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Many hobbyists have nothing but trouble trying to keep any of the discus (Symphysodon sp.) alive and healthy and think of them only as a problematic species that should be avoided at all cost. If you fall into this category THEN THIS ARTICLE IS FOR YOU with a little time and some basic techniques you will have no difficulty caring for this fascinating and beautiful species of fish.

To start with any of the Discus Varieties, you, of course will need an aquarium. The size of a tank is very important to these fish. If you crowd too many juvenile fish in a tank you will stunt their growth and cause unnecessary stress which often leads to disease in all fish. As a rule of thumb, one juvenile fish of 2-3 inches in diameter per four gallons of water If you are dealing with sub-adult fish, five inches or larger, place them in a tank at one fish per 10 gallons. Breeding discus should always be housed with plenty of swimming room. Most spawning discus are kept in tanks of at least 20 gallons per pair. The more room you offer a pair of discus the better they are and the larger they spawn.

Filtration systems for your tanks are available in a multitude of configurations. Wet/Dry's, fluidized beds, canister filters, power filters, sponge filters. Well, you get the idea. I am a firm believer in over filtration. If you have a 100 gallon tank then filter with a system designed for 150 gallons or more. Look for filters that will supply all basics of filtration, i.e., mechanical, chemical and biological. Biological filtration is without doubt a most important aspect of filtration. Never skimp on your bio-filter and your fish, will love you for many years.

As for heat requirements follow the manufacturer's recommendations for tank size and keep the temperature between 86.0 – 88.0 Fahrenheit. When your tank is set and your filters are plumbed it is now time to focus on the most important parameter in keeping discus: water quality. One of the biggest downfalls in keeping discus is bad water which contains chlorine, metals and other toxic compounds that come directly from the tap. I am not saying that all tap water is bad but it is best out of the tank unless properly purified. There are two ways to purify tap water for aquarium use, one is by reverse osmosis, the other is by ion exchange resins. Due to the high cost of replacing resin in Dl units, reverse osmosis is truly the way to go. Plus R/O water you will find more suitable for aquarium water. So it is true that 'the purer the water the better"? No, all the beneficial elements required by the fish have been stripped from the water so they must be added back in the right proportions needed by the fish. For this purpose use only one product: Recon 50w. This product replenishes all major and minor elements needed for raising and spawning discus. Recon 50» also contains a palletized humus extract which releases beneficial trace elements needed for fish that thrive in soft water. This product can maintain the water hardness at 50ppm, where discus and other Amazonian fish live and spawn. The pH of a discus tank should be closely monitored. Keep the pH in a range between 5.5 to 6.0. At this range you achieve two main goals: First, a pH in the acidic range between 5.0 and 6.0 inhibits the proliferation of protozoan parasites, such as Ichtyhyopthiruius (Ich) or costia. If one notices discus with this parasite a simple but slow drop in the pH to 5.5 in the aquarium is all that should be required to stop the infestation.


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