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http://indianaquariumhobbyist.com/community/ :: View topic - Handbook for Discus Newbies
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Handbook for Discus Newbies
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Yogesh
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PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2009 6:50 am Post subject: Handbook for Discus Newbies Reply with quote

 Common  Name:   Discus,  Discusfish
 Scientific  Name:  Symphysodon  aequifasciatus
 Category:  Cichlids
 
 Many  people  wonder  why  discus  are  called  king  of  freshwater  aquarium  fish  but  only  discus  fanatics  can  vouch  for  suitability  for  the  title  awarded  to  them.  I  would  say  I  would  like  to  call  discus  a  ‘King’  because  of  its  smooth  royal  movement  and  the  amazing  colours  this  fish  possesses.  Originated  from  Amazon  basins  of  Brazil  and  Peru,  discus  has  become  really  popular  among  aquarium  hobbyists.  Discus  breeders  all  over  the  world  developed  many  strains  of  discus  by  cross-breeding  various  original  strains.
 
 A  common  newbie  hobbyist  is  sometimes  found  to  be  bit  reluctant  to  start  with  discus  because  of  many  misconceptions  in  his  mind.  Fear  of  losing  this  heavily  paid-for  fish,  its  expensive  diet,  water  changes  etc.  can  be  some  of  the  ‘Fear  Factors’  in  his  mind.  However  this  is  not  entirely  true,  discus  is  not  that  hard  fish  to  keep  as  you  think  if  you  follow  the  basic  rules  of  raising  them.  
 
 As  a  startup  process,  read  about  discus  as  much  as  you  can  from  various  fishkeeping  forums  on  the  internet,  books  etc.  If  possible,  meet  an  experienced  discus  breeder/hobbyist  in  your  locality  and  have  your  doubts  got  cleared,  no  matter  how  stupid  those  doubts  sound.   These  experienced  people  would  be  happy  to  help  and  encourage  you  to  proceed  further.
 
 Selecting  Tank:  Tank-size  would  play  an  important  role  in  healthy  development  of  your  discus.  As  a  thumb-rule,  discus  demand  10  Gallons  of  water  per  fish.  I  would  say,  minimum  of  36”x18”x18”  or  48”x24”x24”  tank-size  is  recommended.   24”  height  seems  more  appropriate  as  discus  prefers  to  swim  in  upper  direction  more  as  a  vertical  movement  and  also  it  may  contribute  to  the  proper  development  of  its  body.   Though  I  agree  to  the  fact  that  discus  look  stunning  in  planted  tanks;  for  beginners,  I  would  strictly  recommend  bare-bottom  tank  for  the  ease  of  cleaning.  Refrain  from  your  any  dark  colour  background  stickers  as  it  stresses  discus.  Preferably,  have  a  light-blue  colour  background  or  if  the  behind  wall  is  of  faded  colour,  such  sticker  is  not  necessarily  required.  Avoid  any  decorative  to  your  discus  tank  which  provides  hiding  places  to  your  fishes  and  they  will  tend  to  be  shy  swimming  freely.  Place  your  tank  to  avoid  direct  sunlight  or  at  a  place  having  consistent  movement  in  front  of  a  tank.  Also  avoid  shadows  falling  on  your  tank.
 
 
 Selecting  Discus:  It  would  be  highly  recommended  to  source  your  discus  from  breeders  and  not  from  your  local  fish  shop  as  the  quality  of  the  latter  can  never  be  guaranteed.  Discus  is  cichlid  and  they  do  better  when  kept  in  a  school  of  minimum  6  to  7.   A  fish  of  3-3.5”  length  is  better  to  get  started  with  for  newbies  as  its  internal  system  is  more  stabilised  compared  to  smaller  size  ones.  Avoid  selecting  discus  which  is  triangular  in  shape,  having  bloated  stomach  or  chipped  eye.  Observe  the  fish’s  eye  to  body  ratio,  eyes  should  not  appear  bigger  in  proportion  to  fish’s  body.  Keep  away  from  discus  that  show  vibrant  colours  at  juvenile  stage,  particularly  red  colour  discus  which  could  be  hormone  fed  if  they  show  flashy  colour  at  younger  age.   Select  discus  which  are  most  active  than  others  from  the  lot.  I  would  recommend  newbies  to  start  with  hardy  strains  like  Blue  Turquoise,  Blue  Diamonds,  and  Pigeon  Bloods  as  their  tolerance  level  is  superior  compared  to  others.  Mixing  discus  together  from  various  sources  is  not  recommended;  newly  brought  fish  should  be  quarantined  for  minimum  7-10  days  in  order  to  get  adjusted  to  its  new  home.  I  would  suggest  adding  Terramycin  to  this  quarantine  tank,  I  use  1  capsule  (250mg)  per  10  Gallons  of  water.  It  is  recommended  to  have  QT  without  any  decoratives  or  power  filter,  simple  air-stone  or  small  sponge-filter  would  suffice.
 
