new to discus

Discussion in 'Discus' started by philfarm, May 29, 2008.

  1. philfarm
    Offline

    philfarm Algae harvester

    • APSA Member
    53%
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2007
    Messages:
    597
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Centurion
    hey all,
    A friend of mine recently bought a small turquoise discus from panorama and has had it for about a month now, the thing is he's new to fishkeeping and still completely useless at it. "he battles to keep guppies and angels alive"
    My question to the discus guys is, are they really as sensitive as people make out? And I'v read on the net that you can get the more hybridized fish that are more tolerant to water conditions!? So if I were to start with discus what would you recommend and where would I get some quality fish like this?
    :fish:

    thanks phil..
     
  2. Peter
    Offline

    Peter Algae harvester

    • APSA Member
    40%
    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2006
    Messages:
    282
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    26
    Location:
    Randpark Ridge
    Hi phil

    Well on averages? some are a lot tougher then most, but many factors play a roll on how much the fish can take?lol ?kind of tricky to answer and keeping it simple.
    I think it would be best to research as much as possible to pick up the fundamental basics in husbandry before getting any and continue to ask as many question as possible.

    If I had to choose, it would be the cheapest ones I can find while I learn before moving to the more expensive ones, if your confidence levels are good then start with them. I would stay clear of strains like Pigeon Bloods in the beginning because they in general are more difficult to ?read? when they are not happy, so i would stick to the browns and blues
     
  3. Theos
    Offline

    Theos Green fingers

    • APSA Member
    9%
    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2007
    Messages:
    499
    Likes Received:
    43
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Greenpoint
    Why not do some research before just asking on the forums?
     
  4. philfarm
    Offline

    philfarm Algae harvester

    • APSA Member
    53%
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2007
    Messages:
    597
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Centurion
    ok so I managed to get myself the cheapest discus I could find, and he seems ok in my 1.2m community tank, abit shy but otherwise fine, the thing is he only seems to eat blood worms and at that only the ones that land right in front of him, how do I fix this?
     
  5. turando101
    Offline

    turando101 Algae harvester

    • APSA Member
    40%
    Joined:
    May 25, 2008
    Messages:
    228
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    26
    Location:
    Cape Town - Northern Subs
    "Edit" Message deleted...it was to harsh and confrontational :angel4:
     
  6. Peter
    Offline

    Peter Algae harvester

    • APSA Member
    40%
    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2006
    Messages:
    282
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    26
    Location:
    Randpark Ridge
    Hi phil

    Congrats in taking the plunge. It will take a while for him to settle down depending on its character, he would feel better if he had more company of his own kind, so you might have to dig a little deeper into your pocket and get a least another 3, if you are able to get a total of 6 would be even better. What size did you get?

    Introducing a new type of food can be challenging especially when he is in a new surrounding and in competition for food with tank mates, the fact he took bloodworm is a good sign he will eat when he?s ready. What other types of food have you tried? and what was he fed at the LFS before you got him? Can you give some more information of his environment? for example: water parameters and what other type of fish you have in your community tank?
     
  7. morpheus
    Offline

    morpheus Noob

    • APSA Member
    80%
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2008
    Messages:
    57
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Centurion
    Discus got the reputation as being sensitive when they were still wild caught and you really needed to know your stuff! These days with tank bred varieties I do not see them as being overly sensitive. If you can keep any fish alive long term, you should be okay with Discus. The implication of my previous statement is that you do regular water changes and monitor your water quality.

    Discus like all cichlids have quite an appetite. You may find the lone Discus is being out competed for food. They are a bit ungainly as you may have noticed and do not compete well with faster more agile fish. Being that they are quite greedy, he will eat eventually but it is important to watch him. They can become spoiled so if you are only feeding one type of food, eventually he may insist on only eating that type. This of course is not good as they require a varied diet just like most animals do.

    There are many good resources on the internet for Discus. Often however you will find they all preach the same antiquated gospel about extreme temperatures etc. Yes those methods do work but having kept Discus for almost 20 years, I can tell you those are not the only methods that work. What is important though is that you do the research and provide your fish with the best environment you can.

