Massive water changes, are they needed?

Disc61

so we have been talking on another thread about massive water changes and its benefits to Discus.
first to answer the question, NO. I say that knowing that I myself do massive water changes on a daily basis in any grow out tank I may have in operation.
can we get away without them? yes, many people do and have success (to a point). afterall, we do have lifes outside of our hobby. Don't we??? my wife would tell you no. hahaha. and because of this we need to balance things. the key ingredient to all this is prestine water conditions. this can still be achieved with less water changes. you can get your Discus strickly on a flake or pellet diet. there are many flakes and pellets made by top breeders out there now that have the balance that Discus need. what does flakes have to do with it? less messy so it doesn't dirty up the water column near as much as some of the other foods we may feed. like Beefheart mixes and blackworms, etc. the key is to start them early on flakes as later in their adult lives it is tougher to get them switched. ( not impossible)
So yes, I do think we can keep this beautiful freshwater fish without a daily schedule attached to them. I would recommend at least 2-3 times a week for Discus from 2.5 inches to 4.5 inches. at this point they become sub adults and require less to thrive.

With that said, I do feel that massive water changes are a key ingredient to growing Discus out to their full potential. a bigger ingredient is a wide variety of foods, and because of that we need to keep things cleaned up to maintain that prestine condition we are thriving for. So if you are looking for those dinner plate size Discus ( yes, they do get that big) it is important to keep in mind 3 key ingredients.
1. always start off with Quality fish from a reputable breeder or importer. your local fish store may not carry these.
ask questions about them, look at their shapes and if at all possible do they know the breeder or importers name.
2. feed a variety of foods, from flakes and pellets, to Beefheart and seafood mixes to Freezedried foods such as blackworms.
3. provide a prestine environment for them.
 

Disc61

Berylla, here are a few pics of the fish I spoke about.

the first Picture is of the group when I got them
The "Tony Tan Red Scarlet" is the upper left fish in this picture as we track its progress.
I do daily 75-90% water changes on this tank (although their are other occupants as this group has been moved since then to a 75 gl.
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I have the date posted on the pic for easy reference
after about 3 weeks it was at about 3 inches from its orig 2.5 inches
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Then about 6 weeks later
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A month later, roughly 5 inches
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This is a pic of the Galaxy Turq from the group, so yes the others are growing as well. But the Scarlet is outpacing all them
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ricmcc

I guess massive is a relative term, but at any rate, I prefer smaller, more frequent water changes---say, 10% every day as opposed to 35% twice a week. An added bonus is that it forces daily close observation of your discus (or any fish, for that matter).
I really don't care too much for beefheart, actually, as it is so messy, as you mention, and agree that there are some very high quality commercial foods available, that seem far less messy.
At any rate, I may well be wrong, but I find that the discus of today are quite different than the discus of 30 years ago, to pick a number, in that they seem generally hardier and less demanding. Not that you can neglect them, of course. Also, I readily admit that my doing a small daily W/C is possible only because I am retired, and can fit it into my busy schedule just by skipping a nap or something----------rick

The pics just popped up--absolutely lovely fish you have there, very well done
 

noslen1003

every three(3) days - around 90% of the 90-gallon tank for me.
 

Disc61

February of this year
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Starting to show some good color
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in case some may think the camera makes him look bigger
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and last week at roughly 6 inches and roughly 5.5 months
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ricmcc

every three(3) days - around 90% of the 90-gallon tank for me.

I expect that, plus a lot more skill on your part, explains why your discuss look so much better than mine do---really great photos-rick
 

hampalong

There is a general misconception that discus need more water changes than other fish. They don't. They just need low nitrates/phosphates/contaminants. But with ALL fish, more water changes means quicker growth and bigger fish.
 

Berylla

and last week at roughly 6 inches and roughly 5.5 months
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Disc61, thank you for posting photos of your fish. The Scarlet is truly a beauty! Lovely shape and color and of course, the size. It is really outpacing the rest of the fish and he's still very young.

What brand of food do you use? I feed my fish Prime Reef Flakes, freeze dried blackworms, and the occasional live RCS treat when I do my weekly culls.

My fish are fully grown now after 2 years and they are just over 6". They do not have the girth or the shape of your Scarlet. I have to admit, I'm a envious!

Please keep posting updates.
 

Disc61

There is a general misconception that discus need more water changes than other fish. They don't. They just need low nitrates/phosphates/contaminants. But with ALL fish, more water changes means quicker growth and bigger fish.
Hamp I think you mis-read the thread, the very first sentence gives the answer to the title of the thread, NO. Discus do not need more water changes than any other fish. I am simply stating my opinion ( which you have already concurred) that with massive water changes we allow our Discus to reach their full potential.

Disc61, thank you for posting photos of your fish. The Scarlet is truly a beauty! Lovely shape and color and of course, the size. It is really outpacing the rest of the fish and he's still very young.

