Stendker Discus Basic Information

Stendker Discus Basic Information

This page is a list of reference points to keeping Stendker Discus. The subjects are covered in greater depth by clicking the relevant tab in the menu.

Mark says "Keeping Discus is simple, avoid known issues"

Discus belong to the Cichlid genus and originate from the Amazon region of South America. Discus are very social with members of their own species and are best kept in groups of at least ten fish, especially when juvenile. Adult Discus 14cm and larger can be kept in "pairs"

Stendker Discus can grow to 21cm in diameter and live up to 15 years. They are available from 5cm to 21cm and currently there are 27 varieties or "strains" to choose from.

It is a very common misconception that Discus are difficult to keep, and whilst this remains the case for wild caught fish, the Stendker Discus have a worldwide reputation for being robust and easy to keep. If you are new to this hobby then please enter it with an open mind. This website is dedicated to Stendker Discus, we have imported their Discus since mid 1990's and the Stendker family have been breeding them since 1965.

Stendker Discus are kept in TAP WATER, "yes"! TAP WATER this makes their care so much easier and means that almost without exception where ever you live in the UK you can keep these fish with a little understanding of their species specific care.

The Stendker hatchery guarantee their fish are free of tapeworm and the so called Discus plague.

Click here for Discus Care Articles on Stendker website.......

Discus from different sources - what you need to know

It's so easy to get "caught" - you have a happy healthy tank of Discus, you are out at a garden centre on the weekend, you see a Discus you like and buy it..... Wednesday morning you are devastated when you switch the tank lights on.

The so called "Discus Plague" is 100% avoidable - don't mix Discus from different sources.

Fish from different hatcheries or different sources may harbour different strains of bacteria and it really is good advice not to keep them together, or "mix" them. Therefore it is in your interest and more importantly the Discus's that before adding Discus to your aquarium you make a decision to keep Wild Discus, Asian bred Discus or Stendker Discus. Then, stick to your chosen supplier.

People do and will continue to ignore this advice, some will get away with it, others lose all their fish. Is it really wise to take that risk?
If you must mix Discus from different sources then at the very least you must go through what is known as the "sacrificial lamb" process.

Initially keep your existing fish, and new fish in separate aquariums, preferably separate rooms and ensure no equipment, hoses, nets etc are shared between the two tanks. Also ensure you wash your hands and arms in an alcohol based product and dry thoroughly when servicing each aquarium.

Now, set up a third tank, take one of your existing fish, and one of the new stock and pop them in this tank for a period of ten days. If all is well after this period then you are lucky - if the fish, one, or both go dark and shed mucus - they have "the plague" and now you know with out compromising all your fish.

I cannot stress enough how horrible this "condition" is to witness, likewise how easy it is to avoid.

Stocking your aquarium

Stocking your aquarium

When you visit a specialist Discus outlet such as ours, you may well see very heavily stocked aquariums, these are actually linked to very large sumps but may still look "overstocked".

The fact of the matter is that Discus, especially smaller ones do better and feel more secure in big groups. In Europe, the German Veterinary Association for Animal Protection recommends a maximum of 45 x 8cm Discus per 180 litres, or 12 x 15cm per 180 litres.

Now clearly this looks fantastic but is not suitable for your 180 litre aquarium at home!

So we recommend an aquarium of 180 litres as an absolute minimum size, and in this you can house a group of 10 juvenile Discus.
10 adult Discus (14cm +) without companion fish and minimal plants / bog wood etc will require a minimum of 350 litres.

There is no doubt that having too few Discus will lead to behaviourally problems (aggression / attempting to breed) as they grow and mature….. remember Discus are cichlids !

Domestically bred Discus are hybrids / mutations, and do not live in the wild - when buying small (8cm or less) the fish may not always grow into the adult description. From 10cm what you see is what you get, but the pattern of the fish can change as it reaches maturity.

Keeping Discus with companion fish and anything that decreases the water volume (wood etc) means extra bio load on the filter, so consider this when deciding the type of aquarium you want to keep. Good biological filtration is a must, as is the right diet and water changes.

Companion Species

Companion Species

Most Tetra's, Butterfly Cichlids, high temperature tolerant Corydora, Dwarf Cichlids, Amano shrimp and many more. Click here for full article...

Essential Equipment

Essential Equipment

Having decided on the aquarium you are going to home your Discus in you can now fit it out with the correctly sized filters and so on.

Aquariums always look nicer with as much of the ancillary equipment out of them, be this housed in a sump underneath or a canister filter. Some canisters are available with an internal heater, which is great, like wise you can also buy inline heaters.

The choice is endless and whatever your circumstances you will find the right combination of equipment.

One warning. Buy good quality equipment. Your fish when adult maybe worth over £100 each. Is their welfare worth risking with a £10 heater?

You will need a biological filter, good quality lighting, an air pump, aquarium heater (s) Click here for more detail ..

Maturing your filter

Maturing your filter

If you are starting with a new filter, it will need to be "matured" there is a comprehensive article on this procedure here....


2 preferably 3 feeds a day is the breeders recommendation, Discus naturally browse for food most of the day.
The most asked question is "how much do I feed?" Stendker hatchery feeding advice click here..

Water Changes

Stendker Discus require between 20 and 30% of their water to be changed each week. Whilst doing this you can wipe the glass to rid it of any algae (coarse sponge is fine or I use the double sided washing up pads) also siphon away any debris and generally check for any potential problems. Click here for full article.

Water Values

This is where Stendker Discus really are different to other Discus. As Stendker Discus are raised in German tap water and thrive in it if you live in a soft water area you will find it beneficial to add some dissolved solids to the water, a bag of coral gravel or small amounts of bi-carb (baking powder)

The Stendker hatchery runs on TAP WATER and has the following water values.

- dGh (total hardness) 15 degrees.
- dKh (carbonate hardness) 8 degrees.
- pH value 7.
- Conductivity 800 µS (microsiemens)
- Water temperature 30 degrees C

As you can see this water would be considered hard, but it is what it is and what the fish have been raised in since 1965. Our water here at Devotedly Discus is much the same, our pH is a little higher (7.4) but conductivity is lower @ 480 µS.

To this day, despite all the available information, some folk still strive to replicate "The Amazon" this really isn't required for Stendker Discus and soft water can be problematical - stick to clean tap water. Consistent water parameters will go a long way to helping you achieve success with these fish.

Stendker Discus will aclimatise to a wide range of water values without issue, the key to it is "clean water," patience and an open mind. We are always here or reachable by 01323 483689 to advise. Click here for more detail.