Food for discus? An interview with a specialist will give you ideas


Interview Bernhard Ehmer

A few months ago, you could read on the blog a few articles dedicated to the new foods proprosed by Dennerle company.

M.ehmer, who works for the Dennerle company to develop a food of good quality answered my interview and I propose you to discover it here.

This nutrition specialist talk about the range of foods proposed by the German company, and there is no doubt that you will find here ideas for your menus and propose a food for discus of good quality.

A very relevant vision of ’food for aquarium fishes…


Yann Hoiret : Mr Ehmer, you have developed the new food for fish from the Dennerle company, Can you introduce yourself to the readers of Fanatik-Discus?

B. Ehmer : My experience with ornamental fish has been enriched since the beginning of the years 90. Since 1991, I have maintained for several years some discus and I perfected myself continuously through the reading of the experts contributions . For me, articles of the website Fanatik-discus are part of must readings.

I already knew the Dennerle company and his team for many years, and not only because of the proximity of the aquarists experts head office (I live nearby and Dennerle is very well known in the region for an important employer).

In collaboration with the biologist Dr. Carsten Gretenkord, Director of research and development at Dennerle, I finally could develop over the past years the range of natural’foods until it corresponds to the high quality standards as well as our own criteria in terms of sustainability.

Yann Hoiret (Fanatik-Discus) Bernhard Ehmer and Sylviane Scheidler (Dennerle)

Our meeting in Germany (We are with lollipops, treats for koi carp)

Y.H : Can you introduce us the philosophy of the Dennerle food for fish?

B.E : The objective of our development was to reproduce the best naturalfood for aquariums fishes.

Even the fish are a product of evolution. They are adapted over millions of years to certain food spectra. They only can have a good health, desire for procreation or a long life, If we offer them this food or equivalent.

Inappropriate long-term nutrition leads to deficiencies, skeletal malformations, a greater frequency of diseases, a decrease in life expectancy and a lower reproductive rate.

The food conventionally used for ornamental fish is generaly made of fish and cereals flour. However, very few aquarium fish are fish-eaters, and certainly not "cereal eaters".. Which means that this food is not at all suitable for this kind of species.

In the new range of food Dennerle, We only use high quality and nutritionally valuable ingredients that aquariums fish eat under natural conditions (or in similar form).


Recipes must be adapted to the species

Y.H : The ingredients that compose the food Dennerle are totally new, can you explain us how you imagined the recipes.

B.E : When you look at the industrialized food for ornamental fish, you realize that fillers are often part of the food, which recipes are usually derived from thefood of industrial fishfarms.

In this case, the objective is purely economic: rapid growth with a low use of the ingredients by fish. Unfortunately, the balanced diet here plays a rather minor role here. Dennerle requirement is exactly the opposite : If you look carefully at the dietary habits of aquarium fish in their natural habitat, you quickly realize that they may eat a very wide variety of foods . For example, crustaceans, insect larvae, worms, molluscs, zooplankton, phytoplankton, algae, fruits, seeds or detritus.

These ingredients are used in our foods. We are also very careful to the quality of the ingredients and we are very picky about the selection of our suppliers. In addition, the ratio protein / fat plays a crucial role because if the fish’food contains too much protein and not enough fat, the fish draws its energy in protein rather than fat.

This product ammonium / ammonia, who will strongly damage the gills and the quality of the water. We use an optimal ratio protein / fat of approximately 5 for 1 for a favorable use of’food and low contamination of the water.

For a targeted supply of essential fatty acids, We opted for a salmon oil rich in high quality omega-3 , with an optimal ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids 3 for 1.

Elaboration d'une nourriture pour Discus

Developing recipes

Y.H : Dennerle announces that this food is manufactured in an artisan way. Can you tell us more on this subject?

B.E : Yes, It is true. We deliberately decided not to make mass production. This is not only for psychological reasons but also because our range of food is produced by hand.

We also put a lot of passion and commitment in this work, This is why this makes us even more proud when you see packets of our food in the shops and especially when that one gets very positive returns of ornamental fish breeders.


Y.H : The Dennerle granulates include probiotics and Prebiotics, Can you explain the benefits that we could possibly hope for the discus?

