Important Factor towards Discus Fish Success

August 14, 2010

A fine and healthy discus fish specimenI always believe that food is the most important factor that ensures discus fish success. While water quality is as critical so as to keep them alive but sometimes your fish might not be that fussy after all. Usually if you have money and cash to spend, investing towards getting a proper high end water filter that removes chlorine, harmful chemicals is just more than enough to ensure that the water is suitable for your discus pet.

Using homemade fish food is perhaps the best idea and not many people realize that the common approach towards successful discus fish keeping lies in the type of ingredient selection to be used in the food mixture. Let me reveal some of those things which I normally are very particular about to give them the best nutrition. Basically to prepare the discus food you just need some of the basic ingredients which you normally find available in your kitchen.

Ox heart and beef are the main filler for the food mixture. Usually I buy it fresh, grind everything using a grinder and remove the veins so that your fish will digest it properly. In order to make sure that you discus get the minerals as well, what I do is to add mussels into it. Mussels are very rich in trace elements and what I notice is that feeding it to your fish will enhance the natural colors.

Make sure those ingredients are blended proper and mixed evenly. Now I know that discus fish will not readily gobble up cucumbers but if we mix it for them, there’s no choice for the fish to choose but to accept them. Thus after the ox heart, beef and mussels are properly mixed, add in few slices of cucumber. Press some of the juice out so that the food is enriched with the cucumber juice.

After their meal is prepared, comes the feeding part. Discus is very enthusiastic about what you give to them. That is why with that enthusiasm, you can make use of it to get them to eat the best meal that you can prepare and this is the main advantage for you to make use towards your discus fish success. Try not to give them anything before the main meal course and avoid giving tubifex worms prior to feeding them. Once the food is dropped into the water and they have finished eating, give yourself about two hours before you start changing the aquarium water. You should do it without fail or the leftover food will foul the water.

Want to turn your success into a business? Find out about discus fish sale and export


Catalogue of Common Discus Strain/Variant

February 22, 2010

Yellow CrystalSometimes it can be quite difficult to segregate the different strains and variants of different types of discus fish into its own grouping because there are times certain characteristics may overlap with each other. Listed below, is the list of all strains which I’ve so far come across and described in details. Hopefully it can be used as a guide when identifying your discus fish.

Wild Discus
(natural surviving discus found in the wild and it’s the pure strain without having undergone cross-breeding)

Alenquer – solid orange or brown on the whole body while the fin is slightly bluish in color with some pattern. There are other variants that even have some slight marking that also shows on the body as well. At times, you can notice vertical band appearing cutting across the body. Can be further sub-divided into smaller groups with common characteristics such as the Curipera and Jaraki.

Red spotted screen – Unlike the cross-bred spotted discus, this wild variant has less spotted marking which is appears to be light-toned. Often confused with the Red leopards.

Turquoise – Blue to light blue in color with distinctive pattern on its body.

Heckel – Obvious vertical black color band seen on the body. Generally light brown in color and requires a slightly acidic water to survive. Experienced discus breeder will even complain how hard it is to maintain and kept the fish alive without getting stunted. Mostly found close to riverbanks and depending on the location in which they are caught, the color intensity can vary. It is by far one of the most susceptible to common discus fish diseases.

Blue Discus

Giant Flora – High and wide body appearance with clear blue color floral pattern.

Blue Diamond or Golden Blue Diamond – has strong solid blue color without any marking on its body. The discus fish in healthy state will turn to bright blue color and when the fish is kept in a fluorescent tank, the color can turn into reflective state showing the magnificent display of color.

Cobalt Blue – Closely resembles the blue diamond but the color tone is lighter

Flachen – The most common type of discus with bluish green body. Can easily turn to dark blue black color if the fish is under stress

Striped Turquoise – Refer to turquoise described in the Wild discus section

Red Discus

Checkerboard – Red color random clear pattern displayed on a white body. At one time, during its early introduction, the fish can easily fetch thousands of dollars.

