minimum tank size for discus

What’s The Minimum Tank Size For Discus Fish?

What’s the minimum tank size for a discus fish?

I immediately asked the shop owner when I saw a discus fish for the first time, secretly hoping for an answer that they don’t require large tanks. 

In hindsight, that wasn’t a particularly good question. A fish of that size in a small tank? Not a good match up. 

In my defense, I was just a kid. I just wanted to know what it takes to keep those beautiful fish in my aquarium. 

Like me, if you’ve looked into keeping a discus fish at all, you’ve probably been interested in finding out the size of aquarium discus fish needs. 

Whether you are a beginner or experienced fish keeper, this article will help you in the decision of choosing an appropriate tank for your discus fish. 

Sounds good enough?

Let’s get started! 

Minimum Tank Size For Discus Fish 

Most people want the easiest, the cheapest and fastest way to get into things. When it comes to choosing a tank for discus fish, the same principle applies. 

They first ask what is the bare minimum tank size for a discus fish, not what’s the best tank size for a discus fish. 

Frankly, I can’t blame them. I do the same thing. While that’s probably not the best approach, it’s a human thing to do. We always want the best bang for the buck. 

This approach might work for other things, however, it’s not the best when it comes to keeping discus fish. Saving a few bucks on a tank, in the beginning, might cause you big time in the future.

However, for all those discus lovers who can’t afford to have enormous tanks, there is a way. But first, you need to know something about these fish. 

Discus is a schooling fish. They feel more secure when they are kept in groups. You can’t just keep a single discus fish. 

Technically you could, but that’s not the right way to keep discus fish. If you’ve considered this information, you’ll quickly realize that you are not planning a tank for a single fish, but a group of fish. 

How many you might ask? At least 6 discus fish. Why 6 fish? Why not 3,4 or 5?

You can keep as many discus fish as you want, assuming you provide the conditions. Some people have done it. Without having any problems. 

However, discus fish are cichlids, therefore they show aggression. Keeping a large group of discus is common practice. Of course, if you want to spread out the aggression between them. 

The minimum tank size for a discus fish will depend on the number of fish you have in plan to keep. If you start with 6 juveniles you’ll need at least a 55-gallon tank. 

However, that’s just a grow out tank. For a 6 adult fish you’ll need at least a 75-gallon tank. Anything less than that, it will be difficult to maintain. Maintaining pristine water quality is one of the most important things about keeping these fish. And, it’s not something you want to mess it up. 

The exception is keeping a one mated pair of discus fish. A 55-gallon tank would be sufficient for them. 

Best Tank Size For Discus Fish 

You’ve seen what’s the bare minimum tank size for keeping discus. But what if you want to do the right thing from the beginning. What if you have enough resources, budget, and time? What’s the best approach? 

The best approach is to buy 12 juveniles. Raise them in a grow-out tank, preferably a 75-gallon tank, and as they grow up, remove the most aggressive ones. 

When they reach the adult stage, transfer them in a 100-gallon tank. That way, you’ll have a nice group of peaceful adult discus fish. 

There isn’t a best size of a tank for discus. The bigger the tank the better. But if I have to choose, I would say that a 100 gallon would be perfectly fine. 

Final Thoughts 

Keeping discus fish is no different from keeping other freshwater fish. However, unlike other fish, the Discus is less forgiving when it comes to water quality. 

That’s why setting up an appropriate tank for your discus fish is of great importance.

7 thoughts on “What’s The Minimum Tank Size For Discus Fish?”

  1. Like the article but tanks sold as 55 or 75 gallon come in various shapes and sizes (unless cutom made). For example, aquariums are often sold quoting the external dimensions and litre capacity but the height and the maximum safe water fill level can diifer significantly. Therefore what seemed like an ideal tank to purchase can turn out to be too shallow. So my comment is, what would the minimum dimensions required for keeping 6 discus.

    1. For a group of 6 juveniles, these would be the ideal dimensions: minimum height of 20 inches, minimum width of 15 inches, and a minimum length of 46 inches.

      1. Thanks for the reply. As a follow up what would be the minimum height for an aquarium for 6 adult discus fish?

        1. Ideally, you want at least 23 inches in height for large discus. People are successfully keeping them in tanks with 20 inches in height, but that’s the bare minimum.

  2. Looks like approx. 13 G per fish ( 6 adults in 75G). Is taller of longer better for their swim style? I hope to end up with perhaps 5 in a 55G.

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