A few points on food;
1) High quality pellets are the #1 food to fed discus - peroid
a) Besides saving tones of work, the foods made by the high end guys is gonna cover the fish's nutrient requirements better than anything you can easily create.
b) Home made foods rot like no tomorrow and even the best vacuuming will miss very small pieces so near 100% water changes is almost mandatory for home made food
c) Discus eat mostly insects and water bugs so meat (generally beef) are a big issue for them to digest and I just don't see the point since they evolved without the ability to handle this stuff; protein is protein but fats are a far, far different issue. That said, many people use beef.
d) Fish fats are a very, very rare part of discus' diet and daily feeding (like tuna or salmon) is not really meant to be and neither wilds or commercil fish eat in this manner. Can't say it is wrong nor harmfull but I'd very very warry.
2) Never use live worms - I do not believe it is worth the risk; since an aquarium is closed environment and no matter how well you clean (short of 100% daily water changes) bacteria or parasites can breed like no tomorrow. Most commercil prepared (not nec. frozen) foods are parasitic free and very clean. Again, many people use live worms with success but I've had illness issues and parasite issues with worms. Sterilized frozen worms are a different issue but good clean up after feeding worms is essential.
Issue of tank water
3) The only real rule is clean water (in the Amazon they have ultra clean, extremely pure water with a few trace minerals) and if that is an issue, then these fish are not for you. The bell weather of tank cleanliness are nitrates - if not below 1 ppm (of course phosphates are a better measure but few can measure and these are extremely difficult to keep below 1 ppm much less than 0.01 ppm like in nature), then breeding is just not viable nor growing out young to near full size (but never the size of wilds - insects and fw crustaceans, and the rare small fish all have no equal.
That does not mean that having higher nitrates (near 5 ppm) also means you can't have discus - just that they will be smaller and more likely to get ill.
4) Temperature: this is the most confused, unknown parameter that apparently has never been determined in a definitive manner. Still, higher temperatures do improve immune function of these fish a great deal (above 90 F is often used for treatments – they are very tolerant of these temperatures) but what is a comfortable high? No one seems to agree on this paramter's good range but in the Amazon discus see temperatures below 80 F (rarely and for short durations) and well above 90 F (in some locations for a far amount of time.) Anything in the low 80's works for them so I do not think people using those temps are incorrect.
Last edited by Cermet; 01-13-2013 at 03:34 PM.