Decent base soil and top sand to use???

Conort2

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Hey Conor. Ok yeah that was a massive mess up on my behalf too. I never siphoned the substrate or sloshed it round to get waste out. Reason for this is I didnt want to disturb or rip up the plants while doing so. How do you siphon your substrate without disturbing your plants too much?

I feed the tank FDBW twice a day. And BH once a day. I didnt think the discus would grow fully on just FDBW which is why I feed them BH too. Everyone i know that has discus feeds BH so I just went with the majority ;)

So I was doing 2 WCs a week, at the worst it was 3 times every 2 weeks. And changing 40%-50% each time. As already answered, no I never siphoned the substrate :oops:

It is looking like the diseases came from crap and waste in my substrate. Most likely down to me not siphoning/cleaning it out properly. I just didn't know how to without upsetting the plants/roots.
Just don’t siphon too deep, if you do it regularly the waste shouldn’t get too deep hopefully. You can also use a turkey baster to flush dirt away from the surface. Discus can be kept in a planted tank but they’re big messy fish so you have to keep on top of the cleaning. You’ll be surprised how quick fish can turn around in clean conditions with regular water changes so hopefully you should see an improvement soon.

Good news they’re eating blackworm already. I’d ditch the beefheart if I was you. Maybe get them on a good quality pellet for that feed instead if they’ll take it.

cheers

conor
 

Mark Keetch

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Just don’t siphon too deep, if you do it regularly the waste shouldn’t get too deep hopefully. You can also use a turkey baster to flush dirt away from the surface. Discus can be kept in a planted tank but they’re big messy fish so you have to keep on top of the cleaning. You’ll be surprised how quick fish can turn around in clean conditions with regular water changes so hopefully you should see an improvement soon.

Good news they’re eating blackworm already. I’d ditch the beefheart if I was you. Maybe get them on a good quality pellet for that feed instead if they’ll take it.

cheers

conor
What about in the middle of heavy planted sections? If the plants are close together and thick/bushy, I wont be able to get the gravel cleaner in there. Out in the open areas wont be a problem, I'll be able to get the vac on there but its just the bushy areas I'm worried about.

And ok, I can look into getting rid of the beefheart. But they're so used to eating it I dont know what I can su substitute it for that they will love to eat. I've tried flake food before and they dont even touch that.
 

Conort2

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What about in the middle of heavy planted sections? If the plants are close together and thick/bushy, I wont be able to get the gravel cleaner in there. Out in the open areas wont be a problem, I'll be able to get the vac on there but its just the bushy areas I'm worried about.

And ok, I can look into getting rid of the beefheart. But they're so used to eating it I dont know what I can su substitute it for that they will love to eat. I've tried flake food before and they dont even touch that.
That’s what the turkey master is for, to flush out all the waste in areas where you can’t reach. It then lifts it into the water column where it can be removed with your water change.

I wouldn’t bother with flake, too small for discus. Try something like tetra prima or one of the many discus pellets that are around now.
 

sparkyweasel

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The discus and all the other fish love the stuff. I make it myself from home rather than buying it from the shops. I make it with mussels, shrimp, banana, eggs, spirulina, vitamins, spinach and garlic. I also feed them freeze dried blackworm twice a day.
That doesn't sound as bad as plain beefheart. Beefheart used to be a popular staple diet for Discus, but it's too rich in protein on its own and can lead to digestive and heart problems.
But it is a messy food, as you have found.
 

Mark Keetch

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That’s what the turkey master is for, to flush out all the waste in areas where you can’t reach. It then lifts it into the water column where it can be removed with your water change.

I wouldn’t bother with flake, too small for discus. Try something like tetra prima or one of the many discus pellets that are around now.
Yep ok. I'm with you now. I've definitely learnt a lot this past month, and learnt it the hard way too. I'll get myself fully equipped with what I need before going back to a planted tank.

And I think I'm gonna cut out BH after my stash has all gone. Is Brineshrimp a good replacement for it. That and some kind of Tetra pellet/crisp
 

Mark Keetch

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That doesn't sound as bad as plain beefheart. Beefheart used to be a popular staple diet for Discus, but it's too rich in protein on its own and can lead to digestive and heart problems.
But it is a messy food, as you have found.
Yeah this is why I ended up buying a surface skimmer cause of the amount of protein creating a grime film on the surface. And it is very messy. The discus just chew it then spit a load out after. Thinking of substituting it with brineshrimp and some kind of Tetra dry food. See how they take to that.
 

alto

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Other fish are 10 rummeynoses, 2 Bolivian rams, 2 balloon rams, 4 torpedo barbs, 5 SAE, 5 ammano, 1 yellow phantom plec, 2 angels and 3 ottos.
Glancing at one of your photos, + 10 discus?

