How To Keep Discus

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                               “An Aquatic Way of Life”
               Waterside, Butts Green, Clavering, Essex CB11 4RT Tel: 01799 550943

Keeping Discus

We think Discus’ are the finest freshwater
aquarium fish around.

These exceedingly graceful fish have vibrant
colourations and markings making them one of the
most attractive fish to have in any aquarium. They
often grow to 12cm in size and being relatively
‘round’ the Discus creates great displays of colour
as they majestic glide around your fish tank.

Discus’ aren’t easy fish, but at the same time are
worth that extra effort.

There are three Discus in the family which gives
them the different colours.
Symphysodon Aequifasciatus - Green
Symphysodon Haraldi - Blue, Brown
Symphysodon Heckel - Red, Blue

Discus’ originate from the Amazon where they naturally live in deep water and hide among roots
and rocks. They do like to hide and require shelter in their aquarium. Artificial varieties available now
and these include Blue Diamond, Snow White and Red Leopard. Names of the Discus’ are made up
of two part – colour first and then the pattern. For example: Red Leopard is red in colour and has
markings similar to a leopard.

Discus’ are fussy about water quality so this has to be kept at optimum levels at all times to prevent
them falling ill. Discus’ naturally come from waters that are warm, soft and acidic. This creates many
challenges for maintaining Discus in your home. Many Discus’ are kept in soft water made from RO
water – particularly if you live in a hard water area. Ensure you discuss how to keep Discus in
optimum water with your retailer or us as Discus do need excellent quality water at all times for
their health and wellbeing to be maintained and for their colour to truly shine.

A pH of around 6-7 and a GH of 10-degrees is about right for most tank bred Discus. It is important
to monitor these parameters and ensure the water quality is kept steady. The use of a pH buffer is
Discus are incredibly intolerant to ammonia, nitrite and nitrate changes. Ensure these are carefully
monitored and kept low or to zero if possible. Discus are prone to diseases such as white spot and
hole-in-the-head, so it is essential to ensure that nitrate levels particularly don’t increase.

Discus would naturally feed on aquatic insects and larvae whilst also enjoying the odd small
crustacean, worms and other small animals. They will eat plants and algae too. So they like a good
variety of food but are known to graze – so little and often is best with Discus. Manufacturers have
developed a great range of Discus foods to meet their specific dietary and health needs. They also
enjoy bloodworms and daphnia as part of their balanced diet.

Be careful if feeding your Discus live foods. Discus’ are susceptible to parasites being introduced and
where possible this should be avoided – so use live food with caution.

Generally, Discus are imported as Juveniles. Young fish reach maturity in a year. It is however,
impossible to sex Discus so it is always a gamble if you’re looking for a mating pair. They breed in a
similar way to Angelfish other than the eggs must be left with the parents. The parents feed the
newly-hatched fry with special mucous produced by their skin.

The parents will clean a vertical surface upon which to lay the eggs. After 3-4 days the eggs hatch
and once the fry are swimming they graze on the flanks of both parents for anything up to two
months. The fry will also eat newly hatched brine shrimp – an ideal source of nutrition from about
two weeks after hatching. Don’t despair if you don’t get any survivors as it often takes a few
attempts by the parents before succeeding to breed.

Discus’ prefer to be kept in groups of 6 or more where possible, but never keep in groups below 4 in
number. They can also be kept with other warm acidic water liking species of Ancistrus Catfish,
Corydoras or Tetra. Some Hatchetfish are also good as they make the Discus feel calmer.

Choose your tank mates VERY carefully. Make sure the fish being added agree with the conditions
required for Discus as not all Tetra’s and Corydoras will tolerate the high temperatures. You also
need to avoid fin-nippers such as Sepae Tetras and Black Widow Tetra’s. You also need to avoid
active fish as this will terrorise the Discus who prefer calm.

Due to their natural tendency to hide and seek shelter in rocks and plants, Discus do not particularly
like bright lights. Ensure there are plenty of plants in your aquarium including floating plants if
possible to break up the aquarium lighting.

Discus do like warm water. 26-degrees minimum for normal conditions and 30-degrees if looking to

So to summarise.

Excellent quality water is required for keeping Discus. Ensure your water quality is maintained to the
correct ph & GH levels at all time with no ammonia, nitrite or nitrate and a temperature of at least
26-degrees. Excellent filtration and regular water changes along with regular monitoring of water
quality is required.

Keep stocking densities low, but ensure they are in groups of at least 4 but preferably 6 or more. A
larger aquarium is best for Discus as they need space and will grow.
Keep plenty of plants, shade and hiding areas for Discus.

Choose tank mates VERY carefully as Discus frighten easily.

Follow the above and your Discus will be a pleasure to keep and give you much enjoyment over
many years whilst adding a great deal of colour to your home.

For further information please contact

                                           Fish Fish Fish

                                     “An Aquatic Way of Life”

                                         Tel: 01799 550943


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