Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Discus Fish Tank

Adorning your aquarium with many attractive species of fishes can be a great way to deck up your living room. And when it comes to beautiful fishes, you simply cannot ignore the discus fish. If you are not aware, you may want to read on to find some useful discus fish care information.
The discus came to the fore as an aquarium fish in the 20’s and its popularity has grown by leaps and bounds since then. It is a South American Cichlid and can be found in three varieties which are common discus, heckel discus and the symphysodon tarzoo.

Discus needs lots of room to grow to its maximum size.  The bigger the tank setup the better.  Water conditions are harder to maintain in an overloaded fish tank.  This will lead to increase stress and stunting of fish.  Therefore, the minimum tank size recommended for discus is a 55 gallon tank.  As a rule most hobbyist follows, one adult discus will need about 10 gallon of water.  More fish could be kept, but more frequent water changes and cleaning of filters are needed.  For a beginner, we recommend 6-8 small discus for a 55 gallon tank.
Discus tank setups can be divided into two types, planted discus tank and bare bottom discus tank.  Each have its own advantages and disadvantages.
Bare bottom tanks are mostly preferred by breeders and some serious discus keeper, including ourselves.  These setups only have an air stone or power head for circulation and sponge filter for biological filtration.  The advantages to this setup are that its easy, and simple to clean/maintain; fish can be fed heavily, uneaten food will not be trap in gravel; fish will not shy away because they have nothing to hide; and relatively inexpensive to setup.  Disadvantages are that setup looks less presentable and plants cannot be kept.
As for planted tanks.  The advantages are more artistically pleasing to look at; ability to keep plants; and if setup correctly, more biological balance cycle.  The disadvantages are that its maintenance  are more difficult; heavy feeding cannot be done; and more skills are needed (i.e. CO2 injectors, lighting, etc); medications cannot be administer without affecting plants; and cost more to setup.  We do not recommend beginners to start out with planted discus tanks unless they have previously  kept planted tanks.
Tank mates for discus would be any fish that are not aggressive or over complete with discus for food.  An Amazon tank setting would be excellent for discus.  Fish that would be compatible are small tetras (neon, cardinals, glow lights, etc), German rams, corydoras, etc.  Angelfish are not good tank mates because they usually compete with discus.