Every discus breeder have their own successful methods. The method that I adopt to breed my discus is as follows:
Preparing Stock for Breeding Pairs
In our experience, we tend to prepare ‘pairs candidates or future pairs to be’ when they are at 3” in size. I select the best fish from the available stock and select several bigger ones (tend to be male) and several small ones (tend to be female), which are then place in a different tank. I start to give more attention to this tank by giving bigger portions of food and also the number of discus in a particular tank is limited to only 10-12, so they can grow to its maximum size (tanks size 1.5m/400 litre). The concept is the bigger the breeding pair size, the more eggs produced. My own Blue Diamond at 5.5” normally produce 350 fry.
Conditioning the spawning
As soon as they reach maturity you will notice some of the fish starts pairing on their own (usually they will separate themselves from the group and stay at the corner). If this happens, then separate this pair immediately and put them into breeding tank (usually 50x50x50cms) with water at 45cm in height. At this point, set the temperature at 27-28 degrees C ; Ph level at 6.5 ; hardness water at level 3 dH. Change the water regularly to stimulate spawning process. In this tank only use breeding sponge filter and breeding cone (made of clay or PVC pipe). If everything goes according to plan, usually in 1 week the pairs will produce eggs and can be seen attaching on the breeding cone.
After the pair has formed, usually they will start the spawning ritual (some visible signs : they will star cleaning breeding cone, dancing to attract spouse, body & fin shaking/trembling). If the cleaning action gets more intense, that will signify that spawning will happen very soon and you can notice the discus swimming vertical aong the breeding cone. After the first egg is laid, we only have to wait for further 2-3 hours. After all eggs are laid (discus stops swimming in vertical direction), I usually put a stainless wire cage to protect the eggs. This is to prevent both ‘parents’ from consuming their eggs. Add Methylene Blue to prevent eggs from being damaged by fungus. This is what I call the 1st day..
Helping the pairs manage the fry
Usually at day 3 the eggs will start hatching, but the fry will stay attach to the cone. At day 6 or 7, the fry will start to detach themselves from the cone and swim freely. This is the period where we should help ‘parents’ in gathering all fry, so you can get a complete-full batch, by reducing water level to only 25cms or lowest at the above discus upper fins. During this period, you will see that the ‘parents’ can gather all their ‘kids’ and the tiny discus fry will start to consume slime from their parents’ body.
Managing the fry
After day 4 (which means 11 days after 1st egg is laid), where all fry can freely swim, you start to add food. At this stage, I feed them with 1st hatch of brineshrimp or artemia naupli. (4 times a day). If everything goes fine, by day 7 (14-15 days after 1st egg is laid) you can start separating all the fry and put them into a different tank, which this marks the start of the raising process.
Fry at day 7 (14-15 days after 1st egg is laid) up to 1 month of age, feed them with artemia or brineshrimp (8 times per day).
When the fry is between 1 month to 1.5 month, feed with artemia (4 times per day) and you can make your own discus burger.
When the fry are above 1.5 month, you can feed discus burger or frozen blood worms (3-4 times per day) and you should have successfully spawned and raised large amounts of fry.