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 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.