When you breed discus fish, you expect to see baby discus fish swimming around in your aquarium soon. But sometimes, you may find that your discus fish keep eating their eggs!
In my few years of breeding discus fish, I have been through this a few times myself. I remember the first time it happened, I was so confused and didn’t know what to do. Why would my discus fish keep eating their eggs?
However, I finally figured out why this happens and how to stop it. In this article, I will share with you what I have learned so that you can avoid this problem in your own discus fish breed efforts.
Why Are My Discus Fish Eating Their Eggs?
When it’s the first time for your discus pair to spawn, they can be unsure what to do with the eggs. They might think the eggs are food and start consuming them.
If this is the case, the best thing you can do is to give them some time and space. Let them get used to the idea of discus fish spawn and raising young. With each successive spawn, they will become more experienced and less likely to eat their eggs.
Discus fish take care of their eggs very carefully. They will turn the eggs frequently and aerate them with water currents to make sure they get enough oxygen.
However, once they notice any unfertilized eggs in the batch, they will consume them. If you see your discus fish eat some of the eggs, it’s not necessarily a bad sign. They are just getting rid of the non-viable eggs so that they can focus on the fertilized ones.
The parental instinct is strong in discus fish, and they will do everything they can to make sure their eggs are safe. If they feel like the environment is not safe for their eggs, they may consume them.
Many factors can make a discus fish feel like the environment is unsafe for their eggs. For example, if there are other fish in the aquarium that can eat the eggs, the parent discus fish will eat them to prevent that from happening.
Also, if there are not enough hiding places or plants in the aquarium, the parent discus fish may eat the eggs because they feel like they are exposed and vulnerable.
How to Prepare My Tank for Discus Fish Breeding?
Provide an Adequate Tank Size
Imagine if you were going to have a baby. Would you want to raise your child in a one-bedroom apartment or a house with a backyard?
Of course, you would want to provide your child with the best possible environment, and that includes plenty of space to grow and develop. Well, the same goes for discus fish eggs!
To give your discus fry the best chance of survival, you need to provide them with an adequate tank size. I recommend a minimum of 25 to 30 gallons for a breeding pair of discus fish.
Also, you should use a bare-bottomed breeding tank because it’s easier to keep clean. You won’t have to worry about gravel getting stirred up and dirtying the water.
Maintain Right Water Conditions
Trying to breed discus fish in sub-optimal water conditions is asking for trouble. Your discus fry is very sensitive to changes in water parameters, and even small fluctuations can cause big problems.
To breed discus fish successfully, you need to maintain the following water parameters:
- pH level: 6.0 to 6.5
- Temperature: 82 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit
- Hardness: 1 to 4 dGH
- Ammonia: 0 ppm
- Nitrites: 0 ppm
- Nitrates: less than 20 ppm
To keep track of your water parameters, you can use a good-quality testing kit. I recommend the API Freshwater Master Test Kit because it’s easy to use and very accurate.
Install High-quality Filter
Although regular water changes are important, they are not enough to keep your discus fry safe. For that, you need to install a high-quality filter in your tank.
Ideally, you should install a few sponge filters in the aquarium to ensure the safety of your discus fry. These types of filters provide mechanical and biological filtration without risking the fry getting sucked up into the filter intake.
Add an Aquarium Heater
To recreate the warm water conditions that discus fish are used to in the wild, you can install an aquarium heater in your tank. Discus fish need a higher temperature of 2 or 3 degrees Fahrenheit to feel comfortable and breed successfully.
To control the temperature in your tank, you can use an aquarium thermostat. I recommend the Cobalt Aquatics Neo-Therm Heater because it’s very reliable and easy to use.
Provide Flat Surface
These guys need a flat surface to lay their eggs on. Discus fish are not picky about what this surface is, and they will lay their eggs on just about anything.
To give your discus fish a suitable surface to lay their eggs on, you can use a piece of slate, a ceramic tile, an upturned pot, or a cone.
Otherwise, they’ll deposit the eggs on the tank’s wall or glass where they’re more likely to be eaten or damaged.
How Can I Take Care of Baby Discus Fish?
Unlike swordtails and platyfish, discus fish do not give live birth but they breed by laying eggs. If you remove the fry (young discus fish) from their parents before they are a week old, they will likely die since they rely on their parents for food and shelter.
Thus, you don’t have to feed them right away because they absorb the mother’s secretions for about two days after hatching.
After one week, the fry will be able to swim freely in the tank. At this point, you should move them to a different tank since they will become hostile toward their parents and cause their mother serious harm.
Once you’ve removed the fry from the other fish, you should begin feeding them a regular diet. Until they reach the age of 12 months, you must feed them at least five times each day.
How Do I Tell the Difference between Male and Female Discus?
It is hard to spot the difference between male and female discus fish when they are still young discus fish. However, when they are six months old, they will start exhibiting colors.
Generally, males are dull-colored with more patterns than females. However, this is not always the case as other factors can affect their body coloring.
As they grow, male discus fish get larger than females. Also, they have thick foreheads and lips.
Further, females have a long, broad, and round breeding tube that runs between the anus and the anal fin, whereas males’ are tiny and sharp.
However, the dorsal fin is the most noticeable difference between male and female discus fish. Males have a sharper, pointier fin, whereas females’ fins are rounder and shorter than those of males.
Do Discus Fish Deposit Eggs on a Regular Basis or Just Occasionally?
Discus fish reproduce every fifteen weeks, on average laying one batch of eggs per week. This occurs twice a year but you can accelerate this process by changing conditions like feeding schedules, water temperature, and other such factors.
How Long Does It Take for Discus Fish to Mature?
Discus fish usually achieve their maximum growth between the ages of 2 and 2.5 years. They grow to be around 20cm in length and 8cm in diameter.
When It Comes to Feeding My Discus Fish, What Should I Give It?
The diet of a discus fish mostly consists of plankton, algae, bloodworms, and the larvae of tiny insects. Also, you can offer them high-quality dry foods that contain all the nutrients they need.
How Often Should I Feed My Discus Fish?
You should feed your discus fish 2 to 3 times a day, giving them only as much food as they can consume in a few minutes. Excess food can pollute the water and cause health problems for your fish.
How Many Discus Fish Can I Keep Together?
Every single fish need at least 10 gallons, so for 2 discus fish, you’ll need a 20-gallon tank. If you want to keep more fish, simply increase the size of the tank by 10 gallons for each additional fish.
Discus fish are beautiful, unique creatures that make a great addition to any aquarium. They are easy to care for but you must be patient when it comes to breeding them.
With the proper setup and care, you can successfully breed discus fish and enjoy watching them raise their young. Just keep an eye on their eggs and fry, and be sure to provide them with plenty of food.
Do you have any questions or tips about breeding discus fish? Share them with us in the comments below!