We recommend using quartz sand or fine aquarium gravel as a substrate. Before placing the gravel in your aquarium, please wash it thoroughly in a strainer or colander under running water to remove all dust. This will help prevent your aquarium water becoming cloudy.
Roots, Plant Life, Rocks and Stones
Bogwood is good choice and is available in specialist pet shops. These aquarium roots do not float, and they rest securely on the substrate and are free of pollutants, e.g. from pesticides. When choosing plant life for your aquarium, please be sure to only choose plants which are able to withstand temperatures of 30°C/86°F long term, e.g.
Amazon plants, various types of Echinodorus, Oak-Leaf, Tiger Lotus, Cabomba, Vallisneria gigantea, etc. Be cautious about rocks and stones that you place in your aquarium, as these release minerals into the water and may negatively impact on your water chemistry. Do not place any objects in your aquarium which have sharp edges or are pointy/ spiky. These could cause your discus fish to startle and to “shoot” through the aquarium at high speed. To avoid injury to your discus fish, we recommend that you remove pointy parts of roots etc. by using a saw or sandpaper.
You can use plastic sheeting, printed with photos of green plant life, which are available in specialist pet shops. We recommend turning these backdrops around and using the black or white side of the sheet, as these will provide a stark contrast to the colors of your discus fish, highlighting their colours even more. You can also purchase backgrounds with a blue “water design” that make the water in your aquarium look “blue” and give it a
brilliant underwater look. These plastic sheets must be attached to the outside of your aquarium’s rear wall.
Further Decorating Tips
For your communal fish like Butterfly Cichlids or other Dwarf Cichlids, we recommend placing half a coconut shell in the aquarium for them as a hatching area. The coconut shell should be place upside down and fitted with holes.