Breeding Discus

The hardest part in breeding discus is actually keeping them alive and healthy. After this breeding them is comparatively easy. The biggest factor in keeping them healthy is the condition of the water. If you are very lucky your tap water may be of the same ph and level of hardness as found in the Amazon (level of dissolved minerals). But for most people this is not the case resulting in a lot of effort to condition the water.
Because discus do not tolerate waste matter as ammonia and nitrites, they need frequent water changes. This doubles the difficulty. The ph that discus need is 6.5 and hardness level of 3dh. There are several methods to achieve this.
My method is to add some pure sphagnum peat moss to tap water in a plastic dustbin. This lowers the ph and reduces the hardness level. The result after a couple of weeks is water that is similar to the water discus have in the wild. Check the ph is between 6.4 to 6.8 before using the water.

bare_bottom_discus_groupThe temperature should be at 82F. Discus are a relatively large fish and they choose their own mate, so you will need a group of 6 to 8 young 2“ to 3” to grow together and pair off naturally. The tank should be a 60 gallon tall tank.

The tank water should be changed with 10% prepared water every other day, Use two sponge filterd. No gravel because dirt gets trapped into the gravel and also the minerals in the gravel may leach out into the water raising the hardness level. Duckweed is a good absorber of ammonia, nitrite and nitrate so use this.

When the fish start to approach maturity then feed the fish more often per day to condition them preferably with live food or fresh chopped meat, even earthworms.

At 12 months of age you should notice a pair separate off from the rest. Take this pair to another tank of the same size a 60 gallon tall tank with the same set up. Increase the water changes to 10% daily water changes. Raise the temperature now to 85F. Place a couple of breeding cones in the tank.

Breeding discus pair guarding eggsRinse out the sponge filters once a week in a bucket of aged water. Feed the pair 4 times a day with live food. After a week they should start breeding. This can be recognised when the pair flirt with each other wiggling, shaking and nodding. When they start cleaning the breeding cone they will need privacy. It is best to close in the tank by blocking off the back sides and front with white cardboard. Also leave a low level light on at night so that the young can find the adults.

After 4 days the fry become free swimming and head to the parent’s sides where they will feed by biting the mucous.

At two weeks of age start feeding the young brine shrimp.

Also change 20% of the water twice every day at this point.

At four weeks of age shredded beef heart can be fed to the fry.






At 6 weeks of age remove the adults and also try introducing high protein pellets with the beef hearts.

From then on it is all a matter of keeping the water clean, cull the unfit young and spreading them out to other tanks as they grow.

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