The Discus Fish Diet

Feeding Discus Fish can be challenging at times. While they have no specific nutritional preferences, and can be be fed on just about any high protein fish food, they’re often extremely cautious to new foods, and will go without eating for up to 4 weeks before accepting a new food.

This is obviously not very healthy, particularly not for younger fish, so the wise thing to do is to ask what they are being fed at the time of purchase, and then take things from there.

When trying to change their food, do not use the starving technique to get them to eat the new food, but rather feed them with a mix of the foods, and gradually change from one to the other.

The best thing to do is to, over time, get them used to a varied diet, rather than just sticing to one kind of food. So what kinds of food should be part of their diet?

Fish Flakes

Just about any will do – but it’s better to stick to a top brand one for quality control purposes. Discus Fish prefer to be fed at mid water to bottom levels, so you may have to soak and squeeze the flake food first.


Definately a firm favorite with the discus fish, which can and should be used once daily. Make sure you use frozen irradiated worms, because there’s less chance of them having parasites in them.

Brine Shrimp

Discus Fish love frozen brine shrimp, and they contain important vitamins and minerals that will enhance the colour of the discus fish, and keep them in a good overall shape. Defrost and rinse them before feeding.

Granules and Freeze Dried

On this one you’re spoilt for choise, and they are all good for Discus Fish food. It’s a good idea, however, to stick to the top makes (like Tetra Bits) to ensure good quality. Some of the cheaper brands can cause bloating and constpation, because they absorb water, and expand when the fish have eaten them.

Foods to avoid

Beef heart or pork heart has traditionally been fed to Discus Fish to promote good colouration and fast growth – but there’s issues with feeding your discus a diet high in mammalian protein. Also, live foods should be avoided as the health risks involved in using them far outweigh the benefits.

Sticking to the menu above is well better – it’s simply not worth taking the risk.

General feeding tips

As a rule of thumb – it’s better to feed too little than too much – if you’re not sure how much food to give. Discus Fish are slow eaters that will graze and pick at their food, and should be allowed to do so at their own pace. 5-10 minutes is usually enough for them to eat well. If they are less than that you may want to feed a bit more – but be careful not to overfeed them – because this will affect the water conditions in a negative way.

Rebecca R. Ammons

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