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Discus in Planted tanks

Discussion in 'Fish for Planted Tanks' started by eddtango, Nov 28, 2006.

  1. eddtango

    eddtango Prolific Poster

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    I know that a lot of Discus owners keep their fish in bare tanks,is it possible to keep them in a fully planted tank? What kind of plants can tolerate the high temperature required for maintaining Discus?
     
  2. nursie

    nursie Lifetime Members
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    I know some folks that keep discus in planted tanks.
    The one I currently have is low light with a red wendtii crypt, an amazon sword, water sprite, sunset hygro,spiral val, dwarf sag and another small crypt that I don't remember what it is. I don't see any temp related issues with these plants. Not sure what temp level you are refering to...mine is maybe 82-83.
     
  3. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I kept and bred them in this tank:

    Many discus folks and a few plant folks seem to think they are incompatible.
    They are very mistaken. Perhaps they failed themselves due to a lack of understanding and execution? That's what I've seen, but I've had no issues issues keeping either together for a decade or more now.

    Have been listening to Discus zealots again?:D haha

    If the goal is max sizes, max brood from breeding, where fish are the absolute primary focus, then bare tanks are good.

    If the goal is having nice looking tanks with plants, nice healthy fish, then planted tanks are great.

    Fish may be grown out in bare tanks and then transferred or you may raise them up in planted tanks with a little less feeding etc. Depends if you want the largest most massive fish. That's not my personal goal with any fish though.:cool:

    I want them healthy, happy, and in a nice home they can live in for many years. Not 4 ugly glass walls. Same for any fish. I raise fish in nice somewhat natural environments, not cattle on a farm. But there are fish farmers trying to get the most production and size/growth out of their livestock so they give their advice, but you need to keep in mind what is your goal.

    When folks say Discus and plants are not compatible?
    You know they are off their rockers!

    I hear this all the time on the web which is why I'm dicussing this in such terms, it's not a personal thing here directed towards you.;)

    Discus are pretty hardy critters truth be told.
    So are plants.

    Most every plants can be kept at 82-84F which is about where I keep most of the SA tanks I keep and tend to.
    Soft water is fine also for plants.
    High light is fine, fish will hide in the plants if they are tired of it or swim under a root etc.
    CO2 is fine if you also make sure the O2 is also good(they turn black/darker if the O2 drops).
    Adding KNO3 is not the same as Fish waste from fish food etc, which starts out as NH4 and drains O2 levels or is used by plants directly which also adds O2 through photosynthesis.
    There are other misconceptions and no Discus person to date has provided good evidence to counter the arguments I've made in the past.
    I have been able to falsify each one of their claims. Thus such hypothesis must be rejected and a new alternative one is made.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     

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  4. nursie

    nursie Lifetime Members
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    The breeder got my discus from kinda splits it down the middle.
    He has bare bottom tanks, but has a nice big chunk of planted driftwood in the tank. The fish get the benefit of the plants, the tank looks nicer, and he still has a tank that's easier to clean.

    The discus very much benefit from having the plants behind which to hide.
     
  5. eddtango

    eddtango Prolific Poster

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    Discus

    Knowing that Discus love to forage food from the substrate,is it better to have sand or gravel for substrate in a Discus tank?
     
  6. JoeBanks

    JoeBanks Prolific Poster

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    I'm keeping discus in a 180 gallon planted, at 80-82 degrees. I've had no problems with the fish.

    The only issues I had was when I was feeding them beefheart. It seemed to pollute the tank to the point that the water was always murky. I switched to a high quality flake instead. The water is clear now, but the growth of the discus is extremely slow.

    Personally, I think discus in the 3-4 inch range are just right for most planted tanks. If you have 6-8 inch discus in the tank, they seem out of proportion with most aquascapes and make the tank look smaller overall.

    For example, the tank in the link below loses all of it's impact and intricacy because of the large discus. Looks like something out of a 60's monster movie: "Attack of the Killer Discus"


    2006 AGA Aquascaping Contest
     
  7. JoeBanks

    JoeBanks Prolific Poster

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    Interesting quote from a sheet of acclimation instructions that I received when I ordered discus from an on-line merchant:

    "Do not keep your discus in water under 85 degrees or THEY WILL DIE!"

    He must have accidentally sent me an arctic discus species, because even at 78 degrees, they're completely fine.
     
  8. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Have some rocks, driftwood etc, they can feed from those.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  9. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Quite a number of folks have breed them at 82F, clearly not too wimpy if they are breeding at such temps.