Melon – Dark striking orangey red without any pattern on its body. Easily recognized due to its bright coloration

Red golden diamond – Looks almost like the melon but it has lighter shade appearing on the belly of the fish

Red Scribble – has a vertical band cut across its eye and it appears the same for all fish that falls under this group. It has the same red color pattern or marking found on a checkerboard but it appears on a blue background.

Red Turquoise

Rose Red – Plain body just like the melon discus but however, what makes this fish different is that the red appears to be dark strong color.

Yellow Discus

Yellow Crystal – Not exactly yellow in nature but the tone appears in slight orangey yellow. Almost plain without any marking.

Albino golden – As implies by its name, the discus is the albino type with slight yellowish color with red eyes. Nothing special in this one but certain hobbyists seem to like it very much.

Pigeon Blood (with its distinctive pattern, this discus type can be easily characterized and identified and is highly sought after by discus hobbyist)

Pigeon leopard snakeskin

Pigeon Checkerboard

Pearl Pigeon or Panda Pigeon – Looks very much similar like the checkerboard. Experienced hobbyist has decided to segregate the fish into its own grouping.

White Butterfly or White dragon – Off white appearance with marking appearing just on the gills of the discus fish. To me, it is not the type that would be described as colorful.

Spotted Discus (is one of the most sought after because of its beauty. As the name implies, it has a marvelous well formed leopard spot distributed on its body)

Ring Leopard – Sometimes called the red leopards, it is the most famous discus variant in its group. It has small, highly scattered multiple spots appearing all over the body. Most common is the red variant but blue type can also be found in the aquarium trade.

Leopard Spotted – The only one which I’ve seen before is the deep-bodied, red color spotted marking.
Golden Leopard

Snakeskin (Just like the pigeon blood, the marking on a snakeskin is generally characterized by its blue color pattern formed on a light tone background)

Brown Snakeskin

Blue Snakeskin

Penang eruption

Fire Ruby – Looks more like the Rose Red Discus but it has more light shades of color tones.

Misc (not grouped into any of the groupings mentioned above)

Nebula, better known as Calico – Combination of yellow and white shades on its body. Believed to be a cross-bred fish between the albino and the yellow type discus. Not the kind that really commands high price in the sale and export market.

Snow White or White Diamond – Almost whitish in color. The discus is best described as having the off-white light pink coloration. Plain and dull-looking.


Discus Fish Business on Sale and Export

January 10, 2010

large aquarium setup to mass breedDiscus fish breeding business is actually a lucrative pastime that could turn in a mega export and sale business. Due to popular demand coming from different countries especially United States which has a loyal fan base of discus fish hobbyist, this has created opportunities to earn extra income for those people who has extra young fish fry to spare.

Discus fish related business is always further expanding and it is considered one of the popular ventures that have huge potential. Sale coming from the young fry or adult pair can actually generate enough income that can be used to support maintenance of existing breeding facility and extra money can put in to expand it further. And because certain discus strain like the golden sunrise, leopard snake skin and checkerboard pigeon can fetch commanding price, this has created a rush among hobbyist to populate and breed the fish and cash in on the golden rush.

A person who has intention to move towards this direction will always have several options. They can actually setup a farm with high-end facility so that an efficient use of resources can be maximized. Certain discus fish breeders have even created an online profile to establish their market presence and participated in exhibition and trade fair to showcase their latest offering. Similar like any other business, exporters will always find themselves exposed to different kinds of risk associated with shipping the fish to other locations. In order to ensure that discus arrive safely on the receiving end, a proper quality control procedure must be put in place to select only the healthiest stock before they are sent for shipment.

Usually conditioning period of 4 days is the minimum amount of time required for the quarantine process so that any disease breakout can be eliminated. If proper procedures are followed, there won’t be much problem at all. Hopefully this can serve as a useful guide for all the discus fish wannabe who intend to make some profit out of their fledgling hobby.


