Discus Fish For Sale The Ultimate Discus Buying Guide
There are three ways you can buy discus, from a hobbyist, a breeder and a local tropical fish store. Everyone is trying to cash in and recoup costs of raising discus, so you need to be sharp, know what to look for and even more important, know how to strike the best deal.
Discus quality will vary, meaning, hobbyist and breeders will probably have the healthiest selections. Tropical fish stores might cary a few rare strains but you will pay top dollar every time. You will have to make choices to get the most value for every dollar you spend for your discus.
In this guide, we hope to breakdown where to find great values, what you will need when you go shopping for discus and how to strike the best deal.
Discus For Sale in Online Classifieds
So you got a few dollars and you want to get started with discus, online classifieds is the way to go. You will most likely be buying from a hobbyist or small time breeder who will give you a good deal. For many who don't have a local tropical fish store in or near your town, online classifieds might be your only option to find discus.
A popular choice is craigslist and you can search their pets section for your area. Most of the times you can search for "discus fish" and you will have ads popping up with "Discus For Sale", "Discus Fry with Parents" or even the occasional "Proven Breeding Pair".
If you see an ad you like, send an email or get on the phone quickly, most of the time, discus will sell quickly. You will probably talking to a hobbyist like yourself who has a few too many discus, like you could ever have too many discus right? Experienced hobbyist buy these discus fast, so don't waste too much time, if you are interested and the pictures look good, pick up the phone and get down their quickly to make the deal.
Sometimes, local pet stores who picked up a discus or two will post ads that seem to be from hobbyist. Most of the time, these postings will lead to less than desirable discus. The local pet store is just trying to off load poor quality discus and recoup their money. Unfortunately, someone will eventually buy them, just make sure it's not you.
Discus For Sale by Breeder
If you are lucky enough to live near a discus breeder, you need to pick up the phone and schedule a time to visit. Discus breeders are highly experience hobbyist who have mastered the art of discus breeding to the point that they now have so many discus, they have to sell them.
Good discus breeders will have a wide selection of discus fish by size and strain. Even what they call undesirables are probably bigger and better quality than what you will find at a local pet store. The reason is, a discus breeder will be doing regular water changes and feeding high quality protein based food, leading to healthier and larger discus.
You will have to pay a bit more when you deal with a discus breeder, because they will be looking to recoup some of the expenses of raising and breeding so many discus. What you will get in return is a wealth of knowledge from a local expert and healthy large discus who have been bred and raised in local water environments.
Discus For Sale by Importer
Every once in a while you will run across someone who imports discus from different parts of the world. You need to have saved up a bit of cash in order to buy from importers as they have made the expense to have discus flown in and have to recoup a bit more than the average hobbyist or breeder. In return, you could be buying some very rare strains that could lead to breeding pairs that you could later sell or sell the fry, but I digress.
Importers often sell directly to hobbyist as well as local tropical fish stores. Look out for discus health when dealing with importers. In some cases their discus have been flown in from half way around the world. Raised in different water, fed different food and could be carrying unknown bacteria or parasites. Importers like to move fish quick, so the discus may look great in their tanks but not yet be showing signs of illness. If you do buy from an importer, ask what they guarantee is or at the very least, ask to see the manifest of when the discus you are interested in arrived and was place in their tank.
Sometimes it's a gamble, a very rare discus can be an awesome show piece in your tank. You may want to ask if you can put a deposit on the fish and let it sit for a week or two at the importers before moving it to your home tank. If it dies, then it was on their watch and you should be able to apply your deposit on a different discus or get your money back.
Discus For Sale by Tropical Fish Store
For so many, this is the first way we buy discus. Ultimately, tropical fish stores buy their discus from large scale fish importers and hatcheries. Every once in a while a hobbyist might offload a batch of fry in exchange for fish food. Typically, tropical fish store are cutting large deals from the same people you have access to if you did a little bit of leg work. Tropical fish stores will sell the same discus for two or three times mark up. This is not an anti-capitalist post, if the tropical fish store or even you can get three times mark up, great! As a buyer, you are trying to get the most value for your money, so be aware that by making a few online searches and phone calls, you could buy the same or better discus yourself and save money.
What To Bring With You When Buying Discus
Assuming that you have decided to buy from a hobbyist or breeder, you will need to bring your own supplies to transport your discus home. You will want to invite a friend or relative to come along, never go alone to someone home that you just met online! Discus is a fun hobby, but you never know who's home you will be entering, be safe and bring someone with you, also let someone know where you are going.
Aside from your friend or relative you will want to bring:
a large fish net
a five gallon bucket with lid
gallon sized zip lock bags if you don't have a bucket
Most hobbyist will not have the fancy fish bags and rubber bands, you will need to bring your own transporting supplies. If you have nothing else, bring a box of gallon sized zip lock bags. Zip lock bags tend to leak, so bring a box and double or triple bag your fish.
