way I hatch and artificially feed the discus eggs and fry
By Jim E. Quarles
Hatching Techniques here's what I do.
I hatch my eggs in one gallon rectangular all glass aquariums, but not
all the eggs are hatched artificially about 40% are left with the parents
and the other 60% are raised artificially. The hatching water is from a
special holding tank with a microsiemens hardness count of 175 and pH (
with the aid of a little peat ) 6.2-6.4 The water is initially passed
through an activated carbon filter to remove chloramine that might be
This water is not the water I use for any of my adult discus. The adult
discus are maintained in my tap water which reads 70 microsiemens, and has
a normal ph of 7 I have found that eggs removed from breeder tanks with a
microsiemens count of 70 to 80 place in the hatching water with a
microsiemens reading of 250 suffered no problems.
To the one gallon hatching containers I add fifteen drops of methylene
blue 1% . With this amount of blue in the container it is not necessary to
further shield the spawn from light. Methylene blue is a mild bactericide,
sufficient to inhibit most bacterial problems in the water.
I have used a very week 37% formalin but how much depends on the
hardness of the water.
Water temperature and aeration of the hatching aquarium is in the
normal range of 82 - 84 F. With different temperatures the time of
hatching will change but that has not been a problem as long as the
temperature does not drop below 82F.
All the eggs are kept in the methylene blue water until they hatch (
Now ) I move them from the one gallon tanks while they are still attached
to the pvc pipe they were laid on. At approximately fifty two hours old
they are removed and placed in clean, clear water in the feeding pans. At
this point they are still attached to the pvc.
You will find this method prevents having to catch the small fry and
move them with a baster or other method.
The feeding pans used in the hatchery are of white enamel, with an
inside diameter of eleven inches and a depth of three inches, but
sometimes I use soup bowls made of china. that are a little smaller but
still 3 inches deep. The larger pans are easier to work with, and make
sure they have a white bottom so you can see the fry better as they
By the time the eggs are sixty hours old the eggs should have hatched
with the fry moving on their strings attached to the pvc. At this stage I
sometimes add the air flow, but I think you could wait a bet yet to do
At this point I remove any unhatched eggs and any deformed fry I can
see from the pvc. This is generally a very small percentage of the total
As the fry are being observed I make partial water changes, while the
eggs are in the one gallon tanks no water change is required. I make water
changes three times per day at this point, 40% each time. I use a air tube
line to siphon the old water out and a slow drip from a container above to
re-fill the pans.
If you see eggs or fry that fall from the pvc prematurely they are
generally the result of a weak spawn. This might indicate genetic problems
with the spawning pair or bad water quality in the spawning tank at the
time the eggs were attached to the pvc.
After about thirty six hours most of the fry will have detached
themselves and fallen to the bottom of the pan.
Once the fry are on the bottom remove the pvc and clean any debris on
the bottom of the pan. Any fry that remain attached to the pvc can be
pushed off with a shot of water from a baster.
IS NOT THE TIME TO START FEEDING THE FRY.. NOT YET.
It will take about another forty eight hours for the fry to rise from
the bottom of the pan and become free swimming.. You should keep up the
water changes as stated during this waiting time. The fry will be found in
clusters tied to each other in one or more balls at the bottom of the pan.
Do not feed until the fry have broken free of this balling effect and all
have risen to the top of the water. If you feed to soon the food going to
the bottom of the pan will smother the fry, this will kill many of your
The initial feeding can be made when the majority of the fry have
reached the surface of the pan.
THE FOOD FORMULA FOR THE FRY.
Egg yolk from eggs available at any market. To the egg yolk add "Spirulina
powder" and crushed newly hatched brine shrimp. One raw egg yolk and
one hard boiled egg yolk Both yolks are required to make a paste that will
stick to the sides of the pan and not fall free into the water. Mix until
you have a sticky paste, add the Spirulina powder until the mix is a light
green color. Getting the mixture just right is a matter of learning by
doing. Add the crushed newly hatched brine shrimp. Mix until you have a
flat patty, place in a plastic bag and it's ready to be frozen.
When ready to feed take a small amount of the formula and let it become
a sticky paste again, then add more crushed newly hatched brine shrimp,
but not to much you want the paste to be really sticky and adhere to the
pans. Wipe a small film around the top of the pan after draining down a
little of the water, and let the paste dry for a bit. Then slowly bring
the water line back to the very bottom of the food line.
It is very important that the thinnest possible film be applied and
that it drys hard on the pan rim. If not sticky enough it will come off
and fall into the water.
Don't forget to do your water changes. I do a 50% water change four
times per day once feeding is started. Each time bring the water back to
the feed line on the pan. After the last feeding of the day which I time
to be about 11pm I wipe the remaining food from the rim and replace 50% of
the water after removing all uneaten egg from the bottom of the pan. I
then turn the lights out for the night.
The same procedure is followed for the next five days. By that time the
fry are large enough to eat newly hatched brine shrimp and the egg feeding
can be stopped, but the feeding fry remain in the pans on the brine shrimp
for another two to three days. Then they are moved to 2 gallon tanks with
a light air flow from an air stone, and a sponge filter is installed with
very fine sponge rubber.
Once you have reached this point you are almost home free....... I feed
the fry in the two gallon tanks six to eight times per day. When they are
about 3/4 inch in size they are moved to larger grow out tanks and the
feeding is cut back to twice or three times per day. You can now start
feeding finely ground flake food and super fine beefheart mixture when
they can eat it.
Most of the above is exactly what Jack Wattley does plus a few tips I
up from Bing Seto.