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Going back to my roots: Planted discus aquariums

By Leonard Ho - Posted Apr 24, 2014 10:00 AM
These days, my heart and expertise lay with saltwater aquariums. But it was discus that drew me into this addictive hobby. I still remember the first time I saw a discus when I was 7 years old; I was immediately hooked (no pun intended). When I saw discus in a planted aquarium, there was no turning back.

Like most fishkeepers, I started with common freshwater fish like bettafish, goldfish, mollies, danios, tetras, and gouramis won at fairs and easily purchased at local mom-and-pop pet shops.  However, it wasn't until I saw my first discus that my past-time became an obsession.  There's just something about the discus body form, docile demeanor, and (of course) colors that really speak to me.  Discus breeding is an addiction in and of itself.

A few years later, I saw my first nicely aquascaped planted aquarium (before the days nature aquariums became a well-studied global discipline), and by happenstance it contained a school of beautiful pigeon blood discus.  From that day on, fishkeeping grabbed a hold of me and has never let go.

This heavily planted 65 gallon discus aquarium by Zachary Braverman really brought me back to my first love.  Every now and then, it's good to go back to our personal beginnings to remind us where our passion began.

A big reason why discus aren't commonly displayed in modern nature aquariums is because large fish ruin the sense of scale within meticulously aquascaped planted tanks, which usually are on the small side.  Siddhartha Saive solved this problem by going big ... REALLY big ...  600 GALLONS BIG!

Author: Leonard Ho
Location: Southern California

I'm a passionate aquarist of over 30 years, a coral reef lover, and the blog editor for Advanced Aquarist. While aquarium gadgets interest me, it's really livestock (especially fish), artistry of aquariums, and "method behind the madness" processes that captivate my attention.


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