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W

e professional discus fish breeders give our foremost attention to efficient, space-saving
husbandry of our fish in a sequence of tanks satisfying their requirements and housed in
our large facilities kept at tropical temperatures, yet hardly concern ourselves with aquatic
aesthetics. Good hygiene and consistent water quality factors, simple feeding and cleaning and steady
growth of the discus offspring are, for instance, preconditions for successful breeding. Our well-established
breeds which have remained healthy over many years thrive under the conditions of your breeding facility
continued to thrive now as before. Yet, in our private sphere, i.e. our living room, we wanted to look after
our own magnificent discus fish in a well-planted fish tank. We had focussed above all on the well-being of
our discus fish and their best possible living conditions, i.e. on their surroundings which combine
by Angelika Stendker & Jrg Stendker
Aquascaping
and discus fish
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combine possibilities for the fish to withdraw with aesthetics
a living picture, an underwater garden in our living room
offering relaxation. As we travel a lot in our job, we wanted to
keep the maintenance effort as low as possible. It had been our
intention to achieve this aim by making use of simple
technology.
At Interzoo 2012, we saw many enchanting fish tanks designed
and arranged by aquascapers, though none with discus fish.
Most of these underwater gardens would have been much too
small for caring for Symphysodon discus. Luckily, contact was
established at that exhibition with Adrie BAUMANN, who
privately was installing a scaped fish tank with out discus fish
(also known as Project River Side with our Leopard Snake
Skin, a new breed variant which is not yet available via the
retail trade). Fortunately, we were able to interest Adrie
BAUMANN, who had won the Hanover Championship in
Live Aquascaping 2013, in aquascaping our own private fish
tank (as we are more conversant with rearing fish rather than
fitting out planted aquariums). Using our resilient Stendker
discus fish that have adapted over many generations to the
German tap water values, aquascaping with wonderful plants
and colourful discus fish can be achieved. The result of this
venture was as follows.
In October 2012, we began with the project of aquascaping our
private discus fish tank. Everything we did was to be replicable
by anyone and everyone and involve as little effort and expense
as possible. We wanted to try and set up something that we
could recommend and pass on to all those interested in discus
care. The wellbeing of our discus fish was of particular
importance in implementing our plan, i.e. providing sufficient
space for swimming and optimum oxygen supply values as
well as excellent filtration had to be guaranteed. Since
Hamburg Mat Filters had proved a great success in our fish
rearing installation we used them also in our private 450 litre
fish tank, operated by a pump, the Turbelle nanostream 6045
(5 to 7 watts) with a GF plastic pipe. Strong filtration is
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Our freshly set up fish tank during the initial phase. The fish come later.
Alluring colour mix in front of the luscious green of the plants: discus and neons
necessary, after all, for such a dense
fish population.
In our fish tank, twelve fully grown
discus fish were to be cared for. And
they were to scintillate by their
attractive colour contrast against the
green of the underwater garden. And
they were not to be alone but live in
the company of a group of Red
Neons, Paracheirodon axelrodi, and
a few fire-striped Denison Barbs
Puntius denisonii, red nibblefish
Garra rufa and shrimps as cleaning
squad.
A heater, two airstones for oxygen
supply, standard lighting, a
nightlight (LED lighting bar), a
thermometer and CO2 facility
represent the basic technical
equipment. The CO2 facility should
be used as little as possible (in our
case one bubble every 14 seconds).
The following water equivalents have
proved to be most appropriate in our
discus fish breeding facility at
Warendorf: total hardness 15o
German hardness, carbonate
hardness: 8o German hardness, pH
7, electrical conductivity 800 S/cm,
water temperature 28 to 30 oC. We
set our new fish tank also to these
values.
For the floor area, we used a fairly
fine, very bright gravel, though this
was replaced later by sand. On the
left-hand side, three large stones
separate off the additional sand area
which we set up as extra feeding spot
and which therefore remained
unplanted.
Apart from further granite blocks, it
was above all a forward facing, stilt-
type root construct which enhanced
the depth effect of the fish tank and
provided our discus fish with hiding
places and shelter. When choosing
the plants, we had to find those able
to thrive long-term in the water
conditions necessary for discus fish,
in particular at the relatively high
temperatures. Filter planting:
Microsorum pteropus Narrow, root
planting: Anubias barteri var. Nana,
grass carpet-type bottom cover
Wonderful in-depth view through skilful aquarium design
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Echinodorus tenellus (though this formed too many algae), plants at the front:
Cryptocoryne parva, behind the root: Aponogeton crispus, Bolbitis heudelotii on the
root did not become established.
Plants growing on roots and other tank furnishing can be designed like a stage set. Ferns
with their rhizomes are best suited for this purpose, such as Microsorium pteropus
Narrow but also mosses like Vesicularia dubyana and the dwarf Anubias Anubias
barteri var. Nana. While the mosses gradually overgrow previously naked root areas,
thus creating a rather romantic impression, ferns can be planted in the sponge material
of the filter. After a while, they will grow to form a dense green fish tank side wall.
Meanwhile, our fish tank has been in operation for almost a year, has proved its worth
and become our very personal ZEN underwater garden. We replace a third of the water
by fresh, cold water weekly and clean the glass and the tank bottom. The plants are
trimmed fortnightly.
We feed our fish thawed Stendker frozen feed twice or three times per day and add
some flake feed for
the small
accompanying fish
although they also
eat our beef heart
mix.
We spend about one
hour a week on
looking after our fish
tank, including
feeding our fish.
Have you by chance
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Fish tank with fish population
tried out caring for Stendker discus in an attractively planted
fish tank? From 1st November, you are invited to take part in a
photographic competition to find the most beautiful discus fish
tank. There are attractive prizes to be won. Pay us a visit on
Facebook or our website. We hope you enjoy taking part and
look forward to receiving your pictures!
The following are available from us:
- Discus fish (top quality, 21 colour nuances)
- Discus feed (our own recipe)
- The Discus Handbook (free of charge on our homepage)
Plants and accompanying fish for your discus fish tank,
Keeping discus fish healthy and lots more can be found free
of charge in 6 languages on our homepage as we would like
our discus fish to do well everywhere and you to get lots of
enjoyment from them!
Our discus fish are resilient and easy to keep as they are
used to German tap water!
Our discus fish are sold through specialist retailers. To find
our lists of retailers, go to:
www.Diskuszucht-Stendker.de
Diskuszucht Stendker GmbH & Co. KG
Am Holzbach 18, 48231 Warendorf, Tel.: +49(0)2581/60627
E-mail: diskuszucht_stendker@t-online.de
Freshly planted filter wall
Filter wall after 10 months