Discus Fish Tank Basics

Discus Fish Tank Basics – The Complete Guide

Fish keeping is a rewarding and enjoyable venture. Discus fish belong to unique class of fishes which are the shy breeds. They are adapted to soft acidic water. You will need to set up a discus fish tank that resembles a discus natural environment.

A discus fish tank can be set up by following several basic guidelines. You can use de-chlorinated tap water or Reverse Osmosis (RO) purified water. Also the amount of light you have will depend on if you want to use live plants or not.

Discus Fish Tank Specifications

Discus fish thrive best in water PH level ranging from 5.0-7.0. Water temperatures ranging from 82-86 F. You will need to provide them with a high and wide tank to facilitate movement. You can go for an 18inch to 24 inch high tank. At least 3 feet tank is ideal for a for 4-6 discus fish which can hold close to 50-60 gallons of water. This kind of a tank will provide enough space for their movement hence much space for their growth. They also require the space for easy breeding.

Discus Tank Quality of Water

Discus fish are sensitive to the quality of water. For this reason there is need for a filter that will turn the tank over for a minimum of 5 times in an hour. This is however the minimum and hence the higher the number of times per hour the better. You can be able to tell the number of times the water is turned by the filter by simply dividing the GPH of the filter by your tank size.

Another thing is on the water changing schedule. This is a critical part of maintaining the fish tank. There should be regular water changes. Precisely, water in the fish tank should be siphoned at least twice a week or more as it is deemed necessary. The water can either be dechlorinated tap water or deionized or Reverse Osmosis (RO) purified water. This will help in getting rid of wastes therefore promoting water quality. The water being changed should be around 10% to 15% of the total amount of water in the fish tank.
To further enhance the quality of water, I suggest the use of canister filtration system. This has been proved beyond reasonable doubt that they can be filled with a wide range of media that can implement optimal water conditions.

Discus Water Temperature

You will need to monitor water temperature using an accurate thermometer. Discus fish are very sensitive to temperatures and thrive best in warm waters. As a result, it is not a good idea to place your discus fish tank next to a window as the water temperature will tend to fluctuate. As said earlier, the optimum temperature should be ranging from 82-86F. If your discus fish tank is rather long you may want to consider placing 2 heaters in the tank one at each end set to the same temperature. This way the water will heat evenly.

Discus Fish Tank Safety

Discus fish tend to be very skittish at times and are known to jump. For this reason, there is a need for a secure top for the discus fish tank to ensure that doesn’t happen. Glass is a good choice as it allows more lighting. This is especially beneficial if keeping live plants.

Finally, I would suggest the use of sand or large gravel as the substrate for a discus fish tank. This can preferably be very large rocks which are placed in a loosely manner making it easy to clean debris and uneaten food. Also, the best background color for a discus fish tank is blue which will make the colors of the fish look very bright and sharp. The blue background with LED lighting will make your discus fish tank a real eye catching experience.

I hope that you find this article helpful. You can learn more about Discus Fish here.

Affordable Discus Fish


  • Vincent O'Connor
    Posted August 22, 2017 4:59 pm 0Likes

    I have heard so much from well known breeders when it comes to getting your new arrivals into their tank. Some float and release, some say float and either start a drip or a quarter cup from your tank into each bag for about 1 hour at 20 minutes between. I have done both methods and have lost a few fish within a weeks time. WHAT IS THE RIGHT ANSWER? I use R/O water, have pool sand and live plants. My tank is 220 gallons with lots of drift wood and a sump system with a 1350 GPH submersible pump. My temp is 85 my diet is frozen blood worms, brine shrimp, beef heart frozen and in flake format. They are feed 3-4 times a day with 20-30 percent water changes every other day. Please advise.
    Vinnie O’Connor
    Kingsland GA 31548

    • discusguy
      Posted August 22, 2017 5:21 pm 1Likes

      Hi Vincent,
      Thanks for your questions. Yes- I agree. There are many contradicting pieces of information about discus online. It makes people want to stay away from Discus all together. That is one of the main reasons I created Discusguy.com – to put an end to all the “confusing and inaccurate” information out there. That way discus keepers can have one source for all their discus needs here at Discusguy.com
      As far as acclimating new fish into your tank- it is very easy.
      Step #1 – Float the fish in your tank in the closed bags for 30 minutes with the lights off.
      Step #2 – Get a bucket and fish net.
      Step #3 – Carefully cut open the bag with the fish.
      Step #4 – Dump the contents of the bag over the net while you hold the net over the bucket. This way the water from the bag goes into the bucket and not into your tank.
      Step #5 – Put your net in the tank so the fish swims out.
      Step $6 – Wait about an hour and turn your aquarium lights back on.

      That’s it! Whenever we package a fish order we try to include the acclimation instructions in the box as well.

      I hope this helps.

      Feel free to contact me with any other questions.

  • Charles Geistel
    Posted September 9, 2017 6:04 am 0Likes

    Hello would like to start a new aquarium it will be a 55 gallon how many discus can I put it aquarium. Or is it too small
    Thanks chuck

    • discusguy
      Posted September 11, 2017 9:03 am 1Likes

      Hi Chuck,
      For a 55 gallon tank- you can go up to 6 discus considering you don’t other large fish in there. If you have other fish in there i wouldn’t go more than 4 discus.

  • Jeremiah Robert Lynch
    Posted November 14, 2019 6:35 pm 0Likes

    In your article above you state that canister filters are best, just wondering why they would be better than a sump and drilled tank? Thanks

    • sky-aims
      Posted November 18, 2019 8:40 am 0Likes

      Hi, thanks for the comment. Actually, a sump and drilled tank do an excellent job when it comes to filtration. Just as good or even better thana canister. However, I have heard many horror stories about sumps overflowing when the power goes out. You do not run that risk with a canister filter. If there is a sure-proof way to prevent the sump from overflowing in the event of a power outage then I would have to agree and say that the sump provides better filtration.

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