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How Long Do Discus Fish Live if You Take Good Care of Them

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Discus fish is not only considered a hard fish to work with but also to provide care for. It is not recommended to beginner aquarists at all. It is hard to work with and requires a lot of care on your end. That is why many people who want to keep this fish have a question scaring them away; how long do discus fish live? So, they invest their time and money in the right candidate that is going to stick with them for a while.

Discus fish live about 10 years on average. With good care the lifespan can be increased. Keep Discus fish at 85 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure a strong immune system. Reduce stress by properly arranging their tank and feed a balanced diet. Strong and healthy fish will likely live longer.

Rest assured, this article will provide you with enough information about managing certain tank and water conditions to prolong the life of your discus fish at home.

Discus fish’s tank requirements you should know about

As discussed earlier, it lives for about ten years in general, but with perfect conditions, the lifespan can be increased to about 15 years. It needs a high temperature as well that should be properly maintained. The high-temperature requirement compels the professionals to keep this in an isolated tank with only similar species of fish. The most compatible fish to go with Discus fish can be;

  • Cardinal tetras
  • Neon
  • Emperor
  • Rummynose tetras

You need to change the tank’s water regularly. Changing about 25 percent of the total water within the tank every other day seems to be a practical and popular option among the aquarists community.

Some people do a forty percent water change while others have done about 50 percent every other week. You can check the water parameters with the test kit and evaluate your particular scenario’s outcome. Be sure about the consistency of managing temperature and keep water change fixed at a certain value. It doesn’t stop here. There is more to keeping this fish healthy and maintaining tank conditions. You need to know if you can be committed to fulfilling all the requirements. 

The lifespan of discus fish and its care

Now you know that lifespan of discus fish is about ten years. Special attention to the tank condition (water change and higher temperature regulation) is to be paid if you want to make it happen.

Discus fish is among the most luscious and peaceful fish; no doubt, it is the first pick for various beginners. But eventually, it can become too much for them to care for this fish, and to do so consistently is intensive labor not many can handle.

One can’t help but wonder how long before their beautiful pet fish dies? You want to stretch the duration as far as possible, and with perfect tank conditions, it can be stretched too. People go with this specific type of fish because it has an increased lifespan than most tropical fish.

In the wild, this fish has an average lifespan of 10 years; the same applies to the fish kept in captivity. Unlike most tropical fish, only two factors regulate discus fish’s lifespan: tank conditions and diet.

Optimizing suitable tank conditions for Discus fish

Discus fish shouldn’t be kept by those who are not sincere with their pets or can’t deal with the extensive detail and consistent care that this fish requires. If you want to ensure optimal health for this fish, water conditions should not be taken lightly and should be strictly followed.

An adult discus fish can easily grow up to 9 inches in length, which means that it requires a tank with a little more depth. The best advice you can follow here is to keep this fish in a 5-6 group and use a 50-60 gallon tank.

You shouldn’t ignore another detail, keeping them in a planted tank that uses a CO2injection. It will help lower the pH of the water, which is extremely necessary for optimum growth for this fish.

Living parameters for discus fish

The suitable temperature for this fish should be in the range of 82-85 degrees. The pH should be maintained at nothing less or more than 6.5. Ensure that your pH levels don’t fluctuate, and 6.5 is not the only limit as a consistently balanced pH of 6.4-7.8 up to 8.5 seems to work fine as long as it doesn’t fluctuate consistently.

The overall water hardness should fall in between 1-4 DH. You are required to consistently change the water as discus fish is extremely sensitive to nitrate levels.    

What kind of diet is suitable for discus fish?

Discus fish is omnivore in nature, which means that it is not picky about the food. In nature, this fish eats the small insects and their larvae, and some types of algae. This fish also feasts on other invertebrates that are bloodworms.

But if you can’t provide for the live diet, then alternatives are a suitable option to go for. No matter what specific brand or diet you fixate on, make sure that it packs the right amount of nutrients as required by discus fish to ensure optimal growth. Some of the best food options for discus fish include;

  • Crustaceans
  • Vegetables and algae
  • Color flakes
  • Spirulina flakes
  • Tropical granules
  • Algae rounds
  • Shrimp pellets
  • Frozen and live food

Only use profound quality dry or frozen food for discus fish. Discus fish might not eat plants within the tank, but you can include vegetables in their diet.

