First time discus aquarium

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Connor.bonnicksen

AC Members
Mar 2, 2016
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Hello every one im sure you have all seen this many times before. Ive been surfing the net reading the forums but i think its time to interact.

Im interested in starting a 55 gallon discus tank. To be clear ive had aquariums before about 3 years ago
It was fancy guppys and mollys a basic start to the hobby i fell in love with discus recently and want to dive in but id like to do it right from the start

I have a marinland canister filter that does something like 260 GPH

Sand substrate

Two pieces of large drift wood

Two ehiem in tank heaters i have the temp at 82F right now

No fish!

Obviously i want to get the nitrogen cycle going before i do anything

Im looking for advice on how to get the tank started
Should i do some plants?
Should i introduce neon tetras first?

Id like a comunity tank not one where my only fish are discus but deffinatly one where the discus are the center piece.

Im thinking 4-5 mature discus
A school of neon tetras
2 loaches i dont want to do clown if i can help it.

Any ideas thoughts or advice?
 

fishorama

AC Members
Jun 28, 2006
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200
SF Bay area, CA
Obviously, you need to read this http://aquariacentral.com/forums/threads/beginners-guide-to-getting-started-with-discus.252645/ an awesome guide!!

My quick take is you'll want a 75g or larger tank...neons will be unhappy at discus temps, cardinals are much better...but may be food for eventually for adult discus.

Loaches are my "thing", clowns are temp happy but too big & rowdy for discus (they get +10 inches)...yoyos, probably too aggressive, kubotai (angelicus , I haven't kept them...yet but may be ok), striatas (kinda shy) or sidthimunki (kinda small but probably ok & cute!).

There also some discus happy corydoras if you just want bottom feeders & not loachy-cuteness (yeah, some do, I don't know why, lol). 2 that fit the discus temp-thing--c.sterbai (classic) & Corydoras oiapoquensis (yeah, I couldn't spell it, went to planetcatfish) like panda corys but with striped tails, very cute but kinda rare in the hobby. Planet catfish also lets you search by temps.

So, now that you've read Paul's guide...you see you'll need a bigger than 55g, a 75g at least for the future (not too distant) but bigger tanks are always better! & bare bottom & discus only for now...

Research some more before taking the discus plunge, they are amazing fish but not for the lazy or cheap, been there, tried that...learn from my & many, many others' mistakes. You CAN do it!
 

Connor.bonnicksen

AC Members
Mar 2, 2016
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Wow that guid is amazimg! I dont know how i read as much as i have and that never poped up

I do plan on getting a larger tank but right now my old 55 is available and in budget.

Thank you for the info on the loaches and coryanders i will look into the ones you mentioned

And yeah i will continue reserching thats the whole point right now reaserch reserch research
 

Big Bass

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Mar 2, 2016
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That one is about six inches. After over 30 years in the hobby, if it aint oddball i get bored easily. Not to really plug Franks but he carries one of the best selections of different stuff ive ever found and is a great guy to work with.
 

discuspaul

AC Members
Jun 22, 2010
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Surrey, B.C. Canada (Vancouver)
Real Name
Paul
Hello every one im sure you have all seen this many times before. Ive been surfing the net reading the forums but i think its time to interact.

Im interested in starting a 55 gallon discus tank. To be clear ive had aquariums before about 3 years ago
It was fancy guppys and mollys a basic start to the hobby i fell in love with discus recently and want to dive in but id like to do it right from the start

I have a marinland canister filter that does something like 260 GPH

Sand substrate

Two pieces of large drift wood

Two ehiem in tank heaters i have the temp at 82F right now

No fish!

Obviously i want to get the nitrogen cycle going before i do anything

Im looking for advice on how to get the tank started
Should i do some plants?
Should i introduce neon tetras first?

Id like a comunity tank not one where my only fish are discus but deffinatly one where the discus are the center piece.

Im thinking 4-5 mature discus
A school of neon tetras
2 loaches i dont want to do clown if i can help it.

Any ideas thoughts or advice?
Hi Connor,
Fishorama has given you some good advice, in particular the need for a larger tank than 55 gallon if you want to eventually have a community tank with other fish; cardinals make good discus tank-mates, but neons do not; and you should start with bare-bottom and discus only first.

Also, do a fishless cycle using store bought ammonia - full instructions are contained in my Guide.
- Don't get any less than 5 discus for compatibility/socializing reasons, and to avoid excessive or serious pecking order establishment issues (bullying).
- And most important of all, get your discus of a decent size - no less than 3", preferably larger, and ONLY from a well-known, experienced source, fully reputed to supply good quality, healthy, & well-shaped discus.
Tell me where you're located, and I'll direct you to the proper source(s).

