12 Awesome Discus Tank Mates For Your Not-so-social Discus Fish – Compatibility List and Care Guide

Estimated read time 12 min read

In this post, we’ll share a few Discus Tank Mates that will be sure to create an awesome community tank, a few care tips, and some fish to avoid.

The Discus fish is a lovely fish that comes in various colors. It belongs to a family of fish known as cichlids and is characterized by its flat, disc-shaped body (thus the name) that helps it glide through the tank and any plant life around it.

This large, bright fish is often referred to as the king of the freshwater tanks, and rightly so. If you observe this fish, you’ll quickly see it takes its time swimming around the tank and lets all the other fish know who’s top in the tank.

Both male and female discus fish can grow to a little more than six inches, so you need a good-sized tank to keep them comfy, especially if you throw in a couple of roommates. We’ll get down to who makes a good roomie in a bit.

Generally speaking, discus fish get along with many other fish just as long as they share the same required water temperature to thrive. In addition, discus fishes are known to make great pets because they are interactive. Some owners say they respond when they walk into the room or turn on the TV. Who knows, they may even have a favorite show!

What fish are compatible with Discus Fish?

The best tank mates would be small, fast, and active fish that don’t have long fins. Most Tetra, like the cardinal or neon tetra, and some bottom feeders like the corydoras catfish, would work well. Ram Cichlids and Apistogramma can also be compatible with your Discus Fish.

Discus Quick Care Tips

Here are some other facts about the discus fish:

Care Level: Expert (A discus fish is not recommended for beginners because sometimes it gets stressed out when you move it and does have a tendency to get sick.)
Ideal tank size: Over three feet
Temperature range: around 82 degrees Fahrenheit
pH Range: 6-7

Because of the above water temperature factor, Discus can only be friends with other fish requiring the exact water temperature.

If you’re looking for some good Discus Tank Mates for your aquarium? Here’s our list of common fish species that will stand the test of time with your Discus. Avoid small fish like neon tetras that might not grow big enough and become food.

Here’s a look at 12 that are tops:

12 Awesome Discus Tank Mates

#1 Cardinal Tetras

Care level: Moderate
Max Size of fish: 2 inches
Temperature range: 73-81 degrees Fahrenheit
PH range: 5-6

Cardinal Tetras make good  because they share some common treatment characteristics and are peaceful fish.

Cardinal tetras are dither fish. Since dither fish swim back and forth calmly, they are thought to bring a sense of tranquility to the tank, which the Discus can benefit from if it becomes stressed out, as we mentioned above. Therefore, I think it’s one of the best fish compatible with Discus.

Check out this roundup list with 7 of the best tank mates for Cardinal Tetras

#2 Corydoras Catfish

Care level: Easy
Max Size of fish: 2.5 inches
Temperature range: 74-80 degrees Fahrenheit
pH range: 7-8

Corydoras Catfish are great tank mates for Discus and are known to be little worker fish that helps to keep the tank clean by swimming around the aquarium looking for particles that have not been eaten. This will keep your Discus fish happy and save you because that means less maintenance.

A little fun fact about Corydoras Catfish…it likes to be kept in four groups. So if you’re planning on adding one to your Discus tank, you better rethink that and set the table for four guests!

#3 Bristlenose Pleco (Ancistrus)

Care level: Easy
Max Size of fish: 5 inches
Temperature range: 75-81 degrees Fahrenheit
pH range: 5-6

A Bristlenose Pleco is also a hard little worker fish. It eats the unwanted algae that can form on the bottom of your aquarium. But you should also give it other food and add a small piece of driftwood at the bottom of your tank to help it digest better.

After all of the work it does in the tank, that’s not too much to ask, and a great Discus Tank Mate!

Read our care guide for the: Bristlenose Pleco

#4 Clown loaches

Care level: Moderate
Max Size of fish: 1 foot
Temperature range: 72-86 degrees Fahrenheit
pH range: 6.5-7.5

Clown loaches are funny fish in that they’ll be active during the day but then hide from bright lights. So make sure there are plenty of little hiding places in the tank, and they will be an ideal Discus Tank Mate.

Many people refer to this fish as a “must-have” tankmate because clown loaches are peaceful fish that get along with just about any other fish, including Discus. However, since these fish can grow to become big boys and girls, you want to ensure you get a tank that’s big enough.

Clown loaches also love to eat pesky little snails that can form at the bottom of your tank. No worries about cleaning those up when you have clown loaches swimming around.

#5 German Blue Rams

Care level: Moderate
Max Size of fish: 2-3 inches
Temperature range: 78-85 degrees Fahrenheit
pH range: 6-7

As its name suggests, German Blue Rams are known for their beautiful, deep blue color. They are peaceful fish, so they share something in common with the Discus.

They also tend to thrive with other fish, although they do like to hide in the tank, so make sure you have some spots for them. They want moderate lighting, so if you have plants in the tank, it will help to bring the lighting to a level these fish-like.

Or, you can also try the Electric Blue Ram!

#6 Rummy Nose Tetras

Care level: Easy
Max Size of fish: 2 inches
Temperature range: 72-77 degrees Fahrenheit
pH range: 6.4-7

If you’re wondering where the rummy nose tetra got its name, look at the red coloring across its nose and face. These fish are beautiful with their sliver-body and jet-blacked tail.

They thrive with other peaceful fish like the Discus. These fish don’t bother other fish and want to swim and do their thing.

#7 Glowlight Tetras

Care level: Easy
Max Size of fish: 2 inches
Temperature range: 72-77 degrees Fahrenheit
pH range: 5-7.5

The glowlight tetras have a glowing strip along their body, which gives them a beautiful look. They are famous Discus tank mates because they’re low maintenance and get along with various fish.

