What Fish Can Live With Discus?

Discover which friendly companions thrive alongside discus in your aquarium! Learn what fish can live with discus for a harmonious underwater world.

If you’re a discus fish lover, you might be wondering what fish can live with discus in the same tank. It’s essential to choose compatible tank mates that can coexist peacefully with your discus as they are sensitive and susceptible to stress. But not all fish are compatible with discus fish, and choosing the wrong tank mate can lead to aggressive behavior and health issues.

In this section, I will guide you through the different fish species that are compatible tank mates for discus fish and how to pair them correctly to create a harmonious underwater world for your discus.

Key Takeaways:

  • Choosing compatible tank mates is crucial for creating a peaceful environment for your discus fish.
  • Not all fish are compatible with discus, so it’s essential to research before adding any fish to the tank.
  • Different types of fish can peacefully coexist with discus, including community fish, schooling fish, bottom-dwelling fish, and peaceful invertebrates.
  • Avoid aggressive and nippy tank mates that can harm your discus fish.
  • Consider factors such as tank size, water conditions, and feeding habits when selecting tank mates for discus fish.

Understanding Discus Fish

grey flat fish

As I previously mentioned, choosing suitable tank mates for your discus fish requires an understanding of their temperament, diet, and ideal tank conditions. Discus fish, also known as symphysodon, originate from the Amazon River basin and are prized by aquarists for their vibrant colors and graceful swimming behaviors.

Discus fish are peaceful by nature, but they can become shy or stressed if not provided with adequate hiding spaces in the aquarium. They thrive in warm, soft, and acidic water conditions, with a pH range of 6.0-7.5. A temperature of 82-86°F is ideal for their optimal health and well-being. These requirements should be taken into consideration when selecting compatible tank mates for discus fish.

Looking at their diet, discus fish are primarily carnivorous and require a protein-rich diet for proper nutrition. A varied diet that includes live or frozen foods, such as bloodworms or brine shrimp, is recommended to keep them healthy and happy.

Keeping all these factors in mind, you can choose the best fish to keep with discus. The ideal tank mates for discus are peaceful, non-aggressive, and have similar water requirements. In the next sections, I will highlight some popular community fish options that meet these criteria to help you make informed decisions for your aquarium.

Discus Fish Requirements

Parameter Ideal Range
pH 6.0-7.5
Temperature 82-86°F
Diet Protein-rich, varied diet

Community Fish for Discus Aquarium

In my experience, there are several types of fish that can live harmoniously with discus in the same tank. When choosing compatible tank mates, it’s essential to consider their temperament and environmental needs. Here are some suitable companions for discus fish:

Fish Species Temperament Water Parameters
German Blue Ram Pacific and social Temperature: 78-84°F, pH: 5.0-7.0, hardness: 5-15 dH
Otocinclus Catfish Peaceful and active Temperature: 72-82°F, pH: 6.0-7.5, hardness: 3-10 dH
Corydoras Catfish Docile and social Temperature: 72-82°F, pH: 6.0-7.5, hardness: 3-10 dH
Neon Tetra Schooling and peaceful Temperature: 70-81°F, pH: 5.0-7.5, hardness: 1-2 dH

These fish share similar water parameters and temperaments that make them ideal companions for discus fish. Be sure to provide adequate space and hiding places for your new fish friends to feel comfortable in their new surroundings. Remember to quarantine any new fish before introducing them into your main tank to prevent disease transmission.

Peaceful Tankmates for Discus Fish

When selecting tank mates for discus, it’s essential to choose peaceful species that won’t cause stress or aggression in the aquarium. Here are some fish species that can coexist harmoniously with discus:

Fish Species Behavior Size Special Requirements
Cardinal Tetras Peaceful, non-aggressive, and sociable 1.5 inches Prefer soft, acidic water with a pH below 7.0, and need to be kept in groups of at least six.
Otocinclus Catfish Peaceful bottom-dwelling fish that are active and easy-going 2 inches Prefer planted aquariums, so make sure to provide enough vegetation in the tank.
Bristlenose Plecos Peaceful, non-aggressive, and great algae eaters 4-5 inches Require hiding places and driftwood in the tank and prefer soft, acidic water.

Note: It’s important to avoid adding fish that are large or aggressive, as they can intimidate and stress out the discus. Additionally, make sure to select tank mates that have similar water parameters and dietary requirements as the discus to prevent any health issues or complications.

Otocinclus Catfish

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Schooling Fish for Discus Aquariums

If you want to add more life and color to your discus aquarium, consider introducing compatible schooling fish. By nature, these fish thrive in groups and create a lively dynamic in your tank. When choosing suitable schooling fish for discus, it is important to take into account their social behavior as well as the tank’s water parameters. Here are some of the ideal tank mates for discus fish:


Tetras are a popular and colorful addition to discus aquariums. They are known for their peaceful temperament and are ideal for community fish tanks. Some suitable varieties include neon tetras, cardinal tetras, and black skirt tetras. These fish complement the discus fish’s vibrant colors and thrive in similar water conditions.


