One of the most important factors to consider when choosing your discus is compatibility, something that is commonly overlooked and usually the main cause of diseases when a new fish is introduced.
It is a widely known fact that the most effective method of avoiding problems in a discus aquarium is to purchase all your fish from a single safe source. Fish from different breeders or retailers can have different strains of bacteria and should not be kept together due to the possibility of compromising their health.
Quarantine is another common practice to prevent infection, albeit not always bulletproof and advanced hobbyists can vouch that isolating a new fish from a different source can still be threatening to an existing stock; urgent medical treatments will be required in case of an outbreak.
| Photos: Mr. Daryn Letton's beautiful Stendker fish in Dubai
If you have chosen our German Stendker discus (click here to read more), you can always introduce more Stendker fish from us in any size or color without risks as all our discus arrive directly from Stendker's hatchery and kept in a monitored setup where no other fish is allowed. In other words, they are exposed to nothing else but their own kind which gives us the privilege to not worry about cross contamination or the need to quarantine.
Guaranteed to be free of tape worms and the so called discus plaque
Stendker discus are world famous for their undeniable vigour and health, they are guaranteed to be free of tape worms and the so called discus plaque - but like all living beings, their immunity system differs from the immunity of Asian discus or Wild caught fish; housing these different types together can pose a serious risk which in severe cases might lead to rapid fish loss.
Mixing incompatible discus, however, is not the only way cross contamination can occur. Objects as simple as a water hose or a fish net can also accidentally spread unwanted pathogens into your new aquarium. Old filter media, substrate, drift wood, among other things can be hosting plenty of harmful microorganisms and it is best to dispose of these items and start fresh for the safety of your new fish.
Usually an ignored suspect, aquatic plants which were previously kept with fish from other sources can possibly introduce harmful bacteria. Some may suggest using a mild bleach solution to disinfect however that could damage the plant and trigger it to "melt".
| Photo: Our disease-free German fish, photographed in Abu Dhabi
We are heavily involved with aquascaping and plants are a vital part of our business. For our own peace of mind we import all our aquatic plants directly from Tropica, located in Denmark and grows their entire range in fish-free greenhouses and laboratories, making them one of the safest and most reliable choices for our Stendker discus.
Much like plants, decoration and hardscape objects such as rocks, driftwood, and substrate can also impose risks of transmitting diseases. Parasite eggs, bacteria, and other pathogens can be deeply embedded inside and would be near impossible to clear. We always advise to go for all new content - or if you wish to keep it simple, have no content and leave it bare with just a filter, heater, airstone, and your new beautiful fish!
Many hobbyists prefer variety in their aquariums and wish to keep their discus with a school of colourful tetras or bottom feeders. Such species are usually held in a multitude of stock tanks throughout their journey, in which they are exposed to a wide range of germs that can possibly put your discus in jeopardy if not carefully quarantined.
To solve this, we have created an isolated system for all our companion fish with an effective deworming and treatment routine that lasts for multiple weeks followed by a closely observed compatibility test to provide Stendker owners a safer choice.
| Photo: Stendker Red Scribbelts at our facility, Abu Dhabi
Removing incompatible fish while leaving old filter media behind defeats the purpose of creating a sanitised setup due to the amount of bacteria and contaminated content stored in a used filtration system. Sponges, ceramic rings, and any other filter content has to be replaced with completely new media.
The filter container and all non-porous materials such as heaters, pvc pipes, and the main glass aquarium can be disinfected by filling with a non-detergent bleach solution and soaking all materials for a short period of time.
A properly prepared discus aquarium is a rewarding and relaxing experience
Simply put, it is up to the owner to control the safety level of their aquarium. Before making a purchase one has to pause for a moment to carefully consider what they aim to achieve; if that aim involves adding valuable discus then all precautions must be taken.
A properly prepared discus aquarium is a rewarding and relaxing experience and not one that induces panic or distress. By following a few simple rules one can easily establish a beautiful and prosperous environment that your discus will continue to flourish and thrive in forevermore.
To read more on how to care for your Stendker discus, visit our Frequently Asked Questions page and the official Diskuszucht-Stendker website for a wealth of information.