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The World of Discus

15 August 2014 Comments::DISQUS_COMMENTS

Today more and more people are choosing to keep discus over other fish. By becoming more popular more money is going into the purchasing Discus which helps in breeding different strains of discus. This is good news for the breeder’s right down to the hobbyist who now will have better fish available to him or her.

It is getting easier to keep discus with new technology to improve water quality and discus health which could be the cause of the rise in demand. New dealers are growing rapidly and even small aquatic shops are stocking a range of discus. 

They are beautiful but yet still remain a challenge to keep and breed with the later been very rewarding and will even pay for the hobby. Most people that keep discus will at some stage want to breed them as it is a great experience

I am not an authority on Discus, but would like to share my knowledge to be able to help you keep your discus at a good standard and help you breed them without any big problems. Even if you’re a beginner this guide should be the one you need. This is what I would like to share.

The very first question you should ask yourself is, “What aquarium do I need?” this depends on your budget and the room you have in your house.


If you are having a display tank I would recommend you get a tank no smaller than 36”x15”x15” but a 48in tank would be better. Discus do better in deep tanks and the more water the tank hold the more stable the water conditions tend to be. For a breeding tank I use 24”x15”x15” tank but I know some breeders prefer an 18in cube.


Discus are very shy fish and tend to hide when they are not confident so keep the tank away from noisy and busy areas like near door ways. Keep away from direct sunlight and radiators as sunlight will cause algae and excess heat. The only other factor to take into consideration is the height of the tank, the higher up the better as discus don’t like been on the floor.


This depends on whether you are wanting to breed your discus or are wanting a display tank. If you are having a display tank I recommend you use small gravel or sand but sand can be hard to clean. If you are breeding I would recommend you have a bare bottom tank as it is easier to clean.


If you are going to have plants you can either use plastic plants or live plants. I personally don’t like or use plastic plants but it is down to personal preference. In a display tank you can now get a good discus plant selection by mail order, these plants tend to be cheaper and better than those you find in aquatic shops. In a breeding tank you can either leave them out or just have one or two potted plants in the tank.

Everyone knows that the quality of water in a discus tank is very important. Some even say it is the most important factor in keeping your discus healthy and happy. Discus will thrive in the right water so it is essential to get it right.


Test the ph of your tap water and then you will know what needs to be done. Below is the recommended ph for discus tanks:

Display – 6.5 – 7.5

Breeding – 5.5 – 6.5
Growing On – 6.8 – 7.5
If you need to change the ph you can easily buy buffers etc that will lower or higher your ph. If you need to lower your ph you could even use peat which is a great natural alternative.

There are two types of hardness, general (GH) and carbonate (KH). Where I live the hardness if fine so not much needs to be done with it. Below is the recommended hardness’s for discus tanks:
Display – 10–15 GH, 5-8 KH
Breeding – 1-4 GH, 0-1 KH
Growing On – 8-15 GH, 5-8KH
To change your hardness you can again buy water treatments or to lower it you can use a R.O unit which we will cover soon.

Discus generally require higher temperatures than other tropical fish and you should think about this when selecting plants and tank mates for them. To change temperature simply adjust the heater stat in your aquarium, I don’t do much here because of the load shedding I have in Ambernath where I live. One could have two heaters in some tanks just encase one breaks. Below are the recommended temperatures for discus tanks:
Display – 79 – 84°F
Breeding – 82 – 89°F
Growing On – 80 – 86°F

In the next issue I will share about how to select your First Discus fish and what breeders call a secret.

Last modified on Sunday, 17 August 2014 12:34