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Data sheet: Symphysodon Aequifasciatus “Discus”

Photo By Felice Panico


Scientific name:  Symphysodon Aequifasciatus
Common name: Discus
Taxonomic classification
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Subclass: Neopterygii 
Order: Perciformes
Suborder: Percoidei
Family: Cichlidae
Genus: Symphysodon 
Species: Aequifasciatus
Description: Her Majesty the Discus, so called because of the disc-shaped and compressed body at the sides, has very large and rounded anal and finch fins, the ventral fins are thin and long and the caudal fin is very powerful with a delta shape.

Coloring:  Within the S. aequifasciatus species, more subspecies were classified as:

Symphysodon aequifasciatus aequifasciatus (Pellegrin 1904) – Discus green
Symphysodon aequifasciatus axelrodi (Shultz 1960) – Brown discus
Symphysodon aequifasciatus haraldi (Shultz 1960) – Blue discus
The breeders starting from these three colors managed to isolate other varieties, and thanks to crosses and hybrids, today we have an embarrassing choice of colors of these beautiful animals (var. Brown, var Red Turquoise, var. Royal Blue, var. Green, var. Blue, var. Blue Diamond, var. Red Pigeon Blood, etc.).

Behaviour: It is a very quiet fish, but during the reproductive season it becomes very territorial and aggressive with the fish of its own species.

Sexual Dimorphism: Not visible, the only way to distinguish the gender of individuals is to look at the shape of the genital papilla that is visible only during reproduction. Conical in the male and larger and cylindrical in the female.

Habitat: Sweet water, subtropical climate, bentopelagic, present in deep waters, in rocky areas, cracks and roots.

Water chemistry:

Breeding specimens:
Temperature: 28-30°C    pH: 5.5-6.5    Water hardness: 1° – 5°dH   GH: 5 – 8°dGh
Wild catches specimens:
Temperature: 29-32°C    pH: 4.5-5.5   Water hardness: 1° – 5°dH   GH: 2 – 3°dGh
Tips for breeding: We recommend plenty of space for swimming, fine substrate and submerged roots, amber water and very clean with soft water, low pH, Po4 and No3 absent, adding vitamins and trace elements, few plants, only the most robust as Anubias Sp. It suffers solitude so it is advisable to insert 6/8 young specimens so that they togheter each other, if they are adults instead it is advisable to insert a couple together with a pack of Caracids like Paracheirodon Axelorodi and Paracheirodon Innesi.

Feed: They are mostly omnivorous, but they also prefer live, lyophilized or frozen food. Favorite food: Chironomus.

Diffusion: Is spreading in the South American continent and especially in the upper part of the Amazon River and in its many affluents such as Rio Nanay, Rio Momon, Rio Yavari, Rio Ica, Rio Medera, Rio Xingu, Rio Paru, Rio Tocantis, Rio Manacapuro, Rio Purus , Rio Jari, Rio Urubo.

Swimming level: Central.
Difficulty: Difficult.

Photo By Felice Panico

Reproduction: Sexual maturity is reached at the age of 12 months for females and 16 to 18 months for males. In the aquarium their reproduction is very difficult. In case the pair of Discus seems ready for reproduction, inserts a ceramic cone where the female will lay down its eggs and the male will mow it. The newborn larvae will feed the mucus of the their parents and until they reach a size of at least 1 cm can not be weaned with fodder.




Extinction risk: Not included in the IUCN red list of endangered animals.


Felice Panico
Acquariofilo dall'età di 10 anni con esperienza in acquariologia dolce,marina e salmastra, appassionato di immersioni subacquee e di microscopia.

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