MY FISH TANKS

I very much enjoy keeping aquariums. It’s a hobby that has fascinated me for 17 years, and one that I’ll pursue for a long, long time to come. In the past I’ve kept various sizes of freshwater and saltwater reef aquariums. I’ve even kept a brackish fish tank with a mudskipper and mangrove trees that grew from a miniature island in the middle.

Although I’ve had to move around quite frequently in the past, I’m now settled and am able to keep my aquariums for longer than three or four years at a time. Below, I’ve included pictures and information on my two freshwater tanks: two aquariums that exemplify my method for creating cost effective, low maintenance, healthy, beautiful aquatic habitats.

My 55 Gallon Freshwater Fish Tank

Home to three Discus Fish and nine Cardinal Tetras, I set this aquarium up with a low maintenance routine in mind. Indeed, it has turned out to be an extremely low maintenance tank. It actually surpassed my expectations. I’m still amazed at how little work I have to do to keep it looking in tip top shape. This thing basically takes care of itself!

I hardly get any algae growth. I do partial water changes on a regular basis, but these go by smoothly and quickly.

Also, when I travel, the aquarium goes for one or two months without a single water change. And, all remains well! Since the aquarium lights are turned on and off by an automatic timer (you can find one of these inexpensive timers at any hardware store), I just have a friend feed my beauties while I’m away. That’s all there is to it.

I was able to create this low maintenance masterpiece simply by changing the way I did a few things. I learned that a simple setup, and one that relies primarily on biological filtration, provides the most stable and healthy environment for my fish.

I’ve been teaching this way of doing things for over four years, and I talk about it in detail in The Kick-Ass Aquarium.

I’m very enthusiastic (if you didn’t already notice) about creating simple, stable, and balanced aquariums! Still, self-restraint is sometimes needed, so let me move on to the next topic: my freshwater fish.

I think my Discus Fish are the most beautiful fish I have. Saltwater fish arguably look nicer, but that doesn’t mean that they’re more beautiful. Indeed, beauty is a complex concept that encompasses far more than appearance alone. I’ve handled countless species of fish both at work and at home, and I noticed that freshwater fish have more personality. Most saltwater fish, in comparison, seem like clueless idiots! In many ways, freshwater fish are more interesting.

Discus Fish, in particular, exhibit a variety of behaviors that change in response to environmental and social conditions. Yes; these fish do have their mini-societies. They form complex social hierarchies amongst themselves which are regulated by a multitude of visual cues, by body language (if we can call it that).

I’ve witnessed this amazing behavior in my own aquarium. Joe, a red-turquoise Discus, is the leader of the fish (I usually never name my fish, but my very dear friend named him Joe and the name just stuck). Joe is no tyrant though. In fact, I often see him gently resolving disputes between the other two Discus.

Joe’s very effective at doing so, because he is the largest of the three Discus. When squabbles arise, Joe slowly drifts in between the other two fish and displays his large fins. The two quarrelling Discus take notice, and the problem is resolved.

There are many more reasons why I love my Discus Fish, but I’ll stop myself from rambling on. I will say, though, that Joe is far more than just another part of my hobby. He’s become my pet.

My 56 Gallon Freshwater Fish Tank

This is a new project I’m working on. As with my 55 gallon tank, I’m relying solely on beneficial bacteria for filtration, and on lush plant growth for the removal of nitrate (the end product of bio filtration) from the aquarium. Yet again, I’m creating a super low maintenance tank :)

I aim to make this aquarium primarily a planted tank (more so than my 55 gallon) and am illuminating the aquarium with two powerful yet efficient T5 fluorescent bulbs. I’ve also included heating cables for the substrate and a layer of Fluorite fertilizer beneath the sand. The results are phenomenal! I had to prune back the plants twice within the first month. In the near future, I’ll be attaching a CO2 injection system to provide for the needs of extra plants… I’m thinking of growing a low lying carpet of Baby Tears or Dwarf Hairgrass across the bottom.

The tank currently houses nine Dwarf Neon Rainbowfish and one German Blue Ram. I keep them well nourished with Spirulina Algae Flakes, Enriched Brine Shrimp, and an occasional feeding of Cyclop Eeze. Sensible feeding practice coupled with a healthy aquarium environment has brought out fantastic coloration in my fish. That said, below are some pictures of my tank.

Discussion

42 people commented on "MY FISH TANKS"
Feel free to join the conversation and leave a comment as well.

  • Kiki Clarke says:

    I see that you have sand on the bottom of your 55 gallon tank. By the way, it is beautiful. Can I use sand for a community tank? Mollies, guppies, etc.

    Thanks,
    Kiki

  • admin says:

    I agree; I think aquariums with sand bottoms look beautiful! In fact, all my aquariums have sand in them, and I will never go back to gravel (though gravel is not bad either).

    To answer your question, Kiki, yes; sand is absolutely fine for most aquariums, including your’s. However, there are a few things to consider and to watch out for:

    1. The sand you use in your aquarium should be freshwater safe. So, what does that mean?

    Well, here’s a quick explanation:

    Stay away from calcareous sand, one derived from either coral rubble, or sandstone, or aragonite. Though these types of sands are readily available and tend to be whiter in appearance, they are meant for use in saltwater aquariums only. That’s because they release a lot of minerals into the water and will thus raise the hardness and pH of your water.

    And, you don’t want to raise your hardness and pH too high, especially if you want to keep low and neutral pH loving fish (your Mollies will do well in slightly higher pH levels: 7.5-8.5, but a pH reading above 8.0 will cause stress in your guppies).

    So, I recommend getting sand specially made for freshwater aquariums, such as “river sand”, which will not raise your pH to unhealthy levels and which you should be able to find at your local aquarium shop.

    2. Make sure you rinse the sand out in tap water really well before putting it into your aquarium.

    3. If you don’t have many live plants or bottom dwelling fish in your aquarium, avoid putting a thick layer of sand on the bottom. If the sand layer is too deep, it may suffer from a lack of oxygen, and hence promote the growth of anaerobic bacteria – the smelly, “toxic” waste producing critters described on pages 37-38 in The Kick-Ass Aquarium Book.

    So, I recommend that the depth of the sand never exceed 3 inches (7.5) cm where plants are rooted and 1 inch (2.5 cm) where no plants are present.

    (In fact, in the above picture of my 55 gallon freshwater aquarium, you can see that the sand layer is shallower near the front of the aquarium where there are no plants.)

