discus fish care

Discus Fish Care


Discus fish are a very unique kind of fish.  They do well under a higher level of care compared to other kinds of aquarium fish. They need a larger space in terms of the size of the fish tank as well as stable supply of clean water. Bearing all that in mind, it would be a challenge for a first timer but it is possible with some extra effort. Once you understand the basics discus fish care is easy. In this article I will explain the basics involved in discus fish care.

Discus fish are friendly and can be kept with most of the other kinds of fish as long as they share the same requirements when it comes to conditions of the water.  Do not keep discus with aggressive fish. They are slow moving peaceful freshwater fish. They need to be with slow moving fish. Discus do not do well with fast moving fish. The reason being is that the fast moving fish will compete with the discus for food. That is why it is best to keep discus fish with slow moving fish.

Discus fish care involves several parts: water conditions (temperature, pH, minerals, amount, and changing cycle), fish tank, acclimation, feeding and breeding.  We will discuss them below.

Water Conditions

Water is a crucial part of keeping discus fish in an aquarium. Care must be taken in terms of all the conditions as far as water is concerned. First, the temperature should be between 840F – 860F. The main reason for this is to ensure maximum oxygen content in the water. The pH of the water should be between 6 and 7. If your ph is higher or lower than the recommended do not attempt to try to adjust it with chemicals. Discus will adjust to any water conditions as long as they remain constant. I have many customers who lost all of their discus due to the fact that they were trying to adjust their ph with chemicals which resulted in a ph spike killing all the discus instantly.
Next, the minerals in the water should be as follows; nitrite and ammonia should be 0 ppm whereas nitrate should below 20ppm.  Adhere to water mineral levels.  Discus are vulnerable to any changes in them.   At least 50% of the water in the aquarium should be changed every week. This will ensure the minerals, especially nitrates, does not build up in the aquarium. Keep in mind that discus will adjust to any water conditions. therefore your main concern when it comes to water should only be the water temperature. Everything else is not so important and the discus will adjust.

Discus fish tank

Another critical component in the care of discus fish is the fish tank. Discus fish generally love a lot of space so they require the right size fish tank. Also, they are compatible with live planted aquariums. Be sure to keep probably a mixture of lower foreground plants and long stem plants. The plants will ensure that there is a lower pH of ~6.8 which is ideal for discus fish.

Discus fish can be kept in a tank without plants. This is preferred by some keepers as it easy to clean despite the lack of aesthetic value. Also, the bare bottomed tank is ideal for breeding discus fish. It acts as a safe environment for the young ones and ensures that your water quality remains constant.

Discus Fish Care – Acclimation

Discus fish are very sensitive to changes in their environment. Acclimate them with care. You should quarantine all of your new discus fish for at least 1-2 weeks before adding them to your main tank. This will ensure the discus are free from parasites and are healthy preventing your other fish from getting sick. It is also a good idea to treat your quarantine tank with Prazipro when you first introduce new discus fish.


Another component of discus fish care, and a very important one, is feeding them. Discus are usually not selective on the foods they take. They are however carnivorous in nature and hence they prefer high protein foods such as beef heart and blood worms. They require high protein pellets and flakes as well which are good sources of vitamins and minerals. A varied high protein diet gives the discus the best coloration.


Discus breeding is a very crucial stage in the care of discus fish. There has been little success in this area for most individuals keeping discus due to the dedication it requires. Among the key things to note is that discus only spawn in an aquarium that is at least 15 inches deep owing to their tall shape. Also, the temperature should be warm at 86 F for them to mate. Next, the pH should be very stable at 6.5. On feeding, protein would be a good food for breeding discus fish. Finally, placing an inverted cone or an upside down terra cotta flower pot in the fish tank will give the discus a place to lay eggs on.

Discus Fish Care Conclusion
Taking care of discus fish requires some level of dedication. Their beauty is however makes the whole process worthwhile. Once you have the process down discus fish care is not complicated as other make it out to be. It is a very enjoyable and highly addicting hobby.

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planted aquariums

Planted Aquariums

Planted Aquariums

Planted Aquariums Introduction

Discus fish can be kept in aquariums with plants or without. An aquarium without plants may be easier to maintain but it lacks aesthetic value among other great benefits that come with planted aquariums. Planted aquariums are spectacular. This article is about plants for discus aquarium that can be planted inside a discus fish tank.

Advantages of planted aquariums

The first and most obvious advantage of aquarium plants in a discus fish tank is the aesthetic value displayed by the unmatched beauty of the two. Discus fish are known to be beautiful and they move around slowly and plants on the other are natural greens and reds. This is scenic.
Secondly, aquarium plants act as chemical filters that are responsible for the removal of toxic substances from the water in the fish tank. Bearing in mind the fact that discuses are very sensitive to presence of toxic substances, these plants would be very helpful. The plants would also get rid of several diseases such as “hole-in-the-head” and the like.
Thirdly, aquarium plants are a perfect hiding place for the usually shy discus fish. Whenever discuses are bothered by whatever is outside the tank, they can easily find refuge within the plants. Unlike other improvised tank decorations like rocks or driftwood, the aquarium plants don’t hurt the discus. All these will keep the discus healthy.
Finally, aquarium plants with broad leaves are a perfect natural breeding ground for discus fish as they spawn on the plants. This is in comparison to the other options like an inverted cone which are not natural.

