According to Matt Davies Harmony Communities, discus are very difficult to care for and even more difficult to breed. Just maintaining a high survival rate for young discus can be extremely challenging on your first attempt. Let’s check out a few important pointers on breeding discus fish.
- Increase odds of having both male and female discus – Figuring out the sex of discus fish through visual cues is practically impossible before they are fully grown. While adult males tend to have thicker lips and show more aggressive behavior, you need to supervise them constantly to tell them apart from females. That’s why the best and easiest way of increasing the odds of having both males and females is to have a large enough tank with at least four discus fish.
- Keep it spacious – While it’s important to optimize the process and bring down breeding costs for commercial success, you can’t cheap out on space. Discus are less likely to breed while in a small container. Any discus tank should be at least 15 inches deep and have a capacity of 50 gallons for a pair. However, as you raise the number of fish, you don’t need to increase the space proportionally. For instance, when you have two or three pairs of discus, 80 gallons is more than enough. Another win for economies of scale.
- Adjust nitrate, ammonia, and nitrite levels – Buy testing kits from aquarium stores for nitrite, nitrate, and ammonium. If there’s any trace of nitrite in the water or over 20 ppm of nitrate, the water is toxic for the fish. If that’s the case, you need to get all the fish out, clean the tank thoroughly and consult an expert aquarium keeper to figure out the cause of high levels of those substances in the water and come up with appropriate methods to keep them low.
- Test water conditions and adjust accordingly – For successful discus breeding, the temperature of the water should be 82 degrees or higher. The pH level should be slightly acidic at around 6.5 and never go over 7.0. You should also get an electronic conductivity tester for mineral content and make sure that it stays between 100 and 200 micro siemens.
- Add spawning zones – Most fish don’t like to lay their eggs randomly in the water. They want a secure space for laying their eggs and it’s the same for discus. You can add surfaces low to the ground to encourage the fish to lay eggs. Things like a breeding cone from the aquarium store, tall flowerpots, and rocks with large flat tops can increase egg-laying activity. It’s also important to keep the aquarium in a quiet environment to create the best breeding conditions.
Matt Davies Harmony Communities suggests that you use the above-mentioned tips to increase the odds of success while breeding discus fish. Discus fish have a tendency to cannibalize. That’s why it’s very important to create a controlled environment while breeding and growing them.