How to breed discus

Customers always ask me how to breed discus fish.
Breeding of Discus fish is quite difficult in terms of taking care of them and it may be difficult to succeed in having a high survival rate when you first start out. This is why the price of discus fish for sale is higher than your typical aquarium fish. However the beauty it brings about in terms of aesthetic value as well as keeping them as pets overrules all the challenges. The unique thing about them is their ability, meaning young ones, to feed from their parents’ skin. This means therefore they either have to be together with their parents or if they are alone you will have to feed them with a specialized replacement for the nutrients they get from their parents’ skin. Either way, the two methods must provide an environment that encourages breeding. In this article I will describe how to breed discus in two different methods. The two methods are discussed below.

Natural Forming of Breeding Pairs

How to breed discus fish by the natural forming of breeding pairs is your most economical way of breeding discus. This method involves making an environment that enables the young Discus to pair off on their own and form a breeding pair. The process involves a number of measures:-
i) Ensure you keep a large number of discuss fish in order to have a higher probability of having both males and females. The minimum number to give you the best odds of a breeding pair is at least 12 discus fish. This is mainly because it is impossible to visibly tell the gender when they are young. Females reach maturity and start mating at about 9 months of age but males take up to 13 months. The discus must form pairs on their own. it is almost impossible to get a proven male and female and have them breed successfully.
ii) Ensure they have a spacious room. The Discus fish will not breed effectively if the aquarium is small. The discus tank should be at least 38cm deep. This height will ensure the fish tank holds enough water needed by the discus in it. Ensure nitrites, nitrates and ammonia is of the right measurement. If that is not the case, there is need for adjustment. This can be done by use of a test kit. Both nitrites and ammonia should be below 0 ppm whereas on the other hand nitrates should be below 20 ppm.

Breeding Continued

iii) Aquarium water conditions should be accurately tested. The water pH should be stable at 6.5 pH whereas temperature should be 86F degrees. Also, mineral content should be 100-200 microsiemens. These conditions should always be adjusted when they fluctuate in order to achieve stability which the discus fish need for survival and breeding.
iv) Change 10% of the water daily. This will ensure the breeding of discus happens as the tank will be clean. This should be accompanied by removal of dirt at the bottom of the tank as well as cleaning of the tank walls when necessary.
v) Ensure they feed on animal protein. These come in different forms like black worms, live brine shrimp, and beef heart flakes. These will provide the discus with nutrition necessary for breeding. Additional vitamin supplements may help sometimes as well.
vi) Put various spawning sites in the tank for spawning. You can use a variety of things for this including flower pots turned upside down. However, it shouldn’t be an issue if they choose to lay their eggs next to the ground.
vii) Look out for pairs that have mated. You can tell this by observing their behavior. They may hang together in a corner. Once you have confirmed a breeding pair you must move the pair into their own aquarium with a bare bottom. Do not use any substrate that way the water remains very clean. The ideal breeding aquarium should be a minimum of 10 gallons but preferably a 20 gallon long aquarium.

Breeding discus with proven discus pairs

After successful breeding, you will need to know how to raise the discus with their parents. This involves the following:
i) Keep an eye on hatching eggs. This usually happens after 2-3 days after which the young ones may stay there for longer. Ensure the parents don’t eat the eggs after they hatch. You may want to put a mesh or screen around the eggs to prevent the parents from eating them. If the eggs turn white that means they were not fertilized and have developed fungus. Fertilized eggs will have a golden/brownish color.
ii) Reduce water levels right before fry detach.
iii) Feeding the young fish. For the first 5 days the fry will attach to the sides of the parents and will eat the white mucus that forms on the parents body. Keep a close eye on this because as the days go on they can start biting the skin of the parents which will cause skin infections. Introduce baby brine shrimp around 4 times a day. This should be done 4-5 days after the fry have been swimming. Once the fry are completely eating on their own and are no longer attached to the parents you must separate the fry from the parents. As the fry get larger start feeding them premium discus flakes as well as beef heart flakes and start introducing them to frozen blood worms once they reach one inch in size.

If everyone knew how to breed discus fish successfully, the price of discus fish would be much lower and discus fish sales would suffer. There are many reputable discus fish experts in the hobby including: Dr. Eduard Schmidt-Focke, Mr. Goh Eng Khoon, Mr. Jack Wattley, Mr. Andrea Andreas, Mr. Dickson Lim and Mr. Ricky Lim just to name a few. Once you learn how to breed discus fish successfully it is very rewarding.

Table of Contents

  • What Do Fertilized Discus Eggs Look Like?
  • How Many Times Do Discus Lay Eggs?
  • Are Discus Fish Hard to Breed?
  • How Do I Know If My Discus Is Pairing?
  • Can Different Types Of Discus Breed?
  • Are Discus Mouth Brooders?
  • Can Discus Breed Colors?
  • How Do You Tell Male and Female Discus Apart?
  • Can Discus Breed In A Community Tank?
  • Can Discus Breed in Tap Water?
  • At What Size Do Discus Start Breeding?
  • How Many Eggs Do Discus Lay?
  • How Many Times Can Discus Breed?
  • How Long Does It Take To Complete the Discus Breeding?
  • Conclusion

What Do Fertilized Discus Eggs Look Like?

Freshly laid eggs are clear and white after spawning. But the color changes when the eggs are fertilized; you would observe that fertilized eggs are goldish or orangish in color. At the same time, the unfertilized eggs will remain white with fungi after a day or two. These eggs are mildly opaque spheres stuck to the cone in thousands.

How Many Times Do Discus Lay Eggs?

In the spawning stage, the discus fish can lay eggs every week for up to fifteen weeks. This cycle occurs twice a year, and you can manipulate it by adjusting the water conditions, feeding, and temperature.

Are Discus Fish Hard to Breed?

Yes, the discus fish are very sensitive. If you are interested in breeding them, you have to learn how to select breeds, prepare breeding tanks, and how take care of your fry after spawning your Discus.

How Do I Know If My Discus Is Pairing?

You know that your Discus is pairing when they become highly possessive of their territory, the male Discus, which becomes very volatile and aggressive, usually chase other Discus away from the female Discus and the area where they are located.

The male Discus claims the female as a mate and scares other potential mates away from her. When you observe these signs, it is better to give your pair-bonding Discus a separate tank to have a free and more comfortable environment for the process.

Can Different Types Of Discus Breed?

Yes, different types of Discus can breed, and diverse types and colors of Discus can interbreed to produce a unique species and color. Because the Discus can cross breed, aquarists have been able to create strains that have never been seen before.

Are Discus Mouth Brooders?

Yes, the Discus Fish are mouthbrooders, they spawn on a vertical surface, and many pairs of the Discus choose to lay their eggs on a broadleaf plant where the eggs are fanned for three days before hatching takes place. After hatching, the parents move the fry in their mouths around the aquarium for 4 days.

Can Discus Breed Colors?

Yes, Discus can breed colors, all colors of Discus can interbreed and produce fertile fry. Some are easily distinguished, such as blue diamond and pigeon blood.

How Do You Tell Male and Female Discus Apart?

To identify the male or female Discus, the female Discus has brighter striking coloration than the male, whose coloration is fainter, the male Discus has more intricate patterns and more prominent physical characteristics than the female. Also, detecting the sex of the Discus can be done by inspecting their reproductive organs, the male has white testes, while the female has orange ovaries.

Can Discus Breed In A Community Tank?

It is easier to win a lottery than to have a successful spawn and raise Discus fry in a community tank. Although Discus is a schooling fish and is happier in a community tank, it is better to separate them in a breeding tank during breeding.

Can Discus Breed in Tap Water?

Some discus can breed in tap water while some cannot; the most important detail to pay attention to is the water hardness, tap water should be aged by one day before using it to have more ph stabilization along with other water parameters.

At What Size Do Discus Start Breeding?

Discus starts breeding when they reach 4.5″ inch to 5″ inch in size, it is difficult for Discus fish to breed when they are very young, but easier for them when they are mature because they most likely will pair off on their own. The female reaches maturity at 12 months, while the male takes up to 14 months to reach full maturity.

How Many Eggs Do Discus Lay?

The discus fish lay up to 400 eggs. They lay their eggs directly on the vertical glass wall of the tank by positioning their breeding tube against the surface.

How Many Times Can Discus Breed?

The Discus is known to lay eggs consistently for up to fifteen weeks, and this is a cycle that can only occur twice a year.

How Long Does It Take To Complete the Discus Breeding?

Discus fish breeding complete after around 2 to 3 weeks till the baby fries become independent, first 3 to 4 days, the eggs should hatch, spawn and baby fries come out, within 2 weeks, Discus parents remain with the babies till they become fairly larger and start feeding independently.


Breeding of the Discus fish is as sensitive as the discus fish itself. It is essential to have a breeding tank to have maximum results.

How to breed discus

Here at Wattley Discus, we get many customers asking how to get their discus to breed.

So we put together some valuable information to help you understand when, and why they breed, as well as how to implement these changes to your environment.

First, Some Important Facts About The Amazon

The geographical and native home of the discus is in the Amazon region of Central America. The Amazon is located near the equator, putting it in the equatorial climate or the tropical rain forest. There are really only two seasons there, the dry season and the rainy season and because of its proximity to the equator, the temperatures in the Amazon region are warm year round. High altitude winds during the rainy season draw moisture from the Caribbean and distribute it in the form of rain over central Amazonia, which receives much less rainfall than either the eastern coastal rain forests or the Andean forests to the west. In the rainy season, which roughly runs from mid-December to mid-May, considered winter, the temperature is a bit cooler than the June-December dry season, or summer.

The dry season lends itself to higher temperatures and less rain, causing lower water levels brought on by evaporation. The water then mixes with the mud and rotting foliage, making it harder and more acidic. The rainy season consisting of heavy rains, almost daily, lowers the temperature and causes the water in the river to become softer and more alkaline. These facts are important when learning how to get discus to breed.

The three stimulants for breeding Discus fish are water pH, temperature and water hardness. Thus, the winter or rainy months are considered a stimulus for Discus breeding, as they thrive in a more alkaline environment with softer water and cooler temperatures. This is why during the start of fall and especially after a water change, most domestic discus will start to spawn.

So, many of you are just saying show me in three points how to my discus fish to breed!

  1. Conductivity between 80 and 120ms (see the chart below)
  2. PH between 5.5 and 6.5
  3. Water Temp 82F

Now you have all the facts on how to get discus to breed!


Breeding animals – fishes, dogs and so on – can be tough, and so is breeding discus for profit. However, breeding is a passion people love, which makes its challenges even more thrilling.

