Discus breeding tank installation


How to make a breeding tank for discus? Not always easy when one begins. I propose in this article (and video) to find some keys to a successful project.

It will complement the video report I published on YouTube. You will find it below.

Looking for adventures?

You keep your discus correctly for some time. They are healthy and will surely start to show reproductive behavior.

You will maybe feel the urge to breed some fry and attend the fabulous spectacle of the babies dancing around their parents.

Get discus eggs is not very hard. Conduct an egg to young 5-6 cm fry is a little bit more complex.

Discus: really complex?

Not really, if one has the means to succeed and especially to invest some of his time (Finally the definition of a hobby!).

Also… (or perhaps "mostly") the success of this venture will be conditioned by all the good advices you can glean. Keeping still in mind that nothing will replace the practice!

Wanting to reproduce discus, it's sometimes accept that everything does not go well the first time…

Minimum preparation

You will have to be aware that making a breeding tank for discus is accepting to engage yourself.

Because the reproduction of this wonderful fish AND the raising will require installing not one… but some aquariums.

You will have to be ready to spend some of your time, because this adventure can be somewhat time consuming. (Especially the first month of fry life)

What I present here, is finally the beginning of the story. Meaning some tools to get you on the right track.

You have to not hesitate to equip yourself a minimum in order to facilitate the task. Remember to reflect about all binding aspects such as the evacuationion of waste water or the flow and storage of "clean" water.

A reflection that will save you valuable time…

Example of water storage tanks (Sizing as needed)

breeding tank for discus : Simple and efficient

There are many methods to install a breeding tank for discus.

The one I present in the video is simple and effective. However, you will have to take into account that the proposed filter requires some monitoring.

"Airlift" or "air sponge" filtration requires regular maintenance. Indeed, it does not have the large bacterial colonization surface as we can see in other filters.

You will therefore regularly remove excrements lying on the bottom of the aquarium, and periodically clean the foam (With aquarium water).

This to avoid the foam to saturate with organic matters; and continue to play its role.

Choose an bare bottom tank of a hundred liters of water. The ideal dimensions often described are 50 cm x 50 cm x 50 cm. But the standard size are very suitable.

Maintenance breeding tank for discus
The cleaning will be as easy as possible
Cleaning the siphon aquarium discus
Remove feces regularly

Beware with low cost material

I know it's somewhat fashionable to propose "low cost" methods … But I advise you to invest in order not to hamper you with average quality material.

Choose reliable and controlled equipment

For example, I would mention the case of sponge filter that can be found at various prices… Prefer a reliable source.

Still some time ago, I heard German amateurs complain about their fish… (No fertilization, low success, unviable fry etc.…) This until the analyzes of their sponge filters show the presence of many chemical and toxic products of all kinds…

Although it's a little (sometimes much) more expensive, I encourage you to invest in good equipment.

On the video you saw, I use TEKair filters from JBL… But according to my latest informations, the German brand stopped its distribution (A Shame). To replace it, we recommend the models available on the boutique « Fanatik-Animals ».

Orient your preference on fine pore foams.

Regarding the other elements that are the air pump or the heating, my choice would be for a reliable air pump of the type Mistral air pump from Aquarium Münster and a Jäger heater.

Test the aquarium water…

Discus require itself a regular monitors of its environment. If adult fish accept more mineralized waters; eggs of your favorite fish will be on the other hand a little bit less tolerant.

To check that you are in acceptable values ​​for the proper embryonic development of the egg; you will need you a bit of equipment.

If you have the budget, you can buy a full range of tests.

water testing of the breeding tank for discus
Two parameters you will often check

But the minimum, should be a conductivity meter (Like the Hanna instruments DIST 3 for example), a pH, nitrites and nitrates tests.

The parameters you will mostly check are conductivity, pH and finally nitrates.

We seek to be around 100 micro siemens / cm for the conductivity (variable tolerance according discus strains), with an acid pH (Under 7) and a nitrate value as low as possible.

This will influence the survival rates at various critical stages: Sperm motility, Fertilization, embryonic phase, outbreak, larval stage, free swimming stage etc…)

If needed, I recommend the reading of this article I wrote on Fanatik-Discus: Understand the main water parameters.

Unless you have the chance to have this type of water out of the tap, you will probably need to equip yourself with an osmosis unit. It will allow you to adjust your water parameters very easily.

To sum up a breeding aquarium for discus is…

breeding tank for discus

List of materials needed to install your discus breeding aquarium:

  • An aquarium of about 100 litres
  • A heater
  • A sponge filter (Or any other system which not aspire fry)
  • A air pump
  • A medium-power lighting
  • a thermometer
  • a Conductivity meter
  • Water drop tests: pH (or electronic), nitrites, nitrates
  • A breeding cone

The foundations are laid… If necessary, feel free to ask questions or even share your tips at the end of this article.

If you enjoyed the video report available on the Fanatik-Discus YouTube channel, I incite you to "like", comment and even share. (To subscribe if this is not already done!!!)

You will greatly take part to its development and its exposure to the public.

