Now that you have quite a lot of the tropical fish here I would like to introduce another tropical fish. This fish is called king of the aquarium fish, freshwater discus fish. The discus are exotic and less prolific compare with angelfish.

Symphysodon Aequifasciatus

Symphysodon Aequifasciatus

The two distinct species of this colorful fish present are the Symphysodon Aequifasciata and Symphysodon Discus. The Symphysodon Aequifasciata includes three subspecies commonly known as the Green Discus, the Brown Discus and the Blue Discus. The body shape of Symphysodon Aquifasciata is almost round and their basic color ranges from greenish brown to yellowish brown and have nine vertical bars or stripes on the body with a beautiful iridescent blue to greenish blue pattern on the head, the back and the fins.

Symphysodon Discus

Symphysodon Discus

This fish can grow to a matured length of 12cm whereas the Symphysodon Discus is slightly more elongated. The color is reddish brown with nine vertical bands on the body with a lovely pattern of bluish green iridescent lines across the head, body and the fins. There are no external sexual characteristics in the discus.

The fish will pick their own breeding mates and their eggs are laid on a large piece of cylindrical earthenware pipe or driftwood place below the surface of the water. If you have the Amazon Sword plants planted in the aquarium is also a good idea for the discus as they choose to lay their eggs on them occasionally. The water pH value for breeding the discus should be 6.0 and soft and acidic.

The eggs takes about three days to be hatched and the young fry normally hang on the aquatic plants or driftwood and they get the nutrients from the yolk sacs. They will cling themselves to the bodies of their parents by feeding on the mucus secretion secreted by their adults. The larger fish fry will feed on brine shrimps while the adult fish feed on tubifex worms and bloodworms.

Description About Freshwater Discus Fish

Freshwater discus fish is a genus of the cichlids nature to the Amazon River Basin in South America. They are call King of the Aquarium Fish where Symphysodon is the scientific name and colloquially known as Discus. The round body of discus are associated with their habit of staying mostly in protected areas that are heavily vegetated or have abundance of exposed tree roots allowing them to slip between plants with ease. They are also very shy and are active only at night so it is best to keep in groups and need to be taken care of in a proper manner in the aquarium.

Scientific name: Symphysodon Aquifasciatus

Habitat: Amazon Basin of South America

Common name: Blue Diamond Discus, Dark Brown Olive Green Discus

Adult length: up to 4.7 inches (12cm) often larger (6-7 inches)

Tank length: 50 gallons water

Ideal water temperature: 77 – 86 degree Fahrenheit (25 -30 degree centigrade)

pH Range: 6.0 – 7.2

Nutrition and Diet: carnivore so feed on frozen bloodworm, crustaceans, plant matter, insects and live black worms

Choose the right tank size of about 50 gallons water with 48 inches length and a 24 inches lighting with a proper biological filtration system. Clean water and nutritious food requirement is a must. Discus are calm, silent and timid in nature therefore it is advisable to keep them in groups of five or six sometimes up to ten  but again this depends on the size of your tank. Freshwater discus fish are quite a large fish when full grown and you can also add companions of their choice. Care must also be taken in choosing their tank mates.


Tank Mates for Discus Breeding Pairs

Discus breeding pairs should be kept alone because during spawning, the fry will be swallowed up by other tank mates in the community tank. They will never have the chance to survive. Always keep discus breeding pairs alone on their own aquarium because the discus parents will protect them when young.

Discus are shoaling fish and they are best kept in groups together in five or six or more and this makes them feel much secure and have less stress. To differentiate male and female Discus, male Discus come with longer ventral fins compare with female Discus. The male Discus’s behavior will be distinguished by their action during spawning.

Finally I would advise that small size discus are not to be mixed with larger ones in the same aquarium because the larger ones are more aggressive during feeding and the smaller ones are weaker so they will be starved and underfed. You may also keep the smaller ones in a separate tank and then add together to the larger ones in the same tank when they grow to about the same size of the larger discus to avoid any problems arising.

Freshwater Discus Fish Aquarium Setup

Keeping Discus fish in Aquarium

Keeping Discus fish in Aquarium

Freshwater discus fish are very popular with aquarium owners or fish keepers because they are not the easiest fish to keep and here a few tips for Discus fish aquarium set up. If you want to keep your discus healthy and happy, you need to learn as much as possible about their unique living conditions, feeding habits and breeding behavior. With proper knowledge and techniques applied in keeping this fish in your home aquarium I’m sure you will be able to succeed this hobby.

They are native to the calm warm waters of the Amazon River, therefore it is important to mimic their natural environment in order to satisfy their desires of the surroundings. Make sure the water of the aquarium is nearly neutral (6.0 -7.2 pH) and make sure the pH of the aquarium is stable most of the time. If there is no right environment being taken care of, they might become sick, aggressive or even die without reason.

Their environment are extremely important when come to breeding discus fish.  Frequently, without proper care discus will lay eggs and then simply eat them. However, there are specific reasons why your fish are unable to reproduce, and if with proper education and knowledge I’m sure your fish will survive and be able to produce with the perfect environment successfully.


Caring for discus can be a challenge and also rewarding at the same time if you have found the right information for preparing and maintaining an environment that your fish thrive in. Discus are a beautiful and exotic species that will make a great addition to your home aquarium.

The fish itself prefer sand as substrate because it is a natural part of any aquatic habitat. Bare bottom is easy to be kept clean compare to sand substrate however the fish prefer sand in the wild. Discus naturally love to dig sand so they should have sand in their aquarium while bare bottom tank are only for the easy work done on the unfinished food after feeding.


Behavior of the fish

The behavior of Symphysodon are highly social and always getting along well in groups for people or aquarist to admire them of their beauties which is very unique among other cichlids of America. When breeding the pairs will keep themselves and to reduce their young being eaten up by other individuals. Discus are cichlids so they are highly developed in groups taking care of their young.

During breeding, the adults will produce a secretion through their skin in which the young depends on during the first four weeks. During the first two weeks, the parents will stay together with their young allowing to feed them easily. In the last two weeks the parents will swim away leaving their young to fend for themselves gradually.

The sexual maturity for discus takes one year. The primary food for Symphysodon is algae and other plant materials whereas in the wild they feed on invertebrates. Unlike other cichlids species the Discus have large intestines and they are herbivorous or omnivorous.


Food To Feed Discus

This is the biggest thing to be done for feeding always bring out problem for the discus hobbyist. Discus are very expensive fish and they have to be fed with high quality food such as high protein meaty foods, pellets and frozen food. You can fed them with white worm, brine shrimp, mussel and food that contain high protein to the fish.

DIY Beefheart For Discus

DIY Beefheart For Freshwater Discus Fish

There is this high quality products to feed your discus is the New Life Spectrum. For frozen food you may use brine shrimps and bloodworms. Pellets or Flakes are not suitable and not recommended for feeding discus.


Difficulty in keeping Discus as pet

    As we mention before that freshwater discus fish are hard to keep as a pet and it is not recommended for beginners. If you love to challenge yourself, you can consider keeping Discus at your home in a simplest way by following these basic rules:

  • Discus are shoaling fish, so keep them in groups of 5 to 6.
  • Provide a clean water and free from chlorine
  • Perform water changes 25 -35% weekly to keep the nitrate and ammonia low.
  • Use undergravel filtration system
  • Maintain the water pH level 6.0 – 7.2 to keep the fish healthy
  • Make sure the fish you bought are healthy and free from diseases.
  • Feed them regularly with high quality food.
  • DO NOT stress them by knocking at the tank



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