Discus and community tanks.

Discussion about discus
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Don Hiatt
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Discus and community tanks.

Post by Don Hiatt » Thu Apr 20, 2006 9:02 am

Has anyone on this forum kept any small to medium sized, yet peacefull species of cichlids with discus? I am thinking along the line of some of the acaras, earth eaters and even some Westies (eg: Satanoperca, Laetacara, Pelvicachromis).

I saw some nice Acarichthys heckelii that were around 7 + inches with some smaller black phantom tetras at the Camden Aquarium in New Jersey. This was in a display that had Dwarf Caiman in it. These cichlids appeared to be active, yet very calm.

I know the temps discus need will restrict the selection of species I could choose, but I would like to do more than have just a species tank.

Rams are nice, but I do not want to keep them just because they are compatible with discus.

I have read that Apistos don't make out too well because of the higher temps the discus require.

I plan on starting with a group of around 6 to 8 discus in a 125 with maybe some cory cats, a few smaller Peckoltia and some tetras. Any thoughts on this matter would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

Don

Michael Kwist
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Post by Michael Kwist » Thu Apr 20, 2006 9:15 am

I have kept Discus togetter with Laetacara curviceps and i have seen on the site of de NBAT a dutch site of aquariumfish that a man kept discus togetter with Sataonperca Deamon


I also have seen that people keep discus togetter with Mesonauta sp. As Festivum and Isignis. And Angelfish (altums etc) And uaru's are also kept togetter with discus 8)
Greetings Michael.

Don Hiatt
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Post by Don Hiatt » Thu Apr 20, 2006 9:49 am

Hi Michael,
I have heard Uarus are good tankmates, but Angels are not because they are a little too rowdy for the discus.

I ruled out Uarus due to size. Mesonauta are nice fish, but haven't had much experiance with them.

I had an idea that Laetacara and Satanoperca would work and your info has helped me as far as that goes. Thanks.

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Lisachromis
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Post by Lisachromis » Thu Apr 20, 2006 10:38 am

Angels and discus can be good tankmates when they are both grown. As young fish though, I wouldn't mix them at all. The only reason being that angels are very aggressive feeders and will eat the food before the discus get a chance. They still are as adults, but at least at that point, the discus are big enough to start pushing their way in amongst the angels during feedings.

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Post by Don Hiatt » Thu Apr 20, 2006 11:26 am

Hi Lisa,
That is what I have heard as well. I just don't want to keep fish in the same part of the tank (mid water species). I would like tank mates that keep to the bottom more.

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DENCIO
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Post by DENCIO » Sat May 12, 2007 10:32 am

hi. iam planning also to keep my discus with dwarf cichlid. i know that they're both not aggressive but my question is how about the disease? i know that discus are prone to infectious disease and are quite sensitive.

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Post by PsYcHoTiC_MaDmAn » Sat May 12, 2007 7:10 pm

several of the eartheaters sp can be kept with the discus.

some of the geophagus (smaller peaceful 1s, such as tapajos OH or dicrozoste, or larger 1s like altifrons, avoid aggessive 1s like brasiliensis)

satanperca in general can be kept (cant think of any sp that would be too aggressive for the discus)

Biotodoma and Retroculus sp should also be possible.
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Lisachromis
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Post by Lisachromis » Sat May 12, 2007 8:17 pm

Another suggestion for the tank is rams. They do well with discus.

If you're worried about diseases, make sure you quarantine both the discus and ANY introduced fish for 4 weeks at least before putting them together.

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Post by apistomaster » Wed May 23, 2007 3:50 pm

I mentioned that I have kept Geophagus cf. surinamensis elsewhere in the forum. I have done it and it was a great combination. I did use all adult wild caught Royal Blue and Heckel Discus in this particular display tank. It was when I owned a fish shop and it was set up over two years until the Discus were diverted to breeding or sold.

I currently keep six Crenicichla regani with ten Heckels and it has been a good combination. They ignore each other. Other fish in this Discus tank are about six each of the following warmwater plecos: Hypancistrus contradens,
L333, and L134 Leopard frog Peckoltia. Also six SA Darter Tetras, Characidium sp.

Adult Discus can hold their own with most other gentle(Compared to GT's) Cichlids. I have not tried but want to sometime, to keep Discus with Mesonauta sp. I have kept Discus with wild caught Peruvian Scalare but you wanted fish that would add interest to the lower level of your tank and here I think the peaceful species of Geophagus are the outstanding choice.
Larry Waybright

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bantamweight1911
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Post by bantamweight1911 » Wed May 23, 2007 4:15 pm

I think Guianacara would be interesting.

If possible you would I would personally try to keep a species that will not compete with Discus for the same spawning site.

So a secretive cave spawner might be a good option.

Guinacara are smaller, similar temperament and similar aggresiveness at feeding time.

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Re: Discus and community tanks.

