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Much has been written about the Discus, or Symphysodon aequifasciatus, its Latin name. The Discus has always been given a bad rap for being hard to raise and difficult to keep. Actually, these long-lived fishes are easy to keep as long as certain guidelines are followed.
Here, we discuss the different water parameters that MUST be followed if we are to insure that our Discus friends are kept happy and healthy.
Testing the Waters
Initially, you will need to test for chloramine and chlorine, pH, and alkalinity. If you are a city dweller, a lot of this information can be gotten from the city waterworks, and although a good idea to do so, I would not recommend that you rely exactly on this information. At anywhere from $275 to $425 for a breeding pair, an initial investment for a decent PH/TDS meter is well qualified. Currently at King Discus Hatchery, we use a Hanna Combo PH/TDS meter that measures in ppt (parts per trillion) for the most accurate reading of our tanks.
Determining the levels of pH and alkalinity in your base water is the first step in this process. Although some base water is quite good for the discus with little or no buffering, some water will need extensive conditioning before the first Discus can be introduced into the tank. Once you know the levels of PH and alkalinity, water chemistry tests should be conducted on a regular basis.
Test on a regular basis. When you are comfortable with this process, it is time to and add a few more tests to the battery of tests performed.
These tests will be for nitrite and nitrate, phosphate. In the planted tank, you will need to also test for iron and CO2. Test kits are very easy to use if instructions are followed to the letter. A particular number of drops of the testing reagent must always be accurate, following instructions on the test kit, or test results can be skewed. Test kits and probes available for the aquarium are quite inexpensive and easy to use, and can generally be bought at your local pet supply store, especially if they specialize in aquarium keeping.
Toxins in the Water Supply
Be aware that Chlorine or chloramine are routinely added to the water in many urban areas. Using a simple color test kit to determine the presence and concentration of either is very advisable. Removing these elements of chlorine or chloramine is a vital part of the process to properly condition your water. Conditioning is carefully adjusting the chemistry of the water to raise it to the parameters required for Discus keeping. Aging the water through carbon filtration (mechanical), aging the water, and proper aeration will be of benefit. Be aware, though, that aeration will not remove chloramine from your water. Chlorine can also be removed by adding prepared chlorine removers, but Nick Lockhart, the breeder for King Discus Hatchery, is not fond of using buffering agents. Constant water changes in the Discus tank will only leach these buffers, and then you are unsure of where your water chemistry is at. Nothing will harm the Discus more than wild fluctuations of PH. It is much more advisable to use reverse osmosis or deionization. We use RO, with a special Peat Moss filter to accomplish our parameters. The process of RO with fine tuned filtration of the RO water will remove virtually all toxins, but one must be aware that Discus cannot live in pure RO water, and steps must again be taken to insure proper levels of acidity/PH in the RO water. Chloramine is a combination of chlorine and ammonia, and some water companies need to use this for disinfection of the water supply.
If these simple tests are done on a regular basis, and care is taken to insure that there are no wild PH swings in the Discus tank, your success as a Discus breeder are much higher.
Alden Smith is a published author, and has been marketing on the internet for 7 years. His website, King Discus, is an active gathering place for discus breeders and lovers of discus fish. His wife Betsy is the administrator of All The Best Recipes a site rich in online recipes and cookbooks.
Q: When I was growing up my dad said that dogs are fine in the snow because they have fur. Is this true? Can you offer some tips for keeping my pet safe during ...
(highwaystarz/stock.adobe.com)Generation Y, or millennials, are poised to be the generation that makes pet insurance the norm. As the largest pet-owning ...
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The Herald-News presents this week's Pets of the Week. Read the caption of each photo to find out about that pet, including where he or she can be adopted.
The Petcube Bites pet monitor lets you interact with your cats or dogs remotely and reward them with treats that are dispensed via the device's smartphone app.
Home for the Pawlidays was held at ViaPort Rotterdam Mall on Sunday afternoon.
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Casually discarded roaches or dropped bits of edibles, inside and outside homes, are increasingly being gobbled up by canines, with unpleasant results.
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U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., co-authored the measure, which adds threats and violence against a person's pets to the stalking statute.
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The Centre at Salisbury shopping mall issued an apology after an event where pets could meet and take pictures with Santa ended with upset customers.
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Firefighters worked Friday evening to extinguish a blaze on the 4800 block of East Trindle Road in Hampden Township, Cumberland County. ( Sean Sauro ...
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Freddie Freeman and Atlanta Braves teammate Charlie Culberson along with their wives visited the Best Friends Animal Society pet shelter on Wednesday.
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Need a family photo to show off your holiday cheer? If your family members have fur and four legs, you can get one for free.
This promotion is powered by Aptivada. Aptivada LLC. ("Aptivada") does not sponsor, administer or endorse this promotion. By entering this promotion, you ...
Adoptable pets of the week: Here are this week's Animal Protective League pets of the week. For more information on these and other animals available for ...
Temperatures are going to be frigid this weekend and it's important to keep our pets protected.
A dog owner says he is "distraught" after his cockapoo's tongue was allegedly sliced by a groomer. Marley was injured during a routine appointment at Pets at ...
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As the countdown to close the 115th Congress heads to the final stretch, Congress on Wednesday passed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (H.R. 2), ...
Lawmakers in the area have been considering whether African pygmy hedgehogs should be allowed as pets.
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For anyone who loves a cute puppy dog, there's a new calendar that helps homeless pooches in the Bay Area find their forever homes.
People and pets headed outside to enjoy the snow on Dec. 9, 2018.
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Miley Cyrus called Liam Hemsworth a 'hero' for saving pets from the Woolsey wildfires, which destroyed their Malibu home, in a new interview — video.
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A local woman's online SOS is helping a non-profit feed pets with homeless owners. Her request got an overwhelming response showing that people do care.
KINSTON, N.C. (WITN) - Pet parents are taking part in the holiday tradition of visiting Santa Claus during an annual event hosted by Cause 'n Dog Rescue.
One Valley couple had an idea to start a toy drive for shelter pets, creating the Santa Paws Project.
Forever Pets is a monthly segment featuring adoptable pets brought to you by KCBD, South Plains Veterinary Clinic, and Lubbock Animal Services.
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Each week, the Kentucky Humane Society is sharing photos of their adorable pets available for adoption.
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LIVINGSTON – Finding housing in the Gallatin Valley is hard enough, never mind if you have pets. The surrendering of pets is on the rise. “It's almost an ...
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A new study has discovered that Generation Y treat pets as if they're their first born children.
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Check out these adorable Michigan pets decked out in their Christmas and holiday outfits. We want to see yours, too!
Entrepreneur Dean Tan found himself barking up the wrong tree when he tried his first pet-based online venture, but he seems to have hit the mark with his next ...
Head to PetSmart this Sunday (12/16) for free photos with your pet and Santa!
SPOKANE, Wash. - You can get your cat or dog microchipped for free Wednesday at the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection *Service* (SCRAPS).
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