    4. Finally, you may have to stir the very uppermost part of the sand bottom from time to time to keep it free of algae growth. However, if you follow the advice in my book, you eventually won’t get much algae growth at all, and so that won’t be an issue!

    Also, take a look at pages 36-38 of The Kick-Ass Aquarium Book to get more information on the aquarium sand subject:)

    Hope this helps, Kiki.

    Take Care:)
    -Luke

  • Bruce says:

    Hi,

    I really like your 55 gallon fresh water planted tank! I’m setting up a planted tank with the idea that it will be a simple care tank with discus, and I was wondering if you could provide a few more details about your setup?

    What type of lighting do you use and how many watts?

    What types of plants do you have in there?

    What types of filter(s) do you use? Do you use a UV filter?

    Thank you advance for your help!

    Bruce

  • admin says:

    Hi Bruce,

    First and foremost, I apologize for the late response. I’ve recently moved and haven’t had internet access until today.

    Regarding my planted aquarium:

    Lighting:

    It’s an old, old setup which uses normal output fluorescent bulbs. The tank did, however, receive direct sunlight, for it was located in the sun-room (yikes!). Since I kept the aquarium extraordinarily clean (both chemically and physically) and well planted, I hardly had any algae growth!

    Having said that, I DO NOT recommend that anyone keeps their aquarium in direct sunlight! (I was only able to do it because my aquarium was biologically and chemically stable and because the discus fish preferred the slightly elevated water temperature generated by exposure to sunlight.)

    Instead, I highly recommend that you get T5 fluorescent bulbs.

    T5′s are long lived, they produce a high quality of light (they pack more punch per Watt than other bulbs), they’re more compact than their regular fluorescent counterparts (T12′s or T8′s, depending on where you live), and they stay cool! They are the best lighting solution in the planted aquarium hobby. In fact, I’m switching over to them myself.

    With T5 bulbs, I suggest getting about 2 to 3 Watts per gallon.

    Plants:

    I have various types of sword plants, and, my favorite, a tiger lotus plant that grew to a gigantic size (it’s the one that looks like a water lily).

    As a side note, my plants grew much better when I replaced my gravel with sand. Sand not only provides more total surface area for the bacteria responsible for biological filtration to grow on, but it’s also much gentler on plant roots, thus allowing your plants to grow quicker and fuller (healthier roots make for healthier leaves).

    Filtration:

    I run an ancient yet reliable Fluval 203 canister filter on my tank. These filters (especially the old models) are amazing! They’re quite (essential for keeping discus), efficient, they stay below the aquarium and out of view, and (I have to say it again) are very reliable!

    Although the oldie Fluval 203′s are no longer produced, Eheim offers a great canister filter – the Eheim 2217. In fact, the Fluval 203 is very similar to it’s Eheim counterpart (or, perhaps I should phrase that the other way around since Eheim’s filter design appeared before Fluval’s).

    In short, I would definitely get a canister filter and I think the Eheim 2217 is the way to go.

    Also, I don’t use a UV filter/sterilizer. In fact, I don’t even use any chemical filtration media, just biological filtration media – The stuff does wonders for my aquarium!

    If you have any further questions, Burce, I would be happy to answer them (and, I’ll do so much quicker this time, since I’ve now gotten settled in my new home).

    Also, thank you for posting, and thanks for the much appreciated comments about my aquarium.

    I wish you the best of luck with your new planted aquarium setup :)

    Take Care,
    -Luke

    p.s. I’ll try to get some articles up in the near future to more fully answer some of the pointed questions you raised in your comment.

    For now, you may want to take a look at some of these aquarium articles which address biological filtration, discus fish care, etc:

    Filtration in the Planted Aquarium
    Aquarium Care 101: Part 3
    Biological Filtration
    The Discus Fish: The King is Back!

  • Thomas says:

    Hey,

    Your tank looks awesome! And your choice of fish is really cool, Discus, and I think you said Neon Tetras, right?

    I really like your plants, too. I know the bigger one is the tiger lotus plant, but what are all the other one you have? And how long did it take for your plants to grow that size?

    I was hoping of getting a planted tank, something like yours, but I won’t steal your complete layout. But I always run into the plants dying, and breaking off. How do you keep the plants well, and thriving.

    Always Appreciated,
    Thomas

  • Chris Bassitt says:

    Hi,

    Your tank looks great.

    First off let me tell you about my tank.

    40 gallon, 5 fake plants and one big rock in the middle. I added sand yesterday because I was looking at pictures of aquariums and sand looks BY FAR the best.

    I cleaned the sand but it still made my water so hazy and it wont go away. What should I do? I have a bubbler going and my filter

  • admin says:

    Hi Thomas,

    Yes; I like the greenery of my tank as well. I tried to produce an effect by which the Discus and (Cardinal) Tetras would serve as the focal point of an overarching whole – a sort of lush green canvas.

    My sword plants (Amazon and Melon) and Tiger Lotus began to grow a lot faster when I replaced my gravel with sand. In fact, I have to prune my Tiger Lotus on a weekly basis!

    Having said that, keep in mind that I keep my aquarium water parameters ideal. In particular, my Ammonia and Nitrite levels are undetectable, and my Nitrate levels are very close to zero.

    There’s a common misconception about how aquarium plants clean your water that may lead to aquarium plant death if a proper understanding of basic plant biology is not sought and implemented. While plants will pull Nitrate – the end product of biological filtration – out of the water, thus reducing algae growth and decreasing potential stress in fish, they cannot absorb toxic Ammonia and Nitrite. Ammonia and Nitrate are (almost) as poisonous to plants as they are to fish!

    In other words, aquarium plants will not replace biological filtration. Instead, they will significantly reduce the levels of the barely toxic end-product of biological filtration. Hence, keeping your aquarium clean is an absolute must for success with aquarium plants. It’s half the battle!

    Also, I would recommend that you stay away from plants that are sold in bunches (the plants I’m referring to usually comprise of a few medium sized twigs tied together with a lead weight and/or rubber-band). Almost all these bunched plants are “semi-aquatic” and not “aquatic” specimens. The bunch plants, in other words, are not adapted to live in aquariums, and will almost always die after a few weeks!!!

    Think of it this way: putting a bunched plant in an aquarium is like planting a cactus in a swamp! It’s not going to work!

    If you’re not sure if a plant is “semi-aquatic” or “aquatic”, you can always ask a seller at your local aquarium shop to point you in the right direction.

    Finally, most aquarium plants require a lot of light, and investing in a power compact or, better yet, t5 light fixture may be a good idea.

