Natural habitat discus is Brazil and South America, these beautiful small fishes live in the basin of the rivers Rio Negru and Amazon.
These calm and unhurried fish are kept near the shore in still water, and in case of danger they quickly hide under the roots of the tree. In nature, there are only 2 varieties of the color of fish, the remaining 20 variations were bred by breeders from Singapore, Japan and China.
Discus, living in aquariums, can grow up to 15 cm, they belong to the family of cichlids and do not cease to amaze with its bright and unusual color. Due to the bizarre shape of the body, the discus was named after it – it is flat and round like a disk. The mouth and head of the fish are small, eyes bulging, with a red iris.
Dorsal and anal fin long. The main background color of discus can vary from brown to reddish-yellow, except for the whole body of the fish, except for the thoracic section, 9 vertical stripes of dark color are drawn.
The color of the discus may vary depending on the state of the individual.
Photo 1. Discussions – Aquarium Kings
If the fish is sick, the stripes turn pale and become almost indistinguishable, when frightened, the discus can become pinkish-brown without visible stripes, in the excited state the wavy stripes become bright, and the vertical ones are almost invisible. The sex differences of the discus are not well expressed – the males are larger than the females, and during the spawning period, the females clearly show a cone-shaped ovipad, and the males have a seed tube. The color of beautiful fish depends on the species: the royal blue discus has a sky-blue torso that is crossed by wavy shiny lines.
Red-blue discus, in addition to the blue stripes, boasts bright red. The green discus on the head and in the chest area has azure patterns, and brown has a chocolate-colored body with a lemon-yellow tint.
There are other discus hybrids, but all fish eyes are defiantly red.
Photo 2. Discussions have more than 20 varieties.
The first person to describe the discus was Johan Natterer, an Australian scientist who was engaged in scientific work at the Vienna Museum of Natural History. Over time, he began to organize expeditions to different countries, including South America.
In 1817 he went to Brazil, where he stayed for a long time. In 1833, he described an unknown fish caught in the Rio Negro River.
He brought her in a form of alcohol-treated in 1836 after returning to Vienna.
After Natterer’s death, Johan Jacob Heckel continued his case. He first described the discus, calling it the “Symphysis.” Later, a new name appeared from the Greek word discus, which was called a throwing flat shell.
In 1865, Dr. Pellegrin published in the scientific journal the first color drawing of the discus with a detailed description. At the end of the 19th century the discus was already considered an independent species, although it was still called Symphysodon aequifasciatus.
In 1960, the American ichthyologist Leonard Schulz seriously took up the revision of the genus and the breeding of new species. After the release of his work, many aquarists became interested in these fish.
Now there are discus kennels in many countries – these fish year after year more and more fans of the underwater world are attracted by their amazing rainbow color.
• Discus – schooling fish, but at the same time they need their own personal space, because of this, it is desirable to provide them with a large and deep aquarium;
• In 1932, aquarists began supplying discus living in natural conditions, and at the end of the 60s their selection began, leading to the creation of new types of color;
• Discus – very caring parents, they form pairs and carefully care for offspring;
• Discus – one of the few fish that feed the fry produced by skin secretion: on the body of the discus there is a special mucus, which the offspring feeds on for the first week, which is why at first the babies swim very close to their parents.
A photo. Discuss – a variety of colors
There was an opinion that discus fish are very fastidious and difficult for keeping fish in an aquarium. In fact, all problems are easily solved, the main thing is to find out in time what conditions these beautiful fish create. Select the appropriate aquarium should be based on the number of fish – it is desirable that the discus had enough space for swimming.
For an adult individual need at least 40 liters. The width of the aquarium should be at least half a meter.
In the tank it is necessary to maintain a constant temperature from 28 to 35 degrees – the discus is thermophilic.
For representatives of this type is very important full coverage. As for the soil, its presence is not necessary, since it significantly complicates the cleaning of the aquarium.
Plants need to be selected correctly, because at such a high temperature they will need intensive lighting. This may be a cryptocoryne, a broadleaf amazon, a horizontal echinodorus, a dwarf amazon, a floating horn-shaped fern, Riccia fluitans, Java moss and others.
You can also use stones, snags and grottoes as decorative elements.
The aquarium should be constantly filtered, you can install ozonizers or ultraviolet, in order to clean the water from harmful microorganisms. 30-40% of the water needs to be changed regularly; on special discus farms, specialists change up to 90% of water per day.
As for the acidity of water, it is necessary to maintain it at a level of 5.5-6.5 pH. The temperature should not fall lower than 27 degrees, you should be especially careful when transporting fish – a small mistake can cause the death of the discus.
Most aquarists agree that discus should not be fed with live food, the same bloodworm or pipe builder can become a source of disease. To feed the individuals, live food is frozen, before it is treated with formalin solution and washed thoroughly. You can also feed the discus with your own self-made feed from a mixture of shrimp meat and beef heart.
Ready-made dry foods are sold at pet stores, but they are expensive. If possible, you need to diversify the diet of the inhabitants of the aquarium – add to their food plants (kamombu, hygrofil, limnofilu), which the fish will pluck, dry fortified food.
Adult fish are fed three times a day, fry up to 6-8 times a day.
Professionals agree that whenever possible, discus should be kept in flocks, but separate from other types of fish. High temperature and lack of soil is not suitable for all fish. In addition, discus slowly absorb food, and if you put them in the same aquarium with voracious fish, it is likely that your pets will remain half-starved.
Also, the presence of other types of fish makes it difficult to change the water, carrying out prevention, because not all inhabitants of aquariums will favorably react to an increase in water temperature by another 3-4 degrees. It is not desirable to keep larger fish or very small individuals, discus, as well as all cichlids, inherent territoriality.
If you really want to pick up a neighbor for discus, they can be small river skates, catfish, dwarf cichlids, characteristic fish, apistogramma high altitude and others.
To get offspring, you need to prepare a spacious aquarium without plants and soil. The substrate can be pebbles, snags and leaves of plants. The hardness of the water should not exceed 3-4 °, the temperature is 30-32 degrees.
A pair of discus fish are planted in this artificial reservoir, and a signal that they are ready for spawning is the trembling of fins and the active cleaning of the substrate. During this period, it is advisable to feed the fish with live food and little by little so that the discus has time to eat it.
Remember, these are shy fish and even your actions to remove food can scare them away.
Spawning begins late in the evening, the female lays on the substrate up to 250 eggs, which the male fertilizes. Sometimes a couple can eat their first laying, but this is not repeated.
After 2-4 days, the larvae appear, the parents take care of them – fan them with fins, transfer them from place to place. After 4 days, the fry begin to swim and eat independently.
At this time, be sure to change 30% of the water, maintaining its parameters.
The first two weeks of life, babies can eat secretions from the skin of the parents. If the parents do not have enough mucus, the fry can be fed with egg powder cakes.
At 3 months, babies have a characteristic torso shape, their color is still pale, but with age it becomes brighter. Puberdas reach sexual maturity at 1.5-2 years, crossing of various types of discus is allowed.
You can buy Discus in a specialized nursery. The price of discus fry can be found on the bulletin board.