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Unboxing My Secret Fish

By King of DIY on

Well, I guess I'll just say it, I am getting back into discus. For those that don't know or not familiar with my channel long term, I kept discus for like 10 years. Did everything with them from breeding them to just keeping them in general. I've always had a passion for discus. I need to take a break from them for a short while.

After over a decade of keeping the same fish sometimes you need to recharge your passion for them. Sometimes you simply lose interest or you just want to move on and keep a lot of different other fish.

Now, we have a tank that has been meant to be a discus tank all along. Before we move into this I just have to say that I've had this discus here for about three weeks, and it's been killing me not to show you guys these or talk about them but I needed to get this tank and this racking system up and running and begin scaping the tank before we moved any further. Today’s the day. This is the third rack of the hundred and twenty gallons. Each rack holds two 120 gallon tanks. I've skipped over this rack to get to this rack because I went and bought some plants and the discus are ready to come out here.

Over the last few days I focused on setting up this racking system, making sure everything was set up. I still got to fill it with water and actually get it running, but for right now it is doing quite well. So far all we have in here is the Aquadecor background and then these branches that are silicone to the bottom. I know it looks random right now but this is going to look absolutely amazing once we get the substrate in there and I also put the plants and start planning it it's going to look amazing. I wanted to make sure the discus is-- I brought the branches to the front just to give it a more in-depth look.

I thought about putting the branches all the way to the back stacking them throughout the back, which also looked good but that's also going to mean the disk is going to try to hide behind them. I got a lot of discus to unbox though and with these branches being out more the discus will be out more as well. Of course, you guys know the racking systems themselves are by Man just check out the detail on all of this isn’t that amazing? Those Aquadecor backgrounds are absolutely stunning. I can't wait to see what this is going to look like with plants and substrate and with water and of course those discuses. It’s going to look absolutely stunning.

Let’s just go ahead and jump right into the unboxing again. These were unboxed like three weeks ago and I had to order the discus at that time like four weeks ago because when it comes to these import lists and I got the fish through Jeff and one fish two fish and Dartmouth Nova Scotia here. When it comes to these lists it's like you get it now or it might not be on the list next time or it might be seasonal or you might not be able to get these exact fish. That's how it works so you got to be patient and wait for your chance pounce and it was just that day that I had seen them I was like, "I got to get them." Here it was.

Everybody looks to be alive and right now I'm just acclimating the fish to the temperature of the aquarium. That is the only thing that I acclimate them to when it comes to freshwater fish. You see what I need to do is get them out of the bags as soon as possible. Why? Well, they're in this bagging on these long transports. They deplete the oxygen within the bag and what happens is the pH of the water will slowly decline. That’s not necessarily a bad thing however the ammonia that they're producing in the bag isn't toxic at lower levels, which again isn't a bad thing until we crack the tops of these bags and oxygen enters the bag once again.

What happens next is the pH shoots back up and that ammonia becomes far more toxic at those alkaline levels causing the fish to extreme amount of fish and potentially killing them. What I need to do is acclimate them to temperature, so it's not a shock going into the water and then immediately pop the bag open get the fish out and get it back into the tank. The temperature of the bags are now matching the tanks temperature. I'm going to go ahead and start adding them to the tank. Again, to do this is really simple. What I like to do is I cut off the top of the bag almost completely while pinching right here so air doesn't get in the bag or at least a very small amount of it.

From there put a little net right here like that and dump the fish in. Into the tank it goes and then of course, repeat. What fish did I get? Discus, 16 discus in fact When I seen them on the list something was telling me to get them. Now, I know I've said in the past I'm-- Discus have played their part in my hobby. I kept them for like 10 years. It was time to move on. I kept them, I bred them, kept them in all kinds of different tanks even with stingrays, Asian arowana you name it, but after so long again, it's just time to move on.

I feel like I've had a pretty good break from them and now it's time to dive right back in and what better way to do it with 16 of them at one of those 120s. I got 16 Marlboro Reds, you guys are going to have a closer look here in a minute. I got them from my local fish store, one fish two fish. Jeff's been really great with giving me access to his list.