For those who wish to, you can also swell the growing number of the website subscribers! You will receive all notifications of articles publications.

See you soon!

Instagram -> @ Fanatik.discus-Yann Hoiret

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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, 2019, 2022 in the Netherlands.


  1. Gary Walker on

    Hello Yann! I throughly enjoyed the video, very informative and broken down nicely! Your fish room is also very nice. Always nice to get the family involved, when younger both of my daughters would like to get their hands in on the action weather it be with a hose in their hand or helping me prepare a Beefheart mix!

    Very nice looking stock also especially the Brown pair, if you don’t mind me asking are they wild?
    OK, till next time.
    Look forward to more postings!
    One more thing, nice shirt!
    Anyway to obtain one?

  2. Yann Hoiret on

    Hello Gary!
    Always nice to read this kind of comment… Appreciate it, thanks a lot 😉
    And welcome aboard! If you want to be updated of any new article (each translated in English) feel free to subscribe the newsletter.
    You will receive an e.mail for each new article I will publish here.
    Try to do my best to propose good informations… And in few days, I will collect many more from the Vivarium event in Holland.
    Well, for the fish they are not wild discus but the results of cross I did to extract some genes from my lines. They are the F3 generation of a cross I did from Red Melon and Red Golden Diamond.
    My goal was to extract here some pure (or mostly pure) genes and also to understand the RGD makeup… Now I would like now to fix it.
    It is interesting to explore such things.. takes some times… but it’s interesting. Several persons ask me the origins of those browns… Answer is: Somewhere Inside a part of your fish… just try to extract it ahahahaha
    For the shirt, I can try to study this…
    Where you from?
    Yann 🙂

  3. Gary Walker on

    Hello Yann! I am signed up, as I received an email on this article!
    The Browns are great looking! Shape, color, markings!!
    In 2012 I did a similar cross, mine resulted in a deeper red color with a thick black band thru the dorsal; anal fin. Characteristic of wild caught specimens.
    I live in Florida USA
    also is there another means of communicating that you prefer other then using this as I know this is used for comments on articals that you post here.
    Thank you!

  4. Yann Hoiret on

    Hello Gary,
    Sorry for late reply… I left home during 5 days long for the Vivarium Holland event… (Huge discus meeting again 🙂 )
    For the tee-shirt, I just asked to a producer to have an idea of price.
    You can contact me via messenger on Facebook, or Instagram OR even by using the « Contact the author » form directly here.
    Best regards,

  5. Frédéric on

    After consulting your video, about the reproduction of discus, I prepared my bins of 90l each. My water parameters:
    NO2 0
    NO3 Inf 25
    GH 4
    KH 6
    PH 6,6
    CL2 0
    tests drops
    Not conductivity (not equipped yet) my discus are in an aquarium 260l (2 identical bins) with 6 discus 10 / 12cm and I already training two couples (one of which has already spawned ... a little too early I think)
    Change water twice a week 20/25%.(1/3 of spring water and 2/3 rainwater from my house)
    My questions; my couples can they ever you go by ferry ? Or should they let them grow a little more?
    And the filtering mass air pump on it is quite effective (my bins are made identically to your .......... for once I'm advice)
    Thanks for the replies
    Nice day

  6. Yann Hoiret on

    Hello Frédéric,

    I deliberately moved your question below the right item.

    Indeed it would be better to equip yourself with a conductivity meter. This facilitates a lot of things.
    One thing wonder: Are you sure your tests KH and GH? Because their value is reversed.
    I mean that you should find a KH 4 (and no 6) for GH 6 (and no 4). If this is really the case, so take the time to check your water source, see the change.
    Attention, it may come from the presence of stones… but I guess you do not have one.

    Otherwise, for your questions:

    More than size, it's age it takes resonate… If your discus are 10-12 cm and 2 years old, So it's good. If they 8 months … So it is best to wait.

    Males are generally any fruitful way later than females. Overlooking reproductions "abortive".

    For filters called "enhancer", no worries as long as the foam pores are fine, well seeded filter as I explain in the video.

    Also, attention, the volume of foam is important. For example, the volume of foam that JBL advised Model Video (this model no longer exists) was from 1 foam 80 litres.
    I have doubled since….. there will of course depend on the pollution caused by fry. While small at first, but growing day after day.

    Furthermore, the proper functioning of this type of filter is related to the air flow, will affect… the flow of water through the filter. In summary, you need a good air pump, leaves regulate the air flow with a tap if it is too strong.

    it will, of course perform regular water changes to ease the filter.

    good reproductions! 😉

  7. Frédéric on

    Hello Yann
    Thank you for your super fast response and complete.
    Indeed I have been flat stones for future spawning.
    As regards my couple (alenquer female and male royal blue), laying took place but the male has not fertilized, I think n 7/8 months, I will ask the small local breeder who provided me. The alenquer to come so complicated pet.
    Nice day

  8. Amaury.D on

    Hello Mr Hoiret,
    Super Article! Thank you for sharing!
    I have 2 small matters :
    Is it preferable if there are several couples that they can not be seen through a window?
    And the second, you prepare your reproduction totes how long before the introduction of couples?
    A big thank you in advance

  9. Yann Hoiret on

    Good evening Amaury,

    And Welcome aboard!
    I would say it depends on the tray and fish…
    Tray because if it is a bit long, each couple begins his side and all is well. But… y in some palapa here if montrent très territoriaux. So much so that it affected their results: Some males fertilize the eggs less because they are constantly ending up before the next fish glass, and then become too nervous and aggressive… etc
    Personally if I have a choice, so they do not see.

