10 Facts About The Discus

  1. This discus is actually a species of Cichlid but they are more of a peaceful species as compared to the Cichlid’s aggressive nature.
Discus Fish – Image Source: Doronenko, CC BY 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

2. The Discus is a social fish and can usually be found in groups of several dozens. They are also known to interact with humans in aquariums and can even be trained to be hand fed.

3. The Discus aquaculture business is a major industry. Some variants of Discus only exist in the aquarium industry due to selective breeding. For example, here is a wild Discus:

Wild Discus – Image Source: Rmmoura, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

And here are 2 captive bred Ring Leopard Discus by Jack Wattley Discus:

Here is one of the most expensive Discus fish at $400 to $500 each:

By comparison, you can get a Red Carnation Discus for $54.00 from Arizona Aquatic Gardens which looks like this:

So there are plenty of different color variations and price points with this fish now due to the captive breeders.

4. Both parents care for their young. In order to feed the fry or baby fish, the parents produce a secretion through their skin. The babies eat this secretion for the first 4 weeks of their lives. The babies will switch back and forth from each parent in order to allow time for the other parent generate more food. This also provides the parents the ability to better protect their young with them being so close by while they grow.

5. The Discus is found in the blackwater areas of the Amazon basin.

A map of the Amazon Basin – Image Source: AmazonWaters.org

6. Although they are known to be very difficult to keep, the captive bred Discus is much easier to keep in an aquarium nowadays. This is due to their water chemistry and dietary needs.

7. The discus’ diet consists of algae, small plant material, worms and small crustaceans.

8. In the wild, the Discus fish are prey to turtles, birds and larger species of fish. They are also known to cannibalize their own larvae, which is why the pairs will separate from their school in order to protect their young.

9. Their eggs hatch within 3 to 4 days. They can grow 5 to 6 inches per year in size with some reaching up to 8 inches in diameter.

10. Their lifespan is 10 to 15 years.

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