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Thread: Need honest advice about getting discus.

  1. #1
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    Default Need honest advice about getting discus.

    Good evening guys! I made a grievous mistake, a mistake of not being in this forum before I decided to setup a discus tank.

    I currently have a 75 gallon tank, planted with Amazon Swords towards the back and Java ferns and Anubias glued to the driftwood and carpeting plants.. I have 2 canisters filters and my temperature is currently being kept at around 82 F. My tapwater PH is 7.6 ( I know that is high from the preferred numbers, but I have read that people had have discus thrive in 7.6 PH's, and what is more important is that they're stable).

    All tank levels are good. Besides an anomaly Ammonia spike I had about a month ago, all is good . It currently has 10 rummy nose tetras, 6 Corydoras Sterbai and 6 ottocincluses.

    The only chemical I use is Tropica Heavy planted tank supplement which I dose everyday, and Seachem Prime to dechlorinate the water and crush the ammonia and Fritzyme 7 nitrifying to get rid of existing bad stuff and introduce good bacteria in the tank during water changes. I feed my Otto's vegetables and algae wafers while Rummy nose and Corydoras normally prefer the flakes and I do 50% then 70% water change every other week to alternate.

    I was going to buy 6 discusses for my tank; however, I'm now extremely discouraged and not so sure upon reading stuff from experienced discus handlers.

    My question is - should I just give up the dream for now and perhaps look into Rainbowfishes?

    If I go through with this theoretically.
    Is 6 discusses a good number? What size should I generally buy them or get them as? I don't intend to breed them by any means and I've read to not get them as juveniles. So what size is appropriate for 6 discuss in a planted 75 fish tank with fish already?
    3.5-4 or 4-4.5 inches? On average, an adult discus is about what size?

    For people who keeps them at higher PH's, do you guys do anything different?
    I would really appreciate honest opinions guys. I just want the best for the fish and I.

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Moderator Team LizStreithorst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need honest advice about getting discus.

    I hate to be the one to crush your dreams, but the environment you describe would not be good for Discus. Rainbows would be an excellent choice. I have a Rainbow fish in my office where I am now. They are stunning fish.
    Mama Bear

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    Administrator and MVP Dec.2015 Second Hand Pat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need honest advice about getting discus.

    Hi Bernie, Liz gave excellent advice and it you are still considering discus watch the video in the first post if this thread http://forum.simplydiscus.com/showth...CH-THIS-VIDEO!.
    Pat
    Your discus are talking to you....are you listening


  4. #4
    Registered Member Shan_Evolved's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need honest advice about getting discus.

    I'm gonna go out of a limb against the current and say you can definitely get discus.

    As long as you understand these things -

    With a planted system, you cannot clean beefheart or other dirty high protein foods as easily or if at all - which will lead to really sh1tty nitrates and living conditions and probably DEATH.

    Your bacteria colonies, if they've only been cycled to the load you have currently will completely fall apart and play catch up with the increased bio load which will in cause high ammonia + nitrites and probably DEATH.

    A water change every other week would fail completely in keeping healthy happy discus assuming normal water and filtration conditions. You will have to increase to minimum twice a week 50% or more.

    ____________

    That being said -

    Scenario 1)

    You buy (6)3.5" discus. You feed once or twice a day, simple foods like freeze dried blackworms, flakes, pellets, etc. And by simple foods I mean foods that will not pollute the water such as beefheart. You do 50% or more water changes minimum 2x a week. Monitor your nitrate levels and make sure they don't go above 5-10 if possible and do more water changes to help keep it low. The amount of water changes above the minumum twice a week is determined by how high your nitrates go up in a given time span.

    You understand that by not feeding beefheart or tons and tons of food (like 4-6 feedings a day), and daily or almost daily water changes, your discus might not grow to their maximum potential. That being said they will still definitely grow and at 3.5" size, as long as they aren't stunted to begin with they will still be stunning and gorgeous absolutely. The difference between a 5" and 6" isn't that huge and you will still love them and enjoy them to their fullest. (theres a penis joke in there somewhere btw)

    Scenario 2)

    You buy 6-8 3.5" or younger, and growthem out in a separate barebottom tank. Feeding heavily, changing water heavily, the usual crazy discus keeper methods. This way you are more likely to maximize their growth but the work put in to get the extra 10-15% size is significantly more.

    Scenario 3)

    You buy adult discus 5"+ and feed them lightly. Do water changes twice a week minimum and more depending on your nitrate levels. This can totally work as long as you understand the bioload increase I spoke about early and figure out how to combat that.


    _______________

    You still run huge risks of having them in a planted tank as well as other fish. The risk is primarily if they get sick, it will be near impossible to treat them properly without upsetting something in your tank whether it be the fish or plants. And the chances of them getting sick and not recovering increases with more variables in the tank. It will suck having to take everything out of the tank because of some unknown factor. That being said, it's a risk but there still is a possibility they can be healthy and happy too.


    Oh and adult discus is pricey af. $600 minimum vs $100 worth of boesmanis rainbows that look stunning too. You can only judge and decide for yourself
    Amateur discuskeeper, Professional doofus

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Need honest advice about getting discus.

