Let's start by saying that this article assumes that you already have basic freshwater fish keeping knowledge, know how to use test kits, and that you want to maintain a discus show tank, and not a breeding tank.
First, we would like to dispel the common belief that you need to be some kind of "super aquarist" to keep and raise discus fish. This is simply not true. Discus are like any other fish, if you provide the proper tank, water, and feeding conditions, they will thrive, if not, they will die. It is true although that discus require a little more work on your part to ensure that they have these proper conditions, but it is certainly not something that is too hard for most people as widely believed. This article will cover some of the basics of discus keeping.
Let's take a look at what the perfect water conditions would be:-
Obviously, some of these conditions such as nitrate, hardness, and filtration would be very difficult to achieve in a home aquarium, without a lot of work or spending a lot of money. The goal here is to use common freshwater fish equipment in order to maintain your discus tank. Later on, you may want to purchase additional equipment to achieve more perfect conditions, especially if you are interested in breeding discus. But for now, they are really not needed. The following parameters are required for a show tank:
Next, let's talk about food for the discus. Variety is as important in the discus diet as it is for us human beings. We would suggest any of the following:
A diet based on a combination of 2 or 3 of these foods will help ensure your discus is getting their proper nutrition. Discus can be pretty selective about what they will eat, so you may need to try a few different types and see how they behave. You should try to feed young discus 5-6 times a day, and adult discus 2-3 times a day.
And now finally, we would like to address a question that most new discus keepers ask:
"How many discus should I keep together?"
Well, you should never keep a discus alone in a tank. They are a social type of fish and require company. With that said, keeping two discus in a tank is also a bad idea. This usually results in the death of the smaller or weaker fish. Discus is generally a peaceful type of fish, but they are competitive over food. The stronger of the two fish will bully the other fish away from the food until it eventually quits trying to eat, and dies. Our recommendation is to keep at least 3 discus of generally the same size together. This provides the necessary social requirement, and also gives the "boss" of the tank two other fish to divide his time during feedings. He can't bully both of them at the same time and feed himself, so they all end up getting some food. If you must keep two discus in the same tank, we would suggest you purchase a clear tank divider. This will allow them to see each other, but not make contact.
We hope that this article helps in some way to assist you in your efforts to maintain a discus tank. They are very beautiful fish and deserve a good home!