Discus care

Discus is often called the king of the aquarium. Look at these bright and large fish swimming majestically and slowly, and it becomes clear that they have been given this status for a reason. Discus-not the hardest underwater inhabitants, in order to ensure their comfortable existence, must sweat a little.


They are sensitive to water parameters, such as soft, acidic, and especially very warm water, in which many fish feel uncomfortable. In addition, discus is susceptible to various diseases. For these reasons, it is necessary to select neighbors to them very carefully. An ideal option to keep discus is a species aquarium because these fish are themselves beautiful, even alone. However, if the desire to diversify your trench is too great, you should follow a few rules:

Scientific nameSymphysodon
Fish nameDiscus
Common namesDiscus, Symphysodon
RangeAmazon river. Can't find it in many places due to high requirments.
Size12–15 cm or 4.8–6.0 in
Tank size200+ liters or 50 gallons
Life spanaround 10 years
Temperature27-30 ° C or 80-86°F
pH Display – 6.5 – 7.5
Breeding – 5.5 – 6.5
Grow-Out – 6.8 – 7.5
Colorred, brown, blue, green, orange...
Foodcarnivorous food/bloodworms or beef heart are popular
Breedingmonogamous/very hard process/better to use different aquarium
Temperamentpeaceful and shy/ better use different aquarium for them/ need groups
Maturityaround 1.5 years
Eggsup to 200 eggs/ hatching 2-3 days

When discus is kept in the aquarium, special parameters are retained that come closest to the natural ones. The water should be soft, with low hardness and very warm. The recommended minimum temperature for the discus content is 28°. For many fish, these conditions are the upper limit of resilience. Therefore, it is best to select species that will be comfortable to discus under such conditions as roommates. this initially includes neighbors in a geographical area. In any case, you need to find a compromise temperature that fits both types.

You cannot attach the discus to excessively movable fish. The fact is that the “kings” are rather slow. If you decide to feed them the food, it can already be eaten completely by more agile neighbors.
Large American and African cichlids are also not suitable for living together with discus. You can hurt a slow neighbor in the aquarium and successfully compete with him for food while the discus experiences constant stress.

Discus does not react well to the accumulation of organic matter in the tank. in order to maintain high water quality, you sometimes even have to resort to daily water changes. For many fish, this can be very stressful.

Despite the peaceful nature, do not forget that discus remains cichlids, which means that they are distinguished, like relatives in the family, by the protection of their territory and their descendants. During spawning, the fish become overly aggressive, allowing them to easily kill small fish species.
Discus is very sensitive to carriers of various diseases. Therefore, when planting new fish, there is always the risk of infection of the entire aquarium. To prevent this, it is better for new people to arrange a one-to-two-week quarantine in a separate container.

The graceful discus fish is also called the king of the aquarium from Amazon river. But like any royal person, this fish is quite demanding and requires some effort from the fishkeeper to create the most comfortable conditions for it.

Aquarium for discus

You must start by selecting an aquarium with the appropriate volume. The minimum capacity is 250 liters, but the ideal aquarium is 400 liters or more. Usually, choose elongated aquariums with a height of 50 cm. This is because discus are owners of a high body that does not look harmonious in low aquariums.

Gorgeous planted Discus Tank. Suwit Aqua Living Vanichvoranun

Discus are shy and slightly stressed. Therefore, it is necessary to install the container away from passages and sources of strong noise.

When designing an aquarium with discus there are two main approaches. In the first case, this is a classic herbal aquarium, with a flat bottom and plant the thicket. In the second-an empty aquarium without soil and decorations, which reduces the accumulation of excess organic Material, on whose high content discus is very sensitive. In addition, not every plant can withstand the preferred water temperature for discus – more than 30°C.

Keeping fish is best in small groups of 6 people.

Equipment for an aquarium with discus should consist of a productive external filter and a powerful compressor. The presence of a thermostat is also mandatory, without it it will be difficult to maintain pleasant water temperature for fish.

