This site is supported by the advertisements on it, please disable your AdBlocker so we can continue to provide you with the quality content you expect.
  1. We are after as many aquarium plant images that we can get, doing so will assist us in completing the aquarium plant database.

    https://barrreport.com/threads/aquatic-plant-images-wanted.14374/
    Dismiss Notice

Discus in a Dirt/Non-CO2 tank

Discussion in 'Non-CO2 Methods' started by PapstBenediktXVI, Apr 13, 2012.

  1. PapstBenediktXVI

    PapstBenediktXVI Subscriber

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2012
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    0
    Local Time:
    1:41 AM
    Hello there

    Despite the fear of asking yet another question that might make me seem not too bright I decided to open yet another thread.

    Is it possible to keep discus in a Non-CO2/Dirt tank with the very few water changes that come along with those?

    For my defence I really did an excessive internet search on the topic and all I could find was religious rumble about water changes and the like (though the word excessive may vary from one person to another so if you know/find a link I'd be glad if you posted it on here).

    Also I bought a few books on keeping discus in general though those were way too practical (and water-changey) to give me any conclusive answers.
    I couldnt even find an answer to why Discus are so very difficult to keep. What's the deal with those fish?

    btw: If this question is answered in one of the Subscriber's Reports on here just tell me; I am planning on subscribing but I just keep procrastinating it.... :nevreness:

    Cheers
    Papst
     
    #1 PapstBenediktXVI, Apr 13, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 13, 2012
  2. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
    Staff Member Administrator

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Messages:
    18,693
    Likes Received:
    725
    Local Time:
    1:41 AM
    I think a better approach is using plants generally like a refugium in a Reef tank for this goal.

    Emergent plants make excellent filters, no algae,no added CO2, and can be incorporated into the aquarium nicely.
    You can get away with hardly any water changes or none if the plant biomass is large enough and growing well.

    A friend bred some in LA back about 10 years ago doing this, no water changes for 10 years.
    But frankly, it's often easier to engineer a decent hard plumbed pre carbon filter to the tap and have hot/cold lines coming in and automate the sucker. Then none of this matters, you can change daily or once a week or 2x a week, whatever you want.

    Cost some $ to have this done, but it well worth it.

    Most of the Discus folks that write and suggest care have one goal: large as possible contest giant fish and breeding.
    Your goal might be different.

    They are all large tank bred cichlids, they are pretty hardy, I have one I cannot catch in a 350 Gal plant tank full of large Malawi Haplochromide that are also, all tank bred................
     
  3. PapstBenediktXVI

    PapstBenediktXVI Subscriber

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2012
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    0
    Local Time:
    1:41 AM
    Wow that must have been the quickest reply ever! :rolleyes:

    Are you suggesting the emersed plants because of their faster growth and waste intake compared to submersed ones? Would submersed plants in the tank take up too little waste/nutrients?
    I haven't quite figured out the whole tank yet though I had the idea of going maybe 120g very low fish load.... maybe one kind of tetras and some discus and some aquatic janitors or so...

    As for my goal I would actually prefer my discus staying a bit smaller as long as they are healthy too. I once saw a pair of those fully grown discus and found them to look a bit... grotesque. A bit like the hens of KFC
    The discus folks' goal is the main objective in my research so far. I think most of them not only try to achieve their goal but believe it to be the only possible way to keep discus.
    As for me: mine can stay small and maybe not too shiny in their colors as they look good enough anyways

    As for the pumping system: Since I can't even decently put together ikea furniture I think this wouldn't be the best idea for me; though if I find myself somebody with a great deal of ikea-experience I think I will consider it.

    Quick follow-up question: Why are discus considered to be so incredibly sensitive? Will they die/be unhappy in a low-maintainance tank or will they just turn out smaller and less colorfull?

    I hope this topic is somehow interesting to anybody else but me:torn:

    Cheers papst
     
  4. Htomassini

    Htomassini Guest

    Local Time:
    7:41 PM
    Discus are not as sensitive as people make them to be,..... but from someone who has raised them very healthy and from someone who sells them, here are my two lincoln's worth:

    They care less about ph than they do about temp. They stay healthy at 85-86f. When kept at this temp, they can go for longer intervals on w/c. Currently I have 9 in a 210 with full 200gal of water and great bio and mech filtration and every 3 weeks w/c at a steady 85.8- 86 f. They eat good, they poop good, they socialize. They grow more robust with water that is soft (3-4dkh) but higher in tds/ gh (4-6). The large water changes are great for their growout period in their first year, after that see above comment.