You can find a five gallon bucket at your local hardware store, they sell lids for them too, so buy both the bucket and lid. The last thing you want to deal with is a discus who has jumped out the bucket and on your car floor while you are driving. The movement of your driving will spook your discus, so be warned, put a lid on the bucket!
Ask the hobbyist or breeder if you can fill your bucket with their tank water. Fill about half way only, you will need to carry this to your car and in to your home. Half way filled will provide enough oxygen and swimming room while you transport your fish home. It will also make it light enough for you if you have to go up several flights of stairs.
After you get home, setup a quarantine tank, a small ten gallon or twenty gallon will do. Since you only about two and half gallons in your bucket, you cant just dump your fish in. Begin to cycle in some of your own tank water into the bucket, about a giant plastic cup full ( the kind of cup you get at fast food places ) every few minutes.
You want to acclimate your new discus to the different water and temperature gradually, instead of a giant shock. When you have your bucket about three quarters of the way full and your quarantine tank is setup with filter and heater, remove water from the bucket to make it light enough to lift. You won't need much water in the bucket to pour your new discus fish in to it's new tank.
Alternatively, you could use a net to pull out your new discus, the pouring method works best. Sometimes, when discus get spooked, especially when moving to a new environment, they get stuck in nets. Discus sometimes extend their fins and the tiny bones in their fins get caught in the net causing fin tearing which could lead to bacterial infection. Pouring the new discus in avoids this and is quicker.
How To Strike A Deal When Buying Discus
Discus are expensive, there is no way around that. In order to get the best deal you will need to get creative. If you have an issue with trying to get the most for your money, then by all means, pay full price. But if you see buying discus for what it is, then you know that haggling and negotiating is par for the course.
METHOD ONE: BORROW FROM A FRIEND
This requires you to bring a friend or family member with you, you should any way for safety reasons. First, before you leave your home, know how much you are willing to spend. Count out your money and give half to your friend or relative to hold for you before you leave.
When you are ready to make a deal, negotiate hard, try get the best price possible. Occasionally, even with your best negotiating, the price will be firm. At this point, you can count the money you have in front of the buyer and try one last time by making it obvious that this is all the money you have. If the price stands firm, now you can turn to your friend and ask if you can borrow some money, of course it's your money, but have your friend or relative ask you how much. Have them have a back up story, like it's their rent money or something like this, make the make you swear you will pay it back promptly. Have your friend or relative lend you as much as half, holding back the rest to see if you can get a better price. Don't be afraid to walk away, sometimes the seller finally relents knowing that a sale negotiated hard is better than letting walk away. In the end, it was all your money and you could save quite a bit, don't forget to get your money back from your friend or relative once you get home.
METHOD TWO: BUY FRY
If you don't have cash to buy larger sized discus, going small might be your best bet. Hobbyist that are new to discus might be overwhelmed when they go from two discus to feed to feeding 50 or 75 discus. In this case, you might want to strike a deal to buy the entire batch of fry. Discus tend to double or triple in price once they go from nickel sized to quarter sized up to two or three inches, giving you the opportunity to later sell and recoup some of the money you have invested while keeping the best discus for yourself. If negotiating gets tough, remember to use method number one above and "borrow" money to get a great deal.
METHOD THREE: BUY BREEDING PAIRS
When buying a breeding pair of discus, it's like buying a goose that lays golden eggs. What you are looking for are rare pairs, let me warn you, it can be very expensive when buying rare breeding pairs. Common breeding pairs of blue diamonds or pigeon blood discus can range between $100 to $300, when you get into rare strains with spots or colors, the price can go up fast.
if you are buying a breeding pair, you are planning on have several tanks and raising fry. This has a cost all on it's own, be ready to take this on. Make sure that you actually see the breeding pair of discus either tending to eggs or with fry on their backs. It's too easy for hobbyist to put two large discus in a tank and call them a breeding pair. If you don't see the fry, then they are not a breeding pair. Even if you see eggs, they may not be fertilized, at the very least, you should see wrigglers. After all, you are paying top dollar, you need to verify that you are indeed receiving a true breeding pair of discus.
Use method one from above to negotiate hard, you should end up paying considerably more for a breeding pair. Be cautious of a cheap deal, there is no deal if you do not see fry. In the long run you will want to make your money back buy selling fry in batches while selecting a few "high quality" discus to keep for yourself. Selling individual discus takes too long, selling entire batches of small quarter sized fry helps get money in and tanks bare. If you hold them a bit longer, selling six packs of two or three inch discus can help move discus faster.