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discus fish care and breeding

Discus fish is one of the all time favourite aquarium fishes. The reason for their popularity is basically their exotic shape, vibrant colors and their typical personality. Keeping discus fish is quite tough as compared to other cichlids .They demand high standard of food and water quality. Discus have laterally compressed body and belongs to very famous cichlid family. The side of fish have designs or shades of colors such as green, blue, red etc. These fish have lots of motherly feelings for their babies. They take care of their babies after giving them birth. They develop affection towards you, they will observe you and greet you by touching your hand. They have large life span of about 10-18 years. Taking care of discus is comparatively harder.

Tank and tank mates
They likes to live in group, so always put discus fish in group of 6 or more. They demand large aquarium as they can grow up to size of 8-10 inches. The 40 gallon fish tank will serve the need. These are tropical fishes so temperature of the fish tank is of about 25-29 degrees Celsius. Regular water changes are required to maintain the water standards. Change 25% of water every week. At regular interval of time fish tank cleaning is important. Put natural plants in aquarium, you can put peat moss which also reduces pH of water. You can add neon tetras and cardinal tetras as mates. Research well before adding any tank mates.
Give them live as well as frozen food. Never compromise with food quality for your discus, if it is lacking in nutrient then your fish may loose its color, gets in stress or even may loose life. You can give them tubifex worms, blood worms, beef heart. Clean live food before adding as it may not be 100% safe. You can give them dried or friezed food as well.
Temperature : 25 to 29 degrees Celsius
Breeding : egg layers
Aquarium Size : minimum 40 gallons
Lifespan : more then 10 years
Nature : semi aggressive
Care : Harder
Diet : omnivorous
Difference between male and female discus fish
For breeding it is very basic point to determine the gender of any fish. So that you can carry out breeding in a planned manner. The ability to find difference in a particular fish increase with experience. This is the case with discus fish. You can distinguish between both by keeping the following points in mind. Generally male discus fish have larger forehead. Male discus is more larger then the female when both of them are matured. Male's lips are generally bigger then the females as they use their lips for fighting with other fishes. When both fishes are at maturity, males have pointed dorsal fin while female discus have round. Male may try to protect female by coming between her and other fishes and flaring his fins to look bigger. Look at the breeding tube too, generally female have larger and rounded breeding tube while male have pointed and small breeding tube. These are the basic difference between discus fish. The above one is female while bottom one is male.
Discus fish Breeding
Fish Tank Setup:
You can use at least 20 gallon fish tank for  breeding discus fish. Do not to add substrate to breeding tank. You must add broad fine leaved plants or vertical spawning slates which act as spawning sites for discus fish. During the time of spawning the pair may get aggressive so provide lots of hiding spots in aquarium.
Water quality and Food
Maintain the water quality of aquarium at its peak other wise pair may not spawn. So change 5-10% of water daily. The level of nitrogenous waste should be maintained at 0 level. Give them diet rich in protein which is basically live food. Maintain variation in diet so no particular nutrient is missed out.  Set the temperature of fish tank to 86 degrees Fahrenheit.
When the pair will decide to spawn they will choose a spawning site in the fish tank. It can be leaves of plants or the vertical slate or any fish tank decoration. After choosing they will start cleaning the surface so that they can lay eggs on it. Then the female will lay eggs on the slates and later on male will fertilize them. Female discus will lay eggs once in a week and this whole breeding process may carried out for few months.
The eggs will hatch in about 48 hours and fry will become free swimmer in 72 hours. You don't need to separate parents from fry as they secrete a kind of liquid from their body on which fry feeds.
Fry Care
The growing discus fish fry needs larger space to grow. Avoid feeding of fry on their parents body for long time. Once fry are capable of living independent they should be immediately moved to new fish tank. When fry get of 2-3 weeks old shift them in their new home. Discus fry need food 5-6 times a day. You can give them baby brine shrimps, micro worms, crushed blood worms. Follow the basics rule as don't overfeed them and remove the uneaten food if possible. Discus fry are sensitive to poor water conditions so change 5 -10 % of water every day. Hope you will carry out breeding discus fishes successfully.