discus fish (Symphysodon) is a aquatic animal tropical cichlid, located in the Amazon river basin. We can find 3 subspecies which are the green Discus, the blue Discus and the brown Discus. They have a great similarity between them and the only variations are their color and their geographical location and although there is much disagreement with the scientific name of each one, many agree that those that were bred in captivity come from these 3 subspecies. It was Doctor Heckel who first described it in 1840.

Captive bred discus fish.

Farmed discus fish.


The discus fish are medium in size, round and flat, with vast and long fins. Their round body has 9 vertically positioned straps that help them camouflage themselves. They have a tiny mouth accompanied by tiny red eyes.


Discus are very friendly fish and are generally always in large groups in their natural habitats, called schools, unlike many other cichlid species. This means that they show a highly developed behavior. They are not aggressive fish except when they protect their territory, partner or children. They can develop hierarchies, as has often been observed in fish tanks, where groups with different social "statuses" are formed and in which those at the lowest rank are continually intimidated by those at the top.


Discus is one of the few cichlids discovered outside of the African region. They live in deep and calm jungle waters of the Amazon and in some of its tributaries. The river system that runs through Brazil, Peru and Colombia provide the perfect habitat, where they are sheltered among the roots. Discus fish are very susceptible to environmental conditions and prefer to live in warm, calm and acidic waters, where they can find fewer predators and have more prey for themselves. For the reasons mentioned above, it is not easy to have a discus fish as a pet.


Discus fish are omnivorous, like many fish. They eat practically everything that can get into their mouth, although they prefer high protein foods. They eat mainly smaller fish and young, as well as small aquatic insects and larvae or worms. They feed slowly and deliberately, choosing the tastiest to eat.


Discus fish inhabit areas in waters where there are many hiding places since their spots, colors and round shape allow them to easily camouflage themselves from larger fish, turtles. Its other natural predators are bats and birds that hunt by flying. The main threat of discus fish is, unfortunately, the same as in many other species of animals; deforestation, destruction of its ecosystem and water pollution.


Discus fish find a partner when they are close to reaching their adult stage and tend to stay with the same partner for life, they choose a place which they clean for the female discus fish to deposit between 80 and 400 eggs, once the male has laid them. fertilizes and together they protect the eggs until they hatch. Male discus fish protect their young and provide them with food from their scales by secreting a gelatinous substance during their first 2 weeks. They can live up to 15 years, but if they are well cared for in fish tanks and their treatment is adequate, they can even live longer.

State of conservation

Discus fish are currently considered a threatened species, which means that if the situation remains unchanged it will be considered an endangered species and although there are many fish farms that are responsible for raising them, the species in its natural habitat is decreasing thanks to to water pollution.

Relationship with humans

Discus fish is currently a very popular pet among aquarium fish collectors, there are fish farms that are mainly responsible for the breeding and distribution of these fish in several countries. Although they are all thought to come from the green, brown, and blue types in the wild, many other colors are easy to find in aquariums. His over-raising in fish farming has caused his dark lines to disappear making his communication less effective within his school.

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Cow seen from the front