    How discus get sick and are problematic are due to the same reasons all other fish get ill:

    People come to my store telling my wife that they know how to keep discus and they want to put several of them in a 12gal tank. (no joke)
    People want to keep discus at a/c room temp (76f)
    People want to put 10 discus in a 55gal tank with a penguin hangon filter

    People buy discus from stores that have no idea how to keep them healthy and therefore when they do sell they are problematic.

    People try to mess with the water parameters excessivly thinking that they need to bring down the ph of their tap water every time they do a w/c, so they end up stressing the fish by fluctuating the ph and KH (more importantly) several times a week.
    All captive raised hybrid discus will adapt to any ph as long as its stable (the same goes for most fish), but when you have people making crazy changes to the water chemistry (artificialy dropping the ph by 2 in hours) they are asking for trouble.

    Lastly, hybrid discus have been bred with symbiotic parasites that their immune system keeps in check as long as people dont stress their fish (although a once a year dose of metro doesnt hurt), but by not observing the above rules, the fish gets stressed, then turns dark, stops eating, poops white, faces the back of the tank, and if left untreated, dies.

    We had a gentleman who found our store after he had already bought some stunted discus elsewhere and was struglling to keep his water parameters according to the LFS who sold him the fish. After speaking to him I found out that he was making w/c with straight RO, unbuffered, and then was adding acid buffer. I asked him if his fish acted all strange as soon as he did a w/c and he said yes. So we squared him away, using an r/o tap mix, got him to use equillibrium, got him to raise the temp and today called me to say fish have spawned, has fry and fish been doing well.

    Tom, any comments?
     
  5. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
    Staff Member Administrator

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Messages:
    18,693
    Likes Received:
    725
    Local Time:
    1:41 AM
    Buy from a good discus breeder seller.

    That's one of the best things folks can do and simply take pride and care for your fish.

    Low maintenance can be defined many ways, but you can automated water changes, then that's low maintenance and huge factor no longer an issue.
    A sump wet/dry filter will help no matter what, also makes daily automated water changes a snap.

    One client calls me once every 4-6 months, and otherwise wipes the glass and feeds fish, not much else.
     
  6. PapstBenediktXVI

    PapstBenediktXVI Subscriber

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2012
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    0
    Local Time:
    1:41 AM
    What a great summary of discus keeping! ;) probably the most reasonable thing i heard about.keeping them

    I just read through some heated discussions about a person keeping discus in a low tech tank and another planning on doing so on planted tank.net though nobody came to any real conclusion.

    To be honest I dont even know why waterchanges are so important to discus. Or what waterchanges accomplish in a balanced aquarium at all. You wouldn`t want to do an article or something on that do you tom? Because from what I read on the internetz noone quite knows.

    I still have to think about this. For I havn't read much about people actually keeping (adult) discus in dirt tanks or failing along the way. Also it is quithe the risky thing to do it seems. Though the stable ph thing sounds like a specialty of dirt tanks with the soil pretty much setting that.
    Well anyways thanks for the great answers so far :D

    Cheers papst
     
  7. Htomassini

    Htomassini Guest

    Local Time:
    7:41 PM
    The other thing to consider with dirt tanks and discus is that they are grazers. They will pick at food all day. They do this by blowing water at the substrate to make the food rise. Unless you cap the soil with gravel you will have a dirty tank.


    Henry Tomassini
    www.theplantedaquariumstore.com
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  8. Htomassini

    Htomassini Guest

    Local Time:
    7:41 PM
    The water changes vs growth is something that there are a couple of theories as to the why but solid evidence as to the results.
    The bottom line is that during the 1st year and half if growth to avoid stunting major weekly/daily wc must be done. As Tom said the best breeders perform 90% wc on the juvs at their shop daily. Then it's up to the retailer to make 60% wc on the discus at the store. I used to do a 40% every 3 to 4 days and I've had great results. Always used a wetdry plus a canister for polishing.


    Henry Tomassini
    www.theplantedaquariumstore.com
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  9. PapstBenediktXVI

    PapstBenediktXVI Subscriber

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2012
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    0
    Local Time:
    1:41 AM
    So people know W/C work but not why they do so.
    One question just came to mind though do people want Discus to grow big in order for tuem to look beautifull or be healthy? Or a better way to ask this: are discus stunted in growth unhealthy/ easily dying/ not breeding? Btw: what does stunted growth mean? Are they half the size or a few cm smaller?

    I just found an interesting article on discus eating habits
    http://www.scielo.br/pdf/ni/v6n4/v6n4a08.pdf
    Here it is stated that more than fifty percent of the content of discus' stomachs is algae/ plant detritus,l! And of course no beefheart was found either :p

    This is much more vegetal matter than we feed them right?

    Also their stomachs' fullness varys between 30 and 90% throughout the year

    Wouldnt feeding them more algae/plant matter and a little less (not 3 times a day) of everything make them contaminate the water a lot less?

