Discus: Care and Maintenance

The graceful discus fish is also called the king of the aquarium. But, like any royal person, this fish is quite picky about keeping and will require some effort from the aquarist to create the most comfortable conditions for it.

Discus aquarium

You need to start by selecting an aquarium of a suitable size. The minimum capacity is 250 liters, but an aquarium of 400 liters or more is considered ideal. Usually, long-length aquariums with a height of 50 cm or more are chosen. This is due to the fact that discus is the owner of a tall body, which will not look harmonious in low aquariums.

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

There are two main approaches to setting up a discus tank. In the first case, this is a classic herbal aquarium – with shallow soil and thickets of plants. Secondly, an empty aquarium without soil and decorations, which reduces the accumulation of excess organic matter, to a high content of which discus are very sensitive. In addition, not every plant can withstand the favorite discus water temperature – over 30 ° C.

Equipment for a discus aquarium should consist of a powerful external filter and a powerful compressor. The presence of a thermostat is also required, without it, it will be difficult to maintain a comfortable water temperature for the fish.

When caring for your aquarium, it is very important to regularly change the water, rinse the filter sponges, and clean the walls of the aquarium as it gets dirty. It is also necessary to remove the remnants of feed or siphon the soil.

Water parameters

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

When keeping discus fish, it is important not to allow the level of nitrates in the water to rise above 25 mg / l. Ammonia and nitrite should not be detected. This requires weekly changes of up to 20% of the aquarium volume. Although some aquarists change the water in small portions (up to 10%), but daily. Regular water testing will help determine the need for changes in time.


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


Often, for the convenience of cleaning and to prevent the accumulation of organic matter, discus are kept without any soil at all. The opposite point of view is to plant a large number of plants, while usually using sandy soil or pebbles 2-4 mm in size. Special porous clay substrates such as Tetra ActiveSubstrate have proven their worth.


Live plants, like soil, are optional. Many aquarists find discus fish to be beautiful on their own and do not require additional background. However, it is difficult not to agree that in the herbalist these fish look simply enchanting. Any popular species are suitable for content: Echinodorus, Vallisneria, Cabomba, Cryptocoryne, and others.

Feeding discus

Proper nutrition is the key to a long and healthy life for discus. It must be complete and useful, otherwise, health problems cannot be avoided.

Many aquarists believe that naturally live and frozen foods are the most suitable food for discus fish. Homemade minced meat based on the beef heart is no less popular. Such foods have a number of disadvantages: they are unbalanced, can become a source of contamination of the aquarium, cause indigestion, and deteriorating water quality.

For daily and complete feeding of discus fish, Tetra has developed a special range of dry foods that are ideal for feeding these fish. The food is available in several types, so choosing the right food for your pets will not be difficult:

  1. Tetra Discus is a classic red pellet food that, with its shape, color, and composition, is tailored to the special needs of discus. Natural carotenoids in the composition enhance the natural coloration of reds, yellows, and oranges. Stabilized Vitamin C enhances disease resistance. Slowly sinking to the bottom, the food is well eaten by discus, and the increased digestibility of the components reduces the amount of waste produced by the fish, keeping the water fresh.
  2. Tetra Discus Energy. This food contains selected quality ingredients to support the health of fish. The pellets are enriched with L-carnitine, which contributes to better lipid absorption, and the fish receive additional energy. The food will be especially useful during or after stressful situations (illness, water change, exhibitions, spawning).
  3. Tetra Discus Color is small sinking granules with effective color enhancers. Regular feeding will make your fish look even brighter.
  4. Tetra Discus Pro are multi-chips made using gentle low-temperature technology, which allows you to preserve even more nutrients and vitamins. Perfectly absorbed by fish, natural color enhancers contribute to the bright color of fish.

Discus should be fed 2-3 times a day. The fish should eat all the food in a few minutes. If there are food residues in the aquarium, it is better to remove them with a siphon.


A species aquarium will be the best option for keeping discus fish. A wide variety of breeding forms allows you to create an amazing color scheme in your underwater corner. The difficulty in selecting neighbors lies, first of all, in the temperature, which is uncomfortable enough for much tropical fish. It is also worth considering that discus fish are slow fish, more mobile neighbors will simply leave them without food.

Various types of tetras, neons, apistograms, small freshwater rays can become suitable cohabitants.

Alice White

Written by Alice White

Alice White, a devoted pet lover and writer, has turned her boundless affection for animals into a fulfilling career. Originally dreaming of wildlife, her limited scientific background led her to specialize in animal literature. Now she happily spends her days researching and writing about various creatures, living her dream.

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