So you have thought of starting your fish keeping hobby with the discus fish. You have visited your local pet shop, made some research on the Internet and you have sufficient place in your living room to keep them. Now the basic question is how to get started?
If you look at the Internet, you will find that there are many websites dedicated to discus fish. You get elaborate information on planting your aquarium for discus fish, treatment of water and its regular cleaning, feeding habits for them and so on. But you may be confused over different presentations.
If you want to find out some useful tips at one place for starting your hobby with discus fish, here are some important ones -
1. You should have a sufficiently large tank for them. The tank should be at least 60 gallons in capacity. For installing such a tank, you also need a sturdy base. You should fix a good location which does not get exposure to direct sunshine. There should be some filtration system working in your tank which will keep the water clean. There should be a heater for maintaining the temperature of the water. There should be a moderate system of lighting in place.
The tank should be covered with a hood all the time. You should also have a hose for cleaning the bottom of the tank.
2. Once you are ready we had the aquarium, you should give some time for cycling the water. This will help to form bacteria on the filters which will be useful for the fish. You should consult your pet fish shop for the type of filtration system ideal for your tank.
3. Now let us turn to the stage of buying discus fish. You will obviously prefer healthy fish. If you can find out a good breeder near your area, you will be able to get good quality fish. However, if there is none, you can still order by shipment from reputed breeders. The shipment will cost you around $100 and you may go for urgent or priority service.
4. Once you get the discus fish at home, you should quarantine them for some time before you introduce them to your main aquarium.
5. Here are some important tips for finding out healthy discus fish. The movements of the fish should be reasonably fast. If the fish is trying to hide in the dark, you should avoid it. If there is any dead fish in the tank from which you are buying your fish, you should avoid such fish. You should also see whether there are any visible injuries on the fish. The skin should be without any scratch and it should not look slimy. The eyes of the fish should be clear. If the fish has bulging eyes, it is not a good indication. You should also see whether the fish is able to eat the food easily.
6. You can buy up to 10 small discus fish for the size of 60 gallon tank. There should not be more than 2 inches in length. However once they start growing, you should keep them in the proportion of 10 gallons of water per fish. This will help you to keep the aquarium clean.
7. You can add some bigger size gravel so that the cleaning becomes easy. If it fits in your budget, you can add some ceramic decorative items which are attractive and will be easy for cleaning.
8. You should try to keep the conditions of water close to those which discus fish enjoy in their natural habitat. For this purpose, change at least 25 per cent of the water every three days. The temperature of the water should not exceed 84° F.
9. Your discus fish will have a big appetite. But remember, hungry discus fish are always healthy. You can offer them a wide variety of food including flaked food, live food, boiled vegetables and frozen foods. You should provide dry food in the morning while you can feed them live food in the afternoons and evenings.
If you have already decided that you will start your fish-keeping hobby with discus fish, it's a good decision. You will enjoy every moment of it right from buying them, their growth, their interaction with each other and their graceful swimming all around the aquarium. You will learn a lot from your hobby. Always feel free to ask questions to your pet shop staff make a research on the Internet and take advice from friends to update knowledge.
Chintamani Abhyankar is a goldfish enthusiast and has been raising and breeding goldfish for many years. He is an expert on their care and an advocate for raising healthy goldfish the natural way. His famous digital book, "Secrets on Keeping Beautiful Goldfish", offers simple, easy to follow instruction for raising healthy, long-living goldfish. Visit his website http://www.goldfishcaretips.com to learn more about expertly raising your goldfish and to receive your FREE copy of his special report, "Fish-Keeping Hobby Secrets Revealed".