Jack’s Discus FAQs
What is the optimum temperature for
I’ve heard it said that salt is beneficial
for discus, although I know discus like soft
water. What do you say?
Discus can be successfully kept at
temperatures of 82° to 88°F, although I believe
82° to 84°F to be the best.
How do I know what the best pH for
If discus are healthy, salt (sodium chloride)
is not at all necessary. However, in some cases
of injury or disease, salt can be helpful in
stimulating the fish to increase their protective
A pH of 5.0 to 6. 5 is a good goal. A pH of
5.0 to 5. 5 will greatly decrease chances of
bacterial problems—however, under optimum
conditions, discus can do very well at a pH as
high as 7. 5.
Is peat moss to be used in discus
What is the best water hardness for
A water conductivity of 700 to 800
microSiemens or more is desirable for young
growing discus because they need the mineral
salts for proper tissue and bone growth. For
adult breeding discus, much softer water is
needed—a microSiemens reading of 65 to 125
Peat is not mandatory in discus setups, but
it is used by many discus breeders to both
soften and to lower the pH of the water. The
best quality peat available for purchase in the
United States comes from Eastern Canada and
is obtainable in most large garden centers. The
tannic and humic acids in the peat are leached
out quickly into the water, so it must be replaced
frequently—usually within several days.
Are discus easy to sex?
Is well water
suitable in discus
Discus do not show pronounced differences
between male and female, but in most cases,
fully developed male discus are larger and more
colorful than adult female discus, and adult
males have a more pronounced dorsal fin.
Jack Wattley is worldwide
the most recognized name in
discus breeding. Breeder, judge,
collector, scholar, Jack is the
foundation on which modern
discus keeping has been built.
He has been sharing his
experience and knowledge—
and the discus he breeds—with
aquarists throughout the world
for decades, and just one of
his many awards was his
recent Lifetime Achievement
award from the ACA. Long
past the age at which most
people retire, he still serves
as ambassador of discus and
goodwill across the planet.
There is great variation in the quality and
chemistry of well water, depending on the
local geology. In most cases, it is excellent for
growing discus, since it generally contains
a large amount of minerals that are needed
for proper discus growth. Because of the high
amount of mineral salts in most well water,
it’s not really suitable for adult breeding
discus. Nevertheless, it can be added in small
quantities to reverse osmosis (RO) water as a
means of adding trace minerals for breeding
At what age do discus begin breeding?
Discus generally reach sexual maturity at
about 12 months and most should be ready to
spawn at that time. Some discus are able to
breed at an earlier age, whereas others don’t
reach maturity until 16 to 18 months of age.
What do you consider to be the life span