After a week of having the tank setup with no flora or fauna, we went to Pacific Aquarium in the city to buy plants and fish. The person who initially helped us wasn’t working on the day we returned. That original salesman had approved of our discus and tetras in a lightly planted tank plan. He even suggested the correct lighting and additives that would support the plants we wanted.
The gentleman who helped us on the day we went to buy the fish told us that it wasn’t possible to keep discus and tetras in one tank. He recommended that if we wanted a planted tank we could only keep tetras. If we wanted something larger, he suggested tinfoil barbs.
We had done our research and we had even seen pictures of tanks with discus and tetras living happily side by side. Despite this, we let ourselves be intimidated by the supposed expert and we walked out of the shop with the tinfoils. We did buy plants even though he assured us that the tinfoils would strip them in a few days.
After a day or so of keeping the tinfoils it was clear that they were not what we wanted. It was fun to watch them school and they ate like piranhas, but it just didn’t match the shared vision we had had in our heads. We wanted a planted discus tank! Luckily, Sarah was woman enough to not give up on our original vision. She contacted the first sales person we had dealt with who re-affirmed that our original plan had merit. We returned the tinfoils and bought three discus fish as well as eleven glowlight tetras.
Unfortunately, these new discus fish never seemed to acclimate. They were very shy and didn’t really eat. We contacted an online breeder called Discus Madness who had an informative site and he informed us that our fish were both stunted and suffering from Hexamita infestation. We once again made the difficult choice to bag up our tank inhabitants and return them to Pacific Aquarium. The manager of the store expressed his belief that there was nothing wrong with the fish, but to his credit he accepted the returns without any problems. We were very happy with his customer service and continue to buy supplies from the store.
A few days later I took the train out to Glen Ridge, New Jersey and purchased four Red Maze Pigeon discus juveniles. The little suckers were packed into a styrofoam cooler and I made my way home via New Jersey transit. These new fish were much more active and healthy looking than the ones we had purchased originally. They also ate from our hands the first day that they were added to their new homes.
Sadly, additional feedback from folks on the Simply Discus site let us know that these new fish were also stunted. Our own observations had already made it clear that one of the guys (we call him Jack) was heavily peppered, which is a sign of bad genetics and stress. Another of the new guys, named LLoyd, has a deformed eye. We were disappointed to find out that we’d been sold what can only be called inferior stock, but we’re still very fond of our little stunted guys. We look forward to many years of taking care of them.
Next up, we’ll be looking to purchase four more discus from another strain. And another breeder! This time we’ll definitely use one of the Simply Discus sponsors.