Are you interested in raising discus fish and want to know how to get started? This breed of fish is popular today, and many people have chosen to include them in their home aquariums. If you’d like to add them to your tank as well, there are a few things you’ll need to know. The first is how to care for them in general, to ensure they stay healthy. Second, we’ll look at what to do if they do contract an illness. Finally, you’ll probably want to breed more discus fish in the future, to further populate your tank. Let’s take a deeper look at each one of these topics in more detail below.
General Care Instructions
The discus fish has its origins in the Amazon River, and their name refers to their flat bodies, which resemble a saucer or disc. They boast a wonderful array of beautiful colors and hues, and this exotic species is a terrific addition to any aquarium! In fact, they’ve remained one of the most sought after fish for nearly a century, and you will have no trouble locating ones to purchase. However, they can be tricky to care for and there are several pointers you need to know, so you are successful in your efforts.
First off, it is important for them to have adequate space, which means having a tank big enough to handle their needs. How much do they require? The rule of thumb when it comes to discus fish, is to provide at least 10 gallons for each full-size adult you have in your tank. Also, it is interesting to note they often fare better, when you have several together in the same aquarium. How many should you include in your tank? Between 5-7 discus fish is optimum, and you’ll see the best results when you have a number which is within this range. As you are probably realizing now, this means you’ll need a minimum of 50-70 gallons of water in your fish tank, which is a fairly large amount.
Once you have a large enough space to house your new fish, you’ll then need to concentrate on the water conditions. As with most fish, it is a good idea to clean the tank each week. In terms of the correct water temperature, the general consensus is that between 82-86 degrees Fahrenheit is best. This will keep them comfortably warm, and this most closely mimics their natural environment. You can tell if your tank is too cold, if the discus fish move around only sluggishly. Also, the ph level of the water should remain within a tight range as well, somewhere around 6.0-7.0 on the scale. This is a bit acidic, which is what discus fish prefer. Finally, it is important to keep the nitrogen levels of your tank low, and this will help them to thrive in their new surroundings!
A side not is needed here – discus fish don’t do well with aggressive species, so don’t include these in your tank! This will cause them a high amount of stress, and will shorten their average lifespan. What types of fish are the best? First and foremost, they prefer other discus fish and then other laid back species. Yet, try to get breeds which are close to them in size, otherwise the discus may think they are food! Also, fish which eat algae are not a good fit and they may cause them harm.
Correcting Problems Which Arise
Now that we’ve examine how to create the perfect conditions for your discus to thrive, let’s look at some common problems and illnesses. If the colors of the discus begin to fade after you put them in their new home, this can indicate they are unhappy. In this case, they can often stop eating, and if this continues you will have an issue. Another sign of high stress is white and stringy feces in the water, which indicates they are becoming sick. How can you correct these problems? These can be fixed simply by increasing the temperature, and raising the thermostat a few degrees can work wonders!
If adjusting the temperature has no beneficial effect, be sure to examine the other breeds of fish in the tank. As mentioned before, aggressive fish cause discus stress, so these should be removed. However, you may still have an issue after you’ve used both of these strategies. A third thing to look for is a worm infestation, as discus fish are susceptible to this type of condition. If this is present, medicine can easily correct the problem, and you simply include it in with their food until it clears up.
Breeding Discus Fish
At this point you should have a happy and thriving community of discus fish in your tank! You may be interesting in breeding them as well, to fill up your aquarium even more. How should you go about doing this? Obviously, healthy fish breed better, so the above instructions should be followed. That being said, discus fish can be picky when it comes to finding a mate, and they are aware if they are related. This means you may have to purchase separate stock at a different store.
Then you’ll need to provide a suitable environment, which means having an air filter installed as well. Also, you should feed them different types of food, to give them the most well-rounded nutrition possible. Once discus fish mate, they remain partners for life. The female can produce as many as 400 eggs, which the male will then fertilize. You can actually encourage spawning to take place, by raising the temperature of the water or feeding them more often.
If you are lucky enough to have newly hatched eggs, the water will be filled with baby fish called “fry.” You need to change the water frequently at this stage, to keep the fry healthy. What should you feed them? The fry like to eat baby brine shrimp, and this will keep them growing at a steady pace. In about 1-1.5 months, they will be capable of caring for themselves, and you will have successfully bred your first batch of discus fish!
So, now you know all about the care, maintenance and breeding of discus fish. The above information will give you everything you need to get started raising discus fish of your own. This beautiful and exotic species is well worth the extra effort, and your tank will never look better! So, why not buy a few today and add them to your next aquarium?