Breeding discus, especially when it’s for profit comes with its fair share of problems. You can’t put a school of discus in a tank, go to sleep and expect money to flood in. However, when it’s done the right way, breeding discus for profit can fulfill both your passion and financial needs.

To successfully breed discus for profit, you have to put some things into consideration. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the factors to help you start a successful discus breeding business.

Select Healthy Discus Fishes
If you are breeding discus for profit, then it’s always best to select healthy ones. Also, pay attention to discus fishes that have been genetically modified. When choosing discus fishes, consider their shapes and ensure they are round.

Also, there should be a healthy protrusion of fins from their body. Also make sure their eyes aren’t chipped, as discus with chipped eyes may have been genetically engineered.

When breeding discus for profit, also ensure to select good breeding pairs. You can begin producing with 10 or 15 young pairs of the same strain and let them pair off.

Don’t compromise on Equipment
You can’t afford to compromise on equipment when breeding discus for profit as you’ll run at a loss. For the discus tank, choosing one depends on the number of fishes you intend starting with. A tank of about 60 gallons is ideal when you are keeping 7 to 10 discus fishes. You don’t want to overcrowd your tank. Also, an aqua clear 500 filter and water heater are required. For aeration, use a check valve and airstone. If you intend using tap water, you should keep chlorine level low using Seachem Prime.

Ensure High Quality of Water
Poor quality of water is often the root cause of most failures at breeding. Hence, to successfully breed discus for profit, water quality must be high at all times.

High nitrogen level is dangerous to the health of discus fishes, and must, therefore, be kept low. The PH level is also very important and should be slightly alkaline at a range between 6.0 and 6.5. The water temperature must also be suitable at around 90o F.
Therefore, if you intend breeding discus for profit, PH meter, aquatic water heater, and aquarium thermometer are a must-have.

Protect from Gill Flukes
A significant disease of discus is the gill fluke. Young discus fishes sometimes develop gill flukes, which should be treated immediately. You can treat the tank water with Prazipro – an active, ready to use liquid concentrate. Formalin is also effective in protecting young fries from flukes. Wiping the inside of the tank down is another method.

With these suggestions, you can be successful at breeding discus for profit. Who says you can’t live off what you love doing? Jack Wattley Discus was an expert in discus fish breeding. There are many online resources that he has published for free on discus breeding.
You’d love to breed discus fishes for profit but don’t know what to do? Contact us.

I knew I wanted to breed discus from that first moment I stepped into an aquarium shop and laid eyes on a couple of adult fish, looking back they were not the best examples in regards to shape and were well under condition as seen in so many shops but i knew no better back then and pushed on ahead determined to breed these amazing fish.

I read everything I could, sifted through forum threads and tried to absorb as much information as i could find. Everything said the same thing aroundabout though-

  • Change water everyday.
  • Soften the water.
  • Keep them in PH of 6.5.
  • Keep water at 30 degrees celcius.
  • Vacuum the bottom of the tank daily.
  • Feed the fish as often as possible.
  • Keep them in a quiet room
  • etc etc etc.

Sounds easy enough right? I am sure you have all read similar stuff yes? But if youre here reading this is it all working well for you? Are you breeding many batches of discus with reasonable success? I doubt it because it didnt really work for me either. After about 5 years of getting batch after batch of failed batches of eggs that either got eaten or turned white I was at the point of being ready to give it all away and I am sure for many of you this sounds familiar.

So whats the secret to breeding discus then? To understand fully though we should probably look at how the pairs are formed and the process of rearing the fry.

Discus are quite easy to pair up, in a group of 6 mature fish you would be very unlucky to not have a pair form and chances are high that you may get 2 pairs even. Pairing is easily observed as the fish will become quite inseparable and start to defend an area in the aquarium, once a spawning site is selected(generally a flat verticle surface) the pair will start cleaning the area they want to lay the eggs. The sexes of each fish will be easily distinguished now as the spawning tube will begin to be visible, the females tube will be approx 3mm long and blunt and the male will be more pointed and around 1-2mm. The female will begin to make test runs along the spawning area in preparation for laying eggs, its imperative that the male doesnt get distracted at this point. Once the female begins to lay eggs the male will follow along behind her to fertilise the eggs. This process can take quite some time with some pairs with some pairs taking their time preparing to lay while others are quite quick off the mark. It takes approx 60 hrs for the eggs to hatch and another 60 before the fry begin to swim away from the breeding site and hopefully towards the parents. All going well the fry will begin to feed on the slime excreted from the parents sides.

So whats so hard about that? The fish do all the work right? Well yeah they do, but what we do effects their natural instinctual habits and here is how.

We all know discus originate from South America in the Amazon river and its tributaries, an area of the world that has has opposite extremes of weather, just two seasons. Wet and Dry. During the dry season the discus are often stuck in smaller pools of water that become quite stagnate and low in PH, the water will also be rich in tannins rom the decaying leaf litter.

The first rain signals the wet season is nearing and it also signals the discus that its time to spawn, hence why a water change to their aquarium will often spur the fish to lay eggs. But what would happen if it were to rain again? Heavily within the next day or so? The waters would rise and the fish would sense that there is no way they could raise the batch of fry on their backs with millions upon millions of litres of water rushing past them so they will eat the batch of eggs or fry and try again under more favourable conditions. In these pools the water is more calm allowing the fry to feed from the parents easily and move on to the abundant microplankton sources available in the decaying vegetable matter.

By the time the wet season starts to ramp up these fry will now be old enough to fend for themselves, the water rises with the onset of heavy rains and the juvenile discus spend the rest of the wet season growing fast in the clean waters that come with it.

Now that we understand how it takes place in the wild we can now utilise these processes in our own aquariums to manipulate in our favour the breeding intincts of the fish.

In the next few days I will go into more detail how I use these processes in my breeding tanks. Keep checking back for more info to be added.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Breeding Discus Fish

The Guide To Breeding Discuss

This article is to clarify anything you’ll want to know about discus breeding. Its common for almost any respectable aquarium owner to would like to get directly into breeding discus. This not just reduces fees of buying new fish, however they also pose an excellent challenge in developing an aquarium tank.

So, several individuals have a tendency to inquire the way they can establish the gender of the discus. However this may seem difficult, numerous enthusiasts have provided various details to accomplish this. And a person might discover that it really is less complicated than you may realise.

There are a variety involving strategies that breeders need to perform out the gender of the discus, most of them tend to be used if the discus already have expanded. While they’re also small, it really is virtually extremely hard to figure out its sex. Also, be warned that over touching the fish may well lead to their death. Therefore you must have a really keen observation skill set and so that you simply may be capable of truly decide the sex. You will need to be really patient and to observe the fish properly, for many who don’t know the distinctions between the male along with the female, it will be very difficult to learn its gender.

Here are a few factors which could allow you to determine the sex of the discus.

* Male discus have got fuller lip area. Discus use their mouth area to battle any assailants.
* The male discus is more aggressive, they have a tendency to come between your female and any intruder to guard the feminine discus. Also, the male is typically larger and has a bigger forehead.
* On the female discus, the actual dorsal fin will are rounded, whilst in the male, it is going to search much more pointed. It is not distinguishable once the discus are nonetheless small, you’ll be able to only discover this when they are in their adult stage.

* Through spawning, you’ll see how the reproduction tube with the male discus is commonly smaller and sharper, with all the female, the breeding tube will probably be rounder, and broader. The breeding tube can be found in between the anal fin plus the anus.

* A few breeders state how the female discus possess a far more vibrant shade, but you can find a lesser number of patterns.

It is never simple to find the sex of the pet once they are tiny.
Figuring out the gender of one’s discus will assist you to pair all of them equally. Too several male fishes and they usually battle, and also you could shed your fish, a lot of females after which the coupling is going to be set off. Discus breeding can be really addictive. This can be a statement a lot of breeders have stated. This really appealing seafood which can give any kind of aquarium a beautiful show of colours and styles not just practically quickly brightens up a space, but additionally could be a very good expenditure as discus fish is incredibly significantly in demand and may fetch a high cost. Today wouldn’t that be great? A number of you could possibly you need to be beginning out, so you normally would have numerous concerns. And also you could already know that it could be rather hard to be one particular hundred % confident that you will end up profitable in discus fish care breeding. To begin with, is to buy young discus fish, bout six to eight of them.

So this can be mainly a hit and miss affair. three inches could be the most beneficial size to purchase them. Yet, the odds are that within these six to eight small discus fish, you’ll be capable to obtain a minimum of a pair or two. The most effective issue about this program is the fact that at this age, the discus does not command a high value. It is going to take some time though prior to you’ll be in a position to uncover in case you have hit the jackpot.

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The Art Of Breeding Discus>

This article is to clarify every little thing you must know about discus breeding. Its common for almost any respectable aquarium owner to would like to get directly into breeding discus. This not merely significantly reduces expenses of buying new fish, however they also pose a fantastic challenge in expanding an aquarium tank. So, many folks tend to inquire the way they could decide the gender of these discus. Although this may seem difficult, a lot of enthusiasts have given various info to take action. And an individual could discover that it can be less complicated than you may realise.

Much more information about Discus Breedingis available at my site where you will find the most current and up to date info on caring for,breeding, behavior, aquarium setup and much much more.

There are a variety involving approaches that breeders ought to perform out the actual gender of the discus, a lot of of these tend to be used once the discus already have grown. While they’re still younger, it’s practically extremely hard to decide its sex.

Also, be warned that touching the fish might cause its death. Which means you need to have a really keen observation skill set and so which you will have the ability to genuinely ascertain the sex. You have got to be really patient and also to observe the fish nicely, for individuals who are not aware of the variations regarding the male along with the female, it’ll be very difficult to find out its sex.

Below are a few things which could allow you to determine the particular sexual category of any discus.

* Male discus have got heavier lip area. Discus use their mouth area to fend off just about any enemies. So the fuller lips are important for their defense of your females.

* The male discus is a bit more hostile, they tend to come between your female and any kind of intruder to shield the feminine discus. * On the female discus, the dorsal fin will are most often rounded, whilst in the male, it’s going to appear more pointed. It’s not distinguishable in the event the discus are nonetheless younger, it is possible to only observe this if they are in their adult stage.

* Throughout spawning, you will observe the reproduction tube with the male discus is commonly smaller and sharper, with all the female, the actual breeding tube is going to be rounder, and broader. The actual breeding tube is found in between the anal fin as well as the anus.

* A few breeders state how the female discus use a additional vibrant coloring, but you can find much less patterns.

