What To Know Before Breeding Discus

Breeding Discus is a lot of fun, but make no mistake, it is a labor of love. I have met so many people who breed Discus for just as many reasons. Like many new endeavors there is a lot that goes into breeding Discus.

Below we have put together a quick guide to cover a few pitfalls and expensive mistakes one can make when starting to breed Discus.

Don’t Do It For The Money

Its hard resist thinking about a possible new life doing what you love. When it comes to Discus, many have walked down the path of becoming a pro Discus breeder and very few have made it.

It’s not so much the difficulty that it takes for one person to do the work, it is more the external factors that ultimately bring the dream to an end. Here are some of the main reasons for failure:

  • Upstart costs for those who are new to the hobby can be super expensive. Especially if in the habit of purchasing everything new and are not creative enough to make homemade solutions.
  • Time is a two fold problem as many balance a regular work day, sometimes a family and personal life. The second part of the time factor is Discus breed when they want and not when bills are due.
  • Bills rack up and with most of the money from fry sales going back into food, supplies and electrical/water bills not much is left over.
  • Finding customers is a hustle type of job many do not want to take on. People will typically not line up at your garage door to buy Discus. You have to make the phone calls and put the ads in the paper, handle the shipping and keep good records.

Now this leads us to the next part…

Start Out Slow And Steady

If you decide to breed Discus or are fortunate to have a breeding pair and thinking about scaling up, slow down! It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and start imagining row after row of tanks loaded with fry ready to sell.

Treat Discus breeding as a cash business that has to pay for itself and pay for its growth. What do I mean by that? If you have a breeding pair and they produce 30 awesome sell-able Discus and you manage to sell all thirty at twenty dollars (30 x $20 = $600). It would be really great if you got that all at once, but you wont. So store that cash in a place where it will not get spent or used for on going expenses. Take this money and use it towards another breeding pair. Built in to the expense of the breeding pair should be the cost of a tank (used/new) and needed equipment. Any left over money should be put back and saved for the next pair.

Over time you will have setup a system that creates a solid Discus breeding program and more importantly it will pay for itself.

Discus Are Not Chickens

In all seriousness, do not make plans around when new fry will arrive. Discus will breed when they want and as often as they want. Few are fortunate to have Discus that will produce fry on a steady schedule. Even then those same Discus pairs can at anytime decide to take a break.

Instead focus on creating an overlap with the Discus fry by holding back a few to grow out as juveniles and adults. If you do this with every batch you will have more of a variety to sell to potential customers. Here are two great reasons to do this:

  • Larger Discus sell for more! If you make it a habit to hold on to a few fry each time and grow them out as adults you can charge a much higher price per Discus. This means of course that you will build up your savings for new pairs faster and easier.
  • When customers see your Discus and ask about the ones held back, I have found they actually would pay more for them because they are selected as “keepers” by the breeder. If you decide to sell then make sure you get a premium as this will be the money that will go into your savings.

Questions For You

Are you breeding Discus now?

Have you or are you planning on going pro?

Do you have a similar or different system as described above?

5 thoughts on “What To Know Before Breeding Discus

  1. I have a breeding pait and now I have fry but not sure what to do to help them grow and become stronger. Is their something that I need to do? I have anothers in the tank as well do I need to move them out? I am new to this HELP!


  2. Hi Kathaleen,

    I have a few questions:

    Is this the first batch of fry?
    Are the fry feeding of the side of the parents body?
    Do you have other fish in the tank other than the fry and the two Discus parents?

    I would not attempt to move the fry or the parents at this point. In most cases if this is the first batch of fry they have a big chance of not making it. Sorry to provide the bad news.

    Also if there is other fish like tetras or anything larger, the fry will become snack food. Not much you can do about that.

    If you wanted to explore breeding Discus I would setup a new tank and move the two Discus to the new tank before they breed again.

    Feel free to post your questions…


  3. Hi Kathaleen,
    from my ideas, ( i did successfull)

    1. please move others out of tank, just keep parents and fries.
    2. feeding parents not much live foods ( i reduced 50% foods )
    => the fries will be good and takecare by their parents.
    when the fires can eat live foods by them self you can move fries to anothers tank( with fresh water) then keep parents going to new breeding.
    feel free post ur questions…

    Tinh Nguyen

  4. Hi, I keep dicus ,I use ro water, temp. 86 f. Ph 6.0-6.2. ,the fish lay eggs but never hatch, eggs go orange after a few hours and then mould grows on them This has occoured with 2 pairs in separate tanks, fish are kept in large 300 litre and 100 litre tanks with neons and cardinals.
    Can you advise? Thanks Bren.

  5. I have three pair of proven pairs (all different strains from cobalts and pigeons to albinos), and was wondering what I should ask for them? Of course size is a factor, but what about strains and color? Or does “wholesale” translate into “flat rate”?

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