- Species name: Symphysodon aequifasciata axelrodi
- Common names: Brown Discus
- Family: Cichlidae
- Subfamily: Cichlasomatinae
- Order: Perciformes
- Class: Actinopterygii
- Maximum length: 6″ (15 cm)
- Minimum tank size: 50 gallons for a maximum of 4 Discus.
- Hardiness: Medium to difficult. The Brown Discus is one of the easiest
- Aggressiveness: Very peaceful. May become territorial when they pair off to breed.
- Distribution: South America near Belem and Rio Urubu.
Carnivorous – Beef heart and Live foods such as mosquito larvae, bloodworms or tubifex worms are best. High-quality discus pellets, frozen food, and freeze-dried food that is high in protein are also acceptable. Flakes won’t be enough. Try to vary their diet for optimum health.
Sometimes considered the ultimate challenge for the freshwater aquarium keepers, Discus originates from slow-moving waters of the Amazon basin where they can be found in deep, rocky areas, among roots and submerged trees.
In their natural habitat, Discus feeds on insect larvae, insects, and planktonic invertebrates. Perhaps the most beautiful of all freshwater aquarium fish, the Discus can rival any marine fish. Unfortunately, this is also one of the more difficult tropical fish to keep and is not recommended for beginners. Many hobbyists believe the Brown discus is the easiest to keep and breed in captivity.
The Brown Discus has the typical plate-like shape of the discus. Most of the body is yellow-brown with nine vertical stripes, which can be very visible or not seen at all. The intensity of the stripes depends on the age and strain of the fish.
The body color extends into the Dorsal and Anal fins and can be marked by blue and red streaks running parallel to the fin rays. The head is marked with a facemask of pale Blue lines and dots. The caudal fin is clear.
It is not easy to tell which are males and females. The shape of the genital papillae during spawning season is generally the best way to tell: it is pointed in males, and rounded in females, although it is not easy to detect.
The Brown Discus may be one of the easiest Discus to keep, but it is still not an easy fish. Water must be pristine so good filtration and frequent water changes are imperative to have them grow quickly and healthy. The water should be very soft (1-4 DH) and slightly acidic (pH about 6.5) with a temperature between 79 and 88°F (26-31°C).
Discus are peaceful and nervous fish. That’s why it’s imperative for them to feel secure. A lot of them die just because of stress. Lots of plants and driftwood, as well as keeping the tank in a quiet area helps a lot. Other fish may keep them constantly on guard so ideally, they should be kept in a species tank. It is best to keep them in a group of 5-6 and to disturb them as little as possible. When kept in a community tank, the choice of tank mates is very important.
Remember that unless the Discus are small, small fish such as Neon tetras will be food. Try to avoid any aggressive or large fish. When under stress, the Discus usually becomes very dark and refuse to eat for days. When that happens, you need to find the problem and fix it, or you’ll risk losing your Discus.