    Hope this helps, Thomas. Feel free to post more comments if you have any further questions.

  • admin says:

    Hi Chris,

    Sand often releases a lot of “dust” into the water column when first added, but the dust usually settles after a day or two.

    However, there are a few things to keep in mind when adding sand to your aquarium.

    1. Make sure you get sand that’s freshwater safe. A lot of the whiter sands are derived from aragonite or coral rubble – both substances are not suited for freshwater aquariums for they release a lot of minerals into the water, thus raising the hardness and, hence, pH of your water to dangerous levels.

    Furthermore, the water, itself, may become over-saturated with dissolved minerals that leach from the calcerous sand. As I describe in my article on Cloudy Water in the Aquarium, over-saturated solutions (i.e. extremely hard water) will form a precipitate (the tiny white stuff that makes your aquarium water look cloudy). The above explanation is very basic, so do take a look at the link to the article for more info on the cloudy water subject.

    The point is that not all sands are suitable for freshwater aquariums.

    Therefore, I’d go for sands that are specifically intended for freshwater aquarium use (such as River Sand), which do not leach a lot of dissolved minerals into the water.

    Although these sands tend to have a more yellow hue, they are not only freshwater safe, but they also produce less dust than their saltwater counterparts (and, you won’t get the cloudy water phenomenon with these sands).

    2. Thoroughly rinse the sand under running fresh water before you place it into your aquarium. Yes; sand gets extremely dusty when dry, and does need to be rinsed.

    Before I put brand new sand into my aquarium, I first place it in a clean bucket. I then add tap water to the bucket and stir the sand around with my hand to get the dust out. I then dump out the access water along with the dust. I repeat the above steps over and over until all the dust is out of the sand. Yes, this process takes some time, but it’s well worth the extra effort.

    If you did not rinse the sand, and if your water does not clear in a day or two, you may want to temporarily attach a power filter with a lot of good filter-floss to remove the dust particles from the water.

    Also, I suggest that you test both your water hardness and pH to make sure that all is well.

    As I said before, though, these problems usually go away by themselves if you give it some time. The dust should settle and your water should clear in a day or two provided that you added freshwater-safe sand.

    Hope this helps, Chris. Let me know how things work out.

    Take Care,
    Luke

  • Thomas says:

    Hey,

    It’s Tom again. So, I bought, two amazon swords, one melon sword, and also a green tiger lotus, just like the ones you have.

    I use this nutrient called FloraPride, is this good, or do you prefer something else? I never checked my water parameters before, do you have to buy a strip and dip it in the water for it to show the parameters?

    I also have gravel in my tank (I’m sort of against sand, as it doesn’t do well with some of the fish I have right now in the tank). How long would you guess would it take for my plants to grow to the size of yours in my gravel substrate?

    Sorry for all the questions.

    And again, always appreciated,
    Thomas

  • admin says:

    Hi Tom,

    Congratulations on your new aquarium plant purchase!

    1. Regarding the fertilizer:

    FloraPride is not bad, and it will provide your aquarium plants with, primarily, a rich source of iron.

    Plants, however, need more than iron to thrive. Aside from the above mentioned heavy metal and lots of light, aquarium plants also need a readily available source of carbon.

    In most cases, and in the natural environment, plants obtain carbon from CO2 (Carbon Dioxide). For this reason, many hobbyists who focus primarily on growing plants pump dissolved CO2 into their aquariums. Going about things this way is highly effective, though costly because you’d need to purchase a C02 tank, a C02 reactor and regulator, a water pump, and some other gadgets to make the whole thing work.

    There are a few cheap ready to use CO2 systems out their ($30.00 to $50.00 range), but they don’t work well at all. They’re not worth the money, so stay away from them!

    Instead (and this is what I did) you can add liquid solutions directly to your aquarium that provide your plants with bio-available carbon. Seachem’s Flourish Excel is a good choice. Although adding the Flourish Excel won’t produce the results provided by CO2 injection, it will noticeably increase aquarium plant health and growth.

    Also, you can mix in Laterite (made specifically for planted aquariums, of course) to your gravel. Aquarium Laterite comes in granular form and works wonderfully because it releases nutrients slowly, over a long period of time, and directly to the aquarium substrate (after all, that’s where the plant roots are!).

    2. Testing for Water Parameters:

    Yes; you should make a habit of testing your aquarium water parameters. At the very least, you should test your aquarium water for Ammonia and Nitrite (especially in new tanks), Nitrate, and pH.

    As you had mentioned, Tom, you can test for the above substances using test strips which are inexpensive and simple to use (the directions on the packaging are clear and need no further explanation). If you want to go the extra mile, though, I would use powder tests because they are more accurate than the strips.

    3. Substrate and Plant growth:

    Small sized gravel, of course, is fine. And, if you mix some Laterite into it and add the above mentioned liquid solutions, your plants should grow well.

    However, keep in mind that plant roots are extremely delicate and need some time to regenerate after being transplanted to a new aquarium. In fact, the parts of the root that are responsible for most of the nutrient uptake are only one cell in thickness! Thus, your aquarium plants will take off only after you give them some time to develop a healthy root system (I have found that this is especially the case with the tiger lotus plant).

    Since gravel, on account of it’s larger size and greater weight, tends to shift more than sand (and hence is more prone to damage delicate roots), your aquarium plants might need a little more time to settle in. When you gravel vac your aquarium substrate, try to be more gentle around the planted areas of your aquarium so as not to disturb the roots.

    If all goes well, your plants should grow so fast that you’ll need to prune them on a bimonthly, or even weekly, basis!

    Happy fish keeping, and take care,
    Luke

  • Thomas says:

    OK, cool, thanks. I’ll try to find some Flourish Excel, Laterite, and some test strips too.

    Once I’m past the stage of being embarrased of showing my tank in public I’ll send a pic, and thanks a lot for the info!

    Take care,
    Thomas

  • admin says:

    Great, I’d love to see how your aquarium is coming along :)

  • Becky says:

    Question about the tiger lotus plant. I’ve been growing my own green and red tiger lotus plants from bulbs for a few months now with the EXACT same result with every plant: some grow to huge sizes, but inevitably, one fine day, each and every leaf from the originating bulb will “deploy” at the stem, effectively filling my tank with 10-20 floating stem-leaf combos that wither and die. The leaves do not regrow from the bulb. And the cycle continues.

