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Thread: Advice for Hobbyists new and old.....

  1. #1
    Administrator brewmaster15's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002

    Default Advice for Hobbyists new and old.....

    Its always great to see new hobbyists that are checking out the forum and tapping into the years of experience stored on SimplyDiscus and in the collective minds of the hobbyists here. Bravo to you all! Thats the best thing you can do. Read and ask questions. Its far better to do your research before you buy your discus then after!

    I have some more advice that I would like to share with you as you consider taking the plunge or maybe you are getting back into this hobby after years away. This advice here is not meant to be the only way to do things.... its meant to help you get started and minimize problems.

    1) Don't underestimate the size of the tank. Yes you can "keep" 10 adult Discus in a 55 gallon tank providing you have plenty of filtration and water changes. But they won't be happy. They won't be able to swim around much and they won't be able to show you much of Discus behavior. And honestly you won't enjoy watching them. A 55 gallon tank is actually not a very good Discus tank.Its a good tank to start with, and Its okay for growing babies, and pairing and spawning..but not really for semi- adults and breeding age adults. Shoot for a 75 gallon or bigger. 6 adult discus in a 75 gallon is awesome., 7-10 doable, but gets cramped when they pair up. A 125 gal. tank is a really cool discus tank too.10-12 adults look great in it.

    2) Don't buy your discus from multiple vendors. Pick a vendor to work with and buy all your discus at one time and all about the same size. Every time you add stock you add potential issues. If you do plan on multiple purchases, you MUST quarantine carefully and be patient. 6 Weeks is a good safe amount of time. If you don't know what quarantine is and why its important... visit here... There is info on QT.

    3) Choose your foods wisely. There are many possible foods that you can be successful with. Research what people on SimplyDiscus use as food and look at the food's nutritional content and ingredients. You really want high quality foods. Foods high in protein, low in carbs are best for discus from what we know. You can also make your own foods with a little research. The food section of SimplyDiscus has many beefheart based recipes as well as seafood and others like turkey based ones. A tip, when making your own, make your first batch small. It may be a flop. It happens often! Also understand that homemade foods, though they can be nutritious can have a negative impact on water quality. They can be messy....its a trade off that necessitates frequent water changes. These mixes also should not be fed in tanks with substrates or plants. In substrate tanks, the substrate catches the particles. In planted tanks, the roots can, and the decomposing food may really mess up your tanks balance.

    4) Start BARE BOTTOM. Do yourself a huge favor. Ignore everyone that says you can start with Discus in a planted tank. No they aren't lying. You can. But you are better off starting with a bare tank as its easier to care for your discus and if you are new, like more hobbyists starting off, you will start with less expensive and smaller fish. Growing out Discus in a planted tank is not easy! I will say it again. Growing out Discus in a planted tank is not easy! To get discus to grow to their full potential a certain level of care and hygiene is required. Its very very hard to do this is in planted tank. Dealing with health issues in planted tank is challenging at best, impossible at worst. If your goal is discus in planted tank, thats fine...Grow them in bare bottom tank. Learn about them first in a bare bottom tank. Then move them to a well thought out planted tank that is laid out with the Discus in mind first... plants secondary. Consider a sand substrate, do not use gravel. Or stay bare bottom and plant your plants in containers or use species that can be tied to driftwood.

    5) Your Discus do not need cover. Many new hobbyists put structures in the tank. Driftwood, castles, sunk ships , dense plantings or fake plant bunches. They justify it by saying the fish need the cover. IN fact they don't but the hobbyists wanted to see these things in their tank. Thats all well and good but if you give discus cover, they will use it and you will see less of them. This is especially true when they are new to the tank. This is when you need them not hiding though. You need them to get used to you and to start eating asap. You need to be able to watch them for issues. These structures also are injuries waiting to happen. New Discus can be flighty. They crash and dart when scared or stressed. Any sharp object in the tank can be an injury waiting to happen. If you are going to add this stuff, do it conservatively and after they have settled in well.

    6) Back to vendors....There are many good sellers out there. There are also many that are looking to capitalize on The high price of discus. They buy garbage at whole sale and sell it at a premium. These discus are often poor quality, poor shape and poor health. Do not choose the supplier based on price. Learn about what makes a good Discus. We have many discussions of this in the beginners board on SimplyDiscus. Particularly read here... I would recommend you start your search with our Sponsors here at SimplyDiscus. They are some of the best out there and have feedback here on the forum that you can read. Also be careful to look at how long a seller has been in the hobby. Theres alot that are here one day, gone the next. These people may not even have good supply lines.Unfortunately longevity in the hobby doesnt always mean they are good Discus sellers. It just means they are good at selling product. Check out our Livestock Review Board before purchasing from a non sponsor. You can also ask for feedback there on a business you are considering buying from. Discus cost alot of money, but if you buy the stock from a good seller, you may only have to pay the price once. Buy sickly fish and you pay again and again and it just really drains the enjoyment out of the hobby for you.

    7) Water! Water! Water! Don't skimp on your water changes. You may have gotten away with monthly 10% with your goldfish or bi-weekly with your trops... but discus need more TLC to THRIVE. Note I said THRIVE, its not the same as Survive. Discus can survive for months on sub optimal and even abysmal care. They can take months to waste away and Die. But is that what you want? Or do want them to be healthy and robust fish? Water makes a huge difference, Some here in the hobby, do 100% daily water changes...Its not needed in most cases (fry and grow-outs being the possible exception)... But you may want to start with at least 50% per day when you get new fish. Keep the water to clean and it will help them settle in. You can taper it back if you want after the first few weeks and find your sweet spot for your tank and fish. Its not the same for everyone and its trial and error finding whats best. Members here can help you figure out what you should based on your stocking levels, tank size,filtration, foods fed, age of fish and goals. With Discus we like to err on the side of too much clean water because its something you can never really have if its the same parameters as what in the tank...The more new water the better.

    8) Don't just read here at Simplydiscus. Participate, register, sign in and interact. Theres a huge community of Discus Keepers here that can help get you on the right path. They may not tell you what you want to hear but will tell you what you need to hear so you can do your best.

    I will add more to this as I come up with things that can help get you started right.

    best always,

    If you read this and found it useful, or if you have already used SimplyDiscus to get started right or correct some problems in your Discus Keeping, PLEASE consider sending in a thank you (click here)... It helps keep the forum open and it will help keep me writing articles
    Last edited by brewmaster15; 06-28-2017 at 11:15 AM. Freeze Dried BlackWorms and other foods your Discus will Love!!!

    >>>>>I am a science guy.. show me the science minus the BS

    Al Sabetta
    Simplydiscus LLC Owner

    I take Pics.. click here for my Flickr images

  2. #2
    Registered Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Real Name
    george melendez

    Default Re: Advice for Hobbyists new and old.....

    Thanks Al great advice, I'm starting a discus tank as we speak, 450gal that will be home to 12 discus I intend to call the apostles lol. Just started it, has only had water a week, and the pumps are up and running. Still has a ways to go before any starter fish get added, and discus still a month to a few months away.

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