16 Ideal Tank Mates for Discus Fish

16 Ideal Tank Mates for Discus Fish

Discus Fish

Choosing the right tank mates for Discus fish is important to keep a peaceful aquarium. Discus fish need warm water and calm companions.

Good choices are Cardinal Tetras, Corydoras Sterbai, and Kuhli Loaches, which are peaceful and need similar water conditions.

Siamese Algae Eaters and Plecos help keep the tank clean, while Marbled Hatchetfish live at the top of the tank, adding variety.

It’s crucial to make sure that the tank mates have compatible social behaviors and diets to ensure a healthy environment for all.

Cardinal Tetra

Image of cardinal tetras in an aquarium

The Cardinal Tetra (Paracheirodon axelrodi) is compatible with Discus fish due to similar water temperature preferences and a peaceful nature. These tropical freshwater fish form schools and enhance the visual appeal of aquariums.

Cardinal Tetras, with their bright red and blue colors, complement the more subdued colors of Discus fish without competing aggressively for resources.

Both species thrive in warm, slightly acidic water, with ideal temperatures between 73°F to 81°F (22.8°C to 27.2°C) and a pH of 5.5 to 7.0. Maintaining these water conditions is crucial for their health.

These fish prefer plenty of plants and driftwood to mimic their natural habitat.

Cardinal Tetras typically swim in the middle to upper levels of the water, while Discus fish tend to stay near the bottom, allowing both species to coexist without competition for space.

During feeding, you should provide suitable nutrition for both species. Cardinal Tetras are omnivorous and can eat a variety of foods such as flakes, pellets, and live or frozen foods.

They feed quickly but don’t prevent Discus fish from getting their share of food, making them suitable companions in a well-maintained tank.

Siamese Algae Eater

Siamese Algae Eater

The Siamese Algae Eater is a calm fish that pairs well with Discus fish. Both species share similar requirements for warm water and help control algae in the tank.

These fish are effective at eating algae, which helps to maintain a clean aquarium. They get along with Discus fish and contribute to the tank’s ecosystem.

Siamese Algae Eaters clean the tank by eating algae from the substrate and decorations, creating a better environment for Discus fish. They can grow up to 6 inches long and need at least a 20-gallon tank to avoid overcrowding.

These algae eaters prefer temperatures between 72°F to 82°F (22.2°C to 27.8°C), which matches the needs of Discus fish.

You need to provide ample hiding places for Siamese Algae Eaters as they can be shy and need places to retreat. While they’re compatible with Discus fish and plants, they may occasionally eat tender plant shoots.



Plecos, known for their algae-eating habits, are suitable companions for Discus fish in aquariums. The Bushy Nose Plecostomus is recommended for its compatibility with Discus, due to its peaceful nature and ability to adapt to warm water.

Plecos help keep the tank clean by consuming algae and leftover food, which can improve water quality.

Adequate tank size is vital for Plecos, especially larger species like the Zebra Pleco from the Loricariidae family, as they need space and surfaces to graze on. These species are peaceful, which is beneficial for the sensitive Discus.

Plecos contribute to a cleaner tank environment but need spacious aquariums to avoid overcrowding and ensure their well-being. They’re interesting to watch and add variety to the tank.

In choosing Plecos as tank mates for Discus, select species with similar water requirements, a calm temperament, and a natural ability to help maintain the tank.

Marbled Hatchetfish

Marbled Hatchetfish

Marbled Hatchetfish, known scientifically as Carnegiella strigata, are suitable tank mates for Discus fish due to their peaceful nature and preference for warm water.

They originate from the Amazon basin’s freshwater rivers and share a need for warm climates with Discus. These fish contribute to a well-balanced aquarium by inhabiting the upper and middle layers of the water column, while Discus typically swim in the middle layers.

Both species need ample swimming space and excellent water quality to thrive. An aquarium set up to meet the needs of Discus will also suit Marbled Hatchetfish.

It’s essential to consider space and water conditions when housing Marbled Hatchetfish with Discus to maintain a healthy environment for both.

Assassin Snail

Assassin Snails, or Clea helena, are useful for controlling pest snails in Discus fish aquariums. They maintain balance by preying on other snail species and are suitable tank mates for Discus.

They’re non-aggressive and can coexist with other suitable fish without competing for food, which is beneficial in a community tank.

You need to monitor the number of Assassin Snails to avoid overpopulation and resource competition. For optimal health and effective pest control, these Snails need hiding places such as live plants and driftwood.

