Parents Welcome to Kids Answers!

Discus Fish

on July 29, 2010
Aquarium Guide - Mini


Discus Fish

As with other cichlids, both discus fish parents care for the young. An amazing behavior of the discus fish, however, is just how it cares for the larvae. The adult discus produces a secretion through its skin, on which the larvae live during their first few days. The young can be seen “grazing” off their parents.


  • The discus fish has a very flattened body shape. It is compressed from the sides into a discus shape, from where it gets its name.
  • The sides of this fish are frequently patterned in shades of green, red, brown, and blue. The colors are patterned in vertical bars or horizontal stripes overlaid with wavy lines that extend into the dorsal and anal fins.

Fun Facts

  • The discus fish is native to the Amazon River basin.
  • It is also a popular aquarium fish and has been called the king of the aquarium fishes.
  • The colors of the discus fish will flare and become more distinct if the animal is startled or feels threatened.

CLASS: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
ORDER: Perciformes (perch-like fishes)
FAMILY: Cichlidae (cichlids)
GENUS/SPECIES: Symphosodon aequifasciatus (blue discus) and Symphosodon discus (red discus)

Size: Up to 10 in (25 cm)
Diet: Worms, crustaceans, insects, plant matter
Habitat: Amazon River basin from Peru east to its mouth near Belem in Brazil

This page is sponsored by the Aquarium Guide - Mini

Make your next visit to the aquarium more than just entertaining—make it factual and fascinating too! This handy size guide is excellent for school field trips and family trips to your favorite aquarium.

Buy Now