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Articles Write an article on a tropical fish species or aquarium care and share it with members here or simply write a note asking for something you've read elsewhere on the forum to be copied to this section.

 
 
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  #1  
Old 08-18-2006, 08:57 PM
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lemuelpr lemuelpr is offline
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Arrow Discus

Discus are sometimes considered the ultimate challenge for the freshwater aquarium keepers. Some rumors are true as others are not that accurate. They are surely one of the loveliest fish out there and sometimes very irresistible to buy. So here I put some things I have learned and experienced with some advises.

They are Cichlids from the Amazon River. Even though they are peaceful, they are carnivorous. So proper diet is required as flakes won’t be enough. Experts and breeders recommend feeding them with beef heart. You can actually buy it and prepare a paste to store for some time. They cut the beef heart in small chunks and put it in a shaker with some carrots (for natural color), vitamins and even medication if needed. Make a paste and feed them. But leftovers will decompose in the tank, so filtration won’t be even close to be enough. Water changes will be imperative. But for general people like us, you can feed them with blood worms, frozen foods, and high quality pellets. When they become healthy they will feed even on flakes, but I give them high quality ones like once a week. They prefer eating the food after it is on the bottom of the tank. That’s why it’s recommended to have them with tank mates that aren’t very active eaters. So it’s preferred to have them with small tetras and allow the Discus to be the big fish in the tank.

Water quality is needed, especially if you feed them with meat. But more than that, they need water changes in order to grow. They are very susceptible when young, so you want to help them grow quickly. What’s the key, water changes, water changes, water changes. Many people worry a lot with having them in soft acidic water. After long times worrying a lot with these parameters, I heard and experienced that water changes are the most imperative parameter to have them grow quick and healthy. Where I live the water is hard and with a high pH and the only thing I do is adding an anti-chlorine product. I notice the difference in growth. I also heard that breeders in China don't have filters in the tanks!! They do 50% water changes every other day, that’s all!! Of course they don't have regular tanks like us. Keep in mind that water changes affect plants so plan on getting very strong plants.

Discus are VERY nervous fish. They will jump in panic attacks. So it’s imperative for them to feel secure. Drift wood and plants help a lot, as well keeping the tank in a quiet area. Discus tend to become aggressive between them. There’s always a bully. Many people recommend having 5 to 6 Discus in order spread the aggression not always against the weaker one. They don’t eat each other, but won’t allow the weaker ones to eat. The harassment alone can kill a Discus, as most of them die just because of stress. They become very dark and refuse to eat for days. At that point there’s little you can do. Be aware of this at the moment to buy one. If it’s healthy and he’s dark, in a corner DON’T BUY IT. Ask them always to feed them and watch him eat.

Tank mates: Ideally small tetras, like Neons, Zebras, Rummy Nose. Unless the Discus is 5 or 6 inches (15.24 centimeters), then Neons will be food instead of tank mates. Serpae are nice too.
I’m very experimental and have my Discus with strange fish. I won’t say it will work with everyone but here are the fish I have had without major problems. All types of Neons, Guppies and Platy Hi Fin, German Ram and Gold Veil, Rainbows, Congo and Emperor Tetra, Colidora, Killifish, Betta CrownTail, Rainbow Shark and Chinese Hi Fin (Banded Shark), Plecos and Ottos, and with an Angel.

In general Discus are not easy fish. Even experience people have episodes of them dying for no reason. This delicate fish requires patience, attention and dedication. Also require money spending. I strongly recommend spending exaggerated time watching the fish before buying it. Also try to buy the bigger ones (more expensive at the moment, but keep buying small ones and have them die). So be positive and go for it. Having them is just amazing. Hope this help a bit.
__________________
55 gallon - 3 Discus w/ company
29 gallon - Endlers w/ Cherry Shrimps
5 10 gallons - Gardneri, Striatum Moyoko, Ijebu Ode Killifish


"It's better being happy than being right"
  #2  
Old 08-19-2006, 04:58 AM
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Tim Tim is offline
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Default Re: Discus

Thanks so much for posting this and starting up a discus section. What a great article! I've also placed a copy in the discus information section at www.tropicalfishandaquariums.com/discus/discus.asp

Last edited by Tim : 12-29-2011 at 07:55 AM.
  #3  
Old 11-07-2006, 01:06 PM
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Default Re: Discus

I love these discus, at the moment I have 96lt juwel aquarium with a couple of noen tetra, silver shark, small pleco, gourami and angel.
Have been thinking of getting discus but ofcourse I can't with the my angel and Gourami because they can be aggressive. My tank does look quite empty but I really dont want to buy anyome big fish as I soo much want a pair of discus! what do you think I should do? should I wait till my angel and gourami either dies or find them a new home or should I just forget about getting Discus as they are hard to keep e.t.c Also If i buy a pair of Discus together or is it okay to buy seperate? thanks

Last edited by Tim : 09-14-2008 at 02:21 PM.
  #4  
Old 11-07-2006, 06:08 PM
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lemuelpr lemuelpr is offline
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Wink Re: Discus

I heard a lot of people say Gouramis and Discus are incompatible. Why? The "antena" (they are actually fins) of the Gourami are used by them to harass the Discus and this stress them to death. I only have had dwarf Gouramis and no problemo but who knows. Angels and Discus compatibility is kind of tricky. I once had a Discus who was inseparable from the Angel, but when add another Discus the new one fought a lot with the Angel. No one die or do real damage, but a Discus can die of stress easily. So it is more a thing that has been done but IMO depends a lot from luck. I always say that if you want to try it, consider having a small Discus and Angel grow together, or add the Angel after the Discus are stablished. And this is not your case. It is always better to have the tank with one dominant species only. Patience is always rewarding. If your tank is working nice I would think of sticking with it for some time. Remember we will always find fish we want to have. Keep doing research so when you take your desition you feel confident. HTH
__________________
55 gallon - 3 Discus w/ company
29 gallon - Endlers w/ Cherry Shrimps
5 10 gallons - Gardneri, Striatum Moyoko, Ijebu Ode Killifish


