Discus farms are categorised into large, medium discus hatcheries and home breeders. Large farms may have about 700 aquariums and 110 breeding pairs. Breeders without employees manage medium farms of less than 230 aquariums with about 50 pairs. Home breeders have 40 to 60 aquariums with less than 13 pairs. Malaysia is renowned for her famous discus fish breeding, especially for exporting purpose. The state with the most discus farms here is certainly Penang. Most houses there were converted into farms because this way will save the cost of space rental. It is best to breed and raise discus indoor since temperature fluctuation is high during the night, and this can cause much stress to the fish kept outdoor.
Basic facilities in a farm are well drained water system, aquariums, air pump and some water heaters. For a large and medium farm, water storage tanks are installed in order to provide enough dechlorinated water when water crisis or shortage occurred. Aging water in the large storage tanks over a period of 24 hours with the aeration will effectively remove chlorine. Sodium thiosulfate and granulated activated carbon are also practical in removing chlorine.
Different sizes of aquarium are required for purpose such as breeding, raising fry to young discus. For example, for breeding tank, the suitable aquarium size is 135 litres. Raising good quality discus depends on good water quality. A large water hose draws out water until the fishes are swimming in a slant position. The aquarium is refilled with dechlorinated water replacing the old water. The method of changing water is called ‘in-out’ and will remove all unwanted substance from the aquarium. This method of water change does away with costly biological filtration equipment. New fishes should not be introduced into a set-up aquarium for a simple reason that the new fishes might harbour diseases.
The new fishes should be quarantined for a period of 4 to 6 weeks. Do not feed your fishes on the first two days during quarantine. Change a portion of the water daily. Taking care of discus farm involve hard work in changing water but it is a joy if we can implement an efficient water drainage system either by motorized system or the ‘in-out’ method. The average cost of setting up a new small farm is around USD 5000 in Malaysia. Electricity bill is very low but water bill is higher since frequent water changing is required, after the fishes are fed with beef-heart.