The Discus

7th Jun 2023

The Discus

Welcome to the World of Discus Fish: The Crown Jewel of the Aquarium

Prized for their stunning colouration and graceful, rounded bodies, Discus have earned the nickname "King of the Aquarium." But, bear in mind, these majestic fish require a bit of effort to keep them happy and healthy.

A Home for Your Discus

Discus originate from the warm, soft, and acidic waters of the Amazon river basin. This natural habitat should inspire the conditions you provide for them in your aquarium. A minimum 200-litre tank is recommended for a small group of Discus, as they are a relatively large and social species. These fish are fond of tall plants and driftwood to provide cover and create a sense of security. However, leave ample open space for swimming as well.

Perfect Water Parameters

Discus thrive in warm water, with temperatures between 28°C to 30°C, a bit warmer than many other tropical species. They prefer soft and slightly acidic water, with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0. The hardness should ideally be between 1-4 dH.

Maintaining water quality is crucial, and regular water changes are a must. Invest in a good water test kit to frequently check your water parameters.

The Ideal Diet

Discus have specific dietary needs. A combination of high-quality commercial foods designed for Discus and a variety of live or frozen foods like bloodworms, brine shrimp, and beef heart are recommended. Be cautious about overfeeding and promptly remove uneaten food to maintain water quality. We recommend the Ultra Fresh Tropical Excellent Bits

Compatible Tank Mates

Discus are generally peaceful, but they can be a bit territorial, particularly during breeding. Suitable tank mates are peaceful, non-aggressive fish who can thrive in the same water conditions. Consider cardinal tetras, rummy-nose tetras, or dwarf cichlids like rams. Avoid fin-nipping species or overly active fish, as they can stress Discus.

In many cases, a Discus-only tank, allowing for a school of five or six Discus, is a wonderful display and avoids many compatibility issues.

Suitable Plants

Keeping Discus can be a challenge because they thrive in higher temperatures than many other fish species. This can limit your plant options, as some popular aquatic plants may not thrive in these conditions. That said, several plants are well-suited for a Discus tank:

  1. Amazon Sword (Echinodorus spp.): This plant does well in a variety of conditions, and its large leaves provide excellent cover for Discus. Its robust nature helps it tolerate the higher temperatures in a Discus tank.
  2. Java Fern (Microsorum pteropus): A hardy plant that's tolerant of a wide range of conditions, Java Fern can be attached to rocks or driftwood and doesn't need to be planted in the substrate.
  3. Anubias (Anubias spp.): Another sturdy plant that can be attached to decor, Anubias has broad leaves that provide good cover. Its slow growth means it doesn't require much maintenance.
  4. Cryptocorynes (Cryptocoryne spp.): While somewhat sensitive to changes in conditions, once established, these plants are quite hardy. They can tolerate the warm temperatures preferred by Discus.
  5. Vallisneria (Vallisneria spp.): A background plant that can create a grass-like effect, Vallisneria enjoys hard water but can adapt to a variety of conditions.
  6. Water Sprite (Ceratopteris thalictroides): This fast-growing plant can be used as a floating plant or planted in the substrate, and it does well in warm water.
  7. Water Wisteria (Hygrophila difformis): A versatile and hardy plant, it can tolerate the higher temperatures in a Discus tank and can be used in the background or mid-ground.

Health and Well-being

Discus can be sensitive to stress and poor water conditions, which can lead to health problems. Signs of a healthy Discus include bright colouration, an active interest in their surroundings, and a good appetite.

In conclusion, while keeping Discus may require a bit more attention to detail, their mesmerising beauty makes it worth the effort. It's a labour of love that rewards you with a truly captivating aquarium display. Happy fishkeeping!