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12/22/2011 16:10:21 PM by Jade07   Send Message to Jade07  6928  views, category: Pet care, safety and insurance view all blogs


            Red Marlboro Discus

General Information

Discus, large freshwater cichlids that originate in the Amazon, have a lateral compressed body, in some ways similar to the Olympic discus non-aquarists think of when they hear the name. The discus fish comes in many more colors than throwing discus- the most common variants may be blue, green, brown, golden, patterned or striped.  Exotic-looking discus, which be wild or tank-raised, boast names like Red Leopard Snakeskin or Blue Diamond.
 What to Look For When Buying a Discus
Most discus begin showing their coloring when they’re about a year old. Prior to that, they are all usually have a brownish color. When looking at discuss in a pet store, be aware that the lighting may obscure a discus’ true color, so always ask the salesperson for the discus name before buying, if owning a certain color discus is important to you. Most discus have red irises, but Snow White discus have white eyes. Breeders have experimented with new colors and patterns since the 1920s, so new variations pop up in pet stores every so often.

Many pet stores sell discus when they are about the size of a half-dollar and haven’t developed their adult colors yet, thus they all have a brownish tinge. Discus show their true colors at about a year old. At about six months, A well-kept discus will grow to three inches at 4 or 5 months old. Inspect the fish a bit before buying to make sure it’s healthy.  It should have fins that curve around their body in a semi-circle and a round shape. Avoid smaller discus variations if you’re a new aquarist. They’re more sensitive and  require frequent feeding and water changes. The area above the eyes should be convex (curve outward) and eyes should be clear. Cloudy eyes signal bacterial infection.  A healthy discuss appears calm and swims through the tank comfortably; stressed fish dart back and forth or hide at the back of the tank.

Discus Upkeep

In nature, discus swim in large groups. They’re social fish, unlike the combative angelfish. Put two or more discus in a tank. For example, a 55-gallon aquarium is minimum size for five discus. Each discus about 5 gallons of water for best results.    Most aquarists keep discus in a species tank, but they can be housed with other non-aggressive fish. A weekly water change and 20 minutes a day on feeding and upkeep will keep these sensitive fish healthy and happy.



Keep the water temperature in a discus tank at around 85 degrees F (28-30 C.)  Too-cold water causes weak fish –discuses originated in the Amazon and are born to thrive in hot water environments.  A too-high temp will cause breathing problems. If you notice this, aerate the water with air stones and turn down the heater.  Keep the water pH at 6.5 to 7.5 for show fish and 5.5 to 6.5 for breeding. Test the water often for signs of ammonia and nitrates. Discus are especially sensitive to nitrates and water must be clean at all times to ensure proper growth and coloration.



Discus need a varied diet to flourish. Choose fresh or pre-packaged blood worms,  brine shrimp and beefhearts at feeding time and interchange this with flake food and pellets a few times a week. Feed young discus (four inches or shorter)  4-6 times a day. Feed adults once or twice a day, letting the fish eat as much as it can in five minutes. Clean any stray food from the tank to prevent dangerous waste build-up that can harm the discus.


For more information on discus, go to Aquatic Community or Simply Discus.

Blue Turquoise Discus

About the author: Marianne Moro is a freelance writer and publicist living in Hollywood, CA. She has written for many publications, clients and websites, including USA Today, Blogcritics Magazine, Modamag and Entertainment Today, among others. She's the proud co-o... more >>

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