All you need to know about feeding Symphysodon (Discus) and the recipe options you have if you decide to prepare the food yourself
Below is an overview of the foods suitable for Symphysodon (Discus) and recipe options that you could use to easily prepare the fish food yourself.
- Why don’t Symphysodon (Discus) eat all food?
- How to get Symphysodon (Discus) used to new food
- List of food suitable for Symphysodon (Discus)
- Food recipes and food tips for Symphysodon (Discus)
- Feed beef heart to the Symphysodon (Discus)
Why don’t Symphysodon (Discus) eat all food?
Many Symphysodon (Discus), especially bred discus, only eat certain types of food. Often they even only eat red mosquito larvae. Other food is ignored or at most tasted from it. The method of starving them for a few days and not feeding them doesn’t always help either. Under no circumstances should discus starve for a long time. They may end end up refusing to eat. They starve to death even though there is enough food available.
Symphysodon (Discus) naturally know what is good for them and what is not. In such cases it must first be checked whether the feed has spoiled such as frozen food.
Because feed for Symphysodon (Discus) is often red, the animals are often trained by the breeder to use red as a feed stimulus. Some breeders do not adjust their offspring to different types of food early on. The fattening should not be interrupted and the animals should reach the sales size as quickly as possible. These animals are used to one type of food from an early age and have probably never seen or eaten any other food.
In addition, Symphysodon (Discus) place higher demands on food than other fish. They are reluctant to eat any hard-shelled food.
In nature, Discus eats almost exclusively soil organisms such as mayfly larvae, dragonfly larvae, mosquito larvae and freshwater shrimp. In addition, there are certain proportions of leaves, algae and fruits, possibly also mushrooms. You can expose a mosquito larva in thick sludge by simply blowing into the sludge.
How to get Symphysodon (Discus) used to new food
It requires time to get the Symphysodon (Discus) to eas new foode. For this purpose, very small portions are fed several times a day.
- You should try the new type of food first in the morning and then the usual food.
- Another method is to mix a small amount of new food with known food. The proportion of the new feed is then slowly increased. If the fish are fed variedly, they will eventually develop a taste and will also eat the new food normally. To get the Symphysodon (Discus) to eat dry and granulated food, mix the dry or granulated food with live food in a small glass. Often they tend to eat new food. Discus can then be fed dry food by helpers during the holiday season. Holiday helpers are often reluctant to feed live food.
- Another method is to use dry discus granules soaked and mixed with thawed live frozen food to about 50% and re-frozen. This frozen food is offered as an alternative to normal discus dry food. Initially, the discus usually only eat the frozen food. After a while, however, they will also eat the dry food that is not frozen. Uneaten food will eventually be eaten by the other fish such as catfish in the aquarium.
List of food suitable for Symphysodon (Discus)
Below is a list of foods that have been successfully fed to Symphysodon (Discus). However, you should first try for yourself to find out which types your Discus prefers. You can also experiment by adding vitamins if necessary. As a rule, the varieties are separated during feeding and fed in small portions.
- Chichlid pellets
- Discus quick
- Drosophila flies
- Red mosquito larvae
- White mosquito larvae
- Black mosquito larvae
- JBL discus granules
- Sera discus granules
- Live mosquito larvae
- Live, adult Artemia
- Frozen crabs
- Frozen mosquito larvae
- Freeze-dried mosquito larvae
- Green algae
- Clam meat
- dried animal food
- FD mosquito larvae
- Water fleas
- River flea shrimp
- Swimming prawns
- Green algae
- Young guppies
Food recipes and food tips for Symphysodon (Discus)
The feed mixes are usually also eaten by other cichlids and other fish species.
Feed recipe 1
- 30% shrimp
- 30% mussel meat, such as mussels
- 30% raw spinach
- Red pepper
Whisk the prawns, clam meat and spinach together. Mix with garlic and some red pepper. Enrich with vitamins. Portion the mixture and freeze. Add frozen cubes to the aquarium or peel off frozen.