What brand of food do you use? I feed my fish Prime Reef Flakes, freeze dried blackworms, and the occasional live RCS treat when I do my weekly culls.

My fish are fully grown now after 2 years and they are just over 6". They do not have the girth or the shape of your Scarlet. I have to admit, I'm a envious!

Please keep posting updates.
I feed 2 different flake foods, one is from Cobalt that was created by them and Discus Hans. the other is by Bill at inland empire Discus called Super beefheart flake. I also feed FDBW's and a Beefheart/seafood mix I make myself now, but originally bought it off of Discus Hans as well. along with Tetra color granules. the Scarlet is definitely outpacing the others. I also have a new group from Hans of all Snakeskins ( 7 0f them) which I am becoming more pleased with by the day.
 

Berylla

Hamp I think you mis-read the thread, the very first sentence gives the answer to the title of the thread, NO. Discus do not need more water changes than any other fish. I am simply stating my opinion ( which you have already concurred) that with massive water changes we allow our Discus to reach their full potential.


I feed 2 different flake foods, one is from Cobalt that was created by them and Discus Hans. the other is by Bill at inland empire Discus called Super beefheart flake. I also feed FDBW's and a Beefheart/seafood mix I make myself now, but originally bought it off of Discus Hans as well. along with Tetra color granules. the Scarlet is definitely outpacing the others. I also have a new group from Hans of all Snakeskins ( 7 0f them) which I am becoming more pleased with by the day.

Please post the Snakeskins! My first discus was a store quality stendker discus. He took a lot of abuse before he died 2 years later. I didn't know how to raise him, so I made many rookie mistakes. He was ugly, but he was a tough little fish that despite my abuses, grew to 5.5".

I've heard lots of good things about pro-growth beef heart flake. If I ever raise little discus again, I would purchase that type of food.

Thank you for sharing your fish with us!
 

hampalong

No, I didn't misread the thread. I was agreeing with you.
 

noslen1003

on of the 10-babies that grew to a present 5"+ after 1-year / Han's Snakeskin.
 

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Disc61

Please post the Snakeskins!
I've heard lots of good things about pro-growth beef heart flake. If I ever raise little discus again, I would purchase that type of food.
Thank you for sharing your fish with us!
yes the pro growth is great and will become their staple food as adults. one of the few flakes they take with vigor.

these are all Hans Snakeskins - I got them in January 24th at 2.5 inches and 4 of the 7 are over 4 inches already, the others are 3.5 or so.
I have Pigeon SS's, a reg blue SS, a solid blue SS and 2 red SS's, just thought it would be fun to have a tank full of all skins.
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Berylla

Lovely group of fish! The red ones look almost checkerboard pigeons. I'm so excited for you - two tanks of juvies! I noticed that you have a new DIY Kaldness filter.

There was a discussion in another forum about how Stendker discus take a long time to reach their adult size and how they initially may not have a great shape, but in the end, they fill out. Also, they are hardier than the Asian discus. What's your take?
 

virusmk

Great looking ones Tom .
How many tanks you have so far. Ive seen few different groups so far .
 

Disc61

Lovely group of fish! The red ones look almost checkerboard pigeons. I'm so excited for you - two tanks of juvies! I noticed that you have a new DIY Kaldness filter.

There was a discussion in another forum about how Stendker discus take a long time to reach their adult size and how they initially may not have a great shape, but in the end, they fill out. Also, they are hardier than the Asian discus. What's your take?
I have both Asian and Stendker in the house at the moment so we will see. I have read that Stendker seem healthier being raised in tap water and that they grow bigger. I have had stendker and Asian before and for me I have really seen no difference if raised both the same. the both seem healthy with big appetites and both seem to grow well in size while still both having runts. we will see.

Great looking ones Tom .
How many tanks you have so far. Ive seen few different groups so far .
I have 6 tanks at the moment Virusmk, with 2 groups of Discus for a total of 15. plan is to have all 6 tanks transistioned
to all Discus. I am addicted;D
 

noslen1003

I have 6 tanks at the moment Virusmk, with 2 groups of Discus for a total of 15. plan is to have all 6 tanks transistioned
to all Discus. I am addicted;D

Good for you.. Good Luck this time!
when I went back to aquarium keeping 3-years ago/ decided to go with the best I can keep - Discus. After 1-year got my Discus Tank-90 gallon.
now I have my tank for 2-years / from the original 12-fishes / still have 10 of them - all now at around 2-years with me.

Unfortunately - my EXCITEMENT is waning down now/ not same as before.
I cannot add more Discus as already have a lot at 17-fishes.
 

