When people set out to get a new dwelling, whether it is a house, an apartment, a condo, or a tent, there are lots of decisions involved. You want the very best and most comfortable place you can possibly get.
The same is true when you are getting ready to set up house keeping for your soon-to-be-acquired discus fish. A proper discus fish tank is essential to the success of your new fish community.
With some fish almost any aquarium or tank will suffice, but this is not the case with discus. They are some of the prima donnas of the fish world. They demand “high class” or problems will result. They may even “check out” on you if conditions are not right. You know what I mean?
Your first decision is how many inhabitants will be residing in this discus fish tank? This is a very important factor in figuring out how large your fish home should be. The guideline is that you will need about 10 gallons per discus.
Here’s an added little tip – six discus is a great number to start with. Somehow, this works really well, much better than 3, 4 or 5.
If you do the math here, a 60 gallon tank will house six of your new beauties.
Another tip – don’t get a smaller tank because you are starting with juvenile fish. Yes, fish that are only 2″ can live in a smaller space, but get the right size to start with.
Next decision: decide what material you would like.
Your choices are glass or acrylic.
Glass is the most widely used material. It has advantages and disadvantages.
The first advantage is the price. It is less expensive than acrylic, and when you are considering price for your discus fish tank, you may want to save here, because the fish are more expensive than you might think.
Another advantage of glass is the availability. You can find a glass aquarium to fit your needs at just about any place that stocks aquariums.
One disadvantage of glass is that it can be scratched. And once that happens, you are stuck. It can’t be “erased” by buffing, which is possible with an acrylic material.
Glass is also difficult to drill through. Not impossible, but if you need a hole for your filter setup, this could be an issue.
Acrylic has some major advantages.
The first advantage of acrylic is the flexibility in design. You can have your tank just about any shape you can imagine.
Acrylic is also safer than glass (and lighter, too). It does not shatter, and this is a major consideration if your 5 year old will be practicing t-ball in the vicinity of the fish tank.
The major disadvantage of acrylic is the price. It is much more than glass, especially if you are going for a unique design.
Tip – avoid plastic if at all possible. Plastic will cloud over time.
These decisions need to be made before you obtain your discus fish… way before. Because you will want your tank all set up with water that is in good condition and ready to receive its new inhabitants.
And good quality water is essential, but that is a subject for the next article.