Adding Assassin Snails to a Discus tank can reduce disease and algae linked to high snail populations. Still, it’s essential to watch the tank’s community dynamics to ensure all inhabitants remain healthy.

Dwarf Cichlid

Dwarf Cichlids are smaller than larger Cichlids and are suitable tank mates for Discus fish due to their shared need for warm, slightly acidic water.

The German Blue Ram, a type of Dwarf Cichlid from the Orinoco River basin, is well-matched with Discus fish, as both species prefer water temperatures of 72°F to 82°F (22.2°C to 27.8°C).

German Blue Rams have bright colors and are known for being peaceful, which allows them to coexist with the similarly tempered discus fish.

Dwarf Cichlids usually swim in the middle of the tank, which is compatible with the Discus’ preference for the middle and upper levels of the water.

Rummy Nose Tetra

Rummy-nose Tetra

Rummy Nose Tetras are suitable companions for Discus fish in aquariums due to their red noses and calm behavior.

They’re small and active, enhancing the tank’s dynamics while matching the calm nature of Discus fish. When kept in groups, they display natural schooling behavior, offering visual interest and potentially encouraging interaction among shyer discus.

These fish do well in the same warm, soft, and slightly acidic water conditions that Discus prefers, which is crucial for a healthy shared environment. Their bright red heads contrast with the Discus’s colors, adding to the tank’s visual appeal.

Rummy Nose Tetras aren’t aggressive and coexist well with Discus, sharing food and space without conflict. A tank of at least 20 gallons is recommended to provide sufficient space for both species.

A setup with gentle currents and plants, as preferred by Discus, is also suitable for Rummy Nose Tetras.

Harlequin Rasbora

Harlequin rasboras

The Harlequin Rasbora (Trigonostigma heteromorpha) is a suitable tank mate for Discus fish due to its small size of about 1.75 inches and preference for similar water temperatures between 73°F to 82°F (22.8°C to 27.8°C).

This species is known for its peaceful nature, which helps maintain a calm environment for the Discus.

Harlequin Rasboras are non-aggressive and active, often occupying the middle to upper levels of the aquarium, allowing them to coexist well with Discus, which tend to stay in the lower to middle areas.

These fish are recommended for community tanks with a minimum size of 10 gallons since this provides adequate space for their schooling behavior. Their compatibility with Discus in both environmental and behavioral aspects makes them an excellent choice for aquarists seeking to establish a well-balanced aquarium.

Pencil Fish

Pencil Fish, of the Nannostomus genus, are suitable companions for Discus in aquariums. They’re calm, need similar water conditions, and do well in groups, reflecting their natural social behavior.

Their peaceful nature prevents disruption in the tank, which is beneficial for the shy-feeding Discus. Also, Discus fish prefer calm environments and Pencil Fish support this by not competing aggressively for food.

Pencil Fish swim in the upper and middle layers of the tank, avoiding the lower areas where Discus tend to swim, which reduces the chance of territorial conflicts. Both species favor soft, acidic water conditions.

When choosing tank mates for Discus, you need to match behavior and environmental needs. Pencil Fish are compatible in both aspects, making them a good addition to Discus aquariums for a harmonious community.

Bloodfin Tetra

Bloodfin Tetra

Bloodfin Tetras are suitable companions for Discus fish in aquariums due to their preference for warm water and non-aggressive feeding habits. These tetras have a peaceful nature and display a silver body with red-tinted fins, providing visual contrast to discus fish.

They’re known to be non-aggressive and coexist peacefully in community tanks. Their schooling behavior helps maintain a calm environment, which is beneficial for the sensitive Discus fish.

Bloodfin Tetras are small, which prevents competition with the larger Discus fish for space or food. They feed peacefully, avoiding competition during meal times with the slower-eating Discus fish, ensuring that both species can eat without disturbing each other.

The Bloodfin Tetra is a recommended choice for a Discus fish community tank because of its contribution to the tank’s aesthetics, its ability to live peacefully with other fish, and its compatibility with the Discus fish’s feeding requirements.

Twig Catfish

Twig Catfish

Twig Catfish, or Farlowella spp., are suitable companions for Discus fish in aquariums. Their calm behavior ensures they live peacefully with Discus, avoiding conflict and maintaining a calm environment crucial for the health of the sensitive Cichlids.

These Catfish serve as natural tank cleaners by eating algae, which keeps the aquarium clean and reduces maintenance. Their stick-like appearance also adds visual interest to the tank without disturbing the preferred conditions of the Discus.

