Discus fish are graceful, elegant creatures that have a massive fanbase right around the world. But if you want to get into keeping a school of beautiful Discus fish, where’s the best place to buy them?
Some local fish stores do sell Discus, but they don’t always have much choice. However, you can buy well-bred, healthy Discus fish online from many US-based specialist breeders and suppliers, such as those featured in this guide. You can also buy live Discus at online auctions.
Keep reading to find out the best place to buy top-quality Discus fish online.
What Are Discus Fish?
Discus fish are often referred to as the “Kings of the Aquarium” or Pompadour fish, thanks to their majestic presence in the aquarium and their glorious colors.
There are at least three recognized species of Discus, all of which belong to the Cichlidae family:
- Blue or brown Discus (Symphysodon aequifasciatus)
- Red Discus or Heckel Discus (Symphysodon discus)
- Green Discus (Symphysodon tarzoo)
Discus fish have something of a cult following around the world, which has spawned a multimillion-dollar breeding and dealing industry. Enthusiasts can get involved in entering their best Discus fish in competitions, shows, alongside many highly skilled and reputable online breeders that use these events to showcase their stock.
Most Discus sold today are captive-bred, hence the wide variety of color variants that are now available in the hobby.
Discus fish can grow to measure up to 8 inches in diameter and can live for up to 15 years when given the correct diet.
Wild Discus fish come from the flooded forests and floodplain lakes of the Amazon basin and its tributaries, specifically the Rio Negro. During the wet season, the fish congregate around fallen trees along the shoreline where the water is quieter. Because of their rather sedate swimming style, Discus fish avoid areas where the current is strong, or too much wave action is present.
Are Discus Fish Easy To Keep?
Discus fish are not generally recommended for beginner aquarists, partly because of their large size, semi-aggressive nature, and requirement for pristine water quality.
That said, as long as you provide the fish with a large enough tank, clean water, a high-quality diet, and suitable tank mates, keeping these fish should be no more difficult than caring for any other tropical fish species.
As mentioned above, Discus fish grow to be pretty large, so you’ll need a tank of at least 75 gallons, ideally larger. A deep aquarium design suits these tall fish best.
Discus like soft, acidic water with a pH of between 6.0 and 7.0 and a hardness of between 1 and 4 dKH. These are tropical fish that need a water temperature of between 82° and 86° F, although wild Heckel Discus prefer very warm water that’s closer to 90° F.
Top Tip: Discus is very fussy when it comes to water parameters, so be sure to ask about the water chemistry that your potential purchases were raised in before you buy them. That way, you can make sure that your setup is perfect for your new fish before they arrive.
When it comes to tank maintenance, it goes without saying that you must carry out weekly partial water changes of up to 15% and vacuum your aquarium substrate to get rid of decomposing organic matter.
Although you want well-filtered water, Discus doesn’t appreciate too much water movement, so you’ll need to buffer the flow from your filter outflow pipe to keep the environment comfortable for your fish.
Use large, broadleaf plants, twisted roots, and driftwood to recreate the fishes’ natural environment. Floating plants are also helpful for providing shadowy areas and shade. The substrate should be medium or fine-grade gravel or sand, as Discus fish enjoy foraging across the tank bottom for scraps of food.
Discus are omnivorous, enjoying a diet of detritus, plant material, worms, and small crustaceans. You can feed your captive Discus fish on a diet of tropical flakes, algae wafers, frozen, and live foods.
Feed your Discus fish twice a day, offering only what they will eat in a few minutes so that you don’t overfeed them.
Can Discus Live In A Community Aquarium?
Discus fish should be kept in groups, as they are naturally a schooling species. However, like many of the cichlids, male Discus can be aggressive toward each other, especially when pairing off for spawning. However, you can mitigate that by providing your fish with a large enough tank so that everyone has enough space.
Discus Fish Tank Mates
You can include other species in a community tank with Discus, provided that you choose peaceful fish that are not territorial and won’t bully or harass the Discus.
Suitable tank mates for Discus can include:
All of these small, peaceful fish species can tolerate the same water conditions and warmer temperatures that are demanded by Discus, and they generally get along well together.
Availability And Price
You can sometimes find a few Discus fish for sale in your local fish store, although there’s much more choice if you shop online.
Discus prices start from around $20, increasing to upward of $150 for unusual, exceptionally well-bred specimens.
Is It Safe To Buy Discus Fish Online?
These days, many people choose to buy their fish and other livestock online.
Professional fish breeders and suppliers are well-versed in packaging and shipping their fish across the country and even worldwide. So, you can usually rest assured that your fish will arrive alive and in good condition.