Examples of Aquarium Plants

An important aspect to consider when it comes to choice of aquarium plants is its maintenance. Plants with the lowest maintenance are preferable. Maintenance means disturbance to the discus fish and hence the lesser the number of times it is carried out the better. Maintenance also has to do with rate of growth of the plants, which should be as slow as possible. Below are examples of some of the most common aquarium plants.

1. Echinodorus family
This is one of the most common aquarium plants that can be planted in a discus fish tank. The main reason could be that the Echinodorus family is natives to the Amazon basin which happens to be the same for discus fish. They usually come in different shapes and sizes and hence one can choose either of them depending on his/her preferences.
Some of the members of this family are Echinodorus bleheri (commonly known as Amazon Sword), E. amazonicus, E. major, E. cordifolius, E. tenellus which looks like grass and are simple to grow and several others.

2. Anubias family
These are larger in size and they are from Africa. They play a great role as background as well as accent plants despite the fact that they aren’t indigenous to the discus biotope. Most people blend it with Echinodorus because of their color which is dark green and their different shape of their leaves. They are good for spawning of the discus fish.
Examples of plants in this family are Anubias barteri which have horizontal leaves, nana which is usually smaller and A. coffeeafolia which has unique leaves which are deeply incised. The other members of the family are A. afzelli and A. congensis. These two are larger and hence can only fit in tall fish tanks.

3. Crytocoryne family
These are tall and thin aquarium plants and they are dark in color. Some of the members of this family are C. wendtii and C. blassi. C. wendtii have a wide range of varieties and so one can have several choices as per their leaf shapes.

Other families of aquarium plants include Ammania family, Bacopa family, Java Fern, Microsorum pteropus, Micranthemum family and Hydrocotyle family, among others.

Aquarium plants to avoid

Not all plants are recommended for an aquarium meant for discus fish. These are the plants that do not do well in warm water as they are adapted to cooler water. Some of these plants are Samolus parviflorus, Amoracia aquatic and Bacopa caroliniana.

Apart from suitability to temperature of the water in the fish tank, there are other plants that are not recommended as they are hard to maintain due to their fast growth. These include Hygrophila family, Ludwigia family, Rotala family and Large Vallisneria family (unless they are controlled).

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discus fish tank

Discus Fish Tank Basics


Fish keeping is a rewarding and enjoyable venture. Discus fish belong to unique class of fishes which are the shy breeds. They are adapted to soft acidic water. You will need to set up a discus fish tank that resembles a discus natural environment.

A discus fish tank can be set up by following several basic guidelines. You can use de-chlorinated tap water or Reverse Osmosis (RO) purified water. Also the amount of light you have will depend on if you want to use live plants or not.

Discus Fish Tank Specifications

Discus fish thrive best in water PH level ranging from 5.0-7.0. Water temperatures ranging from 82-86 F. You will need to provide them with a high and wide tank to facilitate movement. You can go for an 18inch to 24 inch high tank. At least 3 feet tank is ideal for a for 4-6 discus fish which can hold close to 50-60 gallons of water. This kind of a tank will provide enough space for their movement hence much space for their growth. They also require the space for easy breeding.

Discus Fish Tank Quality of Water

Discus fish are sensitive to the quality of water. For this reason there is need for a filter that will turn the tank over for a minimum of 5 times in an hour. This is however the minimum and hence the higher the number of times per hour the better. You can be able to tell the number of times the water is turned by the filter by simply dividing the GPH of the filter by your tank size.

Another thing is on the water changing schedule. This is a critical part of maintaining the fish tank. There should be regular water changes. Precisely, water in the fish tank should be siphoned at least twice a week or more as it is deemed necessary. The water can either be dechlorinated tap water or deionized or Reverse Osmosis (RO) purified water. This will help in getting rid of wastes therefore promoting water quality. The water being changed should be around 10% to 15% of the total amount of water in the fish tank.
To further enhance the quality of water, I suggest the use of canister filtration system. This has been proved beyond reasonable doubt that they can be filled with a wide range of media that can implement optimal water conditions.

Discus Fish Tank Water Temperature

You will need to monitor water temperature using an accurate thermometer. Discus fish are very sensitive to temperatures and thrive best in warm waters. As a result, it is not a good idea to place your discus fish tank next to a window as the water temperature will tend to fluctuate. As said earlier, the optimum temperature should be ranging from 82-86F. If your discus fish tank is rather long you may want to consider placing 2 heaters in the tank one at each end set to the same temperature. This way the water will heat evenly.

