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A Beginner's Guide to Discus Fish Health: How to Prevent and Treat Common Diseases 2023

Discus fish are native to the Amazon River basin in South America, where they inhabit slow-moving, acidic, and warm waters. In captivity, it's important to maintain a consistent water temperature that mimics their natural habitat. The recommended temperature range for Discus fish in captivity is between 82-86°F (28-30°C), although they can tolerate slight fluctuations within this range. It's important to avoid sudden or extreme changes in water temperature, which can stress the fish and compromise their immune system. A reliable and accurate aquarium heater and thermometer are essential tools for maintaining the appropriate water temperature in a Discus fish tank.

There are many different types of Discus fish, each with unique characteristics and coloration. Here are five popular varieties:

1. Blue Discus - This type of Discus fish has a bright blue body with dark vertical stripes.

2. Red Discus - The Red Discus has a striking reddish-orange body with some darker markings.

3. Green Discus - The Green Discus has a greenish body with vertical stripes that can be either dark or light.

4. Golden Discus - This variety has a yellow-gold body with some light vertical stripes.

5. Pigeon Blood Discus - This type of Discus fish is mainly white with bright red or orange markings, and a distinctive red eye.

Minimum Aquarium size per gallon for a discus?

Discus fish require a significant amount of space and clean water to thrive, so the minimum tank size for a group of Discus should be at least 50 gallons (190 liters) or larger. However, keep in mind that a larger tank is generally better for Discus as it provides more swimming space and helps to maintain stable water conditions. When keeping Discus, it's important to avoid overcrowding the tank, so a general rule of thumb is to provide at least 10 gallons (38 liters) of water per adult Discus fish. For example, if you have a group of 5 adults Discus, a 50-gallon (190-liter) tank would be the minimum size required, but a larger tank would be more appropriate for their long-term health and well-being.

In addition to providing a sufficiently large aquarium, it's also important to maintain good water quality to support the health of your Discus fish. A reliable filtration system and regular water changes are essential to keep the water clean and free of harmful pollutants. As Discus fish are sensitive to changes in water chemistry, it's important to keep the pH level between 6.0 and 7.5, with a hardness level between 1 and 8 dGH. The water temperature should be maintained at a stable range between 82-86°F (28-30°C) to mimic their natural environment. Providing a well-balanced diet of high-quality fish food and avoiding overfeeding is also crucial for the health of your Discus fish. Finally, it's important to avoid keeping aggressive tank mates with Discus fish and to provide them with plenty of hiding places and other decorations in the aquarium to help them feel secure.

Feeding the Discus from Fries to Adult stage

Discus fish have a high protein requirement and should be fed a balanced diet that is specifically designed for their nutritional needs. Here are some feeding recommendations for Discus fish at different life stages:

1. Fry Stage (0-4 weeks): Newly hatched Discus fry can be fed newly hatched brine shrimp or liquid fry food until they are large enough to eat crushed flakes or pellets. 2. Juvenile Stage (4-12 weeks): As Discus fish grow, their protein requirements increase. They can be fed small amounts of high-quality fish food several times a day, such as small pellets, flakes, or frozen foods like bloodworms or brine shrimp. 3. Adult Stage (12 weeks and older): Adult Discus should be fed a high-quality, protein-rich diet consisting of pellets or flakes that are specifically formulated for Discus fish. These foods should have a protein content of at least 40% and be made with high-quality ingredients, such as fish meals or krill meals.

It's important to note that overfeeding Discus fish can lead to health problems and poor water quality. A good rule of thumb is to feed them small amounts several times a day, rather than one large meal. Also, be sure to remove any uneaten food from the tank to prevent it from decomposing and polluting the water.

In terms of protein level, Discus fish require a high-protein diet. The recommended protein content in food for Discus fish is at least 40%, with some high-quality fish foods offering protein levels of up to 50% or more. A high protein diet helps to support the growth and overall health of Discus fish. However, it's important to ensure that the protein is coming from high-quality sources, such as fish meal, krill meal, or shrimp meal, rather than low-quality fillers or animal by-products.

