Discus Fish Care

Posted on Nov 2 2018 - 5:34pm by fishexp

The prominent member of the family of cichlids and more specifically of the genus Symphysodon, colloquially known as discus, is a genus of cichlids native to the Amazon River basin. The discus fish is considered by many aquarists as the most beautiful freshwater fish.

Amazon River Basin

The “King of the Aquarium” has a charm that goes beyond its beautiful colors or fascinating behavior and has become tremendously popular in the world. However, it is reputed to be a difficult fish, very delicate, so much so that many aquarists believe and advise that simply is not worth trying to keep them. This article aims to demonstrate the falseness of these prejudices born of disinformation and little concern for the specific needs of this noble fish.

Blue diamond discus

Before talking about specific care, I would remind some general concepts you should always keep in mind:

There are 2 types aquarists have discus fish:

the first are those who enter into a store and buy a discus fish impulsively loved it, mostly without knowing your requirements. These aquarists (usually newbie) suffer a terrible experience and are responsible for generating the bad reputation of the fish.
There is a second group of aquarists to see the discus fish, turns around, goes home and begins to study everything I can to be properly prepared when starting the project. Hopefully, you belong to the second group.
The more you learn before you start, the more you enjoy the results. Perhaps a good book can be the best investment in the hobby. We must be clear that first of all we aquarists, that is, maintain water with a number of living organisms in our tanks (from bacteria to fish and plants) and therefore it must worry about the chemical and water conditions for the proper development of these organisms. Fish care is not about the fish, if not water chemistry. A common error (and often fatal) is trying to adapt discus fish to the conditions of an aquarium instead of the aquarium adapt to the specific needs of the discus fish care. We can’t fight against the genetic heritage of the species. Not at least 60 years of change. Many discus fish born in captivity with other parameters of water does not mean that your immune system is different from the wild. They can survive under different conditions does not mean they are correct and both life expectancy and the potential of the fish. The discus fish are demanding fish both in power and water conditions and are more prone to diseases and parasites other fish in adverse conditions. If both power and water conditions are right, they are tremendously resilient and healthy fish.

wild discus fish

To keep discus fish it is also necessary to know its biotope and characteristics of this: The discus fish are Amazonian tropical fish, mainly of pure, warm, calm, dark waters the Black River and its branches. With the Amazon floods and flood, the territories of the discus fish are constantly transformed and aquatic vegetation is almost nonexistent. The bottom is muddy, with logs and dead leaves. Among the many submerged roots and tree trunks pass and feel safer disks, grouping mostly in family groups or schools that easily exceed 20 copies. In the wild, there are plenty of decaying organic material (leaves, stems) causing the conditions which are suitable discus fish.

With highly acidic water and pH in the Amazon varies between 4.0 and 6.0 GH or water hardness is almost zero from 0.27 to 0.68 A very important feature of acid pH, It is the absence of many types of bacteria, primarily causing disease. These bacteria and some fungi occur in more alkaline waters. And existing bacteria and pathogens in acidic waters are rather harmless. Therefore the discus fish is so “complicated” in aquariums with the wrong parameters, as they have evolved over millions of years virtually free of bacteria and fungi environments and your immune system are poor. As a tropical climate, the temperature of the river black fluctuates between 27.5 ° to 30 degrees Celsius.

This is important since many parasites at that temperature both internal (intestinal) and external (white dot, etc.) are kept at bay. The discus fish are also used as the ammonium in acidic water, the toxic ammonia is converted to NH3 NH4 + is the preferred form of nitrogen that plants use for food. It is for this reason that the disks need clean water, so frequent refills and controlled levels of nitrites. People who complain or make fun of the “difficult” it is to keep records, I submit to you the following: If we know the conditions these fish need (acidic waters, soft, 30º Celsius and constantly under renovation) ……. it’s going to be a difficult fish? Yet even when something goes wrong to turn black, are tilted they swim in circles, show their black stripes generally show some degree of stress in their behavior. Many times I have heard that the discus fish die for this or that reason when in fact the problem is the stress which causes bad conditions and that result in diseases, eating disorders and growth. In this make us a good experience discus fish or a costly nightmare.

red melon discus in tank

Chronologically review the steps to mount your discus fish Aquarium:

The Discus Aquarium:

It is the first thing to solve. Ideally, dimensions should not be less than 120x50x50 cm. In this way, the discus fish are best shown and there is a greater biological balance. 50 liters per discus fish is calculated and ideally from a group of at least 5-6. Consider the size that will have as adults. The aquarium should be in a place where you will not get direct sunlight and where there is much movement finds no traffic.


