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Top 5 Discus Fish Myths


So many fake stories are told about keeping Discus, mostly from people who don’t have a clue or have never kept Discus.

We will put to rest 5 popular myths about keeping Discus that have been around for too long!

discus fish myth

Ready? Here we go!

If you are new to Discus, hopefully, you are not listening to all those negative Nancy’s who are trying to convince you that Discus are the wrong fish for you. Discus is great and pretty easy to keep alive for a very long time.

Top 5 Myths in no specific order:


You must do daily water changes
Discus belong in a species tank
You need to be a water chemistry expert
Discus require super industrial equipment to filter water
You need to feed your Discus very special food

So let’s take out these Myth’s one by one...

MYTH: Daily Water Changes are Required

It’s true, Discus LOVE clean water, but it doesn’t have to be a museum in your tank for your Discus to be happy.

I know people who do 100% water changes twice daily! Now that is crazy!

Keep it simple, 20% to 25% water changes a few times a week is just fine. Even you miss one, it’s not the end of the world. The whole point is to not allow waste to build up in your tank. Obviously, someone with only a sponge filter will have to do more water changes than someone with two canister filters.

MYTH: Discus Belong in a Species Tank

You don’t NEED to keep Discus in a species tank unless that is what you really want. Choosing Discus tankmates is pretty easy, just follow this rule:

“As long as the tankmate does not try to eat all the food or the Discus, then you probably have a good tank mate.”

Here are a few:

Cardinal Tetra
Lamp Eye Tetra
Rummynose Tetra
Corydoras (Cory Cat)
Ghost Shrimp

MYTH: You Must be a Water Chemistry Expert

This myth bothers me more than others and here is why. Most local fish stores that I have gone to gladly test my water for FREE! That is right FREE! You know why? Because I spend so much MONEY in their store! If you are spending money weekly or monthly at your local fish store and they do not offer free water testing, find a new store that does. There is no reason why your local fish store cannot test your water for you.

Now, if you don’t have a local fish store near you and you are dependent on the internet, get some test strips. They are color coded and offer a huge spectrum of tests on one strip. Doesn’t get much easier than that.

Test strips are easy to buy on Amazon click here to check the latest prices on Amazon.com

If you want to actually learn about Ph, Kh, Gh, etc… there are endless resources online. Electronic meters to take super accurate results are also available but could be a bit costly. They are not necessary but are great for those who WANT to be super accurate and know exactly what their water parameters are.

Also, test your water BEFORE you buy Discus to see if your tap water is naturally within acceptable levels. If so, then you just saved yourself a ton of money on water treating equipment.

MYTH: Discus Fish Require Super Filters

It does not take super filters, reverse osmosis filtration or chemicals to have perfect Discus water!

You just might have perfect Discus water coming out of your faucet! Have you ever tested your faucet water? Don’t worry, most people don’t, but you should. In fact, aside from the dechlorination and aeration that you should be doing on all water going into your tank, you may not have to do much at all to have great Discus water.

What’s that you say? Your faucet water is no good? Ok, did you know you could use the water from a Water Store? I use it all the time, especially when I have several breeding pairs going at the same time. The Water Store has already invested a ton of money into a massive water filtration system that would dwarf any dinky use at home R.O. filter system.

So why fight it? Go with it! Leverage someone else’s massive filter system to give you great Discus water. Not sure if your local water store has good water? Test it! You should, after all you might already be drinking it!

MYTH: Feeding Special Discus Food

This one is all up to you. Discus will eat just about anything they like but here is what you should keep in mind. Genetically, Discus are programmed to be big fish and that growth requires a good balance of carbs and protein. This is why you hear so much of beef heart, shrimp, and worm-based recipes.

You can easily spot Discus that haven’t receive a well-balanced diet. Typically they are stunted or runts, most of the time never growing to their full potential.

I'm not going to say that every Discus owner has to feed their Discus like it’s destined to be a prize-winning show fish. That’s up to you and not for me to say. What I will say is to keep in mind that, like other larger fish, your Discus requires a balanced meal with more protein to support growth and healthy overall appearance.

And you have a wide assortment of food to choose from:

Bloodworms
Blackworms
Beefheart
Shrimp
White Fish
Tetrabits
Krill
Earthworms

You can learn more about feeding your discus for long term growth, health and color from our Discus Fish Food Guide.

Know of other myths you want to share?

Would you suggest anything else on the myths above?

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