Among the diverse inhabitants of the aquarium world, discus, a fish from the cichlid family, stands out with its bright colors and unusual shape. These are quite demanding on the conditions of detention and capricious creatures. However, if you know how to properly care for them, discus breeding is possible even for a beginner aquarist.
The body of the fish has a round shape, strongly flattened from the sides, which is why it resembles a disk. This is how it got its name. Long fins stand out well on the body. The head is small, with bulging reddish eyes. The sizes of the fish range from 15 to 20 cm. The coloration is quite diverse. The most common red discus is a fish, the photo of which is placed at the beginning of this article. Wavy blue lines placed along the main background are visible, smoothly passing to the fins. There are also vertical stripes on the sides. Such motley colors help cichlids hide from predators by hiding in vegetation. The color of the fish can change depending onher condition. For example, with a strong fright, the general background of the body becomes pinkish-gray, and the stripes almost completely disappear. Life expectancy in an aquarium with good care can be 15 years.
Discus is a fish that naturally occurs mainly in the Amazon. Catching wild individuals are engaged in Brazil, Peru, Colombia. The fish prefers slow-flowing soft or acidic waters, where there are no microorganisms harmful to it. Usually flocks of discus accumulate in coastal thickets, hiding from predators in the washed roots of trees and shrubs. Suitable water temperature for them is 26-31 ⁰С, although in shallow water it can reach 35 ⁰С. Cichlids mainly choose water bodies with a sandy bottom or covered with old leaves.
Diversity of species
In the 90s of the last century, breeders bred several hybrid forms that won much more popularity among aquarists than natural ones. Their weak resistance to diseases and higher demands for care were compensated by unusually bright and beautiful colors.
Today, there are 5 main groups, which include both natural and artificially bred representatives of the genus Discus (fish). The description of each is as follows:
- Red is the brightest and therefore the most numerous species. The main background can be of any shades - cherry, orange, scarlet, etc. Forfish need special food containing specialized additives to maintain color.
- Turquoise. This is the main color of the body of this discus. It clearly shows a pattern of spots and stripes. This species is most common among Russian lovers of aquarium animals, since it appeared in our country back in the 70s.
- Cob alt. It has some similarities with turquoise, but instead of a green tint, saturated blue prevails. Differs from other species in shiny stripes on the body and fins.
- Blue. It is considered one of the largest representatives of the genus. The main background is a yellow-pink shade with a dusting effect.
- Golden discus is a fish, a photo of which can be seen below. It has the highest cost among all of the above. The less age spots, the more valuable the item.
Each named variety of discus (fish with a specific body color) has many different variations.
Given the rather large size of these cichlids and the fact that they are usually populated in groups, the aquarium should be selected capacious - with a capacity of at least 250 liters. It should be separate, because discus are very susceptible to fatal diseases that are completely harmless to other fish. In addition, they have certain water requirements. Its temperature should be in the range of 28-33 ⁰С. Discus are too sensitive to water quality. Keeping with other fish is undesirable, because for their comfortable living there is a largecleanliness matters. It is also important to keep the pH stable at 5.0-6.0. Any sudden change in acidity can seriously harm the he alth of the fish.
It is necessary to replace half of the volume of water in the aquarium once a week. A prerequisite is the installation of a good filter. An effective method of water purification is ozonation, but only in the hands of experienced aquarists, since an excess of ozone will lead to the death of discus. It is safer to use ultraviolet. Before you put the fish in a tank that was previously in use, it must be properly washed and disinfected.
No substrate is acceptable, but discus don't look as great in a bare and empty tank. They take on a completely different look, even if you just pour small pebbles on the bottom. In addition, the soil with aquatic plants planted in it helps to maintain biological balance. The main thing is that at the same time pathogenic bacteria do not penetrate into the aquarium. Periodically, the soil is cleaned of accumulated waste products of fish.
For the natural habitat of discus, bright lighting is uncharacteristic, so it is not required when kept at home. Although in bright light the fish look amazing.
Greens in the aquarium
The high water temperature required to keep this species of cichlid and the poor lighting make it difficult to grow plants. Therefore, it is necessary to choose only those of them that can withstand such conditions. These are mainly plants such as ambulia, vallisneria, anubias, didiplis, echinodorus. They also act as natural filters and do not impede the movement of fish.
These cichlids are quite picky eaters too. Discus is a carnivorous fish, almost half of its daily diet should be protein. For this, special minced meat is prepared on the basis of a beef heart, adding shrimp meat, fish fillet, nettle greens, various vegetables and vitamins. Some aquarists use animal food in the form of bloodworms and tubifex. Caution should be exercised with such food, since it is usually obtained from polluted water bodies and can lead to poisoning or cause some kind of dangerous disease. Before giving such food, it is defended for at least 5 days. Discus is a fish that is fed 2-3 times a day, removing all leftovers after 10 minutes so that they do not spoil the water.
