The Discus fish has its habitat in the South American waters of Brazil and Peru. Discus fish are classified as “grazers”, and in the wild constantly forage for food. Discus are large, and have a laterally compressed body. Their swim bladder is located on the top of the stomach.
In a discussion with our breeder, Nick Lockhart of Perfection Discus, I asked him what he would recommend for the daily diet.
Nick feeds our Discus twice a day. The white worms are grown on the site, and are stored in the refrigerator in a small apartment the size of a refrigerator, and the temperature is controlled by a device which uses a sensor to maintain a temperature of approximately 55 to 65 degrees for best results.
Nick also uses bloodworms, plankton, white worms, Emerald Flat, mysis shrimp, and white mosquito larvae, to give a varied diet. Emerald Entree is a good choice for the Discus fish. Although initially designed for marine fish, it turned out to be an excellent diet for freshwater fish. Emerald Entry is enriched with omega-3 fatty acids such as EPA and DHA, which are proven to be important for optimal growth and disease prevention.
Discus fish and many cichlids Africans eat a lot of blue-green algae in nature. Spirulina is a blue-green algae, and a protein called Phycocyanin not found in another algae or terrestrial plants. Spirulina powder is readily available in most pet stores. Japanese scientists have linked Phycocyanin to improved kidney and liver function. Japanese fish farmers make extensive use of Spirulina, because of its positive effects on their fish.
Because good hygiene is of the utmost importance in the Discus tank, one should never feed more than the Disk can consume in about five minutes. As they are grazers, they tend to eat a bit slowly, so a little more time is necessary to allow them to get their fill. I’ve read that it is good to allow a Discus to “fast” on occasion, up to two days, which allows them to get toxins removed from the system. Nick has also said that a fish can go two weeks without food, so skipping a day here, and it is not really harmful to fish. Of course, you don’t want to lead them to the point of starvation, but it will never harm the Discus to go for a day or two without eating. It is much better to underfeed a little than over feed.
If care is taken, the discus will thrive in the aquarium. Much information is available for the potential to discuss the breeder, and a little common sense thrown in along the way wouldn’t hurt either. As the Discus are of long duration, the aquarist can have the enjoyment of these friendly fish ten to twelve years.