However, they're coming directly from the suppliers and in this case these guys came from Bangkok. He just ships them to the airport and I go pick them up as opposed to your typical thing where you just go to your local fish store or your discus importer like Uncle Sam’s Discus, for example. They're one of my favorites, and you go and pick your own. This way though I got to take all the risk, I've got to acclimate them.

There's pros and cons to doing it this way and I also got to pay for shipping but at the end of the day I get access to a tremendous amount of fish, and the possibilities are endless. Again, as soon as I seen these guys on the list I had to have them. Now, they're only a few inches big and they do need time to color up, so they're probably not going to look good right now.

I can only imagine how awesome they're going to look like once we get them into the 120 and escaped and looks really nice. Plus the fact that a lot of you guys have been begging me to get back into discus. I've made a tremendous amount of videos on discus in the past. Everything from caring for them, breeding them, you name it.

Like I said, I guess I had a quick break from them. It was like a one or a two year break and I’m ready to get right back into it. This time though, I'm just going to enjoy them. I don't want to breathe them, I don't want to sell them. I don't want to do anything like that. I just want to enjoy them and enjoy the fish and showcase them and teach you guys how to keep them and that sort of thing just like with the rest of the tanks.

I'm no longer interested in breeding or anything like that. Again, that part of my hobby is over. Maybe sometime in the future I could potentially get back into doing something like that. After about 15 years in the hobby and experiencing so much in such a short amount of time you want to come full circle and just go right back to just enjoying your fish.

These guys are just in a holding tank with my Asian arowana, and the little new stingray. While this isn't the ideal conditions to be honest with you, these guys are here a few days early. I wasn't ready for them. Their tank will be ready here shortly, but again I'm just not ready, so they got to go in here temporarily. I do take a risk in doing so with cross contamination. Perhaps there's parasites or pathogens or anything. I'm quite capable of treating them, and I will anyways. I always treat new fish for parasites especially fish that readily eat. You could just medicate their food and that's what I'll do with these guys.

They have no external symptoms of parasites or anything like that right now. Rays don't tend to carry external parasites and the Asian arowana as well tends not to get external parasites. I'll go ahead and medicate their food. These guys are alert and they're most likely going to eat and I suspect within the next few days they're going to color up. I went with 16 of them for a number of reasons. Again, I want an immediate impact and an immediate result with these guys and they're only like about three inches maybe. I've got plenty of time for 16 of them in a 120. Eventually, I'll end up with 12. I'll pick the best 12 and I'll drop the other four off to my local fish store and let the locals have a chance of getting some pretty cool fish as well.

I'm just excited to show you guys that one-- I guess I'm going to be showing you again that one discus aren't that difficult to keep. You can keep them in a beautifully scaped tank. I'll run you through a lot of things I know about them. We've done this all in the past, but with some many more people watching and a lot of my old videos which are a lot of my best content, nobody really watches them anymore so we can circle back and touch base on a lot more things and help a lot more people out these days.

There's really 16 of them. So far we've got one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, 11, 12. We've got 12, we're 12 for 12 right now. I was expecting to maybe have a couple of DOAs which is dead on arrival. That is common with importing from overseas. You won't see this typically because your fish store takes all the risk when they import. They'll import 100 fish and maybe 10 or 15 will die.

You don't know that though because you just see what's in the tank and maybe there's a couple of dead fish in there which happens after an import, some fish die and a lot of people judge the fish store like "They had dead fish in their tank," or "They always have dead fish." Well, got to know the rest of the story before you judge it. Maybe they do have poor husbandry skills, but maybe it is a fresh import and maybe they didn't have time to check the tanks yet or they're understaffed.

Maybe they're not making a lot of money, etcetera. There is some risk with importing and that is if there's something that arrives dead you're usually just out of luck. With ordering 16 and saying I'll grow out 12 and get rid of four, really I was expecting maybe about four to show up dead or maybe I lose a couple over the next few days but there's some room to wiggle here.

Ultimately, in a 120 with some adult discus I probably max out around 10, maybe 12 anyways, depending on filtration and what not. These guys are going to be on a 290 gallons system, each one of those racks. That's what the volume is but it should be okay. Again, we're 15 for 15 right now. They're all fine, let's have a closer look. These guys are literally only in the tank a few minutes.

