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ALL ABOUT DISCUS

Here I am going to provide all the information related to the king of fish "Discus". Hope this information serves as help to all discus hobbyists. If you find any information which is wrong, or if you have any information to share which I may have omitted then please feel free to write to me.

1. Brief
 

Tank Size– As big as possible. The golden rule for discus fish is ten gallons of tank per fish.

Filtration – Recommending: power filters. If you have show tank, the filteration is must.

Water – Soft water is recommended for discus fish, it is not necessarily required. However if you decide to go about preparing the water, you should adhere strictly to some values in the tank.

       PH : Preferably at 7 if possible. 5.5-6.5 would be best.
       Temperatue : 84-86 degrees Fahrenheit.

Water changes – These should be the real filter for the tank. Water changes help keep the pH in check, disease low, nitrates low, and the fish happy. You should try to make a water change at least once in a week, but preferably two or three times a week if possible.

Water preparation – It is good to have a system worked out where you have a storing container in which to store water you are going to use before you use it for water changes. This allows you time to age the water, by aerating it, adjusting the pH, hardness, etc.

Feeding – Discus really need to be fed at least twice a day, and more if they are immature and still growing. A well balanced diet of both meaty and greeny foods is recommended. A mixture of shrimp, beef heart, and many other ingredients is a good way to get both. Also you can give optional food like tetra bits, frozen bloodworms, brine shrimp. Avoid live foods like tubifex, bloodworms, earth worms (for big discus fish only) etc.

Which Size of Discus – It is recommended that if you are planning to set up a show tank, where the tank will have other inhabitants other than discus and the tank will be landscaped or planted, that you begin with adults or near adults. Buying adult discus ensures that the discus will not become stunted in time from being fed too little or not having the water changed often enough. Adults are also less likely to be effected by disease. As well, the color on the adult fish will already be apparent when you buy it as well, so no guessing will occur.

On the other hand, raising a group also the recommended way if you are planning to try your hand at breeding later. Buying a group of six to eight discus gives a good chance of having at least one pair. Also, if you buy from a breeder (which you should), buy two different but close sizes of fish, as males tend to grow faster than females when young, and the breeder will probably give you fish of the same color type all from the same spawn (i.e. of the same color type, get 3 large and 3 medium sized fish).

2. Introduce discus in tank
 

1. Ensure your tank lights are off. It is advisable that they remain off for the next 24 hours to allow the fish to settle in.

2. Float the bag in the tank for approximately 10 minutes to allow the water temperature to equalise between the bag and your tank.

3 . Once you are satisfied that the fish have acclimatised, tilt the bag and allow the fish to swim out into the tanks. Please remember that the more patient you are with step 4 the less stressful the transition from tank to bag.

5 . The tank lights should remain off until the following day whilst the fish adjust to their new environment.

6. 24 hours after placing the fish in your tank you may switch the lights on. Allow 30 minutes to an hour for the fish to adjust to the lights before adding any food to the tanks.

3. Selecting Discus for your tank
 

There are signs of good healthy discus.

Do the fish swim to the front of the tank?
Do they feed aggressively?
Do they look fat & in shape?
Do the eyes look clear and bright?
Do the fins are straight & tall upright?
Do they breathing normally?
Is the tank housing the young Discus clean and the water clear?

If the answers to all these questions are "yes,". These are very encouraging signs indicating that the young fish are well kept, quite healthy, of high quality, and that the transition from the point of purchase to your home will be a smooth one.

Avoid to buy discus if you find the following signs in discus stock .

1. Dark color (Blackish). Possibility of sickness.
2. Heavy breathing (except when they feed & tank not aerated properly).
3. Non active.
4. When breathing only one side gill is working.
5. Hormoned discus (some breeder hormone fish to develop color).
6. Eyes looks big (possibe, fish is stunted)

4. Feeding Discus Fish
 

Discus really need to be fed at least twice a day, and more if they are small and still growing. A well balanced diet of both meaty and greeny foods is recommended.

Supplement Food
1. Tetra Bits
2. Mosquito Larvae
3. Daphnia (for small discus fry)
4. Glass Worms
5. Frozen Blood Worms (Live blood worms sometimes carry parasites)
6. Earth Worms
7. White Worms
8. Adult Brine Shrimp

* Don't feed live food like tubifex, bloodworms to your discus fish.

Discus Meet Formula
50% Beaf heart stripped of fat
25% of Fish Fillets
20% of peeled Shrimp
5% Tetra Flake Food

Cook the fish and shrimp for 10-15 minutes. (Cooking is optional)
Drain all water and blood from hearts & fish.
Grind the hearts, fish and shrimp separately.
Mix the beaf hearts, fish and shrimp with the flake food.
Grind the mixed up ingredients one more time.
Put food into plastic container and close tightly and then store in freezer.
Cut in small pieces when you feeding your fish.

5. Discus Fish Breeding Basic Information
 

You want to know whether they are male or female. By this article it’s little easy. These are only guides and they are not always 100% correct as in some circumstances females having male characteristics and males have female ones.

Here are ways to determine the sex of your discus

1. Size - Compare the size of your discus. Male discus tends to be bigger than the female.

2. The dorsal and anal fins - Take a good look at the dorsal and anal fins of your discus. If they are rounded then that’s a female and if pointed then it’s a male.

3. Head - Male discus forehead is little bigger & rounded that female 

4. The colour and pattern of your discus

Look at the colour and pattern of your discus fish, compare them to one another in the tank. Male discus fish tend to have less intense colour but have more pattern while the female tends to be more colourful but with lesser pattern.

The most important factor in discus breeding is water quality, make sure it is soft, acidic and clean. If you have discus ready to lay eggs there are a few ways by which you can  get good result.

The first way you can tempt them to lay is to feed a rich diet of frozen bloodworms or good beef heart mix for about a week.  This should condition the female and get her ready to breed. Make sure you buy frozen food as there is less chance of disease.

Another way to encourage your discus to breed is by doing a 25% water change (trigger for spawning) but drop the temperature by a couple of degrees of the water going in. This is a little trick I use on all my young pairs when trying to get them to spawn. Make sure all the pH and hardness is the same making only the temperature different.

Spawning and fry raising

Once the couple has started to spawn, you can expect a new batch of eggs to be laid every week or every second week. The eggs will normally hatch within 48-72 hours and the fry is free-swimming after another 72 hours. The free swimming fry will swim up to their parents and start feeding on a special type of nutritious mucus produced by the skin of the parents. They can continue to feed off their parents for several weeks, but you should start giving them newly hatched brine shrimp as well when they have been free swimming for 5-6 days.

 

 
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