Loading... Please wait...

Discus Fish Blog - Discus Fish Information

Discus Fish Grow Faster in a Smaller Aquarium

Posted by

Return To; Featured Discus Fish

My experience growing discus fish is that they grow faster in smaller aquariums rather than large aquariums. My reasoning is simply, they burn fewer calories in a smaller tank due to lack of area to swim in. Therefore one may ask, why do they grow so large in the wild?My answer is that they have an abundant supply of fresh water and food which in an aquarium environment could not be simulated without polluting the tank. Another benefit to growing discus fish in a smaller aquarium is that they grow more uniformly. In a bigger tank the dominant and most aggressive discus gets all the food and therefore outgrows the rest, causing an uneven growth rate within the school of discus fish. Some believe that this uneven growth is due to hormones secreted from discus fish stunting others in the same aquarium. I do not believe this is true, and have not seen uneven growth when grown in smaller aquariums.

Here, at Mac’s Discus I use only 20, 30, and 50 gallon tanks. I use the 50 gallon tanks for young adults which are 4 inch and up. I use 30 gallon tanks for large broods of 60 fish in each tank until they are 2 ½ inch, then I split them into two 30 gallon tanks. I use my 20 gallon tanks for breeding tanks and to house up to 20 babies 2 ½ inch discus fish. By raising the discus fish in these smaller tanks I achieve uniform and faster growth. A 2 ½ inch discus fish is only three months old when they are shipped to customers. The growth rate from 2 ½ inch to 4 inch keeping the fish in a small aquarium will only take four more months. If I were to raise the same fish in 100 gallon tanks there growth rate would be cut in half, and it would take eight months to a year to get up to the same 4 inch size. I would see uneven growth rates where the dominant fish which gets all the food and therefore outgrows the rest. Whereas, in the smaller tanks at 4 to 5 months of age the discus would show minimal size differences amongst each other.

The size of the discus fish school will also determine how uniformly they grow. The larger the school the more diluted the pecking order and therefore the more even their growth rate. I do not believe, and do not follow the rule of thumb whereby one discus should get 5 to 10 gallons of water. Instead I stock my tanks with more discus fish until there is no visible pecking order. This will ensure that at feeding time all the fish will get a chance for food and therefore grow at a more uniform rate. Discus fish like a fresh tank and weekly water changes of 25% is what I suggest to customers. That being said a good school of adult discus fish in a 50 gallon tank would be 8 to 15 fish, the bigger the school the less the pecking order. In a 30 gallon tank I would suggest a school between 6 and 8, and in a 20 gallon tank 3 to 4.

Temperature is also very important when growing out discus fish. The warmer your aquarium is the more it will stimulate appetite; your fish will eat more and grow faster. I tell customers that in an un-planted aquarium to keep their temperature between 86 and 88 and a planted aquarium keep the temperature between 84 and 86. This will enable the plants to thrive in the discus to maintain a healthy appetite.

So, if you want to grow big discus fish, start them in small tanks and as they approach 4 inches in a few months they can be moved to bigger tanks. I emphasize the trick is to start them in small tanks to restrict their movement and calorie burn. Hope this blog helps I happen to stumble on this method years ago by mistake and it has worked well for me and will work well for you.

Read More; Discus Fish

Discus Fish

Return To; Discus Fish Grow Faster in a Smaller Aquarium Discus fish, also known as Symphysodon Discus Fish are named after their distinctive round disk like shape. Discus fish can grow up to 6 - 8 inches in size. They are a fresh water fish native to the slow moving, warm tropical Amazon River basin and its tributaries. [...]

Read More »


Discus Fish Secrets

Return To; Discus FishIf you want to successfully keep and breed discus fish, then you have to be aware of all of their secrets. One of the most important discus fish secrets is that they are schooling fish. This means that they prefer to live in a group with other discus fish. If you purchase just one discus fish for [...]

Read More »


Keeping Discus Fish

Return To; Discus Fish SecretsKeeping discus fish can be a challenge, but if you are successful, you will have a beautiful and lively addition to your aquarium. Discus fish are sensitive to water conditions, so you will need to establish your tank carefully prior to putting your discus fish in, and you will need to monitor it frequently and keep [...]

Read More »


Discus Fish Breeding

Return To; Keeping Discus FishDiscus fish can be difficult to keep, and breeding discus fish is even more complicated. Discus are very sensitive, and you must be very careful in maintaining their tank. Discus are tropical fish that originate from the Amazon River basin. Their tank must be kept like their natural habitat, so the water must be very warm. [...]

Read More »


Discus Fish Disease, Cloudy Eye Treatment

Return to; Treating Internal Discus Fish DiseaseDiscus fish like all tropical aquarium fish are susceptible to eye fungus disease, also referred to as cloudy eye. Eye fungus is an environmental issue, if untreated, cloudy eye will destroy the pupil and leave the discus fish blind. This disease can occur rapidly, almost overnight, and can be very stubborn and takes [...]

Read More »


Discus Fish Information

Return To; Discus Fish BreedingDiscus fish originate from calm waters of the Tropical Amazon River basin and today are offered in many beautiful, bright colors. They vary in size from 2” to 7” and their bodies are round and flat with extended fins. They have red eyes, and many have a series of vertical stripes called bars on their bodies [...]

Read More »


Discus Fish Tank

Return To; Discus Fish Care Basics 101You can be successful with keeping discus fish in an aquarium if you maintain a proper discus fish tank for them. You will need a large tank, with the exact size dependent upon the size and number of discus fish you plan to have. A tank of 29 to 50 gallons are two [...]

Read More »


How to Cure Discus Fish Diseases

Return To; Feeding Your Discus FishDiscus fish are beautiful, vividly colored fish that are a great addition to an aquarium. Keepers of discus fish are well aware that their water must be kept clean and at specific parameters for temperature, and pH levels. In addition to their sensitivity to their habitat, they are also delicate in nature, making them more [...]

Read More »


Discus Fish Aquarium-Getting Started

Return To; Discus Fish TankDiscus are popular for aquariums because they are large, vividly colored fish that are marked in a wide variety of interesting patterns. Discus are tropical fish and keeping them does require that their water parameters be maintained. Because they can grow up to 8” long and almost as tall, you will need a 30 to 50 [...]

Read More »