    Quote Originally Posted by LizStreithorst View Post
    I hate to be the one to crush your dreams, but the environment you describe would not be good for Discus. Rainbows would be an excellent choice. I have a Rainbow fish in my office where I am now. They are stunning fish.
    Don't worry! I appreciate the honesty! Even though I'm a little hurt by it now, I know I have more opportunity to create a more ideal setup for discus in the future.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Need honest advice about getting discus.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shan_Evolved View Post
    I'm gonna go out of a limb against the current and say you can definitely get discus.

    As long as you understand these things -

    With a planted system, you cannot clean beefheart or other dirty high protein foods as easily or if at all - which will lead to really sh1tty nitrates and living conditions and probably DEATH.

    Your bacteria colonies, if they've only been cycled to the load you have currently will completely fall apart and play catch up with the increased bio load which will in cause high ammonia + nitrites and probably DEATH.

    A water change every other week would fail completely in keeping healthy happy discus assuming normal water and filtration conditions. You will have to increase to minimum twice a week 50% or more.

    ____________

    That being said -

    Scenario 1)

    You buy (6)3.5" discus. You feed once or twice a day, simple foods like freeze dried blackworms, flakes, pellets, etc. And by simple foods I mean foods that will not pollute the water such as beefheart. You do 50% or more water changes minimum 2x a week. Monitor your nitrate levels and make sure they don't go above 5-10 if possible and do more water changes to help keep it low. The amount of water changes above the minumum twice a week is determined by how high your nitrates go up in a given time span.

    You understand that by not feeding beefheart or tons and tons of food (like 4-6 feedings a day), and daily or almost daily water changes, your discus might not grow to their maximum potential. That being said they will still definitely grow and at 3.5" size, as long as they aren't stunted to begin with they will still be stunning and gorgeous absolutely. The difference between a 5" and 6" isn't that huge and you will still love them and enjoy them to their fullest. (theres a penis joke in there somewhere btw)

    Scenario 2)

    You buy 6-8 3.5" or younger, and growthem out in a separate barebottom tank. Feeding heavily, changing water heavily, the usual crazy discus keeper methods. This way you are more likely to maximize their growth but the work put in to get the extra 10-15% size is significantly more.

    Scenario 3)

    You buy adult discus 5"+ and feed them lightly. Do water changes twice a week minimum and more depending on your nitrate levels. This can totally work as long as you understand the bioload increase I spoke about early and figure out how to combat that.


    _______________

    You still run huge risks of having them in a planted tank as well as other fish. The risk is primarily if they get sick, it will be near impossible to treat them properly without upsetting something in your tank whether it be the fish or plants. And the chances of them getting sick and not recovering increases with more variables in the tank. It will suck having to take everything out of the tank because of some unknown factor. That being said, it's a risk but there still is a possibility they can be healthy and happy too.


    Oh and adult discus is pricey af. $600 minimum vs $100 worth of boesmanis rainbows that look stunning too. You can only judge and decide for yourself
    I appreciate the reply man! It's nice to get an advice giving me pros and cons for scenarios. I think I will go with rainbow fishes. I appreciate it!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Need honest advice about getting discus.

    Welcome to the forum Bernie! Best wishes for your new addiction!

    I strongly suggest watching that video. It's a great introductory lesson!

  8. #8
    Gold Member fljones3's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need honest advice about getting discus.

    Welcome to the forum. If you want to come to learn discus (watch the video first), you might consider setting up a 40g breeder tank, and get 4 discus. Usually the first purchase (at the expense of the discus) is training the keeper. It certainly happened to me. Keep it bare bottom. Continue to read the forum and don't be afraid to ask questions.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Need honest advice about getting discus.

    THe video above is great. Theis got me through the COVID pandemic.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Need honest advice about getting discus.

    I have a different view. I have a 75-gallon tank pretty heavily planted with swords, etc., with 7 discus in it along with a number of tetras and corys. At some point, I will reduce the number of discus in that tank to 6. I will be setting up another discus tank this year, it will be 115 gallons, and it will be planted as well. Look at George Farmer's planted discus tank on Youtube, Gabe's personal planted tank, and the planted display tanks at Jack Wattley. A lot of people, not necessarily on this forum, have planted discus tanks with substrate and lots of plants.

    That being said there are a couple of caveats: I would not raise fry or try to breed in a planted tank, for that you will need a bare bottom tank and lots of water changes for that. I would not try to grow out small discus in a planted tank, 3.5" and bigger. Beefheart can be very messy which is why I don't feed it to my discus, I am not trying to grow them quickly. My discus eat pellets, FD black worms with added bits (including small amounts of beefheart), FD tubifex worms, etc. My discus are fed 3 - 4 times a day, 3 times with auto feeders. I run two canister filters each large enough by themselves for the tank size for the additional filtration, particularly biological filtration. It is easy to adjust the flow on most modern filters.

    There are any number of reasons to raise discus but I would not overlook the simple joy of seeing these magnificent fish in a beautifully maintained planted tank. Enjoy!
    Last edited by dornblaser; 04-07-2021 at 09:39 PM.

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