This is a pretty heavy bioload for a discus tank, especially given your feeding regime and insufficient water changes/food removal (sorry to be so blunt)
Even once you rescape, adjust diet, improve maintenance, you’ll still need to be vigilant
(If you’re up for it, I’d rehome the larger fish - SAE, torpedo barbs (behaviour of these may stress the discus, especially in smaller tanks - in which category I’d include your 350) angels ... I suspect your discus may be having issues from a combination of less than ideal water quality plus environmental stress)


Beef heart is one of the messiest foods you can feed, while there are some discus breeders that use it, there are many that don’t; it’s best used in a bare tank where uneaten food is removed daily in combination with large daily water changes
(fish can gain weight very fast on this high protein, high fat food but there are biochemical consequences to feeding discus mammalian proteins/fats - the first observed incidence of fat deposits in fish blood vessels and around heart and internal organs was in discus given beef heart, further investigation revealed unusual types of fat molecules and modified proteins, etc)
 

Mark Keetch

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Even once you rescape, adjust diet, improve maintenance, you’ll still need to be vigilant
(If you’re up for it, I’d rehome the larger fish - SAE, torpedo barbs (behaviour of these may stress the discus, especially in smaller tanks - in which category I’d include your 350) angels ... I suspect your discus may be having issues from a combination of less than ideal water quality plus environmental stress)

The thing is bud I really like my barbs and SAEs. They do a great job at keeping the algae away. If I was to reduce the bio load then it'd be the rams I'd get rid of. I'm not really too keen on them. They dont do much :confused: The barbs and SAE never seem to bother the discus. It's not like the discus dart about or act agitated when they're swimming around.

I have a mate that does the same amount of WCs if not less than me with the same amount of discus in his tank and he's had no issues. Only difference is he has a clean up crew and cleans out his sand everytime whereas I never did :(
 

Mark Keetch

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Beef heart is one of the messiest foods you can feed, while there are some discus breeders that use it, there are many that don’t; it’s best used in a bare tank where uneaten food is removed daily in combination with large daily water changes
(fish can gain weight very fast on this high protein, high fat food but there are biochemical consequences to feeding discus mammalian proteins/fats - the first observed incidence of fat deposits in fish blood vessels and around heart and internal organs was in discus given beef heart, further investigation revealed unusual types of fat molecules and modified proteins, etc)

The guy I have got all my discus from makes up his own beefheart mix. When I told him how messy mine is with the discus spitting it out into clouds, he said that shouldn't happen. His BH doesnt cloud, it holds itself together more. So this might be a way of me still being able to feed the discus and healthy diet but without the mess and consequences that follow that mess. I am getting a small pack off him to test it out at the end of this week so I'll decide on the BH then. If it still makes too much of a mess then I'll take BH out of their diet completely.
 

Mark Keetch

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@alto yeah I think your right bud. I'm quite a bit overstocked :(:(:(

Before rescaping the tank, I'll get rid of the 4 rams I have and some or all of the barbs and SAEs. Do you know if the SAEs and barbs are ok with just a couple of them in the tank? Or do they like to be in a big group? I'm thinking maybe keep just 2 of each instead of the 5 of each that I got at the moment.
 

Conort2

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@alto yeah I think your right bud. I'm quite a bit overstocked :(:(:(

Before rescaping the tank, I'll get rid of the 4 rams I have and some or all of the barbs and SAEs. Do you know if the SAEs and barbs are ok with just a couple of them in the tank? Or do they like to be in a big group? I'm thinking maybe keep just 2 of each instead of the 5 of each that I got at the moment.
Siamese algae eaters and denisoni barbs get quite aggressive with their own kind when kept in low numbers. You’d be best off to get rid of all of them unfortunately. Denisoni can also get bloody big and are lightning fast. Maybe just keep the tetras. Discus like to be the boss of the tank and would be beneficial to have species with them that don’t add to much to the bio load or stress them out too much.

cheers

conor
 

Mark Keetch

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Siamese algae eaters and denisoni barbs get quite aggressive with their own kind when kept in low numbers. You’d be best off to get rid of all of them unfortunately. Denisoni can also get bloody big and are lightning fast. Maybe just keep the tetras. Discus like to be the boss of the tank and would be beneficial to have species with them that don’t add to much to the bio load or stress them out too much.

cheers

conor
Hey Conor. Yeah I've now decided to just keep discus, rummynose tetra, ammano shrimp, ottos, corys and a few small plec
 

Mark Keetch

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@Tim Harrison you say to do that many WCs but as stupid as this sounds how important is that? Reason I ask is I want to use Tropica Aquasoil as my base layer when I rescape the tank but to do a 50% WC takes me 2 hours. And with working each day, I'm not going to be able to do a 50% WC daily, there's not enough hours in the day for me to do that :( Will I have to rethink what base layer I'm going to use then?