    Reproduction trays are conventionally prepared, 3 weeks without fish, with a bacterial inoculation start with once a week a little food to boost bacteria. A "stocking" I added a light bulb stop ammo + bacteria.


  10. Hello M Hoiret,

    I have been breeding discus for some time and I am wondering about the importance of the size of the parents on the size of their descendants.
    I am of course convinced that the morphology of the parents has an importance on the shape of the offspring, but will small parents necessarily make small discus, or the opposite, will large parents make large discus.
    When we see the Piwowarski Discus, there are no "dwarf" discus.
    Thank you
    Nice day
    Kind regards

  11. Yann Hoiret on

    Good evening Rodolphe,
    First of all I wanted to apologize for the delay for this answer! I was (and stay) very busy the past few months and didn't want to give you a sloppy response.
    My sentences will not have the scientific rigor that this field requires, nevertheless I will give you explanations which I hope will be as "digestible" as possible…
    You have asked a very interesting question here which allows us to address several aspects that I have been able to study.
    First, in order to be able to confirm certain hypotheses it should be borne in mind that it is essential to carry out observations over a certain period of time, ideally crossing the information / observations that you can collect with other breeders.
    These subjects which affect the genetic selection of discus are only rarely discussed.. Indeed, the generation time for the discus is relatively long in order to be able to observe, measure, confirm or not his hypotheses. If we compare the generation time of a guppy (A pair of months) you will then understand that a breeder of these ovoviviparous 4 to 6 times faster than a discus breeder ...
    There are only very few amateur breeders who carry out real monitoring of lines of discus breeding over several generations. It’s a shame.
    But back to our subject…
    You must know; and you have certainly observed it in your breeding, that all fish do not grow at the same speed.
    If you build a curve by reporting the sizes of fish born in the same litter; globally we can see that we will have 25% of smaller individuals, 50% medium-sized and 25% of fish larger than others.
    This phenomenon is normal in a population and it has indeed been shown that selecting its parents in what is called the "batch tail" leads over the generations to a selection of small sizes..
    If we are looking to obtain large discus and progress (or at least not a decrease) of template over generations, it is therefore advisable to select future parents from the individuals who make up the head of the lot.
    This is valid when you select from your own progeny bred correctly.. Because we must not forget that genetics alone do not explain all the differences in size of a fish. Indeed, various and varied environmental factors will influence growth. A discus genetically programmed to become large will not become so if its water is of poor quality, his food not very varied etc etc…
    Your question calls for two types of selection that could be summarized as follows:: Massal selection and genealogical selection.
    Massal selection concerning the selection of the largest individuals in order to produce large individuals over time.
    Pedigree selection is mainly used to select other characters such as morphology, the coloring pattern etc ...
    The key to success lies in the proper use of these two selection methods..
    We could also largely develop its subjects ...
    I hope to have answered your question!
    We look forward to seeing you again on Fanatik-Discus.

  12. Hello Yann,

    A big thank you for this answer which suits me perfectly


  13. Hello Yann,

    I come back to you with another small question concerning the reproduction of discus.
    I have two couples in a 250l which I split in two with a blue foam, on the one hand with the first couple no problem, but for the second 90% deformed while the parents do not suffer from any deformity.
    I isolated this couple in a 120l in which they have just laid again.
    What would there be to do and is there an explanation for these malformations.

    Thank you in advance and good day


  14. Yann Hoiret on

    Hello Rodolphe,

    In my opinion, it can come from several things.

    – The quality of the water in the broad sense of the term. And you will answer me that the second couple is on the same quality without having to worry. But, my observations have shown me time and time again that not all people are equal in their tolerances (And this even within the same species). Are these fish of the same strain on both sides of the blue moss?

    – Genetic, because our discus are often from multiple selections and crosses. Some genes seem to 'associate badly' if I can put it that way… In other words, it may be necessary to change partners.

    – The age of the gametes. Here also, my observations (Do also on other species than the discus) show that "aged" gametes are hardly viable. In other words, you should ideally wait 1 or 2 laying so that eggs are of better quality. (It may be the same for males, but for lack of tests… I could not say)

    – Feeding the broodstock… This must be varied in order to offer the full range of amino acids, vitamins, fatty acids etc… necessary for the quality of gametes. And this for some time. We must not forget that the quality of the food depends on the quality of the offspring, but before… gametes. Beware of aged dry foods… I can no longer count the number of times I have observed poorly stored food, and / or used after more than 3 opening month… Attention… an element too often underestimated…

    I don't think I forgot anything… If anyone sees anything else, let him not hesitate to point it out here 😉


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