Discus Fish Overview, Origin, Care Guide, Diet, Aquarium Setup, Water Conditions, Tank Mates, & Breeding:

Discus is a beautiful fish & any intermediate or a novice aquarist can keep this specie in aquarium. Discus fish shape, patterns on its body, & colors make it unique & make it a fancy fish in your tank.

This fish is known as Discus because it looks like a flat, circular disk. Like other fish of this Discus family “cichlids”, Discus have a great personality. Cichlids are aggressive in nature but Discus are very peaceful & they do not mess with live plants & decorations of your aquarium.

 

Discus Origin:

Discus is native to Amazon River. In the wild, they live in soft & acidic water, which makes it hard to keep this fish in average fish tank.

Discus like lower pH, can live in water having a pH of up to 7.6, but can endure in higher pH too.

They like wood in their tank that is taken from fallen trees & branches, so they like keeping a driftwood in tank.

 

Discus Care Guide:

Behavior of Discus fish is peaceful, which is unlike other cichlids. Also some of the Discus show aggression but such type of fish is extremely rare.

Discus loves to swim with other fish & they need at least 5 other fish, but if you want to keep them happy then keep them with even more mates.

Discus loves to hide in plants & decorations, but it does not have an effect on aquarium cleaning. They are usually very shy when you introduce them to tank & could hide in the aquarium corners in the beginning.

Discus need a large tank & regular water changes.

Every fish can’t do well in tanks having too much ammonia, nitrite & nitrate that releases from fish waste, but Discus fish is even more sensitive than normal fish.

One of the factors that make Discuss difficult to keep in aquarium is sensitivity to ammonia, nitrite & nitrate because these chemical compounds are not part of rivers. So if you have small amounts of nitrates in aquarium then it could result in the death of Discus.

Plants make a beautiful addition in Discus aquarium but they cause some problems in Discus aquarium. It is difficult to clean your aquarium that has plants because plants create lots of mess. They can hold fish waste & other debris in their leaves or traps them around their roots which makes it difficult for the filter to clean tank. Because such wastes remain in aquarium & are not cleaned up by filter so it increases chances for the aquarium filter to produce a nitrate spike. Also adding plants could lower the level of nitrates in aquarium. Biological filtration converts ammonia into nitrites & nitrites into nitrates. Nitrates can be removed either with regular water changes or plants can absorb nitrates as nutrients & can clean up your aquarium.


Discus Fish Care Guide and Breeding
Discus Fish Care Guide and Breeding
Image Credit: fishkeepingworld.com


Discus Fish Diet:

Despite adorable faces & little mouths of Discus, this fish falls into carnivore genre. They mostly eat insects, small fish & crustaceans. When you keep this fish in aquarium then it is recommended to offer them protein rich diets for example beef heart. You can mix this food with other ingredients & make a staple diet for this fish.

The problem with Discus is that they are carnivores & require a rich & high cost food, which could waste your money.

Also aquarists need to make regular water changes too often because of Discus sensitivity.

 

Discus Tank Mates:

You can keep 6 Discus in a single aquarium but also mix up this peaceful fish with other peaceful species. Discus is a shy fish & needs high temperature as compared to other species. If Discus are not kept at desired temperature, then it could make your fish fall sick & could reduce their life span.

It is advised to keep other fish but your main focus should be around Discus & the tank should be set up according to Discus needs.

Discus can be kept in community with other peaceful schooling fish. In case other schooling fish have left their hiding place & are out swimming in aquarium then it could give Discus a signal that the aquarium is safe & it is time to go out and enjoy.

Tank mates of Discus consists of Cardinal Tetras, Sterbai Corydoras, Red Eye Tetras, Hatchetfish, Cardinal Tetras, some Plecostomus Catfish, German Ram Cichlids & Glowlight tetras.

 

Discus Fish Aquarium Setup and Water Conditions:

It is difficult to keep Discus in aquarium because of their sensitive nature but however, it is simple to setup an aquarium for the fish.

You can easily change aquarium water for Discus using Python water changing system which is a reliable way to do so. It has a hose & a gravel siphon that connects to a sink faucet. This makes water changes simple in both draining aquarium water & refilling the aquarium from the same sink.

A heater is required that can heat water between 82 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit, & add an efficient filter. But first you can select an aquarium that can hold around 55 to 60 gallons of water but if you select a larger aquarium then it is a wise choice.

There is no need to add gravels & decorations in Discus tank, & they don’t even need plants. Aquarium light is required for properly fish care.

If you want to know which filter is best for your Discus aquarium, then we advise you to use canister filters. There is more area in a canister filter where good bacteria can build up & they produce fast water currents.

Discus can’t do well if your aquarium water has more than 20 ppm of nitrates & the best nitrate level in Discus aquarium is between 0 ppm to 10 ppm.

In case your aquarium has just 0 ppm of nitrates, still your water needs replacement at least once in a week. Fresh water will contain lots of minerals that Discuss needs.

Discus Fish Size: 5 to 8 inches

Water pH: 4 to 7.6

Water Temperature: 82 to 88 Degree Fahrenheit

 

Breeding Discus:

It is not difficult to breed fish & raise fries but chances are very slim if you want to breed Discus & raise their fries.

If you want to find sex of Discus, then it looks similar to finding sex of angelfish; you can’t see any difference between male & female Discus fish. You can find breeding tubes that just drop during spawning, & it is the only way to find gender of Discus.

Female Discus has wider breeding tube & it has a blunt end, while breeding tube of male is thinner & it has a pointed end.

For breeding Discus in captivity, it is a good idea to start with a 29-gallon aquarium, but a bigger aquarium is needed for raising the babies. It is recommended to paint the sides of aquarium with either white or blue paint, otherwise it will be hard for the fries to search for the parents, also adult Discus can be very stressed during spawning period if the tank is not painted. Apply paint on 3 sides of aquarium, except the front glass.

Leave your aquarium bare bottom & add a better filter like canister filter that is able to clean tank well. Add a sponge or a hundred percent nylon filter over the intake to stop fries from entering the canister filter.

Add a heater to aquarium which can heat up water a bit. If your aquarium has a SUMP filter then it is a wide idea to keep your heater there because if your fish lay eggs close to heater, then there are greater chances that the eggs may die because of too much heating.

Before laying eggs, you will find out that your fish are cleaning the region they want to use for laying their eggs. Once the region is clean for laying eggs, female Discus will lay many eggs, & the male Discus will fertilize them.

This process will be completed in several hours. It is recommended not to disturb your process during spawning process, because if your fish are stressed then they might eat their eggs.

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