Are Discus Fish Hard to Keep? 

If you are new to discus fish keeping, you might be hearing a lot of conflicting information about how difficult they are to care for. In fact, discus fish are not difficult to keep at all – as long as you know what you’re doing!

Although it may be rewarding, keeping an aquarium is not a simple task. It requires dedicating time, money, and effort to maintain these guys’ well-being. Also, you must be prepared to handle some level of trial and error. After all, you are keeping living creatures!

In this article, I will dispel some of the myths about keeping discus fish and give you some tips on how to be a successful discus keeper.

Buy from Well Experienced Breeders

The first step to successfully keeping discus fish is to buy from well-experienced breeders. A good breeder will have a healthy and diverse stock of discus fish, and they will be able to provide you with guidance on how to care for your new fish.

Also, you should ask the breeder questions about the fish’s diet, tank mates, and personality. This will help you to better understand your fish and set up the perfect environment for them.

Plus, always inspect the fish before purchasing them. If the breeder doesn’t allow you to do so, this is a key sign that they’re not trustworthy.

Sadly, they sometimes resort to lies and false information to make a quick buck. So, don’t hesitate to walk away from a deal that seems too good to be true.

Finally, before you buy your fish, make sure it’s from a shop that has worked with this fish for many years and has a lot of happy clients. Honest reviews are always the best way to find a reputable dealer.

If you, unfortunately, end up with a shady dealer, there’s still hope but the process may be more difficult. So, please take your time and do some research before making a selection. You’ll have the edge right from the bat that way!

Start with at Least Six Discus Fish

Discus fish are schooling fish, meaning they feel more comfortable and secure when they’re in a group. For this reason, it’s best to start with at least six discus fish.

Not only will this make your fish happier, but it will also help to cut down on aggression and territorial disputes. Trust me, you don’t want to deal with that!

Of course, if you’re on a budget, you can start with a smaller group of fish. Just keep in mind that you may have to deal with some aggression issues down the road.

However, if you can swing it, I would recommend starting with at least six discus fish. It will make your life a lot easier in the long run.

In case you are keeping both sexes, you should maintain male to female ratio of 1:3. These guys could get crazy over each other during the breeding season.

Provide Them with the Right Water Parameters

Water Cycling

Discus fish are very messy eaters and produce a lot of waste. For this reason, you should set up a regular schedule for water changes.

In fact, there is no specific rule you should follow when changing your aquarium’s water. This depends on various factors such as the size of your tank and the number of fish species present.

Also, other elements like whether or not the fish are juveniles or adults can play a role in how often water changes should occur.

However, I recommend changing at least 25% of the water every week. This will save any potential disasters and protect your fish’s health in the long term.

Of course, if you notice that the water is looking dirty or cloudy, you should do a water change as soon as possible. The last thing you want is for your fish to get sick!

Further, you can use a good quality water conditioner to remove chlorine and other harmful chemicals from the new water.

Water Temperature

These fish species are native to the Amazon basin where the water temperature is quite warm.

As such, you should maintain the water temperature in your aquarium at 82-86 degrees Fahrenheit.

To do this, you can use an aquarium heater. Just make sure to get one that’s strong enough to heat the entire tank.

pH Level

Discus fish never kid around when it comes to the pH level of their water. In fact, they’re very sensitive to even the slightest changes in pH.

Ideally, you should maintain a pH level between 6.0 and 7.0. To do this, you can use a reliable pH test kit to check the water’s acidity levels regularly.

If you notice that the pH level is too low or high, you should take action immediately to correct the problem.

Ammonia, Nitrite, & Nitrate Levels

These toxins rise quickly in a fish tank when there’s a lot of waste present, leftover food, or decaying vegetation.

In case your tank’s levels of ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate become too high, your discus can get seriously ill due to organ damage. In severe cases, they may even die.

To avoid this, you should test the water regularly for these toxins and take action to remove them if necessary. I recommend using API’s Freshwater Master Test Kit for this purpose.

Water Hardness

Discus fish prefer soft water, so you should aim for a hardness level between 1 and 4 dH. To achieve this, you can use a water softener or add driftwood to your tank. Just make sure not to add too much driftwood as it will lower the pH level of the water.

Tank Size

Discus fish grow relatively quickly, and they can reach a full length of 9 inches. For this reason, you should provide them with a lot of space to swim and explore.

For example, you should have 75 gallons for a group of six juvenile discus fish. However, if you started with 12 juveniles, you will need 100 gallons or more.

Overall, the larger the tank, the better. This is because a bigger tank gives the fish more room to move around and lowers the risk of them getting sick.

Last Words

I hope this article has helped you understand everything you need to know about keeping discus fish. Remember, these fish are relatively delicate and require a bit more care than other species.

However, if you provide them with the right water conditions and plenty of space to swim, they will thrive and bring you years of enjoyment. Thanks for reading!