It is never easy to find the sex of an animal once they are tiny. These fish have a tendency to be fast and moving all the time. So this might result in a lot of difficulties. But, if you’re determined to turn into a breeder, then use these ideas to help you out.

Figuring out the particular gender of one’s discus will allow you to pair all of them equally. Too several male fishes and they usually battle, and also you might shed your fish, an excessive amount of females after which the pairing is going to be set off. However generally bear in mind, you may only efficiently establish sex when the discus fish are generally older.

Discus breeding can be very addictive. This can be a statement several breeders have mentioned. It is simple to know why. This kind of incredibly appealing bass which can deliver virtually any aquarium a beautiful exhibit of colours and designs not merely nearly instantly brightens up a space, but also could be a very good expense as discus fish is quite considerably in demand which enable it to fetch a high price.

Soon adequate, you’ll be ready to pay all of your expenditures on your own discus fish collection. Today wouldn’t that be good? A number of you might just be beginning out, so you obviously would have lots of queries. And also you could already know it can easily be fairly complicated to end up being one particular hundred % confident that you’ll be thriving in discus fish care breeding. So what are the most useful solutions?

Initially, is to buy young discus fish, bout six to eight of them. Like a fry, it truly is tricky to determine the sex of the discus.
So that is generally a hit and miss affair. three inches will be the very best dimension to purchase them. Yet, the odds are that within these six to eight younger discus fish, you’ll be ready to obtain at the very least a pair or perhaps two. The most beneficial issue about this choice is the fact that at this age, the discus does not order a high price tag. It is going to take some time though prior to you’ll be ready to learn when you have hit the jackpot.

Your subsequent alternative, along with the most high-priced one particular is going to an importer and getting an adult pair , at this stage they may perhaps already be about 6 inches extended.

How to ensure Discus will pair up and breed

In order to successfully ensure that your discus fish produce next generation of fry, first you must ensure that you obtain a breeding pair. Gender of the discus fish can be difficult to determine and basically getting a right pair is often a mix and trial process which is done by having at least five or more of the fish together in the same tank. If possible, you can also try by having multiple discus variety so that there are high chances for you to obtain a cross and mixed breed. My advice on this process is that do not try to force them together to pair up because these things must occur naturally and you really can’t predict the outcome.

Once you have successfully obtain your right breeding pair and they are ready to mate, you should start transferring the rest of the fish to another aquarium. This is to avoid having undesired aggressive action, which could result in the other fish getting injured because your breeding pair will try to protect a spawning spot it has chosen. This includes the pleco catfish, which you put in earlier to play a role to clean up the tank. Fish breeders normally put an inverted flower pot while others that I know will just leave a barren spot for the breeding pair either way, both methods are still considered good enough.

During this critical period before the female start to lay eggs, it is imperative that the water conditions should be clean and water parameters tightly controlled in order to avoid undesirable effect such as ammonia or nitrite buildup. Waste in the tank should be immediately removed and try to conduct partial water change once every 2 days. Water temperature should also be maintained close the 88 degrees Fahrenheit level and if you do not mind investing some money on water test kits that would be the best option. Remember, you can’t risk having an unhealthy fish or else your effort will go to waste. (Learn about ideal tank condition for discus care)

On the nutrition side, your discus fish should be supplied with fresh live foods and in order to avoid introducing unwanted disease which you affect the breeding process, only source your supply from reputable suppliers. There are even some commercially prepared fish flakes which are tailor-made specially for discus breeding pair and if you managed to grab hold of these, it would definitely help to stimulate and ensure they will spawn.

Breeding discus for beginners

Breeding discus is a hobby a number of people take on and enjoy. There’s a large volume of documentation online and offline teaching breeding discus for beginners. Whether your choice is an e-book or a book you picked from your local bookshop, breeding discus for beginners may be easier said than done. You must have noticed that some of the materials are complete junk and are not worth spending time on.
How do you know which to read and get the right information from?
If you have no knowledge about the natural living conditions of discus fish, then the material on breeding discus fish for beginners must be such that helps you recreate the living conditions as nearly as possible.
The area of feeding your discus fish is salient too. Ordinarily, you feed your discus frozen blood worms and shrimps. The book should explain the fact that if you place a bag of moss in the water you’ll recreate the Amazon environment for your discus. From this you must notice that breeding discus for beginners requires lots of detailed information.

In my search, I’ve discovered that a great place to learn great secrets of breeding discus for beginners is in this amazing site!
Here you’ll learn a lot of tips on tank conditions and disease prevention.
Lots of e-books and videos on breeding discus for beginners online are packed with practical solutions to challenges a beginner discus breeder encounters. Your right book must be one that’s reader friendly meaning you don’t have to read volumes upon volumes to arrive at your desired solution. Again, the solution must be clear and easily understood by reason of the simplicity of the presentation.

Be selective even if you are looking for information on breeding discus for beginners. Many forums and chats online are filled with people who have some knowledge or experience of fish breeding. You may learn something new from them but be sure you have a handbook by an expert.
That way, I’ll be certain that though your beginning is small, soon you’ll enjoy success in this unique and exciting journey. Just keep at it!

Breeding discus for beginners

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Breeding Discus

Breeding Discus

I am glad to have you in my breeding discus blog.
Here you will read and learn great tips on breeding discus
and how to avoid the pitfalls in breeding discus that have
kept many from realizing their much desired breeding discus success.

I am Blessedchin. Hope to meet you soon.

Again, you are welcome!

Breeding discus

how do I know that my discus will breed ?

discus fish loves to live with in a community,during their living they can form a pair,which is commonly known as breeding pair. make sure that the size of the breeding pair will be min. of 5 inch or more.when they breed they can from their own territory and they can attack other discus if they enter to their territory. at the same time, they move together,they eat together and most importantly they identify some places and clear the place for breed.

The best and primary way to breed discus is to keep breeding pair of discus. The common name of adult discus capable of breeding is known as “breeding pair discus”. You should Keep either 2 adult discus in your aquarium or keep 1 male and 2 female discus together. Most discus breeder keeps the bare bottom tank to breed discus. The female lays her eggs (up to 200) on a vertical support (PVC pipe, plant pot, aquarium glass). Other type of aquarium, which is used to breed discus, is the planted tank. Planted tank means an aquarium is full of natural plants. But it is very important to note that in discus aquarium only a few types of plants can survive. Those plants are echinodorous sp. and Anubias sp. Most discus can lay eggs on the echinodorous sp. plants. The large leaves of these plants are very attractive to them.

For a breeding pair of discus the selection of food is also very important. You should use “tetra bits” or frozen blood worm to feed them. Proper selection of filter is also very useful. I say you that do not use power filter because discus cannot survive in the high power filtering system. You can use biological or peat filter. For a discus breeding tank 86-88 deg Fahrenheit temperature is used. Moreover, the ph level which is used is 6.5-7. The nitrite and ammonia level of the tank must be zero.

The Discus fish has gained a reputation of being fuzzy, disease ridden and hard to breed, but it is actually quite an easy fish to keep and breed once you have figured out how to keep the water quality at imperative levels in the aquarium. If you fail at this, you will most probably end up with anorectic, unhealthy Discus fish that refuses to breed altogether. The same goes for the fry aquarium – Discus fry that are kept in unhealthy conditions will often end up stunted since they will not eat enough. Before you make any attempts at breeding Discus you should therefore make sure that you are knowledgeable and devoted enough to keep the water quality up at all time – not only once in a while when you have some extra time to spend on your hobby. Discus fish will actually do a lot of the fry raising work for you since they both guard and feed their fry, so repaying them by devoting some energy to frequent water changes is certainly not too much to ask.

Obtaining a Discus pair

If you want to you can buy an established Discus pair that has already spawned together in the past. Such a couple will however be expensive, and most aspiring Discus breeders therefore purchase a group of juvenile Discus fish instead and let them grow up together. Hopefully, at least one pair will form in a group of Discus as they reach maturity. If you are lucky you will get several pairs. Getting a least six specimens is recommended. Try to mix Discus fish from several different sources since this will decrease the risk of getting a too limited genetic pool.

Discus breeding aquarium

Once a Discus pair is formed they will claim a territory and defend it against all the other Discus fishes. When you notice this, it is time to either remove all the other fish or set up a special breeding aquarium for the pair. A 20-30 gallon aquarium is big enough to serve as breeding aquarium and the only mandatory décor is a vertical spawning site. It is however a good idea to include hiding spots as well, since Discus pairs can fight each other quite violently.

Water management

As mentioned in the beginning of this article, water management is extremely important when keeping and breeding Discus. The levels of nitrogenous waste must be kept as close to zero as possible. Carry out a small water change every day in the breeding aquarium and use your test kit to keep an eye on the levels of ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Wild Discus live in soft and acidic waters, but if you have captive bred specimens they might be accustomed to harder and less acidic conditions. The recommended water temperature is 86 degrees F.


Feeding your Discus a varied and nutritious diet – and making sure that the fish actually eat it – is imperative if you want to breed Discus. Poor water quality can cause poor appetite in Discus and must therefore be avoided at all costs. Live food such as white worms and bloodworms is certainly recommended, but be careful with live food that you do not cultivate yourself since it might introduce disease. You can supplement live food with high quality prepared foods to make sure that your fish receives all necessary vitamins.

Spawning and fry raising

Once the couple has started to spawn, you can expect a new batch of eggs to be laid every week or every second week for up to 15 times in a row. A healthy, well functioning pair can go through two such spawning cycles per year. The eggs will normally hatch within 48 hours and the fry is free-swimming after another 72 hours. The free swimming fry will swim up to their parents and start feeding on a special type of nutritious mucus produced by the skin of the parents. They can continue to feed off their parents for several weeks, but you should start giving them newly hatched brine shrimp as well when they have been free swimming for 5-6 days.

Fry aquarium

The longer you leave the fry with their parents, the higher the risk of parasites being transmitted from the adults to the fry. The fry can also start eating not only mucus but pieces of skin and flesh from their parents, and this will naturally weaken the parents considerably. Most breeders therefore remove the fry to their own fry aquarium after 2-3 weeks. Fry without their parents should be fed at least six times a day and can for instance be given microworms, newly hatched brine shrimp and chopped up bloodworms. Keeping the water quality up is naturally extremely important. Feed only small servings and carry out at least one water change per day.

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Here you will learn the Secrets of Breeding Discus

Friday, 2 January 2009

Breeding discus fish Tips

Breeding discus fish Tips

It is not uncommon that exotic fish owners find breeding discus fish a little bit difficult to get baby discus. The hardest part about breeding discus fish is finding the right mates, this issue rises from the fact discus like to choose their partners alone, and not anyone suits their “taste”. Under such circumstances, you’ve got two solutions for breeding discus fish: you can either buy a couple or raise them together in a group and hope they will make couples. The first variant is not the happiest, since a discus fish couple can be as expensive as a few hundred dollars, which is a lot.