We need to give them time to actually settle and color up. They are Marlboro Reds but looking more yellow or even orange right now but again let's give them longer than 30 seconds in the tank. A few days in here and they'll be totally fine. Interestingly enough a lot of fish find comfort around stingrays and vice versa. We'll see what happens here over the next few days with such a tiny little fish and the stingray there but I think everything's going to be okay.

The arowana, this guys is really friendly. He doesn't care what's in the tank. I've had him in with a couple little things here and there just to test them out and he really doesn't care. He's very friendly. He eats whatever I offer him. He's the perfect Asian arowana, but yes, these guys have great body for example this one's form is really nice. The eye to body ratio, it's got a nice slopping forehead, great fins.

Of course, needs to color up and the rest are like that as well. This one over here got a bit of a pointed forehead, not a fan of that but he might lose that eventually. It might just be the way he's holding his fins there but looking good, looking really good. Just imagine what these guys are going to look like as adults, really deep dark red and in a 120 that's beautifully aquascaped. I can only imagine and I think you guys can too.

Why all one strain? Why get all just one color and I guess the answer is simple. One, when you're ordering wholesale or directly from an exporter you have to order certain quantity to fill a box plus it depends on my mood. Sometimes, I want a variety, sometimes I want a little bit of this a little bit of that and at that given moment I wanted a lot of these Marlboro Reds. I haven't had them before and I thought they would look amazing in the tank scape that I have planned.

These are the fish as of today. They are a little bit skittish right now. They don’t have very little-- They have very little human interaction out here but you can get a pretty good idea. I don't have a light on this tank. Absolutely not needed, I just light the tanks with the room. As you can see these guys are looking pretty good, coloring up slightly, putting on some size. They are eating just fine and definitely look like a totally different fish from the unboxing but there you go. They panic a little bit, but once they're in a tank they'll feel more secure with decorations and whatnot but for now definitely looking good can't wait to see them in the tank.

We'll put all 16 in here and I think it's going to look really well and since I went with red I'm using a white substrate just to maintain that deep red coloration and I think they'll look best on it. However, I also want to add a bunch of smaller fish. Probably some tetras, I'm either going to go with some cardinals or neons or maybe even some rasboras of some sort. I definitely want to add in a school of fish to these guys. The discus will have to come in first, I'll get a hold of some of these tetras and quarantine them as well and then add them in at a later date but moving forward my next thing to do today is make sure the silicone is secure here.

I did this late last night so I might have to wait a few more hours before I move forward, but I really got to scaping this tank because I've already have the plants. I've had them for a few days and you got to use them before they rot or go bad. They're just in my fridge right now maintaining them and if you want plants to last a little bit longer you just put them in your fridge.

I've got to get them out of that fridge and start planting just to make sure that they don't go to waste. I'm really excited to do that and I hope you guys are as well. If you guys aren't subscribed to this channel yet and you guys want to see the evolution of this tank as badly as I do make sure you do subscribe so you don't miss any of these videos. One more thing before you guys go, now that you guys know discus are on the bottom, maybe you can guess what's going up top.

If you remember, I said that this is going to be like a versus tank. This fish versus this fish and in the hobby they go head to head with hobbyist on which one's better or which one should keep. You should have a really good idea now.

About King of DIY

Joey is THE King of DIY, and when he built his gallery of aquariums he chose the Custom Aquariums rack system with 120-gallon tanks...a lot of them!

Joey Mullen is also known as the king of DIY, uarujoey or the DIY fishkeeper on social media. Providing education and inspiration for aquarium enthusiasts on YouTube, he is also the author of The Ultimate DIY Handbook; for the DIY Aquarist. His channel is about educating all levels of fish tank hobbyists who are passionate about caring for fish and keeping an aquarium of their own. Joey's aquarium rack systems were custom made by our professional fish tank engineers, here at Custom Aquariums.

Please watch the King of DIY's videos for some helpful information and great tips on diy aquarium keeping.

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