How many times a day to feed discus?

Discus fish are typically fed several times a day, with small portions at each feeding. As a general rule of thumb, it's recommended to feed adult Discus fish 2-3 times a day, while juvenile or growing Discus can be fed up to 4-5 times a day. The key is to provide small portions of food that can be consumed within a few minutes, rather than a large meal that can cause digestive problems or pollute the water. Overfeeding can also lead to health issues and poor water quality, so it's important to feed Discus fish the appropriate amount of food for their age and size, while also avoiding overfeeding. If you notice that your Discus fish are not finishing their food or appear bloated, you may need to reduce the amount of food or feeding frequency.

Breeding of Discus

Breeding Discus fish can be a rewarding and exciting experience for fish keepers. Here are the basic steps to breeding Discus fish:

1. Choosing breeding pairs: Discus fish need to be paired up before they can breed. The best way to do this is to observe the behavior of the fish and identify a male and female pair that are compatible. 2. Preparing the breeding tank: A separate breeding tank is recommended for Discus fish breeding. The tank should be at least 20-30 gallons in size and have a sponge filter to provide gentle water flow. The water temperature should be set at around 84-86°F (29-30°C) and a pH level of around 6.0-6.5. 3. Conditioning the breeding pair: Before breeding, the Discus fish pair needs to be conditioned with a high-protein diet and clean water for several weeks. During this time, they should be separated from other fish and provided with a variety of high-quality food. 4. Spawning behavior: Discus fish breeding typically involves the pair cleaning and preparing a flat surface for spawning, such as a piece of slate or a vertical surface like the aquarium glass. The female lays her eggs on this surface, and the male fertilizes them. After spawning, the parents will take turns guarding and fanning the eggs to keep them oxygenated. 5. Hatching and rearing: Discus fish eggs hatch in about 2-3 days, and the fry will attach themselves to the surface where they were laid. The parents will continue to guard the fry and provide them with mucus from their skin until they are free-swimming. At this point, the fry can be fed with newly hatched brine shrimp or liquid fry food.

Breeding Discus fish can be a challenging process, and it's important to have a good understanding of their nutritional, environmental, and social needs before attempting to breed them. It's also important to ensure that the breeding pair is healthy and free from disease to prevent any potential problems for the fry.

When can the parents separate from fries?

Discus fish fry is typically cared for by their parents for the first few weeks of their lives. During this time, the parents will guard and protect the fry, and also provide them with mucus from their skin as a source of nutrition. It's important to avoid disturbing the breeding tank or separating the parents from the fry during this time, as this can cause stress and harm to the fry.

After about 2-3 weeks, the fry will start to become more independent and will begin to swim away from the parents. At this point, the parents can be removed from the breeding tank to prevent them from eating the fry. The fry can then be fed small amounts of newly hatched brine shrimp or liquid fry food, and the water in the tank should be kept clean and well-aerated to ensure the health and growth of the fry.

It's important to monitor the fry closely during this period, as they are still quite fragile and can be susceptible to disease and other health issues. As they continue to grow and develop, they can be gradually moved to larger tanks and provided with a balanced and nutritious diet to support their overall health and well-being.

When Discus fish breed and their fry are born, it's important to provide them with a special diet that is rich in protein and highly nutritious. Newly hatched fry will feed on their yolk sacs for the first few days, but after that, they will need to be given small amounts of food several times a day. Here are some food options for feeding Discus fry in a breeding tank:

1. Infusoria: These are small, free-floating organisms that can be cultured in a tank or bought in a pet store. Infusoria are a great first food for fry because they are tiny enough to fit in their mouths.

Brine Shrimps
Brine Shrimps

2. Baby brine shrimp: These tiny shrimp are high in protein and highly nutritious, making them an excellent food source for young Discus fry.

3. Microworms: These small, thread-like worms are another excellent food for young fry. They are easy to culture in a tank and can provide a good source of protein.

4. Liquifry or liquid fry food: These commercially available products are specifically designed for feeding young fish. They come in liquid form and are highly nutritious and easy for fry to eat.

