Discus Fish: Care, Breeding, Tank Mate Guide 2019
Symphysodon aequifasciatus and Symphysodon Discus are the scientific name of the fish species Discus. They are usually bred in South Asia and these fishes are native to Columbia, Brazil, French, Equador and Peru. They are usually found along the Amazon River basin since it is the most bio diverse environment in the world where they clung to the river basin.
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Overview: Discus Fish
They swim so swiftly and are the most peace loving fishes they avoid conflict with any other fishes at any cost. They are very bright and colourful in nature and are schooling fishes so they mostly live in group. People buy them based on their looks. They are very beautiful and large fishes but are very peaceful in nature. However they are not very easy to take care of but very rewarding if you keep them with good care
Discus Fish – Size, Location and Level of Care
They are very captivating fishes and will certainly keep you mesmerized for a long period of time. They are very difficult to take care of. They can live for nearly 10 yrs however some of them can live for 15 yrs with good care and can grow tol the length of 8 to 10 inches. Discus fish also belong from cichlids(Check Out African Cichlid) family. They require at least a 50 gallon tank for their survival. They are compatible with large fishes and small fishes as they are very friendly.
The tank can be set in freshwater or stones and cave styling and they usually come in a variety of colours. They are very famous and thus are found beyond the Amazon in South Asia as they have been brought by the fish keepers. Anyone who buys them and keeps it, should think beforehand of their difficult care and whether they could devote their time to the fishes. They come in a variety of species and some species have been bred in different patterns and colours. But, it is necessary to keep in mind that they can survive for 10 yrs, so you keep them only if you can handle their hard temperament.
Discus Fish and Their Behaviour
Since they belong to cixhlidae family they can easily peck other fishes, so if you are keeping them with
Small fishes which is available or you which you have been keeping for years you will need to take care of the nutrition of small fishes properly. They spend most of their time in the middle level of the tank doing swimming, however they occasionally travel to the substrate section in search of food.
They like it when they swim freely however they stay close to their living areas. The one and ultimate good news is that if the tank is set accordingly and their mates are choosen wisely, their pecking nature can be controlled. They boast a length of about 8 to 10 inches and they quickly achieve this feat in a span of few years as they grow one inch in a month till the time they reach their maximum length. They can easily be bought under 25 to 40 dollars at any store.
Type and features of Discus fish
Their body is oval in shape and their anal and dorsal fin extend to the back. They look like disc and thus are names as discus fish. They can also be triangular or round in shape however all the discus fish are flat in appearance. Discus fish are very popular due to their bright colour among the masses. These fish’s species comes in various colour range like green, blue, red, brown and yellow.
However you may notice a gradual change in their colour over the years, their colours are the brightest after 5 years. It is also found that when bred in captivity they tend to be more bring than when they are brought up by their own. They come in various varieties as they have been bred several times.
The colouring comes in stripes which cover the body and the fins in vertical and horizontal lines. They boast a variety of colours in their eyes also however the most famous colour of their eyes is red. They tend to flare up and the colouring become more prominent when they are threatened and thus they look more beautiful.
However they are very sensitive to these things so it should be avoided as it adds to the stress.
Recreating the perfect environment for Discus fish
To recreate the environment of the Amazon for the Discus fish you should fill the bottom of the tank with rock, debris and some vegetation on the top of things. You can fill the tank with a layer of soft sand as they like to dig around things of the bottom and if they dig around stones or hard materials they would scratch themselves. To replicate the natural look you can put stones and bogwood in a scattered form along the tank. Since they belong from the floody plains of Amazon where there are natural flood pulse where the water is raised by several inches.
They live on the shallow parts which provides for their excellent body growth and also are excellent environment for breeding. They like to live in the break of water like among small inlets or among fallen trees so as to protect themselves from the high flow of water. The temperature of water should be in the range of 82 – 88° F with a pH in between 6 to 7. You do not need some other the top item for the fishes, all you require is a filter to clean the water and an Aquarium Heater to maintain the ideal temperature of water in the tank. You can also decorate it with lights.
Please before buying these fishes get to know about their conditions in which they have been brought such as the pH and the temperature of water so that any drastic change is not done as they can fall ill if there is any excessive change in conditions. Keep them in a necessarily large aquarium with 50 gallons or more as living in a small area can cause them stress which in turn make them ill or more aggressive.
