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The Best (And Worst) Discus Fish Tank Mates

The Best (And Worst) Discus Fish Tank Mates

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This post is written to the author's best knowledge and is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. In addition, this post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Are you considering purchasing some discus fish for your tank? Discus fish are rather pretty and many people want to own them.

You might find these fish to be so beautiful that you will want to make them part of a community tank. However, you might be worried due to the reputation that discus fish have for being a bit delicate.

As you’d expect, it’s imperative to put discus fish in aquariums only with compatible fish. Otherwise, you could encounter various problems.

Continue reading to learn about discus fish tank mates. This should help you to find ideal tank mates for your discus fish so you can put together a satisfying community aquarium.

Are Discus Community Fish?

You can keep discus fish in community tanks so long as you research appropriate tank mates. It’s also important to note that these fish need to be kept with a certain number of their own kind.

Discus fish won’t do well in community fish if there are only one or two discus in the tank. They’re schooling fish that are most comfortable in larger groups.

To have a good experience, you must keep three to five of these fish in a community tank. Some enthusiasts recommend six or more, but many people have had a great time keeping three to five discus in community aquariums.

It’s also worth noting that discus fish need to be monitored closely. The water parameters need to be kept right where they need to be for the discus fish.

If the water in the community tank gets too dirty it’ll be very detrimental to the fish. These fish can get stressed easily when the water quality dips in the tank.

So be careful when keeping discus fish as community fish. Focus on regular tank maintenance and ensure that you do water changes often enough.

Can Discus Live With Cichlids?

There are some cichlids that can live with discus fish. However, not all cichlids will be appropriate tank mates.

Some of the best tank mates for discus fish are German blue ram cichlids. These are dwarf cichlids that are visually appealing and they also have a reputation for being fairly peaceful.

These fish will get along well with your discus fish. If you want to buy cichlids for the tank, it’s best to go with German blue rams.

Stay away from larger and more aggressive cichlids. These fish might stress the discus fish and cause issues in the tank.

Can They Live With Angelfish?

Angelfish are an interesting and somewhat controversial choice. Many people do indeed keep angelfish in community fish tanks with discus fish.

However, there are enthusiasts who are very much against this practice. Many say that angelfish are simply a bit too aggressive for discus.

It’s possible that angelfish might bother them. They could wind up causing the discus fish stress and this has the potential to lead to health issues.

That said, there are so many people who keep these fish together successfully. Angelfish do look great in community fish tanks with discus fish.

So it’s possible to keep these fish as community tank mates, but some say there could be problems. It’s up to you to decide whether you want to go for it or not.

Can They Live With Shrimp?

Shrimp won’t make great tank mates for discus fish. This doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to keep discus and shrimp in the same tank, though.

Some people keep semi-dwarf shrimp in community tanks with discus fish. If you choose to attempt this, keep the shrimp in larger groups.

The discus fish will likely eat the shrimp sometimes. You should provide hiding spots in the tank to try to prevent the shrimp from getting eradicated.

Since the shrimp will be eaten by the discus fish periodically, it’s easy to see that this isn’t a perfect match. You may wish to stay away from putting discus fish in the same tank as shrimp.

What About Snails?

Keeping snails in the fish tank can be beneficial in certain ways. Some enjoy the way that they look while others like to utilize them as cleaners.

Assassin snails can work out well in community tanks with discus fish. This is a carnivorous type of snail that is great at keeping a fish tank clean.

Don’t worry because the assassin snail isn’t big enough to eat your discus fish. It’ll simply go around eating bits of food that have been missed which will help with keeping the water quality high.

To make this work, you’ll need to keep the water temperature toward the lower end of what the discus fish like. So long as you’re comfortable doing that, assassin snails will work out well in your new community aquarium.

Can Discus Live With Goldfish?

No, discus fish aren’t compatible with goldfish. This simply comes down to the two types of fish having care requirements that are too different.

Generally, the water temperatures that discus fish prefer will be a bit too warm for goldfish. Also, goldfish are rather messy.

Even if the water parameters matched up better, goldfish would endanger the health of the discus fish. Discus fish need the water quality to stay high, and goldfish are so messy that they make the water dirty.

So forget about putting goldfish in your community tank. If you want to own goldfish, put them in a separate community tank or give them their own tank.

Are Severums an Option?

Severums and discus fish should be compatible. Many aquarium enthusiasts keep these fish together in community tanks.

It’s best to ensure that the discus fish are kept in slightly larger numbers when doing this. Many recommend keeping eight or more discus in the tank when you plan to put them with severums.

One potential problem is that discus fish are slow eaters while severums are fast eaters. This could stress the discus, but it’s less of an issue when the discus have large enough numbers.

Just ensure that the fish are eating well enough and all should be well. Severums are great fish to own and should look nice in the community tank.

Can They Live With Bettas?

Bettas aren’t a great choice for community tanks with discus fish. Although bettas are quite beautiful, the males are going to be slightly aggressive.

It might be easier to keep female bettas with discus fish in a community tank. Even so, many experts recommend steering away from this combination.

You can keep bettas with discus fish if you want to. It’s just not an ideal pairing because the discus fish could get stressed by the activity of the bettas.

Keep this in mind and plan your community tank accordingly. There are plenty of better options that you can go with.

If you love bettas you can always buy some and give them their own tank. Bettas are excellent fish to own, but they’re just not perfect tank mates for discus fish.

Can Discus Live With Gourami?

