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Obtaining a Breeding Pair and Setting Up a Spawning Tank

Obtaining a Breeding Pair

There are a couple different ways to get a breeding pair of adult discus. First, you can buy them from a fish store or breeder. Keep in mind that a real breeding pair will be expensive, so buy from a trusted source. If the price for your breeding pair seems too good to be true, it probably is. Mostly likely, the two fish will not be suitable for breeding.

Your other option is that you can buy a group of five to eight discus and let them pair off by themselves. This option is more economical, and you can get a lot of pairs by using this method.

Blue Diamond Breeding Pair

You probably should not try to figure out the gender of the discus yourself. Differentiating males and females is challenging, and there is no guarantee that your “guess” is correct. If you let your fish break into pairs on their own, you will have much better luck with your breeding pair.

You might notice that a pair is about to be established when two fish start to swim away from the rest of the group and feed together.

Sun Merah Discus Breeding Pair

Set Up a Spawning Tank

Once you have your breeding pair, you will need up to two additional tanks. One tank (known as the breeding tank or spawning tank) is for your fish to mate in, and the other is for your fry after they hatch. Fish need a very specific environmental setting to initiate the breeding process, and the fry will need their own tank so the adults and other fish will not eat them. The tank for the fry will also be different as far as filtration is concerned.

When breeding discus, you should not use a tank that is smaller than 20 gallons. Using a larger tank can also be helpful if the breeding pair produce large spawns. Additionally, a larger tank will help you to maintain water quality.

Even more than a regular tank, a breeding tank must be absolutely clean. You will need to clean your tank regularly because the pre-spawning behavior will stimulate the creation of more slime. Also, you will not need to feed your fish as much, and that will help keep your tank clean.

You should not have a lot of items in your breeding tank. Usually you will only have a submerged heater (make sure your fish don't think it's a good spawning surface) and a spawning surface. Your breeder tank should not have any other fish in it because they could eat the baby fish.

Marlboro Red Discus Breeding

Blue Panda With Lines Discus Pair with Spawn


  • What are your goals as a discus breeder?
  • How are you going to obtain your breeding pair?
  • How will you set up your discus' spawning tank?
  • What do you want to use for your discus' spawning surface?