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Discus Tank Mates

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Discus Tank Mates

Post  COCOBIRD on Fri Feb 22, 2013 5:51 pm

Only 55 gal tank.

Reserving space for 5 discus.

Any room for a bottom dweller/cleaner or a few tetras?

Suggestions welcome.

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Re: Discus Tank Mates

Post  VeeSe on Fri Feb 22, 2013 8:51 pm

Would not suggest any more fish than that in a 55G. You are already full stocked.

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Re: Discus Tank Mates

Post  williemcd on Fri Feb 22, 2013 9:24 pm

In the OP I didn't note there were any fish already in the 55G!.. Have you partially stocked it? If so, Vee is dead on!

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Re: Discus Tank Mates

Post  COCOBIRD on Fri Feb 22, 2013 9:33 pm

No, I have no fish.

I'm considering just putting in a place holder until I can make up my mind.
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Re: Discus Tank Mates

Post  williemcd on Fri Feb 22, 2013 10:26 pm

CocoB...(I like that name if you don't mind me shortening it!)...
I did assume the tank was empty and you were looking to stock it so I stand by my original response. Were I you!... I'd scurry around for some BRANCH driftwood. Vertical branches that simulates the root structure they inhabit in the wild. I know a whole lotta folks will debate that in 99.99% of the Discus acquired in today's LFS's, they are tank raised and wouldn't recognize their home waters... so we may be engaging in setting up their isotope without a real need.

Tank mates? I think there is nothing prettier than, in your case, a school of Cardinal tets of about 6-8. Then throw in a 1/2 dozen pygmy cory's and maybe a few ABN's (Albino bristle nosed).. You'll be taxing the capability of your 55 but with some heavy duty planting as well as maintenance you should be fine. Bill

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Re: Discus Tank Mates

Post  COCOBIRD on Fri Feb 22, 2013 11:47 pm

Do you think skoolz would have some? I was thinking of going by there tomorrow after my visit.
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Re: Discus Tank Mates

Post  VeeSe on Fri Feb 22, 2013 11:50 pm

Strongly, strongly advise against this, but it's up to you.

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Re: Discus Tank Mates

Post  COCOBIRD on Fri Feb 22, 2013 11:51 pm

por que?
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Re: Discus Tank Mates

Post  VeeSe on Sat Feb 23, 2013 12:17 am

Because you'd be overstocking your tank, which is focused on a fish that thrives in pristine waters, making it really difficult to achieve that objective.

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Re: Discus Tank Mates

Post  williemcd on Sat Feb 23, 2013 3:22 am

Vee, did you ignore the post in which she stated the tank was without any live stock? I agree she should wait for a bit of time.. But surely 5 Discus can be accommodated by a 55G!

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Re: Discus Tank Mates

Post  williemcd on Sat Feb 23, 2013 3:25 am

CocoB.. resist the need for instant gratification by stocking your 55G with discus until you've got the tank established at least.. You CAN do it in less than a week with assistance from fellow hobby'st but going solo, your fish are doomed to an early demise.

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Re: Discus Tank Mates

Post  VeeSe on Sat Feb 23, 2013 3:19 pm

williemcd wrote:Vee, did you ignore the post in which she stated the tank was without any live stock? I agree she should wait for a bit of time.. But surely 5 Discus can be accommodated by a 55G!

Yeah, should be fine with just 5 Discus, but I thought she was going to put half a dozen cardinals, half a dozen corys, and some other stuff with 5 Discus. If she just meant 5 Discus, then yes, it should be fine, but that cycle better be super strong if all 5 go in at once.

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Re: Discus Tank Mates

Post  Amp2020 on Sat Feb 23, 2013 7:15 pm

I suggest adding the discus last. Start with adding drift wood and plants first. Then add some cory fish, maybe 4-6. Test the water twice a week and monitor the cycle. After about 4-6 weeks, the tank should be cycled and ready for the tetras. Cardinal tetras are hardy. So if you have trouble keeping them alive don't bother with discus. After adding a school of tetras monitor ammonia and nitrite for the next three weeks. If you see any detectable amounts of ammonia or nitrite then there's a problem. Always keep in mind that you need good water quality. If you can maintain a 55 gallon tank with a stable pH, no ammonia and no nitrite then you'll be able to tackle discus with fairly good odds of success. But unless you have a good fresh test kit and test very frequently you'll never know. After half a year most people get confident with their skills and don't test as often as they should. This is when mistakes occur down the road unless they are keeping up with tank maintenance.