Rasboras are another great option for schooling fish in discus aquariums. They are known for their calm nature and won’t disrupt the peaceful environment you have created for your discus. Some suitable varieties include harlequin rasboras, lambchop rasboras, and galaxy rasboras.

Corydoras Catfish

Corydoras catfish are bottom-dwelling fish that are compatible with discus fish due to their gentle nature. They thrive in schools and add a unique element to your discus aquarium. Some suitable varieties include peppered corydoras, panda corydoras, and bronze corydoras.


Guppies are a great option for discus aquariums due to their peaceful temperament and vibrant colors. They are easy to care for and come in a wide variety of patterns and shades. Guppies thrive in aquariums with similar water conditions to discus fish.

When introducing new fish to your discus tank, it is important to acclimate them slowly and monitor their behavior closely. Avoid overstocking your aquarium and ensure there is plenty of room for all fish to thrive. By selecting compatible schooling fish, you can create a vibrant and harmonious underwater world for your discus fish.

Bottom-Dwelling Fish for Discus Tanks

Discus fish are gorgeous creatures that mainly occupy the middle and upper areas of an aquarium. Therefore, the lower portion of the aquarium is empty and leaves opportunity for other fish to dwell. It is essential to find bottom-dwelling fish that can coexist with discus without causing any conflicts. Here are some of the best options:

Fish Name Temperament Tank Size Water Parameters
Corydoras Catfish Peaceful and social 20 gallons or more Soft, acidic water
Bristlenose Pleco Peaceful and solitary 20 gallons or more Wide range of water parameters
Otocinclus Catfish Peaceful and social 10 gallons or more Soft, acidic water
Khuli Loach Peaceful and social 20 gallons or more Wide range of water parameters

These bottom-dwelling fish can complement your discus aquarium with their unique appearance and behavior. Before introducing them, ensure the ideal tank conditions such as appropriate tank sizes and water parameters are met. With proper research, you can create a healthy balance and a tranquil underwater world for your discus fish and their tank mates.

Selecting Peaceful Invertebrates for Discus Aquariums

Adding invertebrates to your discus aquarium can enhance its beauty and add diversity to the ecosystem. However, it’s essential to choose peaceful options that won’t harm or stress your discus.

Shrimp are popular invertebrates due to their vibrant colors and active behavior. They’re attracted to algae and organic debris, helping to keep your tank clean. Amano shrimp and cherry shrimp are two compatible options that can coexist peacefully with discus.

Snails are another excellent addition to your discus aquarium, as they help maintain a balanced ecosystem by consuming algae and uneaten food. Nerite snails and mystery snails are two peaceful choices that can thrive in a tank with discus.

Keep in mind that some snails may reproduce rapidly, so it’s essential to monitor their population and remove any excess if necessary.

It’s crucial to avoid adding any invertebrates that may be a target for your discus, as they have a predatory instinct. A good idea is to introduce them after your discus are fully grown and accustomed to their environment.

Peaceful Invertebrates for Discus Aquariums

Invertebrate Suitable For Special Requirements
Amano Shrimp Discus aquariums Requires clean water and a varied diet
Cherry Shrimp Discus aquariums Requires a planted tank and hiding places
Nerite Snail Discus aquariums Requires stable water parameters
Mystery Snail Discus aquariums Requires a varied diet and ample calcium for shell development

When selecting peaceful invertebrates for your discus aquarium, it’s essential to ensure they have compatible requirements and temperaments. Additionally, maintaining optimal water quality and providing a variety of foods will support their growth and well-being.

Avoiding Aggressive or Nippy Fish

When it comes to selecting tank mates for your discus fish, it’s important to choose species that won’t cause harm or stress. Avoiding aggressive or nippy fish is crucial to maintain a peaceful environment in your aquarium.

Aggressive Fish to Avoid

Some fish species have a reputation for being aggressive, making them unsuitable for coexisting with discus fish. These include:

Fish Species Aggressiveness
Jaguar Cichlid High
Red Devil High
Green Terror Moderate

Note: While individual fish may exhibit different temperaments, it’s best to avoid these species in general to reduce the risk of conflict in the tank.

Nippy Fish to Avoid

Some fish have a tendency to nip at other fish, fins or tails, causing damage or stress. Discus fish, in particular, are known for their long and flowing fins, making them vulnerable to nipping species. Avoiding these species will help keep your discus fish healthy and happy:

Fish Species Nippiness
Tiger Barb High
Serpae Tetra Moderate
Dwarf Gourami Moderate

By avoiding aggressive or nippy tank mates, you can help ensure the well-being of your discus fish in the aquarium. Choose suitable companions that will coexist peacefully and contribute to a harmonious underwater environment.

Considerations for Successful Tank Mate Pairings

When choosing fish that can coexist with discus, it’s important to consider various factors beyond their temperament. By paying attention to these key elements, you can create an environment where all the inhabitants thrive. Here are some essential considerations:

Tank Size

Discus fish are active swimmers, and they require ample space to move around. Add peaceful tankmates for discus fish, providing adequate swimming space for each species. As a general rule, the aquarium should be large enough to accommodate at least one gallon of water for every one inch of adult fish. Make sure to check the recommended tank capacity for the additional species you plan to add.

