Return To; Discus Fish Tank Mates
Discus fish are among the most coveted of the tropical variety of aquarium fish because of their interesting shape and their beautiful bright colors. It is widely accepted that there are four sub species of the Symphysodon discus found wild in the Amazon River. They are Brown, Blue, Heckel and Green discus fish.
The brown discus seems to be one of the easier types of discus fish to keep. The brown discus is a naturally occurring discus that originates from the Amazon River basin in South America. The brown discus is earth tone brown, thin round body with 9 vertical black bars. They have some striations on their heads and outer fins. Although the tank requirements for the brown discus are quite strict, as with all varieties of discus fish, the brown discus more hearty than other varieties. By selectively breeding of the brown discus came Maroon Discus and Red Cover Discus.
The wild blue discus is very similar to the brown discus with the only exception being that it shows a little more color striation from the head into the body and in the fin area. A royal blue will show striations that go further into the body, but this is still considered a blue.
The Heckle Discus is one of the harder varieties, but I have found that if you keep this strain at a higher temperature of 90 degrees they can thrive in captivity very well. It is also one of the larger varieties, growing up to 9 inches. Heckel discus, come in shades of earth tone brown with blue stripes which run though the entire face and body. They have 9 vertical bars, including a noticeably darker 1st bar through the head, 5thbar in the center, and 9th bar on the back tail.
Wild Green discus fish are probably the most colorful and the basis for many of the hybrid colors of today. They range in color and pattern from earth tone golden with shades of turquoise to striations and even red spots. Directly related to green discus by selective breeding would be Red Leopards, Red Spotted Diamond, and Leopard Eruptions.
Different varieties of discus fish have been crossbred to produce discus that exhibit vivid colors and interesting stripes and striations. Since cultivated discus have never been in the wild, they are more adaptable to variations in their water and tank conditions, and will readily eat the frozen and flake foods which wild fish will tend not to,making them a bit easier to keep than wild varieties of discus. In the 60’s and 70’s all that was available to the hobbyist were these wild discus. It amazes me to see all the exciting colors developed over the past 20 years, and now available to keep the discus fish hobby interesting.
Learn More: What to Feed Discus Fish