A Reference Guide for Symphysodon Aequifasciatus (Discus)


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This is general information on Discus, a member of the family Cichlidae. Although certainly not a complete reference guide, it will give those interested some background information on this exotic fish. . .

Symphysodon aequifasciatus (Discus)
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes
) Order: Perciformes (perch-like fish)
Family: Cichlidae
Scientific Name: Symphysodon aequifasciatus

Other Scientific Name(s): Symphysodon aequifasciata, Symphysodon discus aequifasciata, Symphysodon aequifasciatus aequifasciatus, Symphysodon discus tarzoo, Symphysodon aequifasciata axelrodi, Symphysodon aequifasciata haraldi

Common Name: Discus

Range: South America: Brazil, Peru. Found on Amazon and Solimoes rivers of Brazil, from the lower Rio Putumayo-Ica and from Benjamin Constant to Belém. Has been introduced to the Rio Nanay in Peru.

Diet: Carnivorous. Frozen foods preferred, but will accept flake foods. Particularly like red bloodworms, but feeding “live” food is not recommended. Red worms, etc, should only be fed to discus once every other day. Beware of parasites or bacteria in the discus tank from live foods!

Temperament: Timid of strangers. Easily frightened, unless placed in a high traffic area. Can be very friendly to aquarist, oft-times eating out of the hand. If given a place to hide, they will tend to do so.

Sexing: Discus are hard to sex unless breeding. Normally, the male will be larger, and will present with longer fin extensions and a wider forehead.

Breeding: Buy either proven pairs or a group of young fish and allow them to pair themselves. The eggs are laid on a breeding cone. A clay flowerpot turned upside down works well. The fry must be kept with the parents after hatch, as they “feed” off the body slime of the parents. Special care must be taken to insure that fry do not injure the parents when getting larger. Watch for marks on the body of the pair, and if it begins to occur, the fry are ready to be moved to a community tank on their own. If left w/ the pair, serious injury can result.

Special Care: If kept specifically for breeding, a bare-bottomed tank is highly recommended.

Other Comments: To keep Discus well, water conditions are absolutely crucial. A PH of 6.3 to 6.9 is the optimal level for keeping discus. Water Temperature: Discus like it warm. They come from the Amazon basin, so water temps for these fish should be 80-84 degrees F, although some aquarists set the temperature as high as 90 degrees F.


Alden Smith is a published author, and has been marketing on the internet for 7 years. His website, King Discus , is an active gathering place for discus breeders and lovers of discus fish. His wife Betsy is the administrator of All The Best Recipes a site rich in online recipes and cookbooks.


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