Jack’s Discus FAQs
What size aquarium is best for a pair of
A healthy discus of either sex can raise a
spawn of their own successfully without the
help of their mate. Remove the female at the
proper time the next time they spawn.
Breeding discus do very well in 20-gallon
tanks; all our breeding pairs are in 20
gallons. Although I saw one discus breeder
using what looked to be 12- or 13-gallon
tanks for his breeders!
Discus With Angels?
I have both discus and angelfish, but
not in the same aquariums. I’d like to keep
them together. What do you think? Could
I be successful?
Is it necessary for me to have a tank cover
over my discus tanks?
We are in and out of our tanks so often
that we don’t use covers or reflectors over
them. But keep in mind that discus are great
jumpers, so it’s probably best for you to have
covers over your tanks.
It’s not the best idea to maintain angels and
discus together. Discus do best at 82° to 84°F,
whereas angelfish (Pterophyllum spp.) do
well at lower temperatures, in the middle to
Can you recommend some tankmates for
the discus aquarium?
At what age do discus begin breeding?
Not all discus reach sexual maturity at the
same age, although in most cases they reach
spawning age at about 12 months. Some discus
breed at an earlier age, and on the other side
of the spectrum, I’ve had discus (male or
female) that have not begun spawning until
about 17 to 18 months.
I’ve never been an advocate of tankmates
in discus tanks, although one can introduce
members of the Corydoras family, as well as
a few tetra species, including cardinal tetras
Paracheirodon axelrodi and rummy-nose
tetras Hemigrammus rhodostomus.
What do you consider to be the life span
Is there a problem with using frozen
Tubifex worms for my discus? I know you
don’t normally advise feeding Tubifex, but
my fish accept them with no problems.
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.
Under the best of conditions, I feel that
discus should be able to live for 12 years or
more. I’ve had many discus in tanks for eight
and nine years, and some of them were still
breeding for six of those years.
After my pair of discus spawn and
hatched out the eggs, the female began to
eat the eggs. This happens each time they
spawn. What is my next move?
Tubifex worms in any form usually carry
harmful pathogens, and I’ve found that sooner
or later the feeding of them can develop into
major tank problems (especially if there’s
a breakdown of any kind in your discus
maintenance program). Other worms that
discus quickly accept are bloodworms. If the
bloodworms are of excellent quality when
alive, and are frozen properly, they can be an
excellent food for large discus.
I’ve raised live bloodworms (actually
chironomid midge larvae) and found that