Checkerboard Discus (Symphysodon Aequifasciatus)
The Checkerboard Discus is a visual delight known for its unique and intricate pattern. Its body is adorned with a checkerboard-like pattern, creating a captivating visual display that's hard to ignore.
The blend of colors varies, with some showcasing a mix of green and blue, while others display a fusion of red and orange. Each Checkerboard Discus is a unique piece of living art, adding a splash of color and intrigue to any aquarium. With a moderate adult size of around 6 to 8 inches, this discus fish is a stunning and lively addition to any aquatic setting.
Discus are generally peaceful and shy, displaying a non-aggressive temperament. However, they can exhibit territorial behavior, particularly during breeding periods. They are sociable amongst their own kind and establish a pecking order within their group. Therefore, it's recommended to keep them in small groups of at least 6 individuals.
Ideal tank mates are other peaceful fish that prefer similar water conditions, such as Cardinal Tetras, Corydoras Catfish, and Dwarf Cichlids. However, avoid fin-nipping fish like Tiger Barbs, aggressive species, or highly energetic fish that may stress discus or disrupt the peaceful environment.
To ensure optimal health and well-being, their diet should consist of high-quality protein-based foods and pellets, such as fresh or frozen bloodworms, brine shrimp, krill, and daphnia. Occasional plant-based options like spirulina tablets can provide variety and enrichment. However, limiting or excluding beef and poultry from their diet is important due to the risk of digestive blockages.
These graceful swimmers prefer a tank with ample open vertical space, allowing them to glide freely through the water at various levels. Therefore, providing a vertically oriented aquarium will accommodate their natural swimming behavior and enhance their overall comfort.
The ideal aquatic habitat for discus features a soft, sandy substrate or fine dark natural-colored gravel. Tall plants like Amazon Sword, Jungle Vallisneria, and Corkscrew Vallisneria for a lush backdrop. Shorter groundcover plants like Microsword and Java Fern for aesthetic appeal. Vertically shaped driftwood, smooth rocks, and slate inclined at an angle can be strategically placed to provide natural hiding spots and encourage their natural egg-laying behavior.
Discus prefer subdued lighting that mimics their natural habitat. However, if you select lighting that accentuates their vibrant colors, including shaded and secluded spots within the tank is important. This allows the discus to seek shelter and retreat from direct lighting when desired.
The minimum aquarium size for discus should be 50 gallons, while the ideal community aquarium size is 125 gallons or more. Discus prefers an aquarium with warm, soft, and slightly acidic water: a pH of 6.0-7.5, hardness of 1-5 dGH, and a temperature of 82-86°F (28-30°C).
Given their sensitivity to water quality, discus requires excellent filtration and water changes of a minimum of 25% every week. Ensure water added back to the aquarium is similar in temp, pH, and hardness.
Discus fish thrive in an aquarium environment with minimal water movement. However, it is important to have sufficient water flow which properly distributes gases and nutrients throughout the tank. Most canister and power filters provide a gentle water flow well suited for discus. If you notice that your fish are straining or struggling to swim due to the filters current, it may be necessary to adjust the return flow to reduce its strength.
To learn more about this fish, be sure to check out the Additional Information tab.