Therefore, the most advantageous option you’ve got is to start breeding discus fish by creating a discus group of at least six members and keep the fingers crossed that you get at least one couple. How do you recognize mates? Well, breeding discus fish is not that difficult from now on if you follow some basic rules. First of all, the “new-weds” will delimitate a perimeter in the tank and will start defending it against trespassers. This means it’s time for you to move to the second phase of breeding discus fish.

You should prepare a separate tank for your breeding discus fish and keep it as simple as possible. There’s no need to put anything on the bottom of the fish tank, all they need is a vertical surface where they could lay their eggs. Your breeding discus fish should soon begin to spawn. Don’t worry about the eggs that look whitish, those are infertile for sure, as for the rest, it is possible that the parents may eat some of them and protect the others. The good part about breeding discus fish is that they feed their own siblings for a few weeks.

In about three weeks time, you’ll have to move the fry into a special tank as it is not uncommon that the breeding discus fish be injured by their own babies who eat their scales for instance. Once they’re off the parenthood responsibility, the breeding discus fish will begin a new cycle of reproduction and you may have some more siblings soon afterwards. Feeding and water are essential all throughout the breeding period, so, make sure that you don’t make any mistakes. For further professional information on breeding discus fish you can always turn to the advice available on

Monday, 22 December 2008

The secrets of breeding discus

The secrets of breeding discus

Before you start breeding discus, you will definitely need to learn all you can on the habits of these exotic and charming creatures. Before breeding, discus like to choose their partner alone, which may make it a little difficult and even quite costly for the owner. Breeding discus should be kept in groups of maximum four individuals as the ideal formation. Keep the water warm enough and feed them properly and breeding discus will be a true joy; it won’t take too long before they will spawn. To understand the principles of breeding discus you’ve got a lot of things to read as there will be quite some changes in your tank.

First of all you should know that breeding discus will choose an almost vertical site for their mating and will clean it before laying eggs. Don’t be surprised if they spawn on the bottom or the side of the tank. After laying the eggs and fertilizing them, the two parents will be guarding the perimeter preventing other fish to come close. Breeding discus also means noticing behavior changes in your so calm and shy fish. They are not going to become aggressive to other tank inhabitants unless the eggs are in danger. Breeding discus sometimes means having some eggs sacrificed. Therefore, the parents eat the eggs they cannot protect.

It is quite easy to find out when you’ve got a pair of breeding discus; once two of them start defending a perimeter in the aquarium, you need to act quickly. It would be perfect if the owner separated the breeding discus to a different tank set up for the purpose. Don’t put anything on the bottom of the tank of the breeding discus as you’ll have to clean it very easily. They only need a vertical surface to deposit their eggs. To improve the environment of the breeding discus you can add a small bag of peat moss in the power filter, thus recreating the natural water conditions of the discus.

by Glen Thode

Discus are considered to be the “King” of all tropical fish. Breeding discus can be very challenging, even for the most advanced tropical fish hobbyist. It requires lots of patience to be successful. Here are a few tips we’ve learned that might help you get your discus pairs to spawn again if they’ve stopped breeding for you.

Do more frequent water changes in your aquarium
Discus need clean water to thrive. You might want to up the frequency of your water changes to see if that encourages them to spawn. If you’re changing 25% water once a week, try doing 25% water changes every other day for a few weeks.

Changing water temperature
If your aquarium water is set at 82 degrees, you might want to slowly raise the temperature to 86 degrees for a few days to a week. Then lower the temperature back to 82 degrees during a water change.

pH Change
Lowering your water’s pH can help trigger your discus to spawn. Discus are acidic water fish and are happiest in acidic water. We keep our discus pairs in a pH range of 5.0 to 5.8. Be very careful when lowering the pH of your tank. Try not to lower it more than .3 a day. If you lower the pH in the tank too quickly, your fish might die of pH shock.

Change Their Diet to Live Foods
You can feed live foods to help stimulate spawning. Discus fish love to eat white worms and black worms. You can also try live adult brine shrimp, glass worms, mosquito larvae, large daphnia and small red wigglers.

Separate the Pair
They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. So try separating the mated pair for a week. You can use an aquarium divider in the tank to separate the discus or just put the pair in two different aquariums. Hopefully, when you put them back together, they’ll spawn for you.

Add More Spawning Areas
Give your discus pairs plenty of different places to lay their eggs. You can add several spawning cones, a PVC pipe, plastic plants or some spawning slates in your aquarium. Giving them lots of spawning areas just might cause them to start spawning again. It helps to have your pairs in a large tank. We keep our mated discus pairs in 50 gallon aquariums.

Do Water Change Right Before Rain Storm
We noticed over the years that our discus frequently spawn when a storm front passes through our area. So you might want to do a thorough cleaning of the aquarium the day before a low pressure system moves into your area.

Treat them for Tapeworms
If your discus pair hasn’t spawned in a long time, you might want to treat them for tapeworms. Discus usually won’t spawn if they have tapeworms.

Move Pair Back to the Community Tank
Sometimes it’s a good idea to let the pair re-bond again by putting them into a community tank with other adult discus.

Give Them Privacy
Discus probably won’t spawn if they are scared. Try keeping their tank in a place where they are not bothered by heavy foot traffic or loud noises. You could also cover the outsides of the aquarium with paper or cardboard to give them more privacy.

Try these tips to see how they work. Keep good records to see what works and what doesn’t work. You might want to try several of these tips at the same time. If you have a good mated pair that is healthy, then you shouldn’t have too much problem getting them to spawn again. Just have some patience.

My Experience with Breeding Albino Discus
By Chad Adams

I must admit ever since I was a little kid, I think I still am by the way, I have always loved albinos. Albino anything! Actually before discus even came along my favorite fish were Albino Kribensis, which I could never get to breed without eating the eggs. Darn cichlids. I used to love our yearly trips to the zoo where you could find just about albino anything; snakes, turtles, deer even alligators. We even lived in an apartment complex when I was 5 that had an actual albino homo sapien, that’s a person for us southerners, living there. He was weird. All this led to my fascination with the albino discus.

How to breed discus
I was very disappointed upon reading Jack Wattley’s Handbook of Discus in the mid-90’s where he showed one picture of an albino discus just to say “it never caught on”. I thought I may never even see one in my lifetime. Fast forward to 2010 when I purchased my first group of adult albinos from Kenny’s Discus of California. I didn’t even tell my close friends I was getting them. I wanted it to be a surprise. At the time I received them there was no one on SimplyDiscus or my current influences that was having any success with breeding albinos on a regular basis. The hardest part seemed to be getting the albino babies to attach to the albino parents. Challenge taken!

I began to take in all the information I could; internet, books, chat rooms, anywhere I could get a morsel of fact. The problem was there seemed to be very little of that, or anyone that was willing to share it. All threads on SimplyDiscus seemed to be dead ends, books had no information and the chat rooms were useless. So let the experimenting begin! This is the collection of my experience with breeding albinos.

How to breed discusThe first thing I can tell you is breeding albinos is unique; it’s a whole different ballgame. I can also say nothing works exactly the same every time. Breeding albinos is a case of increasing your odds at every chance. It requires consistent attention and a little bit of luck. Let me just say this; If your ultimate goal is only to have albino babies the best method is foster parenting which I have always had great experience with.

It is my opinion based on my experience and knowledge that albinos, and in particular albino babies have very poor eyesight and are hampered by bright light. One of the first people to bring this to my attention was Leo Ross, a friend and fellow discus enthusiast from Georgia when he mentioned in a discussion that when he tilted his light the albino fry reacted differently. I filed this information in the back of my head.

Then one night when heading to bed after water changes I stumbled on one of the most important facets of albino breeding; lighting.

I had tried and failed on several occasions with my first albino pair, a Leopard Snakeskin and ARSG. This was their 5th or 6th spawn that I would watch slowly die after the 3rd day without attachment. It was frustrating but I never felt like I wanted to give up. On this night I was watching the 3 day old fry wither away to nothing at the bottom of the tank. Having enough of this morbid frustration I shut the light off & stood up out of the wooden chair I was sitting in to head to bed. A funny thing happened; the fry began to come alive. They swam up off the bottom and around like they had been given new life. I turned the light back on and back down to the bottom they went. Unfortunately it was too late for this batch as the next morning they were all dead.

I had a pair of ARSGs that were now starting to lay eggs on a regular basis. I decided to use this pair with my new lighting experiment. First thing is to paint the tank all white. Remove the black plastic frame with a razor blade or really thin knife, thanks to Larry Bugg(Bugman, past NADA President). Paint at least the 3 non-viewing sides all white. The viewing side can be covered by white Styrofoam or something that would serve the same purpose that can be removed at a later date. I also switched to using white or sandstone airstones. The heaters were all stainless steel. Nothing else was left in the tank. Again, it’s a matter of increasing the odds.

How to breed discus

In sure typical Atlanta H2O fashion I had eggs within no time. Two days later little tiny wrigglers were all over the cone. The ARSGs were awesome parents staying & defending the eggs and wrigglers 24/7. I kept the light overhead until the free-swimming stage. Prior to free swimming it’s very important to keep the tank as pristine as possible. The day of free-swimming I removed the light and secured the white Styrofoam across the front of the tank. I also lowered the water level as far as I felt comfortable, usually to the top of the fins.

How to breed discusThe pair was very good about attending to the fry and trying to keep them in one place. This effort as always eventually becomes futile as the albinos still were not seeing the parents on a consistent basis with ambient light. I began to experience with a 1 bulb LED flashlight made by Coleman. With the light set on top of the glass above the parents it would cast a shadow down through the parents creating a darkening effect. It worked. The fry were attracted to the parents and stayed with them. The hard part was… the parents wouldn’t stay still & I consistently had to move the flashlight to where the parents were, eventually attracting the fry to the same place. This worked real well and most of the fry attached in this particular batch. In ensuing batches I experienced with more ambient light from different angles and angling the flashlight itself. Experiment, experiment, experiment is the answer.

How to breed discus
At this point when breeding albinos my methods have changed slightly. Everything is the same until the free-swimming stage. After lowering the water I now add a divider such as egg crate into the tank and trap the parents into the smallest space I feel comfortable with. Which is usually barely enough room to even turn around in. They are usually trapped in about 20% of a 20-gallon tank. A few ways I have found to attract the fry to this small space is to attach a black suction cup to the far side of the tank that the pair is trapped in, place a black button in with the pair(Thank You Dick Au), or to cut a circle from black construction paper and slip it into the bottom of the frame on the outside of the section where the pair is. The latter works best with strong outside ambient light, perhaps from another tank. These methods have yielded the most consistent success.

