If you’re very serious about getting your home aquarium started, one of the exciting things you’ll be doing is searching for the right fish to bring home. Some fish that many people enjoy watching in their aquariums are Discus Fish. These are a genus of 3 species of cichlid freshwater fishes. They’re native to the Amazon River and are quite popular as beautiful additions to personal aquariums.
Colors and Varieties of Discus
You’ll find lots of different colors of discus for sale as well as many varieties to select from. These varieties include:
Blue Snake Skin
Red Melon (White Face)
Super Red Melon
Solid Blue Turquoise
As you can see, there are plenty of choices for you to select your fish from. It gets even more fun because the same fish can be known by several different names from different sellers. At times, a more common variety will be renamed something a bit more “interesting” to appeal to potential customers. You should also remember that color perception is affected by how the lighting reflects from the surroundings. For instance, a fish appearing as green turquoise in a shop may appear more blue turquoise when you get it home.
Selecting the Best Size of Discus
Before choosing the size of discus fish you want to buy for your aquarium, you should first decide what their purpose will be. To begin with, the cheapest way to start your discus aquarium is to buy very young ones. There are some disadvantages to buying them so young. They won’t be able to breed for a long time and it’s difficult to see what the color and quality is of them. Another issue is that not all of the discus fish will make it to adulthood when bought very young while others may not reach the full size of a discus. As some varieties of these fish don’t start to show their colors until they’re a year old, you may not actually know what you have until then.
If you’re going to breed your discus, it’s easiest to buy around 6 young or juvenile ones so they can grow up together. Getting 8 to 10 fishes will typically afford you at least 2 pairs. On the other hand, if you want a show aquarium, you should purchase adult specimens rather than young ones. However, adult discus for sale are rather costly. That’s why most people buy the smaller ones.
How to Choose Your Discus Fish
Begin by observing the behavior of the ones you like. Healthy discus fish are alert and pretty brave, which means they won’t hide in a corner all the time. The only time they may appear shy is when they’re adjusting to their new home. It’s normal for them to be aggressive to each other in groups, but watch for the ones that are particularly violent because they can harm the other fish.
Next, you’ll want to check them for any signs of disease or other issues like torn or ragged fins or abnormal skin. Discus fish that look dark or clamp their fins are showing signs of stress. Healthy adults breathe 60 to 80 times per minute and young ones breathe a bit faster. If the fish has an abnormal breathing rate, is sick, or kept in a bad environment, it will weaken and die.
Adult fish for sale should show their color while the juvenile ones should be showing some of their color. Remember, if your Discus Fish is very young, you won’t know what colors they’ll develop until they’re older. This is when a reputable breeder comes in because sellers aren’t required to be honest with you.
You can tell a lot about a Discus Fish by looking at the head. Looking at it head on, the part of the head located over its eyes should be convex. A concave head shows that the fish hasn’t received enough nutrition. A bad diet will cause this as well as poor quality of water that makes a Discus stop eating.
You should also avoid stunted fish. If your fish hasn’t been given a good environment with nutritious food, the growth rate will slow down too soon and the fish will remain stunted. If you get a stunted discus, there’s nothing you can do to make them grow. Recognizing a stunted fish isn’t that difficult. A Discus Fish that’s roughly 6 months old should be about the size of a tennis ball. If you see a fish that’s smaller, it’s probably stunted. A discus that’s 16 months old and still the size of a tennis ball is stunted. Pay attention to eyes that appear too big for the body as that is definitely a warning that something isn’t right.
Caring for Your Discus Fish
Unless you’re willing to put the time and energy to keeping up the aquarium for your Discus Fish, you shouldn’t bother. Of course, this is true not matter what sort of fish you have, but Discus Fish are a lot more demanding. They won’t tolerate neglect just because you’ve had a bad day.
Your aquarium must be well-maintained at all times in order for them to remain healthy and happy. A large part of this includes not having an over-crowded aquarium. Be sure to keep the number of fish in accordance to the size of your aquarium.
Discus fish usually prefer their water to be 28 to 30 degrees C in temperature, but there can be exceptions. It needs to be soft and slightly acidic with an ideal pH-value of 6.0 to 7.0. Keep down the nitrogenous waste levels down as the Discus fish is very sensitive to nitrite and ammonia.
Feed your Discus fish a varied diet to keep them healthy because a monotonous diet will make them weaker and possibly make them stop eating totally. Observe your Discus during feeding to see the amount they normally eat. Overfeeding can make the water dirty.