Breeding My Discus

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I am posting a blog sharing my journey of trying to breed my Discus(would have posted it under New World Cichlids, but couldn't insert pics there for some reason)......

Anyway here I go...............

I will try to make this as informative as possible, but also a story of how things progress. Now first off I cannot make any promises on behalf of my fish that they will perform, but they will be encouraged as much as possible!

I have been keeping fish for a little over 3 decades now,but it has been the last 3 years which have seen me keeping Discus. I know that there will be a lot of folk here who have a lot more experience in keeping and breeding this fish, and this blog is not meant to be some sort of expert advice, but simply my experiences of these beautiful and interesting Cichlids.

It took me a while to take the plunge and buy my first Discus, as like many others I was scared of the perceived difficulty of keeping them. Yet I have not found them anymore difficult to care for than any other fish I have kept, yet I do find them more rewarding than some of the others.

OK, so here is my opinion on what is required for breeding Discus...... 1. Fish 2. Water 3. Food!

This not a joke, but it really is that simple.

1. Fish – A pair of breeding fish are needed, and these can be sourced in one of two ways. Either you can buy a breeding pair(expensive) or grow a number(6+) together and, with your fingers firmly crossed, wait for a pair to marry. The latter is what I have done.

2. Water – Discus need good clean and soft water,with a pH of 6-7 to breed successfully. If you can provide them with this and keep it like that(which means a lot of water changes) then they will have a big appetites and want to eat a lot, and that in turn will usually spur them into spawning.

3. Food – While Discus can happily be fed dried foods like flake and pellets, it is no secret that live and frozen foods greatly improve their health and vitality. While attempting breeding, my fish will only be fed frozen bloodworms and live brine shrimp, as this will minimise any waste in the tank.

My pair are about 1 year old now, and last week I spotted them in my main tank cleaning a piece of bogwood as if they were getting ready to lay some eggs and sure enough a couple of hours later they laid a batch of eggs. There was no way that they would have any chance of keeping those eggs safe from their tank mates, as they were living with 16 other Discus, 30+Cardinal Tetras and half a dozen Corys......... so time to check them into the honeymoon suite!..................
 

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DevotedToDiscus

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In the show tank, last week.
 

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Hotel Liquid Love, and the one star suite!......... The breeding tank only needs the bare essentials to allow these two to do the business. It also helps to make maintenance as easy as possible for me and less stressful for them.

The tank does not need to have acres of space, just room enough to allow the fish to be comfortable. The bigger the tank the longer it will take to change the water, and I will be changing 50% of the water twice a day.

I am using a 75 litre tank fitted with a simple air driven sponge filter, 100 watt shielded heater(so the fry can't get burnt) keeping the water at 30C, and a ceramic pot for egg laying. The filter is mature, and is only there to remove ammonia, as any particles and waste will be removed during each water change.The tank bottom is bare, to ensure everything can be kept nice and clean.

I am not using RO water as my tap water is fine and dandy for them. However, the tap water does have a typical pH that falls between 7-7.5,so I am using API pH 6.5 buffer to lower the pH of the tap water before I add it to the tank........
 

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Westwood

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Should be a great blog. :good: Two stunning fish there.

Is that all the eggs they usually have? or is it more? :blink:
 
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Should be a great blog. :good: Two stunning fish there.

Is that all the eggs they usually have? or is it more? :blink:

Thanks, that pic was last week in the main tank, and this was their very first go at egg laying so not a lot of eggs, and they got eaten after an hour. Hopefully in the breeding tank they will manage 50-100 eggs, as they are a very young pair. Older and bigger Discus can easily produce 200 eggs at a time.
 
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They have checked in now, and appear to be happy, as they went straight to the restaurant!
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Lunch
 

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Tizer

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50% twice a day? jeez remind me never to consider discus. does the water really polute that quickly?
 
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50% twice a day? jeez remind me never to consider discus. does the water really polute that quickly?

It is more for when the fry come along, they are very vulnerable when they are small. The tank is positioned 3 feet from the sink and I have a hose with an old filter pump attached. So actually changing the water is a breeze and takes less than 5 mins, so can do it while I make a brew
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.
 

coldcazzie

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50% twice a day? jeez remind me never to consider discus. does the water really polute that quickly?

It is more for when the fry come along, they are very vulnerable when they are small. The tank is positioned 3 feet from the sink and I have a hose with an old filter pump attached. So actually changing the water is a breeze and takes less than 5 mins, so can do it while I make a brew
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That sounds like a great setup! Change the water while you make a brew! Genius! :D looking forward to this, will be checking back for updates :good:
 
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24 hours that these two have been alone in their love nest, and they seem very settled. I watched them doing the 'courtship quiver' ......not sure that is the official name..... but while it is never a given, I am instilled with confidence that before the week is out they will get to it
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. If by the weekend I don't see any solid signs of spawning, then I will try to encourage them with some underhand trickery
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As a point on easy water changes I will show a sequence of pics here showing my method. No buckets, splashes or mess. I use this method with my other tanks also and it makes it easy peasy lemon squeezey........

I have a length of 25mm hose with a couple of suckers zip tied on at the sink end, so that I can secure it to the work top next the the sink. On the tank end I have one of those washing machine drain hose 'U' clips. This hangs on the lip of the tank and I can slide the hose up and down to the desired water level that I wish to remove from the tank.

I then siphon the water down the sink drain. Once the water has been removed I attach a small internal filter pump to the hose(this one came out of my old Jewel tank) ready to pump fresh water back.

I now fill the sink with the correct temperature water using the mixer tap, and leave the tap running. At this point I can also add any meds etc.

Now I switch on the pump...........and finish drinking my tea
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I'm not big into Discus, but those are some striking fish! I love the brightness of their coloring and markings. I am anxious to see how this turns out. Can't wait to see some pretty babies!
 

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"I now fill the sink with the correct temperature water using the mixer tap, and leave the tap running. At this point I can also add any meds etc."

Do you use that sink for anything other than water changes to the tank? If it is used for general household cleaning (wasing dishes, etc) then I would advise that you don't use it to mix water for the tank - there could be residues of soaps, detergents or even bleach in there and you don't want those getting anywhere near the discus.
 
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"I now fill the sink with the correct temperature water using the mixer tap, and leave the tap running. At this point I can also add any meds etc."

Do you use that sink for anything other than water changes to the tank? If it is used for general household cleaning (wasing dishes, etc) then I would advise that you don't use it to mix water for the tank - there could be residues of soaps, detergents or even bleach in there and you don't want those getting anywhere near the discus.

Zoddy, that is a very valuable point you raise here, and info I failed to point out. I have a double sink, and that side has only ever had water in it as I fill all my tanks from it. That said any worries and I would use a plastic bucket under the tap. Anyway, I am far to lazy to do the dishes, so the all go in the dishwasher
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. I am super careful with my fish, and my girlfriend constantly comments that they receive way more care and attention than she does!!!
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So yesterday I decided it was time to try and give them a little helping hand and try to induce spawning. I made up 40 liters of peat moss infused softened water, with some blackwater extract. This morning I used this water for my water change and then gave them a good feed of live brine shrimp..........about 4 hours have passed since I did it and now there is some fairly aggressive pot cleaning go on. This cleaning behavior is a very good sign that they are planning laying some eggs very soon. So, fingers are now crossed that they will have a batch of eggs before the day is out!
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