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Asher Benzaken knows the secret to proper discus husbandry, and he uses water from the discus' native habitat to ensure that all his fish are in excellent condition for exportation.

Place ylur discuMink: in an area where neither cold air no^eat blows directly on the water surface or tank itself. The heater may seem superfluous during the day if the sun blares through a window and into the tank.

The same can occur with a tank placed near a heat duct. The problem is that when the sun goes down or the thermometer is adjusted at night, the water temperature fluctuates. Such temperature fluctuations can prove deleterious^b your discus. Just refer to the aforementioned temperatures taken during the day and night cited above for proof.

Insulate for Success

To further place this into perspective, let me refer to an experiment I conducted last year. I placed a 30-gal-lon tank by a window through which the sun reflected. The water temperature differed by almost 14 degrees between day and night. The discus that I placed inside stopped eating after two weeks and would have perished had I not moved them into a heated tank, where there were no marked day and night temperatures.

In homes that are kept on the cool side in more northerly climes, I suggest gluing sections of Styrofoam to the tank sides and back to conserve energy. I do this in the winter to the discus tanks that I keep outside in South Florida.

I cover the aquarium's front with a removable piece of Styrofoam, so that the front is also not a source of heat loss. In the home this may not feasible, but covering the back and sides can significantly reduce the energy consumption and will contribute to a more stable water temperature.

The requirements for warm, clean water are what have led many to claim that discus are delicate. They are not any more delicate than any other fish if their requirements are met. U

Tony Silva has kept and bred discus for more than 30 years. His interest in discus has taken him to Brazil, Peru and Colombia, where he has observed discus in their native habitat. He has met with aquarists from Australia to Zimbabwe to exchange information and ideas.

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