Discus in very narrow tank...

Tim Harrison

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A couple or so weeks ago I decided to pop in to a Garden Centre on my way back from AG, just out of curiosity. This is one of their Discus tanks. It couldn't have been more than 6 inches deep, barely enough room for the fish to turn around in, or so it seemed to me. What do you reckon ?

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BubblingUnder

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Height is more important to Discus than tank width, mine could go anywhere in my tank but chooses to spend its time going up & down the glass. Some of them are shown turning so all appears ok. Although from the practical point of view, I bet the tank designer isn't the one cleaning the front glass you need really long arms....
 
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Ady34

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Tbh they aren’t the most active fish but they do get big. Long term it would be unsuitable as they would reach 6” in length and that just wouldn’t seem right keeping them in a tank that narrow.....for me it is just that, they shouldn’t be kept in a tank that narrow as they are a big majestic fish that requires, imo, a good amount of space. Technically nowadays the more the merrier to keep them feeling secure and happy so at least they are being kept in numbers. Usually the store fish are unfortunately kept too cool and not offered the correct food for the domestic breed line and that is what makes them suffer I’ll health and wasting. The domestic fish are a relitively simple fish to keep nowadays following basic husbandry, correct temp and food.
The reason I still don’t own discus is due to downsizing my tank to the 460litre 5foot tank I have now. Technically that tank is more than large enough to house 15-20 discus, however having seen there size in the old 8ft tank I just wouldn’t want to keep them in anything this small.
Excuse my ugly mug but these were some of mine getting quite big....

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And my son watching them....

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Tim Harrison

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That looks amazing Ady, they are very majestic looking animals.
I don't know, I just found it a bit distressing to see livestock that big being kept in a tank that narrow, let alone something as majestic as Discus. It just seemed to rob them of dignity.
Even if the fish themselves weren't that bothered, I think it's unnecessary from a husbandry point of view, and from a commercial point of view they weren't exactly being shown at their best.
 

mort

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I completely get where you are coming from Tim, I don't like the look of that tank either but I'd be more worried about the husbandry than the tank. I've been to quite a few wholesalers and believe me what you think they should be kept in and what they are temporarily kept in there are two different ends of the spectrum. Marine fish might not be kept as crowded but you still see 8" triggerfish or angels in 10" partition tanks. I do think that shops should be better and I'd like to see them in a more natural setting but it doesn't always make business sense. I just wish the shop would pass on the correct advise to what they really need rather than people seeing them kept in these conditions and thinking it's exceptable ( I think with discus most people know what they are getting into though).

When I ran a shop it was mostly marine but had a modest tropical section. In the tanks I had live plants and driftwood/cover and the difference it made in sales was amazing. We did a comparison of sales with bare tanks and the health, colour and vitality of those with decor improved the sales so much that it was worth the extra few seconds of moving things.
 

Ady34

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That looks amazing Ady, they are very majestic looking animals.
I don't know, I just found it a bit distressing to see livestock that big being kept in a tank that narrow, let alone something as majestic as Discus. It just seemed to rob them of dignity.
Even if the fish themselves weren't that bothered, I think it's unnecessary from a husbandry point of view, and from a commercial point of view they weren't exactly being shown at their best.
Yeah I just don’t get it, I’m sure Maidenhead stock stendker discus which are the exact same fish in my images, only they never look their best and often are emaciated and highly priced in chain retailers. Keep them correctly and they would sell themselves as they are incredibly coloured fish. A designated discus keeper/breeder is the best source for these fish as they cater specifically to their needs so you are getting the best quality and advice and not having to nurse an already compromised fish.
As @mort says, show the fish in an appropriately decorated tank and it makes business sense too.
The problem with display tanks like these are that many new hobbyists think they can run a system at home the same full of fish. Stores run massive filters with huge surface area for oxygen exchange so the water in the tank is likely well saturated. Run a tank with these dimensions at home on a canister filter with high fish load and your likely to have problems.
Sad really. Education is key but this needs to be given in the store and I guess that is still a point of contention for many reasons.
 

mort

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I put so many people off discus in my time in the shop, not because I don't like them but because I explained what they needed to thrive. I had mine in a 600 l display tank that was heavily planted with a massive group of cardinal tetras. In truth this display was for me and I turned down many offers on the fish. They started to breed just as I moved on unfortunately.
I tended to pass those that I didn't put off on to one of the decent discus specialists as I think they are a species that needs careful choosing.

I always tried to show fish in a more natural setting where possible but also quickly realised that just because people love glow in the dark castles, doesn't mean they don't look after their fish. I just wish some shops would put in half the effort.
 
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