B.E : The combination of prebiotic and probiotic with beta-glucans is used for regulation of digestion and the activation of the immune system *..

Dennerle is a pioneer because so far there was no culture of probiotic lactic acid (Pediococcus acidilactici) made for aquariums fish food.

The favorable effect of new lactic acid bacterium is scientifically proven. This improves the intestinal flora, evicts undesirable germs and regulates the digestion in order to have a low water pollution. Selected prebiotic substances serve as "food" for these probiotic bacteria and promote their proliferation.

(*In this regard you will find more information’article dedicated to the Dennerle food)

Part of pellets manufacture


Y.H : What are the tests did with the Dennerle food for fish?

B.E : All new varieties of food were distributed to various species of fish over a long period of at least 6 months . Many parameters have been evaluated, in particular the acceptance, the digestibility, the growth and development of color. Our food tests speak for themselves.

The main factors we observed, are balanced growth, increased vitality, fertility improvement, a lower mortality rate, excellent bright colors and intense, a very good food quotient * and less pollution of the water.

[*Remark : the food quotient is a measure of the effectiveness of the conversion of food supply in body mass. Food quotient X = Ingested food [kg]/ growth [kg]]


Nourriture en granulés


Vary your food for discus…

Y.H : Mr Ehmer, do you have specific advices about nutrition and how to use the food Dennerle?

B.E : Basically, we should always use a food adapted to the species in question. This concerns first, food composition suitable for each species: Do the fish eats primarily food from plants (herbivorous) or rather the food from animals (Carnivorous), or is it omnivore one?

The composition of different foods, That means the components and the analysis values give very valuable informations. The new food Dennerle mentions explicitly all unique ingredient composing the food and not only the groups of products as this is usually done.

The second point is the type of manufacturing. We opted for granulates because important components are better protected from oxidation than for example in flakes. The size of the granulates must match the size of fish's mouth or smaller. The big fish also eat small granulates, However the small fish encounter difficulties with large granulates.

For fish that prefer to search their food on the surface of the water, There are types of foods floating, for fish located in the middle of the aquarium, some food stagnant and for fish living on the bottom some food flowing.

The important thing is the diversification. Although most of foods for fish is designed and promoted as being complete food, It is important to diversify the types of food as well as to provide from time to time frozen food as for example the Calanus or food alive. This ensures a balanced diet.

Regarding us, We do not want to eat the same thing every day.
The biggest mistake that is made is always the overfeeding with all the problems that occur such as fattening liver. The fish move less in the aquarium than in the wild and need less energy.

It is also more natural to feed several times per day in small portions rather than a large amount at one time. In this context, It should be noted that many varieties of food swell in the stomach of the fish.

Final Council : do not feed in a ring of food. It is preferable that the food disperses in the aquarium. The fish must search like in nature and so "deserve" his meal.


Thus ends this short interview. I would like to thank once again Bernhard and the Dennerle company for their time. Thank you for your availability! 😉

You are welcome on the Fanatik-Discus blog!

Hoping that this interview will help you understand better how to recognise a good food for your discus; but also that the informations given here by M.Ehmer will help you to develop a food for discus 4 stars (Like in restaurants!)!

Yann Hoiret

About Author

Discus Breeder and Discus columnist, Yann Hoiret share on the website Fanatik-Discus his experience and passion for the King of aquariums. From 2014 He worked as a writer for the french magazine "AquaMag", the German magazines "Discus Live" and "Discus yearbook". He participated as an international judge in France Discus show 2014 and 2016 in Arvert, au Greek Discus Show 2014 in Athens, Discus Show in Paris Grigny 2015, 2017 and 2019, au FIDO concurso 2016, 2017 and 2018 Spain, au Nordic Discus Show 2018 Sweden, au France Discus Show 2018 Cognac, Discusvrienden the discus competition 2018 and 2019 Netherlands.

A comment

  1. Campbell on

    A good interview Yan!
    It's well worth mentioning that the food should be adapted for each species and the protein and fat ratio. A lot of people consider the fat as « bad ».
    This perception must come from the human « nutrion » mainstream. 🙂

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