It's important to remember to feed fry small amounts frequently throughout the day, as they have small stomachs and can't eat much at once. As the fry grows, you can gradually introduce larger food items such as finely crushed flakes or pellets.

what kind of food to provide Discus Parents?

When Discus fry are born in a breeding tank, it's important to provide the adult Discus parents with a balanced and nutritious diet to help them maintain their health and provide adequate nutrition for their offspring. Here are some food options for feeding adult Discus parents when fries are born in the same tank:


High-quality pellets: There are many brands of high-quality pellets available that are specifically designed for Discus fish. These pellets should be the staple diet for adult Discus, and they provide a balanced mix of protein, vitamins, and minerals.

2. Frozen or live foods: In addition to pellets, adult Discus can also benefit from the occasional serving of frozen or live foods, such as bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia. These foods are high in protein and can provide valuable nutrition to help the Discus parents maintain their health.

3. Vegetables: Some Discus owners like to supplement their fish's diet with vegetables such as zucchini or cucumber. These can be sliced thinly and added to the tank, and Discus will often nibble on them throughout the day.

It's important to remember not to overfeed the Discus parents when fry are present, as excess food can lead to poor water quality and health problems. Feed them small amounts several times a day, and remove any uneaten food after a few minutes to prevent it from decomposing in the tank. With a balanced and nutritious diet, adult Discus parents can maintain their health and provide the best possible care for their offspring.

Importance of Spirulina in the Fish Diet

Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae that is often added to fish food to enhance its nutritional value. When spirulina is mixed with premium ingredients for Discus, several advantages can benefit the fish.

First, spirulina is a rich source of protein, vitamins, and minerals. This can help support the overall health and immune system of Discus and may lead to improved growth rates, brighter colors, and better breeding success.

In addition to its nutritional benefits, spirulina has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. This can help to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the fish's body, which can be caused by factors such as poor water quality or stress.

Another advantage of spirulina is that it can enhance the digestive health of Discus. The algae contain prebiotic fibers that promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, which can improve nutrient absorption and help prevent digestive issues.

Overall, adding spirulina to a high-quality Discus food can be a great way to provide your fish with optimal nutrition and support their overall health and well-being. However, it's important to remember that spirulina should not be the only ingredient in the food and that a variety of protein sources should be included to ensure a balanced and complete diet.

Discus eggs catching Fungus
Discus eggs catching fungus

Why do the discus fish eggs catch fungus? and the remedy for it?

Discus fish eggs can catch fungus due to a variety of reasons, including poor water quality, insufficient oxygenation, and exposure to external contaminants. Fungal infections on the eggs can quickly spread and harm the developing embryos, which can lead to reduced hatching rates or even death. To remedy a fungal infection on Discus fish eggs, it's important to take the following steps:

1. Remove the affected eggs: If you notice any eggs with fungal growth, remove them immediately using a pair of sterilized tweezers or a small siphon. 2. Improve water quality: Fungal infections on Discus fish eggs are often caused by poor water quality, so it's important to maintain clean and well-aerated water in the breeding tank. Ensure that the tank is properly cycled, and perform regular water changes to keep the water parameters stable. 3. Add antifungal medication: There are several antifungal medications available on the market that can be used to treat fungal infections on Discus fish eggs. These medications should be added to the breeding tank as directed and should be used only as a last resort. 4. Adjust the water temperature: Raising the temperature of the water by a few degrees can also help to prevent fungal infections on Discus fish eggs. However, it's important to monitor the temperature closely and ensure that it does not exceed the recommended range for Discus fish.

It's important to note that preventing fungal infections on Discus fish eggs is often easier than treating them once they occur.

By maintaining good water quality, providing proper nutrition and care, and monitoring the breeding tank closely, you can help to ensure the health and success of your Discus fish breeding efforts.

Discus Eating Blood worms
Discus eating Bloodworms

Is it necessary to feed BHM or Blood worms?