How to breed discus
I am always available for questions, comments or suggestions at the North American Discus Association website under the user name Chad_Adams. I would also like to hear of successes or struggles in the arena of Albino Discus Breeding.

Welcome to:

Also Found at

Effectively & Continuously Replaces Parental Feedings

Keeps Their Water Right

Reduces Labor

Works Well For Angelfish Too

Successfully Breeding Discus Fish Will Change Your Life

How to breed discus

The Discus Nursery will take care of the needs of discus eggs and newly hatched discus fry away from their parents. This includes their nutritional needs and their water condition needs. Also, the nursery operates the feeding and water conditioning functions automatically without constant attention from you – the breeder! The nursery will only require about 10 minutes of your attention a minimum of once every 8 hours rather than the almost constant attention required by other methods of artificially raising discus fry.

The critical feeding stage beginning immediately after the discus babies have consumed their yolk sacks (the period when the fry would normally/naturally begin feeding off the parents sides) is quite effectively substituted constantly by the nursery. The discus babies will have something fresh to pick on (just as they would have had from their parents) presented to them constantly. Also the nursery will provide a constantly refreshed (changed) and filtered tank of water for the discus fry with all of the same parameters (pH, temperature, hardness, nitrification, etc) of the parents tank. The instructions provided describe how to use the Discus Nursery. Also provided in the instructions is the baby discus food formula that is needed for use in the nursery.

The Discus Nursery works well as a hatchery for newly fertilized eggs too.

The Discus Nursery also works well for Angelfish and many other types of egglayers.

After you buy one of these nurseries you have permission from the inventor to make more of them for personal use only. The Patents Pending on the Discus Nursery and the Copyrights on the instructions make selling copies of the nursery or the instructions a crime (FELONY).

When you buy the discus nursery what you are paying for is the design. The cost of advertising this site on google also significantly increases the price of the Discus Nursery. – Sorry.

NO REFUNDS – BECAUSE – This nursery, once received, can be easily duplicated.

You may purchase easy to follow instructions with free immediate digital delivery (download) on how to build and use the Discus Nursery. You will need to purchase about $20 worth of materials to construct the nursery yourself. The baby discus food formula is included with the instructions.

$69.95 Includes Digital Delivery.

You don’t have to have a PayPal account to order — PayPal will process your credit or debit card securely.

Important Note: After you pay you must click to the [email protected] link on the “PayPal Thanks for Your Payment Page” in order for your instant download to start. If you don’t receive your instant download for whatever reason Email Me [email protected]

Click the Buy Now Button Button to Purchase

For All You Need To Know About Discus Fish

How To Keep Discus

How to keep Discus fish or any fish begins with the correct water parameters. With this in mind Chris Ingham explains the importance of the correct water conditions, and how best to achieve them. A visit from a customer today has prompted me to write this article, so Mark from Plymouth this ones for you. Not just because of this one visit, but I seem to be explaining this subject every single day to many others. So I thought it worth covering this month. The main problem being understanding correct water conditions or parameters of the water needed to support our aquatic life. To all who understands the nitrogen cycle and already understands the importance of this subject please bare with me and it doesn’t hurt to keep up to date any way. To those who don’t, please take note. Our fish are kept in a closed system, this means a glass box of water that they have to live in, feed in and excrete in. It would be like us living in a sealed room slowly filling up with toxic smoke, we would not like it and when dangerous levels are evident, we would become ill or diseased. This is what happens if water changes and the correct water management are not carried out on a regular basis. So we now realize that the water in which these animals live in and are at our mercy must be controlled in a specialized manner, according to the species of fish that are kept.


The principle of biological filtration is to build up in sufficient numbers a colony of friendly bacteria to break down the waste (ammonia) from the fish into less harmful nitrite and then nitrate, this is known as the nitrification and denitrification process. This process is known as the nitrogen cycle. To explain the waste products or fish excretion from the fish will give off ammonia in the water and obviously if not diluted down will increase and would not be pleasant for the fish who have to live in it. This is where a good biological filter will do wonders for any fish tank, not just discus. First of all the filter must be mature and house good friendly bacteria (such as nitrosomonas sp) in enough numbers to deal with the job ahead, and that is to break down the ammonia into less harmful nitrites (NO2). But this is still harmful to the fish, so then the biological filter will break this down further into nitrate (NO3) which will not harm the discus. This is why a good adequate filter is needed for any aquarium not just discus but for any fish, although some fish are more resistant to it than discus which will only tolerate ammonia for short periods. Goldfish for example will tolerate ammonia as high as 500 ppm with discus only tolerating 20 ppm. Good water changes on a regular basis will help to reduce the nitrate levels which if allowed to reaching high levels will contribute to algae growing over your plants, rocks and the sides of the tank. Strong sunlight or lights left on for extended periods will also have an effect on ugly algae also.


PH is measured on a scale of 1 to 14 and 7 are deemed as neutral. Below neutral is acidic and above 7 is alkaline. For discus keeping the best perimeter is 6.5, but baby discus will benefit from higher levels up to 7. This is another area where a lot of confusion and conflict has broken out. Discus being easier to keep than most people think will in fact accept quite a wide range of PH value. Some customers of mine keep their discus at 5.8 with no problems, while others at 7.2. It’s just that 6.5 has been the best PH value I have found to hatch discus eggs in the past and has been accepted by many breeders as the best reading of PH for general discus keeping. Sometimes you may need to adjust your PH up or down. Be very careful when using buffers, many can contain phosphates which will do no favours for your discus. The best one I have found to use is made by API and they make a PH buffer that is for up and down and contents no phosphates. A good accurate way of measuring PH is with a digital meter, these are by far more accurate than liquid test kits as recent test have proved. GH is the general hardness of the water. The more dissolved minerals and salts in the water, the harder the water will be, giving a higher reading of GH. When measuring GH any readings under 10 is deemed as soft water and fine for keeping discus in, although my perfect figure is 3. Above 10 and that is classed as hard water. Again discus can be kept in a GH from nearly zero to as high as 18 or 19 (but don’t expect them to breed at this end of the scale) As with the PH testing digital meters are a lot more accurate than liquid test kits and are very cheap to buy these days. So there we have it, a good under standing of how the water parameters need to be for successful discus keeping. I could go deeper into this subject but this is the basics that need to be adhered to for now. Those of you that venture into breeding etc will need to learn all about osmosis and the concept with water hardness. It is well worth under standing the nitrogen cycle and how it works. Your fish will be very grateful too.


  • Sometimes discus will do a mad dash about the tank, do ammonia test. High levels of ammonia can burn the gills of the fish and make them literally jump out of a tank to get away from the pain.
  • Plenty of aeration will do wonders not only for your fish but the filter system will greatly benefit it too.
  • If plenty of oxygen is present in the water aerobic bacteria will form. This is the most efficient bacteria to break down ammonia.
  • Trickle towers are the best form of filtering water for aquatic use because they will house millions of oxygen rich aerobic bacteria.
  • Be careful when using chemicals, over dosing can wipe out the friendly bacteria in a filter system and cause massive problems with your fish.

Chris Ingham

Author of Discus World, the complete up to date manual for the discus keeper.

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How to breed Discus fish?


Recently, a friend of mine gave me 6 discus abt. 2-3″ big. However, I noticed 2 of them have quite serious black spots on their face and body, why is it so? Can they be cured? Sometimes, I can see that they are bitting each other(fighting) using their mouths and also chasing other discus as well, is it common, why? What size of tank should I placed my 6 discus? Currently, I’m putting them in a 1ft tank. Do you think a 2 ft tank is sufficient? What type of filter(internal or overflow)should I use? Normally, how big will the discus pair off?

welcome to the forum.

the black spots, do they look more like freckles and scattered like pepper. if yes it is the coloration predominately with pigeon blood hybrid strain and is not a dieases. chances likely it will stay with them forever.

As for the fighting and chasing, this is also a common trait amoung cichlids and are forming their social pecking order and out of the six, one dominate(alpha)discus will emerge, and there will also be one that will end as the butt that gets kicked around. This squabbling will be magnified especially when housed in small tanks.

the fish to water ratio for discus is 1 fish to 10 gallons of water. this means that with 6, it is advisable to house them in a 60 to 70 gallon tank with a tank length of 4 feet as a minimum guide. You can house them in a 2 feet but more often then not you will end up with lots of heartache see your discus trashing each other, and getting stunted due to insufficient space to grow.

As far as filter is concern, it will be good if a canister filter is used and if your decision is for a 4ft tank, than a ehiem 2228 or its equal will be good.

A discus normally pairs off when they are between one to one and a half years. size is not the concern as some adult discus may be small due to stunting. But if you must know, taking that stunting is not the factor, breeding size should be landing at 6 inches in diameter.

HI Chrisg, I am not an expert on Discus, but I have been doing some research on it before I get into it. There are some good sites out there like:-
1. (Discuis Page Holland),
2. (Local Discus enthusiast with good info and links)

IMO, you should seriously consider whether you want to keep the Discus you have or not as it is not an easy task. From what I know, 6 discus in a 1ft tank is definitely not suitable. Heck, even a 2 ft tank is not enough as they can grow to several inches big (if they survive). Then, there are things like the water parameters to consider (such as low pH and warm temp (29-30 degrees) etc. Also, they are very fussy about water quality etc. Not meaning to be discouraging to a beginner, but these are the plain facts.

Soon you will find that the equipment you require will set you back several hundred bucks (at least you didnt have to pay for the fish!). You just gotta ask yourself if they are worth it and the time you have to put in to keep them alive. If you are really serious, then go for it and enjoy! Else, I would advise to pass them on to somebody else who can provide them a better home. Just my 2 cents worth.

Hi David, didnt see your post, must have been just before mine hit the web. Enjoy your outing at GAN’s?

no problems on the posting thingy

i enjoyed the company of the guys today. it makes the outing more fun. but didnt enjoy my visit to gan coz only can get two more long nose angel and thats all. gian the flameback bleeding heart which alan koh got . the checkerboard cichlid, aspitos, tefegreen, a new sub-species of altums. ARRRRGGHHHHH. think its time for a new tank![]



Discus Fish, the king of Aquariums, has truly earned its royal reputation. The beauty of a Discus may be mesmerizing but it takes quite a few facts to succeed in breeding its royal bloodline. Breeding a Discus can be very rewarding but can also be confusing if one sticks to the myth and not to the facts. In this article, we will discuss the facts and myths on the selection of pairs in Discus Breeding.

