Setting up a Discus tank

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Setting up a Discus tank

Postby kmandal » Wed Jan 21, 2015 5:32 am

Hello dear members
I am going to set-up a Discus tank within 2-3 months. As a pre-requisite, I am thinking of buying a filter that would be suitable for the tank. My tank size would be 4'X1.5'X2' near about 340 Litres (90 gallons). As an external filter, what would be the best (keeping the low budget in mind)? Need all your help/suggestions.
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Re: Setting up a Discus tank

Postby el batty » Wed Jan 21, 2015 5:33 am

@kalyan,@xarg0n
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Re: Setting up a Discus tank

Postby Kalyan » Wed Jan 21, 2015 6:12 am

Hello kmandal . The best option for you is a Sump. It will be cost effective and will hold lots of Mechanical/Biomedia . If you go for a canister filter , it will cost you around 10 k for Eheim and 8/9 K for Tetra . This brands have warranty but if you go for Chinese brands , then obviously that will be low cost but with no warranty also. Cheers
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Re: Setting up a Discus tank

Postby kmandal » Thu Jan 22, 2015 3:39 am

Thanks 'el batty', 'Kalyan' for your suggestions, but I really don't know how to set-up a sump. Is Top filter good? I have a later plan to make the tank with drift-wood and a combination of java fern only (no other plants). Gravels and the back-ground will be white, so that any color of fishes will get visible and the tank will look brighter. It will be a very low tech/no tech planted setup :) .
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Re: Setting up a Discus tank

Postby Kalyan » Thu Jan 22, 2015 7:29 am

You can ask your lfs or any experienced aquarium maker about sump or there is a DIY topic of sump in DIY section . You can check that .
How many discus and of what size you are planning to keep ? Are you thinking of adding any dither fish also ??? Top filter will be a good option only depending on your tank bio load.
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Re: Setting up a Discus tank

Postby kmandal » Fri Jan 23, 2015 4:32 am

Kalyan wrote:You can ask your lfs or any experienced aquarium maker about sump or there is a DIY topic of sump in DIY section . You can check that .
How many discus and of what size you are planning to keep ? Are you thinking of adding any dither fish also ??? Top filter will be a good option only depending on your tank bio load.


There is no such knowledgeable lfs present where I stay. About the DIY sump, I already tried it once back, when I had goldfish tank, but ended up with a room full of water, and my wife had to clean-it up all (hope you could understand what I mean #:-s ) . So, no more DIY with any water pipes or something related to aquarium water. I am planning to keep 1.5-2 inchs 8-10 discus fish (Blue Diamond, Yellow Melon, Leopard Snakeskin, Blue Snakeskin) along with 2 tiger loaches and 20-25 cardinal tetras, with white gravel of medium sized (easier to clean) and one medium-big sized (branched) drift-wood (which I will be collecting from the river bank of Ganges), with just java fern tied upon it.
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Re: Setting up a Discus tank

Postby saurav » Fri Jan 23, 2015 4:41 pm

If a sump looks cumbersome and difficult to maintain for you, the best bet would be to go for a good canister filter.

Medium size gravel would look good but debris would find a way in between and it would not be that easy to clean later. Rather you can go for white fine grained sand or simply construction sand, where dirt can be siphoned off from the surface. Or simply bare bottom.

Tiger loach/clown loach are good to keep with discus only when they are juveniles. Sizes of 4.5" or more are not advisable as they can make sudden and fast movements when excited which may strike your discus and scare them. At least the serene setup is disturbed. They will compete for food. Big loaches can also target discus slime. Lastly tiger loaches are best kept in groups of at least 6. Keeping 2 of them will not keep either the discus or the loaches very happy.

Instead of going for a white background, try to opt for a tan, blue or moderately dark background. Discus like to hide to feel secure and they would not like to retreat in a corner where they will stick out. A deeper color would turn dark with the lights off and the fish would prefer it.

Another thing. With time you will learn that the above problems and solutions are not that important in keeping discus. The thumb rule would be plenty of clean water and good nutritious food in at least two or three varieties, and if you can provide this your fishes would be in seventh heaven!
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Re: Setting up a Discus tank

Postby suvrajit » Sat Jan 24, 2015 4:24 am

+1 saurav
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Re: Setting up a Discus tank

Postby kmandal » Tue Jan 27, 2015 4:00 am

saurav wrote:If a sump looks cumbersome and difficult to maintain for you, the best bet would be to go for a good canister filter.

Medium size gravel would look good but debris would find a way in between and it would not be that easy to clean later. Rather you can go for white fine grained sand or simply construction sand, where dirt can be siphoned off from the surface. Or simply bare bottom.

Tiger loach/clown loach are good to keep with discus only when they are juveniles. Sizes of 4.5" or more are not advisable as they can make sudden and fast movements when excited which may strike your discus and scare them. At least the serene setup is disturbed. They will compete for food. Big loaches can also target discus slime. Lastly tiger loaches are best kept in groups of at least 6. Keeping 2 of them will not keep either the discus or the loaches very happy.

Instead of going for a white background, try to opt for a tan, blue or moderately dark background. Discus like to hide to feel secure and they would not like to retreat in a corner where they will stick out. A deeper color would turn dark with the lights off and the fish would prefer it.

Another thing. With time you will learn that the above problems and solutions are not that important in keeping discus. The thumb rule would be plenty of clean water and good nutritious food in at least two or three varieties, and if you can provide this your fishes would be in seventh heaven!


Hi Saurav,
First of all, thanks for your suggestions. I will then try to find a darker back-ground. As for the tiger loaches, I will simply skip those also. I have also thought of performing atleast 20-25% water changes daily or every alternate day, since I will be feeding the juvenile discuses a home made food (chicken heart mix with prawn and multi-vitamins) along with tetrabits and hikari discus bio gold. I will be buying the discus babies from my home-town lfs, and they have quoted me @175 for 1.5-2 inch discus.
One of the lfs at Baghajatin is asking 6,000 (tank) + 2000 (cover) = 8000 for making the tank, where as the other lfs is asking for 4,500 (tank) + 1500 (cover) = 6000. Which one should I go for? I am really confused over here, since both of them has told me that it will be made of 12mm glass with a high black fibre cover for accomodating a top filter, then why is so much difference?
Should I go to the galiff street for puchasing the white finer gravel, or is it readily available in any lfs?
Hope you don't mind answering so many questions. Again thanks in advance.
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Re: Setting up a Discus tank

Postby saurav » Tue Jan 27, 2015 5:35 am

First of all, regarding your home made food, try to avoid using prawn as it will foul the water fast. Prawn is added to bring out the red color of your discus, but if you are feeding tetrabits and hikari biogold, this part is taken care of. Use a good binder like plain gelatin or agar agar. Good binder means a) good binding grip b) should not impart a flavor of its own. And try to prepare your chicken heart mixture in a grinder (used for making keema) and not in a mixie. A mixie will basically liquify your ingredients at a high speed and make a paste. No matter how long you freeze them, they will foul the water on contact. A grinder creates fine particles (size is as per requirement), and as such will not foul water.

Since you are planning to buy your tank from Baghajatin, why don't you venture a little ahead and buy from Buroda at Jadavpur 8B? You will get the best deal possible. Ask him about fine white grained sand too.
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