Brown Discus – Symphysodon aequifasciatus axelrodi
Species name: Symphysodon aequifasciata axelrodi
Common names: Brown Discus
Maximum length: 6″ (15 cm)
Minimum tank size: 50 gallons for a maximum of 4 Discus.
Hardiness: Medium to difficult. The Brown Discus is one of the easiest
Aggressiveness: Very peaceful. May become territorial when they pair off to breed.
Distribution: South America near Belem and Rio Urubu.
Diet: Carnivorous – Beef heart and Live foods such as mosquito larvae, blood worms or tubifex worms are best. High quality discus pellets, frozen food and freeze dried food that is high in protein are also acceptable. Flakes won’t be enough. Try to vary their diet for optimum health.
Sometimes considered the ultimate challenge for the freshwater aquarium keepers, Discus originates from slow moving waters of the Amazon basin where they can be found in deep, rocky areas, among roots and submerged trees. In their natural habitat, Discus feeds on insect larvae, insects, and planktonic invertebrates. Perhaps the most beautiful of all freshwater aquarium fish, the Discus can rival any marine fish. Unfortunately, this is also one of the more difficult tropical fish to keep and is not recommended for beginners. Many hobbyists believe the Brown discus is the easiest to keep and breed in captivity.
The Brown Discus has the typical plate like shape of the discus. Most of the body is yellow-brown with nine vertical stripeswhich can be very visible or not seen at all. The intensity of the stripes depends on the age and strain of the fish. The body color extends into the Dorsal and Anal fins and can be marked by blue and red streaks running parallel to the fin rays. The head is marked with a facemask of pale Blue lines and dots. The caudal fin is clear.
It is not easy to tell which are males and females. The shape of the genital papillae during spawning season is generally the best way to tell: it is pointed in males, and rounded in females, although it is not easy to detect.
The Brown Discus may be one of the easiest Discus to keep, it is still not an easy fish. Water must be pristine so a good filtration and frequent water changes are imperative to have them grow quick and healthy. The water should be very soft (1-4 DH) and slightly acidic (pH about 6.5) with a temperature between 79 and 88°F (26-31°C).
Discus are very peaceful and also VERY nervous fish so it’s imperative for them to feel secure. Most of them die just because of stress. Lots of plants and drift wood, as well keeping the tank in a quiet area help a lot. Other fish may keep them constantly on guard so ideally, they should be kept in a species tank. It is best to keep them in a group of 5-6 and to disturb them as little as possible. When kept in a community tank, the choice of tank mates is very important.
Some species that usually do well with Discus are:
Black Neon Tetra (Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi),
Black Phantom Tetra (Megalamphodus megalopterus),
Bleeding Heart Tetra (Hyphessobrycon erythrostigma),
Cardinal Tetra (Cheirodon axelrodi),
Columbian Tetra (Hyphessobrycon columbianus),
Cardinal Tetra (Cheirodon axelrodi),
Neon Tetra (Paracheirodon innesi),
Diamond Tetra (Moenkhausia pittieri),
Emperor Tetra (Nematobrycon palmeri),
Glowlight Tetra (Hemigrammus eryhthrozonus),
Green Fire Tetra (Aphyocharax rathbuni),
Jewel Tetra (Hyphessobrycon callistus),
Lemon Tetra (Hyphessobrycon pulchripinnis),
Penguin tetra (Thayeria boehlkei),
Rosy Tetra (Hyphessobrycon bentosi) and
Rummy-Nose Tetra (Hemigrammus bleheri).
Remember that unless the Discus are small, small fish such Neons tetras will be food. Try to avoid and aggressive or large fish. When under stress too much stress, they usually become very dark and refuse to eat for days. When that happen, the source of the problem must be found and fix immediatly to not lose the fish.
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