catching wild discus

Catching Wild Discus

Catching wild discus

Introduction
Discus fish are found in Southeast Asia and South America around the Amazon. Discus can’t survive in most of the Amazon, where the water often flows too quickly or is not clean enough. However, they are found swimming in very clean water and in small, Blackwater rivers and lakes, deep pools, shallow streams, creeks, and small lakes off the Amazon River. In the Amazon, discus fish are found around areas that have immense tropical forests and long periods of rain. Discus fish thrive when they receive continuous flows of freshwater.
They live in small groups among submerged tree roots, decayed wood, vegetation, and aquatic grasses, which they often hide behind. The wild discus’ stripes help camouflage them for safety from predators. The natural substrate typically includes sand-like gravel and decomposed tree leaves. Plants, including the Amazon Sword that is shown below, not only provide a protective hiding place, but also serve as natural breeding grounds.

Catching wild discus – Suppliers and dealers
There are several suppliers and dealers that are responsible for catching the wild discus fish and availing them to the discus keepers and hobbyists. They are responsible for all the processes involved.

Catching discus in the wild
To catch wild discus, people use a bright light at night to attract the fish. Then they slowly draw a net around them. The collection is usually carefully designed and scheduled in advance through maps. There are several fishing processes conducted both in daylight as well as during the night. Usually, the process involves use of some fundamental tools. When the fishing is done by night, an underwater flashlight is used as well as a “Pulsar” that we know as a small net used to catch fishes in aquariums, but in this case, is made by fishermen with an iron hoop and a thick wire, allowing catching the fishes from the front and the water to pass easily. Thus, the fishes remain in the “Pulsar”, but the water doesn’t. In addition to these tools, a small canoe and several plastic containers are essential. If the fishing is done during the day, they use the same tools but without the flashlight. Use of gill net and cast net is greatly discouraged and avoided as they end up hurting the discus fish. A major disadvantage of fishing for discus fish at night is that it is impossible to collect any fish when there is full moon; this is due to the presence of too much light.

An important thing to do when collecting the wild discus fish is to measure the pH of the water where they have been collected. This will help in achieving a more perfect adaptation and hence avoiding causing stress to the wild discus fish which may lead to death. This will greatly help in adapting the wild discus fish to their new environment. This will be achieved easily by trying to have similar conditions, both water and food, to their natural habitat.

Catching wild discus – Transportation and storage
Another great challenge is transportation. If it is not done carefully and precautions taken, the discus fish may end up dying. One of the key factors that prevent discus from dying during transportation is the fishes repose. This is the process of allowing the fish after they are collected to rest for at least 3 days in a box, usually on the bank of the river or stream. Also, the fish should not be mixed when being carried in the plastic containers, but they should rather be transported individually in oxygenated plastic bags.

Catching wild discus – Conclusion
Wild discus fish have to be caught in their natural habitat and be acclimatized in order to be kept safely by the discus keepers.

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discus natural habitat

Discus Natural Habitat

Discus Natural Habitat

Introduction

Discus fish are widely recognized as some of the most colorful freshwater aquarium fish, which makes them incredibly popular among hobbyists. If you hope to keep discus fish successfully in a captive environment, it’s important you understand their basic needs and tank requirements. This includes understanding where discus fish can be found in the wild and what type of diet they typically eat.

Discus Natural habitat

Location

Discus fish are found in Southeast Asia and South America around the Amazon. Discus can’t survive in most of the Amazon, where the water often flows too quickly or is not clean enough. However, they are found swimming in very clean water and in small, Blackwater rivers and lakes, deep pools, shallow streams, creeks, and small lakes off the Amazon River. In the Amazon, discus fish are found around areas that have immense tropical forests and long periods of rain. Discus fish thrive when they receive continuous flows of freshwater.
They live in small groups among submerged tree roots, decayed wood, vegetation, and aquatic grasses, which they often hide behind. The wild discus’ stripes help camouflage them for safety from predators. The natural substrate typically includes sand-like gravel and decomposed tree leaves. Plants, including the Amazon Sword that is shown below, not only provide a protective hiding place, but also serve as natural breeding grounds.

Discus Natural habitat

Lighting
Preferring subdued lighting, discus tend to stay in shaded areas during the day, and the low lighting conditions help keep the discus safe from predators. Keep this detail in mind, since putting a discus in a tank with bright overhead lights and crystal clear water may cause it to feel vulnerable and frightened.

Discus Natural habitat

Water conditions
Discus fish appreciate Blackwater areas, which result from tannins and organics that are found in the water, primarily from falling leaves. While you can find tonics on the market that will help create a Blackwater environment, unless you are setting up a biotope with wild discus caught in Blackwater areas (not recommended for a hobbyist), you do not need this additive for proper discus fish care.

