Curious About Discus

Discussion in 'Discus Fish' started by FishMich, Apr 14, 2018.

  1. FishMichValued MemberMember

    Hi there,

    I’ve read the stickies on discus here. We are getting a 90 gallon tank tomorrow and I am sussing out options for stocking. My son mentioned discus tonight, and I have a few questions for you.

    If we did go the discus route, this would be a species only tank, we’d most likely start with juvies, so I’d probably leave the tank bare bottomed to better manage water quality.

    In terms of the multiple times a day feeding and daily water changes, I could manage, I am currently a stay at home mom, so I could put in the time to raise juvies at the moment.

    My questions are about what do you do when you are away from home? I can’t picture being able to leave on holidays or anything with the care the fish require. I wouldn’t have anyone who would be willing to do daily water changes or feed 5 times a day. Also, are the requirements less stringent after they are a year old? I’m hoping to be back at work next year. So still could manage water changes a few times a week, but most likely would be only able to feed twice a day.

    The fish we currently have are no where near as sensitive. We were away for a couple of weeks, home for one day in between two trips, and the fish were fine. I did a 50% water change before we left and another one when we got back. We used an auto feeder with crushed up flakes and pellets to feed the fish while we were away. With the variety of foods the discus require, I can’t imagine that an auto feeder would work for them, also from what I’ve been reading, there’s no way they could go 10 days between water changes, even as adults.

    We have family across the province and country that we like to visit a few times a year, so it will be likely that we will be away for 7-10 day stretches at a time.

    So I guess I’m just confirming that discus isn’t the right fit for us? Or is there something I’m missing, and it’s doable? What do you do with your discus when you’re away from home?
  2. FanaticFishlore VIPMember

    Discus are not for the beginner aquarist, unless they previously already knew about their requirements.
    Juveniles are worse than the adults because of their strict requirement of daily or every few day water changes, they need it pristinely clean.
    I would not leave the tank bare-bottom, they like live plants, and need to feel secure. You can maintain the water with or without the substrate ideally the same if you stick to maintenance.

    Sounds like you meet the requirements of water changing, so I encourage you on that.
    I actually do not know what you do when on vacation, but you need to keep the water clean. My best guess is to really find someone who knows how to change water, and will be willing to do it.
    Once they get larger, the water changes are easier, but the fish get a bit more difficult.

    Please do not use an automatic feeder with discus, or any fish really. These things have a tendency to release too much food, or fail. Then you have a giant mess to clean up, or sacrificing sickened fish.

    Unless you absolutely can confirm that you will meet the requirements of the fish, they aren't for everyone.
    I'll just tag some discus keepers, they probably will have better advice than of me on the water changes.

  3. fishfanmanValued MemberMember

    Make it easy for you. Get 5 or 6 4-5 inchers all at once from a well know discus importer. It costs more in the beginning but all the hard work has been done for you. Think of all the effort to do all those water changes and you may still not end up with quality discus because you may get poor fish in the first place.

    Also at 4-5 inches you don't have to feed as often and you may only need 90% WCs twice a week based on nitrate level.

    As for vacation, you don't need to feed or do WCs when you're away. I go on 2 week vacations and they are fine when I come back.
  4. FishMichValued MemberMember

    Thank you! This sounds manageable. Is it best to get them in a group of even or odd numbers, in case some pair off? Or does it not really matter?

    Also, can anybody recommend a reputable supplier of discus in Canada? I’ve been looking at Discus Paradise based in Quebec, but I have to idea of their reputation/quality.

    We haven’t decided yet, just trying to gather as much information as possible before making a decision! If I can’t find good quality discus in Canada, then I’d probably pass, but if anyone knows where to find great discus here, that would be a great help!

    Oh! One more question, by adding 5-6 discus at once, will it overwhelm the beneficial bacteria? I guess the plan of action would be frequent water changes and testing?
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 16, 2018
  5. fishfanmanValued MemberMember

    Odd or even, doesn't matter.

    Look at Canadian Aqua Farm.

    When you buy, ask if you can buy one of their in tank sponge filter that's in use. Or just do 2 large WCs daily for couple weeks.
  6. toy4xNew MemberMember

    Buy Discus in groups. In a 90g, 6 discus to start is a very good #. They like groups , and will establish a hierarchy between themselves.

    Vacation- Discus are very resilient. I have gone on multiple 1 week vacations with no issues. I do a 80% water change before I leave and another 80% when I get back. Haven't lost one yet. Discus have fat reserves that allow them to go long periods of time without food.

    As mentioned, do not use a auto feeder when going on vacation. It will create uneaten food, and more waste product. This in turn creates more nitrates while your gone.... deadly when no one's there to monitor your water quality.

    Bare bottom- A lot of discus tanks are bare bottom due to the easier cleaning and the better quality of water. I personally like sand.... 1/2" is all you need. As long as you stay up on your maintenance, a substrate is ok to use.

    Watch this video on discus and see if you want to put in the work... yes work...:

  7. 75g Discus TankFishlore VIPMember

    @Discusluv got kicked off.

    @Disc61 is extremely knowledgeable.

    If it was me, I would do a small community with sterbai cories(because discus eat messily) and cardinal tetras(Mindless fish that makes discus braver).
  8. Disc61Well Known MemberMember

    to make this short, your assumption is correct.
    Juvies would be extremely tough to keep and expect to get away for 10 days.
    Adults would be tough as well but I think it can be manageable.
    if you do it, I would highly recommend a 80-90% water change before leaving and NO auto feeder.
    the auto feeder would just foul the water column up. I would be cautious of doing juvies for 10 days.
    myself I would probably gamble if it was only 7 days, feeding them well before the trip then doing the water change and no food til I would return.
    Adults, I would probably feel alright for 10 days.

    I have left my juvies for a long weekend (4 days) with no issues. and have left my Adults a week.

    At the end of the day, ITS A GAMBLE, and you have to be willing to except losses....

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