    I think scare methods are applied by many breeders.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  10. nursie

    nursie Lifetime Members
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    From what I understand from talking to discus folk..the picky conditions are more for breeding purposes. You do have a variety of info out there. I feed mine blood worms and brine shrimp, and flake. I stay away from the beefheart becasue I'd heard it mucked up the water, I use either a worm feeder for the blood worms, or a turkey baster. It tends to keep food frm getting all over the place , and the liittle rascals practically suck out of the end of it anyway:rolleyes:
    When they are hungry...they rattle their wormfeeder against the side of the tank. they have me trained. :D
     
  11. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Here's a simple routine that works well, feed BH about a few hours of that night befor eht enext day's water change.

    You can feed lots of BH each day, but you also need to do large water changes, just like many breeders do in their bare bottom tanks!!!
    Many do daily water changes.

    Plant tanks do very well with daily water changes BTW and adding ferts back maintains very stable conditions.

    Lots of work though.

    Some folks do 2x a week water changes with Discus and plants.
    This workls very well also with heavy feeding routines.

    Point is, you can do heavy feeding in planted tanks, but you also need to do the heavy water changes in conjunction.

    I suggest live brine, good flake/prepared foods, BH, Blood worms, Glass worms, Mysis shrimp, live earthworms etc etc.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  12. JoeBanks

    JoeBanks Prolific Poster

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    How do you feed the BH? I haven't found a good way to do it. They can't seem to get it out of a worm feeder, and if I crumble it up, it ends up sitting on the bottom of the tank. Is there a feeder out there that works for BH?

    Also...

    As Tom suggested in the past, make water changes as easy as possible and you won't put off doing them. I just set up an automatic water changing system involving sprinkler solenoids and an x-10 controller. I can sit on my couch and do water changes with a remote control. If anyone is interested, let me know and I'll post the details.
     
  13. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    TRather than putting up barriers to things such as water changes, feeding etc, try figuring out a simpler way to avoid work and laborious issues.

    Then focus on the parts of the hobby you really enjoy.:cool:

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  14. uklau

    uklau Junior Poster

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    Automatic water changing system

    JoeBanks, I'm very interested in the automatic water changing system. Hope you don't mind sharing the details when you have a moment. Thanks.
     
  15. shane

    shane Lifetime Charter Member
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    I like feeding my discus Hikari Bloodworms through a worm feeder. Very few of the worms make it to the bottom. The worms that do make it to the bottom go to the Cory's I have. I have noticed that tetra's also love blood worms.

    I have fed beefheart as well but in a bare bottom tank. I think I would stay away from beefheart in a planted tank. It gets too messy.
     
  16. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    BH can be fed with a white sand foreground or a cup like rock formation that should be ntural and part of the scape.

    Worm feeders are bad for BH.
    You also do not need to feed them a lot of BH, just mix it in every so often, fed them a little BH first, then later, feed them more.

    Also, I think more current is better than less, exercise seems to help all fish eat better and humans too for that matter.



    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  17. Tom Wood

    Tom Wood Guru Class Expert

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    I don't have the link references right here now, but it is my understanding that young Discus put on weight/size quickly until they are sexually mature, and then slow way down and redirect their biology toward reproduction. Hence the strategy to feed them high protein diets like beefheart to grow them up big, fast. Sexual maturity for a Discus is about nine months from birth. After that date they grow very slowly.

    So, keeping Discus in a planted tank involves two strategies: 1) Grow them big elsewhere, or 2) Don't worry about it and enjoy smaller fish.
     
  18. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Like growing kids, if they are not fed good nutrition as they develop, they will not gain the same size, height etc.

    When they are adults, and then get all the nuitrition, then it no longer matters. You can fed them whatever, they will grow taller.

    Take a kid from a 3rd world country that grew up very poor and not well fed.
    They tend to be much shorter than the their 1st generation kids in the USA, nearly 10-12" shorter.
    Same genes, just poorer development.

    Same with plants, same with fish, same with the development of most things.

    They have critical peroids when they need good nutrients and lots of it. After, it's less of an issue.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  19. Rhinoman

    Rhinoman Lifetime Charter Member
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    Maybe a little off topic but in the wild what size are Discus schools?
     
  20. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Smaller than the giants I've seen in the breeder's tanks.
    Just like one would predict........

    Are agricultural plants larger and domesticated farm animals larger and grow faster than wild types for the trait we desire?

    Of course.

    Otherwise we'd use the wild type :cool:

    I hope folks make this distinction, horticulture and aquaculture are not "natural", nor is agriculture. We alter things dramatically and have enormous control to optimize conditions.

    Same deal with Reefs and other systems, I'm not sure why so many assume that the natural parameters and sizes etc are the best or optimal. They just are whatever critters/plants are able to survive at this point in time under those conditions.

    Natural does not imply optimal.
    Many miss that concept.


    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
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