You can also use specialized industrial feed. Get used to them gradually. First, dry food is added in small quantities to the ground beef heart, increasing the dose every day. The training period lasts approximately 2 weeks.
Dry fish food "Tetra Discus" is in special demand, a bucket of which (10 liters) can be purchased for 3.5 thousand rubles, and it will last for a long time. Ready meals have a balanced composition, contain the required amount of vitamins and minerals. In addition, it increases resistance to diseases and improves the color of the fish. Food sinks slowly to the bottom of the aquarium, so discus willingly eathim.
This type of cichlid, despite its large size, is distinguished by a calm and peaceful disposition. However, keeping discus with other fish species is not recommended. One of the reasons is the high temperature of the water, not all inhabitants of the aquarium are able to withstand it. In addition, there is a serious risk of infection with a neighbor. Any other inhabitants are lost and practically become invisible against the background of the bright coloration that distinguishes discus. Their compatibility with other fish is not bad, only on the condition that they have the same slowness and are not afraid of high temperatures. These requirements are fully consistent with armored catfish (corridors). In addition, they destroy leftover food, which keeps the water in the aquarium cleaner for longer.
You can distinguish a female from a male by the geometry of the fins. In the female, if we continue imaginary straight lines from the edge of the anal and dorsal fins, they cross the caudal. In the male, at best, they lightly touch him. Males are larger and have a more pointed dorsal fin. The location of the external genital organs also differs - the female has a well-marked wide and rounded ovipositor, adapted for the release of caviar.
Discus reach sexual maturity at the age of 1.5-2 years, and the breeding season lasts from 2 to 3 years. If problems arise with the definition of male and female individuals, then for breeding they acquirea few fish. When it becomes clear that two of them have formed a strong pair, they are transplanted into a separate spawning ground with a volume of at least 100 liters. Driftwood, clay pots, large stones and any other decorations are placed in the container. Round-the-clock lighting should be weak. Fish should be protected from stress, so the water is changed, albeit regularly, but with great care. Its temperature is maintained within 28–30 ⁰С. Water hardness matters a lot. If it is high, then the fertilization of eggs will become problematic. Optimal stiffness - no more than 3 degrees.
Spawning begins in the evening. The signal to him is the cleaning of the substrate and the trembling of the fins of the fish. The female lays 200 to 400 eggs, which are fertilized by the male. The incubation period is 3-4 days. After the same amount, the fry begin to swim. It is very important during this period to do a daily water change by a quarter of the volume. In the first days of life, the main food for fry is special secretions on the skin of their parents. When they no longer remain on one fish, another immediately swims up. After 2 weeks, parents are placed back in the aquarium.
Sometimes there are too many of them, and then the parents are not able to feed all the offspring. It happens that they have no nutritional secretions on the skin at all. In such cases, in order to save the fry, you have to give them artificial food. Egg powder is kneaded on spawning water and thin cakes are made. They are pressed tightly against the wall of the aquarium so that each one protrudes slightly above the surface.water. When the fry are 5-6 days old, they can be fed brine shrimp nauplii. In the future, any quality food of a suitable size is used.
The main reason for their occurrence is non-compliance with the rules of content. With good care, when attention is paid to the quality of water, lighting and nutrition, stress (the cause of many diseases) is practically eliminated. Discus are aquarium fish that are very sensitive to even minor changes. Main challenges faced:
- Intestinal diseases. The reason may be poor-quality food or a sick neighbor. The fish becomes lethargic and refuses to eat. Excrement is like white threads. Purulent ulcers appear on the head and fins. An accurate diagnosis is established only by laboratory testing.
- Intestinal obstruction, dropsy. Occurs as a result of poor nutrition. The fish swells the abdominal cavity, bulging eyes are possible. In the first case, the discus takes food until the intestines rupture, after which it dies. Dropsy is characterized by a complete lack of appetite.
- Bacterial infection. The symptoms of this disease cannot be overlooked - the edges of the fins turn white, the mucous membrane thickens, the color of the body becomes darker. The fish loses its appetite, hides in a corner. If rescue measures are not taken in time, her eyes gradually become cloudy, her fins and tail begin to decompose. Treated with antibiotics.
- Parasitic diseases and fungal infections are common in Discus.
- Gill andskin fluke worms can lead to a very serious condition of the fish. In the fight against them, special tools sold in pet stores help.
Discuses are difficult to treat, so it is much easier to avoid disease. This is possible only if the conditions for keeping pets in the aquarium are observed. To do this, they carefully monitor the purity and temperature of the water, use high-quality feed. It is necessary to exclude the entry of infection and pathogens into the aquarium. Discus is a fish whose compatibility with other inhabitants must be taken into account in order to prevent stress, which is the cause of many diseases.