Acclimating discus fish, diseases to look for, and other interesting information

It might take a while for discus fish to get accustomed to its new surroundings, and it applies to other wildlife. Acclimatization is essential and is often tied with the water changes; thus should be taken seriously.

Acclimatization of discus fish

Be mindful about including some deworming medication before you can transfer your fish into the aquarium. It will ensure that no infestation of any kind can take place, thus limiting the chances of the discus fish incurring any disease.

The aquarium’s surroundings need to be calm and welcoming, so discus fish can complete its acclimatization process without any trouble. You need to closely monitor the first few hours of discus fish in the tank and be prepared to take instant action if something seems out of the ordinary. A list of things as a quick reminder about acclimatization of this fish;

  • Include deworming medicine into the tank water
  • Provide calm and noise-free surrounding to the aquarium
  • Closely monitor everything for the first few hours.
  • Don’t leave sight of Discus fish, and don’t feed them until they feel safe.

If there are some complications, get medical help right away, it also leaves with the question about certain diseases your Discus fish can contract, which is explained as follows.

Discus fish diseases that you should be cautious about

Although the lifespan of discus fish is pretty great, still the chances of this fish contracting a fatal disease and facing an untimely death are imminent. You can discard a variety of diseases if you can keep your aquarium clean and adequately maintained.

Having clean water is no certificate that your fish won’t contract any disease, and therefore you should have complete information about some of the likely diseases this fish can come around;

  • Flicking and moving about with clamped fins
  • Loss of balance
  • Fin Rot
  • Shallow breathing
  • Protuberant abdomen
  • Ick
  • Flukes
  • Leaches can occur on their body.    

Instant action can save the life of the fish and help you tackle the disease/infection at an early stage before it can become fatal or life-threatening. Seek medical attention right away if there is no betterment among the discus fish’s signs and symptoms.

You have to stick with 20-25% changing of water every week if you want to ensure safe and sanitized water conditions. But remember one thing: the water parameters are kept the same every time.

Closely focus on cleaning the tank from the biomass, and don’t forget to deworm the fish every now and then to protect it from various diseases.

Common harm that discus fish can face, number of fish in a tank, and more

Overeating can end up being a bit of a problem for these fish. It would help if you were closely monitoring and always be cautious about this. Due to a compact and somewhat compressed body structure, these fish don’t take large portions of food that well, and it can be the cause of consistent discomfort for these little buddies. You need to provide them with small portions of food throughout the day.

Be very mindful about the quantity of food you are giving them. Please don’t exceed the amount of food other than something that they can efficiently finish off in about five minutes. On the other hand, an adult discus fish should be fed three times a day; on the contrary, the young ones need food almost five times a day.

How many discus fish you can keep within the tank?

Although it is best if there is only a single discus fish for a ten gallons water tank, you can keep more fish depending on how large your tank is. If you have a tank that is about 100 gallons, you can keep as much as ten discus fish in the tank and not worry about it.

This is done to ensure that the fish has enough space to roam freely and be about their wits because overcrowding instills a sense of feeling stressed. Another interesting thing you might be interested in is how long these fish can survive without food?

Survival of discus fish without food

This can become a serious problem if you travel a lot as many people have the same question. No one would like to leave their beloved fish at home with no one to attend to their food requirements, only to find it floating dead on the water.

On the other hand, the discus fish don’t require a lot of food to get by, and it also responds well to zero availability of food for a few days. It means that you won’t have to pass the responsibility to someone else. Young fish can live without food for about three weeks, whereas adult fish can survive as long as two months without eating anything.


Discus fish is an exceptionally calm and beautiful tropical fish to keep with about ten years of average lifespan. Even a minute fluctuation in water temperature can prove catastrophic for the fish; that is why you must make your mind about purchasing this fish from the get-go.

Only stick with it if you can deliver in aspects of being consistent and detrimental with all the regulations and fulfilling all the classic fish requirements.        

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