All About Discus Fish – A History of Discus Fish

The discus fish is a type of cichlid fish native to South America. In particular to the waters of the Amazon River. There are three species of these beautiful tropical fish. The common discus (known as Symphysodon aqueifasciatius), the Heckle discus (Sympysodon discus), and the newest species, known as the Symphysodon tarzoo. There is a disagreement among scientists about which species type belongs to which scientific name. But, in the end, the discus fish family belongs to three species.


As mentioned above, the discus fish was found in the Amazon River. The first species (known then as Symphysodon discus heckel), was discovered by Johann Natterrer in 1840, and later described by Johann Jakob Heckel. The first species were later brought to Germany, by a collector, in 1921. The first batch did not fair very well. In the 1930s and ’40s, discus fish breeders began to export the discus fish throughout Europe and the United States.

What do discus look like?

Due to their laterally compressed body shape, the description became the name “discus”. They are between the sizes of 2-4 inches in length and come in a variety of coloration. This includes, turquoise, blue, green, red, and the newest, known as “pigeon”. They tend to glide in a slow, dignified manner, which has earned them the nickname of “king of the freshwater aquariums.”

Are they hard to raise?

Due to the sensitive needs of these fish, much of the information available states that it is best to have a moderate amount of aquatic raising experience, before investing in a discus. They take an extra amount of time and effort to maintain their environment. They must be kept in especially soft water with high acidity, low PH level, and absolutely no nitrates

What do they eat?

Like many fish, the discus are omnivores. While, they prefer eating brine shrimp, California blackworms, and krill, they must have a balance of vegetables and plant algae, so as not to develop malnutrition issues.

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