I suggest you try angel fish first for a year and then trade them in for discus once you feel you're ready.

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Re: Discus Tank Mates

Post  Fern on Sun Feb 24, 2013 10:49 pm

6 discus, 5 never work out well, the magic number is 6
6 corys if you get any at all they need to be with smooth sand or their barbells will erode and they will die young. Again 6 is the magic number, you could go more but dont have to. they have to be in a school to be happy. A happy cory is like a kid all jacked up on candy! They run around and do goofy things.
In my 90g I had about a dozen discus about a dozen corys of various kinds and a few bristlenosed plecos, the tank was filly planted and I never had water or growth issues.

I would skip open water swimmers, your discus will be all that you need there.

and make sure the tank is cycled and add the discus last Wink
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Re: Discus Tank Mates

Post  VeeSe on Sun Feb 24, 2013 10:55 pm

Fern wrote:6 corys if you get any at all they need to be with smooth sand or their barbells will erode and they will die young.

This is a common misconception and has been observed not to be true. It's well documented that many owners keep their corys on all types of substrates with no barbel erosion. The sharpness is less of a factor than substrate/water cleanliness and parameters being in order. That being said, smooth sand will probably still be the best choice (if you are just thinking about corys and nothing else), as that is what they have in their natural habitat, but no need to be limited to just smooth sand as your substrate. Just don't have a super sharp substrate (it still does hurt, after all, even if they won't die) and you should be fine.

My point is that Fern has a point and sand is preferable for corys, but if you didn't plan on sand and didn't necessarily want it, you shouldn't feel forced to use sand if you want corys. They do fine on gravel substrates as well (including substrates like Ecocomplete, regular gravel, Safe-T-sorb, and Turface)

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Re: Discus Tank Mates

Post  COCOBIRD on Sun Feb 24, 2013 11:32 pm

I just finished setting up the aquarium. Whew.

Ended up that I used black sand in the back with a few bowlfuls of plain potting soil underneath...I used some cardboard to try to keep the black sand in a hexigonal shape and then have white sand in the front.

I've treated the water and have a bubble bar set up but my supplies don't come to get my filter going until sometime this week in the mail, so it's just sitting there.

I gotta tell you, I don't know that 6 discus would fit in this thing. I *hate* it to look crowded.

I do love my cory though and am sure I will have them.
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Re: Discus Tank Mates

Post  VeeSe on Mon Feb 25, 2013 12:30 am

COCOBIRD wrote:I just finished setting up the aquarium. Whew.

Ended up that I used black sand in the back with a few bowlfuls of plain potting soil underneath...I used some cardboard to try to keep the black sand in a hexigonal shape and then have white sand in the front.

I've treated the water and have a bubble bar set up but my supplies don't come to get my filter going until sometime this week in the mail, so it's just sitting there.

I gotta tell you, I don't know that 6 discus would fit in this thing. I *hate* it to look crowded.

I do love my cory though and am sure I will have them.

I think you should try to replace the cardboard with some kind of waterproof divider because the sands will slowly mix over time if you don't have them. It's not a big deal unless you really don't want them to mix.

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Re: Discus Tank Mates

Post  COCOBIRD on Mon Feb 25, 2013 12:32 am

I should have clarified...I just used the cardboard when I was putting the sand in.. The lines are smudged, which is fine by me.

Check the pix in the setup section...interested to see what others think.
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Re: Discus Tank Mates

Post  williemcd on Mon Feb 25, 2013 12:41 am

Well Fern,, I've no experience with 5 discus in a tank.. I'm keeping 7 and 8 in the two discus tanks I have set up. My recommendation for 5 in a 55g was based upon allocation of 10G per fish. I see you push that envelope but supplement with heavy planting which I THINK allows me, you and others to push that restraint.