Feed recipe 2
- frozen shrimp
- 200 g frozen, pureed spinach
- 200 ml flake food – 1 can of a good brand
- 200 ml discus granules – 1 pack
- 2 tablespoons of oat bran for digestion and as a glue
- 2 grated capsules center vitamins and trace elements)
- 1 ampoule of vitamins from Multibionta from the pharmacy
The ingredients are mixed well and packed approximately 3 mm thick in freezer bags and frozen. This food is fed once a day.
Different normal feed is given as the second feed per day.
Feed recipe 3
- 3 kg plaice fillet without breading
- 2 kg of chopped spinach without bubbles
- 500 grams of frozen peas
- 1 large can of corn
- 3 kg of lean beef goulash
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1x sweet pepper
- 5 freshly mixed peppers
- 1x fish vitamins from Sera
The solid ingredients are rotated through a household meat grinder. The beef goulash is turned twice to make the structure finer.
The mass is mixed well. One soup ladle each is filled into a freezer bag. The bags are rolled flat with a rolling pin and frozen.
For the use of beef goulash, see also the topic of beef heart.
Feed recipe 4
- Haddock fillet
- Pollack fillet
- Paprika (red, green, yellow)
- Brussels sprouts
50% of the total consists of fish fillet without bones, which is cut into narrow strips. Pollack and haddock are recommended because of their iodine content and very low fat content.
The remaining 50% consists of vegetables. Carrots, peppers, spinach, onions, garlic, Brussels sprouts and parsley can be used. The vegetables are only washed off or scalded with boiling water or blanched to make them tenderer.
All ingredients are rotated through a meat grinder, several times if necessary. The mixed mass is packed in food-safe bags. The bags are spread 2 to 3 millimeters, a maximum of 5 millimeters thin and frozen. After approx. 30 minutes the food is frozen to the point that predetermined breaking points can be pressed in with the back of a knife.
Alternatively, you can add beef. Tendons are generously removed. Crustaceans are also suitable. Vitamins can be added. The food can be bound with agar-agar, gelatin or icing.
Feed beef heart to the Symphysodon (Discus)
How to feed beef heart to Discus properly
In the case of beef heart and similar raw materials, the very high concentration of proteins, nutrients or energy and the stored, long-fiber collagen are problematic. For these two reasons, such feeds are unsuitable as complete feed.
Beef heart can therefore only be used as one of many ingredients in a feed mix that otherwise contains a lot of raw fiber.
Can fish utilize fat from beef heart?
Beef heart fat can be used very well by fish. Most fish, in any case fish with a stomach, can digest fats in acceptable yield. Warm water fish can do this better than cold water fish because of the higher temperatures. Stomach-less fish have more difficulties.
Symphysodon (Discus) belong to the fish with a stomach. The yield of usable fats and other energy sources from the beef heart is likely to be even higher than the yield of energy sources from so-called natural food, if the amount of feed is the same in each case. Natural foods such as shrimp, mosquito larvae, etc. have a much higher proportion of fiber. Beef heart as a staple feed is therefore a kind of fattening, with all the negative consequences.
Can overfeeding beef heart to Symphysodon (Discus) lead to obesity?
With comparable amounts of other types of food with similar energy content that can be used by the fish, fish become just as fat as with beef heart.
It doesn’t matter whether you are feeding beef heart, fish or mosquito larvae. When a fish receives more energy than it can use, the excess is deposited in the body in the form of fat. It does not matter whether the excess originally comes from carbohydrates, protein or fats.
The fish also synthesizes fat from carbohydrates or protein because fat has a much higher energy content and energy is stored so much more effectively. The excess fat is stored for times of need. It becomes dangerous when the function of the liver etc. is impaired by the storage of fat.
Is the ratio between protein, fat and fiber crucial?
Suitable feed can be found by comparing the protein and fat content, the carbohydrates and the fiber.
