What Kind Of Fish Are Best For A Discus Home Aquarium?

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What Kind Of Fish Are Best For A Discus Home Aquarium

What Kind Of Fish Are Best For A Discus Home Aquarium?

So you’ve decided to start a discus home aquarium, but you’re not sure what kind of fish would make the best companions for your beautiful discus. Well, fret no more! In this article, we will explore the ideal fish that can coexist harmoniously with discus fish in your home aquarium. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned hobbyist, this guide will help you choose the perfect fish to create a vibrant and balanced underwater ecosystem. Get ready to dive into the world of discus home aquariums and discover the ideal companions for your beloved discus fish.

Water Parameters


Maintaining the right temperature for your discus home aquarium is crucial for the health and well-being of your fish. Discus fish thrive in warm water conditions, with a temperature range of 82-86°F (28-30°C) being ideal. It is important to use a reliable aquarium heater and regularly monitor the temperature using a thermometer to ensure it stays within this range. Sudden fluctuations in temperature can be highly stressful for discus fish, so it’s important to keep the water temperature stable.

pH Level

The pH level of the water is another critical factor to consider when creating a suitable environment for your discus fish. Discus fish prefer slightly acidic to neutral water, with a pH range of 6.0-7.0 being ideal. Keeping the pH level stable is essential, as drastic changes can cause stress and illness in your fish. Regular testing using a pH testing kit is necessary to monitor and maintain the pH level within the desired range.

Water Hardness

Water hardness refers to the concentration of minerals, particularly calcium and magnesium, in the water. Discus fish prefer soft water with a low mineral content. A water hardness of 1-4 dGH (degrees of General Hardness) is recommended for discus aquariums. A water softener or the use of reverse osmosis (RO) water can help achieve the desired hardness level for your discus aquarium. Regular monitoring of water hardness and appropriate adjustments are necessary to provide the optimal conditions for your discus fish.


Peaceful Species

When choosing tankmates for your discus aquarium, it’s essential to select peaceful species that won’t cause stress or aggression towards your discus fish. Peaceful species such as tetras, corydoras catfish, and angelfish make excellent tankmates for discus fish. These species are known for their calm temperament and can coexist harmoniously in the same aquarium.

Non-Aggressive Bottom Dwellers

Including non-aggressive bottom-dwelling fish in your discus aquarium can add diversity and dynamics to the tank. Bristlenose plecos, corydoras catfish, and otocinclus are excellent choices for bottom-dwelling companions for your discus fish. These species are not only peaceful but also beneficial for keeping the substrate clean by scavenging for leftover food and debris.

Schooling Species

Schooling species, such as rasboras and tetras, can create a visually stunning display in your discus aquarium. These fish swim together in synchronized patterns, adding movement and liveliness to the tank. Choosing schooling species that are compatible with discus fish can create a harmonious and captivating aquatic environment.

Community Aquarium Fish

Corydoras Catfish

Corydoras catfish are a popular choice for community aquariums due to their peaceful nature and compatibility with various fish species. These small bottom-dwellers are known for their charming appearance and playful behavior. They are excellent at keeping the substrate clean and can thrive in a discus home aquarium.


Angelfish are iconic and graceful additions to a community aquarium. When properly introduced and housed with discus fish, they can coexist harmoniously. However, it’s essential to choose angelfish that are of similar size to the discus to avoid any potential aggressive behavior on the angel’s part.


Rasboras are small and colorful fish that can bring vibrancy and liveliness to your discus home aquarium. They are peaceful and thrive in a schooling environment. Rasboras can coexist peacefully with discus fish, creating a visually appealing and dynamic tank.

Bottom-Dwelling Fish

Bristlenose Plecos

Bristlenose plecos are popular bottom-dwelling fish that have a unique appearance, thanks to their bristles and distinct patterning. These plecos are not only visually appealing but also serve a functional purpose in the aquarium by grazing on algae and keeping the tank clean. They are peaceful and can coexist harmoniously with discus fish.

Corydoras Catfish

Corydoras catfish, as mentioned earlier, are excellent companions for discus fish. These small catfish are known for their peaceful nature and playful behavior. They are bottom-dwellers that can keep the substrate clean by scavenging for leftover food and debris.


Otocinclus, also known as otos or dwarf suckermouth catfish, are small and peaceful bottom-dwelling fish. They are well-suited for a discus home aquarium because of their ability to consume algae and keep the tank clean. Otocinclus are social and prefer to be in the company of their own species or other peaceful tankmates.

Midwater Fish


Tetras are a popular choice for midwater fish in a discus home aquarium. These small, colorful fish are known for their stunning appearance and peaceful demeanor. Tetras thrive in a schooling environment and can create a visually captivating display as they swim together in synchronized patterns.