Best Discus Fish Tank Setup

December 25, 2009

Constructing and getting the Best discus fish Tank Setup can be quite a difficult task because we need to ensure that every little requirement is fulfilled for your fish to live happily. Sometimes even small little mistakes can be costly and thus one must gather as much information as possible and based on actual experiences with trial and error to come up with the best aquarium setup.

There are quite a number of different aspects which we will need to look into and therefore it’s best to breakdown each individual topic so that more thorough study can be done. First, let’s look determine the best aquarium size to house your discus fish. As a fan who would do anything to ensure that my pet gets the best living condition, I will ensure that I have the largest aquarium size which can fit to my budget. A 100-gallon fish tank should be a benchmark for your aquarium needs because with larger space you can house 5 or more young fish in the same tank.

The trick to ensure fast and healthy growth for your discus is by ensuring there is plenty of foods and with sizable number of discus housed together competition will exist among them. When they are competing with each other trying to grab the food, soon enough the rest will follow suit and this is something like a chain reaction to get all the fish to eat more. Since you need to house about 5 in a group, it is imperative that you should have at least 100-gallon tank as the minimum requirement and don’t forget that a well-grown mature male female discus can be as large as 1 feet in length and thus this should be the best setup.

Placement of the discus tank is also important because this is also one of the main criteria towards healthy tank management. As you know, the species is generally shy and slow-moving, thus a well placed setup should be somewhere quiet, with not too much sunlight with less cold condition. Apart from what is mentioned here, ensure also that there should not be outside distraction that will scare your fish such as shining light coming from tv. All these maybe small little things but they do add up to be important if you want your pet to be happy and healthy.

Tank Decoration is also among one of your list of items to watch for. Having plants and substrate will actually add up to more time that need to spend for tank maintenance but however, if you can juggle your task properly, that would be fine. However, most aquarist including myself prefers a barren setup so that you can almost control everything in your fingertips. If you really need the fish tank to look nice, what I would suggest is getting driftwood with established live plants which can be bought in any pet stores and arrange it well for your discus. They will definitely love having the new items around.

More on this topic: Ideal tank water condition


Treating Common Discus Fish Diseases

November 1, 2009

Discus Fish disease infection can be a very problematic issue because the species being a sensitive fish, most of the time succumbs to the illness. Therefore, it is very important to avoid coming to this situation at all cost because once infected, applying treatment can be very difficult because you will need the right medication or else things will end up fail. Seasoned aquarium discus fish breeder will tell you how hard it is when it comes to dealing with even with the most common disease.

“Hole in the Head” is very prevalent among cichlids and this includes discus as well. It is very important that once you diagnose the fish as suffering from it, treatment has to be administered immediately. Usually symptoms were shown as small pinhole size development seen on the head especially close to the eyes and mouth region. The affected fish will lose appetite and most of the times stay idle and inactive. The abrasion can actually spread and if treatment does not take effect, it will eventually lead to death. “Hole in the Head” is believed to be cause by protozoan infection, which is brought about by poor water quality. In order to deal with it, there are actually soluble antibiotic sold in pet stores, which can be mixed to the water. During addition of medicine, increase water temperature to 32 degree Celsius and keep the water well aerated. If antibiotic is effective, signs of recovery should be seen in a matter of 2 to 3 days.

Another common discus fish disease is gill fluke and till date, it is known as one of the most lethal of all diseases because the discus fish weak immune system can be slow to respond to treatment. Discus infected with the disease will show signs of abnormal breathing and the fish will easily get startled. In the worst case scenario, advanced stage will see the fish collapse on the aquarium floor surface unable to swim at all and the fish will turn into dark pale color. While there are limited form of treatment options available, there has been suggestion and recommendation suggesting that using formalin is effective to deal with it. Other remedies can include potassium permanganate in combination with fluke tabs and when administering treatment, make sure to repeat it in interval of 2 to 4 weeks after recovery in order to intercept any surviving larvae that will cause a relapse.

Finally despite all the different form of treatment which you can use, the best cure for all common discus fish disease is still “prevention”. The rule of thumb is to ensure water is clean all the time, the live foods is source from supplier who obtained it from clean source, and temperature must be maintained at the correct level. More information about having ideal tank water condition for your pet discus.


