Managing the Menagerie
Discus are a truly stunning fish. They display a diversity of coloring and patterns typically only found among saltwater fish. Their allure has had many dabble with the idea of keeping these beauties. However, many become hesitant when they encounter the amount of effort these fish require over traditional freshwater inhabitants. In order to assist those considering beginning their own Discus Aquarium, we here at Krill Aquaria would like to profile our maintenance schedule for keeping our 150 Gallon Discus Tank.
Discus prefer to have temperatures between 82 - 86 F. We run our system within the range of 83F. Our pH averages at about 7.8. You can review our Temp and pH data in the graph below provided from the APEX Fusion cloud-based software. Many have argued that discus should be kept within a pH range of 6 -7. However, STABILITY is far more important in regards to pH surrounding discus. While there are buffers and other products you can use to try and alter your pH levels, we prefer to rely on consistency and not risk pH swings harming the fish. It is important to note that if you wish to breed discus, lower pH levels are recommended.
One of the primary factors that influence the success of keeping Discus is clean water. Frequent water changes are a must. At minimum, we conduct a weekly water change of 70%. However, the more water changes you can carry out, the better. We periodically conduction additional water changes to our weekly change of 70%. To conduct one of our regular water changes on our system, the process takes about 2 hours. Below you can find a time lapse video of us conducting a water change. During this time we also siphon the gravel and scrub the sides of the glass of any algae.
We also monitor the levels of nitrates within the system weekly. This reading also helps us to identify when additional water changes might be necessary. When you are first beginning your aquarium, we recommend measuring this parameter along with ammonia & nitrites more frequently until your system is fully established.
About once a month, we conduct a filter cleaning on one of our 3 canister filters. We have a lot of filtration on this aquarium! We currently have 2 Fluval FX6 and one Eheim 2217. The Fluvals are cleaned on a rotation of every 3 months and the Eheim is cleaned roughly every 6 months. There is quite a bit less media within the Eheim which enables
us to go longer between cleanings compared to the Fluvals.
Each canister is on its own maintenance/cleaning schedule to insure that we do not clean more than one filter within a given month. This is to insure that we do not completely wipe out our established bacterial colonies all at once. While a filter cleaning does mean that we potentially lose some established bacteria within the newly cleaned canister, the remaining two filter’s bacterial colonies should more than compensate for the loss. We will be posting a videos detailing how to conduct a filter clean on both the Eheim 2217 and Fluval FX6 in upcoming installments.
This is just a quick rundown of the maintenance we conduct on our Discus Aquarium. While it does require more effort than the traditional freshwater aquarium, with plenty of research and dedication even the most novice of aquarium owners can embark on their own Discus journey.
We will continue to update with articles detailing the equipment of our Discus system and videos explaining some of our maintenance methods.