With their striking colouration, Discus are becoming a popular choice for aquarium hobbyist around the world. These beautiful fish are part of the Cichlid family and are native to the Amazon River Basin in South America. When cared for properly they can live 10 - 15 years and grow to approx. 20cm.
Discus, while stunning, do have more particular water requirements than many freshwater fish. They prefer warmer water, colder water can be stressful for your fish. The ideal water temperature is 28°C - 30°C. Discus are most comfortable in soft, acidic water. A pH level of 5.0 - 7.0 is ideal. Acidic water helps your Discus grow faster and helps to create thicker skin slim aiding to ward of disease.
Discus are a schooling fish and should be kept in a group of 5 or more. For this reason a larger aquarium is advisable, and taller tanks will better accommodate their high shaped body. While smaller tanks may be ok to start with, a minimum of 250L aquarium is recommended for larger Discus.
When setting up your tank it is important to correctly cycle your tank before adding Discus. An uncycled tank can be dangerous for your fish if you are not experienced.
Recreating their natural environment can help reduce stress in your Discus. Large plants, driftwood, some floating plants and rocks are ideal for discus and create hiding places while filtering light and help to create healthy water conditions.
Discus are carnivorous fish, therefore in addition to good quality pellet or flake they should also be offered live or frozen food such as Blood Worms, Brine Shrimp or Beef Heart regularly.
Smaller Discus should be fed more frequently, ideally 3-5 times a day and only what they an consume in an hour. While they may eat quickly to begin with but they do like to nibble at their food also so its best to leave the food sit for a while. Anything that is not consumed within an hour or two should be removed from the tank. Larger Discus do not need to be fed as often, twice a day is recommended for fish over 10cm.
To keep your Discus healthy and happy it is important to do regular water changes as with any aquarium fish.
Discus tanks can be incredibly rewarding and make a beautiful addition to any home or business.