I first kept Discus in 1996 and my first 2" blue turquoise fish cost me £25.00 each. I developed a liking for these fish but disliked the priced immensely. As the Internet became more of a lifestyle, I searched for Discus breeders where I could buy good fish. I was lucky enough to find Discus Hans in Holland. After a weekend visit, I decided to purchase some adults. To finance this purchase I bought some young to grow on and in turn sell myself.
I was determined to prove to people that Discus (not the captive bred variety anyway) are not the problem fish to keep that is often put about. Hence I began selling small amounts of good quality Discus fish at affordable prices. Unfortunately it became impractical to continually travel to Holland buying fish and I had to look elsewhere. I found a breeder in Malaysia (Amazon Aquarium Fish Farm) where I was able to purchase healthy Discus at good prices. Funnily enough, it was cheaper to buy these fish and pay the air freight than it was to travel to Holland! I then found a good breeder in the UK who parent raises all his own fish, although he does import some too.
As a hobbyist, I had to worry about where the next pennies were coming from. I had however been promising myself a centralised system for many years. I believe it promotes good growth for the fish and the system is easier to maintain. I temporarily decided to house my system in the garage. I made a boo boo when calculating sizes because the rack was supposed to take 9x 24"x 18"x 18" tanks. The garage roof does not allow for this, hence I had to have 6x 24"x 18"x 18" plus storage. I will take this into account when the dedicated room is built.
I built the rack using untreated 3"x 2". Please be warned. I ran out of wood on the day the racks were built. I purchased more wood the following day but....... The uprights had dried out and bowed in. Instead of a 24" gap, I was left with 20". Just as well the top tanks didn't fit!!
Below you can see 6x 24"x 18"x 18" aquariums. They are all positioned end on therefore the racking is only 55" wide, which was not a good idea as an afterthought. The discus used to spend a lot of their time at the back of the tanks when visitors came to view. The water feeds into the top three tanks, which then overflow into the bottom tanks, which in turn overflow to a communal drain. The water drains through a small pond filter to a 25 gallon water tank I bought from Wickes. This in turn overflows to a 48"x 18"x 18" sump filled with foam and alfagrog. A Oase submersible pump in the final chamber is feeding the three tanks at the top, this is providing an ample flow rate. The fish were fed on ZM Systems high protein pellets, JMC growth pellets, freeze dried tubifex, home made beefheart mix, Aquarian flake and Ruto frozen bloodworm. Below are pictures of the first racks to be assembled, the sump was not fitted at the time of these pictures.
Below, you will find a few of the fish I kept in my systems. Unfortunately my photographic skills left a lot to be desired and do not do the fish justice.
Young Red Turquoise