Discus, Keeping ...

Review by: Rusty Luthe
Title: "Discus, Keeping and Breeding Them In Captivity"
Author: Mary E. Sweeney
Published by T.F.H. RE-606 discus 
ISBN: 0793803551
Year: 1996

This 64 page book has just about everything that the novice discus keeper needs to know to keep their fish thriving in the aquarium. Here's a look at the table of contents:

  • Forward
  • Starting with Discus
  • Preparing for Discus
  • Water for Discus
  • Discus in Your Aquarium
  • Maintaining the Discus Aquarium
  • Discus Health
  • Breeding Discus

The dedication has one of the truest statements I've read about learning the art of discus keeping, and something we can all relate to! "And to all the wonderful discus who did not survive the learning curve"

After pointing out in the forward the uniqueness of discus and their keepers in the aquarium world, Ms. Sweeney makes a very obvious but important statement. "...but ultimately you are the one who must process the information available and decide what is working in your aquarium and what produces the healthy, happy fish that keep you dedicated to the art of discus keeping." There has been a lot written about discus keeping, of which this book is an excellent addition, but it is my feeling that there is no such thing as information overload on the subject.

The next chapter I found to be an excellent discussion on the various types of discus to be found both in the wild and hybrids. There are plenty of photos to enhance Ms. Sweeney's trek through the often confusing world of discus varieties. She breaks the hybrids down to the major categories of green, brown, blue, and Heckel, giving their latin names where appropriate. She also offers some good advice about what to look for in a good fish and what to avoid when purchasing hybrids.

The two following chapters essentially take the reader step by step in meeting the basic requirements for keeping discus. First there is the aquarium itself. She touches on the various types of tanks that one may wish to keep, show tanks, breeding tanks, and grow out tanks. From there Ms.Sweeney goes into the necessities for the tank. These include heating, lighting, decoration, and substrates. Nothing new here really, just good common sense.

The chapter, "Water for Discus", is a straight forward discussion of the requirements for good water in the discus aquarium. This gets right to the point without a lot of chemistry etc. Ms. Sweeney gives information on treating the water including hardness reduction and pH adjusting. From there she goes into filtration. This concerns the various types of filtration and the media used in them.

The next chapter gives information about picking out new fish and introducing them into the aquarium. Some good advice is given here as to what to look for when choosing your new fish. Next she talks of the various types of foods available to the discus keeper, including the making of ones own beefheart mix, however no specific recipe is given.

The last two chapters are short and merely touch on the subjects of health and breeding of discus. In the health chapter, the major discus maladies are discussed including the accepted treatments. Ms.Sweeney stresses that good care is the best medicine for discus. The breeding chapter is only 2 pages in length, but contains the essential information one needs to enjoy this amazing aspect of discus. There is no mention of the artificial rearing of discus spawn.

In conclusion I found this to be a good solid book, packed with information for its size. If one is just starting out in keeping discus, then this book will serve as an excellent handbook to follow. There is loads of good information and of course being a t.f.h. publication the photos are numerous and beautiful.

*DISCLAIMER*: I am in no way associated with t.f.h. Publications, Inc. or any of its affiliates. I have presented this review simply in the interest of furthering the art of discus keeping.

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