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Introducing Discus to the Aquarium

There is a little bit more involved in introducing your new discus to their new home, than simply plopping them into the water. This part of the guide will explain those steps, from buying your discus, to actually moving them to the tank.

Buying a Discus:

When going out to purchase a discus fish for the first time there are many things to consider. The first thing you want to look for when selecting a discus fish for your new discus aquarium, is one which looks healthy.

How does a healthy discus fish look? There are many signs which you should be aware of in terms of knowing if a discus fish is healthy or not. The most common things to look at are: Behavior, coloration, and physical attributes.

Behavior:

In terms of seeing if a discus is healthy or not, looking at its behavior can give clues to help decipher if it is indeed in good health, or if its not.

Discus which are not healthy will tend to swim sluggishly, they may be hiding behind the plants or the filter, and if they don’t rush towards a food source when it is offered to them.

On the other hand, if they are swimming around normally, look curious as to what is going on, and rush forward when food is introduced they are likely in good health.

Coloration:

You can use the coloration of a discus to tell if it is sick or not. If a discus fish seems to be darkened quite a bit it can be a tell tale sign that there is something not quite right with it.

This does not apply to baby discus, as baby discus will tend to not have any coloration at all. Discus only develop their colors as they reach adulthood. If you see a baby discus which is brightly colored that is a sign that they have been fed some sot of hormones, or color enhancing food. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that the baby discus is ill, discus who are fed hormones at such a young age, could develop potential problems later on.

Eye coloration is a thing to look at as well. The eyes should be clear and not cloudy. Remember not all discus have the same color eyes. Some discus have red eyes, some have amber eyes, and some discus have eyes that don’t have any color at all. However, if you see a discus which has a black eye, it is a good indicator that the fish is sick.

Physical Attributes:

Physical attributes of the discus can be a good indication of whether or not the fish is in good health or not. For example: If the discus has short gill covers, looks emaciated, looks undernourished, has some sort of wound, has frayed fins, or has white fecal matter trailing behind it, it is a good indication that the discus is not well.

You should also pay close attention to the discus’ skin to make sure it doesn’t have any defects as well.

If a discus is only breathing from one gill it is a sure sign that it has gill flukes. If a discus is breathing from both gills, and the gill flaps are beating once per second then it is a good sign that the discus is healthy.

How many Discus to buy?

Discus are a very social fish, they need to be in groups no less than six in order to be happy. So when purchasing discus you should get at least six to eight discus. This ensures that they will be comfortable in the tank and also almost guarantees you a breeding pair when they reach their breeding age.

Putting the Discus into their new home:

When purchasing discus be sure to ask the shop keeper the pH level, temperature and alkalinity of the tank that they were kept in. The water conditions should be fairly close to what you have set up for them in their aquarium.

If they are not close at all, you will need to acclimatise the discus to your discus aquarium slowly. If the conditions are relatively equal, then the process is much easier.

When you get your newly acquired discuss home, you will need to have a clean bucket where you can place the discus in. Place the discus in the bucket pouring in the shop water as well. The next thing you will want to do is fill the bucket with some water from your discus aquarium. You will want to add enough water so the discus can float upright comfortably, but don’t fill the bucket to the top. You will need to add water from your aquarium gradually to the bucket, until the temperature and the pH levels are the same.

Once the pH level and the temperature are the same in the bucket as they are in the aquarium, you can now move the discus to their new home. If you are a beginner, you will want to move the discus by utilizing a net that you can purchase at any aquarium supply store.

As you get more experienced you will be able to eventually move discus by hand, however you need to make sure that your hands are extremely clean when doing so. The discus will lie flat in your hand, allowing you to easily move them from bucket to aquarium, or quarantine tank to aquarium etc.

Once the discus are safely in the aquarium, turn off the tank lights, make sure the cover is secured, and let your new discus have some time to adjust to their new home.