Gouramis are another option for midwater fish that can complement the beauty of your discus aquarium. These fish come in various colors and patterns, adding vibrancy to the tank. Gouramis are generally peaceful, but it’s important to choose species that are compatible with discus fish to ensure a harmonious community.


Hatchetfish are unique and fascinating midwater fish that can make a striking addition to your discus home aquarium. These fish have an unusual body shape, resembling a hatchet, which allows them to swim near the water’s surface. Hatchetfish are typically peaceful and can add an interesting dynamic to the aquarium.

Top-Dwelling Fish


Rasboras, known for their vibrant colors and schooling behavior, can also populate the top portion of your discus aquarium. These small, active fish spend their time swimming near the surface, creating movement and liveliness in the tank. Rasboras are generally peaceful and can coexist harmoniously with discus fish.


Danios are another option for top-dwelling fish that can add a sense of activity and energy to your discus home aquarium. These small, hardy fish are known for their lively behavior and compatibility with various tankmates. Choose peaceful danio species that won’t pose a threat to your discus fish.


As mentioned earlier, hatchetfish are unique fish that can occupy the top portion of the aquarium. Their distinct body shape and ability to swim near the water’s surface make them an intriguing addition to the tank. Hatchetfish are generally peaceful and can coexist with discus fish.

What Kind Of Fish Are Best For A Discus Home Aquarium?

Avoid Aggressive Species


Cichlids, including some popular species like African cichlids, are known for their aggression and territorial behavior. It is best to avoid keeping them in a discus home aquarium, as their aggressive nature can cause stress and harm to the more peaceful discus fish.


Barbs are another group of fish that can be aggressive, especially when kept in small groups or inappropriate tank conditions. Their fin nipping behavior can cause stress and injury to discus fish. It is advisable to avoid adding barbs to your discus aquarium to maintain a peaceful community.


While some species of gouramis can peacefully coexist with discus fish, others may exhibit aggressive behavior. It is important to research and select gourami species that are known for their peaceful nature. Avoid gourami species that have a reputation for aggression, as they can disrupt the harmony of the tank.

Feeding Considerations

High-Quality Pellets

Providing your discus fish with high-quality pellets formulated specifically for their nutritional needs is important for their overall health and optimal growth. Look for pellets that contain a balanced blend of proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals. Feed the pellets in small portions multiple times a day to ensure they are readily consumed and to prevent overfeeding.

Frozen or Live Foods

Adding variety to your discus fish’s diet is beneficial and can be accomplished by supplementing their meals with frozen or live foods. Discus fish enjoy a range of small live foods such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, and daphnia. These foods are rich in nutrients and can stimulate their natural feeding behaviors.

Vegetables and Supplements

Including vegetable matter in your discus fish’s diet is essential for their health and well-being. Blanched vegetables like zucchini, spinach, and peas can be offered to provide essential vitamins and fiber. Additionally, consider adding supplements like vitamin C or garlic to their food, which can boost their immune system and overall vitality.

What Kind Of Fish Are Best For A Discus Home Aquarium?

Tank Size

Minimum Tank Size

Discus fish require spacious aquariums to thrive and display their natural behaviors. The minimum tank size for a group of discus fish is generally considered to be 55 gallons (208 liters). This size allows them to swim and explore comfortably, as well as maintain good water quality.

Large Tank Benefits

Providing a larger tank size, such as a 75-100 gallon (283-378 liters) aquarium, offers numerous benefits for your discus fish. A larger tank provides more swimming space, reducing the potential for stress and aggression. It also allows for a wider variety of tankmates and more diverse aquascaping options. Additionally, a larger water volume helps maintain stable water parameters and dilutes any potential pollutants.

Aquarium Set-up

Heaters and Thermometers

Keeping the water temperature within the ideal range is crucial for the health and well-being of your discus fish. Invest in a reliable aquarium heater capable of maintaining the desired temperature. Use multiple heaters for larger tanks to ensure even heat distribution. Regularly monitor the water temperature using an accurate thermometer to catch any fluctuations promptly.

Filtration System

A robust filtration system is essential for maintaining a clean and healthy environment for your discus fish. Invest in a high-quality filtration system that can handle the size of your tank and the bio-load of the fish. A combination of mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration methods ensures efficient removal of waste, chemicals, and toxins from the water.

Décor and Hiding Places

Creating a visually appealing and stimulating environment for your discus fish is important for their overall well-being. Use a variety of aquarium decorations, such as rocks, driftwood, and plants, to create hiding places and territorial boundaries. This allows your discus fish to establish their territories and reduces stress within the community.

In conclusion, creating a thriving and harmonious discus home aquarium requires careful consideration of various factors. Maintaining appropriate water parameters, choosing compatible tankmates, and providing a suitable tank setup are crucial for the well-being of your discus fish. With the right knowledge and effort, you can create a captivating and flourishing discus aquarium that will bring you joy for years to come.


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