    Has this ever happened to you? I admit, I’m a aquatic-gardening rookie, and am not sure what chemical levels to check (outside of the conventional NH4/NO2/NO3) to see if something whacky in the tank is pushing the plants over the edge. All my other plants (swords, etc.) appear to be doing well. Ugh!

    Help :)

  • admin says:

    Hi Becky,

    Tiger Lotus plants tend to shed their leaves, but they shouldn not do so en mass. In large healthy specimens, it is normal for the Tiger Lotus to shed up to one leaf a day, but the loss of foliage is quickly replaced with new leaves that grow from the base.

    That said, it does look like you have a bit of a problem on your hands. The potentially “off-wack” aquarium parameters that come to mind are lighting, water temperature, and lack of nutrition. Since your Tiger Lotus plants initially do well and do grow fast, I don’t think lighting is an issue. I’ll therefore briefly cover the other two factors.

    1) Aquarium water temperature: Tiger Lotus plants tend to slowly fall apart at temperatures above 83/84 degrees Fahrenheit (28.5 degrees Celsius). In fact, this is exactly what began to happen when I raised the temperature for my Discus fish!

    2) Insufficient Nutrition: If temperature is not an issue in your aquarium, lack of nutrition may be the culprit.

    Lotus plants store nutrients (like potassium and iron) in their bulbs and at the base. These nutrients are predominantly taken up by the roots from the substrate, so good quality sand or gravel is essential for long-term success with this aquarium plant. Indeed, the gigantic size of the Tiger Lotus has to be sustained by a proportionate supply of nutrition!

    I suggest adding Laterite (made specifically for planted aquariums) to your substrate. You should be able to find this fertilizer at most aquarium shops. The stuff works great and will significantly contribute to the overall health of your aquarium plants.

    Hope this helps, Becky, and good luck,
    Luke

    p.s. Regarding other water parameters: I’d also check for pH.

  • KancyMarhaurn says:

    hi admin and people, nice forum indeed. how’s life? hope it’s introduce branch ;)

  • admin says:

    Hi Kancy.

    I’m glad you like my aquarium care site …indeed, this site is slowly transforming into a forum of sorts. Which is fine by me, for I encourage all visitors to post their questions and/or comments.

    Thanks for posting and take care,
    Luke

  • Ray says:

    Hello,I love your blog.I was looking online for information about the Discus fish.This site came up.Fantastic!

    What led me to Discus fish was my interest in Angels.What led me to Angels was Jack Dempsey.Saw Dempsey in the shop and bought one.Never did get any Angels.

    Now I am missing it.I have more time.I considered saltwater,but I am not feeling confident about it.I don’t know anyone with a saltwater tank.Discus seem to have the beauty of Angels with the allure of a saltwater specimen.

    I have a very reputable Angel and Discus breeder in my area.Obtaining the fish is not the problem.What I am very interested in is people with Discus experience.I am so lucky I found you.

    Do you have recommendations concerning specific Discus breeds?Are some easier,hardier than others?Do you advise keeping a school or pairs?I am also considering Angels.Any pros and cons you foresee for me?I know it must seem old hat to you,but when I buy a pet,I am committed.I don’t want to regret the the species choice I make and I don’t want to end up killing them.Discus Or Angels,that is my dilemma.I can’t decide.

    Also,in the end,what rate of difficulty would you say keeping a 50 gal saltwater would be for someone who has kept large freshwater tanks.I am so tempted.

    Thanks in advance for any advise you can give me.

  • admin says:

    Hi Ray,

    Thanks for posting, and thank you for the nice, thoughtful comments! I’m glad you like my aquarium care site.

    Angelfish are not only beautiful, but are also fairly easy to care for and even breed!

    However, if you’re up for something more challenging, I would recommend going with the Discus Fish over the Angelfish. The major pro for keeping Discus over other freshwater fish is their beauty and their charming behavior. I’m only expressing my own opinion, of course, and you should get whichever fish you feel more comfortable with.

    To help you decide, I posted a comment on this article about Caring for Discus Fish in the Home Aquarium – the article which you already found :)

    Also, saltwater aquariums are more expensive and challenging to keep. Of course, if you arm yourself with adequate knowledge about the marine hobby, what once may have seemed difficult you will take for granted (in the most positive sense of the word). For this reason, I recommend going to great lengths to educate yourself about saltwater aquariums before taking your first marine pets home.

    On that note, I hope the information I posted on Discus (see both the article and the comments) will help you achieve success with Discus if you opt for getting these fish. Here again is the article on Discus Fish Care.

    Take care,
    Luke

  • sabrina says:

    Your tank is beautiful.
    I have a 250 gallon tank that I want to put sand, a lot of sea shells, snails, and maybe a couple of turtles in. Do I still need filters?
    Sabrina

  • admin says:

    Hi Sabrina,

    Wow! A 250 gallon tank sounds like it’ll make for a great setup!

    Yes, you should always attach a filer to your aquarium. I imagine that you want to fill the aquarium up only half way in order to provide your turtles with some terrestrial ground for them to lounge around when not swimming. That said, I highly recommend using a good quality canister filter.

    Canister filters are great because they are quiet, efficient, and don’t clutter your aquarium, for they sit outside of the tank itself. Furthermore, with a canister filter, you won’t get the annoying splashing that you’d get with standard hang-on power filter (this is especially something to take into consideration with turtle type aquariums). That’s because canister filter use intake and outtake tubes that can be placed below the water line – regardless of how low that water line may be. For this reason, these filters are ideal for aquariums that are not completely filled.

    Also, while sand (specially suited for freshwater aquariums) will do, the sea shells I’d advise against, for they will release a lot of minerals into your aquarium water which may make the water too hard.

    Finally, keep in mind that aquatic turtles will eat any meaty thing in the aquarium that they can catch. In other words, they will eat your snails (snails won’t do well in your aquarium) and any slow moving fish. You should also consider the water temperature required for both the turtles and fish you plan to keep. Although I do not know a whole lot about caring for aquatic turtles (I strongly advise getting a book on them :) , I’d bet that the ones available for sale tend to prefer cooler water.

    That said, I’m sure that you’re turtle aquarium will be a success, Sabrina, and you should definitely get as much information on caring for aquatic turtles in the aquarium from qualified sources to help you prepare for your reptilian pets.

    Needless to say, I’d be happy to help you out with anything I can.

