The Discus (Symphysodon aequifasciatus) is one of the most popular and coveted fish in the aquarium hobby. This gregarious Amazon species has been developed into many spectacular color varieties through generations of selective breeding by expert aquarists. While it is a cichlid, the Discus is not typical of its family in many aspects, such as its body shape and general temperament. The Discus has traditionally been considered a very difficult species to keep, but due to modern aquarium technology, generations of breeding, and acclimation to a relatively wider range of water parameters, it is now much less challenging if a few basic needs are meant.
The Discus will thrive in a heavily planted aquarium with driftwood and/or rock formations and gentle water flow. It is somewhat reclusive and strongly prefers the cover of plants. Due to its body shape, is not as likely to seek refuge in rock caves and similar structures. Slow to moderate water flow is necessary. The Discus is generally compatible with other peaceful fish as long as it has plenty of space. Territoriality is typically at its peak during spawning. Dwarf shrimp and other small, delicate invertebrates should not be kept with the Discus. If spawning is desired, tank mates of other species should be kept to a minimum or avoided altogether unless the aquarium is very spacious.
Some major requirements for the Discus are that it generally requires warmer, lower-pH water than many other tropical species.
When healthy, the Discus is a voracious omnivore. It should be fed a variety of live, frozen, and dry foods. It is not much of a fish eater, but will feed on a variety of krill, shrimp, bloodworms, and other invertebrate-based meaty foods. It must also have a good deal of vegetable matter, such as spirulina, spinach, and peas, in its diet.
What We Like About This Fish:
- Very elegant appearance and behaviour
- Extra tall body shape
- Possible to breed in the aquarium
- Excellent centerpiece fish for the heavily planted aquarium
- Seemingly endless colour varieties
RECOMMENDED TANK PARAMETERS:
Temperature: 82° - 86° F (28° - 30° C)
pH: 6.0 - 6.5
KH: 1 – 4 dKH
Minimum tank size: 75 gallons for a breeding pair. A larger tank is required for a group. The tall body shape of this fish must be considered regarding the height of its tank.
Diet: Omnivorous. A variety of high-quality dry, frozen, and live foods with invertebrate and vegetable matter is necessary for optimal health and coloration.
Social behaviour: Shoaling. Generally peaceful, but can be territorial during spawning.