Friday, 8 August 2008

Starting A Discus Aquarium

Cichlids are the most popular types of tropical fish to keep in an aquarium. It is estimated that there are over 15,000 separate species of cichlid, one of which is the discus fish (Symphysodon spp.) . Discus fish are popular with hobbyists because they have distinctive behaviors and are exceptionally beautiful (they also have dorsal and anal fins that blend into the body to give the fish the look of a discus shape). This article will discuss the things you need to consider when starting a Discus aquarium.

Discus originate from the Amazon river basin. This water and habitat in quite diverse but the most common traits tend to be slow moving, soft water of a temperature around 28 deg. Celsius (82-83F). The sunlight is generally diffused by thick plants and trees. The aquascape would include driftwood and would be of a good depth. The natural habitat can help when creating the ideal fish tank.

Thus you would want to keep your Discus aquarium in a fairly quiet area. You would not want the tank near a stereo for example or in an area that is likely to see lots of activity. The lighting should be subdued. Although a varied aquascape that includes plants can act to diffuse the lighting and the fish can rest under leaves or pieces of wood.

As the fish are quite large you would want a deep tank so that they can swim freely. You will need a fish tank heater to keep the temperature at 28 deg. Celsius.

The standard setup for the aquarium would include an under-gravel filter, heater, thermometer, a gravel substrate and a mechanical filter. After this, you could add plants, driftwood or rocks to give the fish tank a better look and be more in keeping with the natural habitat of the Discus.

Discus fish do not root around in the substrate like other cichlids, so you do not have to be so conscious of getting the right gravel. The only thing that should be considered is that it doesn't consist of calcium or any other chemical that will increase the ph level of the water over time. You can ask for gravel like this, that is either man-made or natural, from your local fish shop.

Discus are fairly sensitive fish so it is important to keep the water quality good at all the times. Although as more of the species are bred in captivity they become more hardy to varying conditions it is always a good idea to be fairly experienced in maintaining a fish tank.

Find all the products you need at for starting your new Discus aquarium. The site has features on fish tank maintenance and lighting for fish tanks. Adrian Whittle writes about keeping both fresh and saltwater fish.
Keeping Discus Fish