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Native to the Amazon River Basin, the popular Discus (Symphysodon spp. ) are a genus of three species of freshwater cichlid fish, the common discus (Symphysodon aequifasciatus), the Heckel discus (Symphysodon discus), and a new species named Symphysodon tarzoo. S. aequifasciatus occurs in the Rio Amazonas, Rio Solimões and the Río Putumayo-Içá in Brazil, Peru and Colombia . S. discus appears to be limited to the lower reaches of the Trombetas, Rio Negro and Abacaxis rivers. S. tarzoo occurs upstream of Manaus in the western Amazon.
All Symphysodon species have a laterally compressed round body shape, with patterns of shades in brown, blue, green, and red. The length and height of a typical grown adult ranges from about 20–25 cm (8–10 in). There are many notable colour variations, brown, blue/green, royal blue, red spotted green, heckel, red turquoise, solid cobalt, blue diamond etc.
The shy and peaceful Discus which makes wonderful aquarium inhabitants, are sensitive to the environmental stress and disturbances. Hence the discus aquariums should be ideally located in a quiet area, preferably with little movements in the surrounding areas of a home or office. Plenty of hiding places should be provided to this fish for retreat. Careful selection of cohabitants with the Discus should be made with care. Some fish may introduce parasites, diseases without exhibiting any noticeable signs. In a stressed environment, Discus stops producing their stress coat and their immune system also stops, leaving them vulnerable to parasites and diseases, and may die easily as a result. The ideal water temperature to maintain Discus should be in the range of 26-31 C, where young Discus fry should be ideally kept at 31 C (88 F) degrees. Water parameters should be very soft and slightly acidic with a pH value range 5. 5 – 6. 5. Discus should live well in a well lit planted tank with adequate biological filtration, and some shaded areas for them to hide in.
A good water quality will allow Discus to have good appetites, and accept any food offered to them. As the Discus are shy in nature, they may be difficult in competing for food against the more aggressive fast swimmers. Small characides such as tetras are excellent cohabitants for discus. Tetras usually thrive in similar water parameters as that of the Discus, and their schooling behavior greatly help in calming the discus.
As in all other cichlids, brood care is highly developed where the pair of Discus will care for the young. Discus lay their eggs in angled surfaces, and hence vertical surface should be be provided for them to do so. Diet for the breeding pair of Discus should comprise frozen blood worms, beef heart, frozen or live brine shrimps and some dry food such as Tetra Color Bits. Avoid life worms like tubifex which carry the risk of introducing parasites or diseases into the breeding tanks. A healthy pair of breeding discus should spawn frequently. The eggs usually takes about 48 hours to hatch and the fry becoming free swimming after 72 hours later. As soon as the fry becomes free-swimming, they will move to the parent’s sides to feed off the mucous secretion. The fry will be ready to take on newly hatched brine shrimp after 5 days of free-swimming. It is good to remove the parents from the fry after 2 to 3 weeks, where the parents may be able to breed again. Fry should be fed no less than 6 times a day with newly hatched brine shrimp and chopped blood worms.
This beautiful fish is not suitable for the beginner though.
End Date: Thursday Mar-13-2014 16:08:40 PDT
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