How to set up a Discus tank: A step-by-step guide

Discus fish are known for their vibrant colours and unique, round body shape. They are a popular choice for aquarium enthusiasts who want to add a touch of elegance and beauty to their tank. Setting up a Discus tank requires attention to detail, as these fish have specific needs that differ from other freshwater species.

Step 1: Choose the right tank size

Discus fish require more space than most other freshwater fish due to their size and territorial nature. You will need a minimum tank size of 40L (10 gallons) per adult Discus. The tank should be at least 45 cm (18 inches) tall, as Discus prefer deeper water to swim in. If you plan to keep more than six Discus, consider a larger tank to accommodate their needs.

Step 2: Ensure optimal water conditions

Discus fish thrive in specific water conditions, which differ from those of other tropical fish. The ideal water temperature for Discus is 28-30°C (82-86°F). Use a reliable aquarium heater and a thermometer to maintain a consistent temperature.

The water’s pH should be between 6.0 and 7.0, with a hardness of 1-4 dH. If you live in an area where the tap water doesn’t align with these parameters, this soft, acidic water environment can be achieved by using reverse osmosis water or adding peat moss to the filter. Regularly test the water parameters using a water testing kit to ensure stability.

Step 3: Install proper filtration

Discus fish are sensitive to water quality, so a high-quality filtration system is essential. A canister filter or a power filter with a bio-wheel is ideal for a Discus tank. The filter should be powerful enough to turn over the tank’s water volume at least 5-6 times per hour. Regular maintenance of the filter is crucial to prevent ammonia and nitrite build-up, which can be harmful to Discus.

Read our article about fish tank filters for more information.

Step 4: Create a comfortable environment

Discus fish prefer a low-light environment with plenty of hiding spots. Use floating plants or tall plants near the tank’s sides to create shade and cover. Driftwood, rocks, and caves can also be added to create hiding spots and territories for your Discus.

A dark-coloured substrate, such as black sand or fine gravel, will help bring out the vibrant colours of your Discus. The substrate should be 5-7 cm (2-3 inches) deep to allow for proper planting and to create a natural look.

Step 5: Introduce suitable tank mates

While Discus can be kept in a species-only tank, they can also coexist with other peaceful, slow-moving fish that share similar water parameter requirements. Suitable tank mates include cardinal tetras, rummy-nose tetras, and corydoras catfish. Avoid aggressive or fast-moving fish, as they may stress your Discus and lead to health issues.

Read our article to learn more about Discus tankmates.

Step 6: Acclimate and introduce your Discus

Before introducing your Discus to the tank, allow them to acclimate to the water conditions.

Fill a bucket with water from your tank and add an air stone and Melafix Pond to the bucket. Transfer your new fish into the bucket and allow it to sit for 20 minutes. Transfer your fish to your aquarium and add Melafix Pond to your aquarium. Monitor your fish and complete a 50%+ water change the following day.

This gradual process will help reduce stress on the fish and prevent potential health problems.

Read our full article to understand how to introduce new fish to your tank.

Step 7: Maintain a proper diet and feeding schedule

Discus fish require a high-protein diet to maintain their vibrant colours and overall health. Feed them a variety of high-quality pellets, flakes, frozen, and live foods. Offer your adult Discus meals 1-2 times per day and remove any uneaten food after 5 minutes to prevent water quality issues.

Learn more about what to feed your Discus.

Setting up a Discus tank requires careful planning and attention to detail, as they have specific requirements that differ from other tropical fish. By following this step-by-step guide, you can create a stunning, healthy environment for your Discus fish to thrive. With proper care and maintenance, your Discus tank will become a beautiful centrepiece in your home, showcasing these elegant and colourful fish.


The information provided in this article has been generated by the OZ Discus AI, OZ Discus Bot. While we strive to provide accurate and helpful guidance, it is important to recognise that the content may not cover all aspects of setting up and maintaining a Discus tank.

If you require further assistance, we highly recommend contacting OZ Discus directly for personalised advice and support. Remember that the well-being of your Discus fish is of utmost importance, and expert guidance can make a significant difference in ensuring their health and happiness.

OZ Discus is not liable for any losses and holds no responsibility in the event of the death of the fish. Users of this guide are to use the information at their own discretion and accept all risks resulting from the use of this guide.

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Our photos

All the photos you see on our products are what we have in store.

We do not use any stock photography that misrepresent the fish.

Most of our photos are shot without filtering to try give you the truest beauty and colour of the fish we have. 

Any filters we do use are to account for factors that reduce the colour when taking the photo, such as bad lighting. 

We fix using a quick filter to represent the Discus’s real life colour; best as we are able to by eye. These photos are clearly marked as being edited in ‘PhotoRoom’.

Premium Discus Farms

OZ Discus imports from international awarded, show grade, premium Discus breeders.

Each of these breeders are proud to stand behind the fish they supply to us.

By knowing details about the farm and fish, we are able to ascertain the age and breeding line to ensure the highest quality fish are available to you.

View our latest imports from IP Discus, Jagger Discus, Unique Discus, and more!

We are independent

OZ Discus is an independent Sydney store and as such has to uphold important corporate responsibilities.

When you buy from OZ Discus, you get peace of mind that we meet strict RSPCA and AIAA certifications and COVID-19 practices.

We also have dead on arrival (DOA) and returns policies and practices that give you confidence in your purchase.

We hope that you find our range of Discus fish suitable to your pursuit in this very rewarding hobby.

We import from the following breeders and each of these breeders are proud to stand behind the fish they supply to us. By knowing details about the farm and fish, we are able to ascertain the age & breeding line to ensure the highest quality is available to you.

– Tony Tan – IP Discus Malaysia
– Dendy Wijaya – Jagger Discus Indonesia
– Robert Lim – Unique Discus Malaysia
– Lee Chee Fong – Color Fish Malaysia
– Yap Wen Khong – Malaysia
– Koay KL – JIT Laiseng Discus Farm Malaysia
– Dr Teoh – Malaysia
– Julian Sockich & Kephra Richards – East Coast Discus Australia
– Alex Piwowarski – Piwowarski Discus Germany

All photos you see are what we have in store and we do not use any stock photography that misrepresent the fish. Also, our photos are taken straight from a smartphone too without filtering to give you the truest beauty of the fish we have.

We are Independent and have the importance of corporate responsibilities of a Physical Store

OZ Discus is an independent STORE, as well as an IMPORTER in Sydney of Discus fish only and this allows us to source select strains from the Worlds most renowned Discus farms to you.

Moreover, buying from us as an aquarium shop instead of home operators gives you peace of mind. We uphold social and corporate responsibilities in meeting
– COVID-19
certification and practices.

We also have DOA and returns policies and practices that gives you confidence in your purchase. I hope you find our range of Discus suiting to your pursuit in this very rewarding hobby.