THE PROPER USE OF VITAMINS IN DISCUS FOODS
By Jim E. Quarles
You will not be keeping discus long before the subject of feeding discus
under tank or hatchery condition comes up. You will find all kinds of advice about this
vitamin or that vitamin or a whole long list of vitamins that must or should be added to
Well I will tell you this if you are feeding the right foods prepared out
of the right ingredients you need not worry to much about the addition of super vitamins.
If your feeding a poor mixture of ingredients even the addition of a long
list of vitamins will not cure the problems that will arise. I will give you some idea as
to what a suitable diet is for discus later in this article and the slight addition of
some vitamins and minerals to round out the diet required for good health and growth.
Be fore warned the improper use of vitamins can
and will shorten the
life of your fish or perhaps even kill them.
This is just one topic in discus keeping that the total ( Novice ) does
not seem to understand and big mistakes are made with their fish and yours if you fall for
So why are vitamins needed? Or are they really needed at all? Both good questions. And
both will be answered here. What do vitamins do to the liver of a fish? That also is a
good question and will be explained. One other question that needs explaining is, do human
type vitamins work with fish( ? ) and if so in what dosages?
WHAT IS VITAMIN DEFICIENCY IN FISH?
Too little real research has been done on the subject of deficiency
diseases if there is such a condition. No one knows for sure exactly what factors come
into play when talking about vitamin treatment or additions.
In a rather complex way, damage by vitamins to the liver is interconnected
with all body functions. This same condition applies to fish as well as humans.
The addition of too much vitamin is known to cause cirrhosis, of the liver
where individual cells are killed off much like what happens with long term alcoholic
problems. The best way to handle the subject of vitamins is to feed a well balanced diet
to start with.
It is not known if human type vitamins have any useful purpose in feeding
fish. Recently I have read reports made by totally unqualified people that their use of
vitamin on a massive scale cures runts of being runts and turns culls into saleable
Of course these so " called experiments " were done with out any
control group to judge by and no exact measurements were made of the ingredients in the
mixed formula. Yet very glowing statements were made as the grand benefits that was
derived by the use of massive dosages of vitamins. So far no follow up on the subjects of
this " experiment " has been done.
Discus and other fish held and cultured under tank conditions require a
very well balanced diet. In nature these creature are able to meet their natural food
requirements without some half informed hobbyist loading the waters with vitamins or
chemicals of any kind.
The best and most common sense method of meeting these needs in our tanks
is a mixture of foods that naturally contain the required protein and minerals along with
all the natural vitamins found in food not man made types.
A lot of the current discus hobbyist's rely on a mixture of beefheart as
the prime source of protein and minerals required for daily feeding. This is perfectly
fine as long as the beefheart is mixed with enough other items to balance out the
requirement of the fish in question.
Simple mixture of extra lean beef-heart, shrimp, a selection of raw fish
from the fish market combined with frozen green peas, along with a selection of other
vegetables will provide all the fishes requirements in food including vitamins, and these
are naturally occurring not man made.
If your one of those who just can't resist tossing in something extra a
small ( very small ) amount of vitamin A and E mixed in about once a month is ok as well.
But in no case should vitamins be mixed into and feed only a daily bases.
The uninformed do not realize that a lot of vitamins cannot be used by the
system of even humans unless administered in the presents of certain fatty acids. They
simple pass thought the system with out saying hello or goodbye.
So please remember common sense is the best answer to feeding your fish
you will never make a bad fish into a good one with chemicals, antibiotics, or massive
dosages of vitamins.
THE DOWNSIDE OF VITAMIN USE IS THEY CAN CAUSE MORE HARM THEN GOOD IF USED