"It's better being happy than being right"

Last edited by Tim : 09-14-2008 at 02:23 PM.
  #5  
Old 11-07-2006, 07:34 PM
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Default Re: Discus

I really need Discus so Im just gonna not buy big fish and wait till my angel and gourami dies or maybe give them to my sister as she has a large set up. I cannot chance putting a Discus with my Angel because its very agressive! I also think this is because it was one of the first fish I bought, anything it sees moving it will go for it! Great looking Angel though. Have got a smaller one and that one isn't aressive at all. But as I say, when you do buy Discus do you have to get them all at the same time or is it okay to introduce one at a time? are they better in pairs or a school of 3 or more? cheers for the advice
  #6  
Old 11-07-2006, 09:56 PM
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lemuelpr lemuelpr is offline
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Default Re: Discus

My bad. They do better in groups. It will be better if they are all family. Discus are aggressive upon each other to stablish the chain of command. I have 2 but if you can get 5 brothers I think that would be ideal. Definitive. Anything else?? heheheh HTH I love Discus, so will you. Tell me what mates you plan to have with them!!!! Later
__________________
55 gallon - 3 Discus w/ company
29 gallon - Endlers w/ Cherry Shrimps
5 10 gallons - Gardneri, Striatum Moyoko, Ijebu Ode Killifish


"It's better being happy than being right"
  #7  
Old 03-03-2007, 10:42 AM
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Default Re: Discus

I have finally had a discus! I love this fish! had him/her for 3 days now and hasn't shown any sighn of stress! Feeding well and looking good because I have sand in my tank whats the best way to keep this clean? Should I do a water change now or should I wait untill the discus is 100% settled in the tank?
  #8  
Old 03-03-2007, 11:29 PM
Bernie Bernie is offline
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Default Re: Discus

Sounds like a lovely fish - I hope the tank is big enough. I would first check your levels of ammonia/nitrite to see if the tank needs a water change, you can do a small partial water change every few days or once a week if you like, which is often better than one bigger change every 2 weeks and is less stressful on the fish as it doesn't upset the water chemistry too much.

As for cleaning sand, with a good filtration system (definitely not a under gravel filter) sand can be the cleanest substrate of all once it has compacted itself tightly the food particles can not penetrate the surface (unless you have bottom dwellers that may disturb the sand). A strong filtration system will simply remove the particles from the surface. Having a well maintained filter (with regularly changed or rinsed filter floss) will keep a clean surface. In many cases, the filter intake tube may need be adjusted in order to stop the sand being pulled inside the filter which can cause major damage to it. With a good filter, the sand does not have to be cleaned as compared to the common aquarium gravel. Every now and then, it is a good idea to take out some of the sand and give it a good rinse. This can be done a section at a time if you like.

The down side of sand is that because it does compact, it doesn't breath and may get pockets of toxic gases in it, and some plants don't do well in sand because it compacts too tightly around the roots.
  #9  
Old 03-04-2007, 11:19 AM
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Thumbs up Re: Discus

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bernie View Post
Sounds like a lovely fish - I hope the tank is big enough. I would first check your levels of ammonia/nitrite to see if the tank needs a water change, you can do a small partial water change every few days or once a week if you like, which is often better than one bigger change every 2 weeks and is less stressful on the fish as it doesn't upset the water chemistry too much.

As for cleaning sand, with a good filtration system (definitely not a under gravel filter) sand can be the cleanest substrate of all once it has compacted itself tightly the food particles can not penetrate the surface (unless you have bottom dwellers that may disturb the sand). A strong filtration system will simply remove the particles from the surface. Having a well maintained filter (with regularly changed or rinsed filter floss) will keep a clean surface. In many cases, the filter intake tube may need be adjusted in order to stop the sand being pulled inside the filter which can cause major damage to it. With a good filter, the sand does not have to be cleaned as compared to the common aquarium gravel. Every now and then, it is a good idea to take out some of the sand and give it a good rinse. This can be done a section at a time if you like.

The down side of sand is that because it does compact, it doesn't breath and may get pockets of toxic gases in it, and some plants don't do well in sand because it compacts too tightly around the roots.
I have malaysian snails to help release gases. My local pet shop told me fish waste on the sand is a good thing, they help feed the plants! Ive got a good water quality in my tank, most times I test the water I get
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0 (this sometimes rases when feeding beef heart)
NitrAte approx 0.5
ph always at 6.8 - 7

I do water change every week even if the test seem fine.

I have got a gravel cleaner but cant get the waste without sucking sand up! Do you thinka net would scoop the waste? Im scared of frighning my Discus! Thanks
  #10  
Old 03-06-2007, 08:30 AM
Bernie Bernie is offline
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Default Re: Discus

Some waste can be good for plants, snail waste is very good for plants and fish like it as well because it has other nutrients in it that snails produce but fish don't. The build up of any waste isn't good for the fish though because it releases ammonia.

If you can clearly see the waste then I would try using a turkey baster which will syphon the waste off the sand without disturbing/taking up too much of the sand as well. I love using basters for this reason ( have gravel in mine) and hardly ever use a normal syphon anymore.
 


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