How to care for discus fish?

Prevention is better than cure
Fish keeping is an enjoyable hobby that you can have your leisure hours with family and friends. Common topic to chat about with friends around you and will feel satisfied when your small beauties showing off in front of you knocking at the glass. This is the reward in return for all the effort and care you have provided them. However, most of the time, we receive emails from hobbyist that the fish is sick and they are going to die; I am sad; I do not want to lose them; what to do; how I can help them; how I can save them. Please help. To avoid all these unhappy events from happening, we must really know what to do and what not to do.


We must create a comfortable home with good, healthy and suitable environment for them. They will live happily in the present home. If you change their home with different quality of water, they will show stress and get sick. Any change of water quality should be done gradually. They can tolerate in most of the water quality but change slowly and provide time for them to adapt it. Ideal home is for fish to live in but not a place to cultivate bacteria and parasite. Fish live in this condition, where there are no parasites and bacteria, there is no reason they will get sick. What type of water do the bacteria and parasite like? And what type of water or place they do not like but your fish like it very much? A clean tank which is free from bacteria and parasites, your fish loves it. The water quality varies in different cities in the world. This is not an issue as we know they can tolerate in most of the water, as long as the water quality changes gradually. The water temperature maintains from 26 degree C to 30 degrees C is ideal. The discus fish can tolerate until 33 degree C. Most of the parasites and bacteria will die at water temperature 32 Degree C. Can you maintain the ideal condition without changing the water quality forever? Do not introduce any parasite or bacteria into the tanks. All food and equipments should be free of parasites and bacteria. They are the greatest killers.

Routine work:

WATER: Water change: If it is a community tank with plants and filter, is considered as balanced. It is not required to change water as often as a bare tank. You can change 20% of water once or twice in a week. Check the Chlorine content in the coming water from the tap, if it contains Chlorine then Chlorine conditioner must be added. If it is a growing tank which is bare, then water should be changed everyday after feeding, otherwise the water will be polluted. Water can be directly from the tap into the tank as long as you check the Chlorine content and take necessary action if requires.

FOOD: If it is a show tank, it is good to feed them with dry food. It is handy, easy and safe. They will eat dry food provided you train them. You select the food which has a proper diet for discus fish with vitamins, high protein and minerals. If it is for the purposes of force growing for commercial or raising breeding stock, then raw food is recommended such as beef heart or fish burger. Feed your discus fish with mixed garlic in the fish burger once a week so that to clean up the parasites in the intestine. The fish will be healthy and live happily.

EQUIPMENT: Nets, pails and hose should be sterilized before use. Soak them in a tank or pail with very high content of rock salt over night. They are clean and free of bacteria and parasites.

PURCHASING FISH: It is important to pick a healthy fish. It should be round body shape, clear fins, and bright, clear eyes. When you approach near them, they knock at the glass asking for food. Do not pick the fish with black fins, cloudy eyes, rapid breathing and clamped fins.

QUARANTINE: All new fish must be quarantined for at least a few weeks before introducing them into the main tank. You must observe your new fish very closely whether they are okay. They will take time to adapt to their new environment. Observe their behavior carefully. If they swim abnormally, like darting or rubbing any hard objects, they properly attacked by parasites which irritate them. Before introducing them to the main tank, get a fish from the main tank and put her into the quarantine tank. Observe them for few days. If both from the main and quarantine tank are okay then they are ready to introduce into the main tank.

MEDICATION: The following are used to treat parasites and bacteria:

  • Formalin
  • Malachite Green
  • Methylene Blue
  • Salt
  • Metronidazole

If we can observe the steps not to introduce the parasites and bacteria to our tank we do not need the above medications at all. We can prevent all the unnecessary problems from happening. Hobbyists who carefully follow the rules will enjoy seeing their healthy little babies. They are the happy discus fish hobbyists. They will face fewer problems in their discus fish hobby.

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