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I am thinking about breeding discus


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Discus are cichlids.

Breeding discus follows the same path as breeding other cichlids. Obtain a pair, feed generously, provide a roomy environment with clean warm water. Easy, right?

Mostly, but:

  • Males and females look similar so you either have to buy a known pair or start with half a dozen young fish and let them begin to pair up as they mature
  • I like to feed high quality foods like live blackworms, but this can be expensive and it is not a well round diet as discus need a varied diet that includes vegetable matter
  • Breeding size discus can be in the 6 inch range and the smallest breeding tank I have used is a 55 gallon although others have used smaller aquariums
  • High quality warm water means a thoroughly cycled aquarium with water in the 84°F - 86°F and because discus are big fish that eat a lot, your aquarium needs to be able to process that or alternatively you need to do enough water changes to keep up with the waste produced
  • Like many cichlids discus will eat the eggs the first few times they spawn, but unlike other cichlids you don't have the option of removing the eggs as the discus fry need to stay with and feed off of the parents bodies for the first week or two after they are free swimming

Like all fishkeeping, everyone does it a little different like what they feed their discus, but clean warm water is a must as is leaving the fry with their parents. If you have bred and raised angelfish, then you are well on your way there, so good luck!

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7 hours ago, Daniel said:

Discus are cichlids.

Breeding discus follows the same path as breeding other cichlids. Obtain a pair, feed generously, provide a roomy environment with clean warm water. Easy, right?

Mostly, but:

  • Males and females look similar so you either have to buy a known pair or start with half a dozen young fish and let them begin to pair up as they mature
  • I like to feed high quality foods like live blackworms, but this can be expensive and it is not a well round diet as discus need a varied diet that includes vegetable matter
  • Breeding size discus can be in the 6 inch range and the smallest breeding tank I have used is a 55 gallon although others have used smaller aquariums
  • High quality warm water means a thoroughly cycled aquarium with water in the 84°F - 86°F and because discus are big fish that eat a lot, your aquarium needs to be able to process that or alternatively you need to do enough water changes to keep up with the waste produced
  • Like many cichlids discus will eat the eggs the first few times they spawn, but unlike other cichlids you don't have the option of removing the eggs as the discus fry need to stay with and feed off of the parents bodies for the first week or two after they are free swimming

Like all fishkeeping, everyone does it a little different like what they feed their discus, but clean warm water is a must as is leaving the fry with their parents. If you have bred and raised angelfish, then you are well on your way there, so good luck!

@Daniel nailed it but don’t downplay the importance of water changes! Many Discus breeders do 100% water changes daily. You’ll be feeding lots of high protein foods often, any uneaten food will foul the water. They swear by this method in that it produces large healthy Discus fast. Good luck.

Edited by Paul
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Depending on your water parameters, Discus eggs generally won't hatch well unless they are in soft acidic water. Now, I know that the Stendker discus bred in Germany are raised and bred in harder water, so I've heard that you don't need the softer acidic water. I am not sure how true that is,, as I have never kept them. 

But, as @Danielstated, unless you start with a proven pair, it's best to buy a group, raise them, let them pair off. Condition them with live foods if possible, frozen foods, high quality pellets etc.  

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If/when you get the fry and they're big enough to remove from the parents, there was a YouTube video a few years ago of a professional breeder who raised his fry in very large tanks (150 gallons I believe) but kept all of the fry confined in a very, very small part of the tank. He wanted the large water volume for optimal growth, but had found they spent so much energy searching for food in the big tank that it slowed their growth. By cramming the fry together in a very small portion of the tank he was able to get substantially faster growth of the fry and get them to market sooner. He had something like fifty, one inch diameter fry confined to a space about the size of a ten gallon tank. It was funny seeing this huge, largely empty tank, with a mass of fry all confined in one small part of the tank.

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1 hour ago, gardenman said:

If/when you get the fry and they're big enough to remove from the parents, there was a YouTube video a few years ago of a professional breeder who raised his fry in very large tanks (150 gallons I believe) but kept all of the fry confined in a very, very small part of the tank. He wanted the large water volume for optimal growth, but had found they spent so much energy searching for food in the big tank that it slowed their growth. By cramming the fry together in a very small portion of the tank he was able to get substantially faster growth of the fry and get them to market sooner. He had something like fifty, one inch diameter fry confined to a space about the size of a ten gallon tank. It was funny seeing this huge, largely empty tank, with a mass of fry all confined in one small part of the tank.

Something else that could be done to have a large water volume to help with water quality is to have the fry in say a 10 or 20 gallon tank and have that plumbed to a much larger tank or a rubbermaid tub as a sump with filtration material. 

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