Beef heart has a crude protein content of 70%. The proportion is 10 to 20% higher than the proportion in common animal feed, such as crustaceans, insect larvae, dry food, etc.
If feed with very high protein content is fed as a complete feed, without the necessary addition of hard-to-digest raw fibers, the fish burns the protein to a greater extent for its energy balance.
This leaves ammonia, which is released as ammonium through the gills. As a guide, the ammonium content can be measured after such feeding.
If the feed has relatively low crude protein content and a higher fat content, it is mainly the fat from the feed that is burned to generate energy. In this case, only carbon dioxide and water remain as waste.
The water quality is indirectly influenced by the feed composition. Good water is obtained with appropriate feeding. Unsuitable feeding can lead to nitrite poisoning.
If too little fiber is added, there is a high risk that the fish will become fat. In relation to the total amount that is eaten, the fish then absorbs more fat than with a comparable amount of food rich in fiber.
The feed must have a correspondingly large amount of fiber. Then the amount of protein and fat remains relatively small compared to the total amount of food that the fish eats. Beef heart must therefore never be the main component of the feed, but must be heavily stretched with difficult to digest components.
Whether beef heart is fed raw, frozen or thawed is unimportant with regard to the energy content. The protein cannot be flushed out of frozen food like phosphate.
Beef heart, warm-blooded meat, etc. may only make up a small part of the total feed. At the same time, raw vegetable fibers must be included.
In such a feed mix, beef heart can then be useful as a component of the feed range.
To use it as a base for a discus pole is nonsense. The problem is neither the cow nor the heart, but the composition in terms of energy.
Feeding beef heart is definitely not necessary.
Beef heart and collagen side effects in Symphysodon (Discus)
Warm-bloode meat presents the following problems:
- Intestinal blockages
- Intestinal obstruction with intestinal rupture and subsequent death
These problems are caused by collagen and not the fats in meat.
Collagen fibers, which are indigestible for fish, are responsible for these problems. Fish stomachs are not as acidic as the stomachs of mammals. The collagen fibers can therefore clump together in the intestines of the fish and then lead to blockages. The blockages usually lead to the death of the animals.
If beef heart is fed, it is important to remove all collagen from the meat. In recipes it is usually mentioned that the collagen fibers, ie the white threads in the meat, have to be cut out. However, this does not usually remove all of the collagen. There are usually a lot of small and thin fibers left that are not necessarily visible.
These fibers cluster in the intestines and lead to constipation. An intensive chopping of the meat to the size of micro-worms and rigorous removal of all parts that are somehow stuck together on threads is an essential requirement. For this reason, in recipes it is often advised to turn the feed mixture through fine or otherwise process it into a homogeneous mixture.
Before freezing, fibrous components such as cellulose must be added to the mixture so that the proportion of dietary fiber in the feed is sufficient. Collagen fibers are elastic and cannot be pushed through the intestine by the peristalsis if they are too clumped together. If there is enough dietary fiber, the fish intestine does not create individual balls of collagen, but rather a sausage with relatively firm fibers, on which the peristalsis can attach and pull or push the feed around intestinal convolutions. In the case of feed mixes produced in this way, there should be no bowel obstruction.
Enchytra, Grindal and Mikro also contain collagen. Because these feed animals are tiny compared to beef hearts, the collagen fibers of these feed animals will probably slip through the intestines without problems if fed sparingly. If too many of these worms are fed, it can also lead to intestinal obstruction, especially in smaller fish or young fish.
Alternatives to the beef heart
Pond food is much better suited and healthier than beef heart. Pond food contains the necessary nutrients, minerals, vitamins and the right amount of fiber. You don’t have to laboriously mix everything together yourself.
Otherwise, mixes of fish, shrimp and vegetables can be fed to the Symphysodon (Discus). The production of such mixtures is also much faster because collagen fibers do not have to be loosened for hours.
You could also consider forage crops such as Moina and Mexican river amphibians. They are well suited for people with limited space and a dislike to the smells.