Possible Addition of Discus

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Adam T

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Hi,

I've had my first freshwater tank set up since September 2006. I recently planted the tank, see my signature for specs, and look at my latest post here for the tank design: .

Last time I measured, my water parameters were:

Temp: 81F
pH 6.5 (measured at the end of the lighted day)
Total Alkalinity: 120 ppm
Total Hardness: 120 ppm
KH: 4
GH: 7
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 20 ppm
Calculated CO2 value: 30 ppm

I'll be installing a pressurized CO2 system in the next couple of weeks so that I'll have a more precisely controllable and stable system.

I'm thinking that after the tank has been growing for about a month, I'd like to get a Discus mated couple. Although I love my Tiger Barbs and Opaline Gourami, I'm thinking that I will sell them back to the LFS when I get the Discus. That would leave me with a 2 Discus, 2 small black Angels, 4 Serpae Tetras, 3 Platys and 3 Otos.

My reasoning is that the Barbs are VERY active, constantly darting around the tank. Although that makes them very appealing fish, I think all the activity will stress the Discus. Similarly, the Gourami is currently the biggest fish in the tank, and he is always confirming his position at the top of the pecking order. He doesn't do any damage, but I'm worried that he'll be chasing the new Discus around, forcing them to hide and generally stressing them out.

I would also consider getting rid of the Platys, although I really like them and I expect they will spawn in the Java Moss once it gets established. If I did get rid of the Platys, I'd want to add a new species like a school of Cardinal Tetras or something else that is pretty and Discus-Friendly.

What are your recommendations on the species I should keep or eleiminate?

Also, I would like to get the Discus from an LFS, who has several that have been in his tank for over a month and are doing well. I think I will end up with fish that are less stressed if they have been in the LFS tank for a month and only have to deal with the short ride to my house. On the other hand, the fish at the LFS are really not the color I'm looking for and are not a mated pair. If I ordered online, I could get a mated pair in the colors I like, but they will have to be shipped to me, and will undoubtedly arrive very stressed. What is your experience with shipped Discus?

Thanks!
 

Luniyn

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A couple of things that I noticed. Discus get to be 6" so a pair will take up 12 Gal of your tank just using the 1" rule, however, it goes a step further then that. These fish like to be in a tank that is at least 40"+ long and has a height of at least 20". So that being the case, even if you got a tank that was only 12" wide, it would still be a 40+ Gal tank (not sure is your 30 Gal US or UK?). I'm not saying it wouldn't work, but they prefer a larger tank. Also angel fish are not good tank mates for them. Not because they will nip but because Discus are slow movers and will take their time getting to food while angels are typically more voracious eaters. Again they can live together but you might need to find a way to get enough food to the Discus without over feeding the Angels. Also I've noticed my red-eyed tetras are pretty snippy about their eatting too and they tend to dart around at the food as if it's going to run away (if one of the flakes runs away I'm getting fitted for a straight jacket right away ;D). So though tetras are generally accepted as ok for tank mates I guess it would depend on what you've noticed about your group and their temperament. Getting back to the 1" rule though, with 12 for the Discus, 6 for the 2 Angels (3" each), 8 for the Serpae Tetras (2" each), 6 for the 3 Platys (2" each), and 6 for the Otos (2" each). That totals up to 38 Gal needed which would overstock your tank a little. So if you were to move the Angels and the Tetras that would bring you back down to 24 which fits your current tank and gives you some room for maybe something that is less competition for the Discus like Cory Cats or even more platys since you like their look. As for the Cardinal tetras unless you add them with the Discus so they grow up together, you might run into a bit of a tetra becoming food issue when the Discus grow up.
 
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Adam T

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Thanks very much for the quick reply. The more I think about this, the more I think I should start from scratch in terms of stocking. I'm thinking that all my current fish should go back to the LFS, except the Ottos. I hear that Discus like to be in groups of at least 4, so perhaps the best idea would be to get 4 small-to-medium size Discus. I would add them together with a small school of cardinal tetras, as neons and cardinals seem to be pretty common tank mates for Discus. That would be it for the tank, except I ,might consider adding a bottom feeder to take care of any excess food crumbs that settle on the bottom. Does anyone know of any freshwater critters that would be good at consuming detritus from the bottom of the tank?
 

Luniyn

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Sounds like a plan. As for the bottom feeders, Cory cats will eat left over food while the otos take care of the algae. But the only one that I know of that will take care of anything else down there is you and your trusty gravel vac ;D
 
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