    Take Care and wishing you the best of luck,
    Luke

  • Ross says:

    Hi Luke
    Just wanted to say how informative i found your site. I am currently getting the money together to buy my own discus spicific tank and by reading over the many sites yours is by far the best. My father kept discus for years and sucsessfuly bread them but times have changed i.e he could never buy substrate he had to bake compost from the garden in the oven ha ha. your comments have certianly bridged the gap for both of us thanks. sorry to rabble on but most sites are full info of how discus are so fragile and this scares most people i think when discus are quite hardy. providing u keep the tank clean and do your checks. Would like to know what your thoughts were on this.
    P.S I was thinking about having a similer not the same set up as yourself but what do you think about having a marine blue background to make the green plants and red discus stand out. do you think this will make the tank too bright coz as u know discus dont like bright light.
    TA
    ROSS
    P.S.S Again well done.

  • admin says:

    Hi Ross,

    Thank you for the gracious comments! I know I say this a lot on this site, but I really do appreciate every bit of feedback I receive from my readers. I’ll say it again, it really makes my day :)

    Hehe by the way, your story about your father baking aquarium substrate dug up from his garden reminds me of how my grandfather used to make, yes make, heaters for his aquarium: as he often told me, he used to make a diode type contraption, place it in a glass tube, and plug the mechanism in after placing the whole thing into the aquarium (to my readers out there: DO NOT EVER try this, needless to say).

    But, like your father, he was very successful with his aquarium. It goes to show that technology isn’t everything and that many of the more basic methods for aquarium care are very effective.

    I think and, dare I say, know that most people in the hobby rely far too much on the technological side of aquarium keeping and overlook the more fundamental rules of nature that keep aquariums clean, stable, and healthy.

    In fact, I’m trying to promote an understanding of the biology of aquariums (especially in my Aquarium Care 101 series) so that people can harness those efficient natural methods of aquarium keeping for their advantage.

    As far as Discus Fish are concerned, I agree that they are neither fragile nor shy at all as long as their aquarium environment meets their basic needs. A large aquarium, warm and biologically stable (hence, clean) water, good frozen food (no bloodworms, no live food), and a sizable group of five or more individuals (or alternately, one mated pair) is the fundamental recipe for success with Discus Fish.

    Also, I think your background of choice will work just fine Ross. But, if you feel anxious about it being too bright, I’d go for a plain black background. In fact, I think aquarium plants look best with black backgrounds. It really makes them stand out and the inconspicuous color really draws the viewer’s attention more to both the plants and fish than to what’s around them.

    And with practicality in mind, the stronger light needed to support aquarium plants will not bounce off of a black background as it will from a background of any other color.

    Well, hopes this helps Ross. Good luck with your Discus tank, sounds exciting! Let me know how it goes.

    Take Care,
    Luke

  • English rose says:

    Hi Luke, I would like to reiterate all the good things that have been written about you, your site and your down to earth approach in discussing aquarium stuff; as they say in the UK “jolly good stuff”. I’ve been an aquarist for over 15 years and still learning; even about the basics. I’ve got 2 tanks, 300 litre and 100 L- both freshwater tropical; larger tank planted and smaller one with rocks and wood; in the UK the litre is used (the US gallon is different from the UK gallon!). the most amusing fish I’ve ever had are clown loach-I could sit for hours wathching them.
    Visited a lfs and saw the most amazing tank- the fish really looked like the “real deal” with natural colors. As an example the scissor tails looked pale brown/grey with the individual scales looking noticeable whilst mine look almost silvery and “metallic”. The store owner says he believes it’s because of the “pink” fluorescent light that he uses. What’s your thoughts on this.
    Your admirer,
    English rose

  • admin says:

    Hello and thank you for the kind words :)

    I think you’re referring to the Scissor Tale Rasbora (Rasbora trilineata). These fish are of paler coloration, yet should display some golden-brown hue when established in the aquarium. Lighting, of course, will affect the way an aquarium and its inhabitants look, and the color temperature of the light (measured in degrees Kelvin – the higher the color temperature, the bluer/whiter the light) will have a dramatic effect on the presentation of any aquarium.

    For example, regular sunlight at mid-day has a color temperature of about 5,500 K (if I remember correctly) and includes all the colors of the rainbow. Light bulbs of this color temperature, as a result, produces a soft light that may dampen the intensity of the objects and organisms it shines on.

    Bluer/Purpleish/White lights of say 20,000 K, on the other hand, will produce higher contrast “images” (think of the difference in the look of your home produced by regular incandescent light bulbs vs household compact fluorescent lamps).

    The vast range of color temperatures featured in aquarium light bulbs (ranging from 5,000 K to 20,000 K) directly corresponds to the behavior of light in natural aquatic and marine environments. Water, in fact, is an excellent “light filter”. As sunlight travels through water, its color temperature increases. To put it another way (and this may seem counter intuitive given the above statement), the further down through the water the sunlight travels, the more of it gets filtered out. First the reds go, then the oranges, yellows, etc., with blue light being the most resilient.

    All that said, I’m guessing that the planted aquarium you saw at the lfs was illuminated by a bulb of color temperature 12,000 K to 18,000 K. This color temperature range would account for the more pronounced appearance of the fish scales. It’s a nice effect produced by higher Kelvin bulbs and looks great, I agree :)

    Hope this info helps.

    Take Care,
    Luke

  • Warren says:

    Kudos for achieving such a good looking, well balanced aquarium. It has been a few years since my last planted tank, and I am getting up to date on the latest techniques. While smaller than I wanted (55 gal), my last tank did quite well using laterite (no sand), compact flourescents, and CO2 injection. I have read your comments concerning CO2 vs. chemical carbonization with interest. Since I travel a lot, having an aquarium that is stable with minimal mechanical filtration that doesn’t rely on external CO2 injection, is necessary. I envision a 150 gal long with a 20 gal sump filter using bio balls. Penetrating the tank bottom for intake and discharge should obviate the need for a cannister filter. The T5 bulbs are a good tip I’ll keep in mind too. One of the things I did was put my CF lights on a timer. At night, I had blue and red LED’s inside the hood that produced lighting that looked very much like moonlight. I want to populate the aquarium with discus as the primary occupants and a few other community species (such as the cardinal tetras you have). Do you think that such night lighting would be detrimental to the discus? Do discus require (relatively) complete darkness periodically? Your thoughts are most appreciated.
    Warren

  • admin says:

    Hi Warren,

    Yeah, I empathize with your desire for low maintenance aquariums. I travel a lot as well, and came up with my low maintenance system – based, pretty simply, on biological filtration, live plants, and low stocking (about 1 inch of fish for every 2 gallons of aquarium) – partially because of necessity. The sump filter will provide both stability and low maintenance for your aquarium, so that will work out nicely.