When maintaining an aquarium, it is very important to regularly replace water, wash the filter sponges, and clean the walls of the aquarium when they get dirty. It is also necessary to remove the food residues or siphon the soil.

Water Parameters

The discus is very sensitive to changes in water parameters. In a stable environment, these fish are less susceptible to disease. The most important thing is the high water temperature. Fish prefer it in the range of 27-32°C. soft water (GH = 1-12) and acidic water (pH=5.5-6.5), which comes closest to natural water, are best suited for maintenance.

The comfortable temperature for discus is about 30°C

When caring for discus, it is important to avoid increasing the nitrate content in water above 25 mg/l. Ammonia and nitrites should not be detected. This requires weekly substitutions of up to 20% of the aquarium volume. Although some fishkeepers replace the water in small portions (up to 10%), every day. Regular water tests help you to determine the need for substitutions in a timely manner.


In general, discus does not like very bright lighting. However, with specially selected lamps you can further emphasize the beauty of these fish. If the discus is kept in an aquarium with plants, the light output is selected based on the needs of the species to be bred.


In order to facilitate cleaning and prevent the accumulation of organic substances, discus is often kept without a substrate. The opposite point of view is to plant a large number of plants, usually with sandy soil or pebbles of 2-4 mm size. Substrates made of special porous clay, such as Tetra active substrate, have proven to be successful.


Live plants and soil are optional. Many fishkeepers believe that discus is beautiful in itself and does not require any additional background. However, it is difficult not to agree that these fish look simply enchanting in an herbal fish tank. For instance, you can use all common species: echinodorus, Vallisneria, Cabomba Aquatica, cryptocorynes, and others.

Feeding of discus

Proper nutrition is the key to a long and healthy life for discus. It must be complete and useful, otherwise, you can not avoid health problems.

Many fishkeepers believe that natural Live and frozen food is the most suitable food for discus. Homemade beef heart-based minced meat is no less popular. Such feeds have a number of disadvantages: they are unbalanced, can become a source of infection of the aquarium, cause indigestion and deteriorate the water quality.

For the daily and complete feeding of discus, Tetra has developed a special dry food line that is ideal for feeding these fish. The food is available in different ways, so it will not be difficult to choose the right food for your pets:

Tetra Discus is a classic food in the form of red pellets that meet the special needs of the discus in Form, color, and composition. Natural carotenoids in the composition improve the natural color of red, yellow, and orange tones. Stabilized vitamin C increases resistance to diseases. Slowly sinking to the bottom, the food is eaten well by the discus, and the increased digestibility of the components reduces the amount of waste produced by fish, thus maintaining the freshness of the water.

Tetra Diskus Energy. The composition of this food includes selected quality components that support the health of fish. The pellets are enriched with L-carnitine, which contributes to better absorption of lipids, and the fish receive an additional energy supply. Especially useful food will be during or after stressful situations (illness, water changes, exhibitions, spawning).
Tetra Discus color small sinking pellets effective colour enhancers. Regular feeding makes your fish even brighter.
Tetra Discus Pro multi chips made with a gentle low-temperature technology that allows you to save even more useful substances and vitamins. Perfectly absorbed by fish, natural color enhancers contribute to the bright color of fish.
It is necessary to feed the discus 2-3 times a day. The whole fish food should be eaten in a few minutes. If there are food residues in the aquarium, it is better to remove them with a siphon.


A species aquarium is the best option to keep discus. A variety of selection shapes allows you to create an amazing color scheme in your underwater corner. The difficulty in choosing the neighbors lies mainly in the temperature, which is quite uncomfortable for many tropical fish. It is also worth considering that discus-slow fish, more mobile neighbors simply leave them without food.

Suitable roommates can be different types of tetras, the neon, apistogramma, a small freshwater stingray.

If suitable conditions are created, discus can live from 10 to 18 years.