Cory's. Ira would be our definitive expert, IMHO, on this critter and hopefully he'll chime in but here is some research:
Substrate type: Fine gravel or smooth silica sand (such as pool filter sand) is the ideal substrate choices for the Corydoras aquarium.
Coarse gravel inhibits their natural behaviors, but whether it actually damages Corydoras is a matter of debate. What is certain is that healthy Corydoras should have long whiskers, at least a quarter-inch long in the case of an average species such as Corydoras aeneus. Most tellingly, the whiskers should taper off to a point gently, almost like grains of rice.
Corydoras kept in tanks with the wrong substrate will have much shorter whiskers. In the past this was often explained as the substrate wearing away the whiskers, but it is now understood that erosion of the whiskers happens because of bacterial infection, and a catfish without long whiskers is a catfish at risk of developing red blotch disease.
Sharp sand must be avoided. At the very least, abrasions to the whiskers and belly can make Corydoras more vulnerable to secondary infections including red blotch disease. Do bear in mind that some substrates designed specifically for planted aquaria are comparatively sharp and not recommended for tanks with Corydoras catfish; CaribSea for example recommend against the use of their popular Tahitian Moon Sand in tanks with Corydoras. (http://www.fishchannel.com/media/fish-health/disease-prevention/red-blotch-disease.aspx.pdf)

Another link to peruse: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/armcatsysfaqs.htm

Another source stated that Cory's generally come out of regions with either mud or sandy bottoms.

Just from my personal logic deduction it would seem that loose gravel would entrap food that make it to the bottom with the larger size gravels allowing the food to migrate deeper into the substrate. The cory's utilize their barbels to locate food, and then root into the substrate to retrieve it! I could be 100% off the mark but I'd like to hear other's opinions/sources. Bill

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Re: Discus Tank Mates

Post  VeeSe on Mon Feb 25, 2013 2:19 am

Well, the tank has a full sand substrate on the top so that's pretty ideal assuming it's not the sharper sand.

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Re: Discus Tank Mates

Post  Fern on Sun Mar 03, 2013 10:39 am

VeeSe wrote:
Fern wrote:6 corys if you get any at all they need to be with smooth sand or their barbells will erode and they will die young.

This is a common misconception and has been observed not to be true. It's well documented that many owners keep their corys on all types of substrates with no barbel erosion. The sharpness is less of a factor than substrate/water cleanliness and parameters being in order. That being said, smooth sand will probably still be the best choice (if you are just thinking about corys and nothing else), as that is what they have in their natural habitat, but no need to be limited to just smooth sand as your substrate. Just don't have a super sharp substrate (it still does hurt, after all, even if they won't die) and you should be fine.

My point is that Fern has a point and sand is preferable for corys, but if you didn't plan on sand and didn't necessarily want it, you shouldn't feel forced to use sand if you want corys. They do fine on gravel substrates as well (including substrates like Ecocomplete, regular gravel, Safe-T-sorb, and Turface)

I have observed it firsthand to be true, any sharpness to the substrate will scratch them up leading to infections and eventually death. Gravel does nothing but piss them off, they want to go down after that food they smell and gravel prohibits that. I have watched my corys on numerous occasions go down in the sand past their eyes after a food item, that is the way it should be. Corys in gravel get more scrapes and bruises from digging in the gravel and that leaves them open to infection.
I rescued a batch of corys that were living in sharp gravel, they had NO barbells left!!!!! That is their nose and their tongue! Most of them recovered and eventually grew back their barbells but they had a harder time locating food than corys with their barbells.
I have seen too many horrible things happen to these happy little catfish, it is a shame!!! They should live 8-9 years in proper conditions but many die before their time due to sharp substrate, gravel, secondary infections and just plain being kept by themselves, they are a very social animal and it breaks my heart when I hear them being kept in singles and pairs. A happy cory should be running around the tank doing retarded things without a care in the world! If corys arent running around being hyper retards something is wrong!
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