Over the years there have been more instruction manuals written about breeding and raising discus fish than any other exotic fish. This is due to the fact that they are highly popular with most pet owners. You will need to know the preferred living conditions, feeding and breeding habits of discus fish if you want these sensitive creatures to live long lives.
To keep discus fish happy, you should start by noting that they are native to the calm, warm waters of the Amazon. Discus fish constantly modify their behavior depending on the surrounding environmental factors.
Discus fish usually act rather shyly, but they are very territorial and will fight against other fish that invade their space. Generally, with this kind of situation the stronger discus fish will survive while the weaker ones will be attacked. Discus fish should be kept in-groups of at least six. By maintaining them in-groups it will generally tend to increase confidence among group members and decrease the chance of them misbehaving. There are difficulties and joys involved when keeping a discus fish. Here are some helpful tips that may help you...
The best way to form a steady pair of discus fish is to buy several unrelated fish that have the same color; they will choose their own mates, and won't do well if you choose mates for them. Spawning usually occurs when there 3/4 of their adult size, this might happen from when the fish are half grown. These fish will be mates for the rest of their lives.
Discus fish will choose a near vertical smooth site, which they clean. After which, the female will lay any ware from 80-400 eggs and then the male fertilizes them. Generally, it may take from fifty to sixty hours in order for the eggs to hatch and an additional thirty six to forty eight hours until they are swimming freely.
The breeding tank works best if it is simple and has spawning locations and air-powered filters. Broad-leafed plants or slate, terra cotta cones are suitable but do not use any substrate. The water must be soft in order to allow the eggs to develop, as they should. The water temperature should be 84-88F and be of the best quality. A tank with the dimensions of 24x18x18 is also suitable.
Feeding and Conditioning:
The mother and father need to have a varied and a good diet to be able to condition them to spawn and also to provide them with nutrition while they feed their fry. Spawning may be triggered by rising temperatures, lots of feeding, or major changes in the water.
The fry should be given more feedings with some specific small foods. (Also known as the BBS) Baby brine shrimp should be kept with their parents. Roughly 3-6 weeks after birth, the fry will be growing rapidly while the parents will be worn out, making this a good time to remove the fry. Lots of water changes are needed to achieve a decent growth rate. In the past I have grown circa. Approximately 40 fry could be kept in a 55-gallon tank, but the water had to be changed very frequently. So it is best to grow 20-50 excellent fry than 80 runts, seeing that the discus market is saturated with fish. The growth rate in this area is normal, but nothing too exciting.
If you are considering breeding discus fish I hope you have found some of these tips to be useful.