The Discus fish, known as the Symphysodon Discus, is a freshwater fish and is particularly easy to recognise because of its disk-like shape, bright colours and graceful movements. It is one of the most popular species but requires specific care. Let’s find out more about the characteristics and needs of this species together.
Characteristics of the Discus fish
The Discus fish is perhaps the most beautiful and regal fish in any aquarium. Its body is very compressed on the sides, it has a disk-shaped profile and its fins are large and elegant. It is a species characterised by iridescence, streaks and vertical bands and can have different colours: white, yellow, orange, red, blue, blue and green, brown and black. There are no obvious differences between genera.
What do they eat? Discus fish are carnivores, but they can be bred as omnivores in an aquarium. It is good to vary their feeding a great deal, alternating live and frozen food, feed and special granules for discus fish, to ensure a diet rich in vitamins and proteins and low in fat. In addition, the food should be administered several times a day in limited amounts.
The ideal aquarium for the Discus fish
The Discus fish inhabits the great rivers of the Amazon forest, in particularly still (almost stagnant) waters, areas with scarce vegetation and with a fairly high water temperature. This information is useful for understanding how to set up an aquarium at home, recreating a habitat as close to the natural one as possible.
The aquarium for the Discus fish must be large and with basic decor, to leave the fish enough space in which to move around. It is therefore best to focus on tanks with a minimum capacity of 200 litres, such as the Cayman 110 or Dubai 120 models by Ferplast. You should also try to keep the water at a constant temperature of 28-30° C.
High temperatures do not agree with the vegetation, but the presence of plants is a positive element in the equilibrium of an aquarium. A good compromise is to insert floating plants, such as water lilies, that provide good oxygenation of the water and, at the same time, act as light filters.
Discus fish are very sensitive to environmental stress and do not like to live in an environment that is too bright, so the aquarium should be located in a place that is not exposed to sunlight or next to lamps or floor lamps.
Fish compatible with the Discus Fish
The ideal thing to do is have small groups of at least 4-6 fish living together, because Discus fish are used to living in a shoal. They have a peaceful nature and can share the aquarium with other fish, such as Neon tetra, Cleaner fish or Cardinalfish. The important thing is to have a large tank that is spacious enough to accommodate them all, considering the fact that Discus fish can measure up to 20 cm in length.
Discus fish also have their own internal organization regulated by a hierarchy: the leader, whether male or female, has the brightest colours, without vertical black bands and occupies the central part of the tank. If there are clashes over a female, the two contenders may position themselves in front of each other and, after taking hold of each other by the mouth, they start a sort of wrestling match, which lasts until one of the two lets go, thereby surrendering.
With the right care and attention and a little experience, you will have no problem breeding Discus fish.