Discus – Snakeskin
Discus originates from the flood plains of the Amazon, where a ‘flood pulse’ can change the level of water by metres in depth as it rises along a shallow flood plain. This pulse provides much more space for growth, breeding and best of all, feeding.
They are found in crevices and breaks in the water flow, such as small inlets or among fallen trees, where their wide body is protected from the current. These areas are shaded, and the riverbed is soft sediment.
Discus fish are very peaceful, avoiding conflict through escape and intimidation. In most tanks, they are one of the largest and brightest fish.
They are a schooling fish, and in large groups can create a wall of patterns across the tank.
Like all cichlids, there can be some competition in the shoal and a pecking order will be established. This means smaller discus will need to be monitored to make sure they are able to eat.
They tend to stay in the mid-levels but will rise to the top and dip to the bottom to forage; so they can easily dominate all levels of the tank. They do prefer to be free swimming but need the option to be close to cover such as large driftwood or plants in the tank.
These fish require higher temperatures than most fish 28-31°c. Keeping this warmer temperature will reduce the chance of illness and deaths, it can be maintained using a good quality heater.
Amazonian water is soft and slightly acidic, with a pH between 6 and 7.
The water flow in your aquarium should be weak, this can be broken using a spray bar or by using driftwood or ornaments. Vertical wood can also be used to break the water flow, just make sure that these pieces of wood can’t injure the side of the Discus as it swims past.
They prefer soft to medium sediment, as they often search for food on the substrate and larger pieces could injure them as they forage.
Plants such s the Amazon Sword plant or Dwarf Hairgrass are easy to add to your tank and provide oxygen to your fish. Plants also act as a nutrient sink, meaning drops in water quality are rarer.
Discus can often be shy, but this can be helped by surrounding them with a couple of other fish (known as dither fish) that show them they are not in danger.
Fish that come from the same warm Amazon waters are a great place to start, and shoaling Tetras can look amazing. These include Rummy-nose and similar sized tetras. They are beautiful and easy to care for.
- Species – Symphysodon sp.
- Common Name – Discus
- Origin – Amazon, South America
- Diet – Omnivore
- PH Range – 5.8 – 6.5
- Temperature – Tropical 28°c
- Breed Type – Egg layer
- Maximum Size – approximately 20cm
- Sex – Un-sexed