    Regarding the LEDs:

    At 1 Watt, LED moonlights are 32 times less powerful (in terms of wattage) than a normal output 48 inch fluorescent aquarium bulb, are far smaller, and emit only the subtle blue wavelengths. In other words, they are extremely weak and shouldn’t cause your fish distress. That said, I probably would set them on a timer from when ever you turn off the main lights to right before you usually go to sleep. This way, the fish will have reasonable periods of total darkness.

    Also, be sure to provide some plant cover so that the discus can get a rest from the main display lights (I’m referring to the compact flourescents or T5s), since those can get pretty bright on a planted aquarium.

    Hope this helps Warren. Good luck on your new aquarium!
    -Luke

  • drew says:

    I cleaned out and re-established my 55 gal tank, and been cycling it for a week now. Yesterday i put in some plants and fertilizers. I put plant tabs under the roots and added flourish N, P, K, and carbon and the micro nutrients. I also have a DIY co2 reactor attached. I have 2 lights on top(T5HO,54w??) The plants are: alternanthera reineckii (pink), pogostemon, anubias, limnophiliasessiliforia. When i looked at them 24 hrs later, especially the alternanthera, they have patches on the leaves that appear to be clear, almost like the color went right out of them. Thepogostemon also has leaves that look clear, and they are near the bottom of the plant on this specimen, whereas they are all over on the other one. Any idea what is going on in there? What have i done wrong, i wonder. Thanks.

  • admin says:

    Hi Drew,

    Well, that’s a problem indeed… The first thing that came to my mind when I read your description was that the plants were “burned” by the sudden addition of the Flourish and the other fertilizers (not the tablets though).

    I’m not sure how much you added at one time, so I can’t say for sure. But, the patchiness of the damage (you had mentioned that the condition did not affect your plants uniformly) perhaps indicates high concentrations of the additives floating around your aquarium before they got thoroughly mixed into the water column. That would be my guess (if the condition persists, we can probably rule out this explanation). Needless to say, If any readers of this website have other ideas on this topic, please feel free to post.

    Alternately, the plants may simply be having a hard time acclimating to your aquarium.

    Wishing you good luck,
    Luke

  • John says:

    Hi Luke,

    Just a quick question for you if it’s ok,

    I keep loosing fish but with no remnence. No floating and no carcases. I have posted on quite a few fish forums and got a few different answers.

    I was recommemned to yourself by another user on here who said you were the best person to ask. I’ll give you a list of what i have,

    1 Neon, 1 Emperor, 1 Glow Light, 2 Serpias, 3 Lemon Tetras, 2 Angels, 2 Clown Loaches, 2 Red Eyes, 1 Gourami, 1 Plecostomus, 1 Silvertip

    I hope this list help you.

    John

  • admin says:

    Hi John,

    Sorry about your fish. Let’s see if we can get to the bottom of your aquarium troubles. From the information you provided, I can think of two possible causes for the mysterious fish deaths you described.

    1) Check your aquarium water parameters (including pH, Ammonia, and Nitrite), and your fish for visible signs of disease. If they are dying on account of environmental disarray or from pathogens, their bodies will be quickly consumed by the bottom dwelling fish in your tank (i.e. the Clown Loaches and, more likely, the Plecostomus).

    That said, some of the fish you have (including the two Clown Loaches) can be pretty sensitive to bad water, which leads me to think that environmental and/or pathogenic diseases are not the issue in your aquarium.

    2) Instead, I’m thinking that the Plecostomus is causing your problems. In fact, that’s the first thought that popped into my mind when I read your list of fish.

    Plecos are omnivores and have been noted to consume small fish when these fish rest at the aquarium’s bottom. Especially if you have a Common Pleco which has grown nicely, and the fish you’re loosing are the smaller Tetras, then the Pleco very well may be the culprit.

    You could test this hypothesis by separating the Pleco from your other fish and see if the problem persists.

    Also, if you provide me with a list of the fish that have been disappearing, I may be better able to help you.

    Good luck, John. Let me know how things turn out and if there’s anything else I can help you with.

    Best,
    Luke

  • Ross says:

    Hi Luke Ross again
    Just set up a new tank and have been haveing a few problems i hope you can help with.
    The tank has been set up for one week and consists of a gravel , tetra tec substrate base and river sand on top with some plants and bog wood. all my chemical levels ckecked out ok ph 6.3 amonium 0 nitrates 0 ect so i bought 8 cardinal tetras and now im down to three. two i think had neon fish disease as their was a white band running down their body from their dorsal fin which broke up the blue and red bands and they died within 12 hours but the other six seemd ok very active. i then started loosing one a day with no sign of disease. every day one would peel away from the group and not feed and within 2 hours would be alive but not controlling its swim bladder i.e upside down and have to be taken out. all chemical levels have been checked several times and are always within limits. one 10% water change has been done useing fresh rain water that was tested and heated to tank temprature before adding. please can u help. i know cardinal tetras were not the best to start with because they dont handle stress well but ive tried everything to keep them happy. i plan to keep discus with one shoal of cardinals, one shoal of rummynose and a cory. is their any fish that would work well with these fish which are mory hardy and better to start with any help would be great thanks again ross.

  • admin says:

    Hi Ross,

    First and foremost, I’m very sorry for the late reply (I’ve been working terribly long hours, and …well, my brain has been a bit fried as of late!). Apologies aside, let’s see if we can find a solution to your problem.

    Neon Tetra disease is a nasty, nasty problem, and one that most in the aquarium hobby will come across at some point. Fish contract the illness after consuming (literally ingesting) material infected with the spores of the protozoan that causes the disease (can’t think of the protozoan’s name off the top of my head).

    For example, the bodies of fish that died form neon tetra disease are thoroughly infected, and any fish that nips on these infected bodies will get the illness as well (100% guaranteed). Also, there’s some anecdotal evidence floating around which suggests that live food, bloodworms most particularly, may carry the disease as well (by the way, to all my readers out there, never feed your fish bloodworms – live or frozen, ever !!!).

    My point is that cleanliness is necessary for preventing the disease from spreading to other fish, now and in the future.

    So, be sure to thoroughly gravel vac the substrate at the bottom of your aquarium Ross. You may even need to do a 20% water change in the process (since gravel vacuuming takes water out of your aquarium). You don’t want any infected material to stay in your aquarium.

    Also, since the aquarium at the fish shop from where you bought your fish is likely infected, you may want to consider looking for other LFS stores …but, this is entirely up to your discretion Ross (I don’t know the situation first hand).