Post by dogofwar » Tue May 29, 2007 2:37 pm

Guinacara are peaceful but can compete pretty aggressively for food... Mine beat all of the other fish to the punch (Buffaloheads, Acaricthys, Nannacara, Congo tetras)

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Re: Discus and community tanks.

Post by bantamweight1911 » Wed May 30, 2007 5:58 pm

wow, I am guessing that the Acarichys anf congos were small,, because my experience is that my Hecklii is very, very aggresive for food, and congos are usually too quick to lose out.
Richard


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Re: Discus and community tanks.

Post by apistomaster » Wed May 30, 2007 10:33 pm

Assembling community tanks is always a matter of personal taste. I prefer to keep fish together that have a reasonable chance of being conspecfics and that compliment each other in both their shapes, colors, and preferred living zones within the water column. In a Discus dominated community tank I consider the discus' aversion to frenetic companions. Lovely as they are I would not combine Congo Tetras with Discus but it is also surprising that some combinations work better than I might guess. I must admit I am biased against mixing fish from different continents.
I get asked about community tanks including discus quite a bit because many know I have been involved with keeping and breeding discus for many decades.
The needs of the Discus always come first in my combinations. I find that a school of peaceful rhomboid shaped Tetras are good to keep with them. Bleeding Hearts or Black Phantoms are among my first choices. Silver Hatchets can add some interest to the surface zone and are large enough to be noticed. The spotted headstander, Chilodus punctatus , in a group of 4 to 6, is another Characin that has worked well with discus for me.
For bottom dwellers I prefer the small Hypancistrus plecos to Corydoras as they also eat similar foods as discus and find any missed by the discus and Tetras. They are also more comfortable at the same temperatures as Discus compared to even to most often recommended of the Corydoras, Corydoras sterbai.Beware of keeping Sturisoma with large Discus. Although an excellent algae eater and very showy Loricariadae, they will not hesitate to persistantly attach themselves to large Discus eventually damaging the skin slime coating to the point the skin can develop sores. I have definitive photographic proof of this behavior. It was very disappointing as they are otherwise such a fine fish. I have ended up deciding that the common Ancistrus sp 3 is a good algae eater to include in the Discus community tank. I have had success with Gold Nugget Plecos but some aquarists seem to have problems keeping plants with their Gold Nuggets, I have not experienced this. I believe all my experience is with the L177 varient.
If the tank space is available, then there can also be a few of one of the peaceful Geophagus species or near relatives. Discus will often trail sand sifting Geophagus to pick up bits of food they stir up. Uaru tend to be too large and Discus will yield territory to them and may be intimidated even if the Uaru are not forcing the issue. The Dwarf Cichlids can exist with Discus but by and large they remain hidden so much they are hardly worthwhile, to me. If the tank is small, 55 gallons, then they can be a viable choice. I have seen some aquarists try keeping Arowanas with discus but I think the same issues of intimidation come into play as the Arowanas grow large.
Larry Waybright

dogofwar
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Re: Discus and community tanks.

Post by dogofwar » Thu May 31, 2007 10:03 am

I'd say that the Guianacara and heckelii are about the same when it comes to food... They even outcompete the buffaloheads.

The tank I described doesn't have discus in it. Just used it as a reference point with regard to Guianacara (at least mine) not being shy when it comes to food :D

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Re: Discus and community tanks.

Post by apistomaster » Thu May 31, 2007 10:48 am

dogofwar wrote:I'd say that the Guianacara and heckelii are about the same when it comes to food... They even outcompete the buffaloheads.

The tank I described doesn't have discus in it. Just used it as a reference point with regard to Guianacara (at least mine) not being shy when it comes to food :D
Since I have never kept either of these SA Cichlids let alone with Discus I don't know how well they would mix. Isn't Acarichthys heckelii similar to Geophagus jurupari or Geophagus cf. surinamensis in behavior? I know they are a very showy attractive Cichlid. If they are, the discus and tank are large, 72 inches long/std 125 US gal., they may be compatible.
I really enjoyed my 2 years of combining adult wild discus with G. surinamensis. My Geos were six inches SL which isn't as large as they can get so the "balance of power" might have changed over a longer period of time. Neither fish were very territorial except as one pair of Royal Blue Discus formed but I removed them to their own spawning tank. Healthy Discus don't mind a little competition for food as long as it is an even playing field, so to speak.
If I were starting from scratch I would add the Geos as juveniles and after the discus are about 5 inches in diameter. I think domestic Discus can hold their own as well as the wild fish.
This is one of those projects where it is best to be prepared to be flexible enough to add/remove what does/doesn't work. To me, that's just common sense fish keeping if you are given to experiment as I am. Predicting the behavior of any group of fish has all the limitations of any other time one ventures generalities. They can make a lier out you or all may be bliss.

Here is one of my photos of a Sturisoma aureum attacking Symphysodon discus. The angels are wild Peruvian Pterophyllum scalare.
Image
Larry Waybright

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