Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Keeping Discus Fish - Hard or Soft Water?

It has been debated a lot about whether to keep discus fish in hard water or soft water. People have had success with both methods so it’s not an easy answer but I will share with you, how I do things and what has worked for me.

Here’s the first rule I use when buying and importing discus fish;

Match the water conditions of your supplier.

If you follow this rule you will be at a great advantage as the discus will already be accustomed to the water you provide. This will cause a lot less stress than moving discus used to hard water into soft water. Now your water doesn’t have to match exactly but if it is about right things should be OK. Don’t go getting stressed if your hardness is out a couple of degrees.

Once fish are settled here’s how I like to keep mine.

Young Discus

Young discus fish should not be kept in very soft water as there aren’t the right minerals present for good growth. They should be raised in slightly hard water with a natural ph. In this water they should grow quickly and healthy. For my young discus I use tap water filtered through activated carbon and then left in storage barrels for at least 24 hours. This will make sure all the chorine is out of the water.

Adult Discus

Adult discus, once 5in should be kept in soft water but still not at breeding conditions as they may still be growing but don’t need the minerals like young discus fish. By lowering the softness and ph of the water you will trigger breeding activity between the adults and should get a few breeding. For my adult discus I again use tap water filter through carbon and left to stand but I also add aquarium peat. This softens the water a little and is fine because of the tap water I have. You may have to use RO water mixed with filtered tap water.

Also if using peat to soften water, make sure it is of the aquarium variety. Other garden peat can contain chemicals that can harm discus fish so just be careful.

On a final note, there is no right or wrong hardness to keep discus these days because they are tank bred through generations and have acclimatized to harder water. Just follow these guidelines and you should be fine.

Rob owns Discus Fish Secrets website helping beginners and advanced fish keepers with discus problems including keeping and breeding them. Please visit the site for more information on discus and keeping and breeding discus fish
Keeping Discus Fish

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Keeping Discus Fish - Perfect Discus Fish Companions

Speaking about adding other fish to a Discus fish tank, you'll find that there's nearly as many points of view on this subject, as there's discus fish keepers. There is, however, a few species that are commonly referred to as good mates for the Discus fish.

The idea of this article is not take part in the discussions - but to bring a few issues to your attention - and help you to do your own research.

First of all - a Discus Fish tank is just that! A Discus Fish tank! So what does this mean? It means that your focus must be on making sure that you keep your Discus Fish happy in terms of water temperature and water quality, and that you only add fish that will happily live under the same conditions.

Secondly, the Discus Fish is by nature quite shy, and they do NOT like bullies! You should never add bigger sized fish to your Discus Fish tank that will threaten their position as "Kings of the aquarium". Neither should you add aggressive types of fish to your Discus Fish tank.

Last, but definitely not least, Discus fish are slow eaters, so you'd make a mistake if you introduce fast eaters that will beat them to their food in their tank. Also - don't add fish that are normally gracious - but enter into a frenzy at feeding time.

Below is a list of species that by many Discus Fish Keepers are considered to be good mates:

Tetras (Cardinals, Red Nose, Lemon and Congo)
Clown Loach
Plecos (Bristle Nose and Clown)

Once again - should you decide to introduce other species to your Discus Fish tank - make sure you do your research thoroughly, and that you keep the conditions of your fish tank perfect for Discus Fish.
Keeping Discus Fish

Sunday, 6 July 2008

The Discus Fish Diet

Feeding Discus Fish can be challenging at times. While they have no specific nutritional preferences, and can be be fed on just about any high protein fish

food, they're often extremely cautious to new foods, and will go without eating for up to 4 weeks before accepting a new food.

This is obviously not very healthy, particularly not for younger fish, so the wise thing to do is to ask what they are being fed at the time of purchase, and then

take things from there.

When trying to change their food, do not use the starving technique to get them to eat the new food, but rather feed them with a mix of the foods, and

gradually change from one to the other.

The best thing to do is to, over time, get them used to a varied diet, rather than just sticing to one kind of food. So what kinds of food should be part of their


Fish Flakes

Just about any will do - but it's better to stick to a top brand one for quality control purposes. Discus Fish prefer to be fed at mid water to bottom levels, so you

may have to soak and squeeze the flake food first.


Definately a firm favorite with the discus fish, which can and should be used once daily. Make sure you use frozen irradiated worms, because there's less

chance of them having parasites in them.

Brine Shrimp

Discus Fish love frozen brine shrimp, and they contain important vitamins and minerals that will enhance the colour of the discus fish, and keep them in a

good overall shape. Defrost and rinse them before feeding.

Granules and Freeze Dried

On this one you're spoilt for choise, and they are all good for Discus Fish food. It's a good idea, however, to stick to the top makes (like Tetra Bits) to ensure

good quality. Some of the cheaper brands can cause bloating and constpation, because they absorb water, and expand when the fish have eaten them.

Foods to avoid

Beef heart or pork heart has traditionally been fed to Discus Fish to promote good colouration and fast growth - but there's issues with feeding your discus a

diet high in mammalian protein. Also, live foods should be avoided as the health risks involved in using them far outweigh the benefits.

Sticking to the menu above is well better - it's simply not worth taking the risk.

General feeding tips

As a rule of thumb - it's better to feed too little than too much - if you're not sure how much food to give. Discus Fish are slow eaters that will graze and pick at

their food, and should be allowed to do so at their own pace. 5-10 minutes is usually enough for them to eat well. If they are less than that you may want to

feed a bit more - but be careful not to overfeed them - because this will affect the water conditions in a negative way.

Keeping Discus Fish

Keeping Discus Fish Disease Free

So you want to keep discus fish or are already keeping discus fish. One of things you must do is keep your discus fish healthy and disease free. In this article I'm going to give you a few tips on how to keep discus fish disease free as:

One of the most common assumptions with discus is that they easily get disease and die. This is not true. They will only get disease if you mistreat them.

The root of the problem is stress, if you cause discus stress there immune system will lower and make them venerable to disease. It is important to keep stress to a minimum so below I have made you a check list of things to do.

•Make sure all water is free from chlorine and heavy metals. It is important that you invest in either an RO unit, water purifier or use a good quality tap water condition. •Give your discus a good varied diet including frozen bloodworm and slow sinking granules. •Don't place your discus aquarium near a door and all the movement will cause them stress. •If you are keeping young discus, keep in groups of no less than six. Discus are a shoaling fish. •Make sure there are no large changes in pH, hardness or temperature when changing water.

Above are just a few things that you can do to make sure your discus fish live a happy life and remain healthy. Remember discus are not hard to keep, they just require regular water changes and a good varied diet like most other fish.

Keeping Discus Fish