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Brown Discus

The Brown Discus is a beautiful fish that can be found in many different environments. 

They are a popular choice for both home and commercial aquariums due to their coloring and easy care requirements. 

In this post, we will take a closer look at the brown discus and discuss some of the best ways to care for them. 

We will also share some tips on how to create the perfect environment for these fascinating fish. 


Scientific NameSymphysodon aequifasciatus axelrodi
Common NameBrown Discus
Size13.7 cm
Temperature79 and 88°F (26-31°C).
Carbonate Hardness1-4 DH
OriginSouth America – Amazon River Basin
DistributionSouth America near Belem and Rio Urubu.
Min. Tank Size50 gallons for a maximum of 4 Discus.
HardinessMedium to difficult
Brown Discus Characteristics

Brown Discus Origin & Habitat

Brown Discus is a freshwater aquarium species that comes from sluggish Amazon basin streams where they may be found in deep, rocky regions, among roots and submerged trees.

Brown Discus Appearance & Colors

The Brown Discus has the discus’ typical plate-like form. The majority of the body is golden brown, with nine vertical stripes that may be visible or not seen at all.

The color of the stripes varies based on the fish’s age and strain. The primary color of the body is yellow, but it may have blue and red streaks running parallel to the fin rays.

The face is covered with a light blue mask and dots, and the tail is transparent.

2. Length

The body length of this fish ranges from 13.7 cm (5.4 in) to 20.3 cm (8.0 in).

How to Care for Brown Discus?

1. Water Parameters

Water Changes

Excellent filtration and regular water changes are necessary for this fish to thrive and develop fast.

We recommend a minimum of 50% weekly water changes for this species.

Water Temperature

Brown Discus are native to the South American Amazon Basin, where the water temperatures range from 79-88°F (26-31°C).

It’s critical to keep these temperatures consistent in the aquarium so that they feel at ease.

pH Range

Considering their natural habitat, the Brown Discus prefers slightly acidic water with a pH of about 6.7.

Make sure not to swing the pH too much as it can be harmful to their health.

Carbonate Hardness

The carbonate hardness (KH) of the Brown Discus’ natural habitat is low, around 1-4°dGH.

Ammonia, Nitrite & Nitrate

The Brown Discus is sensitive to changes in the water’s chemistry and even faint traces of pollutants.

Thus, you should check the water parameters regularly and take measures to keep the ammonia and nitrite levels at zero. The nitrate level should also be below 20 ppm.

2. Tank Setup

Tank Size

Brown Discus loves to hang out in groups, so you’ll need a spacious tank that can accommodate at least 4-5 fish.

We recommend a minimum tank size of 50 gallons, however, providing them with more space is always better.

Hiding Places

Brown Discus is peaceful but nervous, and many of them die just because of stress. That’s why it’s imperative for them to feel secure.

You can provide them with security by adding a lot of hiding places in their aquarium. Plants, driftwood, and keeping the tank in a quiet location can help reduce stress levels and make your fish feel comfortable.

Brown Discus Diet

Brown discus are predatory by nature and prefer to eat live foods. This species, like all Discus, requires a varied diet with only limited Tubifex worm feedings to avoid difficulties.

Their diet should include:

  • Beef heart
  • Mosquito larvae
  • Bloodworms
  • High-quality discus pellets
  • Flakes
  • Brine shrimp
  • Black worms
  •  Insect larvae
  • Aquatic insects
  • Crustaceans
  •  Daphnia
  • Cyclops

When feeding your fish, make sure to give them only as much food as they can eat in a few minutes. This way you can avoid overfeeding and the water getting polluted.

Brown Discus Sexual Differences

It’s challenging to determine males and females since they’re all the same color.

However, the genital papillae’s form during spawning season is typically the most reliable method to determine sex: they are pointed in males and rounded in females, although it isn’t always straightforward.

Brown Discus Compatibility

The Brown Discus is a beautiful, semi-aggressive freshwater aquarium fish that competes with any marine species.

It’s a good idea to avoid any powerful or colossal fish. It also would be better not to house them with tiny species that can easily become their meals.

Brown Discus Breeding

Like all discus, the breeding of the Brown Discus is considered challenging.

They form monogamous couples and may breed quickly in an aquarium at home.

When a pair is established in the aquarium, they will look for a suitable breeding site and begin cleaning it.

The breeding site must be a vertical surface, such as a flat stone, to encourage breeding in captivity.

The female discus swims over the spawning site and releases her eggs, after which the male fertilizes them.

The couple will repeat this process multiple times as a new generation is produced.

The Brown discus is a committed parent, and the mother and father will alternate fanning the eggs with their pectoral fins to provide well-oxygenated water and avoid fungus and germs in the batch.

After being fertilized, the eggs will hatch in a period ranging from 48 to 60 hours.

The fry will begin eating their parents’ sides, aka consuming their yolk sacs.

The fry can be left with their parents or separated. If you want to breed the pair, transfer them to a new tank as soon as the fry can swim and feed on their own.

When the youngsters are free-swimming and large enough to leave their parents, it’s time to feed them freshly hatched brine shrimp.

Brown discus fry, however, should be raised in water that is high in nutrients. Maintaining stable water quality is necessary since they are susceptible to changes and can be easily killed by ammonia or nitrites.

Last Words

The brown discus is a beautiful freshwater fish perfect for experienced aquarium hobbyists.

The brown discus can be a great addition to your freshwater aquarium if you’re up for the challenge! Thanks for reading!

I hope that this article has been helpful and informative. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to post them below. Until next time, happy fish keeping!

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