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Author Topic: Water Changes for Discus  (Read 10886 times)
JT88
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« on: May 03, 2012, 09:12:01 PM »

I am interested in your opinions about the frequencey and size of water changes for Discus.  I have never recieved such a wide variety of advice on a fish keeping topic as I have on this one.  I purchase 3 young discus about 4 months ago and have been performing 50% water changes every week, but most advice suggests that this is not enough.    Every time I test the water for Ammonia, Nitrates and Nitrites they all read zero, or so close to it that I cannot see that they are elevated.  Do you think I should do larger and more frequent water changes for them?
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Muffuletta
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« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2012, 09:26:10 PM »

If your tank was cycled, then you would see nitrates.  Which test kit are you using?
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JT88
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« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2012, 01:34:53 AM »

I am using the API liquid drops and color charts, so it is a bit subjective.  The tank has been running for about 3 years.  It is also planted and perhaps the plants are consuming the nitrates?  At least that is what I have always assumed.
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lokii_37
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« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2012, 04:56:51 PM »

i have been doing a lot of reading on this exact topic because i am about to dive in and buy a batch of discus for my planted tank. I have come to the conclusion that..... nothing.
maybe young discus require more frequent water changes because of the extra feeding but i really dont know. i read an article in TFH by that said that the auther saw better growth out of fish that had more frequient water changes over fish that had more feeding. i think that maybe there is something that builds up in the water that we do not test for, but i really have no idea, and that is why the additional water changes are suggested for discus. i look forward to seeing what others have to say
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JT88
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« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2012, 08:23:08 PM »

Thanks for the feed back.  I would have to agree that if the extra feedings were causing water quality problems then it would be necessary to perform mutiple water changes each week, but I am not having that probelm with the weekly water change program.  So like you, it leaves me wondering if there is somthing unique about Discus needs that would require very frequent water changes even when the water quality paramters that we typically test for appear to be OK.  For now the fish seem happy and healthy.  For your info I do have bottom feeders and some burrowing snails that help out if I should feed too much too often - I think the plants help too, though the guy at the LFS disagreed with me about the plants.

Maybe it is just a growth issue and not a health issue, or ??. If you ever happen on to the answer, post here!  Thanks  happy
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mpfsr
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« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2012, 06:57:12 AM »

I got several dime sized Discus about 13months ago. When they were small (dime sized) in a 10g tank I did daily 50% WC. I read a lot about big dominate fish releasing a hormone in the water slowing the growth of the other fish. I don't know if its true but read it from several discus forums and reputable people. Thats why they need the extra clean water. Now mine are softball sized, starting to mature and get there colors in. There now in a 125g tank and get 50% weekly changes even thou like you I never see any nitrates due to all the plants.
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\\\"If your fish could talk would they thank you?\\\"
JT88
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« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2012, 10:41:40 PM »

Given the research that you guys have done it sounds like there may be something to it.  I will start changing the water more often than once a week. 

How long did you continue with with the daily WC program before you changed over to weekly?

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mpfsr
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« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2012, 06:28:54 AM »

I waited till they got about 1.5" then moved them to a 75g tank and did 2 50% WC a week. They stayed there till about 3" then to the 125g. Everything and everywhere I read about them said the key is lots of fresh water and small but multiple feedings..3 feedings a day for young and 2 for adults. The next thing is QUALITY FOOD Mine get home made beef hart mix along with some of Ed's liver and Breeders delight flakes. Along with some live black worms and brine shrimps for treats
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\\\"If your fish could talk would they thank you?\\\"
winn0923
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« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2012, 12:49:41 AM »

Depends on how small really

Babies - 2" - 80-90% change daily
2"-4" - 50% every other day
4" and up - 50% twice weekly

You can grow discus from babies to 7" within 10 month range. Yes water change do make a big difference. I can attest to that.

 I grow a fossochromis rostratus (malawi haps) from 4" to 10" within 7 months with 50% twice weekly

Imo, discus should not be in a planted tank, unless they are full growth 6-7" adult. But thats another can of worm ... Lol
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Live, learn, be happy.

Specialized in wild bettas and Malawi cichlids.
winn0923
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« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2012, 12:52:16 AM »

Babies to 4" gets 5-6 feeding per day if im home. Adults 6" and up 1-2x daily.
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Live, learn, be happy.

Specialized in wild bettas and Malawi cichlids.
JT88
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« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2012, 09:18:05 PM »

Thank you both for you feedback, it is helpful, yet it makes me wonder a bit.  I accept that Discus can grow faster, larger?, and more colorful? with multiple weekly water changes when young, but still not sure why this is so, not that I need to know, just curious.

However, winn you seem to be suggesting that you feel that other young Cichlids (like Malawi Haps) also can benifit from multiple weekly water changes as well?  This is new for me. Did you find that they just grow faster? or are there other benefits too? 

 

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winn0923
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« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2012, 08:07:14 AM »

Fresh water remove the growth inhibiting hormone released by the fish, thus allowing them to grow faster and bigger. This would apply to all fish not just discus. Discus is just really easily stunted when young thus the required water change.

Also fresh water allow the fish to be more healthy, by removing nitrates and other organic matters (ex: homornes)
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Live, learn, be happy.

Specialized in wild bettas and Malawi cichlids.
JT88
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« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2012, 12:32:56 AM »

If your tank was cycled, then you would see nitrates.  Which test kit are you using?

Just to set the record straight here.  My nitrate level in the discus tank was not quite as close to zero as I thought.  Just before my water change today I shook the bottles more than usual, and I had my wife (who sees color a bit better than me) take a look too.  She estimated the level was a more than 5 but less than 10. 

Thanks all for your feed back.   JT
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