Unless you’re fortunate enough to live very close to a terrestrial Discus specialist store, buying your fish online gives you a much wider choice than is generally available locally and can even work out as much more affordable, too.
7 Best Places To Buy Discus Fish Online
Now that you know more about the gorgeous Discus fish, you’ll want to know the best places to buy Discus fish online.
Here are our seven favorite online suppliers of top-quality, reasonably priced Discus fish.
- Monthly offers
- Online and local store network
Petco is a pet store that has quite a few terrestrial branches across the US, as well as a good online ordering service. You can buy fish food, medication, aquarium supplies, and live fish here all in one place.
Petco offers a wide range of different Discus varieties and color morphs, starting at around $50. Next-day delivery is available, and Petco will offer replacement fish should your order not arrive in good condition.
- Huge selection
- Based in New Jersey, US
- Online and terrestrial stores
Discus Madness ships live fish to all US states via FedEx for next-day delivery.
These specialists offer many different and unusual strains and color morphs of Discus fish, including Jumbo Discus. If you want to get started on a Discus breeding project, you can buy established breeding pairs, as well as all the foods and equipment you’ll need.
Jack Wattley Discus Fish
- Affordable, high-quality Discus fish
- Based in Miami, US
- Online and local store
Jack Wattley has been breeding top-quality Discus fish for over 60 years! So, there’s not much these guys don’t know about rearing these beautiful fish. You can also buy other unusual fish species from this seller.
The breeder specializes in producing five varieties of awesome quality fish, specifically:
- Wild Discus
- Blue Discus
- Red Discus
- Yellow Discus
- Spotted Discus
You can buy from this supplier with confidence thanks to their “Arrive Alive and Healthy” guarantee. No matter where you live in the US, you can order the Discus fish of your dreams online from Jack Wattley.
Uncle Sam’s Discus
- Impressive selection
- Online store
Uncle Sam’s Discus offers a jaw-dropping range of Discus fish varieties in lots of different sizes and colors.
Although the store is based online, you can book a visit to their warehouse if you want to see how they raise, breed, and care for their fish. The Discus fish that are sold by this breeder include many prize-winning specimens, and the quality is outstanding. If you’re into breeding Discus fish for showing or for competitions, this supplier is the one you should check out.
All the fish supplied by Uncle Sam’s Discus are shipped via Next Day UPS Air, Monday through Thursday only, to ensure that your Discus arrives alive and in great condition.
- Buy and sell Discus on this auction platform
- Online auction site
Aquabid.com is pretty much the equivalent of eBay for aquarists. Here, sellers offer Discus of all varieties for sale by auction to the highest bidder. You can buy aquarium equipment, fish food, and live plants, too.
The website is easy to navigate, and the buying process is straightforward. However, be warned that many of the fish breeders that use Aquabid are based in Asia, especially Thailand. Although their fish are undoubtedly beautifully bred, shipping arrangements can get complicated, depending on whereabouts in the US you reside.
Myrtle Beach Discus
- Discus specialists
- Based in Carolina, US
- Online store
Myrtle Beach Discus offers grade-A, show-quality Discus fish for sale online. Here, you can buy a wide range of beautiful, well-bred fish in many different colors and patterns, including some extremely rare and unusual variants. This breeder and dealer brings in new shipments of fish every month, so you know that they will always have something a little bit different to add to your collection.
Crucially for anyone buying live Discus fish online, Myrtle Beach Discus provides the best live arrival guarantee around on all their fish.
- Freshwater, tropical, marine
- U.S.-based in Illinois
- Online store
Exotic Discus is the home of World Champion Discus breeder Tony Tan’s Discus. These guys have the formidable reputation as suppliers of some of the most reasonably priced, top quality Discus fish around. As well as individual fish of various sizes, you can buy established breeding pairs, which is perfect if you want to get into breeding these gorgeous fish.
Also, Exotic Discus offers lower shipping rates than many other sellers, and they can send Discus to any location in the US. The company also ships live Discus fish to some locations in neighboring Canada.
I hope you enjoyed our guide to buying Discus fish online. Please share this article if you enjoyed it and found it helpful.
Discus fish are challenging to care for in that they demand higher water temperatures than most tropical species, and they also need pristine water quality. However, provided that you have a large tank and you’re prepared to keep it well-maintained, you can keep Discus as part of a community of peaceful fish that enjoy similar water conditions.
Buying Discus fish online can be done safely, as long as you use a reputable seller, such as those we’ve featured in this guide.
If you bought Discus from any of the online stores we recommended, please tell us about your experience in the comments box below.