 
 Aeration/  Filtration:  Aeration  is  another  important  factor  directly  influencing  the  health  of  discus.  A  simple  sponge  filter  would  suffice  connected  to  an  air-driven  pump.  It  would  be  a  good  idea  to  have  couple  of  such  filters  in  a  discus  tank  so  that  they  can  be  cleaned  alternatively  to  retain  the  beneficial  bacteria  in  at  least  one  filter.  However,  you  can  add  a  powerful  external  filter  to  maintain  water  quality  to  its  best  as  much  you  can  offer,  as  commonly  said  no  filteration  is  adequate  to  aquarium  fishes.   Avoid  using  internal  power  filters,  powerheads  as  their  water  turbulence  will  stress  your  discus.
 
 
 Water:  Discus  can  easily  play  around  within  pH  variation  between  6  and  8.  It  is  always  a  safe  deal  to  use  water  stored  for  about  24  hours.  Chlorine  is  very  volatile  and  evaporates  very  quickly  from  the  stored  water.  However  in  certain  areas  like  Mumbai,  you  can  use  direct  tap  water  for  your  discus  provided  you  de-chlorinate  it  by  using  Sodium  Thyosulphate  (Hypo).   Dropping  one  hypo  crystal  per  10  Gallons  of  water  should  be  fine,  do  not  use  excessive  hypo  than  recommended.  The  more  water  changes  to  your  discus  tank,  the  more  fresh  oxygen  supply  to  your  fish  contributing  to  their  speedy  growth.  Many  breeders  follow  the  rule  having  at  least  3-4  water  changes  in  a  day  to  their  discus  tanks.  For  juvenile  discus,  minimum  of  40-50%  water  change  is  recommended  on  a  daily  basis.  However,  adult  discus  can  be  entertained  with  weekly  water  change.
 
   
 Temperature:  Discus  prefers  warm  water  conditions  hence  any  temperature  between  28-31  degrees  Celsius  is  ideal  for  them.  Particularly  in  northern  India,  it  gets  really  chilly  during  winter;  hence  the  use  of  quality  heater  is  recommended  during  winter  time.
 
   
 Food:  Live  food  like  Tubifex  and  Blood  Worms  should  be  strictly  avoided.  Instead,  protein-rich  food  like  Beefheart  serves  good  for  the  swift  growth  of  discus.  Alternatively,  other  animal  hearts  like  of  chicken,  pig,  and  goat  can  be  used.  Various  Beefheart  mix  recipes  are  available  on  the  internet  and  you  can  chose  own  of  your  choice.  Do  not  feed  excessively  to  your  discus  as  they  prefer  eat  in  small  quantities  by  making  little  pieces  of  their  food  off  the  bottom.  Now  you  will  understand,  why  undressed  base  for  your  discus  tank  was  recommended.   Juveniles  need  to  be  fed  at  least  4-5  times  while  adults  can  do  very  well  with  2-3  little  feeds  in  a  day.  Dry  food  like  good  quality  pellets,  frozen  bloodworms,  artemia  etc.  can  be  added  to  their  feed  as  discus  would  love  to  have  variable  diet  just  like  any  other  fish.  Make  sure  you  are  not  doing  immediate  water-change  after  feeding,  have  WC  preferably  after  an  hour  or  so.  
 
 
 Sexing:  There  is  no  full-proof  method  to  identify  the  sex  of  discus  even  at  an  adult  stage.  Male  will  chose  his  own  female  partner  from  the  group  and  both  of  them  are  found  to  be  getting  along  together.  
 
 
 Medication:  If  your  discus  are  eating  well  and  so  long  as  you  are  not  feeding  any  live  worms  to  them,  there  is  no  need  to  medicate  (de-flaggellate  or  de-worm)  them.  Refrain  from  exercising  unnecessary  medicinal  experiments  with  your  discus,  unless  required  which  should  be  done  with  proper  advice  from  discus  experts.
 
 
 Tankmates:  It  is  always  better  to  give  discus,  a  tank  of  their  own.  Discus  is  stressed  by  fin-nipping  fishes  and  movement  of  other  huge  fishes  roaming  around  them.  However  if  you  insist  for  its  tankmates,  corydoras  can  be  accompanied  with  them.  Some  people  add  neon  tetras  as  ditchers  when  their  discus  are  shy  of  swimming  freely.  
 
 
 Life:  Average  Discus  can  grow  upto  5-6  inches  can  easily  live  for  7-8  years.  Some  strains  like  Turquoise/  Blue  Knights  can  grow  even  bigger  like  8-9  inches  can  ideally  be  called  'Bucket-Size'.
 
