Buy a suitable aquarium
Before buying an aquarium, the future stocking density of discus fish must be known. A generally accepted formula says that about 50-80 liters of water are needed per discus fish. Since the discus is a swarm fish, a group of discus fish should count at least 4 fish. Better are 5-8 fish.
Choosing a suitable location
There are several factors to consider when choosing your aquarium location. Due to the shy nature of the discus fish, the aquarium should be placed in a quiet place in the living room, which is clearly visible when sitting. Choose room with plenty of space to minimize unwanted movements in front of the aquarium. If the premises allow it, place the aquarium near a water connection or drain to make the water change easier. The lighting is far more of a problem. If you choose the location of the aquarium near a window, you can be pretty sure that you will soon have to deal with a massive algae problem. We recommend the use of slowly dimming halogen lamps that simulate a sunrise or sunset.
Decor of the aquarium
When setting up the aquarium, discus beginners should ideally do without plants and natural roots. Only a few aquatic plants can tolerate the high temperatures (about 29 C) and usually have to be additionally fertilized with carbon dioxide (CO2). If you are new in discus keeping then we recommend bare bottom tank.
Organic compounds such as food residues or fish excretions are decomposed in the water to ammonium or ammonia. A nitrate content from 20 mg / l may be growth-inhibiting for young discus fish. Therefore, it should be kept as low as possible by a good biological filtration, the nitrate value. Regular partial water changes are also recommended. Furthermore, overfeeding should be avoided in order to additionally protect the water chemistry.
The right stocking
As mentioned, the discus is a swarm fish and is kept in groups of 5-8 fish (depending on the size of the aquarium or the amount of water available). Discus beginners should refrain from juvenile fish, as they require a very special attention. Young discus fish need more than adult fish to maintain constant water levels and a well-balanced diet so that maximum body height can be achieved. If you do not have effective filtration or constant supply of fresh water, as in a professional grooming facility, the frequent feeding may make the nitrate content too high and thus affect the growth of the young. Adult (breeding size) discus fish, on the other hand, are much more robust, their color is already fully developed. In addition, you need less food, so the aquarium water is protected from unnecessary stress.
Buy Discus Fish
If you decide to buy discus fish, then you should consider whether you want to buy juvenile or mature discus fish. Adult discus fish are easier to maintain in terms of water quality and feeding. Thus, these pH fluctuations are better tolerated than young discus fish and are also able to eat larger food. When actually selecting the discus fish you should take your time and watch the fish very carefully. The fish should not be timid or shy, but alert and active. Discus fish that are separated from a flock, either in a corner or on the surface of the water, most likely have a disease. The discus fish should be free from injury and have a rich, natural color.
Another visual feature is the relationship between eye and body size. Adult discus fish have small eyes compared to their body size. For this, the discus fish should be observed as a whole, with a little practice you get a sense of the right relationship. The eyes should also be clear, flawless and by no means milky. Dull eyes could be either an infection of the discus fish or deficiency symptoms. A good eye color is also an important quality criterion, paying attention to a rich red color with a deep black pupil.
Typical of deficiency symptoms of water are stunted gill covers. Such defects occur when too many juveniles are kept in a small space and there is a lack of oxygen. Here, the gills get too little oxygen, which manifests itself in regression of the gill cover or bending this. Furthermore, one observes a displacement of the lateral stripes in young discus fish. Also, be aware of the conspicuous behavior of the discus fish. If they see animals rubbing against a piece of furniture such as the filter or overflow pipe, they may be suffering from skin parasites. After a successful acquisition of the desired discus fish you should definitely carry out a quarantine of at least two weeks. It does not matter whether the recently acquired discus fish appear perfectly healthy, but they can still carry diseases that can break out in connection with their own group.
Quarantine - A must for every aquarist
It should be understood that transport means a lot of stress for discus fish. There are also minor injuries that can occur when moving the fish. Newcomers feel completely uncomfortable and become more susceptible to disease. In some cases, adding the new discus fish can eradicate the infamous discus plague and kill the entire discus population. For this reason, a quarantine tank is must to minimize the stress of newcomers. It is therefore recommended not to choose the quarantine aquarium too small, if several fish should be placed in it. However, you should never use multiple medications at the same time as this could quickly lead to chemical poisoning of the discus fish. After a successful treatment, the water is changed or cleaned by means of activated carbon. A quarantine should be carried out for at least 2 weeks. Regular health checks of the discus fish are made. Once the fish feel completely healthy and eat with great appetite, you can put a Discus from the community pool to the newcomers to prevent a spontaneous outbreak of the discus plague. If no problems are found in the next three days, all discus fish can be transferred to the community pool.
Important notes on quarantine
Before and after working on the quarantine tank, the hands are washed. The quarantine tank aquarium accessories are always kept separate from other aquariums. The quarantine aquarium should be kept in a quiet room, to be operated separately from other aquariums. Newly purchased fish or aquatic plants can carry various diseases and therefore also have to undergo quarantine. After each quarantine, all furnishings are carefully cleaned and disinfected with boiling water.
One should feed discus fish on a balanced nutrition. This is also important because a balanced diet not only makes your discus fish grow well but also strengthens their health. A one-sided diet such as feeding beef heart daily can cause serious problem. It should be paid attention to a varied diet, so that the animals get all the necessary minerals, vitamins and nutrients that they would get in nature. Due to the relatively small stomach and short digestive tract of the discus fish, overfeeding can lead to constipation and other digestive problems. Therefore, you should put in the feeding on small quantities, so that they are eaten completely. Food leftovers could unnecessarily burden the water by nitrate formation and thus adversely affect the growth of the discus fish.
Granules and flake food: Discus fish do not want to immediately accept this type of feed, because they were raised at the breeder with beef heart mixes and live food. Therefore you should give the animals some time to adjust to the new food. A common method of familiarization is the addition of granulated or flake food in the favorite food of the discus fish. It also helps to soak flake food so that it does not swell in the stomach of the fish and thus can lead to digestive problems.
Frozen food: Popular frozen foods are white, black and red mosquito larvae and also artemia & krill, as they cause a natural red color of the discus fish. Furthermore, beef heart is one of the most popular frozen. In practice it has been found that discus fish have no difficulty in digestion. It is also possible to add important minerals and vitamins in drop or powder form in order to strengthen the natural defenses of the discus fish.
Live food: Live food is certainly a very popular variation not only for discus fish. There are bloodworm, which are very much appreciated by discus fish. However, you should make sure that they are germ-free or parasite-free, because bloodworm are bred in dirty waters. Also you can feed the most popular live food is certainly the Artemia, This food is suitable for both young and adult discus fish.