Why Is My Molly Hiding?

Checkerboard Discus

The Checkerboard Discus has a distinct pattern of white, turquoise, and red stripes on its body that set it apart from other Discus species.

This is one of the most appealing cultivated discus, and it would be a great addition to your tropical fish aquarium.

This guide will teach you everything you need to know about keeping Checkerboard Discus healthy and happy in your home.


Care LevelDifficult
pH6.3 – 7.2
Hardness1.5-3.5 KH
OriginAmazon (selectively bred in captivity)
Tank Size50 Gallons +
BehaviorGenerally peaceful community fish
DietCarnivorous (Primarily Meaty Foods)
Checkerboard Discus Characteristics

Checkerboard Discus Features

1. Appearance

The red checkerboard discus is a spectacular fish that stands out in the sea due to its brilliant hues and distinctive form.

Their broad bodies are nearly as tall as they are long. Its full, rounded pectoral with dorsal fins give it a flat and circular form.

2. Color

The red checkerboard discus has had the colors enhanced and a beautiful design added in the form of a pattern.

The head of this discus is a golden to tan color with white lines. It has white striations on its body, a vivid crimson-orange hue. Its body is striped in irregular, uneven shapes, concentrated together in the middle.

The red checkerboard discus’ pectoral and dorsal fins also have white striations varying length and width, and the striations near the fins are longer and more loosely spaced. In addition, the tail fin is translucent and devoid of markings.

The stripes in this fish crisscross in a checkerboard pattern, hence the name and its hue vary widely depending on location, health, strain, and diet.

3. Length

The average size of a full-grown red checkerboard discus is about eight and a half inches.

How to Care for Checkerboard Discus?

1. Water Parameters

Water Changes

A well-filtered aquarium with high-quality water is required for the Checkerboard Discus.

A water change of at least 25% should be done every week, and the tank should have an adequate filtration system.

Otherwise, the water quality will quickly decline, and the Checkerboard Discus will be stressed.

Water Temperature

These species are native to the Amazon Basin in South America, where the water temperature can range from 78 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit.

To maintain their optimum health, it is essential to keep the water temperature in their tank within this range.

If the water temperature drops below 78 degrees, it could lead to sickness and even death.

pH Range

The Checkerboard Discus is adaptable to various water qualities and barely intolerant of hard or neutral water.

It is, nevertheless, advised that the Checkerboard Discus be kept in soft, lower pH water. These requirements must be fulfilled for reproduction to occur.

Therefore, the ideal pH range for Checkerboard Discus is between 6.3 and 7.2.

Ammonia, Nitrite & Nitrate

The toxins like ammonia and nitrite must be kept at 0 ppm (parts per million).

Otherwise, these levels can quickly rise in an unclean tank and lead to the death of your Checkerboard Discus.

Nitrate should also be monitored and kept as close to 20 ppm as possible.

Carbonate Hardness (KH)

Maintaining a stable pH is essential to having the correct KH. The KH should be in the range of 1.5-3.5 KH.

2. Tank Setup

Tank Size

Despite being peaceful fish, the Checkerboard Discus still needs a lot of space to swim and stay active. As they grow, their tank should be at least 55 gallons.

However, a larger tank is always better since it provides more stability and easier maintenance.


Talking about lighting, you must know that if you put the Checkerboard Discus straight into a strong light, it will become frightened and skittish.

As a result, when bringing a new fish to your aquarium, keep in mind that the tank light should be turned off for at least 24 hours so the fish can get used to their new surroundings.


Since high-quality water is essential for the Checkerboard Discus, a sound filtration system is necessary.

An external canister filter is recommended since it will provide adequate filtration without disturbing the delicate equilibrium in the tank.

Hiding Places

Since the Checkerboard Discus is a shy fish, it is essential to provide them with plenty of hiding places.

This can be achieved through the use of driftwood or planted substrates. Just, avoid using sharp objects that could injure the fish.

Checkerboard Discus Diet

The Checkerboard Discus is mainly carnivorous. Their diet should consist of meaty foods such as:

  • Freeze-dried tubifex worms
  • Bloodworms
  • Food pellets
  • Brine shrimp (baby brine shrimp for young Discus)
  • Homemade foods consisting of carefully ground ingredients

Try to avoid feeding live foods to discus regularly; the discus could become spoiled and refuse other types of food.

Checkerboard Discus Compatibility

The Checkerboard Discus is a pleasant, quiet species that makes an excellent community fish for advanced aquarists. However, these fish becomes aggressive during breeding.

Also, if the tank is frequently visited or exposed to the sun, the Checkerboard Discus may become skittish.

As for tank mates, the Checkerboard Discus is peaceful and can be kept with other peaceful species such as:

  • Tetras
  • Gouramis
  • Angelfish
  • Barbs
  • Rasboras
  • Loricariids

Checkerboard Discus Breeding

The Checkerboard Discus is a result of selective breeding for desirable color changes. This means that there is no one perfect or standard specimen.

When Discus are purchased at an early age, they naturally become couples as they get older.

Pairs of discus may also be acquired, although it is essential to ask for breeding evidence since paired discus can be costly.

During breeding, these species become aggressive. So, it is necessary to provide a separate rearing aquarium for the Discus pair to avoid territorial conflicts.

Water should be taken from the display tank to keep the conditions the same and reduce shock from movement. Notice that you’ll also need soft, warm, and slightly acidic water for spawning.

After spawning, the parents will lay their eggs on a flat surface, where the fry may eat mucus from their parents. Ceramic pots and cones are popular for spawning because they provide excellent heat retention.

The final step is to remove the parents when the young are large enough to accept infusoria and other cultural food since the parents may consume their offspring.

Last Words

The Checkerboard Discus is an excellent fish for the advanced aquarist. This species is shy but can be trained to accept regular feeding from its owner’s hands.

With proper care, your Checkerboard Discus will thrive in your aquarium for many years to come.

We hope you enjoyed this article, and please feel free to leave a comment below if you have any questions.

Happy fish keeping!

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