The Amazon hosts three main water types. In upper Amazon, you’ll find the “loam-yellow” or “white” water region. In the central region near Rio Negro, the “Blackwater” is found. In the lower region, you’ll see “green-yellow” or “clear water.” Different water types feature different colors of wild discus.
The Amazon’s immense rain forests and copious amounts of rain cause the water to be soft (0-3 dH). Soft water means that very few dissolved solids are found in it. The water’s softness is measured with the total dissolved solids (TDS), the minerals found in the water in parts per million. This means, the lower the TDS, the lower the conductivity of the water. Although discus will breed in several different water conditions, softer water helps with fertilizing the discus eggs and increasing fry sizes. Discus breeders often replicate the low TDS water by using reverse osmosis (RO) systems or buying RO-filtered water from water stores.
In the Amazon, discus water has a pH of around 6.0 to 6.5. In some places, its pH is as low as 4! Its temperature is within the range of 77 – 84º F (25 – 29 º C). In Southeast Asia, discus are found in soft to medium-hard, alkaline water (3-8 dH, pH 7.0 – 8.0) that has temperatures around 81 – 91º F (27 – 33º C).

Types of Food and Feeding habits
In the wild, discus fish feed primarily on zooplankton and other small aquatic organisms like insects and invertebrates. Wild discus fish tend to forage for food throughout the day rather than eating large portions at any one time. Due to the laterally compressed structure of their bodies, these fish cannot tolerate large portions of food, thus overfeeding can be a significant concern with captive discus fish. Wild discus may occasionally feed on plant matter, but they are unlikely to damage live aquarium plants in captivity.

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discus water changes

Discus Water Changes

Discus Water Changes

Introduction

Clean water is a key to discus fish health. A clean tank with a constant exchange of new, fresh water will work wonders for your discus’ health. In this article, we will explain how to keep your water clean without requiring fancy equipment like reverse osmosis filters.

A frequent water change is one of the most important factors for discus growth. It has been proven through an experiment that where one tank’s water is changed multiple times daily, and in another tank, the water is changed only once daily. The discus in the water that was changed more often grew twice as large as the discus in the water changed less often. Since discus fish naturally produce substances that are detrimental to their health, water changes are important to removing these impurities. When nothing is hindering discus’ growth, they can reach their full potential and flourish.

In this article, we’ll explain why you should change your discus’ water, how much you should change, how often you should change it, and what equipment you can use.
Amount of aquarium water to change and frequency

Although all tropical fish aquariums require regular water changes, discus aquariums in specific need frequent water changes. For this reason, you should change your discus’ aquarium water at least once a week. Some people change 20 to 25% of their aquarium’s water two to three times a week. If your discus look and behave healthier after water changes, change their water more frequently. Remember: The more you change your discus’ water, the more that harmful substances will be removed, and the more that your discus will flourish!

One myth is that you need to change discus water constantly. The truth is that successful breeders vary widely in the amount of their discus’ water that they change. Some breeders change their discus’ water 100% only once a week. Others change their discus’ water 25% three times a week. Others change 50% of their discus water twice a week. So you don’t need to worry about following a strict, set regimen. Instead, just keep in mind that changing your discus’ water removes harmful toxins and other impurities. Change your discus’ water frequently if you can. But if you can’t change it frequently, just make sure you change it at least once a week.

In special cases you may need to change the tank’s water daily. Examples include when rearing young fry or when medicating your discus.
You don’t need to change your entire aquarium’s water at once. Many people only change a percentage at a time, making the job much easier.

Discus Water changes- what’s the best time to do them?

The timing of the water change is just as important as the frequency. Discus, like all creatures, accustom themselves to you and your patterns. If you maintain a steady pattern, your discus will look forward to and be prepared for its water change. But if you provide an unstable pattern, your discus may become skittish during water changes.
A useful method is to time water changes after a major feeding period. This helps to remove any built up waste and left over food.

Discus Water Changes – How much water to change?

This is ultimately up to you and your abilities to carry out the water changes. Make sure to change your discus’ water frequently, and then decide on what percentage is best for your discus.
Equipment used for water change
To make it easier to change your aquarium’s water, you may want to use no spill drain and refill systems, which you can find at many pet shops. However, these systems are not necessary. If you want, you can simply use buckets.

Conclusion

One option is that you can have a bare tank without gravel. A tank without gravels provides the most pristine environment for the discus. Remove gravel that would normally hide waste and uneaten food.

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Discus Acclimation Methods

Discus Acclimation Methods

Discus Acclimation Methods

Introduction

Acclimation is critical for discus fish. The water that your new discus fish are packaged in has different temperature and pH parameters than your fish tank. Due to the fact that discus fish are very sensitive to even minor changes in temperature and pH, proper acclimation is the key to ensuring their successful relocation.

Points to note:
• The acclimation process should never be rushed
• Keep aquarium lights off for at least four hours after the discus are introduced to help them further adjust
• Do not feed your new fish for at least 24 hours after receiving them

There are two acclimation methods namely, Floating Method and the Drip Method.