Before you continue, let us first define FACT and MYTH!
MYTH – an idea or story that is believed by many people but that is NOT TRUE!
FACT – a thing or idea that is known or proved to be TRUE.
  • MYTH:
    It is really hard to pair up a Discus Fish!
  • FACT:
    In reality, Discus Fishes are quite easy to pair up. Discus Fishes are often sold by groups. In a group of six (6) mature Discus Fishes, chances of getting 2 pairs of Discus for breeding is very high!

How to breed discus

  • MYTH:
    Noticing the pairing of two Discus Fishes is very rare and hard to notice.
  • FACT:
    The Discus Fishes will become inseparable once pairing starts. It is easily observed and will become territorial. Discus Fishes are territorial once a spawning site is selected. The pair will start cleaning the area to be able to lay eggs.

How to breed discus

  • MYTH:
    Male and Female Discus Fish are hard to distinguish due to their vibrant colors.
  • FACT:
    The Male and Female Discus Fish can be distinguished when their spawning tube will begin to be visible. It can be easy to differentiate the Discus Fish’s sex because the female’s spawning tube is approximately 3mm and the male’s spawning tube is around 1-2mm. It is also noticeable that the female Discus Fish has a long blunt spawning tube while the male Discus Fish has a more pointed spawning tube.

How to breed discus

  • MYTH:
    The female Discus Fish lays eggs and will also fertilize those eggs.
  • FACT:
    As the female Discus Fish makes a test run along the spawning area in preparation for laying eggs, the male will follow along behind her to fertilize the eggs. In other terms, the female will lay eggs while the male is responsible for fertilizing it. Note that, it is important the male doesn’t get distracted at this point.

How to breed discus

  • MYTH:
    The process of laying eggs for Discus Fish is fast and predictable.
  • FACT:
    The truth is some pair of Discus Fish takes their time in preparing to lay eggs while others are quick in laying eggs. It takes approximately 60 hours for the Discus Fish eggs to hatch.

How to breed discus

  • MYTH:
    Once the eggs are done hatching, the fry will begin to swim away immediately from the breeding site towards their parents.
  • FACT:
    It takes approximately 60 hours before the fry begin to swim away from the breeding site and hopefully towards the parents. It can be tricky but once the fry will begin to feed on the slime excreted from the parents sides, it means that all is well as of the moment.
  • MYTH:
    All Discus pair are proven breeding pair and can easily be found from any retailers.
  • FACT:
    Discus Fish pair can be at premium price especially if it is both healthy and attractive. A non Albino or non pigeon blood pair is strongly recommended for first attempt breeding. It also easier to start with the darker brown based fish like Virgin reds, Red covers, or a nice Turquoise pair.

How to breed discus

  • MYTH:
    All kind of Discus Fish are cheap.
  • FACT:
    Discus Fish pair can be at premium price especially if it is both healthy and attractive. A non Albino or non pigeon blood pair is strongly recommended for first attempt breeding. It also easier to start with the darker brown based fish like Virgin reds, Red covers, or a nice Turquoise pair.
  • MYTH:
    Discus Fishes in group have faster process of pairing.
  • FACT:
    Pairing Discus Fish is recommended only if you are in no hurry. One can buy a group of 5 or more juvenile fish, and grow them out to adulthood. Chances are as the fish mature, pairs can be form from this grouping.

How to breed discus

  • MYTH:
    Mixing Discus’s strains are recommended to avoid expenses.
  • FACT:
    Keeping sure that the same group of Discus Fish’s compatible strains is a must. It is not also recommended for beginners to keep mixing strains and it may result in ugly unsellable offspring.
  • MYTH:
    Discus Fishes are capable of breeding even with worst body conditions.
  • FACT:
    A healthy breeding pair is a must in creating a quality Discus Fish offspring. One should make sure that the selected pair is healthy, well fed, and free from any disease. A 5 ½” (female) to 6”+ (male) is the best Discus sizes for breeding.

How to breed discus

  • MYTH:
    Discus Fishes are best if they are introduced suddenly to a breeding tank.
  • FACT:
    Breeding can be quite stressful for a Discus Fish pair. Before introducing to a breeding tank, it best to feed the pair with only the best foods that they like.

How to breed discus

The Selection of Discus Pair for breeding is indeed a very valuable experience. Whatever the purpose of breeding these beautiful fishes, the process will teach you to value patience while having fun. Always remember to stick to the facts and don’t believe in myths!

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Introducing Discus to the Aquarium

There is a little bit more involved in introducing your new discus to their new home, than simply plopping them into the water. This part of the guide will explain those steps, from buying your discus, to actually moving them to the tank.

Buying a Discus:

When going out to purchase a discus fish for the first time there are many things to consider. The first thing you want to look for when selecting a discus fish for your new discus aquarium is one which looks healthy.

How does a healthy discus fish look? There are many signs which you should be aware of in terms of knowing if a discus fish is healthy or not. The most common things to look at are behavior, coloration, and physical attributes.


In terms of seeing if a discus is healthy or not, looking at its behavior can give clues to help decipher if it is indeed in good health, or if its not.

Discus which are not healthy will tend to swim sluggishly, they may be hiding behind the plants or the filter, and if they don’t rush towards a food source when it is offered to them.

On the other hand, if they are swimming around normally, look curious as to what is going on, and rush forward when food is introduced they are likely in good health.


You can use the coloration of a discus to tell if it is sick or not. If a discus fish seems to be darkened quite a bit it can be a telltale sign that there is something not quite right with it.

This does not apply to baby discus, as baby discus will tend to not have any coloration at all. Discus only develop their colors as they reach adulthood. If you see a baby discus which is brightly colored that is a sign that they have been fed some sort of hormones, or color enhancing food. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that the baby discus is ill, discus who are fed hormones at such a young age could develop potential problems later on.

Eye coloration is a thing to look at as well. The eyes should be clear and not cloudy. Remember not all discus have the same color eyes. Some discus have red eyes, some have amber eyes, and some discus have eyes that don’t have any color at all. However, if you see a discus which has a black eye, it is a good indicator that the fish is sick.

Physical Attributes:

Physical attributes of the discus can be a good indication of whether or not the fish is in good health or not. For example: If the discus has short gill covers, looks emaciated, looks undernourished, has some sort of wound, has frayed fins, or has white fecal matter trailing behind it, it is a good indication that the discus is not well.

You should also pay close attention to the discus’ skin to make sure it doesn’t have any defects as well.

If a discus is only breathing from one gill it is a sure sign that it has gill flukes. If a discus is breathing from both gills, and the gill flaps are beating once per second then it is a good sign that the discus is healthy.

How many Discus to buy?

Discus are a very social fish, they need to be in groups no less than six in order to be happy. So when purchasing discus you should get at least six to eight discus. This ensures that they will be comfortable in the tank and also almost guarantees you a breeding pair when they reach their breeding age.

Putting the Discus into their new home:

When purchasing discus be sure to ask the shopkeeper the pH level, temperature, and alkalinity of the tank that they were kept in. The water conditions should be fairly close to what you have set up for them in their aquarium.

If they are not close at all, you will need to acclimatize the discus to your discus aquarium slowly. If the conditions are relatively equal, then the process is much easier.

When you get your newly acquired discuss home, you will need to have a clean bucket where you can place the discus in. Place the discus in the bucket pouring in the shop water as well. The next thing you will want to do is fill the bucket with some water from your discus aquarium. You will want to add enough water so the discus can float upright comfortably, but don’t fill the bucket to the top. You will need to add water from your aquarium gradually to the bucket until the temperature and the pH levels are the same.

Once the pH level and the temperature are the same in the bucket as they are in the aquarium, you can now move the discus to their new home. If you are a beginner, you will want to move the discus by utilizing a net that you can purchase at any aquarium supply store.

As you get more experienced you will be able to eventually move discus by hand, however, you need to make sure that your hands are extremely clean when doing so. The discus will lie flat in your hand, allowing you to easily move them from bucket to aquarium, or quarantine tank to aquarium etc.

Once the discus is safely in the aquarium, turn off the tank lights, make sure the cover is secured, and let your new discus have some time to adjust to their new home.

Breeding discus

Breeding discus fish can be both fun and profitable. It is not very hard to make more than 10 000 a month breeding discus fish. But if you breed fish on this scale then you will have a lot of costs associated with the breeding (3000 -5000 a month) and you are going to need to dedicate a lot of time to the breeding. It can be very rewarding to breed discus for profit and you can earn a lot of money but you have to be willing to put in the work. But this is true not only for breeding discus but for most other ventures as all. You can not expect to become a successful day trader, a successful entrepreneur or a successful anything without dedicating yourself to the pursuit. I recommend that you start breeding discus as a hobby and then if you like it you can scale up and turn it into a profession. This will make it easier to succeed and reduce the risk of failure.

zaterdag 24 juli 2010

Complete discus fish manual

Many people who are at the beginning of a beautiful hobby such as fish breeding find it useful to turn to complete discus fish manuals for information and assistance in day to day problems and situations. What should a complete discus fish manual be like? Mention should be made that you need to have a look over a complete discus fish manual before actually investing some money in the tank, the cycling equipment and the tank “inhabitants” as such. Discus fish are considered the most incredible aquarium breed in the whole world, thanks to their colors and their unique qualities, discus make excellent pets. Let’s go over the main things you should expect from a complete discus fish manual.

First of all you may want to know what kind of discus fish you want to buy: there are several color variants and three species varieties. All complete discus fish manuals include information and general breed facts, and these are the data you need to begin with. Then, a complete discus fish manual will provide you with the proper knowledge to be able to recreate the correct living habit for this exotic fish: water temperature, pH, purity and necessary oxygen levels.

Then the complete discus fish manual needs to make you familiar with the feeding habits and the existence of friendly bacteria in the tank filter that consume the fish waste. Moreover, a complete discus fish manual will prepare you for the right choices in terms of plants and various decorations you may include in the tank. Consequently, complete discus fish manuals present you the most detailed data necessary for the proper breeding of some delicate creature. Discus fish are easily exposed to disease if you don’t take the interest to read the part about the health preservation.

Complete discus fish manuals provide the right solutions when you face a crisis situation. You don’t need to know everything in the book, but the simple presence of a complete discus fish manual close within reach when you need it, is really important. Web pages such as should make you realize what you can expect from a complete discus fish manual: from the first steps of tank preparation to actually breeding the discuss fish. In case you need assistance that goes beyond the information in a special guide, then talk to the vet first and foremost. Good luck!