Discus Fish Tank Safety

Discus fish tend to be very skittish at times and are known to jump. For this reason, there is a need for a secure top for the discus fish tank to ensure that doesn’t happen. Glass is a good choice as it allows more lighting. This is especially beneficial if keeping live plants.

Finally, I would suggest the use of sand or large gravel as the substrate for a discus fish tank. This can preferably be very large rocks which are placed in a loosely manner making it easy to clean debris and uneaten food. Also, the best background color for a discus fish tank is blue which will make the colors of the fish look very bright and sharp. The blue background with LED lighting will make your discus fish tank a real eye catching experience.

I hope that you find this article helpful.

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discus fish facts

Discus Fish Facts

Discus Fish Facts

Aquariums enhance the look and feel of a home. They provide a vibrant touch to home décor and it can be the center of attraction in any home. Some people consider aquariums as a conversational piece in homes. Now, making the aquarium striking, interesting, colorful and decorative is no easy job. Among others, one suggestion every fish lover has up his sleeve is the addition of colorful fish and what better than a Discus Fish. Here are discus fish facts that should help you.


    Discus Fish Facts 1

    The Discus fish derives its name from the shape which is round and laterally flat just like a Discus. The Discus fish come in a variety of colors, shades and variations. Colors include green, red, brown, and blue. The unique shape, unique patterns and color contrast make this a very popular fish in the aquarium. Think about a Discuss Fish tank of instance. The popularity of the fish has also made it prone to some artificial breeding, giving out more and more color variations and making it a must have fish in your aquarium. The size of the Discus Fish is also an advantage for all types of aquariums as they grow just up to 15.2 cm in length and weigh up to 250 grams. Like in most of the animal kingdom, the male fish are generally larger in size than the female ones. The Discus Fish is generally known as being native to South America is found in the floodplain lakes and rivers in the lowland Amazon River.


Discus Fish Facts 2

The Discus Fish belongs to the Cichlidae family and Symphysodon Genus. Infact the Discus is also known as the Symphysodon or the pompadour fish. There are mainly three Discus Fish types, the Blue or brown colour one is known as the Symphysodon aequifasciatus Pellegrin generally found largely in blackwater habitats. The red colour ones are known as Symphysodon discus Heckel are generally found in black and white water habitats, and the green ones are known as Symphysodontarzoo which are found in black and white water habitats and Clearwater.

Food and breeding

    Discus Fish Facts 3

    The Discus are generally found in large schools. They are very social in their behavior. They get along with other fishes very well. This also is another feature that makes them a must want fish in your aquarium. The Discus fish generally eats algae, insects, crustaceans, mollusks, and worms that live in water. In aquariums discus fish eat high quality flake food, pellets, blood worms, black worms and beef heart. Discus fish require a high protein diet.

    Discus Fish breeding happens away from the school and take care of their young ones for about 2 weeks. Not very uncommon, but the Discuss feeds its young ones from a secretion that comes out through the skin. The parent discus will darken in color a develop a white mucus film over it’s skin that the fry will eat. During this stage it is very critical that you keep a close eye on the fish. Start introducing baby brine shrimp to wean the fry off the parents before they start scarring the parents skin. Once the fry are eating on their own and no longer attached to the parents then you can move the fry to their own grown out tank.


Discus Fish Facts 4

Discus have the reputation of being very difficult to keep. That is far from the truth. While discus are not for beginners that are fairly easy to keep as long as you have the proper elements and routine in place.

Discus require very clean water. Therefore it is critical that you have the proper filtration. In addition you must be able to dedicate time to performing water changes. The frequency and amount of water that you will need to change will depend on many factors including size of the aquarium, type of substrate being used, the amount of discus fish in the aquarium and the amount of plants and decorations in the aquarium. Unlike many rumors you will read online, it is not necessary to do water changes daily unless you are breeding discus. When you breed discus you have to do a least one water change per day at the minimum.

Discus fish are very compatible with other fish. They are slow moving fish so they like to be with other slow moving fish. Discus fish are also schooling fish. They feel safer in large numbers. Therefore it is highly recommended that you keep discus in groups of 6 or more. If you are hoping to get a breeding pair of discus then it is recommended that you get at least 12 discus fish. The odds of two of them pairing up is very likely.

Discus Water

Unlike your regular freshwater fish discus prefer warmer water. The best temperature to keep your discus in is 86F degrees. A safe temperature range is 84F to 86F degrees. Therefore you need to take caution what other fish you put in your discus aquarium being that your typical freshwater fish cannot survive in warmer waters. Discus can survive in temperatures up to 90F degrees. However it is not recommended that you keep the water temperature above 86F degrees.

I hope you found these discus fish facts useful. If you have any questions about these discus fish facts please feel free to contact me.

Thanks- Rob

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