Blog post written by Andy | 05 September 2013 | Category: Tropical fish
In the past Discus have been classified as either a ‘specialist fish’ or a fish that is for ‘experienced fishkeepers’. It is not a fish that we would recommend for someone who is brand new to the hobby and who has not done their research. However, due to the fact that Discus are now more and more common to the Aquatics trade, by either captive breeding and even people being able to breed them in regular aquaria, Discus are no longer as difficult as they have been in the past. That is not to say that they do not need any special treatment, but what that does mean is that Discus are much more accessible and, in fact, hardier than they were before.
In the past it was expected that Reverse Osmosis water (the base water used in marine aquariums) and additives such as TMC Re-Mineral and Black water additives were used, and that’s still the case when keeping wild or show quality Discus. In the shop over the last 2 months we have been stocking Discus that have been bred in Thames water with the same qualities as ordinary tap water (with the use of Aquasafe). They have been raised eating Bloodworm and even flake food, so no special treatment there.
Creating a Discus biotope/habitat does require certain treatment as Discus aren’t the most confident fish and in the wild they are considered prey by many fish. When considering a tank for Discus the main things to take into account are tank size, filtration and tank mates. The tank should not be too small, as these are a shoaling fish. For a group of 4 (smallest group that we would recommend) the tank should be a minimum of 100 litres. As water quality has to be really good, filtration is extremely important. We would recommend an external filter like the Eheim range but the larger internal filters such as large Juwel Bio filters will suffice as long as water is changed religiously. Finally, tank mates are very important. Discus aren’t the fastest feeders nor the toughest fish and they will not thrive in a tank with fast fish like Guppies, Platys, Silver Sharks etc. They are best suited to be kept with large shoals of Tetras. The Discus will see a large shoal of Tetras surviving and feel that they can also survive in the tank and be more outgoing and confident.
As for decorating the tank there are two main ways: a planted aquarium or an Amazon-esque biotope. Either will be fine but in the wild Discus live in an Amazonian biotope, which would have a sand base, low lighting some tall plants and large pieces of driftwood.
As previously stated, gone are the days of having to be looking after Discus by doing water changes every day and using R.O. water. Discus still need optimum water quality but this can be achieved by doing a weekly water change of at least 25%. Following these tips makes Discus keeping easier and fun. Any other questions please ask in the shop, as we’ll give advice on creating an effective Discus biotope and answer all your questions. If you want an update on which Discus we have in the shop or would like pictures, please head over to the Weald Aquatics Facebook page where we frequently answer questions and post pictures of new stock.
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