Their aquarists prefer to keep them in aquariums without decoration. I personally prefer them closer to their natural habitat environment, even in the Amazonian waters there is almost no vegetation. If you use an aquarium without decoration, try to put a layer of gravel, as better retain sediments and not dislodged discus fish to look through the bottom. If you want an Amazon biotope, you can place a substrate prepared based on clay, humus and peat and plant thick with native species or resistant to tropical temperatures as gender Echinoderms hybrids. A densely planted aquarium helps your discus fish to delimit territories and feel more comfortable to have more hiding places. You can decorate with logs and stones without edges or points that can do damage to the discus fish. When frightened and run for cover they can be hurt by something.

Lighting: The right to keep the plants. I recommend the Phillips 840 and 965 tubes (30 lumens per liter). Although coming from dark waters, mostly discus fish not bothered light. Hours on recommended and off stable for greater efficiency photoperiod (12 hours).Ideal also serious injection of CO2 to optimize plant growth. Heating:


A thermo-heater powerful 300 watts is ideal because work less and therefore increases the lifetime of the thermostat.

The most suitable filter is a typical external filter bottle. Under no circumstances filter plates, only dirt accumulates under the gravel view. Ideally, the total of the aquarium water to leak about 4-5 times per hour minimum. The filter should include mechanical filtration, biological and chemical necessary.

Water: the most important aquarium; you must measure the parameters of your tap water to see if changes need to give you. If your tap water is soft and acidic consider yourself lucky. If not, and your water is hard, alkaline or both, will look at the need for buffers to lower the pH, the grace of buffer is that tampon its pH to the desired value. You should apply carefully because sudden changes in pH can burn plants and stress the fish. Remember that the pH scale is a logarithmic relationship. It can also be used to acidify peat and humid acids beneficial step add to their records. A pH of 5.5 to 6.5 is ideal but 7.0 is still ok. If your water is very hard, and over 10 GH is advisable to use distilled, which ultimately is an excellent choice. Water must remove heavy metals, silicates, and chlorine. Anyway, discus fish can hold water with high hardness and is only strictly necessary for reproduction, but as we have said. There are ideal conditions for discus fish and ultimately affect their quality of life and potential.

pH tester

You must cycle the aquarium before entering any fish. If you go with disks with other species, they are very good companions tetra (Cardinals, drunks, serapes) loricariids and overall species which share geographic location. Neons are not recommended as they are in colder waters. Nor scalar because they are much more aggressive than discus fish lunchtime and also carry parasites that are harmless to them but harmful to the discus fish. Another point is the snails. Many people avoid them in their aquariums as they are intermediate hosts for different types of parasites. An example of this is that every year more than 200 million people are infected worldwide with parasites that the snails need to complete their life cycle. Besides snails discus fish much ammonium

Choosing discus fish

Choosing discus fish:

We know that it is best to start with a group of at least 5-6 discus fish. The primary criterion for choosing discus fish should always be health. Before the color and variety even, Better to pay a little more and be sure you are buying a quality drive to save some money and then have trouble with a bad discus fish. How cheap is expensive in the end.
see more about Types of Discus fish, Photo gallery of Discus fish

What is there to consider when buying a discus fish?

perfect juvenile blue diamond discus
perfect juvenile discus

– choose them personally
– find out what you are eating food (varied and not only tubifex and dyes)
– see that this wanting eating (eating disk While this healthy almost always)
– display active and not shy or hidden (sign of good health and low stress)
– check the parameters of the vendor (if not respect someone is not serious)
– breathe coordinated by the two gall ( if loach for 1 alone may have parasites on the gills)
– eyes are proportional to the body (if they are very large or disproportionate is a sign of rickets and/or malnutrition)
– Avoid discus fish with the dark body
– Avoid discus fish elongated shapes, should be as round as possible and with high dorsal and anal deployed and in good condition

