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When Do Discus Fish Get Their Color

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Return To: Featured Discus Fish 

 When Discus fish first hatch and begin free swimming, they all look the same, a brown body with extremely large black eyes compared to the rest of their body. The ratio I estimate, as 35% eye balls and 65% body and tail fin. As they grow and begin to take shape, all colors of Discus fry 1 to 1-1/2 inch begin to take on a solid burnt reddish/orange color. At a size of 2 to 3-1/2 inch, they begin to show about 10% of their inherited color. Typically, blue colored fish begin to show off a bluish sheen earlier than red colored Discus do, and spotted Discus fish develop the slowest.

When Discus fish are 1 year old and 4 to 5 inches in size, they are now showing 70% of their true inherited colors. Whether stiped, solid or spotted this percentage of color development will be the same at this age. Spotted fish still lag behind in pattern development and need another year’s worth of growth before their lines break up into more definitive spotting patterns.

It takes all Discus fish 2 years to reach 100% full color! Patterns and full body colors are completely developed, and they will not get any more intense than at this age.

Rapid growth and diet will help in their overall color development. A diet rich in Beta Carotene and Astaxanthins, which are naturally found in Krill, and Omega One flake will help Blue, Red and Orange Discus fish reach more vibrant colors earlier. While Yellow and White Discus should be fed a neutral diet of bloodworms and limit the intake of the above-mentioned vitamins to keep the yellow and white as vibrant and undisturbed as possible.

If your Discus fish are not showing the colors that you expected when they are young, this is normal. Feed more often to achieve faster growth, and incorporate the foods mentioned above into their diet to help them color up as they mature.

Read More: Do Discus Fish Need Salt in Their Aquarium