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Breeding Discus
~Pooja Chakrabarty

The Art of Breeding Discus

Breeding discus, like breeding other kinds of fish is an art. It is difficult to breed discus perfectly at the first go, but it can be done if a number of rules are followed and if the aquarium is maintained in the best way possible.

Breeding Discus, involves a lot of aspects that one might overlook. Merely getting a pair of discus fish to breed is not enough. Raising the fry and nurturing them till they become healthy adults is the ultimate aim of breeding discus.

The best way of getting discus to breed is by buying a group of them (at least 6). This increases their chances of forming a pair. Once a pair has been formed, they will find a territory which they will defend against intruders. These two should now be placed in a separate aquarium.

While breeding discus, many breeders end up losing a lot of their fry

A pair of breeding discus will require a 27 gallon tank at the very least. It would be great if you could provide them with a vertical surface (such as an overturned flowerpot) on which they could deposit their eggs.

Once this pair has been found, breeding is not a problem. The breeding pair often spawns as many as several times each week. Annually there are about two spawning cycles. The eggs hatch in 2 days, and start swimming freely 3 days later. They now begin to feed off the mucous secretions on the sides of their parents' bodies. 5 days after they have become free-swimmers, they can be introduced to baby brine shrimp.

As they grow, larger foods can be gradually introduced into their diet. Fry should be fed more frequently than the adults (about thrice a day). Food is an important element when breeding discus. The correct diet will give rise to healthy fry that will grow up into healthy adults. A mix of non-vegetarian and vegetarian foods, along with flakes and pellets will provide your discus with the best nourishment.

Stunting may occur if the young discus has not been given proper nourishment at a young age. A varied diet consisting of protein foods will help the young discus grow quickly.

While breeding discus, many breeders end up losing a lot of their fry. One of the main reasons for this is young inexperienced parent fish. Another reason is the pH level. For breeding discus, the ideal pH level would range from 6.0 to 6.5, and an 86oF temperature would be perfect.

Ammonia and nitrites, or even bacteria, must never be allowed to accumulate in the water. Discus, are not the hardiest of fish, and they will not be able to bear such conditions. Hence a very good filter is required. In general, weekly water changes are sufficient to keep the tank clean. However, at the time of breeding, changing the water every second day would increase the appetites of the breeding pair and lead to increased mating activity among them.

A lot of discus babies die due to gill flukes (a kind of parasite). Immediate treatment must be provided if you want the fry to survive. Poor water quality and overcrowding gives rise to these parasites, so take care to keep the tank scrupulously clean while breeding discus.

You must be patient, for Discus breeding is not child's play. A number of aspects have to be taken care of, such as tank placement, water quality, and food. With some practice though, you too can perfect the art of breeding discus.

[The picture used in this article is copyrighted, but the copyright holder allows anyone to use it for any purpose. It has been obtained from Wikipedia.]

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