4th Annual Grow Out Contest Journal: CAF Control Group
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4th Annual Grow Out Contest Journal: CAF Control Group

This is a discussion on 4th Annual Grow Out Contest Journal: CAF Control Group within the CAF Annual Discus Grow-out Contest forums, part of the Canadian Aqua Farm Discus Hatchery category; This year I will be housing a control group of discus fry for the grow out contest. The purpose of ...

  1. #1
    Sponsor Canadian_Aqua_Farm's Avatar
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    Default4th Annual Grow Out Contest Journal: CAF Control Group

    This year I will be housing a control group of discus fry for the grow out contest. The purpose of this group is to provide an interesting point of comparison for participants and fans of the contest. I will also be happy to discuss any discus related subjects on this thread so if you have any questions or topics please feel free to post away. The discus in the control group will not be eligible for placement in the contest. I intend to raise them using the same basic principals that I use in growing out any discus. My primary focus is on maintaining stable conditions, keep food moving through their gut on a regular basis and controlling the water quality by changing large percentages of the water daily. My exact routine will likely change as the fish grow.

    I am starting with 12 fry and will likely reduce this number as I go along so as to concentrate my efforts on the ones that are showing the best potential. To start they are being housed in a 10 gallon aquarium. The aquarium has a drip system set up that will change around 300% of the water daily. Every 1-2 days I will wipe down everything inside the aquarium with clean cloth and then drain and refill the tank. For discus fry I find it is really important to remove the biofilm that will build up on the glass and other objects in the tank on a regular basis. There is no filtration on this tank but there is very strong aeration. This is another thing that I consider a must for discus fry. Strong aeration from an air stone will help break up any oily film on the waters surface and keep the dissolved oxygen levels up. This will go a long way to keeping the discus in prime condition and avoid the problems that come with chronic low oxygen levels. There is no lighting on the tank but a light will be on in the room 24/7. There is a 50 watt heater in the tank set to maintain the temperature at 88F. I have an Eheim Automatic Twin Feeder on order that will be able to dispense Australian Freeze Dried Black Worms to the discus every 4 hours around the clock which I know is going to really boost the growth rate of these fry. I have a couple of extra feeders coming in case anyone else is interested in purchasing one. I will also give these fry the occasional treat of frozen seafood and live grindal worms. Overall with the automated water changes and automated feedings this will prove to be a fairly low maintenance discus tank.

    Please feel free to ask any questions about this set up and group of discus.

    Here are some photos taken the day I set up the tank, June 8th, 2015. The largest fry was exactly 1.5" total length.


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  3. #2
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    Great idea Rick. B
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    Thanks for the insights on how you are raising these guys.
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    I have noticed my group just hide and turn skittish when the lights are on over a tank. When they turn pff they spread out vs hiding in the corner.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryangsp View Post
    I have noticed my group just hide and turn skittish when the lights are on over a tank. When they turn pff they spread out vs hiding in the corner.
    That is normal since the discus have only been in the tank for a few days. They need to get used to their new surroundings and will act more skittish when the tank light is on. I find the adjustment period is around 1-2 weeks. If they remain skittish after that then there are probably other factors also contributing besides the lighting. This would be a great topic for an article. I'll put together my thoughts on the various aspects that play into the comfort level of discus and get something posted.
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    Mr Know It all 2wheelsx2's Avatar
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    Wow, that's some fat baby discus. This will be an interesting comparison I want to follow.
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    Hey Rick. The "control group" is a great idea. I would have enjoyed the "competition" with you in grow out #1 As much as I try to "forget" about discus as we do so much travelling, making keeping discus almost an impossibility, I can't help myself from peeking at your site and following the progress of the grow out contestants. As with the previous contests, I see some are doing great whllst others have suffered multiple casualties. I see some discussion re. the starting size of the fish. I really enjoyed grow out #1 and i believe that our fish were the pretty much the same size as though in #4. I for one enjoyed the challenge of starting with the smaller fish as opposed to the larger /older fish that those in #3 and #4 started with....just my opinion. Thanks once again for all of your efforts on behalf of those of us that have enjoyed participating in the the four grow out contests. I'm still holding out hope that one day I will stop travelling long enough to participate in another one of CAF's grow outs
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    Hi George, it's good to hear from you. I hope you are enjoying your travels! I'll be posting an update on the control group this month so stay tuned I'm not doing anything too special with them, just trying to grow them at an average pace to provide a point of comparison. You are not alone in preferring a discus contest that starts with small size fry. I've had numerous requests for this over the past couple of years and that was the main reason that I brought back the challenge of starting with fry this year. It definitely increases the level of the challenge and I'm super proud of all the participants. Of the 12 participants 10 of them have lost either 1 fry or still have their whole group alive which in my opinion is fantastic. 1 participant lost 4 fry all at once to gas bubble disease after a water change which is something preventable and 1 has lost 5 for a reason not yet determined. Regardless of the starting size there has always been some participants who excel while others struggle but I'm just really pleased to see the high level of success early on in this year's contest.
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    Update on the control group:

    All went well in June. The maintenance routine was exactly as described in my first post except that I never did get around to setting up the auto feeder. As a result they were fed between 3-6 times per day depending on how much time I had available. For food I am alternating between original black worm cubes and the ones with baby spinach added. Later when the discus are bigger I'll start incorporating the Bio Plus and CAF colour enhancing black worms to show what a difference they can make.

    Here is the happy group:


    One of the most promising out of the group:


    Feeding time:


    Always hungry:


    Averaging just over 2" total length:


    The plan for July is to house the control group in a 50 gallon tank. I'll reduce the water changes to 200% a day. 100% of that will be done by continuous drip and the other 100% will be once a day when I wipe the glass, drain and refill the tank. I'm going to make a better effort to get my auto feeder set up this month. Their diet will continue to be Australian Freeze Dried Black Worms. I will also be selling off four of the small ones from my group. There is a high probability that they are females and I am hoping to raise an all male group. If anyone is interested they'll be $40 each or $150 for all four. If they sell to someone in the contest they will have to be raised in a separate tank from your contest fish as they won't be eligible for judging.
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    Mr Know It all 2wheelsx2's Avatar
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    That's some impressive size on those juvies Rick. It'll be a tough benchmark to beat.
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