The Discus fish is often regarded as the 'King of the aquarium' amongst fishkeepers due to their spectacular colours and almost royal like behaviour within the home aquarium. Discus fish are not for the beginner aquarist for several reasons but hopefully after reading the information below, you will feel confident enough to give them a try.
To provide the best possible environment for Discus, first you have to understand what their natural habitat is like. Discus come from the flooded rainforest of the lower Amazon river basin which is primarily backwater. On occasion, Discus will live in clearwater areas. Water quality is vital.
First of all, Discus can grow up to 8'' in size and prefer to be kept in groups so an aquarium size of 280L (75 gallon) or greater is strongly advised. While Discus are mostly calm and peaceful, they are still Cichlids and therefor will still show aggression towards each other, especially when attempting to pair off. Weaker fish should be removed to avoid being harmed.
Discus prefer soft, warm and slightly acidic water conditions so achieving a pH level between 6-7 with a temperature of 27-30C (82-86)F.
To recreate a natural looking aquarium for your Discus, use a sand substrate with some leaf litter or botanicals to create a similar look to their natural habitat. You can also add some wooden branches and large robust aquarium plants such as Amazon swords for decoration.
Discus do not require strong currents so avoid powerful flowing filter outlets. This is often the most challenging area for aquarists. Discus are large fish and like any other large fish, they create lots of waste. Water clarify and quality is essential but due to their preference towards slow water, the only way to achieve this is to perform very regular water changes of 20-30% plus the removal of any waste as often as possible. This should maintain stability and keep your Discus happy.
For food, just like any other fish, having an understanding of their natural diet is key. In the wild, a diet of plant matter, worms and crustaceans. To recreate this, provide a balanced varied diet consisting of frozen foods, dry foods and on occasion, live foods. Pay close attention when feeding your Discus to insure only enough food is given and consumed within a few minutes. remove any uneaten food to maintain water quality.
Many small tetras are considered suitable tank-mates for discus. In the wild, Rummy nose tetras are almost always seen in the same area as discus and are a popular choice for discus keepers worldwide.
To breed your Discus, first keep your fish in a group and allow pairing to happen naturally. Once paired, separate the pair from the group and house in their own aquarium. Young parents will often eat their fry until they mature. Fry will feed on a mucus substance which is secreted by the parents skin. The fry will cling to the sides of each parent in turn. Both parents are responsible for the raising of fry and once free swimming, the parents should be removed.
Discus are amazing fish to keep and if your looking for an eye-catching fish for your home aquarium then look no further than Discus - The King of The Aquarium.