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.

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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.


Ideal tank water condition for discus fish

October 29, 2009

Before we move deeper into finding an answer to this question, let us understand one important fact. Discus fish actually originated from the Amazon River in South America where it is close to brackish water. The water condition located at this region is generally hard water and is slightly acidic in pH due to presence of humic acid. And because the river is located at tropical area, you would expect the water temperature to be slightly higher than normal which should be around 26 to 30 degree Celsius.

If you intend to successfully breed your discus, first let’s take a look on how to prepare the right living condition for your pets. Other than good water quality, which will avoid unnecessary stress level, it is best that the water quality should be as close as possible to what we have mentioned earlier. What I would recommend is that try to create the same natural environment similar like in the wild and your fish is bound to love it. Try to decorate and plant as many different tropical plants as possible so that not only the water is fresh and rich in oxygen but also your discus will also find a lot of hiding places to make them feel secure.

In order to create a slightly acidic environment, try to avoid having leftover foods in the tank that will cause the pH level to increase. Make sure that there are no dead leaves or fish, which can cause huge amount of ammonia buildup and thus cause the water to be alkaline. If possible, try to conduct water changes at least once every 3 days depending on overall tank cleanliness and if you have water filter that takes care of the filtration, that would be the best. If everything fails, what you can do is to buy some of the liquid pH adjuster and follow the recommendations on how to shift the pH suitable for your discus fish to live in.

For the temperature control, this can prove to be even easier because what you need is actually an aquarium heater. Make sure that water temperature does not change too rapidly or else the fish will be subjected to unnecessary stress. As an owner who wants to see the fish getting the best tank water condition, be prepared to spend on the equipment and put in the hours to look after them.


Discus preferring hard or soft water?

October 27, 2009

It’s a question that still remains unanswered as to whether discus fish prefer hard or soft water. Some breeder actually recommends soft water but there are advocates that insist that hard water is still the best. Let’s look at some examples given below based on my own experience.

Depending on which supplier the discus fish is obtained from and raised, check with the breeder to find out this important information. If you are getting from third party supplier and thus unable to directly contact the fish owner, then you can even conduct your own water hardness test using available test kits which you can easily buy from pet shops. Checking out this information is actually proves to be advantageous because if you know whether the discus is raised in hard or soft water, it will save the trouble for your pet to get acclimatize to new water all over again. If it’s moving from soft water to hard water, definitely your fish will feel the stress of changing to the new water environment.

The decision on whether to prepare your water in hard or soft water also depends on the age factor. Based on my own experience, young discus generally prefer hard water where it contains all the necessary ion and materials needed for growth and development. In the setup, they should grow faster compared to young discus fish raised in soft water. pH should also be monitored close to neutral region so that the fish will not be subjected to stress that will hinder their development. Be forewarned that young discus during this period has to be properly nurtured in order to satisfy every needs because once they miss the growing period, they will never get any larger anymore.

For adult discus, it is best that they should be kept in soft water instead. This is important during the time whereby breeding activity is expected and with soft water, this will stimulate the fish to spawn. Find out the hardness level, which is suitable for your discus fish and if determined that the water is too hard, adjust it to become softer by mixing RO water or you can use peat instead.

Find out about best tank condition to prepare for your discus fish.


Best Diet to feed your Discus Fish

October 25, 2009

It's feeding time for your fishDaily feed for your discus should contain different and varied types of food source to ensure best growth and proper color development. Depending on where you live, searching for constant supply of clean feed such as bloodworms is very important. Avoid getting supply of food that is bred in contaminated water because that will cause your fish to be sick and infected with unwanted aquarium disease. I’ve known some serious breeders who actually keep and cultivate their own supply of bloodworm so that they don’t run out of food for their fish.

Other than bloodworms, you can also consider mosquito larva and daphnia to be part of the diet schedule. Your discus will love them but the only problem with that is about getting enough supply to feed all your fish. Usually what you can do is that if you have ponds nearby where you live, you can easily source and collect it everyday. If not, you can also create an artificial culture tank outside your garden so that you can collect the food. However, be forewarned about the dangers lurking because cultivating mosquito larva means you are potentially exposing yourself to mosquito bite and without constant maintenance, it could instead turn into pest breeding ground.

Besides the list that I’ve mentioned, spirulina supplement is also perfect if you have intention to breed champion discus fish. Spirulina can be found by purchasing in boxes sold in aquarium pet stores in powder or flake form. When fed to your pets, the fish will exhibit bright coloration and prolonged use can greatly enhance the alertness and overall activity of the fish. Another form of Spirulina is sold together as addition mixed into some fish pellets and I would recommend getting this kind of food as it can be easily ingested.

Finally, with all the rich food that you put into the tank, make sure that the water stays clean all the time. If this is not followed through with proper water change and filter washing, benefits of having the right food will just go to waste.

Find out about my secrets which is an important factor toward discus fish success.