Discus Fish Are the Kings of the Aquarium

Discus fish are members of the Family Cichlidae and are referred to as 'King of the Aquarium' because of their majestic beauty and regal colors.

Fish Keeping World has glowing reviews on why Discus fish are worth keeping. They're known to be peaceful but larger than most tropical fish.

"The beautiful colors of this fish change based on stress levels, age, diet, and tanks conditions. They are treasured in the aquarium trade for their bright appearance and shoaling behavior."

Some experts say Discus fish are not for beginners and we researched why this may be the case. Their typical behavior is why keeping Discus fish isn't as easy as it looks.

Experts at Aqueon.com categorize them as aggressive towards one another.

"Discus are generally calm, peaceful fish, but as cichlids they can be aggressive toward one another, especially when attempting to pair off and spawn.  Shy or submissive fish should be removed if they are unable to compete.  Most serious hobbyists do not mix their discus with too many other species."

With that in mind, they're not for beginners.

Tank conditions

Aqueon.com experts reminded us that Discus fish grow to be quite large! These regal fish need an aquarium of 75 gallons and they must be tall aquariums given their unique body shape. Large broadleaf plants and driftwood arranged vertically to mimic downed branches. A few floating plants can also be added to provide shaded areas and cover. 

"The substrate should be fine to medium grade and smooth-surfaced, as discus like to forage along the bottom for food. " 

We also learned that Discus fish require higher temperatures than most fish 82-88°F. Keeping this warmer temperature will reduce the chance of illness and deaths.

What do Discus fish eat?

They are omnivores. Check this fun fact out. Fish Keeping World confirms that a variety of food will impact their coloration.

"For the best coloration, a variety of foods should be given to them. Different kinds of flake food such as spirulina and tropical fish flakes, combined with algae or shrimp pellets, can make up the vegetable part of their diet."

Feed them live food including blood worm, mosquito larvae, and brine shrimp. They will need feeding every day.

Typical behavior

Always monitor the behavior of your fish. Even the slightest change in water changes can impact behavior. These fish need full tank cleans weekly. Water conditions, water quality, and water temperature will all impact a Discus tank.

 Discus fish are so sensitive to water changes if you notice they are unable to balance, leaning on the driftwood or against the side of the tank, then it could indicate a nitrite spike.

Most fishkeeping experts don't mix their Discus fish with other species.

Behavior is mainly impacted by tank mates. This is also an area you just need to be on top of like the experts at Aqueon.com.  They share with us that suitable aquarium mates include cardinal tetras, neon tetras, emperor and rummynose tetras, as well as clown loaches and dwarf cichlids such as rams and Apistogramma species. Angelfish can be good tank mates.

Other varieties?

Varieties such as Giant Flora and Red Discus boast light blues and deep reds, while Albino Platinum Discus are all white with red eyes that seem to almost glow. Cool!

  • Albino Blue Diamond Discus.
  • Royal Red Discus.
  • Pigeon Blood Discus.
  • Blue Diamond Discus.
  • Neon Blue Discus.
  • Red Turquoise Discus.
  • Red Marlboro Discus.
  • Royal Blue Discus.

Another fun fact?

Feed your Discus fish beef heart!

Have you ever added Discus Fish to your tank? Please leave us a comment below!

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