How Big do Discus Fish Get?

If you just got a few young discus fish for your tank, or plan on getting them, then you must be wondering about their adult size. Well, I have the answer to your query.

So, How Big do Discus Fish Get? Discus, when kept in an ideal environment and favorable water conditions, can live up to 15 years. Their size can reach up to 20-25cm approximately with a diameter of nearly 8-10 inches. They reach maturity at the age of almost 2 to 2.5 years.

If you are wondering how you can provide a suitable habitat for your Discus Fish’s growth, then you are in the right place. Let’s have a look at some of the steps you can take to have a perfectly sized and healthy Discus fish.

Discus Fish: King of the Aquarium

As the name indicates, Discus has a shape similar to a disk. Its wide and slim body with attractive and wide-ranging colors are the main reason why it catches the attention of aquarists more than any other freshwater fish.

In the wild, Discus fish usually exists in naturally soft and acidic water. In order to raise a perfectly healthy Discus, you have to match these conditions in your aquarium. Also, the wildlife Discus is becoming extremely rare and you can only find the selectively bred species for your aquarium.

Due to selective breeding, there is a huge variety of these fish out there with beautiful colors and physical appearances. This breeding is the main reason why Discus have become a high maintenance tropical fish and therefore, need an intense amount of care.

Because of the weak immune system, if they don’t get the perfect attention and care, they can easily get sick. That is why Discus is also famous as the King of the aquarium. This glorious creature needs ideal water parameters, best quality food and efficient filtration system to live happily.

Ideal Living Environment for Discus Fish

Discus is an extremely sensitive and delicate fish and needs perfect conditions to stay healthy and happy. Sudden changes in its surrounding environment can be fatal. They need suitable water temperature, pH levels, water hardness, and filtration system or otherwise, they can befall to a number of diseases.

The following description will give you an overview of the conditions that are absolutely necessary for the well-being of your Discus fish.

Water Temperature

Water temperature plays a great role in determining whether or not your aquarium is perfect for your tropical fish. The optimum range of temperature for normal fish is 76-80̊F or 25-27̊C.

In the case of Discus fish, they need considerably high water temperatures to thrive. The ideal water temperature for Discus is around 82-84°F or 28-31̊C. This is the main reason why it is a little difficult to find a good tank mate for Discus that can live in the same habitat as them.

pH Levels

The wild Discus fish needs slightly acidic water. The ideal pH value of water for Discus should be within the range of 6-7. pH of water with the value 6.8 is considered to be perfect for them. Any pH value greater or lower than this might cause stress among the Discus fish.

It is also observed by a number of experienced aquarists that the tank-bred Discus fish can live normally with the pH level of almost 7.8. This doesn’t cause any trouble for them as long as there are no sudden changes in this value.

Water Hardness

Naturally, Discus prefers to live in relatively soft water as compared to the other freshwater tropical fish. The ideal value of water hardness for Discus is around 1DH – 8DH.

Efficient Filtration System

You should use an efficient and high-quality filtration system for keeping Discus in your aquarium. These fish are extremely sensitive and cannot survive in a contaminated environment.

You should use such a filtration system in your aquarium that keeps the ammonia and nitrite levels exactly 0ppm. This is important because ammonia and nitrites are extremely poisonous for Discus and can lead to different kinds of fatal bacterial infections in them.

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Size of the Aquarium

If you want your Discus to grow to its full size when they reach maturity, then you need to provide them enough room to grow. These fish are of larger sizes as compared to the other tropical freshwater fish such as Platies, Guppies, Swordtails etc.

That is why you need to have a bigger tank for the King of the aquarium. You can follow a general rule of thumb to determine the size of the aquarium for your Discus fish.

This rule says that you need at least 10 gallons of water for every Discus fish. So, if you keep a small group of 5-6 Discus, you will need to keep at least a 50-gallon aquarium.

You also need to take into account the height of the aquarium in addition to its width because Discus are usually tall and wide relative to other fish in the tank.

No Overpopulation

If you want to keep your glorious Discus happy and stress-free, then you also need to pay special attention to the population of your aquarium. Discus happen to be calm and peaceful and don’t really bother any other fish. But these fish belong to Cichlid family that is well-known for its territorial problems.

So, if you overpopulate your tank, you can cause stress among your Discus. Stress is known as the key factor in promoting a lot of other problems in the aquarium. It can lead to a number of diseases in Discus. Also, you may see the aggressive behavior in them due to their territorial issues.

Sound and Light

Although bright lights may enhance the beauty of Discus, it can be uncomfortable for them if you overdo the lighting. Discus usually prefers moderate lights and can become stressed if there is more lighting than needed.

As far as the sound is concerned, this King fish prefers little or no sound. You have to keep your Discus in a quiet and considerably dark room if you want to keep them happy and stress-free.

Provide a Perfect Meal

Discus fish is Omnivorous in nature. It means that their perfect meal should be a combination of live food and granules. You can feed them Bloodworms, Beef hearts, Pellets, and Flakes etc.

Also, you have to feed your Discus in the middle of the tank as they don’t like the food on the corners and surface of the aquarium.

While feeding Beef hearts, you should also take special care for keeping your aquarium clean. This is because the surplus food may contaminate the water and raise the levels of poisonous chemicals in it.

Related Questions

How long do Discus fish take to reach their full size? If you pay great attention to the care of your Discus fish and everything goes right, they can live for 15 years. They usually reach their maturity and full size within 2-2.5 years.

Can you keep Discus in a fish bowl? No fish should be kept in a fish bowl as it doesn’t provide a perfect living environment for them. Same goes for the Discus fish. Discus are large-sized and delicate fish and you should never think about keeping them in a fishbowl.

Are Discus Fish Aggressive? Discus are Cichlids and are territorial freshwater tropical fish. When there are territories involved, you can always expect aggression.


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