Discus Strains and Their Differences

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Discus Strains and Their Differences


Diverse subspecies and variations of discus are available. The four main subspecies of discus fish are:

Green Discus

Green Diamond Discus
The green discus displays turquoise to blue markings running through the head and upper parts of the body. The body color is yellowish-brown with the lower parts spotted red. The anal and dorsal fins are turquoise with red markings. The royal green and the tefè green have dark, vertical stripes; the Peruvian green has more red spots than other green discus.

Brown Discus

Brown Discus
Although variations are available, the body is usually yellow-brown. Iridescent spots and stripes cover the body, the dorsal and anal fins are blue-green to red, and the caudal fin is clear. The pelvic fins are long and slender, and the pectoral fins are transparent.
The brown discus is a subspecies of the green discus, and many are imported from Southeast Asia. A discus that has been bred in captivity has a redder hue than those caught in the wild. 

Blue Discus

Cobalt Discus
The body color of the blue discus is yellowish-brown to light turquoise. The dorsal and anal fins are deep iridescent blue and red. Turquoise markings run through the head and upper parts of the body.
The blue discus also has color variations. A royal blue discus has distinct blue lines while the red royal blue variation has red and blue markings.

Heckel Discus

Heckel Discus
The heckel discus is rounder than most other discus and has a red body color with turquoise veins running throughout. Although most of the heckel’s fins are the same color as the body, the caudal and pectoral fins are transparent. In young fish, the body color is a dull brown.
It is one of the hardest discus fish to breed. Two common heckel varieties are available: the pineapple discus and the red discus. The pineapple discus has a faded pastel coloring, while the red discus has a red body with turquoise veining.
As the heckel is more sensitive to changes in water conditions and pollutants than other discus, it is very susceptible to disease.


Several variations and mutations of the fish have developed. Here are a few of the many variations:


Ghost Discus

Blue Diamond

Blue Diamond Discus


Blue Snakeskin Discus

Red Snakeskin Discus

Pigeon Blood

Pigeon Blood Discus

Snowflake/Snow White

Snow White Discus


Albino Blue Diamond Discus


White Calico Discus

We have only mentioned several of the multitudes of species available. And today, more and more discus varieties are continuing to be developed!


  • Which discus species interest you the most?
  • What are the four main subspecies of discus?
  • Why do you think so many different species of discus have been developed?

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