost all other fish in an unfortunate fertilizer accident) (pool filter sand with fertilizer pellets buried)
    • -4 tiger barbs and another school of rummynose tetras - gave back to fish store when me moved interstate. (still planted, but didn't add more fertilize and just the plants do whatever)



    Phoenix, AZ
    • 29 gallon with platy's and 1 Angelfish (Angelfish passed in about a month, all others within about three months, one by one)
    • 120 gallon pond with 3 goldfish + 2 from a spawning
    • CURRENT - 2 spawned goldfish now in the 29 gallon tank (pond was a hazard for our 2 kids under 4) - these guys are about 2 years old now, I think the parents were taken by an animal as there was no evidence of them in the pond when it got drained.
    • 4 gallon betta fish tank "Fisher" - named by our 4-year old




    I REALLY want to keep Angelfish again, and have a dream of a large, planted Discus tank one day (one of those 4 ft high, custom cabinetry built around it type tanks), but I can't seem to get it right on smaller tanks. I recently acquired a used 55 gallon (found it in someone's bulk trash pick-up pile) and would like to set it up to try an Angelfish only or Discus only tank, but I'm terrified of what to expect.

    I've joined cuz I need HELP. What should I be looking at to fix or monitor to try Angelfish again, or even jump into Discus.


    Previous tanks were fishless cycled. Other than the fertilizer accident, water quality has always been 0 ppm ammonia and nitrites, <20 ppm Nitrates. The fish have seemingly done much worse in AZ than other places and I'm worried it could be the water.

    Parameters out of the tap and aged (doesn't seem to change aged):
    ph: 8.0-8.2
    KH: 7 deg
    GH: 15 deg
    Nitrates: <5 ppm
    TDS: 350-1450 mg/L, 827 avg (city reported)
    Conductivity: 547-2261 us/cm 1293 avg (city reported)

    COULD this water support Angelfish and Discus? Anything else I should be looking at? Should I be considering RO with trace element supplementing? Everywhere I read it says no, but my parameters seem to be on the edge or just outside of what I read can support these soft-water fella's.

    Thanks for the add to the community, and thanks for the - hopefully - advice!

    -Eric

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    Registered Member + MVP - May 2020 coralbandit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Worried Future Discus Keeper

    Welcome Eric .
    I would invest in your own TDS meter . 350 -1450 is ok to undrinkable for the range ? I use the HM 3 which is like $20 on amazon or ebay.
    I know AZ has hard water but it would help to know and is needed if you end up going to RO and wanting to mix it with your tap IMO.
    You could have 6 discus to grow out in the 55 IMO..
    Most get small 2 inchers and learn as they grow ..
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhFp68wjRUU
    ^^ My fish room tour by Richsfishes ^^
    Got rams ?

  3. #3
    Registered Member ericthemantis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Worried Future Discus Keeper

    Thanks for the Welcome! Yeah our water tastes funny and sometimes smells funny; we already have RO setup for drinking water. It is under the sink, though, so not the best for storing up enough RO for a water change. I would buy a separate system and install in the garage if I need one. I'll put in an order for a TDS meter.

    So based on what I know about the water, not enough to decide if it would work for discus or not? Al says to just use whats from your tap (as do many posts here), but I feel like I'm at the edge of what is said is fine out of the tap.

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    Registered Member + MVP - May 2020 coralbandit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Worried Future Discus Keeper

    I like tap water best and in most cases it should be fine .It is easy to store /age and prepare for the fish.
    I also know AZ water is hard and can sometimes cause issue for fish that prefer soft water.
    You might not need to mix RO especially if you have no intention of trying to breed the discus.
    All that being said $20 is a small investment to nail down the true TDS value IMO. 350-1450 is an incredibly huge difference ..
    I breed rams and they do great in 100TDS while at 350 the water is too hard for eggs to become fertile .That is only a 250 difference .
    Your report has 1,100 difference being possible ..I would want to know ..I also would own test kits for the GH/KH and pH although they are not needed as often once you have a true baseline and understanding of your water..
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhFp68wjRUU
    ^^ My fish room tour by Richsfishes ^^
    Got rams ?