The water should be chlorinated and treated before keeping the Discus fish in it. They are friendly in nature and they are omnivores in nature. The flow of the water should be slow and not high which can be done by driftwood or ornaments in the tank. You can easily keep woods in vertical direction however keep a wood which is soft and place it on sides as discus fish likes to swim past them. You can easily add plants like Hairgrass and Amazon sword plant which provides oxygen to the fishes and also acts as a nutrient sink.
Discus fish and their suitable tank mates.
The discus fishes are most often shy and therefore you need to place them with dither fishes in their surrounding as it helps them to understand that they are not in any danger and can live stress free. You can keep the fishes which are native to warm Amazon waters. If they are paired with shoaling tetras they will look very coordinated such as Neon Tetras, Rummy-nose Tetras and Ember Tetras and also these fishes are very peaceful and thus easy to take care of. Some other fishes which can live with them are Bolivian Rams, pencil fish and Gouramis.
You can easily pair them with Neon or marble hatchet fish as they occupy the top level of aquarium but if you are keeping them you need to always keep the lid of the tank closed. They are exceedingly compatible with corydoras however the only problem is that corydoras like to live in colder water whereas discus lives in warm water. If you want to keep a fish of same water conditions then sterbai Cory catfish would be the very best as they live in a different level and are also amazingly peaceful.
Pairing these fishes with aggressive fishes will be a disaster as those fishes will try to eat its mucus coat which will in turn wound them. Angel fish are also a good options but sometimes they trouble the discus fish and tries to eat their share of food. Keeping fishes together is not a very tough job all you need to know is about their temperament and even if you want to keep fishes who are aggressive you need to do it with much caution.
Snails or shrimp can also live side by side to them but keep in mind that they should not be too small as they can be damaged or eaten in this process. You can easily keep discus fish Together as they are schooling fishes. You should at least keep 5 discus fishes in the tank together however you can keep more. It will also account for an amazing colour variation in the tank.
What do discus fish eat?
Feeding the Discus fish is a very easy business as they can usually anything that you give as they are omnivores. In the Amazon they usually fed upon small plants and algae or fallen green matters of plant.
They can very easily eat the insects and vertebrae like copipods and amphipods. however if you keep them in aquarium you can easily provide them with store made tropical flake as they have all the essential nutrients for the fishes. You can also give them frozen food like shrimp pellets, bloodworm and brine shrimp which helps to bring colour in them in a significant manner. You can easily feed those beef heart which is very common among the keepers and it does not produce any side effects.
You will need to feed them every day although make sure that they complete it in 5 minutes. As anything more than that can cause to the bad quality of water. Since they are eager in picking make sure that all the tank mates are eating because the bigger tank mates can eat all the food. If this happens, give the food to smaller fish on different side of tanks.
Discus Fish: Level of care and diseases
They require a very good care than most of the other fishes as they are comparatively large in size and their appetite is also high. They make a lot of mess therefore cleaning the tank is very important, you should regularly change the water. They are very sensitive to any change in the water or its condition. If they are not able to survive they will cling to the edges of the tank or near the driftwood which indicates an increase in nitrite in the water.
You will need to clean the sediment with a gravel vacuum to remove the excessive food which goes down of the tank. If you have set a new tank, try to check the water every day due to their requirement of a particular warm temperature. You can easily do this by setting a Thermometer permanently in the water tank. They will scratch their bodies if there is a parasite infection causing them to have red areas which induces rapid breathing in them. You can easily solve them by remedy available in shops. Also give some time to look on them as they show a change and variation in colour if they are ill.
How to breed discus fish?
They are one of the hardest fishes to breed in captivity. You will have to fulfil all the requirements if you want to breed discus fish and that too properly. You should use a spawning cone to provide them with ideal space and after laying of eggs, you can keep a tube of wires on them to prevent them from being eaten. The eggs hatch after three days and in other three days they are capable of swimming.
At all cases, they are very beautiful fish which makes them an asset to keep as they will make your tank Beautiful and are considerably friendly. You should check the water conditions regularly to keep them healthy.