JNMDRP

My fish tank partner and I are thinking of getting Discus. We have a 55 gallon tank, and currently have barbs. The plan is to age the barbs, and let the tank empty through natural causes (old age),or if we are in our new location before that happens, get a second tank. I currently do a water change of about 15 gallons a week, with pH regulator and a bacteria supplement. I've read that Cichlids in general are fussy about the water quality of the tank, even though currently we have one Sevrum that is very healthy and colourful. How much more would I need to change the water? Does increasing the amount to 25g twice a week sound better? BTW, we use a Eheim classic 350L external canister filter.
 

Disc61

My fish tank partner and I are thinking of getting Discus. We have a 55 gallon tank, and currently have barbs. The plan is to age the barbs, and let the tank empty through natural causes (old age),or if we are in our new location before that happens, get a second tank. I currently do a water change of about 15 gallons a week, with pH regulator and a bacteria supplement. I've read that Cichlids in general are fussy about the water quality of the tank, even though currently we have one Sevrum that is very healthy and colourful. How much more would I need to change the water? Does increasing the amount to 25g twice a week sound better? BTW, we use a Eheim classic 350L external canister filter.
A lot depends on the size of Discus you get. a water change of 25 gl twice a week for Discus that are over 4.5 inches would probably suffice.
where as if you had juvies (up to 4.5 inches) they would need at least one more if not more than that. ( I do daily for juvies)

reason being, Discus up to 4.5 inches or so (juvie stage) require much more care. this is a critical stage in their life. they require 4-6 feedings a day in small amounts which is why the frequent water changes are recommended. more food in the tank to cause problems. if you don't have the time to do the more frequent WC's go with 4.5-5 inch Discus, yes a bit more money but this will offer a better opportunity for you.
 

JNMDRP

Disc61,
Ok. Thank you, I understand much more clearly now. Frequency of care isn't a problem for us, we just didn't know how frequent was appropriate, and we couldn't find reputable information that was solid, just information that was always different from something else we've been told or read. We are hoping to get juvies, and watch them grow, so I will take your advice to heart when it comes time.
 

Akili

I agree with Disc61,Water changes in the discus fish aquarium not removes nitrates and impurities, it promotes health and vitality.
 

Disc61

Disc61,
Ok. Thank you, I understand much more clearly now. Frequency of care isn't a problem for us, we just didn't know how frequent was appropriate, and we couldn't find reputable information that was solid, just information that was always different from something else we've been told or read. We are hoping to get juvies, and watch them grow, so I will take your advice to heart when it comes time.

glad to help, since you do plan on going with Juvies I would like to elaborate on a few things.
1. Juvies need daily care IMO, others will argue this that's why I say this is just my opinion. LESS IS BETTER. start out with a barebottom tank with just the essentials. you will enjoy just watching them grow if you don't have to be rushing to treat an illness. the more that's in the tank the more opportunity for disease to show up.
after 6 months of special attention you can begin decorating your tank up as your juvies will by then be Sub-Adults.

2. BUYING your DISCUS from a REPUTABLE importer or breeder is probably the single most important part of keeping them. most local fish shops are NOT recommended. ( I would encourage someone like Discus Hans, Kenny Cheung, Jeff at Exotic Discus to name a few) if you start out with less than healthy Discus
it is a daily struggle.
good luck, let us know if we can help.
 

JNMDRP

glad to help, since you do plan on going with Juvies I would like to elaborate on a few things.
1. Juvies need daily care IMO, others will argue this that's why I say this is just my opinion. LESS IS BETTER. start out with a barebottom tank with just the essentials. you will enjoy just watching them grow if you don't have to be rushing to treat an illness. the more that's in the tank the more opportunity for disease to show up.
after 6 months of special attention you can begin decorating your tank up as your juvies will by then be Sub-Adults.

2. BUYING your DISCUS from a REPUTABLE importer or breeder is probably the single most important part of keeping them. most local fish shops are NOT recommended. ( I would encourage someone like Discus Hans, Kenny Cheung, Jeff at Exotic Discus to name a few) if you start out with less than healthy Discus
it is a daily struggle.
good luck, let us know if we can help.


Thank you for even more information. As far as where we are going to obtain them, there is a specialty carrier in our city who imports them from registered breeders.
 

Akili

Thank you for even more information. As far as where we are going to obtain them, there is a specialty carrier in our city who imports them from registered breeders.
I got my from local breeder here in Ontario.Ca. He is just east of Toronto.
 

JNMDRP

I got my from local breeder here in Ontario.Ca. He is just east of Toronto.

Moncton, New Brunswick. Breeder's shop is Riverscape Aquariums. He is quite the Discus fan.

I agree with Disc61,Water changes in the discus fish aquarium not removes nitrates and impurities, it promotes health and vitality.

I suppose it's like us in a way, if we had a bath in the same water all the time, with a filter, and the occasional water changes, it's still kind of unsuitable, and gross. Makes sense for fish to be that way, too.
 

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