    I hope Im not nagging you guys with my questions just not stopping :torn:

    Cheers papst
     
    #9 PapstBenediktXVI, Apr 15, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 15, 2012
  10. Htomassini

    Htomassini Guest

    Local Time:
    7:41 PM
    Well, I feed my discus Omega One algae wafers ( the only brand they like) once to twice a week. I find that it helps keep them regular. I also feed them piscine misys shrimp almost every morning. It is clean low fat healthy protein and blood worms and or pellets at night. They have not had beefheart since they left the breeder. Breeders use beefheart because it fattens them up and they can deworm easily by putting the meds into a food that is very tasty. I dont think that beefheart should be used outside of that enviroment.

    As far as stunted, you are looking at a 50-70% reduction in size with eyeballs that are disproportionate to their bodies and a shapes that do not look right.

    Certain hybrids with proper care will grow up to be bigger than their wild cousins, but even the wild ones will generaly be 2-3x the size of a stunted fish.
     
  11. PapstBenediktXVI

    PapstBenediktXVI Subscriber

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2012
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    0
    Local Time:
    1:41 AM
    Hello there:p

    Im sorr for not answering for a little while now. I hope it didnt look like i lost interest in my own discussion i was just working the worst hours lately. To be honest i thought the ctaze with discus wad abou them contain tje natural size of 12 to 15 cm. I think i am going to see what mxx on plantedtank.net does and if he succeeds i might try it and keep those fish ;)

    Oh and thanks for your duration hitomSssini ;D its always a good pppurtunity to ask somebody with a great deal of experience


    You wouldnt know the average excretion of no3 of a healthy discus would you?

    Cheers papst
     
  12. Htomassini

    Htomassini Guest

    Local Time:
    7:41 PM
  13. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
    Staff Member Administrator

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Messages:
    18,693
    Likes Received:
    725
    Local Time:
    1:41 AM
    You can measure the excretion by weighing the food and knowing it's Nitrogen context, then assume for growing discus, a 10% retention rate, and a full size fish: 7-8%.

    Say you add 1 gram of dry weight food that is 10% Nitrogen as protein(say 40% protein).

    100mgs are fish biomass and the rest of the 900 mg is waste.

    Adding 900 mg to say a 90 Gal tank= 340 liters

    900mg/340 liters = 2.64 ppm of N waste.
    This will start as NH4 and some will be removed in that form, then some fraction will be transformed into NO2/NO3.
     
  14. 1077

    1077 Guru Class Expert

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2010
    Messages:
    189
    Likes Received:
    2
    Local Time:
    1:41 AM
    All about expectation's in my view.What do you want from the fish?
    Adult Discus would fair better in the tank mentioned by OP for they don't need the protein (several small feeding's per day) for growth that younger fish do.And consequently fewer water changes are needed to dilute/remove organic's that in excesss have negative effect on lot's of fishes in closed system,not just Discus.
     
    #14 1077, May 16, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: May 16, 2012
  15. PapstBenediktXVI

    PapstBenediktXVI Subscriber

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2012
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    0
    Local Time:
    1:41 AM
    Hi there :)

    @tom: wow thanks for the insight :) it's always nice to know how to calculate stuff without much testing on my own, makes the whole hobby much easier.
    I'll use this for my research on the possibility of keeping discus in a non-co2 tank.

    I think I'm gonna delay that plan and wait until I'm more experienced with non-co2 tanks and finally read your reports and DW's book again (just 3 more days of working as a medic/sick-people-transportation-guy and then I'll have plenty of time)
    I dont wanna kill any more fish.

    @1077 (is that L34D for Ioll?): I guess my expectations are pretty low: I want them to live long and healthy. No breeding or super shiny colours (unless that's directly connected to their health). I thought about getting adult discus for that kind of tank for I also don't want their growth to stunt (for whatever reason they do so :confused:). Being cheap on young discus would probably just cause more trouble than it'd help me.

    Again thanks for the answers :D I'm getting a 120g tank soon enough -with or without discus- so I'll take my time and experiment with emersed plants or submersed ones and let them grow out of the tank. I can always measure the N intake to see if it will suffice I guess.

    cheers papst
     
  16. Htomassini

    Htomassini Guest

    Local Time:
    7:41 PM
    What discus you get will depend on your budget. But here are some things to consider

    They are social fish - they do better in groups
    They stay healthy at warm temp 84 to 85 is the sweet spot
    Stunted discus don't look right they end up having a big eye small body ratio and I do not know the long term effects.

    They are awesome long term fish/ pets but the 1st year of growth is demanding

    [​IMG]


    Henry tomassini
    www.theplantedaquariumstore.com
    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
     
Loading...

Share This 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