Water Preparation

Keeping domestically bred Discus is simple, it really is!

There are four important elements that if you don't cut corners with will lead to a trouble free hobby.

1/ A fully mature biological filter.
2 / Buy genetically sound Discus from reputable dealers.
3/ Feed "wet" food.
4/ Clean water.

In this section we are going to deal with water, how to prepare it and when to change it.

Are you sitting comfortably because this may shock you, Stendker Discus are raised in and live in ...... Tap Water.

To keep Stendker Discus most of us in the UK will have the water we need straight out the tap, no need to soften it, no need to adjust the pH, just clean it up and use it. The fish are bred in soft-water, but raised in German tap water and have been so since 1966. You can of course if you live in a soft water area or want to use RO water also keep them in soft water. Stendker Discus will acclimatise to any ph between 5 and 8, 7 to 7.5 is perfect.

In the Stendker Hatchery the water they use has the following values, 15 dGh, 8 dKh, ph 7, conductivity 800 µS and temperature 30-C

So how do we prepare the water for the Discus aquarium? Well it is important to remove the Chlorine and if present Chloramines, likewise in older properties where there maybe some lead pipes any dissolved heavy metals. You can add a simple over the counter product to the water like Tetra Aquasafe, these products bond and neutralise. But there is in our opinion (and practical experience since 1993) a better way, and that is to run the tap water through a HMA filter - these are carbon / resin based and remove (not bond) the contaminants. Further more with the right set up you can use warm water. Please see "Pre-Heated Water" in the Discus Articles section. Our Range of HMA filters click here ...

Water Changes

For most aquariums a water change of 30% once a week is just fine, you can do more if you want to, but we think it's better to sit back and enjoy your Discus.

A water change is really rather simple, take some out and replace it with fresh water - whilst doing this it is a good idea to give the filters a clean, wipe down the inside of the aquarium, remove any debris and waste product, trim any plants and generally give everything the once over.
You can add the new water "cold" so long as the temperature dose not drop by more than 3-C, if the water has been standing over night in a warm room you are un-likely to have to heat it - or if you use larger quantities, or need water quickly consider the "pre heated water" article.

It is prudent to monitor the pH and Nitrates in an established aquarium - if the pH crashes , this will be because of a lack of carbonates in the water, so either add some Bi-Carb (baking powder) or increase the percentage and frequency of your water changes. Feeding a lot of Beef-heart will drive the pH down, so be mindful of this.

Likewise "sky high " Nitrates indicate the biological filter is working well, but high Nitrates are not good for any fish and will induce algae in the aquarium, so again if you have high Nitrates (80 ppm and over) in the aquarium take action to reduce it - remember you will never get the Nitrate reading below that of your tap water, and for many of us that means starting @ 30ppm or more.

However if you want Nitrate free water for your water changes, with out resorting to RO or DI water, we offer a range of vessels to house Puralite Nitrate A50 resin Click here for the DD range of Nitrate removal products.

Constant Feed and Drain

Here at Devotedly Discus we don't do water changes in the conventional manor.

We have a sump system, and the sump has a hole cut in it and an overflow pipe to the drain. At the other end of the sump our HMA filter is set up to constantly feed the sump with clean water, so every litre added, a litre is flushed away. We set this up to add around 10% of the systems volume over a 24 hour period - I prefer to let the biological filter run the tanks, and 10% a day freshens the water up and keep all the parameters constant - if you set the flow too high, the ammonia etc is flushed away rather than filtered out, this is fine until one day you may need to turn the water off and need the filter, and it's not fully mature, so 10% daily is sufficient to get the best of both worlds.

Most often asked question is "how do you control the flow?" Well this is simple, you can adjust the input pressure from the mains with a value to suit, or if using ¼" tube add a flow restrictor, they type used in RO filtration.

My HMA that feeds the system has been running 24/7/365 since around 2002!