    The last step to preventing future outbreaks in your aquarium is to wait a little while before you add more fish. Take your time. See how things go with the remaining fish in your tank. This way, you can purchase new fish with confidence, knowing that the disease is no longer a problem in your aquarium.

    Okay, let’s move on to cycling the aquarium with eventually housing Discus in mind.

    By the way, the list of fish you’d like to house with your Discus in the future is great! It’ll be a really nice looking tank! (just be careful with the Rummynose Tetra’s since they don’t do too well at temps in the mid 80′s …more on this later).

    Before I added my Discus, I cycled my aquarium with tetras. Since most tetras require water of a similar pH and temperature to that required by Discus, this was the natural way to go. Of course, keep in mind that you’ll have to lower your temp to about 78/80 degrees Farenheit for most tetras, and let your pH rise to about 6.5/6.6 (the temperature you can raise later on, but the pH you can leave at around 6.5/6.6 …unless you’re going to add wild-caught Discus).

    Hmmmm … … … that said, it looks like I’ll have to go on one of my typical tangential explanations. Wild-caught Discus, for obvious reasons, require water that’s almost identical to that of their native habitat. But, most Discus available have been breed and raised in typical aquarium conditions for generations. Of course, these aquarium environments are still very similar to the native habitat. But, they are not identical. Generally, aquarium breed Discus are used to a slightly higher pH and a slightly lower temperature.

    In fact, I noticed livelier activity in my Discus when I lowered the temperature form 85/86 degrees Farenheit to 82/83 degrees Farenheit (the lower temp did wonders for my plants, as well!).

    Needless to say, try to keep your aquarium water parameters at good levels, but don’t get too concerned with strictly adhering to canonical wisdom, to strict guidelines. And remember, aquarium water stability is key for caring for your fish. My temp was a bit lower and my pH a bit higher from that of the Rio Negro River in Brazil, but I kept both parameters super stable and my fish remained healthy and lively.

    Alright, lets move back to the subject of cycling. As I mentioned above, I cycled my aquarium with tetras – Bleeding Heart Tetras and Hokey-Stick (also known as Penguin) Tetras. When time came to add the Discus, I gave the tetras back to my local fish store (I was actually working there at the time).

    Yes, if you go the route I took, you’ll have to return the fish you purchased for cycling the aquarium. But, the investment was small, and the method effective. Once you do this, you can higher your temp (the pH shouldn’t be an issue if it’s at around 6.5/6.6), and introduce the desired fish to your aquarium.

    By the way, Red Minor Tetras and Black Phantom Tetras are also good candidates for cycling for Cardinals and Discus. Also, Panda Corys and Swartz Corys are two Corydoras Catfish that will tolerate higher temps (make sure to add them in only after other fish are present in the aquarium – you never want to add bottom feeders first to any tank).

    Hope this helps Ross. Take Care.
    -Luke

  • joey b says:

    Hey luke,
    love the tanks they look great.
    i have a few questions because i am setting up my new aquarium i have only had 10gallon tanks in the past and present but my pleco quickly out frew the tank.
    my questions are
    1 what is the best way to move my pleco to his new home?
    2 how long should my tank cycle befor, fish are added?
    3 should i put my mondo grass and ribbon plants in when i first set my tank up..? so i dont have to dig them up in the gravel later? also was making sure that the tap watter wont hurt them sitting in it.

    thanks joey

  • admin says:

    Hi Joey, thanks for posting.

    Plecos are pretty big fish, and they tend to produce a lot of waste. That said, I recommend, at the very least partially cycling your aquarium before moving the Pleco in.

    Depending on the size of your aquarium, I’d stock the new tank to at least 20% capacity before adding the Pleco (so, if you’re setting a 55 gallon aquarium and using the conventional 1 inch of fish per gallon rule, you’ll want to settle in about 11 inches worth of fish first …only then add the Pleco in). Adding other fish first to the new aquarium will also benefit the Pleco, for this “algae eater” is really an omnivore and will scavenge any uneaten food left behind by the other fish – the fish you added prior to the Pleco. In effect, you’ll be adding the Pleco in the middle of the cycling process …and not at the beginning.

    Cycling time varies from aquarium to aquarium, but the initial phase (after the addition of the first batch of fish) usually takes 4 to 6 weeks. It takes some time, but long term water stability and fish health are your rewards for patience :)

    Monitor your Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate levels to see when the biological filter has grown sufficiently to handle the initial batch of fish. Your Ammonia levels will initially spike, then they will start to fall as Nitrite levels begin to rise, and finally the Nitrite levels will fall as Nitrate levels begin to rise. When both Ammonia and Nitrite levels fall, it’s safe to add more fish (in this case, your Pleco).

    You can take a look at my Aquarium Care 101 series of articles for more info on cycling, biological filtration, and initial aquairum setup.

    Regarding your mondo grass and ribbon plants, You can move them into the new aquarium right away, provided that 1) you used a water conditioner to get rid of the chlorine and other nasty stuff put in our tap water, and 2) the first batch of fish will be added to the tank shortly afterwords.

    When I set up a new tank, I let the water conditioner and mechanical filter work for two days, then I add the plants, then two days after the addition of plants I add the first batch of fish. All in all, it takes me four days (give or take 1 day) between initial aquarium setup and having fish in my tank!

    Hope this helps, Joey. Please let me know if there’s anything else you need me to elaborate on.

    Best of Luck, and Happy New Year!
    -Luke

    p.s. congrats on the new tank :)

  • joey b says:

    so i think i know what you are saying but just to be clear i have 4 fish in there now that are doing fine should i put the pleco in now or wait longer the tank has been cycling now for 4 days is it ok to put him in the new tank even though there isnt really any build up. that being said i also feed him shrimp pellets. the tank is about the same temp as his curently.

  • admin says:

    Hi Joey,

    It’s good that you have some fish in now. 4 fish will produce some measurable amounts of waste. That siad, one week probably won’t be enough time for the bio-filter to grow sufficiently to handle this first batch of fish. In other words, I’d hold off a bit before I add the Pleco.

    The absolute best way to tell when the aquarium is ready for the addition of the Pleco is to test your aquarium water for Ammonia and Nitrite (and Nitrate). You should notice a rise in the Ammonia and Nitrite levels on account of the 4 fish you already added. When those readings fall, add the Pleco in. Also, if you don’t have a test kit, most aquarium shops will test the water for you.

