The Discus or Discus Fish originates from slow moving, soft, acidic waters of
wood and leaves in the Amazon basin. They are sometimes called the King of
Aquarium fish. They require very clean water, so they aren't recommended
as a beginner fish. There are two main species:
- Symphysodon aequifasciatus, which includes
Aequifasciatus (Green Discus), Axelrodi (Brown Discus) and Haraldi (Blue
- Symphysodon Discus, which includes Discus (True Discus or Heckel Discus)
and Willischwartzi. These are more difficult fish to maintain.
The Discus has dorsal and anal fins that run together into the caudal fin
accentuating their thin circular profile. The originating wild versions
have dark horizontal banding. There are usually two predominant colors in
intricate woven patterns. Discus have been bred in captivity to produce a
wide variation in brilliant colors with names such as cobalt blue, turquoise,
red dragon, pigeon blood, royal, marlboro red, snakeskin, ocean green, red-turquoise and
blue diamond. Some show varieties command exorbitant prices.
Discus grow very large, so a minimum tank size is 40 gallons, which would
keep about 4 Discus. Discus are cichlids and are aggressive, so the best
combinations are a single discus, a mated pair, or a large group to spread
aggression among. Although Discus do better in schools, but this is
not practical for most aquariums. The tank should be heavily
planted. Water can be softened by filtering through peat. Water
lilies and floating plant cover provide subdued lighting, which is
preferred. Carbon filtration can help maintain water quality and weekly
water changes are a continuous requirement. Discus will eat Tetra Min
flakes, Tetra ColorBits, Tetra Prima, spirulina flakes, spinach, freeze
dried bloodworms, brine shrimp, discus pellets, small fish and beef heart.
Feeding Discus can be expensive and also requires clean up to maintain water
quality. Discus are subject to intestinal parasites. Higher
temperatures are suggested for sick fish.
Andrea Red Discus & Blue Diamond Discus
It is difficult to tell the difference between sexes. The best method
of determining sex is to obtain a group of young fish and watch as pairs
form. Spawning occurs on smooth flat surfaces such as leaves, pots, rocks
or aquarium glass. The pair will clean the surface meticulously .
The female can lay hundreds of eggs, which are fertilized by the male after the
eggs are all laid. The parents guard the eggs. Fry will hatch in
about 2 days. The parents should remain with the fry. The fry feed
on skin secretions from the parents for the first 10 days, after which the
parents can be removed and the fry can be fed brine shrimp.
The following information has been submitted by "lemuelpr"
Discus are sometimes considered the ultimate challenge for the freshwater
aquarium keepers. Some rumors are true as others are not that accurate. They are
surely one of the loveliest fish out there and sometimes very irresistible to
buy. So here I put some things I have learned and experienced with some advice.
They are Cichlids from the Amazon River. Even though they are peaceful, they
are carnivorous. So proper diet is required as flakes wonít be enough. Experts
and breeders recommend feeding them with beef heart. You can actually buy it and
prepare a paste to store for some time. They cut the beef heart in small chunks
and put it in a shaker with some carrots (for natural color), vitamins and even
medication if needed. Make a paste and feed them. But leftovers will decompose
in the tank, so filtration wonít be even close to be enough. Water changes
will be imperative. But for general people like us, you can feed them with blood
worms, frozen foods, and high quality pellets. When they become healthy they
will feed even on flakes, but I give them high quality ones like once a week.
They prefer eating the food after it is on the bottom of the tank. Thatís why
itís recommended to have them with tank mates that arenít very active
eaters. So itís preferred to have them with small tetras and allow the Discus
to be the big fish in the tank.
Cherry Blossom Discus & Cloud Leopard Discus
Water quality is needed, especially if you feed them with meat. But more than
that, they need water changes in order to grow. They are very susceptible when
young, so you want to help them grow quickly. Whatís the key, water changes,
water changes, water changes. Many people worry a lot with having them in soft
acidic water. After long times worrying a lot with these parameters, I heard and
experienced that water changes are the most imperative parameter to have them
grow quick and healthy. Where I live the water is hard and with a high pH and
the only thing I do is adding an anti-chlorine product. I notice the difference
in growth. I also heard that breeders in China don't have filters in the tanks!!
They do 50% water changes every other day, thatís all!! Of course they don't
have regular tanks like us. Keep in mind that water changes affect plants so
plan on getting very strong plants.
Discus are VERY nervous fish. They will jump in panic attacks. So itís
imperative for them to feel secure. Drift wood and plants help a lot, as well
keeping the tank in a quiet area. Discus tend to become aggressive between them.
Thereís always a bully. Many people recommend having 5 to 6 Discus in order
spread the aggression not always against the weaker one. They donít eat each
other, but wonít allow the weaker ones to eat. The harassment alone can kill a
Discus, as most of them die just because of stress. They become very dark and
refuse to eat for days. At that point thereís little you can do. Be aware of
this at the moment to buy one. If itís healthy and heís dark, in a corner
DONíT BUY IT. Ask them always to feed them and watch him eat.
Tank mates: Ideally small tetras, like Neons, Zebras, Rummy Nose. Unless the
Discus is 5 or 6 inches (15.24 centimeters), then Neons will be food instead of
tank mates. Serpae are nice too.
Iím very experimental and have my Discus with strange fish. I wonít say
it will work with everyone but here are the fish I have had without major
problems. All types of Neons, Guppies and Platy Hi Fin, German Ram and Gold
Veil, Rainbows, Congo and Emperor Tetra, Colidora, Killifish, Betta CrownTail,
Rainbow Shark and Chinese Hi Fin (Banded Shark), Plecos and Ottos, and with an
In general Discus are not easy fish. Even experience people have episodes of
them dying for no reason. This delicate fish requires patience, attention and
dedication. Also require money spending. I strongly recommend spending
exaggerated time watching the fish before buying it. Also try to buy the bigger
ones (more expensive at the moment, but keep buying small ones and have them
die). So be positive and go for it. Having them is just amazing. Hope this help
| Scientific Name:
- 30 C; 79 - 86F
|| 12 cm; 5
| Life Span:
Cardinal tetras, corydoras, exotic plecos, neon tetras, ottos.
The following are often listed as compatible, but
not everyone agrees - angelfish, barbs, bettas,
bolivian rams, clown loaches, danios, gouramis, New World
cichlids, ram cichlids. Blue gouramis, tiger
barbs and angelfish are often listed as not being
compatible because gouramis may suck/kiss at discus
and barbs may nip at them. Often
incompatibility is based on preferred water
temperature ranges and pH rather than
Red Spotted Golden Discus & Red Melon Discus
Tim's Tropical Fish Information about freshwater and
saltwater tropical fish, fish care, fish facts, compatibility and aquarium