Sicked discus

Sick discus Sick discus

Maintenance of Discus fish:

Discus fish chose to anyway submit to quarantine and check that they are 100% healthy. Especially because importers and business people, in general, are not very respectful of this necessary procedure. To minimize the stress of moving you can apply a chemical type “stress-guard” or “aquatint” and enter the disks using the technique of dripping. After a couple of days (if they are all given conditions) discus fish should start eating normally and reorder their nests. The nest is an important point. As good cichlids have a dominance hierarchy structure that is generally the weakest “down” by others and ends stressed or dying for lack of food that was not allowed to eat their tank mates. Although you give them the best conditions and enough food, so does the instinct of survival: eliminate the weakest who usually bear the brunt of the attacks is carried. Remove the weaker solution is not much, as the hierarchy tends to run a step. Assaults are more stressful than physically harmful to the fish. When disks are young it is advisable to make large water changes and feed several times a day. Between 2 and 12 months is an age if the disk does not develop properly, you may lose potential. 3-4 times a day to feed the young is right. Independent of the age of the discus fish, are recommended spare parts 50% of the aquarium water weekly. It looks like much but it is not for the discus fish. I would even say it is one of the most important in the proper care of discus fish points. Fresh water and conditioned is the key with the correct diet If occupies distilled or RO water is very pure, consider using trace elements. Fish absorb nutrients both their food and their environment and is an excellent complement especially in the juvenile stage Discus fish


There is a wide range of specific foods discus fish flakes and granules, but should not be the only diet. It must be supplemented with live food (tubifex avoid because it is very dirty) and porridge. It is better to feed several times a day in small quantities and rarely variety and lots of it. The fish’s stomach is about the demeanor of the eye. It is easier to kill a fish supercharging starvation. The discus fish are no exception. A food that can never be overlooked is the porridge because they are comprehensive, include vegetable and really help the drive to develop properly. This is a very good porridge. It can be prepared medicated or not. His records soon will become addicted to it and eat from her hand. No leftovers immediately siphons until after half an hour, since the discus fish are looking for leftovers after a while.

Make healthy food for Discus fish


– 100 grams. beef heart.
– 100g. Hake.
– 100g. of shrimp tails.
– 100g.broccoli. – 1/2 carrot.
– 1/2 egg yolk. – 1/3 banana.
– 1/3 peeled apple.
– 1/3 kiwi
– 1 small clove garlic.
– 1 is fishtamin.
– 1 Box Metronidazole 250 mg.
– tasteless jelly

-. Spending all on the Juicer
– The egg is hard, is used only the tip (1/2 of the yolk, because it is very polluting).
– The mussels are made steam. They get into a pot with about two inches of water and cover the pot. This is to eliminate any pathogen.
– Once you have gone through all good blender, mix thoroughly in a large bowl.
– In a little water 4 tablets of 250 mg metronidazole dissolved. It is as white milk. Check that all the tablets are well dissolved. The solution is mixed with water, treating equally thorough mixing.
– wheat bran is placed so that it is at a consistency (similar to toothpaste) such that there is disarmed in the aquarium water. It is imperative that little wheat bran is placed, as it provides vitamins and fiber that help the intestinal tract. – Once the desired consistency is taken, dissolved envelope jelly tasteless in warm water and added to the paste mixing quickly as jelly in contact with the slurry (cold) condenses immediately. (Do not use boiling water because it can burn step jelly and some vitamins of the pasta).
– the pasta gets into a bag and labeled as porridge for discus fish with metronidazole (1000 mg). GETS THE DATE THAT WAS DONE.
– You put in the freezer and wait. The next day the quantity to be used for disks is removed, thawed with aquarium water, and bon appetit

.Recommended dosage:
– 3 days followed are given three meals a day. After a week off and return to the fray with three days over meals.
– Very important to keep careful with the aquarium water parameters hospital, if possible after every meal porridge that sucks all about! If you respect and comply to the letter all the conditions they need discus fish, will have one of the most gratifying rewards in the aquarium, a group of healthy discus fish, well-fed, portly and assets is a show that nobody is indifferent.