Getting into Discus can be very exciting but also very stressful. Not to worry! We have created some simple guidelines to help you be successful with keeping Discus, or any fish.
Stable water is the most important aspect of keeping discus. So, what do we mean by stable water? PH and temperature fluctuations are main causes of lowered immune response in fish. Maintaining a stable environment sounds easy but in reality it can become a challenge for some. Testing PH stability is relatively easy. Get a bucket of tap water and test the PH. Add a bubbler and test again in 24 and 48 hours. If the PH doesn’t change or changes only slightly then your PH is stable. If your PH is not stable you can age your water in aging barrels. To use for water changes, or you can chemically stabilize it. We have links below to some pages that explain the process.
Choosing a supplier is very important to the success of keeping Discus. Many suppliers have no real knowledge of proper care of these fish. Choosing the right supplier does require some time. There are many resources for researching which suppliers are reputable. You will find a few links below to help with your search. An added note: beware of scammers!!! If the price seems too low, they are most likely scammers!
Is quarantine really needed in Discus? The short and very emphatic answer is YES! Although there has been no research done on the matter, time after time we see Discus getting sick after introduction to existing stock tanks. There have also been cases of Discus becoming sick after being exposed to media from existing tanks. After several necropsies were performed on some of these fish, they all returned with bacterial infections as the cause of death. We do not know why they are susceptible to the infections but we do know that a good QT procedure has kept many people from struggling in their journeys with Discus. You will find below links to several QT procedures.
Water changes are a necessary element to keeping discus healthy. Not only does a water change replenish natural minerals to the water, it also reduces the amount of pathogenic bacteria colonizing in the aquarium. Large water changes (75%) or more are recommended. Juveniles need this every day to every other day until they are adults. Adult water changes can be done every 4-7 days. Make sure to wipe the glass and clean the bottom well. These are the places the bacteria like to colonize.