A new Hobbyist joins the club - part IV
by John and George Reclos
After keeping dwarf cichlids in her tank for a couple of months, the happy newcomer decided to go for a something more demanding so in October 2002 she got two discus for her tank. The rest of the inhabitants, remained the same (with the exception of the dwarf cichlids) and consisted of 9 Hemigrammus bleheri, one Chrossocheilous siamensis and a tiny Ancistrus. The tank was heavily planted but Margarita decided (and she was absolutely right) that this planted tank was not what her discus liked most. The new aquascape she said should have much more bogwood and much less plants. Saying "no" to Margarita is not really an option, so we packed, got our bogwood and there we were.
One of the two discus which wanted its tank re-decorated. Well, at least this is the way Margarita presented her request to us !
Most of the plants are already removed and now it was about time to get this precious one square foot java moss out of the tank. It was attached on a large flat stone and it would fit our tanks nicely. Margarita didn't have any objections to this proposal.
Before working in the tank, we decided to remove the discus. They are very delicate fish and they get easily stressed so we decided to put them in a plastic bucket with fresh conditioned water heated to the same temperature as the tank.
Johnny (the decorator of most tanks we have set up) is working on the new bogwood. Some Anubia were attached on it, just to add a touch of green to the new setup. A large Hygrophila corymbosa siamensis would stay in the tank (although relocated) until the new plants grow a bit. Then we will decide if it will be removed or stay there permanently.
The discus are sleeping in their bucket. Sine the whole operation was estimated to take about 2 hours we covered the bucket to reduce their stress. Seeing three pairs of feet going around you is not a sight to help you relax - especially if you are a fish.
The new tank is ready. As you can see, the discus are not there yet, since we wanted the dust to settle a bit before adding them back. I have the impression that I have seen this setup somewhere, but Johnny insists it is an original idea... He also told me that his "vision" calls for a removal of the Hygrophila when the Anubia sp. get established. I still have that impression though...
Finally, the discus are returned to their tank and we can sit back and take a look. This rather small tank is a demonstration of how a tank can change the place you live. It doesn't occupy much space but still it makes a difference. As Margarita uses to say, no matter how she arranges her furniture, this tank is always the point of interest in her living room. And what about the discus ? If you are wondering whether they liked the new setup, we will only tell you that one week later, they laid eggs for the first time - on the vertical bogwood. Although the pair fanned and guarded the eggs still there was no hatching. We suspect that the presence of other fish and the alkaline water may be the reasons for that. However, Margarita was really fascinated. So, we think she will not call us back for a re-decoration for some time !!