    Morpheus
     
  8. wearsbunnyslippers
    Offline

    wearsbunnyslippers Administrator Staff Member

    • Super Admin
    23%
    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2007
    Messages:
    6,333
    Likes Received:
    1,122
    Trophy Points:
    223
    Location:
    Johannesburg South
    hey phil,

    a lot of discus that you would buy in your LFS are bred locally and not wild caught as far as i am aware, so should be a lot more tolerant of local water conditions. please note i said tolerant, this does mean they will be happy or thrive in anything less than perfect conditions.

    in a heavily planted tank you should be able to get away with fewer water changes, and i find the planted tank guys a lot more responsible in testing their water parameters anyway.

    like peter mentioned, discus are schooling fish, so they should be kept in groups of at least 3, but preferably in groups of 5 or more, otherwise they do not color up as well, seem shy, start picking on each other, do not eat well etc.

    i have two discus that have doubled in size since i got them, and have quickly outgrown my tank, and i have not found them particularly demanding. i do weekly changes more out of habit than necessity, my plants keep the water pretty stable, using up all the nitrites and ammonia probably as quickly as it is produced.

    i started out testing my water on a daily basis when i first got discus and this has decreased to bi-monthly or when i feel like it and my water is always fine, yay for planted tanks!!!

    if you are breeding discus you need pristine water conditions, with some breeders changing their water 5 times a day or so to stop them getting stunted, but for a normal community tank, just keeping up with your water parameters and regular water changes, you should be fine!

    again i agree with peter in saying that go for some cheap ones first and see how you do.

    as for getting them to eat other food, mine started with bloodworm only which they were fed at the shop, and started eating flakes, pellets, brine shrimp etc. so now eat whatever i put in there, it just takes time.
     
  9. philfarm
    Offline

    philfarm Algae harvester

    • APSA Member
    53%
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2007
    Messages:
    597
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Centurion
    WOW,
    Guys I truly appreciate all the help, thanks for taking the time to type out all that info for a "noob", I have done lots of reading on the net but I dont always believe it, so Im just trying to fill the gaps with reliable sources..

    Ok the first mistake I made was not asking, Panorama what they were feeding him and secondly, as a student Im completely broke so was to scared to buy as many as I would have liked, for fear of them all dying (will six be ok in a 1.2 community tank, or would I have to forgo my other fishies?)

    He/she is medium size between 7-10cm... his environment is a Heavily planted 1.5, with plenty of swimming space in the middle, moderate water current, 28'C, A pH of 6.8, his tank mates are 9 different types of cory, 2 types of rainbows( praecox and threadfin) a hatchet, rams, a pleco and about 40 guppy fry, "but he doesnt seem to try eat them" and water that I think is fairly hard "Stellenbosch tap water" I'll get a GH test kit asap.
    Oh and Morpheus I have a almost perfect track record so far but they have all been easy fish to keep...
    W.B.S what %water change do you do? and do you treat the water first or let it stand for a few days before adding it to the tank? in the past iv just put it straight from the tap into the tank with anti-chlorine (but im assuming for discus this will not do!?)

    I have tried all the food types I had; Omega one: super coulor, Tetra prim: complete food, Tetra Variety, Tetra Discus coulor, Omega one: shrimp pellets, frozen blood worms and Daphnia... what is the best food to get?? He is really stressing me out in that he hides behind a big echinodorus martii and and I dont always see him eat, and as a result am overfeeding the tank.. :-[

    thanks,
    phill...
     
  10. wearsbunnyslippers
    Offline

    wearsbunnyslippers Administrator Staff Member

    • Super Admin
    23%
    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2007
    Messages:
    6,333
    Likes Received:
    1,122
    Trophy Points:
    223
    Location:
    Johannesburg South
    it seems people get really excited whenever discus are mentioned...

    when i do water changes, i change out about 25-20%, i use tap water and add tetra aquasafe and let the water stnad for a couple of hours, i have never lost a fish at water changes using this method, i do this once a week or once every two weeks depending on how lazy i am. even after two weeks in my heavily planted tank, my water tests are always good, so i could probably go longer, i have read a few articles where guys with discus and large planted tanks dont do any water changes...

    dont overfeed, even if you dont see him eating, you are just increasing the need for more water changes, mine started out only eating bloodworm, but soon started taking flakes and pellets so they just need to acclimatise a bit. if he is constantly hiding and not eating it might be that he needs a partner in crime or two, they do much better in groups... mine only eat the regular tetramin flakes, none of the others, i havent tried the omega brand. the bits i feed them are in a little white tub with a rounded lid, i cant remember the name now, i will check later.

    the rule of thumb is 10g per discus ( about 40l ) so depending on how many litres your 1.2 with 5 should be fine with the other fish.
     