I will be putting fish back in the tank a day or 2 after the aquascaping is complete
 

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Mark I've moved your question to your own thread it seemed most appropriate ;)

I've done it with less water changes, as have other folk, the usual water change regime is the ideal and will get your tank off to the best start, hopefully with the minimum of problems.
Tropica AS doesn't give off so much ammonia so you may get away with less water changes, but you'll need to stay on top of your parameters, lighting, flow etc, because you may have less wriggle room.

As for adding critters back in a day or two later, I wouldn't recommend it but if you've a mature filter running you should be okay. But I've never kept discus so I don't know for sure...
 

Mark Keetch

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Mark I've moved your question to your own thread it seemed most appropriate ;)

I've done it with less water changes, as have other folk, the usual water change regime is the ideal and will get your tank off to the best start, hopefully with the minimum of problems.
Tropica AS doesn't give off so much ammonia so you may get away with less water changes, but you'll need to stay on top of your parameters, lighting, flow etc, because you may have less wriggle room.

As for adding critters back in a day or two later, I wouldn't recommend it but if you've a mature filter running you should be okay. But I've never kept discus so I don't know for sure...
Thanks bud. I do 2 x 50% WCs a week anyway so I'll stick to that but like you said, just check my ammonia levels daily just to be on the safe side.

And the filter will be matured already bud. I will be taking fish out of main tank and putting them in a holding tank, drain main tank down, do my aquascaping, fill up with water, turn filter back on and let it run over night. Check tank the following morning and if all good, put fish back in.
 

alto

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Any way to speed up that 2h water change? that’s a lot of time for just draining/refilling 150litres :(

I’ve changed out tank substrate and replaced with new Tropica Aquarium Soil (I generally use the Powder version but expect there’s little difference in terms of possible ammonia release), rescaping etc, and usually return fish 1-3days later depending - have not had any issues
I suggest filling tank that first evening with just tap water - the plants won’t care - add water conditioner for filter bacteria etc, then do a large water change before adding fish as that first water fill will have various dust etc from scaping/planting (also add any “saved water”at this stage)

I use Seachem’s Ammonia Alert as it continually monitors, and will do a 50% water change if I see any trace ammonia
(FWIW I’ve only observed ammonia when scape was set up Day 1, fish added Day 1, filter with stored used media (it had been almost a year) ... this was an impulse buy of rare fish I’d found while casually browsing at lfs and my tank was definitely a better environment even with these challenges)
While I’ve seen reports of ammonia released by new Tropica Soil, I’ve never measured anything beyond “trace”

In terms of plants, you should be fine with Tropica 90Day App

In terms of discus, I’d do water changes as frequently and as large as possible

You mention keeping various plecos with discus - this is discouraged as they are messy fish (ie larger bioload on water quality) and they may develop a discus-slime-habit where they attach to discus (I was sceptical but have observed it several times in shop display tanks, molly/platy will also occasionally harass discus, constantly grazing on their slime coat)
- consider the source of your discus ulcers?
(note that Otocinclus have also been observed grazing on discus)

With just the 11 discus in a 300litre tank you may reach a balance where weekly water changes are sufficient, with tankmates you mention, I’d hesitate to miss a 50% water change twice weekly - if you need to skip a water change, drastically reduce feeding (eg alternate days - and omit the BH (which is extremely “messy” in terms of uneaten remains but also only partially digested feces))
 

Mark Keetch

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@alto I wish there was a way to speed it up bud. I do my WC through my power shower and if I increase the flow coming out of the shower to speed the filling up process, the shower overheats cause of where it reduces down to 6mm pipe going into the HMA filter. It only takes me an hour to clean filter, siphon water out and wipe down all glass and heaters. The other 90mins is filling up :arghh:

Yeah my plan is to have fish in holding tanks, main tank emptied, aquascaped and filled back up with my usual WC water in the first day. Then I will do a 50% WC on day 2, then either add fish end of day 2 or on day 3, depending on how the tank looks and what the ammonia level is at.

Plants I am going to chat with Aquarium Gardens about the best plants to get once we have worked out a design for the tank.

I try to stick to 2 WCs a week, but it all depends on what I'm doing that week. Sometimes I dont have time to do 2 a week. When we move into our own house and I have a better WC system set up, and reduce the time for WC, I'll be able to do 2 a week easily. But for now it's very hit and miss. And I keep a close eye on the discus and so far (touches wood) I have never seen the plec or any of the ottos on the side of the discus. As soon as I do see this, they will be out of the tank.
 
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