Discus fish is one of the most popular types of fish amongst the tropical fish aquarists. Discus fish is an exotic type of fish which requires really dedicated treatment and TLC, than not many other aquarium fish demand. It might be the reason why they are called the 'king of aquarium fish'. They are actually shy but they can clutter you with constant demands from time to time. No wonder breeding discus fish is also a sensitive issue for aquarists as well as fish owners. If you also wish to breed discus fish at home, you need to be really patient. There are a lot of precautions that are needed to be taken to breed a healthy next generation of discus fish for your aquarium.
Discus fish is known to be fuzzy and hard to breed which is only the half truth. If you are well aware about the discus fish care techniques then discus fish breeding is actually an easy. As a rule of thumb, you need to keep the fish for a while, which means it is not beneficial to buy a fish only for the purpose of breeding. Rather, you need to get to know the fish and it is also important for the fish to adapt the local water conditions. It is often suggested that a layman should never try his hand at breeding discus fish, unless he has experience in successful breeding of some other smaller fish species.
As I said earlier, discus fish demand a lot of pampering. They need a lot of space, proper water temperature and healthy and hygienic water conditions. In their natural habitat, discus fish, like many other cichlid species, tend to lay eggs near the shores and around the submerges tree roots. For better results, you may want to build up a special breeding fish tank for them, so that all the preparations can be separately done, without troubling the discus fish tank mates. For that you might need a 20 to 30 gallon aquarium with spare number of hiding spots for them. Since these fish like socializing try to put more than 2 pairs of discus fish in the breeding tank.
As I mentioned earlier, you need to build at least 20 to 30 gallon aquarium as the breeding spot for your discus fish. Don't fill it up with too many aquarium decoration articles. Rather keep it as spacious as possible. However, you need to put a vertical spawning site and some secluded hiding spots as well. The reason why you need to put a hiding spot is because the pairs tend to fight a lot and the female fish then most definitely needs a hiding spot. Once they form pair, the discus fish tend to mark and defend their territory, hence it is a nice idea to have a separate breeding fish tank for them.
Healthy Discus Pair
You have quite a few options when it comes to obtaining a healthy pair of fish for breeding. You can either bring home an already established pair of discus fish who has spawned together in the past. Such pairs are expensive but they greatly increase the possibility of the breeding. Or you can buy a few (at least 6) pairs of discus and let them grow together and can find a perfect mate by the time they reach maturity. By having more fish the possibility of getting several pairs gets raised.
Water management and maintaining the water quality is the most important factor that plays a huge role in the breeding. If you fail to control the nitrogen levels from the water, then you may end up with some really unhealthy fry that are laden with various discus fish diseases. Even though they end up breeding, the fry might be stunted and unhealthy by birth. To avoid all this, you need to perform small water changes on a daily basis. It is also necessary to use the test kit to maintain the levels of nitrogen, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. If you are dealing with captive discus fish breeds, then you may also have to reduce the acid conditions of the water, because their requirements for water conditions are different from those from a natural habitat. An average recommended water temperature for the tank is 86 degrees F.
It is important to find a healthy discus fish food recipe for a better health of your discus fish. You need to feed them with a varied diet which is nutritious as well. You can also try feeding them with live food like bloodworms and white worms. However, it is important that the live food that you use is not cultivated in totally hygienic way. You can supplement the live food with high quality prepared fish food, so that the fish receive all the important nutrients and vitamins.
Spawn and Fry
Once you maintain the breeding aquarium with the above mentioned tips, you will observe a pair of discus fish working up in the more cleaner part of the tank. It is an indication that they have chosen each other for breeding. Once they start to spawn, they can lay batches of eggs, for every week or every fortnight for about 15 times in a row. The discus eggs get hatched within 48 hours. The fry starts to swim within 72 hours of getting hatched. The fry is then fed on a special mucus which is present on the skins of their parents. But as an added food source, you can feed them with freshly hatched brine shrimp after the first 5 to 6 days.
It is very important to remove the fry from the breeding fish tank because they can get infected by the parasites which are transmitted by their parents. Secondly, while the fry eat the nutritious mucus from the parent's skin, they also eat significant amount of their skin and flesh, which naturally makes the parents weak and disease-prone. Hence, within 2 to 3 weeks of their birth, the fry should get separated from the parents. The fry should be fed with newly hatched brine shrimp, chopped bloodworms and/or other micro-worms. Daily 5 - 6 small servings of such fish food is needed for the fry.
One should also maintain healthy water conditions and suitable temperature levels so that the fry remains healthier. You can also contact the nearest fish hatchery and learn some more skills with respect to the discus fish breeding.