Our 150 Gallon Discus Tank has been up and running since January 2015. This update will focus on some of the changes in equipment, as well as, our current livestock.
Equipment Change and Failure
We adjusted the filtration originally running on this system as a result of equipment failure. When we initially established and cycled our tank, we relied on 2 Fluval FX6s. About a month into our tank being fully cycled in February of 2015, we decided to to add a UV Sterilizer to the system. We settled on a Coralife Turbo Twist 12x UV Sterilizer (36 Watt). However, the Fluval FX6's flow rate was to strong for the UV sterilizer to have much benefit. Instead, we opted to add a third canister filter to the system, an Eheim 2217, with a slower flow rate required by the Turbo Twist. The UV sterilizer was added in-line with the return from the Eheim 2217.
The tank ran with the three canister filters and UV sterilizer for close to a year. In that time, all three filters performed well and were routinely dismantled for cleanings. Each filter was cleaned every three months. This permitted the canisters to be cleaned regularly, but prevented having all canisters cleaned at once. This would risk loosing our established bacterial colonization. Below is a quick rundown of our canister maintenance schedule:
In December of 2015, we ordered a replacement bulb for the Coralife Turbo Twist Sterilizer. The product manual states that the UVC Lamp has a useful life of about 12 months and further recommends replacing the bulb once per year. We opted the exchange the bulb a few months earlier than the year mark to insure its continued effectiveness. When we dismantled the device for bulb replacement, we were stunned to find that the seals within the unit had failed and water was leaking into the bulb section of the device. So much water and moisture was within the unit that algae was beginning to grow on the bulb and within the main body of the device.
At this point we completely removed the Coralife Turbo Twist 12x. Needless to say we were not pleased to have a unit fail on us within a year. Upon examination online, we discovered that other users have reported similar failure issues online. We are extremely grateful that we decided to dismantle the unit early in order to discover the issue before it lead to a potentially greater issues.
Since the UV sterilizer was no longer in operation on our system, we opted to remove the Eheim 2217 as well. The 2 Fluval FX6s is more than adequate filtration on the 150 gallon tank.
Days of our Discus
Within the first six months of the establishment of our tank, we had 12 discus: Panther, Sneaky Male, Chimera, Rouge, Blue, Yellow, Little Red, Bee, Big Blue, Stripes & Helios. One of the intriguing aspects of owning discus is the unique dynamics witnessed within shoal or between mated pairs. You begin to learn each of their individual personalities and quirks. The social hierarchy is so compelling that I’ve frequently referred to our tank as the soap opera “Days of our Discus”! We’ve witnessed mates change and slight power struggles as dominance is established.
Following this turnover in power, Big Blue refused to eat and stopped mating with Stripes. After a 2 week period of not eating, Big Blue was transferred into quarantine for closer examination. He displayed no outer signs or symptoms of poor health. We tried to encourage him to eat by utilizing different food and soaking beef heart in Garlic Guard by Seachem. However, he expressed no interest and began to lose weight. During this time, all the other discus in the main tank displayed no issues and were eating well.
Fall of the King
Even though Chimera became the what we referred to as “the king” of our aquarium, he too experienced his own drama which we believe ultimately led to his demise.
After securing his position as one of the top fish in the tank, Chimera became a mated pair with Panther and spawned on average once a week. Unfortunately, the conditions of our water prevent the eggs from hatching. Another of our fish became determined to intervene in their mating. Every time Chimera and Panther would spawn, Sneak Male would try to fertilize any of the eggs he could reach. In the beginning, Chimera could frequently be seen chasing and nipping at Sneaky Male in order to make him keep his distance. However, Sneaky Male was relentless in his attempts to fertilize the eggs. Eventually, Chimera spent less and less efforts on diverting his advances. Eventually, Chimera, Panther & Sneaky Male could be found guarding and tending to the eggs. This arrangement only lasted for a couple of spawning sessions until Sneaky Male made his move. After laying her eggs, Panther permitted Sneaky Male to move in and begin fertilizing. However both Panther and Sneaky Male chased Chimera away, BOTH prevented him from coming near the new eggs. That evening, Chimera refused to eat.
For several weeks following this incident, Chimera refused to eat any of the food we placed in the tank. We debated about removing Chimera to be placed in quarantine; however, after the incident with Big Blue we opted to keep Chimera in the tank. Chimera displayed no outward signs of illness; however, he never began eating again. His death came close to 2 months after he stopped eating.
We attribute Chimera’s refusal to eat with losing his mate; however, we have no way to definitely confirm that is what took place. There is always the potential that Chimera did have a health issue which resulted in him refusing to eat and caused Panther & Sneaky Male to drive Chimera away. However, none of the other fish exhibited any distress or illness during this period or following Chimera’s passing.
The Sudden Death of Rouge
Currently, we are waiting for our local fish store who focuses on discus to obtain a new stock from his distributor. We have plans of adding an additional 2 discus to our group that will be 5+ inches (13+ centimeters). We also have plans to potentially add some new tech to the tank in the future. As our system continues to change and grow, we will keep you updated!