Discus fish for beginners?

Discus fish hardly ever go unnoticed in any tank. They are adored for their colors, shape and majestic moves. Despite the fact that they have been present in our aquariums for many years, they are as popular as always. With proper care and diet they can be admired for several years. But before you decide to take the challenge of keeping discus, you should first learn about their environment, behavior and other fish they will tolerate.

Occurrence and requirements

Wild discus can be found mainly in the lower and middle basins of the Amazon River. They also live in ponds formed during the rainy season. The most suitable and natural water parameters are: temperature between 26 and 29oC, ph 5.0-7.0, carbonate hardness (KH) below 4on and total hardness (GH) below 15on. Preparing proper water for discus fish will be much easier with products such as Blacklarin, which neutralizes the harmful effects of heavy metal salts and protects fish from the aggressive effects of raw tap water, and Ketapang Extract, which quickly enriches the water with tannins and humic acids.

Exceptional cichlids

Discus fish belong to cichlids family. They grow to about 20 cm. In nature, they can be found periodically in large groups, from which individual pairs separate only for the time of reproduction. Parents take a good care of eggs and fry. An interesting fact is that in the first weeks of life fry are fed with the mucus produced in the skin of both parents. Despite belonging to the family of cichlids, considered aggressive, discus fish do not show strong territorialism. Of course, a spawning pair raising their fry or guarding their eggs will defend their territory, but it’s nothing compared to the aggression of most medium and large cichlids. It’s good to provide fish with a large enough aquarium, which will greatly reduce battles and minimize stress.

What do discus eat?

The natural diet of these fish is based on detritus, small invertebrates, leaves, and even fruits that fell into the water. In the aquarium we should serve food developed specifically for them, e.g. D-50 Plus – it is characterized by a very high protein content (50%), positively influencing the proper growth and development of fish. It also contains astaxanthin, which enhances coloration and beta-glucan, natural immune stimulator.

Symphysodon aequifasciatus
Symphysodon aequifasciatus

Take up the challenge

Although many people tend to believe that discus fish are problematic, I personally encourage you to take up the challenge and see for yourself. If you feed them well and keep them in good conditions, you can enjoy these beautiful fish avoiding diseases and unnecessary stress. You can have a lot of fun observing their behavior in the aquarium and a great range of color varieties will definitely take by surprise all your guests and visitors.

  1. Remember that discus fish feel best in  groups. Keeping one or two fish will cause unnecessary stress, which can cause weakness and diseases in fish.
  2. Properly prepared water and a perfectly balanced diet guarantee that your fish will grow and develop in the right way. 
  3. Observe your aquarium every day and learn about the behavior and habits of your fish.

Marcin Wawrzyniak

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