Water Parameters

Discus fish prefer soft, slightly acidic water with a pH between 6.0 and 7.5. If the other fish species have different needs, this may result in stress or illness for your discus. Check the water requirements of each tank mate and ensure that they match the conditions appropriate for discus. Keeping peaceful tankmates for discus fish is essential to breed a harmonious aquarium.

Feeding Habits

Different fish species have various feeding habits, and it’s essential to ensure that they don’t compete for food with your discus fish. Slow-swimming fish may struggle to reach their food before the more active discus. Provide sufficient quantity and variety of food for all species to prevent malnutrition, aggression, or stress.

Taking into account these crucial factors will help you choose the most peaceful tankmates for discus fish and create a diverse, thriving undersea world for your fish to thrive.


Creating a harmonious aquarium environment for discus fish requires careful selection of compatible tankmates, considering their needs, temperament, species, and environmental requirements. With proper research and planning, you can successfully achieve a coexistence, leading to a thriving aquatic habitat for your peaceful tankmates for discus fish.


As an aquarium enthusiast, I understand the importance of selecting compatible tank mates for discus fish. By considering their temperament, size, and environmental needs, you can create a thriving and harmonious underwater world for your discus.

In this article, we explored different fish species that can coexist peacefully with discus fish, including community, peaceful, schooling, and bottom-dwelling fish. We also discussed invertebrates that can add diversity and beauty to your aquarium.

Remember, when selecting tank mates for your discus, it’s crucial to avoid aggressive or nippy fish that may cause harm or stress. Consideration of factors such as tank size, water conditions, and feeding habits is also key to a successful pairing.

With these factors in mind and the information provided in this article, I am confident that you can select the ideal tank mates for your discus fish. Here’s to creating a thriving and harmonious aquarium environment!

Thank you for reading and happy fish keeping!

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What fish can live with discus?

Some compatible tank mates for discus fish include cardinal tetras, rummy nose tetras, German blue rams, clown loaches, and corydoras catfish. These fish have similar water requirements and peaceful temperaments, making them suitable companions for discus.

What are the best fish to keep with discus?

The best fish to keep with discus are those that are peaceful, have similar water requirements, and occupy different levels of the aquarium. Some popular choices include angelfish, neon tetras, pearl gouramis, and hatchetfish.

What are suitable tank mates for discus?

Suitable tank mates for discus fish are those that can tolerate the warm temperatures and soft, acidic water conditions that are preferred by discus. Good options include cardinal tetras, harlequin rasboras, bristlenose plecos, and dwarf rainbowfish.

What are the ideal tank mates for discus fish?

The ideal tank mates for discus fish are those that have peaceful temperaments, are around the same size as discus, and prefer similar water conditions. Some examples include rummynose tetras, dwarf cichlids, apistogramma species, and pencilfish.

What fish can coexist with discus?

Peaceful fish species that can coexist harmoniously with discus include tetras (such as neon tetras, cardinal tetras, and rummynose tetras), corydoras catfish, gouramis, and certain dwarf cichlids like apistogramma species.

What are some peaceful tankmates for discus fish?

Some peaceful tankmates for discus fish include angelfish, harlequin rasboras, rummy nose tetras, and dwarf gouramis. These fish have calm temperaments and can coexist peacefully with discus in the same aquarium.

What are some schooling fish for discus aquariums?

Schooling fish that can be kept in discus aquariums include cardinal tetras, glowlight tetras, ember tetras, and silver tip tetras. These fish feel more secure and display their natural behaviors when kept in groups.

Are there any bottom-dwelling fish that can live with discus?

Yes, there are suitable bottom-dwelling fish that can coexist with discus. Examples include corydoras catfish, bristlenose plecos, and kuhli loaches. These fish occupy the lower levels of the aquarium and are compatible with discus.

Can I keep invertebrates with discus fish?

Yes, peaceful invertebrates can be added to a discus aquarium. Shrimp, such as cherry shrimp and amano shrimp, make great additions as they provide a visual contrast and help in maintaining water quality. Snails, like nerite snails and mystery snails, are also compatible with discus.

What fish should I avoid as tank mates for discus?

It is best to avoid aggressive or nippy fish as tank mates for discus. Species like tiger barbs, larger cichlids, and aggressive territorial fish can stress or injure discus. It is important to prioritize the well-being and peaceful environment for your discus.

What factors should I consider for successful tank mate pairings with discus?

When selecting tank mates for discus, consider factors such as tank size, water temperature, pH level, and compatibility in terms of temperament and dietary requirements. Ensuring all these factors align will increase the likelihood of a successful and peaceful coexistence.


The International Discus Association (IDA)

The Discus World International (DWI)

The South American Cichlid Association (SACA)

The World Discus Web (WDW)

The American Cichlid Association (ACA)

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