A remarkable ‘mythos’ has evolved regarding Discus, with many people believing that Discus are extremely sensitive and hard to keep. (See: Discus? Too Easy!) These same people would probably tell you that breeding Discus is next to impossible. However, while this may have been true for wild-caught Discus, it is certainly not true for modern domestic Discus.
Not only are domestic Discus easier to care for, breeding them is certainly not impossible. Breeding Discus comes down to consistency. Consistency should be prioritised above all other factors, with consistent water conditions being the most important factor. Rather than attempting to adjust the water parameters to supposed ‘ideal’ conditions, I would suggest that you attempt to breed Discus with the water parameters that your tap water provides. Adjusting the water parameters artificially will create fluctuations and reduce the chance of successful breeding. Many sources will suggest providing a ‘well-planted aquarium’, however, I would advise against this, as plants provide an additional, unneeded variable. The simpler the aquarium setup the better. A bare bottom is not essential, with my personal preference being a shallow sand bed but it will ensure that all detritus can be removed from the bottom of the aquarium. Frequent water changes should be conducted to ensure that water quality is maintained and the nitrate level is kept low.
Consistency in Feeding
Correct feeding is arguably the next most important factor after water parameters. Discus should be fed a varied, high protein diet in the lead up to the breeding attempt. While live foods may be used to induce spawning in particularly stubborn Discus, frozen foods should suffice in most cases. I would suggest feeding at least three different types of frozen foods, including; blood worms, beef heart, daphnia or frozen ‘Discus food’. Once again, consistency is key here.
While this was by no means an exhaustive explanation on breeding Discus, it seeks to provide a stable basis for anyone interested in attempting to breed Discus. If the focus remains on consistency, the chance of a successful breeding attempt will be greatly increased.