02-02-2008, 12:51 PM
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Discus can be as easy or as difficult to keep as you want to make them. The keys are in the setup and in water water quality. Water should be really clean, slightly acid to neutral as most discus purchased in lfs's are tank bred. Water temp to the high side, 84-86 degrees Fahrenheit. I keep discus in a couple of different biotopes. Both are well planted. One is a blackwater scheme with lots of plants and wood. The other just has plants. Both environments have the fish doing well, even breeding as the second tank just provided babies earlier this week. Care should be taken to insure that the tank is well filtered. Regular maintainance is a non negotiable deal, it must be done.
Tank size the bigger the better. I would not put a pair of discus in any tank less than a 90g tank. These fish need room to feel at ease and a 90g provides that. The height allows for planting of vals, and larger grassy plants, large swords, as well as elaborate woodwork. All of this is to put the fish at ease. The addition of the wood, and using products like Blackwater Extract, will help add tannins to the water and give it a golden color.
Good tankmates would include dwarf South American cichlids such as the apistogrammas, keyhole cichlids, port cichlids, festivums, and, under the proper conditions and set up, some of the acaras. Tetras can also be chosen, but they cannot be too active as their activity may disturb the discus. I have Emperor and lemon tetras with harlequin rasboras in one tank and Columbian, cardinals, rummy-noses, red-eyes with both pearl and glowlight danios in the other. Scavengers also need to be added, I would heartily recommend a group of cories. Snails may also be added but care must be taken when choosing the tankmates.
I have found that keeping discus and getting them to spawn is not all that hard. With feeding live foods and a premium flake food, adding frozen or freeze-dried foods, keeping the fish in top shape is easy. The hard part is rearing the young. The fry feed from the slime coat of the parents. First feedings include infusoria and microworms. As they grow larger, live brineys may be added. You may have noticed that the foods mentioned are live or cultured foods. Many, including myself, have found that live foods accelerate fry growth and help to keep the young healthy.
Sorry to be so long-winded, and I'm sure there is more that I forgot. any questions, just ask. Good luck.