Facts about discus health

The most popular concerns about discus fish are those related to their health since they are know for being very sensitive to environmental conditions. It is essential for discus health that you recreate the living conditions they are used to in the wild: soft, slightly acidic clean water. Of course breeders do everything in their power to protect discus health given the fact that they also require special temperature and pH. Therefore if you plan on buying discus fish, you should start preparing their tank a month in advance to make sure you ensure discus health.

There are many problems associated with discus health, but I will mainly refer to the environmental ones, which seem to be the most common. For instance, the iodine deficiency may appear due to pollutants in water or improper feeding. Then, another problem related to discus health is the lack of vitamins in the food, which on the long term may create low immune system and deficient wound healing for instance. Vitamin C is essential for discus health; hence make sure you store food properly or you risk losing this vitamin though oxidation. Absence of this vitamin leads to bleeding, fin ulcerations and many other problems.

Many of the discus health problems appear because of breeder’s ignorance or failure to provide the proper living conditions. Once you take up breeding fish, there is a responsibility involved like with any other animal; should you find yourself overwhelmed, you can always turn to special discus health services provided by vet units. Information and tips you may find in books on discus health or on sites such as are highly reliable and make a very good start when in comes to taking care of discus health. The authors of such books are usually experienced breeders from whom you’ve got lots to learn.

Discus health should not be an issue for someone careful enough to follow some ground rules. For instance, the water cycle should be functional all the time and no waste or uneaten food should be left in it. Discus health is threatened in case of over-heating. Don’t go over 31 degrees Celsius, as this will also lower the oxygen level in the tank and cause your fish to suffer from oxygen starvation. Monitor your discus health on a regular basis and check the living conditions daily or even several times a day if possible so that nothing goes wrong.

The secrets of breeding discus

Before breeding discus, you will definitely need to learn all you can on the habits of these exotic and charming creatures. Before breeding, discus like to choose their partner alone, which may make it a little difficult and even expensive for the owner. Breeding discus should be kept in groups of maximum four individuals as the ideal formation. Keep the water warm enough and feed them properly and breeding discus will be a true joy; it won’t take too long before they will spawn. To understand the principles of breeding discus you’ve got a lot of things to read as there will be quite some changes in your tank.

First of all you should know that breeding discus will choose an almost vertical site for their mating and will clean it before laying eggs. Don’t be surprised if they spawn on the bottom or the side of the tank. After laying the eggs and fertilizing them, the two parents will be guarding the perimeter preventing other fish to come close. Breeding discus also means noticing behavior changes in your so calm and shy fish. They are not going to become aggressive to other tank inhabitants unless the eggs are in danger. Breeding discus sometimes means having some eggs sacrificed. Therefore, the parents eat the eggs they cannot protect.

It is easy to find out when you’ve got a pair of breeding discus; once two of them start defending a perimeter in the aquarium, you need to act quickly. It would be perfect if the owner separated the breeding discus to a different tank set up for the purpose. Don’t put anything on the bottom of the tank of the breeding discus as you’ll have to clean it very easily. They only need a vertical surface to deposit their eggs. To improve the environment of the breeding discus you can add a small bag of peat moss in the power filter, thus recreating the natural water conditions of the discus.

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    COlor of discus eggs before and after fertilization?

    This last Monday the discus laid many eggs. again! That being said. as soon as I noticed them I covered them with a plastic mesh screen. hoping to keep them from eating them and that worked.

    The one think I do not know is. how can you tell if they have been ferilized? Right now. about 72 hours into it they are white.

    So what color are they before being fertilzed as well as afterwards?

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    This last Monday the discus laid many eggs. again! That being said. as soon as I noticed them I covered them with a plastic mesh screen. hoping to keep them from eating them and that worked.

    The one think I do not know is. how can you tell if they have been ferilized? Right now. about 72 hours into it they are white.

    So what color are they before being fertilzed as well as afterwards?

    Pulled this from another forum Daniel, the question there was the same as yours.

    Congrats on the spawning. If the eggs are infertile, they will turn white with fungus after a day or so. Fertilized discus eggs generally have a tan to orangish color. I wouldn’t toss in the towel yet on them being infertile. Freshly laid eggs will be clear for a little while. This spawn would be a good practice spawn for both the discus parents and yourself. You can cull the baby fish later, but for now, let the parents take care of the clutch if they will.

    Actually, both parents (if they’re good parents) will take turns fanning the eggs and protecting them from would be egg snatchers. They will be aggressive towards their tankmates, so unless you have a large tank, it’d be a wise idea to move the other fish out of the tank. If they’re fertile, they’ll hatch out within a week or so. It will take 36-48 hours after hatching for the fry to absorb their yolk sacks (wrigglers at this stage) and after that, they will be free swimming.

    Discus are unique, in that their fry can and do feed from their bodily secretions in the wild. The young will feed on the slime coat of either of the adults and hover around the adults like a swarm of gnats. You can start to feed them infusoria (sponge filter squeezings) and/or green algae water for the first two to three days. After that, you can also feed them supplimental feedings of baby brine shrimps or a small micron powdered food such as golden pearls (kens fish carries them) up to five times per day with a turkey baster. Keep changing the tank water, about 50% a day, with pre-warmed replacement water (use a heater in a brand new plastic paint bucket) to avoid cold shocking the fry.

    by Glen Thode

    Sometimes discus fry don’t attach to their parents after they start free swimming. Usually this is a problem with newly formed, young discus pairs. The discus fry will wander around the tank. If they don’t attach to the discus breeding pair, the discus fry will eventually starve to death in a few days. Here’s a few tips that might help your fry attach to their parents.

    1. Paint the outsides of your tank white or a light color like cream or a very light blue. When discus fish breed, they almost all turn dark. The fry are attracted to dark objects. You want to color the sides of your tank in a very light color, so the fry will be attracted to the dark discus breeding pair. They won’t be distracted by seeing other dark objects in the room. You might even want to temporarily cover the front of the aquarium with some white paper or white painted cardboard so all sides of the tank are white.
    2. Remove all objects in the aquarium except for the heater and an air stone. It’s a good idea to remove sponge filters and spawning cones/bricks because these dark objects might attract the fry away from their parents. You can put the sponge filter back into the aquarium after the fry attach to their parents.
    3. Use light colored or clear aquarium heaters. You want to avoid black or dark colored aquarium heaters that might attract the discus fry away from their parents.
    4. Lower the water in the aquarium. Our discus breeders are in 50 gallon aquariums. We’ll lower the water for the first few days when the fry start to free swim. Lowering the water makes it easier for the discus fry to find their parents since they have less room to roam.
    5. Keep a light on the aquarium 24 hours a day. Lighting up the tank will help the fry locate their dark parents. You can use a low wattage light bulb. But keep the light on all the time. You don’t want the tank to go dark when the discus pair have fry. We’ll keep a light on the breeding pair for at least 2 weeks, while the fry bond with their parents.
    6. If your breeder tanks are on a central filtration system, you might want to slow down the flow of the water entering the aquarium. We slow our water down quite a lot so the water isn’t turbulent.
    7. Try to keep the aeration level low on your air stone. Strong aeration can make it difficult for fry to swim to their parents.
    8. Keep the breeding tank clean. Keep on doing water changes so the wrigglers will be in good health. Poor water conditions might make the fry too sick or weak to attach to their parents.
    9. Keep the water acidic in your breeding tanks. Bad bacteria can also make discus fry too weak or sick to feed off of their parents sides. Bacteria will thrive in water with a high pH. Keeping the pH between 5.0 – 6.0 will help reduce the chance of bad bacteria killing your fry.
    10. If the fry still don’t attach to the parents after doing the previous tips, try feeding them live San Francisco Baby Brine Shrimp. It’s supposed to be significantly smaller in size than other baby brine shrimps. If you’re lucky, the fry will be large enough to eat it and survive without having to eat the slime off of their parents.

    Watching discus fry attach to a breeding pair is always a thrill to see. I hope these tips help you and your fry out. Good luck!

    How to breed discus

    Native to regions in South America, the discus fish is highly temperamental when it comes to tank conditions. Domestic discus fish come in a variety of different colors. However, those in the wild come from three sub-species distinguished by their colors. Discus fish pair with a mate, when they begin the breeding process. Pair bonding is a difficult task, but you can find signs to help identify when this is happening to your discus fish.

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    Territorial Behavior

    While in the presence of other fish, discus fish become highly territorial during the process of pair bonding. The male discus fish manifests aggressive behavior, usually chasing other fish away from the female discus or the area where they are located. The male discus uses the aggressive behavior to claim the female as a mate and deter other potential mates from approaching the mating pair. Owners may consider giving their pair bonding discus fish a separate aquarium, providing a more relaxed setting for the process.

    Cleaning the Spawning Area

    If discus fish are alone in an aquarium, they will begin cleaning the area where they have chosen to spawn. The indicators of this are the fish picking at the area with their mouths, moving rocks, pebbles or anything else that is in the location. Sometimes they clear the site to form a circular area that the fish will use to spawn. The fish do this to ensure the area is safe to begin the spawning process.

    Displaying Vibrant Colors

    During the pair bonding process, discus fish often display colors that are more vibrant, which they use to attract their mate. Discus fish also use color display to inform potential mates that they are ready to begin the mating process. Owners should observe their fish regularly and make notes on whether they observe a visual color difference with their fish. This is a suitable technique when pair bonding discus fish have their own aquarium separate from other fish and are not displaying the other pair bonding signs.

    Every discus breeder have their own successful methods. The method that I adopt to breed my discus is as follows:

    Preparing Stock for Breeding Pairs
    In our experience, we tend to prepare ‘pairs candidates or future pairs to be’ when they are at 3” in size. I select the best fish from the available stock and select several bigger ones (tend to be male) and several small ones (tend to be female), which are then place in a different tank. I start to give more attention to this tank by giving bigger portions of food and also the number of discus in a particular tank is limited to only 10-12, so they can grow to its maximum size (tanks size 1.5m/400 litre). The concept is the bigger the breeding pair size, the more eggs produced. My own Blue Diamond at 5.5” normally produce 350 fry.

    Conditioning the spawning
    As soon as they reach maturity you will notice some of the fish starts pairing on their own (usually they will separate themselves from the group and stay at the corner). If this happens, then separate this pair immediately and put them into breeding tank (usually 50x50x50cms) with water at 45cm in height. At this point, set the temperature at 27-28 degrees C ; Ph level at 6.5 ; hardness water at level 3 dH. Change the water regularly to stimulate spawning process. In this tank only use breeding sponge filter and breeding cone (made of clay or PVC pipe). If everything goes according to plan, usually in 1 week the pairs will produce eggs and can be seen attaching on the breeding cone.

