Discus Fish Food Guide
When feeding your discus, you want to make sure you provide adequate nutrition to allow for growth and health. Several options are available to you, but first you must learn and understand what your feeding your discus. Not all food is created equal and not all food can be used as a singular source of nutrition. This discus fish food guide is to help you better understand how to feed your discus a variety of foods to ensure optimal discus growth and health.
Types of Discus Food
Discus fish food comes in several variations, including flake, granules, frozen and live food. You can find direct sources of protein as well as proprietary blends that include vitamins and color enhancers.
Ultimately, you want your discus to live long and grow to their fullest potential. Not one food can do that alone, just like you can't eat only one food source and be healthy, neither can your discus. Below are the major categories of discus fish foods and a breakdown of how to use them.
Feeding Discus flake food can provide nutritional value when given as a snack or blended into homemade food. Flake food alone will prove to be difficult for your discus to live off alone.
Like your daily multi-vitamin, most flake food contains essential macro nutrients. This can include vitamins and color-enhancers that you may or may not want.
Flake food has it's negative side in that if over fed, can muck up your water quality quickly. As you can imagine, your discus will need to eat quite a bit of flake food to get full.
Flake food is a great supplemental snack or ingredient for blending into your own homemade fish food. Your discus could experience stunted growth or poor nutrition if fed flake food alone. For these reasons, use flake food sparingly and from high protein foods as a daily meal source for your discus.
Feeding granular food can provide your discus with further nutritional enhancements. Granular food is a bit heftier and can be a bit more filling than flake food. Some are specifically formulated for discus to enhance color.
Unfortunately, if all you do is feed your discus granular food, you will find the same problems as with flake food. Granular food can cause water quality issues if too much is left over and not cleaned up after meals. Granular food tends to fall into crevices, ornaments and the gravel surface, making complete clean up difficult.
Mixing granular food into your own homemade discus fish food can be a great way to supplement food given to your discus. Otherwise, use granular food as a treat or snack, make sure to clean up any left overs right away.
Freeze Dried Food
In instances where frozen food is not possible, freeze dried food can provide your discus with optional food varieties. Several companies offer assortment of beef heart and worms that have been freeze dried.
To feed freeze dried food, it is best to pre-soak the food before feeding to your discus. Pre-soaking will allow water absorption and expansion before you discus eats the food. It will keep the food from creating intestinal blockages and much easier for your discus to eat.
Freeze dried food is a great source of protein, right behind frozen and live foods as a preferred protein source. Daily feeding of freeze dried food is not recommended, instead, use freeze dried food to vary daily feedings.
Frozen food is a great way to get high protein to your discus. Frozen beef heart and bloodworms are available in most pet stores. Packaged in small frozen cubes, you can find a variety of companies offering several frozen food options.
Some great options for frozen food include, beef heart, krill, shrimp and blood worms. Enabling you to provide several variations for daily feedings to your discus.
The trick to feeding frozen food is to first thaw it out. Many hobbyist plop a frozen cube in the water and watch their discus chase the cube around trying to eat it.
Imagine if your dinner was in a frozen block of ice and you were trying to eat it as it melted. Instead, drop the cubes in a container with warm water and thaw them out completely. You can then feed your discus ready to eat meals.
You can even find green foods that are frozen in gelatin. If you want to feed your discus vegetables or green leafy foods, frozen is a great source.
Home Made Food
Sometimes you have to roll up your sleeves and do things yourself. This can include the making of your very own discus fish food. This by no means is an easy task, taking several hours and creating a bit of mess in your kitchen.
If you decide to make your discus food, it will consist of a protein source. Several sources are used such as beef heart, chicken, turkey fish and shrimp. DIY discus food recipes can be found scattered around the internet.
Most of the recipes will call for the protein to be cleaned, removing connective tissues and fats. Then the protein is ground up to provide a smoother consistency easier to ingest. At this point flake food, granular food as well as leafy greens or secondary proteins can be mixed in. Sometimes a secondary grounding of the protein is required. Some hobbyist mix in liquid vitamins at this point.
Then a binder is often used, such as flavorless gelatin to keep the food together and from falling apart when placed in your tank. All of this food is mixed up and then placed into molds or zip lock bags then frozen. Then you simply take out a cube or break off a piece, thaw it out and feed it to your discus.
It is a lot of work, you may even end up spending more making your own food. If you like knowing what you feed your discus and don't mind rolling up your sleeves, make your own discus food. It will give you new insights and control over what your discus eats.
Probably the closest your discus fish will come to eating what they find in nature, live foods are an amazing source of nutrition. If you ever get an opportunity, observe discus eating live foods, you will never want to feed anything else again.
Live black worms are the most popular live food given to discus. Often a fork full of live worms are placed in a worm feeder, then stand back as discus begin to go into a feeding frenzy. Something about live food drives discus fish into a frenzy, gobbling up live worms as fast as possible.
Many will try to tell you live food is dangerous, due to parasites found in live food sources. Although it is a challenge to keep live food alive, if purchased from a reputable source, live food is a great option for your discus.
Live food will arrive in a sealed bag and must immediately be placed in a plastic container. You will have to rinse out your worms to remove dead worms once or twice a day. You will also need a mini refrigerator to keep your worms cool with just enough water in the container to keep them from drying out. The cool dark refrigerator mimics their environment and helps keep them alive.
It is HIGHLY recommended you use a separate mini refrigerator and not your main home refrigerator. Worms have been known to crawl up the sides of containers if too shallow, at times, even up and over. So the last thing you want is to find worms all over inside your home fridge.