    Finally, it’s good that the temperature in the new aquarium is the same as the old. Still, when transferring the Pleco to its new home, you should acclimate it to the new aquarium the way you would a fish you just brought home from the pet shop.

    Best,
    Luke

  • joey b says:

    thanks for the info but i messured my pleco to find that he is still to large for the tank now. i messured him at 3 inches wide and 14 and a half long so i have to give him away sadly but thanks for all the information it helps alot

    -joey

  • Rob says:

    Hey Luke!! I was looking for how to clean aquarium gravel and came across this site. Im glad I found it. I see you have plenty of experience with fish, and was hoping you could help me. I have a 15 gallon aquarium with a dwarf gourami, a betta, a white cloud, a golden white cloud, a genetically engineered rainbow danio, and an albino plecostamus (Ihad matches for some of the schooling fish but they died and I didnt want to get fish in the dead of winter for fear of them getting to cold during transport). The tank has gravel on the bottom that is full of algae. could you recommend a good brand of gravel vac for me, and tell me how to use it?

    Thanks!
    Rob

  • Tj says:

    Hi Luke,

    I’m looking to set up an aquarium after winter (I don’t want my fish dying from cold during transport) and I was wondering if you could tell me if the fish I’m researching are well suited to living together; and any other tips would be very much appreciated =]

    A school of zebra danio (for the first month or so), red platies, a female betta (added last to decrease her chances of territorial agression), oto catfish, cory catfish, fancy guppies and a school of cardinal tetra to be added a few months after it’s well astablished (but before the betta).

    As for equipment: 30 gallon tank, canister filter, heater, lots of plants and “caves” and lots of gravel for the cories =]

    If you find flaws in any of this or just have some general tips I am very eager to hear them, I want to give my fishies the best life I can =]

    Thanks so much!

  • admin says:

    Hi TJ,

    Sounds like you’re planning a nice setup. Your choice of equipment is good (the canister filter you’ll especially appreciate).

    There are a few things to consider regarding fish choice: temperature and pH (and, related to pH, water hardness/softness). I’ll cover some basic info first so that when I address your question specifically, it’ll make more sense :)

    pH:

    Let’s stat with pH (very briefly). pH is measured on a scale of 1 to 14. A reading of 1 to 6.9 indicates “Acidic” water; a reading of 7, “Neutral” water; and a reading of 7.1 to 14 “Basic” water.

    pH, in turn, is largely affected by water hardness: the measure of dissolved minerals in the water. In freshwater aquariums, the harder the water is (i.e. the more dissolved minerals it contains), the higher the pH tends to be. That’s because “Hard” water is more likely to maintain (or support) a higher pH, while “Soft water (i.e. water with little dissolved minerals in it) is unable to keep the pH high, and gives in to the forces of Acidity, so to speak.

    This relationship between water hardness and pH I describe above is termed “buffering capacity”. In other words, buffering capacity is the aquarium water’s ability to maintain a high pH. Here’s a hypothetical example/rational: hard water has many dissolved minerals in it, it therefore has a high buffering capacity, and therefore is able to maintain higher pH readings.

    Okay, okay… so this is roughly how water hardness and pH work in freshwater aquariums. The important things to keep in mind are that 1) water with lots of dissolved minerals in it tends to have a high pH, and 2) some fish do best in water of a higher pH, while others prefer water of a lower pH.

    The platies prefer water that is of a higher pH (in the 7.0 to 8.2 pH range). The guppies can live in water of a wide pH range (about 5.5 to 8.0), but, in my experience, they do best in water that is pH 7.0 or higher. The Otocinclus Catfish (cute little algae munchers, by the way) does best at a pH around the Neutral range. The other fish in your list will do well in water that has a pH of about 6.0 to 7.0.

    Temperature:

    Zebra danios like cooler water in the range of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The other fish will do well in water of about 78 degrees Fahrenheit.

    Also, keep in mind that Cardinal Tetras react poorly to cool water (and to rapid fluctuations in temperature, in general) and are not good candidates for shipping during winter.

    Conclusions:

    If you’d like to go with the lower to neutral pH, warmer water fish, I’d get the platies, guppies, and danios off the list.

    Instead, perhaps a nice school of Harlequin Rasboras (nice looking, easy to care for fish) will make for a nice substitute. Rasboras are hardy and will make for a great first addition to your aquarium.

    Also, if you can, try to obtain your fish from a Live Fish Store (LFS) near you, as opposed to getting them shipped to you. After all, when you buy the fish from a local source, you have the great advantage of being able to see if the individual specimens are healthy. Also, you avoid the risks of shipment. Of course, I understand that getting your fish locally may not be an option.

    Also, if you’re new to the hobby, you may benefit from taking a look through my Aquarium Care series of articles on this site.

    Finally, some of the concepts I cover at the beginning of this comment are complicated, so do let me know if I need to re-articulate something to make it more clear. Let me know if you need any further explanation or if you have any more questions TJ. As always, I’m ahppy to help.

    Wishing you success with your new fish tank!

  • tommy says:

    Hi there,
    i’ve been reading through and very impressed on the time and effort your taking to answer our questions. And yet again what great tanks!

    I successfuly looked after a nice slightly planted community tank for my first go at fish keeping,, until when on holiday my friend managed to kill everything!!!! and then lost the will to do it all again. But now ive decided to get back into it and want a planted aquarium with a pair of discus, not sure on the other fish yet.

    I was wondering whether my jewel 96 would be large enough to support this setup? I also live in an area with hard water.

    Many thanks

  • admin says:

    Hi Tommy,

    Thank you for your wonderful comment. It’s nice to hear that my efforts are appreciated :)

    Regarding your question, a mated pair of discus will do great in a 96 gallon aquarium!

    Of course, when keeping discus fish in pairs, it’s best to get a male and a female (as opposed to two fish of the same sex) so as to promote harmony. In other words, a male and female will get along splendidly, while two male discus fish may quarrel (with the dominant male imposing far too much authority on the submissive male for the submissive male to bear).

    If you have hard water, buy a Reverse Osmosis machine (read about RO water in this Aquarium Care Article), which will allow you to produce prefect water for discus. Yes, an RO machine is a bit of an investment, but it more than pays for itself! I highly, highly recommend using RO water in any aquarium.

    Other than these two bits of advice, it sounds like you have a fantastic setup in mind, Tommy.

    Wishing you success and a beautiful aquarium,
    Luke



Leave a Comment:

Browse Subjects:



Browse Articles:



Follow Me on Twitter