I've always wanted to get some discus into my tank.
but I've contacted a couple breeders...and they have been always keeping them in low nitrate (i think max 10ppm)...and 50% w/c daily..
I'm not trying to breed them or anything...but not sure if it can adapt to my tank...
You should forgive the Discus people, for they knoweth not what they say....
I've bred Discus in several of my tanks, I did not try, they just did their thing and kept on for a few months.
The issue is water quality, NO3 build up for over feeding and NH4=> NO2=>NO3 and no NO3 removal by plants, organic waste build up is quite another matter.
O2 levels are higher in planted tanks for 50-100% of the time than anything they can hope to achieve using filters or aeration.
The cover available for the fish is also much denser, they can hide if they want or go roaming around.
If you want to do more frequent larger water changes, some do 50% 2x a week, some use autochanges, some do every other day etc.
50-60% weekly seems to do the trick for me.
12-14 discus and other fishes in a 120 gal well fed worked well at 2w/gal+ CO2 etc.
If they fish are old, healthy, good sized and happy and breeding...........perhaps the anal Discus folks would be happier with a bit plant fiber
You could say the same of CO2 and Discus, Temp for plants, etc.
My fish bred without using live parasite laden worms(You can add medications to the worms prior to feeding them), good frozen food and live brine, temp was 82 F, high light(4w/gal), lots of plants, NO3 15ppm or higher, PO4 1.2 ppm, traces high, GH 9 , KH 5.5, weekly 60% water changes.
I bred Blue diamonds regularly.
So I suppose if it is bad, cannot be done, whatever claims they might make....why did they bred and were so healthy and grew fast?
I've kept fish for over 30 years now......they are big old cichlids, they are not wimpy sensitive fish, that's a myth. If you want to farm the fish and raise them only(Max size and max growth rate), then you can do the frequent water changes, bare bottom tanks and stuff them with as much worms as you want.
Those tanks will never win any aquascape competitions.
The fish, if they are very lucky, might.
AF cichlids do well in planted tanks as well. You can adjust things a little each way and meet in the middle , plants are able to live in a wide range of parameters, the fish are fine in planted tanks.
Most brereder are into producing as much and as large as fish as possible, that is not the goal of many that buy them.
We have several big name breeders here in SF bay area, I know them.
Bing Seto and Dick Au both are local here, I talked a long time to several folks, Dick in particular and another gal, many years ago.
I am not a big Discus fan personally, but I do like Altum angels and have kept those numerous ocassions, no breeding yet
I would say they are more fragile than any Discus.
They do quite well in my tanks.
My Discus never had any disease ever. Same for any of my fish in planted tanks............Ask them if they can say the same without lying.
Happy plants = happy fish.