Are Discus Fish Good for Beginners?

If you are looking to setup your first home aquarium and to fill it with some beautiful fish, welcome to the club. This is certainly not just a great hobby to keep the entire family entertained, but it is also an amazing anti-stress therapy.

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However, not every fish species should be adopted by complete beginners. Indeed, some are easier, and some are more difficult to care for, so you should always choose your pets accordingly.

Discus fish are some of the most wanted aquatic pets nowadays, and they are surely among the most unique and beautiful additions one could ever add to its home.

Are Discus Fish Good for Beginners?

No, discus fish are not a good choice for beginners. On the contrary, discus fish are one of the most delicate fish species to own, and they present a real challenge even to those with years and years of fishkeeping experience.

Reasons Why Discus Are Not Good for Beginners

Here are a couple of reasons why you should never choose a discus fish if you are just starting out in the aquarium hobby:

– Large Tank Size

Discus fish grow to a fairly large size, and they can obtain around 8 inches after reaching their fully adult phase. This is not a drastically large size for a fish, but they still do require lots of space.

If we take in consideration that they are schooling fish and require to be housed in groups of at least 5 specimens to thrive, the math is pretty simple here.

The very minimum size you would need to provide them is 100 gallons, and such tank should be pretty high, so this is also another factor to have in mind.

– Water Parameters

Water parameters are vitally important to any fish, but discus bring the entire story to a whole new level. Indeed, any (and by any, we really do mean any) spike in ammonia levels across the tank water can cause serious health complications to your precious fish. Therefore, extreme caution is needed, as well as constant water testing and monitoring.

And apart from that, their water parameters should be ideal. These include warm water with temperatures between 82- and 86-degress Fahrenheit, a slightly acidic environment with pH values between 6,0 and 7,0 but also hardness from 18 to 70 ppm.

These values can slightly vary depending on the water that a specific group of discus fish was raised in, so always consult your breeders first.

Once again, keeping water pristine clear and stable is an absolute must.

– Tank Maintenance

Tank maintenance for discus fish is not a simple task and it requires quite some time and efforts. To begin, it needs to be extremely clean at all times. This includes both weekly cleaning activities as well as partial water changes, but also precision in order to avoid any shocks.

Large tanks need powerful filtration systems, which consequentially require some regular check-ups of the entire system’s functionality.

– Food & Feeding

Discus fish are omnivores creatures and should be fed accordingly. While they mostly feed on plant and decaying matter in their wild habitats, such nutritive values should be mainly replaced by appositely designed commercial food in their captivity tanks.

You should feed them once or twice each day and to do so around the same times in order to keep their digestion regular. Also, fresh and live treats should be offered regularly, to keep their diet interesting and varied. And obviously, you need to be extremely careful with not overfeeding them.

– Schooling Fish

These spectacular creatures are schooling fish. That means that you would need to adopt at least 5 of them in order to obtain a functional group. Consequentially, more space and more care will be required.

Good news is that you may actually match more discus types together, obtaining eventually a stunning tank with multiple color variations. However, this may also lead to having to adjust water parameters, depending on the conditions they were raised in.

– Tank Mates

Tank mates can be tricky in community tanks with discus fish. Indeed, not only keepers need to carefully select those species which can adapt to the particular water parameters of discus fish, but they also need not to bother these fish at all.

Fin nippers are a big no, as well as aggressive species which could injure them. And on top of that, by simply adding new fish to a tank, water parameters can potentially change in no time. Therefore, extra caution is once again needed.

Good Fish for Beginners

If you have no (or not enough) previous experience in keeping fish, you could perhaps simply consider adopting some other species. The aquatic world is such a vast one, and there are so many beautiful and unique fish which you could provide home to.

Here are a few examples of amazing solutions for beginners which are still a real experience having:

All of these species make quite the amazing pets. And even though they are great choices for inexperienced keepers, that does not have to mean that they are super-easy to care for.

Indeed, every single species has its own environmental and feeding requirements, so please do not expect any obligations if you decide to keep them. However, smaller tanks are easier to maintain, and hardier fish are simpler to keep alive and healthy.

Once you are confident with your keeping capabilities, you may even decide to adopt some discus fish at some point.

Wrapping Up

Once they get settled into the aquarists world and they fall in love with caring for spectacular aquatic creatures, many modern keepers feel the urge of adopting more and more demanding species.

And this is definitely an amazing thing, as it only shows how much they are into this hobby and how much they enjoy in providing great care to such amazing creatures.

Discus fish are among those which present a challenge, and they should be only kept by those are up to the task. And for the rest, there are just as amazing fish species still waiting to be adopted.

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