Twig Catfish have similar water requirements to Discus, including warm, soft, and slightly acidic water. This makes it easier to manage the aquarium’s conditions. Unlike Siamese algae eaters, Twig Catfish are a distinctive choice for algae control.

They don’t compete with Discus for food due to their low-profile feeding habits, allowing both species to flourish without the stress of competing for resources. Twig Catfish are an ideal option for a balanced and well-kept Discus tank.

German Blue Ram Cichlid

The German Blue Ram Cichlid, scientifically known as Mikrogeophagus ramirezi, is a colorful and peaceful Dwarf Cichlid suitable for a Discus tank.

These fish prefer warm water between 78°F to 85°F (25.5°C to 29.4°C), which aligns with the Discus fish’s temperature requirements. Adults grow to a size of 2 to 3 inches and show non-aggressive behavior, making them good companions for Discus.

German Blue Ram Cichlids are relatively easy to care for in the right water conditions and a clean environment. They aren’t aggressive feeders, allowing for a balanced coexistence with Discus without competing for food.

Their ability to live in the same warm temperatures as discus allows them to share an environment harmoniously.

German Blue Rams are a good addition to community tanks and help increase diversity without causing stress or competition. They’re an excellent choice for those looking to enhance the visual and social aspects of their Discus tank, offering both beauty and compatibility in terms of environment and feeding.

Neon Tetra

Neon Tetra

Neon Tetras (Paracheirodon innesi) are suitable companions for Discus fish in aquariums. They’re small, peaceful, and share similar water preferences with Discus, making them compatible.

Neon Tetras are known for their bright blue and red colors and tend to swim in groups, which can be visually appealing in a home aquarium.

For Neon Tetras, a minimum tank size of 20 gallons is necessary to ensure enough space for swimming and stable water conditions. The tank should be well-cycled to avoid ammonia spikes that can harm the fish.

Neon Tetras have a simple diet, thriving on a mix of high-quality flake food, brine shrimp, and daphnia, which helps maintain their coloration.

Both Neon Tetras and Discus fish need soft, slightly acidic water with temperatures between 75°F to 81°F (23.9°C to 27.2°C). Introducing Neon Tetras to an established tank is vital for their health.

Kuhli Loach

Kuhli Loach

Kuhli Loaches are suitable companions for Discus fish due to their similar need for soft, warm water and non-aggressive behavior. These fish are peaceful and can live well with other non-aggressive species.

They need the same soft, acidic water conditions that Discus fish prefer, similar to the South American rivers where Discus originate.

Kuhli Loaches stay at the bottom of the tank, which complements the different areas that Discus fish occupy. They’re resilient and can adjust to community tank life if their basic requirements are met.

It’s advisable to keep them in groups of at least two for social interaction, which is beneficial for their well-being and adds activity to the tank.

Kuhli Loaches vary in color and pattern, providing visual interest. They naturally sift through the substrate, which helps maintain tank cleanliness by removing excess food and debris. This behavior is both helpful for upkeep and interesting to watch.



Angelfish are often chosen for community aquariums but should be carefully introduced to tanks with Discus fish due to their varying temperaments.

As Cichlids, Angelfish are usually peaceful, matching the calm nature of Discus fish. But they can sometimes become aggressive. This aggression can be due to improper introduction or unsuitable tank conditions.

Both Angelfish and Discus prefer warm water, which makes them compatible. Angelfish, selectively bred for various colors and fin types, can add visual diversity to a Discus tank and can be compatible in size and behavior with Discus.

Before adding Angelfish to a Discus tank, their behavior should be monitored. While they’re less aggressive than Betta, which often attacks other fish, any signs of aggression from an Angelfish may necessitate rethinking their introduction to maintain peace in the tank.

Other fish like Congo Tetra and Harlequin Rasboras are compatible with Discus and Angelfish. Careful selection and introduction of Angelfish are crucial for a balanced aquarium where all species can thrive.

Corydoras Sterbai

Corydoras catfish

Corydoras Sterbai, also known as Cory Catfish, are suitable for tanks with Discus fish due to their peaceful nature and shared preference for warm, soft, and slightly acidic water.

They help keep the tank clean by feeding on the bottom, which reduces waste and contributes to a healthier environment for all species in the tank, including sensitive ones like Discus.

These Catfish should be kept in small groups because they’re social and need the presence of their own species to thrive. Their presence offers additional activity at the tank’s bottom, complementing the more tranquil Discus that swims higher up.

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