Meantime, please carefully go over my 6 Cardinal Rules that newbies should follow to succeed with keeping discus, which follows:

D-I-S-C-U-S - 6 CARDINAL RULES FOR NEWBIES TO FOLLOW

First I'd just like to mention once again that discus are hardier than many people think, and are not difficult to keep, so long as one is prepared to accept and adhere to a few key practices that will provide the best chances of success with discus.

This listing is recorded more or less in order of importance:

1) - D - Do your homework well before delving into discus. Read and research all you can beforehand. Googling will certainly help, as well as spending a good deal of time reading the posts and threads on the simplydiscus.com forum, particularly the stickies in the 'Discus Basics for Beginners' section, which will provide you with much of the material you need to digest.

2) - I - Investigate and learn of the best sources to get your discus stock. Find those breeders &/or importers that are long time, well-experienced, responsible, reputable, and known to supply high quality, healthy, and well-shaped discus. Buy your discus from one of these sources in order to insure that you get off on the best footing possible.
This is the single, most important factor in succeeding with discus.

The simplydiscus.com forum has a sponsors section which lists a good number of high quality discus suppliers in North America. Check it out.

3) - S - Set up and plan to follow a strict regular routine of fresh water changes, tank wipe-downs and cleansing, vacuuming of wastes, and regular filter and media cleaning, changes, replacements, and maintenance. Be fully prepared for the kind of commitment it takes to produce and maintain the highest water quality and conditions that you can.

4) - C - Carefully consider the type of tank set up you start with. Make sure the tank size is ample enough to start with 5 or 6 discus. Don't be tempted to begin with a tank of less than 55 or 60 gallons, and don't try to justify going smaller by just getting 1, 2, 3, or 4 discus for cost or other reasons.
Wait till you have sufficient resources to get a proper-sized tank, and the suitable size and number of fish to insure continuing good health and harmonious discus sociability.
Do not start with small, undersized, very juvenile fish which have not yet developed a more mature immune system, are more demanding to raise properly, and much more prone to health problems and other issues. Get fish of at least 3.0" in size, preferably larger.

5) - U - Undertake to start off with a bare bottom tank, unless you're getting fully adult fish and have previous good experience with fish-keeping generally, and maintaining a planted tank in particular. If you must have some decor, limit yourself to a very thin sand substrate layer, and perhaps a piece of driftwood with just a couple of small plants attached, or one or two potted plants.
Once you gain several months' of experience getting to know your discus' traits & behavior, and your discus get larger, then you may proceed to an aqua-scaped environment, to possibly include some other species of compatible discus tank-mates. Feed a varied diet, several times a day, and learn which foods will achieve a nutritious diet, by researching.

6) - S - Simplify. Keep things as simple as you can to start. Don't complicate your start with discus, at least at first, by placing them in a heavily planted environment, using CO2 and a strict fertilization regime. Make sure your tank is fully cycled before adding the fish, and don't be tempted to alter or change the pH of your water, or modify your water conditions and parameters by using chemicals of any kind. No need to use RO water or adopt any other procedures that would tend to complicate what should be a simple start to your discus launch. If you plan on eventually having a community tank set-up, carefully research the species of other fish you'd like to keep with the discus, to insure they are able to withstand the higher discus temp of at least 82 F, and that they are fully compatible with discus.

And do a complete and proper quarantine before adding any such tank-mates to your discus tank.

Follow these 'rules', and there's little doubt you will succeed with discus !
 
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Connor.bonnicksen

AC Members
Mar 2, 2016
11
0
1
28
Hi Connor,
Fishorama has given you some good advice, in particular the need for a larger tank than 55 gallon if you want to eventually have a community tank with other fish; cardinals make good discus tank-mates, but neons do not; and you should start with bare-bottom and discus only first.

Also, do a fishless cycle using store bought ammonia - full instructions are contained in my Guide.
- Don't get any less than 5 discus for compatibility/socializing reasons, and to avoid excessive or serious pecking order establishment issues (bullying).
- And most important of all, get your discus of a decent size - no less than 3", preferably larger, and ONLY from a well-known, experienced source, fully reputed to supply good quality, healthy, & well-shaped discus.
Tell me where you're located, and I'll direct you to the proper source(s).

