Among the various inhabitants of the aquarium world, a bright color and an unusual form distinguishes the discus, a fish from the cichlid family. It is quite demanding to the conditions of detention and capricious creation. Nevertheless, if you know about how to properly care for them, breeding discus even a novice aquarist.
The body of the fish has a round shape, strongly flattened from the sides, which is why it resembles a disk. Because of this, it got its name. Long fins stand out well on the body. The head is small, with bulging reddish eyes. Fish sizes vary from 15 to 20 cm. The color is quite diverse. The most common red discus is a fish, the photo of which is posted at the beginning of this article. On the main background, wavy blue lines placed along the lines are visible, smoothly moving to the fins. On the sides there are vertical stripes. This motley color helps cichlids hide from predators, hiding in vegetation. The color of the fish can change depending on its condition. For example, with strong fright, the general background of the body becomes pinkish-gray, and the stripes almost completely disappear. Life expectancy in an aquarium with good care can be 15 years.
Habitat in nature
Discus is a fish that naturally occurs mainly in the Amazon Basin. Catching wild specimens are practiced in Brazil, Peru, and Colombia. Prefers small slow-flowing soft or sour waters, where there are no harmful microorganisms. Usually flocks of discus accumulate in coastal thickets, hiding from predators in the washed away roots of trees and shrubs. A suitable water temperature for them is 26–31 ⁰С, although in shallow water it can reach 35 С. Cichlids choose mainly water bodies with sandy or covered with old leaves bottom.
Variety of species
In the 90s of the last century, several hybrid forms were bred by breeders who won much more popularity than aquarists among aquarists. Their poor resistance to diseases and higher demands for care were compensated for by an unusually bright and beautiful coloring.
Today there are 5 main groups, which include both natural and artificially derived representatives of the genus Discus (fish). The description of each is as follows:
- Red is the brightest and therefore the most numerous species. The main background can be of any shades. cherry, orange, scarlet, etc. In order to maintain the color, a fish needs special food containing specialized additives.
- Turquoise. This is the main color of the body of this discus. It clearly shows the pattern of spots and stripes. This type is most common among Russian lovers of aquarium living creatures, because it appeared in our country in the 70s.
- Cobalt. It has some similarities with turquoise, but instead of a green hue, saturated blue prevails. It differs from other types of shiny stripes on the body and fins.
- Blue. It is considered one of the largest representatives of the genus. The main background is yellow-pink with a dusty effect.
- Golden Discus is a fish whose photo can be viewed below. It has the highest value among all of the above. The smaller pigment spots, the more valuable the specimen.
Each of these varieties of discus (fish with a certain color of the body) has many different variations.
Conditions of detention
Given the rather large size of these cichlids and the fact that they are usually populated in groups, the aquarium should be chosen roomy. with a capacity of at least 250 liters. It must be separate, because the discus is very susceptible to fatal diseases that are completely harmless to other fish. In addition, they have certain water requirements. Its temperature should be within 28-33 С. Too sensitive to the quality of water discus. Keeping with other fish is undesirable, since cleanliness is important for their comfortable living. It is also important to maintain a stable pH of 5.0-6.0. Any sudden changes in acidity can seriously harm the health of the fish.
It is necessary to do a replacement of half the volume of water in the aquarium once a week. A prerequisite is to install a good filter. An effective method of water purification is ozonation, but only in the hands of experienced aquarists, since exceeding the amount of ozone will lead to the death of discus. Safer to use ultraviolet light. Before settling the fish in a tank that was previously used, it must be properly washed and sanitized.
Lack of soil is permissible, but in the bare and empty aquarium the discus does not look so great. They get a completely different look, even if you just put small pebbles on the bottom. In addition, the soil with aquatic plants planted in it helps to maintain biological balance. The main thing is that while the bacteria do not penetrate into the aquarium. Periodically, the soil is cleaned from the accumulated waste products of fish.
For natural habitats of discus, bright lighting is not typical, so it is not required when kept at home. Although the bright light of the fish look just amazing.
Greens in the aquarium
The high temperature of the water required for the maintenance of this species of cichlids, and poor lighting create certain difficulties in growing plants. Therefore, you have to choose only those that can withstand such conditions. These are mainly such plants as ambulia, valisneria, anubias, didiplis, echinodorus. They also serve as natural filters and do not impede the movement of fish.