Dwarf gouramis should work out fine as tank mates for discus fish. These gouramis are peaceful and will get along well with many types of fish.

Some standard gouramis might not do so well in this situation. Dwarf gouramis are common and you can easily find several options that will appeal to you.

Remember that discus fish are much more delicate than dwarf gouramis. So you need to pay close attention to the care needs of the discus.

Keep the water clean and be sure that the discus are kept in appropriately-sized groups. So long as you do this it should be fine to keep them in community tanks with dwarf gouramis.

What About Arowana?

It isn’t wise to keep discus fish in a community tank with Arowana fish. The Arowana is going to grow at a much faster rate and it’ll get bigger than the discus.

This could be a recipe for disaster and you don’t want to put your discus fish in danger. Arowana fish are very pretty and it makes sense that you’d be interested in them, but it’s not worth the risk.

Some choose to keep these two types of fish together when they’re small. Since the fish will grow faster than you realize it isn’t a very practical choice.

Avoid pairing Arowana fish with discus fish since it’s not safe to do so. You should go with one of the many safe tank mate options for discus fish that you’ve been presented with already.

Are Tetras a Good Choice?

There are quite a few types of tetras that people love keeping in community tanks with discus fish. Tetras are very peaceful fish that aren’t going to bother the discus fish in any way.

You can go with many different tetra fish and get excellent results. Two of the best tank mate options for discus fish will be cardinal tetras and rummy nose tetras.

Both of these fish are small while still being large enough to avoid getting eaten by the discus fish. Seeing these fish swimming around in the tank can make the discus feel more comfortable, too.

Tetras are prey fish and seeing them swim around normally will embolden the discus fish and make them feel safe. So it’s good to keep tetras with discus fish since it’ll keep the discus from hiding all the time.

Can Discus Live With Guppies?

Guppies should do okay in a community tank with discus fish. The only challenge will be getting the temperatures right for both fish.

Since discus fish are delicate it’s best to stick to the temperature range that is preferred by them. The guppies might not live as long as they can in this situation due to being kept in temperatures that are slightly higher than usual for them.

Despite this, many people do keep guppies in community aquariums with discus fish. So the pairing can work out fine, but it’s not a perfect match by any means.

Even so, it’s good to know that guppies are peaceful and fun to watch in the tank. You might like putting them in your community fish tank.

What About Cory Catfish?

Cory catfish are among the most popular bottom-dwelling catfish that people buy. They’re great community fish and they can also be kept in tanks with discus fish.

It’s great to own cory catfish because they get along well with so many types of fish. They’re going to mind their own business at the bottom of the tank.

The discus fish will just stay away from them and it won’t ever become a problem. Also, cory cats will help out a little bit with keeping the tank clean.

Overall, this is a very good match that will make your community tank even better. It’s highly recommended to consider cory catfish for your community aquarium.

Can They Live With Plecos?

Plecos are also bottom-dwelling fish that are commonly kept in community tanks. In many ways, they’re similar to cory cats, but there are some important differences.

Some worry about keeping these fish in community tanks with discus fish. Slow-moving discus fish might wind up having plecos attach to them.

The plecos may try to suck the slime off of the discus fish for a quick meal. This can injure the fish.

Problems such as this aren’t necessarily that common, though. Also, many people keep plecos in the same tank as discus fish and have no problems whatsoever.

So you can keep plecos with discus fish if you want to. Just know that the pairing isn’t as safe as it could be.

Do Discus Fish Eat Other Fish?

It is possible for discus fish to eat other fish. Like many other types of fish, discus fish are carnivorous.

This means that they’re known to eat meaty foods. When the opportunity presents itself, discus fish will eat fish that are small enough to fit in their mouths.

So if you put them in community tanks with fish that are very small they might get eaten. When choosing tank mates for discus fish you always have to consider the size of the fish.

Since this can be an issue, it’s best to pick fish that are more than large enough to fend for themselves. Discus fish aren’t incredibly aggressive and they won’t go after fish that they know they can’t eat.

When fish breed in a community tank the discus fish might eat the babies. This is a common thing that many fish do.

Introducing New Discus Fish to a Tank

Introducing discus to a tank is easier when you float the bag for a little while. Let the bag water adjust to the water temperature in the tank and then cut the bag to let the fish swim into the main tank.

Some say that you should just scoop the fish out and put them in the tank. Ideally, you don’t want to mix the bag water with the tank water.

Once the discus fish have been added to the tank, turn the lights off for twenty-four hours. Give them a bit of time to get acclimated to the tank.

Ensure that there are hiding spots in the tank. This will help the discus fish to feel more comfortable.

After a day has passed you should do your first water change and begin feeding the fish as normal. If the fish are shy at first, know that it will take them a while to feel comfortable in their new environment.

Keeping the fish in a group of three or more will help. It’s said that having six or more discus fish will be even better.

This is because discus fish are schooling fish. They don’t feel comfortable if kept in groups that are too small.

Final Thoughts

You have so many options to consider when choosing tank mates for discus fish. Read about all of the options above and then determine which fish you’d like to go with.

Many of the fish above will work out nicely. Some options such as goldfish will be poor choices, though.

Discus fish can thrive in a community tank setting when you pick appropriate tank mates. Be sure to monitor the water parameters carefully and cater to the needs of the discus.

This will help to keep the fish alive and healthy. Since these fish are delicate it’s best to make their care a priority over the other fish.

You should have a good experience so long as you choose good tank mates. Your new community fish tank is very likely something you’re going to love.

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