    After the pair has formed, usually they will start the spawning ritual (some visible signs : they will star cleaning breeding cone, dancing to attract spouse, body & fin shaking/trembling). If the cleaning action gets more intense, that will signify that spawning will happen very soon and you can notice the discus swimming vertical aong the breeding cone. After the first egg is laid, we only have to wait for further 2-3 hours. After all eggs are laid (discus stops swimming in vertical direction), I usually put a stainless wire cage to protect the eggs. This is to prevent both ‘parents’ from consuming their eggs. Add Methylene Blue to prevent eggs from being damaged by fungus. This is what I call the 1st day..

    Helping the pairs manage the fry
    Usually at day 3 the eggs will start hatching, but the fry will stay attach to the cone. At day 6 or 7, the fry will start to detach themselves from the cone and swim freely. This is the period where we should help ‘parents’ in gathering all fry, so you can get a complete-full batch, by reducing water level to only 25cms or lowest at the above discus upper fins. During this period, you will see that the ‘parents’ can gather all their ‘kids’ and the tiny discus fry will start to consume slime from their parents’ body.

    Managing the fry
    After day 4 (which means 11 days after 1st egg is laid), where all fry can freely swim, you start to add food. At this stage, I feed them with 1st hatch of brineshrimp or artemia naupli. (4 times a day). If everything goes fine, by day 7 (14-15 days after 1st egg is laid) you can start separating all the fry and put them into a different tank, which this marks the start of the raising process.

    Fry at day 7 (14-15 days after 1st egg is laid) up to 1 month of age, feed them with artemia or brineshrimp (8 times per day).
    When the fry is between 1 month to 1.5 month, feed with artemia (4 times per day) and you can make your own discus burger.
    When the fry are above 1.5 month, you can feed discus burger or frozen blood worms (3-4 times per day) and you should have successfully spawned and raised large amounts of fry.

    Peter Thode’s discus hatchery burned down. Not once, but twice. And each time, he rebuilt it. “If you’re really into it, you don’t give up,” Thode said.

    Thode is the owner of Gwynnbrook Farm, a largely Internet-order hatchery in the Northwest Baltimore suburb of Owings Mills, Maryland. I visited the hatchery, and wandered through the aisles while Thode was busy with a few walk-in customers. His fish all seemed well cared for. Healthy and alert, they hovered in their eye-level tanks, watching me as I watched them. Among the exquisitely beautiful discus strains were brilliant turquoise, Manaea Peru, red diamonds, flame marlboro, white snowflakes, and red spotted greens.

    How to breed discus

    Discus breeder Peter Thode in his hatchery, Gwynbrook Farm. -photo by David Snell

    Along with discus, Thode also raises piranhas in his hatchery. He breeds these in several large cinder block tubs on the floor of the hatchery, providing them with trays of rounded stones to spawn in. From a friend in Germany, Thode acquired several altum angels that he hopes will breed. In addition to the hatchery, he maintains a 180 gallon reef tank in his house and a 10,000 gallon ornamental goldfish pond just outside his back door.

    The hatchery is Thode’s labor of love, the culmination of a life-long fascination that began in childhood. Thode was born in Dresden, Germany, in 1932. When he was a child, he and the other neighborhood children would collect sticklebacks. A local woman would pay the children a small bounty for each fish, which she fed to her cat. Intrigued by the little fish, the young Thode kept some for a small aquarium he set up.

    …a young man’s fancy lightly turns to…
    He left Germany for Sweden in 1952. In that country, he met a young woman who would later become his bride. He was fascinated by the angel fish in the aquarium his future father-in-law kept. He found himself going to visit more and more often, as much to see the fish as to see the young woman.

    In 1957, the couple moved to the United States. They saved their money until they could afford a house, which they bought in 1960. Gradually, Thode filled the basement with aquariums. Old refrigerator liners, also, became makeshift fish containers, each holding about 100 gallons of water. He soon acquired the angel fish he loved, along with various killifish and barbs. It wasn’t long, however, before the humidity from all the tanks soon became a problem.

    “I put so many aquariums in that poor little house that I basically ruined it,” he said. “The drywall was so soft that you could push it in with your thumb.”

    More tanks, more space
    Eventually, Thode looked for larger quarters. He gutted the house and replaced all of the water-logged drywall. In 1972, he bought Gwynnbrook farms, the 10 acre farm where he and his wife now reside. He built the house they live in without any extra help. But before he moved out of his old house, he worked out an agreement with the owners of the property he was buying. In preparation for the move, they allowed him to begin constructing an outbuilding on the property to house all his fish tanks. Eventually, he expanded the structure to include his current hatchery.

    How to breed discus

    Gwynbrook Farm discus. -Photo by David Snell

    To keep the hatchery warm, he converted an old furnace to burn used motor oil. Unfortunately, a malfunction in the boiler led to a fire that destroyed the hatchery. He rebuilt it, only to have it catch fire again several years later, when a florescent light overheated. Before he began breeding discuss, Thode had bred angel fish for his friend Merrill Cohen, the owner and founder of the Baltimore-based Aquarium Products Company. Cohen passed away a few years ago.

    “He was a wonderful man,” Thode said. “He was the nicest person I ever met.” It was Cohen who provided Thode with his first discus. In 1975, Cohen surprised Thode with 12 wild-type discus he had brought back with him from an aquarium trade show in Seattle. Thode began breeding discus full time in 1982. Previously, he had worked as a service manager in the automobile business for 28 years. When the owners sold the company, he devoted himself to his discus and the cattle he raises on his 10 acre farm.

    More than 25 years later, he’s still going strong, getting up at 5 am every day to take care of his charges. To keep his discus healthy, Thode changes 10 to 15 percent of their water daily. He begins with water from the tap, at a pH of 7.3. He adjusts the pH to 6.5, as many of his customers have difficulty maintaining their water at 6.0.

    Filtration is provided by large Triton swimming pool filters, which circulate the water through beds of sand. The tanks are maintained by 7 separate filtration systems, he said. Should an outbreak of disease occur, it is limited to one system and won’t affect fish in the others. Windows and skylights keep the hatchery well lit. To keep sunlight from turning the water green, Thode keeps a mesh bag of maple leaves in each system. The leaves leach tannins, which tints the water just enough to prevent suspended algae blooms. He maintains the hatchery at about 82 to 84 degrees, heating it through steam pipes under the floor. Heat is provided by home heating oil and a furnace that Thode stokes with scrap lumber.

    Feeding discus
    Thode makes his own discuss food, from a such diverse ingredients as canned green beans, oatmeal, shrimp, turkey hearts, and turkey livers. It’s important to use the best ingredients possible, he said, to ensure that the fish will eat it. “If the fish don’t like it, I have to take it out the next day,” he said. “All it does is pollute the water.” Thode makes about 400 to 500 pounds of the food at a time. He doesn’t sell his discus food, but he does provide instructions on how to make it on his Web site, at

    Soon after his discus spawn, he removes the eggs from the parents and hatches them in a solution of methylene blue. Discus are reputed to be good parents, he said. In fact, about 90 percent of discus are not good parents. “Parenting varies with the fish—like people,” he said. After the eggs hatch, he places the fry in little bowls. Thode lines the outer edge of the bowl with raw egg yolk, then dusts the raw yolk with powdered egg yolk before filling the bowl with water. About 3 to 5 days after the fry are free swimming, he feeds them newly hatched brine shrimp until they are large enough for other foods.

    Thode explained that many people fail to get their discus to spawn because they over look the fish’s need for solitude when they’re ready to breed. Similarly, showing discuss fry to visitors may also spook the parents into eating the fry. When he plans to breed discus, Thode moves them to a corner of the hatchery that is closed off to visitors. “Animals will destroy their babies if they can’t take care of them,” he said. He explained that getting discus to spawn isn’t that difficult, if the fish are well fed, kept away from visitors, and are given water conditions they like. Many hobbyists know about these conditions but ignore them anyway, and then are disappointed when they fail, he said.

    “There are no secrets to breeding discuss,” he said. “It’s all been written already. You just have to follow the instructions.”

    Discus fish are one of the most spectacular looking fish in the hobby. They have a majestic presence that is hypnotic. These beauties are also one of the most difficult fish to keep because of all the pampering they require. If you have mastered the ability to keep this animal healthy and vibrant for at least a couple of years, you may be ready to attempt breeding. The following points will guide you in this endeavor:

    Finding a breeding pair

    A reputable dealer would be able to provide you with a breeding pair that has already bonded, but it will cost you an arm and a leg. The alternative is to start with a dozen or so young adults about the size of a silver dollar and feed them a high protein diet three times a day for around 18 months. They will not breed until they are at least two years old. They will pair off on their own and defend a territory in the tank from the other fish. This is then the time to move the pair to a breeder tank.

    The right size breeding tank

    Some breeders advocate using a very small tank for the pair when breeding, while others advocate a more normal size tank with plenty of room. I believe a 30/40 gallon high to 75 gallon tank for an adult pair is the right choice.

    Water quality, water quality, water quality!

    If you have experience with this fish already, you are well aware of how critical water quality is. Nitrate and ammonia needs to be kept as close to zero has possible and DOC, (dissolved organic compounds) kept low as well. Water should be soft with a pH between 5.8 and 6.4. A high quality sponge filter with a dense pore structure and large surface area provides a superior biological filtration. A sponge filter can also be easily set with a slow flow rate which the adult Discus and fry prefer.


    An effective way of acclimating the fish from the pairing tank to the breeder tank is to set up a small temporary holding tank, (ten or 20 gallons) that is filled with water from the pairing tank. With the fish inside the holding tank, slowly over a period of several hours replace the holding tank water with water from the new breeding tank. Once the water transfer is complete, simply move the fish into the breeding tank. It will take about thirty days for the fish to feel at home in the new tank before they can be encouraged to breed.


    Fluctuating the temperature up and down between 82 and 88 degrees every couple of days while changing 10% of the water every day will trigger the female to lay her eggs. Once the eggs are laid, keep the temperature stable. The tank should have a piece of slate that is standing upright in the corner, or a PVC pipe for the eggs to be laid on. They may even use the sponge filter.

    The parents care

    Both parents must be kept with the fry for at least six weeks. The fry feed from the body slime of both parents and follow them closely. After about three weeks you can start feeding the fry live or frozen brine shrimp, and after four weeks a high grade fine flake. When the fry begin to spend most of their time exploring the tank away from their parents, the adults can be removed. The fry will be about the size of a dime within three months.