 
 Hope  this  information  will  benefit  discus  newbies  and  people  who  plan  to  keep  discus  soon.
 BEST  OF  LUCK  AND  HAPPY  DISCUS  KEEPING!!!


Last edited by Yogesh on Mon Nov 21, 2011 8:53 am; edited 4 times in total
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fishkeeping4fun
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PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2009 8:33 am Post subject: Re: Handbook for Discus Newbies Reply with quote

 Yogesh,
 Thats  a  lot  of  Very  USEFUL  info  !!   Clapping
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arvindshetty
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PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2009 9:18 am Post subject: Re: Handbook for Discus Newbies Reply with quote

 Wonderful  article  for  a  discus  newbie.Thanks  a  lot  Yogesh.
 Please  make  this  thread  sticky.
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venky
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PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2009 10:02 am Post subject: Re: Handbook for Discus Newbies Reply with quote

 Hi  Yogesh,
 
 That  was  a  wonderful  piece  of  work.  I  was  exactly  expecting  something  like  this  for  newbies  like  me.  Also  if  you  can  cover  some  aspects  of  problems  encountered  and  their  remedy  it  will  be  fantastic.  Good  work  buddy
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Whitesnake
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PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2009 10:25 am Post subject: Re: Handbook for Discus Newbies Reply with quote

 Thanks  Yogesh  Thumb Up  
 
 regards,
 
 Clive
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blackghost
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PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2009 10:26 am Post subject: Re: Handbook for Discus Newbies Reply with quote

 Excellent  article  Yogesh!  Captures  all  the  main  points  really  nicely   Smile
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mmb19000
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PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2009 10:43 am Post subject: Re: Handbook for Discus Newbies Reply with quote

 Thanks  yogesh..  Wonderful  info.  for  starters.
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Discusolic
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PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2009 12:00 pm Post subject: Re: Handbook for Discus Newbies Reply with quote

 Yogesh  ,  
 
 Good  write  up  .
 
 Thanks
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handsomeraj_raj
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PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2009 12:50 pm Post subject: Re: Handbook for Discus Newbies Reply with quote

 Thx  Yogesh  Sir  for  info  ,
 
 i  think  u  left  out   "Medication"  title  to  make   bold  caps  .
 
 
 
 
 
 
 rgds,
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Yogesh
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PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2009 2:26 pm Post subject: Re: Handbook for Discus Newbies Reply with quote

 Thank  you  all  for  the  compliments,  much  appreciated.  Smile  
 
 Vardesh  -  Amended  Medication  title  'boldly'  missed,  thank  you  for  the  correction.  Have  requested  Shiva  to  contribute  towards  'Discus  Diseases  &  Cure'  and  we'll  be  covering  it  soon  for  advising  discus  health  queries.
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garothmaan
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PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2009 4:43 pm Post subject: Re: Handbook for Discus Newbies Reply with quote

 Thanks  Yogi......Very  Good  article,  simple  and  acknowledgeable......waiting  for  a  "salvage  article"  from  Shiva...
 
   Mad  BUT  WHY  LIVE  for  5  to  6  years  only...
 
 and  what  about  the  monthly,  quarterly,  half  yearly  interests,  on  the  investments  ....hmm?  Mad
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vaibhav9322
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PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2009 5:37 pm Post subject: Re: Handbook for Discus Newbies Reply with quote

 thanks  a  lot  yogesh  ,  nice  article  for  newbie  like  me
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d_pratik22
Regular Poster on IAH
Regular Poster on IAH



Joined: Jan 30, 2009
Posts: 327
Location: Mumbai, Andheri(w)

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PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2009 10:12 pm Post subject: Re: Handbook for Discus Newbies Reply with quote

 woow..that  is  really  well  written  yogesh..thanks  a  lot..and  the  content  surely  gives  total  justice  to  the  title  !!  keep  up  the  great  work  !!   Thumb Up
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Yogesh
Moderator
Moderator



Joined: Sep 18, 2005
Posts: 3515


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PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2009 11:08 am Post subject: Re: Handbook for Discus Newbies Reply with quote

                                                   
garothmaan  wrote  (View  Post):                
BUT  WHY  LIVE  for  5  to  6  years  only                

 Garothmaan  -  It  all  depends  upon  TLC  you  offer  to  your  fish.
 
 
 However,  you  can  be  bit  flexible  about  some  rules  like  live  food.  I  feed  live  BW  (reliably  sourced  &  treated)  to  all  my  fishes  including  discus  as  a  weekly  diet  change.
 Have  amended  'Selecting  Discus'  part  to  add  some  more  details  about  QT  procedure.
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SNSNS
Frequent Visitor to IAH
Frequent Visitor to IAH



Joined: Apr 10, 2009
Posts: 245
Location: KARAIKUDI, TAMIL NADU

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PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2009 11:31 am Post subject: Re: Handbook for Discus Newbies Reply with quote

 nice  one.....  Thumb Up
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