1) Discus Acclimation Methods – 1: Floating Method

i) Turn off aquarium lights.
ii) Dim the lights in the room where the shipping box will be opened to avoid stress/trauma.
iii) Float the sealed bag in the aquarium for 15 minutes to allow the water in the shipping bag to adjust slowly to the temperature in the aquarium, while maintaining a high level of dissolved oxygen.
iv) Cut open the bag just under knot or rubber band and roll the top edge of the bag down one inch to create an air pocket within the lip of the bag. This will enable the bag to float on the surface of the water.
v) Add 1/4 cup of aquarium water to the shipping bag.
vi) Repeat step (v) every four minutes until the shipping bag is full.
vii) Lift the shipping bag from the aquarium and discard half the water from the bag
viii) Float the shipping bag in the aquarium again and proceed to add 1/4 cup of aquarium water to the shipping bag every four minutes until the bag is full.
ix) Use a very soft net to gently catch the discus from the bag and release them into your aquarium.
x) Remove the filled shipping bag from the aquarium and discard the water.

2) Discus Acclimation Methods – 2: Drip Method

This method is considered more advanced. You will need airline tubing and must be willing to monitor the entire process. Gather a clean 1 gallon bucket designated for aquarium use only that has never been used with any kind of cleaning agent or chemicals of any kind.
i) Start with Steps i)-iii) of the floating method to acclimate water temperature.
ii) Carefully empty the contents of the bags (including the water) into the buckets. Depending on the amount of water in each bag, this may require tilting the bucket at a 45 degree angle to make sure the animals are fully submerged.
iii) Using airline tubing, set up and run a siphon drip line from the main aquarium to each bucket. You’ll need separate airline tubing for each bucket used. Tie several loose knots in the airline tubing, or use a plastic or other non-metal airline control valve, to regulate flow from the aquarium.
iv) Begin a siphon by sucking on the end of the airline tubing you’ll be placing into each of the buckets. When water begins flowing through the tubing, adjust the drip (by tightening one of the knots or adjusting the control valve) to a rate of about 2-4 drips per second.
v) When the water volume in the bucket doubles, discard half and begin the drip again until the volume doubles once more in about one hour.
vi) At this point, the discus can be transferred to the aquarium. Gently scoop them out of the drip bucket with the specimen bag, making sure they’re fully covered in water. Submerge the bag underwater in the aquarium and gently remove the specimen from the bag. Next, seal off the bag underwater by twisting the opening, and remove it from the aquarium. Discard both the bag and the enclosed water. A tiny amount of the diluted water will escape into the aquarium; this is harmless.

Conclusion
Among the two discus acclimation methods above, drip method is the most recommended but both methods work equally well.

NEVER add water from the fish bag to your aquarium!

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best food for discus

Best Food for Discus

Best food for Discus Fish

Introduction

Discus fish can feed on basically anything which can include fish flakes, pellets, and frozen or even live food. The best food for your discus fish would be a variety of foods in order for them to get all the nutrients necessary for their growth.

The types of discus fish food

One type of good discus fish food is dry food. This type of food contains many essential nutrients for the discus fish. This type includes fish flakes and fish pellets. Care should be taken though when you feed your discus fish with dry foods. For example, ensure you supplement fish flakes with live food in order to attain optimum health for your discus fish as far as essential nutrients are concerned. Also, ensure you soak fish pellets before feeding them to the discus to avoid bloating of the discus fish. We highly recommend the DiscusGuy high protein flake foods and high protein beef heart flakes

Another best food for discus live food which includes bloodworms, black worms and also white worms. All these happen to be one of the best foods for discus fish in terms of nutrient content. More so, they can be easily acquired in almost all the local pet stores and can be stored in preparation for feeding them to the discus fish.
Brine shrimps make another best food for discus fish and a good substitute for that matter for worms. This is because they are rich in vitamins as well as minerals. They can either be frozen or live brine shrimp. Be careful to rinse them to remove any salt that may be on them though before giving it to the discus fish and incase it was frozen, ensure you defrost them first. This is the best food for strengthening the discus fish colors as it contains beta carotene. We highly recommend you stay away from live worms and only feed frozen worms as live worms can have parasites and get your fish sick!

Apart from the above main food types, some discus fish keepers opt for homemade food for their fish and they use cow hearts to make them. One major setback for this however is that they dirty your discus fish tank and hence it would require more regular cleaning. All in all, discus fish generally and naturally prefer live foods and those are the best foods you can give them.

Discus fish feeding habits

When discus fish are still young, they require constant feeding. Baby discus will eat 10 to 12 times per day. Young fish will eat up to 5 times per day. Adult discus fish on the other hand eat 2 to 3 times per day. Be careful to not overfeed them. Overfeeding your discus could cause health problems and water pollution. Discus fish are sensitive fish who appreciate pristine water conditions.

Regardless of the time you feed your discus fish, always try to be consistent with your feeding routine. In the morning, wait for your discus to wake up a bit before you feed them. Turn on their lights and then give them some time to move around for a few minutes. After they eat their last meal of the day, give them time to forage and clean your tank. Don’t turn off their light until at least an hour after their final meal of the day.

Challenges when feeding discus

One possible difficulty is that sometimes, the fish won’t immediately swim and eat the food. As a result, the food will sink to the bottom of the aquarium. Any food that remains there will rot after two days, which will lead to bacteria. To solve this, you choose to include a bottom feeder in the fish tank, or you will have to manually vacuum the leftover food out of the aquarium before it begins to decompose and contaminate the fish tank.

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