The Discus

pH Range

blue discusKeep your pH between about 5.5 and 7. The ideal pH for discus care is about 6. If your pH is over 7 supposedly it may cause them stress, but up to about 7.8 will be fine as long as there is little/no fluctuation

Temperature Range

82°F - 88°F (28°C - 31°C)

Water Hardness

1 dH - 8 dH , this is relatively soft but they are not too fussy about their water hardness, an addition of a piece of wood will help soften the water.

Potential Size

Male: 16.51cm (6.5")
Female: 16.51cm (6.5")

Feeding

They will usually take a variety of foods, but due to their carnivorous nature they do best with blood worms, beef heart and then pellets and flakes to provide them with vitamins and minerals

Breeding

How to Breed the majestic discus? see below


If you are keeping fish you have most definitely heard of the

 

beautiful and colourful discus. These fish are considered a higher tier level of care and requirement; they are not for the beginner aquarist.
They can be housed with almost any other fish as long as they require the same water conditions and are not at all aggressive. They do best with small tetra’s, neon’s being the most common compliment to a school if discus. Having this range of sizes can be quite aesthetically pleasing and the fish will co-exist happily.
Discus are usually kept in a planted tank with CO2 injection due to them favouring of a slightly lower pH of around 6.8. They enjoy plants and will feel right at home with a mixture of longish stems and lower foreground plants. Driftwood is a great idea, it will add to the beauty of the aquarium and it will also soften the water and lower the pH. This can be used to take out two birds with one stone.

The other option is housing discus is a bare bottomed tank, many believe this is the only way to do it although it is not as aesthetically pleasing. Having no substrate allows the tank to be easily cleaned from faeces and debris keeping the water quality immaculate. If you wish to breed them it is best to put them into a bare bottomed tank so the babies do not get stuck in the gravel and the water quality remains at a high standard.

For the best colouration of your grown discus you will need to feed them a varied diet, granules are usually the best as they prefer to feed from the middle of the tank, they are not as fond of feeding at the surface. Bloodworms in a small feeder cone are great, and beefheart will go down very well. The only problem with beef heart is it can pollute the tank so be sure to do regular maitenance.

Breeding the discus!
Discus will readily reproduce in the aquarium but you may need to dedicate months, even a year (if you start out with juveniles) to the prospect. Until recently they had only successfully been bred in captivity a few times and only by dedicated individuals, don’t bother buying any books or articles on breeding discus, It is not that hard to do, once you have it you will be amazed at how easy it really is.

First of all, a Discus couple will not breed in an aquarium that is too small. You will need a depth of at least 15 inches due to their tall shape. Therefore 36 inches x 18 inches x 18 inches aquarium would usually bethe smallest suitable standard aquarium for a breeding pair.

Make sure the temperature is above 82 F, it needs to be a warmer climate to try and hoax them into mating behaviour. Make sure you keep the pH as close to 6.5 as possible and keep the water as soft as possible. Soft water will not be a good buffer and so it is important to check the water every now and then to make sure there is no significant drop. You will need to keep nitrates at a minimum by performing water changes every week and siphoning out the waste. About 30-50% will be perfect.

For feeding during breeding, protein rich food will be the best, you will want to use a large array for the best results. Professional breeders use beef heart but this should also be combined with bloodworms and some vegetable matter such as spinach. To keep them in good health use some high grade tropical flakes every now and then to supply them with the required nutrients and vitamins they may be lacking.discus snakeskin

For the best results place an upturned clay pot or cone in the tank or anything that is fairly tall. This will be there spawning medium when they lay there eggs. Make sure whatever you use is thoroughly washed and will not seep nasties. The discus will begin cleaning the medium in preparation. If they have not yet, make sure your water quality is perfect and you are feeding them well. It is at this stage that your water must be soft as the eggs will develop a hard impenetrable shell in hard water.

This stage will take the longest, you need to be patient waiting for your discus to breed. But when they do, they will lay eggs every week for up to fifteen times! this cycle usually occurs twice a year, so that means they will breed for more than half the year. It is rewarding when you get them to this stage.blue discus

The eggs will then be laid on whatever you have put out for them. They will look after them by constantly fanning them for aeration and picking off the unfertilized eggs to eliminate the chance of disease. The eggs will hatch within 48 hours. When the eggs hatch you will not have to feed them as they feed off the secretion of their mothers scales. After a couple of days they will be free swimming at a remarkable level and growing very fast.

If you leave the fry with there parents they can become very agressive and start to rip scales off their parents as they become older. When they are about a week old i would take the parents out for the safety of their health and raise the young with your own food.

Once this is complete you can breed the discus again and again!, you are best to sell them at the size of around 2". If you have alot of babies it can really stack up!.

Another option is just buying a small school for a lower price and then let them grow in your tank, they may not breed but you will soon have beautiful grown discus in your aquarium.


The only downside to these great fish is that in the beginning they can be quite hard to keep and they are also fairly expensive.  But once you have the experience they are easy to keep and you will fall in love.

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