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Thinking of Starting a Discus Tank
Hello all,

I have been reading through many of the posts on this forum for the past few days. I have to say there is so much information out there it can get mind boggling! I have had success in the past with passively breeding both angel fish and african cichlids. I say passively because it was in the community tank that they bred and the babies actually survived.

Anyway, I am thinking of starting a discus tank. I recently moved so my tank is empty other than the stones and gravel I brought down with me. I wanted to get some peoples advice. I was thinking of the following:

55 gallon tank
gravel/sand combo for the bottom
I have granite rocks for the "natural" look
Going to add some "logs"
250 W heater (with spare in storage for emergency)
Brought Biological filter down with me and has been running for a week now.
Would like to plant tank (any suggestions?) Most likely will leave the middle 1/3rd of the tank open for the discus to swim through

Fellow Tank mates (this is where I am really confused):

Was going to buy 4-6 juvi Discus and 4-6 juvi angels
about 10 cardinals
2-3 dwarf plecos
3-5 Cory cats

My plan is to let the Angels and Discus grow until some natural pairs form and then "sell" the others to a LFS to possibly make some money back.

Does this set-up seem reasonable to people? I plan on doing about 50% water changes in a week. I might be able to get a large barrel with some peat moss in it to store the water prior to water changes.

Any further suggestions would be greatly appreciated.



Re: Thinking of Starting a Discus Tank
The more you research on discus the better. Combine all that you have read into an action plan for their care. Discus need good warm water in as clean a condition as you can keep it.

No plecostomus or any type of sucker mouth cat fish. They love the slime coat of discs.

Discus and Angels will mix, but the Discus will be much better off by themselves........I have kept both together successfully, so I won't tell you not to mix them.

Smaller water changes per week would be less for thought.


Re: Thinking of Starting a Discus Tank
I just added a couple of plecos to one of my discus tanks. Should I remove them?

alan j t

Re: Thinking of Starting a Discus Tank
ive had plecos with discus for a long time
with no issues what so ever

but on other forums ive always read about thier plecos or siamensis or flying fox or cae chasing thier discus all over the tank

so its a chance your taking

i would assume at lights out an your discus are sleeping, the algea eaters
are on the prowl for any flat surface with algea and come upon your flat discus thinking its just another spot to eat.
then they snack on some discus slime coat and are on it like white on rice:D


Re: Thinking of Starting a Discus Tank
The Plecos and Algae Eaters really harass the larger adult Discus really bad................I personally wouldn't have any in a Discus tank, but if you do, please watch them.


Re: Thinking of Starting a Discus Tank
Thanks for the replies. I have been doing my best with reading everything there is. However, it seems like every other article contradicts the last one. I have a few more weeks to keep reading until I am going to buy my discus. I want to find a breeder because the lfs do not carry them around me.

On another point. . . for those people that use sand on there tank bottoms is there a type/brand that you use? I can find only one non-marine sand and it is black which does not go well with my idea of a river-bed design.


Re: Thinking of Starting a Discus Tank
I use a layer of "play sand" under dark brown gravel. You can use play sand or construction sand, but it is light colored...........There are many sand type substrates in several colors, but make sure it is color fast so as not to leach out into the water.


Re: Thinking of Starting a Discus Tank
Light colored sand isn't too hard to find, but if you are stuck with the sand for marine tanks only you can put that in for your substrate and wait about an extra month before stocking with fish. What you do is stir the sand in the tank and do water changes to get out any minerals and salts that leach into the freshwater. Most of the sand I see at the petstores is for both marine and freshwater (at my local mom and pop store as well as Petsmart and Petco).

Dano's Idea is probably better for being able to add fish as soon as the tank is cycled.



Re: Thinking of Starting a Discus Tank
Make sure that the substrate you choose does not contain any calcium such as sea shell or crushed coral. It would create alkaline conditions which would be harmful to Discus.


Re: Thinking of Starting a Discus Tank
Thanks again for all the information. I talked to a mom and pop Lfs this weekend that I really respect. They always have beatiful discus. Apparently he gets his discus from a breeder in Boston so I will not be able to get the discus till a warm spell so I should have plenty of time to set-up my tank. He also mentioned that the fish are raised in a near neutral ph and a harder water so I should not have as much tweaking to do for my tank settings. I will look into the play sand. The pet store mentioned that Estes brand marine sand should be ok for the tank. Apparently that brand will not raise the ph above neutral. Anyway, thanks for all the advice and when I finally get the discus I will hopefully post some pics of the set-up and fish.

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