Discus Fish Lifespan – How Long do Discus Live?

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Discus fish are certainly among the most popular choices for keepers with at least some previous experience. If you are thinking of adopting some for your home aquarium and you have done some research already, you have surely noticed that prices for these beauties range in somehow higher values.

This is because breeding them requires some extra effort when compared to most other fish species, but also because they are quite gentle adorable pets. And their lifespan can be anywhere from a couple of days to a dozen of years, depending on the attention you are willing to offer.

How long do discus fish live? With good care, the life expectancy of discus fish is usually around 10 years. Below, you care to read some pro tips on how to increase the lifespan of your beloved and beautiful discus fish.

Increase Discus Fish Life Expectancy

Adopting a school of discus fish and expecting them to survive for 10 years without being willing to walk the extra mile for these spectacular creatures is wrong. Indeed, it is your responsibility to take good care of your fish. And by doing so, you may actually manage to increase their life expectancy.

– Aquarium Size

Discus fish are fairly large sized fish, and they can grow up to even 10 inches once they reach their fully adult phase. However, they do not require too much space when compared to their body size. Indeed, a good general thumb rule to follow is to allow 10 gallons of water volume for each specimen.

The trick stands in the number of fish you would need to adopt. In order to house a happy school, there should be at least 6 discus fish inside a single tank. Therefore, the math is quite simple here: the very minimum aquarium size for a school of discus fish is 60 gallons.

Now that we have sorted this out, another important factor is the shape of such aquarium. Because of their unique body shape, discus fish really prefer spending their captivity lives into higher tanks, so please keep that in mind while choosing their ideal home.

– Water Parameters

The basic predisposition for a healthy life of your discus fish is an adequate water temperature. In fact, this is a bit higher than with most freshwater fish, and it should be between 82- and 88-degrees Fahrenheit.

Adding to that, these fish prefer softer water and are slightly on the acidic side, so ideally between 5 and 6 pH. Additionally, the water flow has to be extremely gentle and weak, so please make sure to either use apposite filters or to break the flow with the help of some driftwood (or anything similar).

Last but not least, the tank water has to be clean and stable at all times. This is overly important with basically any fish species, but it is certainly enhanced with such gentle species as the discus.

– Filtration

Clean water is one of the most important things that every keeper has to provide to their pets. You should install both a mechanical and a biological type of filtration in order to keep the water safe. However, these can be ideally combined with the use of a canister filter.

Preferably, you will also setup a sponge pre-filter on the filter intake in order to avoid any injuries or fry being absorbed.

Feel free to add plenty of aquatic plants in your discus tank, as your fish will certainly have nothing on the contrary to say. This will also help you in improving the oxygenation levels across the tank water.

– Food & Diet

These beautiful fish are omnivores, meaning that they feed both on plant matter as well as on protein treats. You can choose a high-quality commercial type of food as their core meals but be sure to include some treats to keep them interested and with vivid colors. Your pets will happily accept algae, shrimp pellets, bloodworms and similar treats.

Be incredibly careful with the amounts you feed them with, and always avoid overfeeding your precious pets. Food leftovers can quickly worsen the water quality and shorten the life expectancy of your pets.

– Tank Mates

Even though discus fish are delicate and require their own space, adding some suitable tank mates may actually be good for them. Indeed, the presence of other species may reassure them and prove that such an environment is safe.

Tetras are always amazing choices for similar tanks, and they can fit within the water parameters.

– School Size

Schooling fish require their group in order to feel safe and to consequentially have a longer life expectancy. When adopting discus fish, a minimum of 6 specimens would be required.

However, these do not have to be all of the same types. Indeed, you can decide to match some different discus fish types into your tank, and to have a nice palette of colors by doing so.

– Diseases & Parasites

As already mentioned, discus fish are overly sensitive fish and can often become victims of various diseases and parasites. This is certainly something not to disregard, so you should constantly observe both their looks and their behavior in order for being able to promptly react when needed.

Some of the most common health complications that discus fish may face include the fin rot, ich, dropsy, lateral line erosion, and the cotton mouth disease. Sadly, parasites are just as frequent, so please plan on taking extra care of your tank water quality and cleanliness.

Also, there are several handy products which you can apply regularly to their tank as a precautionary measure.

Wrapping Up

If you have at least some fish-keeping experience, then you surely want to adopt some more demanding species from time to time. And discus fish are surely among the top of the most high-maintenance fish pet species on our planet.

They do require some great attention and care efforts, but they can also compensate quite quickly by allowing their keepers to brag about having one of the most spectacular creatures ever. And they really are spectacular. A true challenge for every aquarium owner.

Discus Fish

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