After a few hours of looking around from here and there, I finally came across a good deal on a 29 gallon. I bought it off a guy from Craigslist for $40! But it wasn’t just the tank; it was the hood with light, and (extra bonus) one side was already painted with a nice light blue. Perfect!
Anyways, so here’s the breakdown on what you need for setting up a breeding tank for discus fish:
WATER: (most important!)
I know it sounds really rookie, but make sure your tank is cycled. Meaning you have enough bacteria that can turn your ammonia into nitrates, more info here: http://www.firsttankguide.net/cycle.php. With this tank here; I took filter pads out of a running, established 55 gallon and squeezed it by where the sponge filter is running. I also used about 15 gallons of water from that 55 gallon tank as well. Added in some prime, and now I am ready for some discus fish to prance around in there.
Honestly, I use a heater that I bought from Wal-Mart. I think it’s made by Tetra? It’s a submersible 200 watt. I have to stay on a budget with my hobby so I can’t always afford those $100 high-end heaters. However, I can say that I’ve owed a lot of these heaters and they have all worked fine for 5 years+; except one. But the great thing about Wal-Mart is; you can take it back! No hassles. Which is a good peace of mind to have.
I like to keep my discus fish at around 82*F for my breeders. For young grow outs; I would go higher maybe 85*F. I want the water to be warm enough for my discus fish to feel comfortable, but cool enough so bacteria/fungus/parasites don’t grow as fast since there will be eggs and young. I keep my water changing barrel at about 78*F, so when I do water changes, it drops the temperature of the tank down to about 80*F which helps trigger breeding.
PH and GH:
To be honest, my pH out the tap is 7.7 to 7.8, but I’ve kept and bred discus for years in that water. As long as you keep it STABLE, and GH is soft enough (for male’s sperm to be able penetrate the eggs) you should have no problems. I haven’t had any with mine. I, however, am lucky I get soft water out the tap at around 85GH. It’s weird, cause pH and GH are normally associated if one is up, the other is too. Some may say to lower the pH too or the eggs won’t fertilize, but I have had luck at this pH with previous pairs. I can tell you that if you have really hard water, you may want to mix it with RO (reverse osmosis) and etc. to soften it up a bit or the egg wall’s will be too hard to accept any sperm from the male during fertilization. So you’ll have a bunch of white eggs, you can learn more about softening water here: http://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums/f12/how-do-i-lower-hardness-gh-114391.html
I use a sponge filter. Not sure what size or type, I don’t even remember how I got it honestly. Lol. However, a sponge filter is huge with area for holding bio media, and it provides good aeration for the tank. It’s also gentle and low flow enough to not disrupt the breeding pair and fry. It’s powered by an air pump from Wal-Mart; not sure of the company as I don’t have access to the package, but it’s shaped like a UFO. It’s pretty good in my opinion. Plus if it ever breaks, etc.; I’ll just take it back!
and at last, but not least..
I got this a few years back from another local breeder. It’s made of clay from someone who was making these especially for discus. It is about 10-12″ high and has a little tray type lip around the bottom for when eggs or fry may fall. It will just collect there, and the parents can just pick them up; no worrying about the fry or eggs getting stuck underneath.
That’s all I can think of for right now; but that about summarizes for the most part my new tank that I just set up. If you can think of more, or any questions, shoot me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hope this article helped!