How to ensure Discus will pair up and breed

October 31, 2009

In order to successfully ensure that your discus fish produce next generation of fry, first you must ensure that you obtain a breeding pair. Gender of the discus fish can be difficult to determine and basically getting a right pair is often a mix and trial process which is done by having at least five or more of the fish together in the same tank. If possible, you can also try by having multiple discus variety so that there are high chances for you to obtain a cross and mixed breed. My advice on this process is that do not try to force them together to pair up because these things must occur naturally and you really can’t predict the outcome.

Once you have successfully obtain your right breeding pair and they are ready to mate, you should start transferring the rest of the fish to another aquarium. This is to avoid having undesired aggressive action, which could result in the other fish getting injured because your breeding pair will try to protect a spawning spot it has chosen. This includes the pleco catfish, which you put in earlier to play a role to clean up the tank. Fish breeders normally put an inverted flower pot while others that I know will just leave a barren spot for the breeding pair either way, both methods are still considered good enough.

During this critical period before the female start to lay eggs, it is imperative that the water conditions should be clean and water parameters tightly controlled in order to avoid undesirable effect such as ammonia or nitrite buildup. Waste in the tank should be immediately removed and try to conduct partial water change once every 2 days. Water temperature should also be maintained close the 88 degrees Fahrenheit level and if you do not mind investing some money on water test kits that would be the best option. Remember, you can’t risk having an unhealthy fish or else your effort will go to waste. (Learn about ideal tank condition for discus care)

On the nutrition side, your discus fish should be supplied with fresh live foods and in order to avoid introducing unwanted disease which you affect the breeding process, only source your supply from reputable suppliers. There are even some commercially prepared fish flakes which are tailor-made specially for discus breeding pair and if you managed to grab hold of these, it would definitely help to stimulate and ensure they will spawn.


Discus Compatible Community Tank Mates

October 29, 2009

Referring to the subject, it is best that discus should have the whole tank to their own but that doesn’t mean your fish do not deserve other tank companion. By nature, they are very shy and slow moving. As such they do not prefer to have other active species swimming in the tank. Nevertheless, you should also watch out which fish you decide to mix with them. Certain tropical cichlids like oscars can wreck havoc or maybe attack your discus fish and therefore, you should not mix both of them together. Based on my own experience, discus is best raised in a tank of their own. There are few exceptions however.

Discus fish are known to leave leftovers foods littered around the tank. Compared to other fish, although they have relatively small stomachs with short digestive system their feeding habit always leave something around. Food that you put into the tank are usually live worms and fish meal that doesn’t stay fresh long enough in the waters to be consumed. Some of it will be eaten while the rest will just stay there and goes untouched. As such it is best that there should be a companion that takes care of the cleaning job to ensure nothing gets left behind. For that, pleco, which is a type of catfish family, does a good job in this area. However, in a typical discus tank setup, there should only be one single pleco to accompany your stock or a group of discus fish.

Clown Loach is another possible good tank mate for your pets. Since they are generally bottom feeders, they activity around the tank will usually go unnoticed by your discus fish. Similar like pleco, clown loach is also good at picking up the small pieces of uneaten food and thus should be good companion. However, one thing to take note is that try not to outnumber the discus with a group of clown loaches. This could lead to heavy competition and fighting during feeding time.

If you have a heavily planted aquarium setup, you can also consider adding neon tetra even though their numbers tend to dwindle over time due to possible harassment by your discus. Although the smaller sized neon tetra will hide itself trying to avoid your discus, sometimes it is possible that they will end up as food instead. Therefore, it is best that not only plants are present but you should also prepare some artificial caves for your neon tetra to hide in. And because both species belong to the Amazon River, requirement in terms of water quality is more or less the same with both preferring slight acidic water. One benefit for sure if you managed to get your discus to coexist with your small neon fish is that, this will definitely create an exciting community aquarium that will be interesting to look at.


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