Not always you can find Happy and healthy looking Discus fish at Pet Shops. That's because Discus fish are not easy to keep happy. They want more attention and special treatments than other fish. This is why Discus Breeders have better looking and healthy Discus than pet shops. These guys are experienced in keeping Discus so they know how to keep them happy. This is why its always better buy Discus fish from an experienced Discus breeder than from pet shops. However if you have Discus fish now and have no idea how to keep them Happy and healthy there are few things you should know.
50% Water change Everyday - Water is very important when it comes to Discus fish keeping. Discus are very sensitive about water. Never do a 100% water change always keep some amount of old water in tank. Also you need to keep water in a container before adding to tank. At least 24 hours. if you have younger Discus which are less than 2 years old then you need to do 50% water change everyday, if you want them to grow properly. For Adults 50% water change once or twice in a week is enough. This is something you must do if you want to have healthy good looking discus who live long. Also they won't grow unless you do these water changes.
How many Fish you should have - Discus fish do not like to live alone in a tank. If you want your Discus to live long and happy then you need at least group of 5-6 Discus fish. There will be a pecking order and there will be fights here and there specially while feeding. But you don't have to worry they will be ok most of the time. If one of them get bullied and if you try to put him alone in a separate tank he won't like it. So when you buy discus you need to buy 3-4 pairs same time. Also its good if you want to have have a breeding pair.
Discus fish Tank Size - Discus fish love space. So common standard is 10 gallons for each fish. Remember Discus fish are Cichilds. Though they are peaceful than their other Cichild relatives, still they are territorial. So there will be too many fights if they don't have enough space. They get stressed very easily so it won't be good for their healthy as well as their look. Also they prefer taller tanks. Bigger the tank happy your Discus fish will be.
Discus fish Tank mates - Best way is Keep your Discus fish aquarium Discus fish only. Reason is Discus fish can get infected by various illnesses pretty easily unlike other fish. there are some worm types which won't harm other fish but would be deadly for Discus fish. Also they can get bullied easy and unlike other fish Discus fish get stressed easily. So if you really need tank mates for Discus fish you have to be careful.Cardinal Tetra is the best tank mates for Discus. They are bigger than Discus mouth and very peaceful. Also Cardinal Tetra are very beautiful. Also Blue Rams are good. I have them in my tank and they are get along with Discus fish well. But what worries me is what happen if Blue Rams decide to have a fry. I guess they would get aggressive !
Discus Fish food - Discus fish are expensive fish. And if you want good looking healthy Discus fish then you need to buy quality discus food not usual fish food. Remember they are very picky about fish pellets. Once they get used to one type it will be pretty hard to make them eat different type. They would refuse to eat for a while. So if you want to introduce them a new food better let them get used to it by mixing it with their old favorite food. Also they like snacks. Don't just feed them same food every time. Give them something different here and there. Like tiny raw chicken pieces or tuna. Freeze dried red worm cubes, hard boiled egg york(careful about this. it can make your water messy.) etc.
Discus Fish Feeding - Discus fish are greedy fish. Though they picky about fish pellets they get hungry often and love to eat. Specially while they are growing. If you want them to grow fast you need to feed them at upto 8 times a day for 2 years. But never put too much food. Put little bit and see how long they take to finish then increase as it should. but never put more than they can eat within 10 minutes.
Discus Fish Aquarium Accessories - Keeping Discus fish is an expensive hobby. You need all basic Aquarium Accessories. An Aquarium heater is a must. Discus fish don't like low temperatures also this need to keep then out of various illnesses. Also you need a good air pump with an air stone. More oxygen will help younger discus to grow fast. Also they need a good filter system since they like clean water.
Knowledge - You need to read a lot about Discus fish before buy them. You need to know all about them and their habit before start keeping them. Discus fish are not easy to keep and without all knowledge about them it can be quite a challege. Join Discus fish forums and read others experience, Also ask questions.
If you can do these things and understand then you will able to start this wonderful and challenging hobby. Once you get into Discus fish keeping you will never get fed up with them. Main things to understand are you need to pay them attention and little bit more money than for other fish.