Feeding your fish is an important aspect of keeping them healthy. You need to focus on feeding your fish often enough while also giving them the right types of food.
If you recently bought discus fish, it’ll be important to focus on giving them a proper diet. These fish are known to be a bit tough to care for in certain ways.
They’re more delicate than many other popular types of fish. Stress can easily cause discus fish to get sick and die so you need to focus on keeping the tank really clean.
Of course, feeding the fish properly is imperative as well. Read on to learn everything that you need to know about feeding your discus fish.
Best Food for Discus Fish
Generally, you’re going to feed discus fish tropical flakes, pellets, or granules. Many people opt to purchase discus fish granules from aquarium stores or pet stores.
There are many types of prepared foods that will give discus fish the nutrients that they need. This is what you’ll be feeding the fish daily to keep them in good health.
You should feed your discus fish twice per day and ensure that they’re getting enough each time. So long as you feed the fish well, they can thrive when eating flakes, pellets, or granules.
Always make sure to buy food that is specifically meant for discus fish. You don’t want to feed these fish other types of fish flakes because they might not contain the right nutrients.
Discus fish aren’t picky eaters so they might eat many types of flake foods. You just need to feed them the right foods to keep them healthy and help them to grow strong.
How Much to Feed Them
Most enthusiasts say that it’s best to measure the food based on the body weight of the fish. It’s recommended to feed discus fish three percent of their body weight each feeding time.
You feed these fish twice a day under normal schedules. It’s better to do this than to focus on how long it takes the fish to eat the food.
This is because young discus fish are known to eat food much faster than older discus fish. If possible, measure the food out and feed them an appropriate amount.
To give you an idea of the usual process, many adult discus fish weigh around 75 grams. So you’d be feeding the fish 2.25 grams of food each time.
How Often to Feed Them
You should be feeding discus fish twice per day. Most people choose to feed these fish once in the morning and then once more after coming home from work.
This is a simple schedule that should be easy to keep. It’ll give you a good chance to space the feeding sessions out so the fish can work up an appetite.
Remember to feed the fish the right amount of food each time. You don’t want to overfeed these fish since it can lead to various complications.
Note that juvenile discus fish should be fed more often than adult discus fish. If you’re caring for juvenile fish, feed them three times per day.
Stick to feeding the fish 3% of their body weight each time you feed them. This will allow you to get the best results.
Will Discus Eat Shrimp?
Discus fish will love eating shrimp if you choose to give them some. There are many ways that you can add shrimp to the diet of these fish.
Some fish owners choose to give these fish shrimp pellets. Discus fish do seem to love eating shrimp pellets, but they will also eat live shrimp.
You can buy live brine shrimp and feed them to your discus fish if you’d like to. It’s also common for people to buy frozen brine shrimp or freeze-dried brine shrimp to give to the fish.
All of these options are good choices. Shrimp will be an excellent source of protein for discus fish and it can be a supplementary part of the diet without causing issues.
Do They Eat Plants?
Discus will nibble on plants a bit sometimes, but they don’t eat plants in planted fish tanks. So you don’t need to worry about these fish ruining your aquatic plants.
It’s very common for these fish to be kept in tanks with plants. They feel much more comfortable when put in tanks that have many plants.
The plants that you put in discus tanks need to be able to tolerate high water temperatures. Java ferns, Amazon swords, and anubias plants are among the most popular choices.
In nature, discus fish will eat plant matter as well as detritus. You won’t see them doing this so much in captivity since you’ll be feeding them regularly.
Do Discus Eat Worms?
There are many types of worms that discus fish will eat. Many people give their fish worms as a protein source.
It’s common to give these fish earthworms, glass worms, and white worms. You can give these fish live worms and they will enjoy eating them.
Bloodworms are another common choice that you can turn to. It’s more common for people to feed discus fish frozen bloodworms, though.