  11. philfarm
    Offline

    philfarm Algae harvester

    • APSA Member
    53%
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2007
    Messages:
    597
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Centurion
    Ok so turns out you guys were right, he seems ok now, in that he doesnt hide as much when im in the room but he's still a little picky about his food but I guess he'll pick up his appitite when he's settled more!

    I bought the tetra complete test kit and my water parameters are as follows; NO3, 0. NO2, 0. GH 6'. KH 3' and pH 6.8.
    should any of that change??? and does that sound plausible "dont fully trust that test kit"

    Oh and one last question do any of you use Black Water Extract, or something similar?
     
  12. wearsbunnyslippers
    Offline

    wearsbunnyslippers Administrator Staff Member

    • Super Admin
    23%
    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2007
    Messages:
    6,333
    Likes Received:
    1,122
    Trophy Points:
    223
    Location:
    Johannesburg South
    hey phil,

    glad he is settling in :)

    discus like to have water ideally between 6 and 6.5 so 6.8 is a bit high, but hopefully the discus is conditioned to that water in your area as mentioned in postings above.

    my ammonia and nitrite readings are always zero or just above, so i think its right, another one of the benefits of a planted tank.

    i use black water extract, some people dont like the brown water and any tannins at all, wanting that "clearer than clear" look, but i dont mind. if you have seen the water that they come from naturally, mostly its a lot darker than even the worst tannin stained water i have seen, so i like to add a bit, now that my driftwood has stopped leaching. i have seen it helps color up amazon type fish and i used to get angels and cory's to start spawning by adding it...
     
  13. Theos
    Offline

    Theos Green fingers

    • APSA Member
    9%
    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2007
    Messages:
    499
    Likes Received:
    43
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Greenpoint
    He seems to still be doing fine by the way :D Im gonna be home for about another twenty days still, so he should survive.
    Or knowing my amazing ability to kill fish he might not be :\
     
  14. philfarm
    Offline

    philfarm Algae harvester

    • APSA Member
    53%
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2007
    Messages:
    597
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Centurion
    Glad to hear it! i bought 2 more discus while im at home and they are different fish, totally relaxed never try to hide, eat whatever you put in, the issues my first one is giving must be because its alone!!!
     
  15. Theos
    Offline

    Theos Green fingers

    • APSA Member
    9%
    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2007
    Messages:
    499
    Likes Received:
    43
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Greenpoint
    Well it was pretty stressed when you bought it in the first place, it was black :| but it seems to be fine now :)
     
  16. Toshi(Walter)
    Offline

    Toshi(Walter) Green fingers

    • APSA Member
    31%
    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2007
    Messages:
    1,114
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    46
    Location:
    Roodepoort, Gauteng
    Elo all. I'm also considering getting discus, working at a LFS can cause u to go bankrupt :p, anyway, i read that you keep one dicus per 40L, is that now excl other tank mates? don't they make a difference?
     
  17. Theos
    Offline

    Theos Green fingers

    • APSA Member
    9%
    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2007
    Messages:
    499
    Likes Received:
    43
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Greenpoint
    Yeah try to get some other slow swimmers so they dont freak the discus out!
     
  18. philfarm
    Offline

    philfarm Algae harvester

    • APSA Member
    53%
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2007
    Messages:
    597
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Centurion
    well definitely get more than one, it makes a big difference and will save you and the fish lots of stress...
     
  19. Toshi(Walter)
    Offline

    Toshi(Walter) Green fingers

    • APSA Member
    31%
    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2007
    Messages:
    1,114
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    46
    Location:
    Roodepoort, Gauteng
    I got a few rams and tetra's aswell as an angel, will they be ok with each other? I also heard discus eat plants, what plants can i keep with them?
     
  20. Theos
    Offline

    Theos Green fingers

    • APSA Member
    9%
    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2007
    Messages:
    499
    Likes Received:
    43
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Greenpoint
    Discus dont eat plants, and if the tetras are small enough the angels will consider them tasty.
     

Share This Page