Low tech Discus help

Discussion in 'General Planted Tank Discussions' started by Martin Osmond, 24 Aug 2016.

  1. Martin Osmond

    Martin Osmond Member

    Joined:
    18 Dec 2012
    Messages:
    118
    Hi all, I've decided I want to change my current Mbuna tank to have another go at planted. I was thinking of going high tech but have decided to start off with a low tech approach and would like to stock with Discus as they are a fish i have always wanted to keep.

    Can someone please help with some of the plants that will work in the higher temperature, I'm thinking alot of anuibas and java fern with a few different crypts, will these all work and are there any more i should consider?

    Will i need to dose, obviously not every day but will the discus be ok with EI dosing on a weekly basis or even less?

    Also what sort of substrate is best to use? I was thinking ada amazonia but is this the best option for low tech and again will the discus be ok with this?

    Tank is 4ft 250 litre, any ideas on how many i could have in there? I've been told 10/12 by two different breeder's on Facebook but that seems like an awful lot to me and can't help thinking it's because they want my cash !!
     
  2. alto

    alto Member

    Joined:
    24 Dec 2014
    Messages:
    4,941
    tank dimensions?

    discus size you're intending to purchase?

    Do your discus care research first!
    - they really do much better in v.e.r.y clean tanks

    BUT

    1) discus do best in large groups (the breeders are right on this one)
    2) water change, water change, water change
    3) if hard water etc, look for local bred stock
    4) if you're not already discus experienced, it's recommended to begin with a bare tank (easier to control water parameters)
    5) maintaining them for a few months is different than for a few years
    6) as discus mature, you'll likely need to reduce numbers (this is not the same as starting with fewer) or upgrade tank size
    7) discus habitat is not naturally swarming with small fishes such as cardinals etc & discus are primarly vegetation & crustation etc eaters NOT meaty foods
    8) discus do NOT like living in tanks with active fish such as rainbows etc
    9) it's best to add all discus at once from a single source & then maintain a relatively "closed" tank - quarantine any new fish for 4-5 weeks, in the last week, add a couple discus to the Q tank, then return these discus to the main tank & wait a couple weeks to see if there's any disease outbreak
    A MUST READ (kindly hosted by Dave H )

    SYMPTOM-BASED TREATMENT OF COMMON DISCUS DISEASES
    (July 1998 Version)

    Dionigi Maladorno



    Given the plants you list, I'd be inclined to use a nutrient rich substrate layer (I'm a fan of Tropica so I use their Growth Substrate) + "fine" sand ("locks" away the Growth Substrate)

    EI - not really a slow growth plant tank "thing" - you'll want to use 1/10 or so ... again research - with a Discus emphasis
     
  3. DavidW

    DavidW Member

    Joined:
    1 Jul 2016
    Messages:
    327
    Location:
    East Sussex
    I have a 190 litre trigon discus tank which has been going for over a year now. I used eco-complete as a bottom layer substrate and I put sand on top of this, the two layers have mixed together a bit I should have put a fine mash between them to stop this happening. Plants which have done well in my tank are all the different types of java ferns,
    Echinodorus and Sagittaria platyphylla. I've tried lots of different plants but these are the ones that did particularly well. I used TNC Complete once a week on the 190 tank, I also have CO2 injection.

    I have 8 Stendker Discus in my 190 litre tank, I just setup a 350 litre tank mainly because of the size the discus have grown to. In a 250 litre tank I'd recommend 8, you could go for more but after about a years of growth you'll need to get a bigger tank.

    I keep my tank at 28.5 degrees c. You'll need a decent filter I use a JBL e1501 on the 190 tank and have a sump on the 350 litre as a filter media use a Sintered glass media something like Eheim pro substrat or JBL micro mec. I'd also recommend the JBL e1901 as the filter and a UV steriliser. On a 250 litre tank you'll need to do 100 litre water change every week and you'll also need heat the water to at least 25 degrees before putting it in the tank. I have a HMA filter that I use to filter the water this is connected to my cold water supply. I fill a 90 litre spare aquarium I have with this water than I heat it over night using a normal aquarium heater. If you have a combi boiler you can plumb the hma filter into both hol and cold supply's via a thermostatic mixer which is set to 25 degrees and you'll be able to put the water straight into the tank. Also get a keep the water well aeriated. I have a Eheim 400 air pump running constantly.

    You'll need a good clean up crew, discus eat beef heart and it's quite messy and can turn the water toxic if it's left to rot. I'd suggest a group of 4 or 5 corys, and some bamboo shrimp and amano shrimp. Also consider having 10 neon or cardinal tetra, they get on well with the discus and also eat any small bits of food floating around.

    Once you've setup your tank and it's cycled start by adding the cardinals and shrimp, test the water everyday to make sure the levels look good then start adding the discus. I would add them 2-3 at a time water conditions parameters allowing.

    Do you have a lfs that stocks discus?
     
