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Are Discus Fish Hard to Keep? (Should Beginners Avoid Them?)

Are Discus Fish Hard to Keep? (Should Beginners Avoid Them?)
This post is written to the author's best knowledge and is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. In addtion, this post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Discus fish are truly gorgeous, and many people want to buy some of their own. You can keep these fish in your home aquarium if you want to, but you might be worried about whether they’re hard to take care of.

You might have heard that discus fish aren’t the best options for beginners. Are they so tough to care for that you should shy away from them?

Continue reading to learn more about discus fish and whether they’re hard to keep. This will help you to understand a bit about the care requirements of these fish.

Discus Fish Are Tough to Care For

Sadly, discus fish aren’t the easiest fish to care for in the world. Many people say that they’re so fragile that they’re not good for beginners.

You’re meant to care for these fish in very specific ways. It requires attention to detail, and you have to put a lot of effort into tank maintenance.

This means that these fish can die if you don’t do things right. For most beginners, it’s not going to be practical to buy these fish.

So you might want to shy away from buying discus fish if you’re not prepared for the responsibility. Of course, it’d be wise to learn about the care requirements before you decide one way or another.

Recommended Water Parameters

You want to be careful to get the water parameters right for these fish. They do best when they’re kept in fish tanks with pretty warm water.

The temperature range that they can tolerate is between 82 degrees Fahrenheit and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Most enthusiasts recommend keeping the temperature at exactly 85 degrees Fahrenheit to get the best results.

Some discus fish like the water temperature a little hotter than this. So you might need to get specific information based on the type of discus you wish to buy.

The fish do fine in water parameters that are between 6.0 and 7.0. It’s important to test the water regularly to keep things in line.

Water Changes

Water quality is important when you’re trying to keep these fish healthy. If the water gets even a bit dirty, the fish can get sick or even die.

So you must do weekly water changes to keep things safe for the fish in the tank. Ideally, you want to do weekly water changes of 25%.

This is going to be a bit of work, but it’s important when you’re focusing on keeping the water clean. Always remember to treat the water as well since these fish are rather sensitive.

Note that some enthusiasts choose to do more than one water change per week. There are those who advocate for twice-weekly water changes.

You can get away with weekly water changes, but it might be easier to maintain water quality if you do it twice per week. It all depends on how much effort you want to put into things.

Ideal Tank Size

Getting the right tank size is imperative when keeping these fish. They don’t do well when placed in smaller tanks.

Smaller tanks are harder to keep clean, and you already learned the importance of water quality to the health of these fish. It’d be wise to go with a 75-gallon fish tank when caring for discus fish.

However, a 55-gallon tank can work for a discus fish. This tank size is acceptable so long as you do frequent water changes.

If going with a 55-gallon tank, it might be best to stick to two water changes per week. Just know that things will be simpler if you go with a larger tank.

Feeding the Fish

Feeding the fish is also important. Many beginners make the mistake of trying to feed these fish food that’s too big.

You see, discus fish have rather small mouths. They might grow to be fairly large, but their mouths are too small to eat certain types of food.

To keep the fish healthy, you should give them foods such as frozen bloodworms. They have an easy time eating these worms.

It’s also common to feed them protein-rich foods such as brine shrimp, microworms, and blackworms. There are prepared foods known as discus granules that you can buy at aquarium stores as well.

Final Thoughts

Caring for discus fish will be a lot more involved than caring for many other types of fish. If you’re not willing to put in a lot of effort in to maintaining the tank, it’s not wise to buy these fish.

The discus fish will die if you don’t do a good job maintaining things. So you must be sure that you’re ready to care for these fish before proceeding.

While discus fish are gorgeous and fun to own, it’s also a lot of work. If you’re a beginner it might be better to return to the idea of buying these fish after gaining some experience.

There are plenty of other pretty fish that you can choose to buy. If you’re prepared for the challenge, though, it’s possible to get good results and keep discus fish healthy.

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