How Hard is It To Take Care of Discus Fish?

Kari | July 21, 2021
Photo by: Savannah Rohleder on Pixabay

Discus Cichlids are a beautiful, freshwater, tropical fish that many new pet owners think are difficult to care for. However, this is really a myth, and discus fish are generally easy to care for when owners are educated on how to set up their tanks properly.

What Size Tank Do You Need for Discus Fish?

The simple answer is 10 gallons of fresh water per one discus fish. So, with three discus fish, you need a tank of at least 30 gallons. However, keep in mind that any other aquatic animals you add to your habitat will require their own space, and it’s always better to size up than down when it comes to any fish tank.

Discus fish also seem to live happier and healthier in tanks that are taller rather than wider, and they do well when surrounded by other fish of their own kind. With that being said, you can have one or two discus living in a smaller tank by themselves, but it will actually save you cleaning time by having more discus in a larger tank. Smaller tanks tend to get dirty quicker and need more frequent water changes, while larger tanks require less water changes.

What Do I Need for A Discus Tank?

Once you have a tank for your discus fish, you’ll need to fill it with decorations, sand and rocks. The decorating is really up to you as a pet owner, as discus aren’t picky about the furniture in their tanks.

Discus fish do need a specific water temperature and pH level,  which requires extra equipment. You’ll want a tank water heater to keep the temperature between 82-and 85-degrees Fahrenheit, as well as a steady supply of fresh, filtered water to add to the tank at a pH level of 6 to 7. You can use water from a reverse osmosis filter to get this type of pH balance, or you can treat regular tap water with chemicals founds in the aquatic section of most pet stores.

What is The Best Filter for A Discus Tank?

Discus are messy eaters and they make their tanks very dirty, very quickly. A lot of discus owners believe the only way to clean up after them is by daily water changes, but that isn’t necessary with an effective filter system.

The best filter for discus is a hang on the back (HOB) filter. It’s also recommended that you choose a filter that runs for a tank one size larger than the one you will use it in. For example, if you have your discus in a 55-gallon tank, consider using a filter designed to clean a 100-gallon tank.

When you have the right tank setup, it’s pretty simple to take care of discus fish.

About the Author


Kari is a long-time pet lover and owner. She has experience raising cats, dogs, rabbits, and aquatic life. Whenever she's not writing, she's probably baking homemade dog treats or camping with her family... Learn More

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