Planning On Keeping Discus...

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New Boy

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I've just brough a 2 metre tank (rena aqualife - just under 600 litres) and would like to keep discus...but have a few questions...

Firstly I'm not sure whether I will need to get an RO unit. I've read that in some areas you don't actually need an RO unit as you can soften the water by filtering though peat. Does anyone have any experience of the water in north london or hertfordshire? I know that it's at least moderately hard and about 7.4 ph but not sure if peat will soften/acidifyit enough..

Secondly, in terms of stocking. I was thinking 8 discus, 8 apisto cacatuoides (think that's the right spelling), 3 bristlenose pleco and about 30 tetra.

Any problems/potential issues with the plan below...

Decoration - bogwood, plants, and some pieces of slate
Substrate - sand in the back for the plants but very thin layer of small gravel in the front (I'm going to silicone a 3/4 inch deep divider so thatI can get the benefit of not much substrate at the front for cleaning but deep enough to grow plants at the back). Is there anything that will soften/acidify the water - could I use peat?
Equipment - 2 external filters with flow directed against glass to reduce turbulence, co2 unit for plants and help reduce ph, 2 heaters at opposite ends to maintain 85 fahrenheit
 

thegnu

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Sounds fantastic but i would check your tapwater for nitrate and if its above 20PPM i would invest in a RO/unit. Peat moss is the best for your needs but make sure its sphagnum peat moss. Its not got anything mixed in. I get mine from a garden centre
 

ArauraDiscus

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THe tank is too big for discus IMO unless you get about 12 discus which You may be made of money, but I sure "ain't".
 

angelmouse

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I also live in thames hard water area but it comes out of my tap at ph8 and kh 13-15 which is too high so i use 80% r/o water and tap mix. I also use co2 for plants and this lowers my ph further to ph6.7.
PH 7.2-4 is fine for discus, i would let the tank mature with the tetras and bristlenose and see how your water behaves in your tank before you add discus. If you are adding discus to a planted tank it is best to get them at about 4" as it is difficult to grow small discus in a planted tank.
The sand/gravel dividers work well, i have just sand which is 1cm at front to 3" at back and find it easy to clean as any debris just lays on top of the sand. i aslo use 2 heaters and filters no probs
All sounds good
Angel
 

kev_kb

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If this is your first planted tank with CO2 then forget the Discus for a while. Get the tank running for a few months and learn how to maintain it and keep the water parameters stable.

Stability is the key to keeping Discus, Therefore I would never use DIY CO2 you just cant control it enough.

As this is your first time keeping Discus I would suggest keeping them in a bare bottom tank, it really does make keeping them so much easier and your less likely to stunt them. Either way choose fish 4" and above, again they are much easier to keep and smaller Discus are really not suited to a planted setup.

Personally I would ditch the CO2, invest in an RO unit then have plants in pots or on bogwood.
 

ArauraDiscus

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AM I the only one that thinks 150 gallons is a little too big for just a few discus? Probably am, but I'm sticking to it. They like to be shy as is, but in a 150 they will be ridiculously shy.
 
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New Boy

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well, it's two years later and I didn't go down the discus route for this tank in the end choosing to go instead for sev's...however my desire to set up a discus tank has not gone away.....my main reason is that my next door neighbour kept marines for a while and invested in an RO unit for that but he found he had to run the water from his tap for a full 24 hours to 50 litres of pure RO water - given the tank is 600 litres and the lowest weekly water changes I've seen quoted are 20% per week that would need running an RO for three days and nights minimum - and a hell of a lot of wasted water which I don't feel comfortable (ethically or financially about).......

he has since invested in an HMA filter now which he says has no waste water and I've looked around the web and seen that these are sold by discus retailers - are these suitable alternatives to ro water for discus? Do they remove nitrate (as my tap water has high nitrate)? Has anyone got direct experience with these and discus?

I don't want to keep discus unless I can do seriously regular water changes and just don't see how I can achieve that with an RO unit. I don't intend to breed them but obviously don't want to keep fish in water which they are unhappy, stressed or stunted so advice appreciated.
 
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Normally neither units are needed. Tap is almost always fine. What are your nitrate levels at? Do you have you know your pH,Gh and Kh coming out of your tap?
 
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New Boy

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thanks for the quick response

I've spoken to a number of lfs who provide discus and they all use RO water exclusively for their discus.....which is why I thought I'd need RO (aligning with conditions in the lfs seems to be common advice on the web - is that just being over cautious?)

Nitrate varies between 30 and 50 ppm at different times of the year, Ph of 7.5, general hardness is 180 ppm and carbonate hardness is 240 ppm according to my API test kit...apparently it's typical north london water (have seen that written on another thread!)
 

beechey

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as angel mouse said if your tap water is very high you need ro water

but go for defo worth it there the king of tropical fish!
 
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as angel mouse said if your tap water is very high you need ro water

but go for defo worth it there the king of tropical fish!

No your water is completely fine. I keep my Discus in similar tap water, hardness is a little higher but my Nitrates are normally low. Unless you plan on keeping German bred stock, or wild stock your Discus will actually benefit from your hard water. Breeders from Asia will almost always raise there stock in water that is higher in pH/hardness, because the minerals benefit the growing Discus (so most stock you pick up should be used to a higher pH.) Your only problem is lowering your Nitrates as they are much too high. Not exactly sure how to go about doing this to be honest, as I am not sure if this comes up very often. I am sure there is a way to do this without using R/O or HMA though.

Where exactly are you located? I would be tempted to get your Discus from locally bred stock, just because these are normally higher quality Discus then the stuff you are going to find at your local fish store. I have always liked the look of the fish I have seen from Chens Discus.

<a href="http://www.chensdiscus.co.uk/" target="_blank">http://www.chensdiscus.co.uk/</a>


Actually according to another local Discus keeper I just talked to our city water sits around 8.2-8.6 pH! Almost everyone I know that keeps Discus locally does so in tap water.
 

rabbut

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The tap water will be fine. Bar your Nitrate reading, your water is "better" than mine, and mine are in strait tap. Nitrates alone are not harmful. Discus don't like Dissolved Organics in their water, and they usually build up proportionally to Nitrate in an aquarium, hence why people usually say 30-50ppm is too high, as usually they are dealing with 0-10ppm at the tap. Good water changes and a mature tank will give you a good chance of success.

As for the tank being too big, well, get them used to noise and they'll always be at the front in the swimming space, begging you for food :lol:

All the best
Rabbut
 

cheesy feet

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As said, your tap water will be fine, but if you plan to go for planted/gravel set-up get the largest discus as possible (as angelmouse said), to reduce the risk of stunting them.
I think the tank Tom Barr looks after is proof that if you have your set up right, in the correct conditions, the discus will be out and about no matter how large the tank is.
May take them some time to get used to though!
 
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New Boy

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as an alternative to R/O water could I go for an HMA filter or a nitragon to remove nitrates? they have the added benefit of not producing waste water too. Does an HMA filter remove nitrates?

Thanks for all of the good advice :good:

I'm actually located in stevenage - north hertfordshire, itself just north of london
 

rabbut

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Personally, I'd use the water from the tap "as it", it should not cause you issues :good: BTW, I find it's only the shops that don't know what they are doing with Discus that mess about with their water. If the local tap water is fine (which yours is) it's a good sign that the shop don't know how to care for the Discus correctly, and are blaming the fish for being fussy with their losses and trying to "improve" their care based on an incorrect assumption that Discus need a low pH as it's what they get in their natural habitat, inadvertently making their Discus issues worse...

All the best
Rabbut
 

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