BHM (Beef Heart Mix) is a popular food choice for Discus fish and many hobbyists swear by it as a staple part of their feeding regimen. However, it is not necessary to feed BHM to Discus fish as there are many other high-quality commercial foods available that can provide the necessary nutrition for Discus. These foods should be specifically formulated for Discus and should contain a balanced mix of protein, vitamins, and minerals.

Bloodworms are another popular food choice for Discus fish and can provide a good source of protein. However, they should be fed in moderation and should not be the sole source of nutrition for Discus fish. Bloodworms can also carry pathogens and parasites, so it's important to ensure that they are sourced from a reliable and reputable supplier.

In general, it's important to provide Discus fish with a varied and balanced diet that includes a mix of high-quality commercial foods, live or frozen foods, and occasional treats like vegetables. By providing a well-rounded diet, you can help to ensure the health and vitality of your Discus fish and promote optimal growth and development.

Are flakes and pellets good for discus?

Flakes and pellets can be good options for feeding Discus fish, as long as they are high-quality and specifically formulated for Discus. It's important to choose a food that is designed to meet the nutritional needs of Discus fish and that contains a balanced mix of protein, vitamins, and minerals.

When selecting flakes or pellets for Discus, it's important to look for products that contain high-quality protein sources, such as fish meals, shrimp meals, or krill meals. The food should also be fortified with vitamins and minerals, and should not contain any fillers or low-quality ingredients. It's also important to note that while flakes and pellets can be convenient and easy to use, they should not be the sole source of nutrition for Discus fish. A varied and balanced diet that includes live or frozen foods, such as bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia, can help to provide the necessary nutrients and promote optimal health and growth.

Overall, flakes and pellets can be a good choice for feeding Discus fish, as long as they are of high quality and are used as part of a balanced and varied diet.

Lifespan of Discus

Another important factor in the lifespan of Discus fish is genetics. Some Discus strains may be more prone to certain health issues or have a shorter lifespan due to genetic factors. When selecting Discus fish for your aquarium, it's important to choose fish from reputable breeders who have a proven track record of producing healthy and long-lived fish.

Overall, providing excellent care and a suitable environment can help to maximize the lifespan of Discus fish and ensure that they live healthy and happy lives in your aquarium. By being attentive to their needs and providing proper care, you can enjoy the beauty and companionship of these fascinating fish for many years to come.

5 Common Disease of Discus

Discus fish are susceptible to several health issues, many of which can be prevented or treated with proper care and attention. Some of the most common diseases and health issues that can affect Discus fish include:

1. Hole-in-the-head disease: This is a bacterial infection that causes lesions to form on the head and body of the fish. It can be caused by poor water quality, stress, or a lack of proper nutrition. 2. Ichthyophthiriasis (Ich): This is a parasitic infection that causes small white spots to appear on the fish's body and fins. It is highly contagious and can be caused by stress, poor water quality, or overcrowding. 3. Flukes: Flukes are a type of parasitic worm that can infect Discus fish, causing symptoms such as flashing, lethargy, and weight loss. 4. Fin rot: This is a bacterial infection that can cause the fins of the fish to become frayed or discolored. It can be caused by poor water quality or stress.

5. Columnaris: This is a bacterial infection that can cause ulcers and lesions to form on the fish's body, as well as other symptoms such as lethargy and loss of appetite. It can be caused by poor water quality or stress.

Preventing and treating these health issues requires close attention to water quality, nutrition, and overall care. Regular water changes, a varied and balanced diet, and careful monitoring of the fish's behavior and appearance can help to prevent and address these and other health issues in Discus fish.

