Posted by Steve Mac Donald on June 19, 2014
Discus fish, also known as Symphysodon Discus Fish are named after their distinctive round disk like shape. Discus fish can grow up to 6 - 8 inches in size. They are a fresh water fish native to the slow moving, warm tropical Amazon River basin and its tributaries. It is widely accepted that there are four sub species of discus fish found in their wild habitat, they are the Brown, Blue, Green and Heckel or true discus fish. These discus fish are earth tone in color so they blend into their natural surroundings protecting them from predators. Aquarium hobbyists have been keeping discus fish in their home aquariums since the mid nineteen hundreds, but over the past 25 years their popularity has exploded with the development of new vivid bright colors.
Discus fish are a great addition to the home aquarium; they add color and character to your tank. Discus fish generally stay in the center of the aquarium, and due to their size and color makes them the center piece earning them the distinct title, “King of the Aquarium”. Today discus fish are cultivated in discus fish hatcheries and discus fish farms around the world, with Southeast Asia and China being the leaders in developing new strains and overall production. I would even speculate and say at the very least, that 8 of every 10 discus fish sold in North America come from these regions of the world. There are tank raised quality discus fish and new colors strains being introduced on a regular basis, keeping the hobby alive and exciting.
Keeping discus fish successfully one needs to address their environmental requirements. Discus fish do best in temperatures of between 83 to 88 degrees, adult discus fish tolerate the cooler temps while the younger fish do better in the warmer waters, the PH can be kept in a range of 6.5 to 7.5. They are of the cichlid family and as such there is a cichlid pecking order, so it is best to keep them in schools of other discus fish to help dilute this pecking order. A few plants in the aquarium provide hiding and comfort for the discus fish. Keeping the aquarium fresh with regular weekly water changes helps stimulate appetite promoting growth and helps keep toxic pollutants such as ammonia and nitrites from accumulating in the aquarium. Discus fish can be kept and grow well on a fairly simple diet of frozen bloodworms, omega one flake , freeze dried krill and live brine shrimp as an occasional treat.
Discus fish grow fastest in smaller aquariums, 50 gallon tanks are ideal; once they have fully grown they can then be move to bigger tanks. A young 2.5 inch discus fish if grown correctly is only 3 months old. They reach full adult size and color at 2 years of age and can reproduce after 1 year. Their average life expectancy is 8 to 10 years and I have had some customers tell me their discus fish have gotten as old as 14 years.
Discus fish breed with other discus fish; they do not see color so if a blue discus fish spawns with a yellow discus fish the pair will do their best to raise their brood of fry. They are not monogamous, meaning that they do not find a mate for life and stay with that same mate. It is therefore easy once one has determined male or female to interbreed them for different and unique color variation. This is one reason there are so many new colors available today and why new strains are always evolving.
Read More; Discus Fish Secrets