They’re also small, so there’s plenty of room for other fishy friends in the tank. But they like to remain in schools of 6-7, so keep that in mind if you’re planning to add them to your discus tank. They’ll eat tiny foods, so they’re not picky!

#8 Rosy Tetras

Care level: Easy
Max Size of fish: 1.5 inches
Temperature range: 75-82 degrees Fahrenheit
pH range: 5.8-7.5

Rosy Tetras are active fish that make great Discus tank mates because they don’t require a high level of care. Like the Discus, they’re peaceful fish and can live in harmony with many other fish.

They’re also beautiful in color and often compliment the colors of their other tank mates. They eat various food like fish flakes, brine shrimp, and tubifex.

#9 Apisto Agassiz

Care level: Easy
Max Size of fish: 3 inches
Temperature range: 79-84 degrees Fahrenheit
pH range: 6-6.5

These fish are among the most popular in aquariums. Many people are drawn to them because of their vibrant colors. You can find apisto agassizis in red, gold, and blue. They have long body that often has a dark horizontal stripe.

A fun fact about the apisto agassizi is that it will change color depending on its mood. So you’ll be able to tell when it’s happy and sad. They are good companions for the Discus because they are low maintenance.

#10 Five Banded Barb (Pentazona Barb)

Care level: Moderate
Max Size of fish: 2 inches
Temperature range: 79-84 degrees Fahrenheit
pH range: 5-6

The Pentazona Barb is a great tank mate for the discus fish because, like the Discus, it is not aggressive and will not fight for food. The Pentagonal Barb is also known as the five-banded barb because of the five dark bands that run across its body.

The aquarium should have plenty of plant cover and enough circulating water to mimic its natural habitat for these fish to thrive. The Pentazona Barb fish usually travels in a group of six, which is essential to remember when setting up the aquarium. They like to feed on flakes, micropellets, and small bits of frozen foods.

#11 Long Fin Red White Cloud

Care level: Easy
Max Size of fish: 2 inches
Temperature range: 64-72 degrees Fahrenheit
pH range: 6-8.5

The longfin red, a white cloud, is a long-finned variation of the white cloud minnow fish. Like other fish that are compatible Discus tank mates for the Discus, these little guys are just peaceful little fish that co-exist with fish of the same feather…so to speak.

They are more colorful and become more active in schools of 8 or more. Guess that’s peer pressure for you!

The longfin white cloud should get plenty of flakes with plenty of vegetables for its food. See, it’s even essential for fish to have their veggies.

#12 Peacock Gudgeon

Care level: Easy
Max Size of fish: 2.5 inches
Temperature range: 72-77 degrees Fahrenheit
pH range: 7.0-7.8

One look at the peacock gudgeon fish, and you’ll know immediately how it got its name. Its beautiful array of colors looks like a peacock’s feathers, just on a much smaller scale.

If not, they wouldn’t make it onto the list of discus tank mates! The peacock gudgeon has neon red and blue stripes on its body and a distinctive eyespot, where it clearly gets its name.

These fish are peaceful and don’t strut or ruffle any feathers either; that’s why they’re a good match for the Discus. You won’t find them fighting for food or anything else. Just feed them and let them be.

Bad Discus Tank Mates

While the twelve fish above make excellent tank mates for the Discus, there is plenty of fish that don’t. Any sizeable tropical fish that is aggressive does not mesh well with the Discus. As we’ve been telling you, the Discus comes in peace and wants to hang out with other fish that do the same.

Here are a few fish to avoid are:

  • Oscars
  • Piranhas
  • Severums
  • Flowerhorns

Another fish you should keep out of the tank is the angelfish. Don’t be fooled by its name. As these fish mature, they become too aggressive for the Discus to handle. So if you try to put an angelfish in with a discus, good luck finding your Discus because it is going to swim and hide any chance it gets.

Any fish that isn’t a warm-water-loving fish should also be avoided. Hot and cold don’t mix; the same goes for fish that prefer different water temperatures. African cichlids and neon tetras would fall into this category.

Further Reading: Cichlid Tank Mates

If you haven’t been able to tell, discus fish aren’t fighters and don’t particularly like to fight for their food or move very fast. Their speed is more like a Sunday morning rather than a Friday night rush hour. The Discus won’t be happy if you put fish on the rush-hour rate. So besides fast fish, keep fin nipping fish like tiger barbs, danios, and tinfoil barbs away.

Discus Fish Misconceptions

Just as there are misconceptions about people, there are also misconceptions about fish, including the Discus. Here is a look at a few that aren’t true:

It would help if you had super filters. Wrong! You don’t need any fancy filters for your tank of discus fish. Of course, you must keep the tank clean, but a fancy filter isn’t required.

Discus needs fancy food. Wrong! Just because they’re often referred to as the kings of the aquarium, it doesn’t mean they need to be fed like one. They’re not picky and will eat just about anything. But a protein-rich diet is best if you want your fish in tip-top shape.

You need to change the water every day. Wrong! If this were true, no one would buy a discus fish because no one has time to change the water daily. That said, changing the water at least once a week is a good idea, if not twice. This will keep the tank as clean as possible and keep the Discus healthy. Also, you don’t want the waste to pile up on the bottom of the tank.

That’s the Discus, the whole Discus, and nothing but the Discus!

Remember, having fish and an aquarium is a fun hobby. Keep it that way as you maintain your discus fish!

If you enjoyed my ideas for Discus Tank Mates for your Aquarium, please share this image on Pinterest so others can enjoy it and find the perfect Discus Tank Mate.

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