discus tanks

Hi Calvin,

I have just started keeping discus and have decided that try to keep 
both discus and plants together.  Yes...there are trade off that have 
that have to be made.

1.  Feedings and water quality have to be monitored.  One good thing is 
that the plants also love the additional ammonia that occurs through the 
breakdown of the protein rich discus food.

2.  Water Temperture is something that most people would not even think 
of.  I quickly found out that some of the plants that picked out for my 
new discus tank immediately turned into cooked spinach when i added them 
to my tank :(  Those that did not die immediately either thrived or 
slowly declined until now i have some very heat tolerant plants such as 
rotala, hygrophila, cabomba, echinodorus, and  a "giant" cryptocorne 
which is actually THRIVING (will wonders never cease).  I have had to 
settle for my tank temperture to be at the lower end of comfort for the 
discus and the higher end of confort for the plants.

3.  Water changes should be made frequently anyways so this is no issue 
(esp now since I finally broke open the piggy bank and got a RO unit).

I have to admit that I am still a neophyte at discus, but i have had 
successful planted tanks for about 4 years now.  i think if you practice 
good husbandry techniques for your fish...the plants will only thrive in 
this environment.  One thing that I am thinking about trying is having a 
NO SUBSTRATE plant tank with all of the plants being those that attach 
to driftwood.  This way the tank can be easily cleaned of uneaten food 
and detritus.  Any thoughts on this???  i have seen one similar to this 
at Aquarium of the americas in New Orleans.

    jdavis at bio_tamu.edu
    jmd9261 at tam2000_tamu.edu