This is yet another good way to ensure that your fish are getting enough protein. You can supplement the diet with worms, but you’ll still mostly be feeding the fish granules or flakes.
Are Snails a Good Option?
Snails will be rather tough for discus fish to eat. So it’s not common for them to eat snails.
This is because discus fish have fairly small mouths despite their large size. These fish have mouths that are too small to eat most types of snails.
They could eat some small types of snails, but it’s not a practical snack for your fish. So it’s best to steer clear of giving them snails.
It’s even common for people to keep some types of snails in community tanks with discus fish. So that tells you that snails aren’t generally a food source for these fish.
What About Algae?
You might see discus fish grazing on algae sometimes since they’re omnivorous. However, they don’t really eat algae.
Algae isn’t a typical part of the diet for these fish. They will usually eat algae rounds if you try to give them to them, though.
Don’t expect discus fish to be a part of your cleanup crew in the tank. You’ll want to put bottom-dwelling catfish or snails in the tank to handle the algae.
Do Discus Eat Other Fish?
Yes, discus fish will eat other fish as long as they’re small enough. They’ll even eat their own young sometimes.
All omnivorous or carnivorous fish will generally eat fish that are smaller than them. If the fish can fit in their mouths, they will be potential meals.
This is why fish fry are in danger in community tanks. It’s easy for them to get gobbled up by the other fish in the tank due to being so tiny.
Discus fish aren’t very aggressive, but they will still eat very small fish. Be careful which types of fish you put in community tanks with them.
What Do They Eat in the Wild?
In the wild, discus fish eat many different types of food. As omnivores, they will be opportunistic eaters that will consume whatever they can.
Sometimes the fish will eat plant matter and detritus. They might also consume bugs, very small fish, and tiny crustaceans.
The diet of a wild discus fish will differ from that of a captive discus fish. Even so, you’ll be able to give the fish the right blend of nutrients by buying the proper flakes, pellets, or granules.
What to Feed Discus Fry
Discus fry are going to be quite small and will need to be fed very carefully. Generally, you’ll need to wait until the discus fish fry are five days old.
Once they’ve reached this milestone, you can start feeding them freshly-hatched brine shrimp. These brine shrimp will be tiny enough for the discus fish fry to consume them.
The fish will grow quickly if you feed them brine shrimp. Eventually, the fish will be big enough to eat the same types of food as adult discus fish.
Once the fish are larger, you’ll be feeding them flakes, granules, and pellets as normal. They’ll continue to love eating brine shrimp as a protein source throughout their lives.
How Long Can Discus Fish Go Without Eating?
If you forget to feed your discus fish it won’t die right away. That doesn’t mean you should starve the fish on purpose, though.
A healthy discus fish can survive for up to four weeks without eating. You shouldn’t test this because the fish can get very stressed and die for other reasons.
Discus fish aren’t hardy enough to be put into stressful situations without consequences. Feeding your fish daily is the best route to take to keep them healthy.
Always feed your fish twice per day as adults. Feed them the right amount so they won’t get stressed.
Stress can lead to disease and these fish are known to perish when they get sick. So focus on feeding the fish often enough and give them the right foods as well.
Knowing how to feed your discus fish will help substantially. Keeping these fish healthy will be easier when you’re feeding them high-quality foods.
Focus on giving the fish granules, flakes, or pellets most of the time. Then you’ll supplement that by feeding the fish brine shrimp or bloodworms sometimes.
When you feed the fish well they will be less likely to get sick or stressed. Aside from taking care of the water parameters, feeding the fish properly is the most important thing that you can focus on as a discus fish owner.
Jeff has always enjoyed having pets, but as a child, he was drawn to his family’s fish tank. Being able to maintain a small ecosystem and observe the behaviors and interactions in the underwater world peaked his interest early on and has kept him hooked until this day. On Avid Aquarist, Jeff shares everything he’s learned about helping aquatic life survive and thrive in a home aquarium.