Selecting Discus Fish: How to Choose and Buy the Best Discus

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Selecting Discus Fish: How to Choose and Buy the Best Discus

The first and most important part of Discus Keeping is to choose and select a good and high quality Discus Fish before buying it. If you go the wrong way in selecting fish, you will probably have many problems with discus keeping in all the next steps. There are various factors that you must know to be able to choose and buy the best possible discus fish. so if you want to know how to select the best discus, this is a useful article for you.

Selecting Discus Fish

Although the first thing that amateur discus buyers notice is the color of the fish, there are more important things needed to be considered in choosing and selecting a discus fish. Even without human interventions and genetic changes, discus fish have a wide range of color. Therefore too much focus on color criteria may lead to choosing a wrong fish. Before choosing a discus fish, consider the following factors:

What to Look for when Selecting Discus


The most important factor in selecting a discus fish is it’s health.You must reconsider buying if there are any signs or symptoms of illness in discus fish.

Signs of Healthy Discus Fish

Discus fish illness signs are not always obvious and amateur customers may miss them. In order to choose the best and good discus, it is necessary to know the signs of healthy discus fish. Check the following criteria:


Discus fish should be active and responsive to your hand movements. Healthy discus fish usually come to the surface to get food in response to getting close to the aquarium or upward motion of your hands. In best situations, the discus fish follows your hand or even goes up and down with your hand. Do not buy a discus fish which is too shy or under too much stress.


Healthy discus fish must have clear and healthy eyes.One of the first signs of illness in discus fish is cloudy eyes. If the eyes are cloudy, matte, white, bubbled, or popped out, there is definitely something wrong with the discus. Another factor you must consider is the size of the eyes. If the eyes are too big, compared to the fishes body, the fish is probably small for its gestational age and therefore is not a good choice despite its healthy and beautiful color.


One of the first signs that shows stress, sickness, or other unusual conditions is a change in skin color and condition. Avoid buying discus fish with black and dark skin (There is definitely something wrong it). Avoid buying discus fish with white spots, circles, scratches, or scars on the skin. Prevention is always better than treatment. Some viruses last months in your aquarium tank and getting rid of them will take a long time.


Only buy discus fish with crystal clear fins or tails and with no scratches, sores, holes, colors, or hormones on them. Any erosion or color on fins or tail is highly suggestive of sickness.


Long white or yellow feces hanging from discus fish is suggestive of internal infections, parasites, and etc. getting a fish like this will highly increase the risk of disease transmission to your main tank. Some parasite infections are really difficult or even impossible to be cured.


In some cases the style of the body of the fish is indicative of illness. For example being too fat or too skinny, especially in head and forehead area, not having a round or oval shape, any diversions in body, any dumps or holes around the stomach and other abnormalities indicate a sickness. Do not buy this discus fish.


One of the other indicators that help you choose a healthy discus fish is the characteristics of gills and breaths. A healthy adult discus fish in proper condition, breathes once every second or slightly less than a second. If a discus fish breathes fast, there is probably something wrong with the fish or its living condition. Note that fast breaths are not always sign of problems but it is always best to be cautious when buying and selecting discus fish.


If you are new and inexperienced in discus fish keeping, I suggest not to buy a fish with above signs and avoid getting a fish from a tank containing even a single fish with disease signs.

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Comment (1)

  • djpilarski

    Something should be said about adding adult fish to an existing tank if you only have two or three and want to add more. I have always made sure I purchased fish the same size as whats already in my tank to keep pecking order to minimal damage.

    November 18, 2021 at 9:23 pm

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