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How to Set Up a Discus Fish Tank

Return To; Discus Fish Aquarium Getting Started

 Here are some tips that worked for me.

Keep it warm!

I can’t emphasize enough the importance heat plays in growing and keeping Discus fish healthy. This will ultimately determine your long-term success or failure.

So first and foremost, Discus like a warm environment.This keeps them eating well, which translates to better more uniform growth and overall health. Small discus (fry to 4 inches), like the temperature to be 87 to 90 degrees. This higher temperature revs up their metabolism; they eat more,grow faster and stay healthy by fending off disease. This is instrumental in growing large and colorful adult Discus. Adult Discus fish can be kept in the lower temperature range of 83 to 86, and for breeding, I keep them 84-85 at which fertilization is best. If a discus stops eating, heat is the best way to stimulate their appetite.They can tolerate 94 degrees for a period of 5 days, after which their appetite will return 95% of the time, when caught early.

To achieve this warmer condition, I find it best to get two lesser-watt heaters than one bigger watt heater. In other words, two 150 watt heaters can achieve a higher temperature than one 300 watt heater. I believe the manufacturer builds into their higher watt heaters a regulator, so if a high-watt heater sticks, it will only reach 86-87 degrees as to not cook your fish. These heaters will not get your tank warm enough when needed.

Keep it simple:

I have found the ideal size aquarium for growing discus quickly is 30 to 50 gallons. This size is also easiest to heat and keep clean.When landscaping, keep the tank light in color. Light colored gravel or sand and no background works well. In a light colored aquarium, the fish will stay bright. If the aquarium bottom or background is dark blue or black, the fish’s natural camouflage will kick in and they will turn dark and colorless to blend in to their surroundings. Another thing that will help is to avoid over filtering the tank. The beneficial oxidizing bacterium, which keeps your aquarium clean, is only as abundant as the amount of fish in the tank, not how big your filter is.I find that an under gravel, canister, or one that hangs on the back of the tank filter is more than adequate. You are money ahead by not using UV sterilizers and expensive trickle filters. Money is better spent on a python water changing hose that hooks onto your nearest sink. This makes water changes easy and eliminates the use of buckets.

Discus fish like plants in the tank and are pleasing to look at.I do not have a green thumb, so I use plastic plants. They are easy to clean and do not die, however, if you are good at growing live plants, I would suggest including Amazon Swords. Their broad leaves provide good cover for discus,and they tolerate high temperatures.

I would like to end this segment by saying that I hope this helps a new discus hobbyist to start a Discus tank, and to understand that it is much easier than many aquarists recognize.

Learn more; Water Parameters