The colorful discus fish is very popular for fresh water aquariums but it does require some care. Its popularity is due partly to its colors, making the discus fish look more like a tropical fish than a freshwater one. People who don’t want to take the extreme care that a salt-water aquarium takes, find the freshwater discus fish a good substitute.
Introduced in the United States in the mid twenties, the discus fish is native to the Amazon basin. There are two basic species-the red discus and the blue discus. They can be interbred producing a variety of hybrid discus fish.
The discus fish is flattened and shaped like a discus. They have broken stripes that may be blue, red, green, or brown. When mature the discus fish is as wide as it is long, height and width both measuring about 8 to 10 inches.
If possible, buy your fish from a local breeder. Choose fish that you are drawn to because, if you are careful and lucky, you can have your fish for about 10 years. You may be able to find them at a pet store. If you are unable to buy a discus fish locally, there are many breeders listed on the Internet and you can choose one that is close to you and have the discus fish shipped overnight. Surprisingly enough, the discus fish does very well when shipped and most breeders will refund your money if a fish arrives dead. Expect to pay from $18 to $40 dollars depending on breeder and the type of discus fish you buy.
If you can afford it, a group of 6 to 8 discus fish is ideal. With this many fish, you should get a breeder pair or two. The discus fish cares for its young by producing a secretion through their skin that the larvae can feed from.
Although the discus fish can live up to 10 years, it is not a hardy fish. It is sensitive to stress or lack of protection and are susceptible to disease and death. Their tank should be at least 40 inches long and 20 inches high. It needs to have dark colors and floating plants to diffuse light. You need to provide lots of hiding place but also an open swimming area. Water temperature should be between 82 and 86 degrees. You need a filter and you must change the water frequently. The discus fish is very cautious when fed new food and may go a month without eating. It does well on standard, high protein dry fish food. You can also feed the discus fish water insects and brine shrimp. They love bloodworms, mosquito larvae and beef heart but these foods may no be good for them and should only be given as a special treat.
If you want to introduce other fish, the discus fish tends to do well with angelfish although the angelfish may dominate the discus fish. They also do well with tetras. They get along with Uaru but sometimes they love the Uaru so much that they eat them.
Good luck. With a little care, you should enjoy you discus fish for many years.