Caring for Green Discus: A Detailed Guide
Green Discus, also known as Discus tarzoo, are stunning and captivating aquarium fish. Proper care is essential to ensure their health and well-being. Here’s a detailed guide covering their diet, behavior, cohabitation, breeding, aquarium setup, and interesting facts.
Feeding Green Discus
Green Discus are omnivorous and require a varied diet to stay healthy:
- Diverse Diet: Offer a wide variety of foods to prevent deficiencies. They readily accept live or frozen prey such as worms, tubifex, artemia, insect larvae, and zooplankton, as well as dry options like pellets, granules, and straws.
- Food Quantity: Be cautious about the amount of food you provide to avoid polluting the aquarium water. Adult Green Discus should be fed once a day.
Behavior of Green Discus
Understanding the behavior of Green Discus is essential for their well-being:
- Natural Habitat: Green Discus are native to South America, specifically Brazil, Colombia, Guyana, and Peru. They inhabit the mid-depth areas of your aquarium.
- Gregarious Nature: Green Discus have a gregarious instinct and thrive in groups of at least 6 individuals. They often form pairs within the group, and a certain hierarchy may develop. Conflicts and displays of dominance can be observed.
- Peaceful Yet Territorial: Green Discus are generally peaceful but can become more combative, especially during breeding periods. They may exhibit aggressiveness, particularly towards their own kind.
Cohabitation with Green Discus
Choosing suitable tankmates is crucial for Green Discus:
- Avoid Overly Active Fish: Green Discus can be timid and fearful, so avoid introducing fish species that are too active or aggressive. These behaviors can disrupt the serenity of Green Discus.
- Prey Size Matters: Be cautious when selecting tankmates, as Green Discus are predators and may view smaller fish, shrimp, or fry as potential prey. Safe options for tankmates include Corydoras and Cardinal Tetras (Paracheirodon axelrodi).
Breeding Green Discus
Breeding Green Discus can be challenging but rewarding:
- Pair Selection: Green Discus are not monogamous, allowing you to choose the breeding pairs. It’s important to note that young Green Discus may take up to a year to reach sexual maturity.
- Breeding Aquarium: Set up a dedicated breeding tank with stable water parameters, including a temperature above 27°C or 80°F, KH less than 5, nitrates less than 3 mg/l, and conductivity at 150/250 microsiemens. Osmosis water may be necessary to achieve these parameters.
- Spawning Support: Provide a suitable spawning support, such as a cone or a flower pot, for the breeding pair. Ensure water parameters match those in the main aquarium. Isolate the breeding pair in this tank.
- Breeding Process: The female lays eggs, and the male fertilizes them. Both parents protect, maintain, and clean the eggs. After hatching, the fry feed on nutritious mucus secreted by their parents. Later, introduce freshly hatched Artemia nauplii and specialized fry food.
- Water Parameter Maintenance: Maintain stable water parameters and cleanliness during the growth of the young fry. Regular water changes are essential, ensuring the temperature matches the tank’s parameters.
Setting Up the Green Discus Aquarium
Creating the right environment is crucial for the well-being of Green Discus:
- Tank Volume: A minimum tank volume of 350 liters (77 imp gallons / 92 US gallons) is recommended for a small group of Green Discus.
- Temperature Control: Maintain the water temperature between 25 and 31°C (77 and 88°F), with the ideal range being 27 to 29°C (80 to 84°F). Green Discus are sensitive to temperature variations, so match the temperature when performing water changes.
- Peat Filter: To mimic their natural habitat, you can use a peat filter to create murky water, providing extra comfort for your Green Discus.
- Decor and Plants: Include large roots and dense planting, allowing enough space for swimming. These elements provide hiding places and create a natural setting close to their biotope.
Interesting Facts about Green Discus
- Species Sensitivity: Green Discus, particularly Discus tarzoo, are considered fragile and are best suited for experienced aquarists.
- Intestinal Worms: Like other Discus species, Green Discus are prone to intestinal worms. Symptoms include thinness, loss of appetite, swollen belly, white, filamentous stools, and a hollow above the eyes. Preventive worming every three months with medications like Prescoli or Fluvermal can help.
- Identification: Green Discus, specifically Symphysodon tarzoo, can be identified by the presence of red dots on the sides of their bodies and fins.
- Availability: Green Discus may be challenging to find in regular pet stores. Consider acquiring them from specialized clubs or enthusiasts who can provide valuable advice and share their experiences.
Caring for Green Discus requires dedication and knowledge, but the effort is rewarded with the beauty and behavior of these remarkable fish. With the right care, your Green Discus will thrive in their aquarium habitat.