Meantime, please carefully go over my 6 Cardinal Rules that newbies should follow to succeed with keeping discus, which follows:

D-I-S-C-U-S - 6 CARDINAL RULES FOR NEWBIES TO FOLLOW

First I'd just like to mention once again that discus are hardier than many people think, and are not difficult to keep, so long as one is prepared to accept and adhere to a few key practices that will provide the best chances of success with discus.

This listing is recorded more or less in order of importance:

1) - D - Do your homework well before delving into discus. Read and research all you can beforehand. Googling will certainly help, as well as spending a good deal of time reading the posts and threads on the simplydiscus.com forum, particularly the stickies in the 'Discus Basics for Beginners' section, which will provide you with much of the material you need to digest.

2) - I - Investigate and learn of the best sources to get your discus stock. Find those breeders &/or importers that are long time, well-experienced, responsible, reputable, and known to supply high quality, healthy, and well-shaped discus. Buy your discus from one of these sources in order to insure that you get off on the best footing possible.
This is the single, most important factor in succeeding with discus.

The simplydiscus.com forum has a sponsors section which lists a good number of high quality discus suppliers in North America. Check it out.

3) - S - Set up and plan to follow a strict regular routine of fresh water changes, tank wipe-downs and cleansing, vacuuming of wastes, and regular filter and media cleaning, changes, replacements, and maintenance. Be fully prepared for the kind of commitment it takes to produce and maintain the highest water quality and conditions that you can.

4) - C - Carefully consider the type of tank set up you start with. Make sure the tank size is ample enough to start with 5 or 6 discus. Don't be tempted to begin with a tank of less than 55 or 60 gallons, and don't try to justify going smaller by just getting 1, 2, 3, or 4 discus for cost or other reasons.
Wait till you have sufficient resources to get a proper-sized tank, and the suitable size and number of fish to insure continuing good health and harmonious discus sociability.
Do not start with small, undersized, very juvenile fish which have not yet developed a more mature immune system, are more demanding to raise properly, and much more prone to health problems and other issues. Get fish of at least 3.0" in size, preferably larger.

5) - U - Undertake to start off with a bare bottom tank, unless you're getting fully adult fish and have previous good experience with fish-keeping generally, and maintaining a planted tank in particular. If you must have some decor, limit yourself to a very thin sand substrate layer, and perhaps a piece of driftwood with just a couple of small plants attached, or one or two potted plants.
Once you gain several months' of experience getting to know your discus' traits & behavior, and your discus get larger, then you may proceed to an aqua-scaped environment, to possibly include some other species of compatible discus tank-mates. Feed a varied diet, several times a day, and learn which foods will achieve a nutritious diet, by researching.

6) - S - Simplify. Keep things as simple as you can to start. Don't complicate your start with discus, at least at first, by placing them in a heavily planted environment, using CO2 and a strict fertilization regime. Make sure your tank is fully cycled before adding the fish, and don't be tempted to alter or change the pH of your water, or modify your water conditions and parameters by using chemicals of any kind. No need to use RO water or adopt any other procedures that would tend to complicate what should be a simple start to your discus launch. If you plan on eventually having a community tank set-up, carefully research the species of other fish you'd like to keep with the discus, to insure they are able to withstand the higher discus temp of at least 82 F, and that they are fully compatible with discus.

And do a complete and proper quarantine before adding any such tank-mates to your discus tank.

Follow these 'rules', and there's little doubt you will succeed with discus !
I love the DISCUS rule set,

i have a 55 and im looking at 70's

1) Im being very patient with the tank to assure that it is properly cycled ( to my wifes dismay)

2) I plan on hitting the forums pretty had ive visited several LFS only to be disappointed, the water changes are Few and far between id say half the stock looks all wrong on the eye to body ratio ( huge eyes) and i will not be taking fish or advice from these establishments. ( i live in Colorado)

3) Im Getting back into Aquariums because Ive had a recent change in Jobs and am now in an office, being used to field work and being busy all the time moving into the position im in leaves me with A LOT of time on my hands i remember working with my dad to maintain his tanks and now i find the task almost as therapeutic as watching the fish.

4) My wife would kill me if i did a bare bottom tank, right now i have about an inch of sand and two pieces of drift wood ill hold off on planting until after the discus are introduced and we know each other a little better.

5) i do want to start out with mature fish this is a very important aspect of my over all plan

6) I want to get the tank cycled and stable read and record my levels i have no intention of overly treating the water i want the hobby to be routine and somewhat therapeutic something to do daily and enjoy the fruits of my labor i know the goal is stability
 
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