  4. Martin Osmond

    Martin Osmond Member

    Joined:
    18 Dec 2012
    Messages:
    118

    Cheers mate, tank dimensions are 120x55x45

    I've read and read and read some more and will continue to do so, I've good wild Mbuna at the moment and they are very susceptible to any change in water parameters and need perfect water. Maybe not as demanding as discus but i feel I'd be ok keeping them.

    I will be looking to purchase either nearly fully grown or full grown adults, at least 4 inches in size

    I'm not keem at all on the bate bottom tank but it is something im considering as it seems to be the way a lot of peoplesuggest starting out.
     
  5. Martin Osmond

    Martin Osmond Member

    Joined:
    18 Dec 2012
    Messages:
    118
    Thanks for the info mate, i have an fx6 currently and will be keeping that.

    I already prep my water, aerate and heat it in a water butt for 24 hours the day before a water change. I do 50% water change every week and I'm hapoy to continue doing so.

    I spoke to my lfs the other day and they don't stock them but said they are happy to get them in for me.
    I was going to look into the possibility of ordering from a well known breeder and getting them sent out to me
     
  6. DavidW

    DavidW Member

    Joined:
    1 Jul 2016
    Messages:
    327
    Location:
    East Sussex
    Sounds like your use to most of what you'll need to do water change wise :) and the FX6 is a good filter loads of space for media. Do a search on ebay for biohome or look at the filterpro website, it's the media I have in my sump and it's fantastic stuff it's about £36 for 3kg the great thing about it is it allows both nitrifying (aerobic) and denitrifying (anaerobic) bacteria to grow but any media which is made from sintered glass will do this.

    Where are you based? Have a look to see if there's anywhere who is a Stendker discus supplier near you. I use Devotedly Discus in East Sussex luckily I live just down the road I know they do post discus. The discus they have are all top notch and very healthy.

    If your going to use a soil in your new setup, it will leak ammonia for about a week or so so keep an eye on your water parameters and let the tank settle down before adding the discus.
     
  7. alto

    alto Member

    Joined:
    24 Dec 2014
    Messages:
    4,941
    While this is nice of your lfs, there's no guarantee as to what will ship in, so unless the shop is discus experienced, I'd give this a miss & go direct to Devotedly Discus or similar, or local breeder (you should be able to visit & look at what's on offer etc)

    I agree with the breeder advice you're getting & plan on adding 10 -12, discus will always do better in a larger group (assuming excellent water quality) - chances are as a first time discus keeper you may lose a couple, or miss early signs of aggression or illness etc.

    Discus are poorly designed for high flow rates so take that into account - if you look at Tropica's display tanks, many run on just the stock internal filters etc, ie it's about good flow rather than high flow rates

    If you feed foods such as freeze dried Australian Black worms (FB link for specialized Discus breeder & importer - note how tanks are sponge filtered) for your protein rich food, this is much "cleaner" than beef heart (very far from a "natural" fish food ;) ), also try to feed vegetable & fruit based foods :)oops: cant find the link I'm looking for)

    Be prepared for (large) daily water changes if needed - this is the best medicine while discus are settling in etc

    If you decide to go planted, get that part sorted & up & running for several weeks to months before adding in discus - much "safer" (& more economic) to add discus to an established set up

    There are some stunning discus tanks that are hardscaped with only minimal plants

    Most important - have a fantastic adventure :D
     
  8. DavidW

    DavidW Member

    Joined:
    1 Jul 2016
    Messages:
    327
    Location:
    East Sussex
    I do agree it's best to keep discus in groups of 10 +,but I do think after a years growth they will be a bit crowded in a 250 litre tank. You could always sell your bigger discus at that point at get another group of smaller discus and make a tidy profit ;) or do what I've done and get a bigger tank :)
    From my experience with Stendker discus, I bought 9 discus and over a year later I still have 9 discus and they've never fallen ill. The only issue I did have was one burn itself on the heater but that healed very quickly. That's something I forgot to mention get a heater with a protection cage. I use the fluval E series, it's a great heater. As for flow the flow rate in my tank is good, my filter is rated at 1500lph but with added media etc it probably more like 1100lph and the discus have never had an issue with it. The FX6 is rated at 3500lph so will probably be more like 2200lph with a full media basket so you may want to consider turning this down a bit. When you have your discus in your tank you can adjust it to what them seem happiest with :)

    As Alto's has said if you go panted get that established before adding any discus.
     
  9. alto

    alto Member

    Joined:
    24 Dec 2014
    Messages:
    4,941
    tank footprint makes a difference
    base that is 120cm x 55cm is quite different than base that is 120cm x 45cm
    though volume remains the same

    It's a lot of fun to grow out discus & then select favorites to keep :)
    (the breeder in the supplied link does a "grow out contest" with some of his homebred stock - he thought he'd do a couple, but demand is high so it's #5 this year (I think))
     
  10. Martin Osmond

    Martin Osmond Member

    Joined:
    18 Dec 2012
    Messages:
    118
    Thank you both, plenty of help and info to get me going. Appreciate it.

    Tank is 55 high and 45 base by the way.
     

Share This Page

Facebook Page
Twitter Page
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice