Discus Aquarium Plant Considerations

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Discus Aquarium Plant Considerations


In this article, we’ll first give you some suggestions on what to consider when deciding on plants. Afterward, we’ll describe which plants you should bring to your aquarium and the benefits they will provide. Lastly, we’ll mention which plants you should avoid.

Three important things for you to consider when choosing plants for your discus aquarium include:

  • You want low maintenance plants. 
  • You need plants that will thrive in the lighting and temperature conditions suitable for discus.
  • Sturdy plants make great breeding areas for your discus.

Since discus are senstive to their environment, choose plants that thrive in the same water conditions as discus. Your best option is to select plants that provide an environment similar to the discus’ native Amazon habitat. In the wild, discus are generally found among plant material, submerged wood, and slowly-moving water with filtered light. If your tank holds wild discus or ones that are just a generation or two removed from wild stock, simulate their natural habitat as much as possible. On the other hand, if your discus are from generations of tank-bred discus, you have options. You can either keep your tank bare, or you can add plants that simulate the discus’ native habitat. Your fish will be more beautifully displayed and comfortable in a setting that is closer to their natural habitat.

While plants can serve helpful purposes for your tank, they can also cause problems. For instance, plants can harbor parasites, which would make it harder for you to keep your tank clean. Additionally, plants can make it more difficult for you to medicate your fish. However, don’t let these potential problems discourage you. Plants will contribute many benefits to your discus aquarium. In the next section, you’ll see what plants will benefit your aquarium.



Blue Diamond Discus and Amazon Sword Plant

Echinodorus plants are native to the Amazon Basin. They come in many sizes and shapes including sword plants. The Amazon sword (Echinodorus Bleheri) has large, bright, green leaves and a fountain shape. Discus can easily hide among the leaves of this plant. Although the leaves are a good size and shape for spawning sites, discus may need a more solid spawning surface. Other suitable sword plants include E. amazonicusE. majorE. cordifolius, and the Ozelot sword.

Echinodorus also include many plants that will work well in the foreground or as accents. For example, dwarf sword plants are presentable in the foreground. E. tenellus is easy to grow and has a grass-like appearance. E. quadricostatus and E. latifolius are suitable plants for a transition between background and foreground.


Anubias Plant

Anubias plants come from Africa. Although they are not indigenous to the discus biotope, they are often included with Echinodorus in discus aquariums. Compared with the Echinodorus, the Anubias has a different leaf shape and a darker green hue, providing a nice contrast. These plants work well as background and accent plants. Since they are also sturdy, they can serve as spawning sites.

Types of Anubias include:

  • Anubias barteri – This is a large plant with horizontal leaves up to six inches long.
  • Nana – This is a small plant this is good for foreground or mid-ground detail.
  • A. coffeeafolia – This is a plant with deeply incised leaves and is very attractive in the mid-ground.
  • A. afzelli and A. congensis –  These are plants that have vertical petioles and leaves. They look like sword plants. They are suited best for taller aquariums.

Other Plants

There are several other types of plants that will work in a discus tank. Taller and thinner plants work well in discus aquariums. Some plants you may try include:

  • Crytocoryn family (C. wendtiiC. blassi) – These are nice accent plants with strong, vertical shapes and dark colors.
  • Ammania family (A. gracilusA. senegalensis) – These very attractive, red accent plants are not extremely fast growers.
  • B. monnieri – This plant can be used as an accept plant and background plant. It is a fairly slow grower and has a bright green color.
  • Java Fern – This is a very hardy aquatic plant.
  • Microsorum pteropus
  • Micranthemum family
  • Hydrocotyle family


Plants that are used in cooler water usually do not do well in a discus tank. Plants that are fast growers or produce dense foliage also aren’t good for a discus aquarium. They usually require too much pruning, which would disturb the discus too much. Plants to avoid in your discus tank include:

  • Samolus parviflorus
  • Amoracia aquatica
  • Bacopa caroliniana
  • Hygrophila family
  • Ludwigia family
  • Rotala family
  • Large Vallisneria family


  • What are some purposes of plants in your discus aquairum?
  • Which plants will you bring to your discus aquarium?
  • Which plants will you avoid bringing to your discus aquarium?

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