These cichlids are pretty picky in their food. Discus. carnivorous fish, almost half of its daily diet should be protein. For this purpose, special ground beef is prepared on the basis of beef heart, adding shrimp meat, fish fillets, nettle greens, various vegetables and vitamins. Some aquarists use animal food in the form of bloodworms and tubers. With such food, caution should be exercised, since it is usually extracted from polluted water bodies and can lead to poisoning or cause any dangerous disease. Before giving such food, it is defended for at least 5 days. Discus is a fish that is fed 2-3 times a day, removing all the residues after 10 minutes so that they do not spoil the water.
You can use and specialized industrial feed. Teach them gradually. At first, dry food in small quantities is added to ground beef heart, increasing the dose every day. The period of training lasts about 2 weeks.
The dry food for fish "Tetra Diskus" is in special demand, the bucket of which (10 l) can be purchased for 3.5 thousand rubles, and it will last for a long time. The finished food has a balanced composition, contains the necessary amount of vitamins and trace elements. In addition, it increases disease resistance and improves the color of the fish. At the bottom of the aquarium the food goes down slowly, so discus discusses it willingly.
This type of cichlids, despite its large size, has a calm and peaceful disposition. However, it is not recommended to keep discus fish with other types of fish. One of the reasons. the high temperature of the water, not all residents of the aquarium can withstand it. In addition, there is a serious risk of infection with a neighbor. Any other inhabitants are lost and almost become invisible against the background of bright colors, which are different discus. Compatibility with other fish they have good, only on condition that they have the same slowness and are not afraid of high temperature. Armored catfish (corridors) are quite consistent with these requirements. In addition, they destroy the remnants of food, with the result that the water in the tank stays clean longer.
It is possible to distinguish the female from the male by the geometry of the fins. In the female, if we continue imaginary straight lines from the edge of the anal and dorsal fins, they intersect the caudal fin. In the male, at best, they touch it slightly. Males are larger, have a more pointed dorsal fin. The location of the external genital organs also differs. the female has a wide and rounded ovipozitor, which is adapted to highlight caviar.
The sexual maturity of discus begins at the age of 1.5-2 years, and the breeding period lasts from 2 to 3 years. If there are problems with the definition of males and females, then several fish are acquired for breeding. When it becomes clear that two of them formed a solid pair, they are transplanted into a separate breeding ground with a volume of at least 100 liters. In the tank place snags, clay pots, large stones and any other decorations. Round-the-clock lighting should be weak. Fish should be protected from stress, so the water changes, albeit regularly, but with great care. Its temperature is maintained within 28-30 ° C. Water hardness is important. If it is high, then the fertilization of the roe will become problematic. Optimum rigidity. no more than 3 degrees.
Spawning begins in the evening. A signal to it is the cleaning of the substrate and the trembling of the fins of the fish. The female lays from 200 to 400 eggs, which are fertilized by the male. The incubation period is 3-4 days. After another as much fry begin to swim. It is very important during this period to make a daily replacement of water by a quarter of the volume. In the first days of life, the main food for the fry is a special selection on the skin of the parents. When they no longer remain on one fish, another immediately swims up. After 2 weeks, the parents are sent back to the aquarium.
Sometimes there are too many of them, and then parents are unable to feed all the offspring. It happens that the nutritional secretions on the skin are completely absent. In such cases, in order to save the fry, it is necessary to give them artificial food. On the water of the spawning mix egg powder and make thin cakes. They are pressed tightly against the wall of the aquarium so that each slightly protrudes above the surface of the water. When the fry are 5–6 days old, they can be fed with nauplii of artemia. In the future, use any quality food of a suitable size.
The main reason for their occurrence. non-compliance with the rules of content. With good care, when attention is paid to water quality, lighting and nutrition, stress (the cause of many diseases) is practically excluded. Discus. aquarium fish, which are very sensitive to even minor changes. The main problems encountered:
Discussions are difficult to treat, so it is much easier to avoid disease. This is possible only if you comply with the conditions of the pets in the aquarium. To do this, carefully monitor the purity and temperature of the water, use high-quality feed. It is necessary to prevent the entry of infection and pathogens into the aquarium. Discus is a fish, the compatibility of which with other inhabitants must be taken into account in order to avoid stress, which is the cause of many diseases.