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   Discus Fish Types

Understanding Different Discus Fish Types Buying discus for the first time can be confusing, because there are now hundreds of phenotypic strains being sold around the world. Discus fish are bred not only in the United States, but also in places such as Hong Kong and Malaysia. Many people ask me about the “original” discus fish. If you are looking for “the mother of all discus fish”, then you are talking about....  Read more....

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Of the many considerations when planning  a Discus Fish Tank , heading the list is the tank size and the weight the stand has to carry. The weight of an aquarium can be surprising: read on! First consider the type of fish your planning to keep:Discus fish are often unfairly categorized as “difficult fish” because they require extra care at the outset. Discus are very shy fish and tend to hide when they are not confident so your going to want places for them to hide within the tank. (see plants and substrates) They love to school and so your going to want to have plenty of space even after the addition of your tank accessories and substrate. Although young Discus are small, they grow quickly and some varieties can reach over 8 inches in length. You don't want them jumping ship because you didn't give them enough room!! Adults weight can be 75 grams and up so while not a large consideration, its a fact I thought you might like to know. Many enthusiasts report good success with Discus-only aquariums, stocked with 4-6 fish. Ideal tank size for Discus Fish The Best rule of thumb is to plan on at least 10 US gallons of water for every discus.. so for a tank with 4 discus (to allow them to move/school) the ideal tank is going to be about  55 to 60 gallons. The dimensions of a 55 gallon tank can vary and we discuss the common sizes below but ... If your buying a tank on-line be aware that three significantly different measurements are  in current use: The imperial gallon ( 4.546 L), which is used in the United Kingdom, Canada and some Caribbean countries; The US gallon ( 3.79 L), which is used in the US and some Latin American and Caribbean countries; and the least-used  the US dry gallon ( 4.40 L). (there are link to converters in the learning center ) If your buying on-line, find a site with reviews. Make sure that the supplier purchase from has spare parts for hoods and any other accessories that come with it. More than one on-line buyer has found themselves with a tank that has no spare parts. Many on-line retailers sell as a package kit with no way to replace hoods or broken stands. Its highly recommend that  you purchase from local suppliers or pet  stores so you can build a relationship with them  and use their knowledge base as a guide. Be sure to ask if the kit (if you buy it as a kit ) has spare parts! Forums are full of unhappy customers that find their kit does not have a spare hood or some other part because they are only sold as kits … so its best to purchase kits locally that  have spare parts!! Glass or acrylic: This is pretty much a matter of individual choice, as both types of tanks have their advantages. For a summary see Glass vs Acrylic Weight Considerations:   The weight of the tank is one of the important considerations and you will find that many manufacturers have incorrect volumes for the tank sizes advertised . I found a great calculator that will help us find the right size. Online Conversion for Water one gallon (us) = 8.345 pounds one cubic foot = 62.4 pounds 55 Gallons [US] = 459 pounds Example of a Standard Glass  Tank size : The exact dimensions can vary depending on the manufacturer and whether its glass or acrylic but you want the height to be around  21 inches.  Use this calculator to get the true gallon size as a lot of sites advertise the actual number of gallons incorrectly.  48"L x 13"W x 21"H  = 13,104 cubic inches = 56.72 gallons   For example, a popular pet store is advertising this tank as a 55 gallon tank when in fact its not . 48.25"L x 12.75"W x 20.187"H = 12,418.7900 cubic inches  = 53.760 gallons  36"L x 15"W x 24"H  which is ideal and =12 960 Cubic inches = 56.Gallons [US] So use the calculator to find a tank and stand that is at least 55 gallons A typical empty glass tank is going to weigh in at about  70  to 80  pounds. Add the weight of the substrate (another 30  to 60 pounds or so ) approximately 1.5 lbs. per gallon and fill to about 2 to three inches with it sloping from the back to front with the front of the tank the lowest point. Add to this the weight of any filters , hoods , lighting and accessories your adding to the tank . Total weight so far is 80 lbs. (tank weight)+60 lbs.(substrate) + 473 lbs. ( water) + 25 lbs.  accessories:(pumps filters , canisters and storage of equipment) Grand total (minimum strength the stand must be able to hold) = 633 pounds Give or take the stand must be able to hold at least 650 lbs. minimum and  for safety we want to add at least another 100 lbs. for that safety factor.  Don't forget the weight of the stand has to be included in the total weight the floor is going to support. Total tank finished = 750 lbs We recommend that you purchase a commercial aquarium stand that is manufactured to withstand the total weight of your finished discus fish tank.                     Wow !! Who knew that a simple fish tank would take so much planning! It does look like a lot on paper but now we know a few simple rules to follow , its not that hard..  correct size  a commercial stand, good location near a load bearing wall that has low traffic and is quiet out of direct sunlight, not over a heat duct no drafts has an outlet nearby and we are all set! ( good idea to have a surge protector as well) We are almost there but first read this page on the location of the tank as it is as important as the size Now comes the technical part "Great now I have a tank in the right location but do I just fill it with tap water and hope for the best?"    Well no.. in the article.. “Overcoming new tank syndrome we will look at the next step that is critical  to complete before we bring that first fish home.
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