Discus, The King

of freshwater aquariums

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Discus fish are impressive residents of the Amazon and its tributaries. In the wild, they live in habitats that are free of vegetation, with lots of root networks and deadwood. The water is slightly acidic and the water temperature can sometimes reach 32°C. 

Discus fish require large aquaria with an edge length of at least 1.5 m. It is important to keep groups of at least 5 to 6 animals. An adult animal can reach a size of 18 to 20 cm.

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In their natural habitat, discus fish live in environments that lack vegetation. However, this does not mean that you have to deny yourself magnificent vegetation in the aquarium.

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The minimum temperature of 28°C is no problem for some plant species; however, you should always bear in mind that at these temperatures, the biological processes are significantly accelerated. The effects are quickly noticeable, especially the negative ones

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Plants for discus aquariums

Many aquarium plants have proven themselves in discus aquariums for decades. But one or the other new plant from the last few years is also suitable for the higher water temperature. When planning the planting, you should pay attention to a sufficiently large swimming area as well as quiet areas with tall species where the fish can stand in between.

The design with beautifully structured roots offers the discus hiding places and privacy protection. Greening the roots with moss increases the natural character of the small biotope.

Types for the background area:

Echinodorus grisebachii 'Bleherae' is probably the most popular plant for a discus aquarium. The large Amazon sword plant, has the ideal dimensions for the background with a height of over 60 cm. Older plants can have up to 50 leafs - an impressive eye-catcher!

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The giant vallisneria, Vallisneria australis 'Gigantea', is also very suitable and, with its long flowing leaves, offers the fish a real feel-good zone. Further recommendations for a bushy background are Alternanthera reineckii 'Rot', Hydrocotyle leucocephala, Hygrophila polysperma, Hygrophila corymbosa varieties and Pogostemon deccanensis.

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Types for the middle ground area:

As a special plant, Crinum calamistratum is a beautiful eye-catcher. The narrow leaves reach a height of 60-80 cm and have an extraordinary habitus with strongly wavy leaf edges.

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Medium-sized Echinodorus varieties such as Echinodorus 'Little Bear', or Echinodorus 'Red Chameleon' are real eye-catchers as solitary plants with their magnificent red-brown color!

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Cryptocorynes wendtii 'Green' and Cryptocorynes wendtii 'Brown' for the middle ground are rubust and very easy to care for. With their lower stature, they underline the character of the solitary plants.

Types for the foreground:

Grass-like species create great plant meadows with a natural look. Helanthium tenellum 'Red', better known under the old name Echinodorus tenellus, is ideal for discus aquariums. In addition to the reddish type, there is also a purely green variant - Helanthium tenellum 'Broad Leaf'. As the name suggests, this variant has somewhat wider leaves in contrast to the narrow leaves of the 'Red' shape.

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A particular eye-catcher is a larger group of Blyxa japonica. In combination with the Helanthium species a very harmonious and calm planting succeeds. With good lighting the leaves even get a light red-violet color.

Epiphytes for planting on roots and stones:

The ferns Bolbitis heudelottii and Microsorum pteropus with their leaf variants can grow very well at higher temperatures without any problems. In combination with mosses such as Taxiphyllum barbieri or Vesicularia montagnei, fantastically beautiful underwater worlds are created for the discus fish.

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