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    Registered Member ericthemantis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Worried Future Discus Keeper

    Yeah I have GH/KH and pH test kits. I just watched your fish room tour and saw the TDS meter in the background . Love those german blues! I'll pick one up so I know better. Is TDS more important to know than GH/KH, or all equally important? You are talking about using TDS to determine water quality for spawning, but I thought GH would give me enough info.

  6. #6
    Registered Member + MVP - May 2020 coralbandit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Worried Future Discus Keeper

    My water is funny [like me ] .Saratoga is known for the mineral springs..I guess there are 19 in my area ..I think my water has some level of minerals more then most peoples. Even though I am on municipal water it still comes from local wells ..
    The pH 7.6 /GH 9 /KH 2-3 barely shift at all from tap to RO [no DI] but the TDS drops 330 …
    For me I don't ever test GH /KH or pH any more ..I know my base line .
    I test TDS when I mix water so I know it is the same every time .
    The standard test would never get me even close to consistent since they barely register any difference.
    That being said I know another breeder whose parameters matched mine [ pH /GH/ KH ] but his TDS is 110 out of the tap ..
    Kind tells me that the big 3 don't even accurately represent all things ??
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhFp68wjRUU
    ^^ My fish room tour by Richsfishes ^^
    Got rams ?

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    Moderator Team LizStreithorst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Worried Future Discus Keeper

    The problem to me is that your TDS fluctuates so widely. I think you would do best to do as Tom suggested to prevent fluctuation. He has good advice about where to buy an RO unit as well.

    If you want a planted tank I would go with Angelfish and stick with them. They do well in planted. Discus do less well over time, and young grow outs do the worst.

    OOPS! I forgot to say welcome. Welcome!
    Mama Bear

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    Registered Member ericthemantis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Worried Future Discus Keeper

    Thanks for the welcome! Just to be clear, I have not measured the TDS - those numbers are what the city reports they measure at different locations. I put an HM3 on order from an official vendor - the amazon one looks like it is a knock-off based on price and the reviews from the last 6 months (shows up with no HM label, looks slightly different etc). I'll test and monitor the TDS, and see how stable it is from the tap and what my actual value is.

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    Silver Member Willie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Worried Future Discus Keeper

    ANY water is good to raise discus, as long as its warm, clean and constant. Until we know how often/how much water you'll be changing, it's hard to judge your likelihood of success.

    Willie
    Why don't I read Harry Potter novels? Because I'm an adult.

  10. #10
    Registered Member ericthemantis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Worried Future Discus Keeper

    Haha! As much as it takes to keep the nitrates LOOOW right?

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    Silver Member Willie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Worried Future Discus Keeper

    If you're raising small discus up in a 55 gallon tank, 50% daily in a barebottom is required for success. 100% daily is not excessive.

    Willie
    Why don't I read Harry Potter novels? Because I'm an adult.

  12. #12
    Registered Member ericthemantis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Worried Future Discus Keeper

    OK I got my HM TDS-3 Meter and took measurements:

    From tap:
    Parameters out of the tap and aged (doesn't seem to change aged):
    ph: 8.0-8.2
    KH: 7 deg
    GH: 15 deg
    Nitrates: <5 ppm
    TDS: 465 ppm

    Out of the RO unit:
    TDS: 35 ppm
    GH: <1 deg
    KH: <1 deg

    Based on the tap water results, can I expect to have success with Discus without needing to use RO water?

    Just keeping them, not breeding them.

  13. #13
    Silver Member Willie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Worried Future Discus Keeper

    Your water is fine for raising discus. Not messing with R/O will simplify your water changes, which means your water will remain constant between changes. I wouldn't bother with R/O until they pair off and actually spawn.

    Willie
    Why don't I read Harry Potter novels? Because I'm an adult.

  14. #14
    Registered Member ericthemantis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Worried Future Discus Keeper

    Thanks Willie. I'll take RO off my list of needs and focus on... well... everything else

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