What do Discus Fish Eat in the Wild?

To take good care of my discus fish, I tried to find out what they eat in the wild, and am now going to share my knowledge with all of you.

So, what do the discus fish eat in the wild? Their diet in the wild is diverse. They indulge in live food like invertebrates and their larvae. Some species of the discus fish prefer to consume plants as well. These fish like to feed in small portions throughout the day instead of one large meal at a time.

To ensure that you provide optimal care to the discus fish in the aquarium, you need to acquire proper information about what it prefers in the wild.

The diet of discus fish in the wild

Discus fish are among the most common occupants of aquariums. This is because these fish are brightly colored and make for calm tank mates.

Taking care of discus fish isn’t the easiest task and requires that you gather enough information about them. To make sure that you provide them with the ideal environment, you first need to acquire an understanding of their basic requirements. You will then be in a better position to give them what they need.

Some background information

Before moving onto what they eat, you first need to know where they are from to understand their environment in a better manner.

It is the Amazon River region of South America which is the natural habitat of this tropical fish. They are not commonly found in the main river channels. Instead, they seem to prefer to reside in the pools and the tributaries where the flow is slow. However, they prefer to remain in places where there would be a constant freshwater flow.  They are often found in deep water areas that are adequately sheltered.

What do they prefer to eat?

Discus fish, on the whole, are not very particular about what they eat. They are content to eat whatever they come across as long as it fits into their mouths.

However, their diet is enriched with proteins, and they mainly opt for a carnivorous diet. They feed on the small aquatic organisms that they can find, such as insects and larvae.  They also eat invertebrates like worms.

Their eating speed is quite slow as they prefer to graze through the surroundings. Furthermore, they eat their meals in small portions spread throughout the day.

For discus fish, one of the major concerns is overeating. These fish have a compressed body structure, and thus they cannot tolerate too much food at one point. You should only feed your discus fish enough food which can be consumed by them within 5 minutes.

What diet should I give to my discus?

A balance needs to be maintained in the diet of the discus fish to make sure that they get all the required nutrients.

For instance, if it is dry food that you mostly give to your fish, one in a while, their diet should be supplemented with live feed. This is important because flakes will not be able to fulfill all the nutritional requirements that the fish has and thus they would not thrive. When using fish pellets for their diet, you need to soak them in water before presenting them to the discus fish. Skipping this step might lead to your fish to become bloated.

Bloodworms will prove to be a good choice for their live food. You will not have to encounter any problem in finding them, and they can also be refrigerated for longer durations. Other options that you have include brine shrimps and worms.

If you are purchasing dry food, make sure that they are of optimal quality and do not contain anything that can incur harm to the fish.

How often should the discus fish be fed?

As mentioned above, overeating can be detrimental for the discus fish and thus exquisite attention needs to be paid to the number of times they are provided with food. When they are less than three months of age, they need to be provided with food constantly. Thus, you will have to give them food around 12 times a day.

As they grow, you can decrease the frequency. Until they reach 12 months of age, they should be fed five times daily. For adult discus fish, twice and thrice a day would suffice. Try to be consistent with the routine with which you provide them food.

While feeding your discus, make sure that you provide them with the amount which they will finish off in around five minutes. This prevents overeating and saves the fish from potential harm.

How should I feed my discus fish?

Feeding discus fish is not a difficult task. At times, they exhibit a demanding behavior, but that is often because they are under some stress. Some discus fish like to eat food that is floating around in the water. Others prefer to feast on the food that lies at the bottom.

When you first provide them with food, you will notice that they approach it with a lot of enthusiasm. However, it does not take long for the excitement to fizzle out. They would then opt for munching the food calmly. These fish are not competitive when it comes to food, and thus you will not find them fighting over the same.

After initial munching, the fish tends to spit the food out and then eat it again. They look for more food at the bottom of the tank once they are done. The forage takes around an hour, so make sure you give them that time before proceeding to clean the tank.

Challenge the Wild Video: FEEDING MY DISCUS FISH!!

Related questions

What problems might I encounter while feeding discus? On the whole, there are not many challenges that you will have to face. However, sometimes the fish does not immediately eat the food. The food thus, lies at the bottom and can rot within a couple of days leading to bacteria. You might have to manually remove the food to make sure that the water is not contaminated.

How long can a discus fish stay without eating? If you are planning a short trip, you do not have to worry about the fish. Discus fish larger than 10 cm in size can live without food for around 2 to 3 weeks. For larger fish, even 1 to 2 months would not be that big of an issue.


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