Effective treatment for Discus for the above-mentioned disease

The treatment for Discus fish diseases depends on the specific disease and its severity. In general, early detection and treatment are important for the best chances of full recovery. Here are some of the treatments for the common diseases that affect Discus fish:

1. Hole-in-the-head disease: The treatment for this bacterial infection involves improving water quality, reducing stress, and providing a nutritious diet. Antibiotics may also be necessary, and the use of medications such as metronidazole, tetracycline, or erythromycin can be effective in treating this disease. 2. Ichthyophthiriasis (Ich): This parasitic infection can be treated with medications such as copper, malachite green, or formalin. Raising the temperature of the water to 86°F (30°C) can also help to speed up the life cycle of the parasite, making it more vulnerable to treatment. 3. Flukes: Flukes can be treated with medications such as praziquantel or trichlorfon. These medications should be used according to the manufacturer's instructions, and the fish should be monitored closely during the treatment. 4. Fin rot: Treatment for fin rot involves improving water quality, reducing stress, and administering antibiotics if necessary. Melafix or Pimafix can also be effective in treating mild cases of fin rot. 5. Columnaris: The treatment for Columnaris involves improving water quality, reducing stress, and administering antibiotics such as kanamycin, erythromycin, or tetracycline. Methylene blue can also be used as a bath to help prevent secondary bacterial infections.

Use of Common Salt in Treating Discus

Common salt (sodium chloride) can be used to treat certain health issues in Discus, such as external parasites or bacterial infections. When used in the proper concentration, salt can help to improve the osmotic balance of the water and reduce stress on the fish, while also killing off harmful organisms.

However, it's important to use salt with caution, as it can have negative effects on the fish if used improperly. Here are some guidelines for using salt to treat Discus:

  1. Only use non-iodized salt: Iodized salt can be harmful to fish, so be sure to use a non-iodized salt such as aquarium salt or Kosher salt.

  2. Use the right concentration: The appropriate concentration of salt will depend on the specific health issue you're treating. In general, a concentration of 0.1% (1 gram of salt per liter of water) is safe for most freshwater fish, including Discus. However, for certain conditions, such as severe parasite infestations, a higher concentration may be needed. It's important to carefully follow the instructions for the specific condition you're treating.

  3. Do not use salt for extended periods: Salt can be harmful to certain species of fish if used for extended periods, so it's important to only use it for as long as necessary to treat the specific health issue.

  4. Monitor the fish closely: While salt can be beneficial in certain situations, it can also be stressful to the fish. It's important to closely monitor your Discus while using salt and to discontinue treatment if you notice any signs of distress.

Overall, common salt can be a useful tool for treating certain health issues in Discus, but it should be used with caution by experienced fish keepers.

It's important to note that some medications can be harmful to Discus fish, so it's important to use them according to the manufacturer's instructions and to closely monitor the fish during treatment. In addition, it's important to identify and address the underlying cause of the disease to prevent future outbreaks. Regular water changes, a varied and balanced diet, and careful attention to the fish's environment can help to promote optimal health and prevent disease in Discus fish.

The most unanswered question: Can we mix discus from different countries?

It is generally not recommended to mix Discus from different countries or sources, as this can increase the risk of disease transmission and stress for the fish. Discus from different sources may have been exposed to different pathogens, and may also have different levels of immunity or susceptibility to certain diseases. Mixing Discus from different sources can increase the risk of introducing new pathogens to the aquarium, which can lead to disease outbreaks and even mortality in some cases.

In addition, Discus can be very sensitive and territorial fish, and introducing new individuals to an established group can lead to aggression, stress, and other behavioral problems. It's generally best to keep Discus from the same source or breeder together in a single aquarium and to avoid introducing new fish to an established group unless necessary. If you do need to introduce new fish, it's important to quarantine them for several weeks in a separate tank to monitor for signs of disease or stress before introducing them to the main aquarium


Discus fish are a stunning and fascinating species, but keeping them healthy can be a challenge. However, with proper care, attention, and knowledge, you can prevent many of the common diseases that afflict Discus fish and ensure that your fish thrive. By maintaining good water quality, providing a balanced and varied diet, and watching for signs of illness, you can stay one step ahead of potential health problems. And if your fish do become sick, don't panic – there are many effective treatments available that can help to restore their health. By following the tips and guidelines outlined in this beginner's guide to Discus fish health, you'll be well on your way to becoming a confident and successful Discus fish keeper. So why wait? Start learning and implementing the best practices for Discus fish health today, and enjoy the beauty and joy of these remarkable fish for years to come!

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Author :- Sunil Dcosta


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