How to Raise Discus Fry Artificially Do Know It Aquarium Raising discus fry is not too hard but you need to know it properly. Here is the guide from Jack Wattley, the famous person in discus breedi... 72 72

How to Raise Discus Fry Artificially

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Raising discus fry is not too hard but you need to know it properly. Here is the guide from Jack Wattley, the famous person in discus breeding.

Image of Discus fry with their parents
Discus fry with their parents

An important point to remember is that eggs or fry that fall from the spawning receptacle prematurely are usually indicative of an extremely weak spawn. This is probably due to a genetic problem with the adult fish or can be traced to poor water quality. Nonetheless, soon after the first 24 to 36 hours, the almost continual movement of the fry as they become stronger will cause the majority to begin to release themselves in a normal manner from the PVC spawning tube and fall to the pan bottom. I keep a surgical glass syringe with a VWinch opening, available from a medical supply house, on hand at all times. The syringe is used to remove any remaining fry from the PVC tube by carefully directing a flow of water on them.

Waiting for the Fry to Rise

When all the discus fry are at the bottom of the pan, remove the PVC and any debris in the pan and sit back to wait for the fry to rise up from the bottom. This waiting period will be approximately 48 hours, depending on water temperature, during which time the partial, daily water changes should be continued. I use water from my 300-gallon holding tank, being careful to ensure that it is the same temperature as the water in the pans.

During the time that the fry are at the bottom of the pan, they will nearly always be found clustered in little balls. This is good! When the fry are dispersed on the pan bottom rather than clustered in the ball-like clumps, a weak spawn is usually indicated, with losses to be expected.

The term “weak spawn” indicates a pair of discus spawning despite adverse conditions. Such conditions may be an inadequate feeding program for the adult pair over a prolonged period, or perhaps poor water conditions that barely permit spawning, the result being very weak, underdeveloped offspring. A weak spawn can also be the result of the adult pair being too highly inbred. Even crossing a healthy, wild-caught discus with a highly inbred, weak mate will more than likely result in poor future spawns.

Finally, after much patience and waiting on the part of the breeder, the discus fry will begin to disengage themselves from their clusters and move about the bottom of the pan. This is definitely not the time to begin a feeding program. The initial movement around the pan bottom can continue for 4 hours or longer, with the fry breaking away from their clusters little by little and eventually moving up to water level. If an attempt to feed the fry is made while most are still at or near the bottom of the pan, the tiny, almost invisible food particles will cover and smother the fry even before they can reach the surface, resulting in the death of many of the young fry.

The initial feeding can be made when the majority of the fry have reached, or are close to reaching, the surface of the pan. Over the years, I experimented with many different foods for the discus fry during the first several days. Some of this nourishment consisted of nothing more than egg yolk, whereas other foods were formulas consisting of two or more combined ingredients. During this time, I initiated a system of coded and numbered control feeding pans, with the fry in each pan receiving a different food. All data was recorded daily into a logbook to determine which formulas resulted in the highest growth rates. At the present time, I am certain that my formula is the most complete food for the discus fry during the first three to four days of feeding.

Jack's Fry Formula

The main ingredient in my formula is egg yolk taken from organic eggs, available in most supermarkets. I add spirulina powder to the egg yolk and crushed, newly hatched brine shrimp. I begin with the yolks from one raw egg and one hard-boiled egg. (In my hatchery I prepare a large number of yolks at one time, but to simplify the procedure outlined here, I will start with one raw yolk and one hard-boiled yolk.) Both yolks are necessary, for neither will adhere to the sides of the pan without the other. The hard-boiled yolk will quickly crumble in the pan without sticking, and the raw yolk will do nothing more than cloud up the water in the pan. However, mixing the two will result in a sticky paste that will adhere well to the sides of the pan throughout the day.

After the yolks have been made up into the sticky paste, enough spirulina powder, which is very dark green in color, is added to change the color of the yellow yolks to a very light yellow-green. Because eggs of different sizes—small, medium, extra large—can be used, I will not specify here a precise amount of the spirulina powder to add to the yolk paste, which could affect the balance between yolk and spirulina. An excessive amount of spirulina will reduce the viscosity of the paste, causing it to eventually fall to the bottom of the pan. (This same condition will result later if too much artemia is added to the mixture.) The egg yolk-spirulina mixture is now ready to be formed into a flat patty, placed in a plastic bag, and frozen.

As I stated earlier, the time to begin the feeding procedure is after the discus fry have risen from the bottom of the pan. It might be wise to practice administering the formula on a pan with no fry, as it may take several trial runs before the formula is applied correctly. After making a few trial runs in pans without fry, you are now ready to begin to raise discus fry using the most successful method.

To begin, remove the egg yolk from the freezer and thaw it on a clean, white paper towel. Siphon a sufficient amount of newly hatched artemia, rinse it in fresh water, and place it on the paper towel to remove as much water as possible. Add the artemia to the egg yolk-spirulina mixture, combining all three ingredients thoroughly. The formula can be mixed easily in the palm of your hand, making certain, of course, that your hand is first clean and dry.

The addition of the artemia will alter the color of the egg yolk-spirulina mixture. One part artemia can be added to four parts of the egg yolk-spirulina mixture, approximately, though it might be necessary to experiment a bit with the proportions. As with the spirulina, if too much artemia is added to the yolk mixture, the food will not adhere properly to the sides of the feeding pan.

Partial success can be achieved without the addition of the artemia to the egg yolk, but I have found that the formula is more complete with the artemia. Minimal success can also be attained by initially feeding the fry only the artemia, but the artemia alone is not an adequate diet for the growing fry.

The eggyolk-spirulina-artemia formula will promote accelerated growth in the discus fry, with a higher-than-normal growth rate than for discus fry that are raised with the parents. I have frequently observed discus fry feeding from their parents next to tanks with fry of the same age hatched artificially, and I have seen a greater growth rate for the pan-raised fry after three to four days.

Author: Jack Wattley

About the author: Jack Watt Icy is worldwide the most recognized name in discus breeding. Breeder, judge, collector, scholar. Jack is the foundation on which modem discus keeping has beat built. He has been sharing his experience and knowledge — and the discus he breeds — with aquarists throughout the world for decades, and just one of his many awanls was his recent Lifetime Achievement awaid from the ACA. Long past the age at which most people retire, he still senes as ambassador of discus and goodwill across the planet.
5 Aquarium: How to Raise Discus Fry Artificially Raising discus fry is not too hard but you need to know it properly. Here is the guide from Jack Wattley, the famous person in discus breedi...

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