why are discus fish so expensive

Why Are Discus Fish So Expensive?

Have you ever wondered: Why are discus fish so expensive? Why is the price of just one discus fish so high? 

I know, I have. Compared with other freshwater fish, the king of the aquarium has a higher price point. It’s even on a level with some pricier saltwater fish. What makes this fish so unique that it deserves that price tag? The answer might surprise you. 

In this article, we’ll look at all the factors that make the Discus fish so expensive. If I had to answer this question in one sentence, I would say… 

Why are discus fish so expensive? Discus fish are expensive because they require special conditions and a lot of effort to be raised off. 

That was the short answer. For more details keep reading. 

Why are discus fish so expensive? 

Discus is one of a kind aquarium fish. If you’ve ever seen them in person, you know what I am talking about. 

These fish have a stunning appearance. 

It’s no secret that people often consider the Discus as the ultimate fish to keep as a freshwater hobbyist. They truly deserve the title the king of the aquarium. 

Unfortunately, Discus fish are not kept by many people. In my opinion, there are two reasons for this. Firstly, they are delicate, high maintenance fish that require certain experience to be successful in keeping them. 

Secondly, they are expensive. When you add the fact that you need to keep them in a group at least 5, the cost of owning these types of fish quickly adds up. Why are they so expensive, you might ask? 

There are several reasons, the most common ones being:

They need a warmer water temperature

Discus fish needs warmer water temperature compared to other tropical fish. They also need a stable water temperature without big fluctuations. 

The temperature must stay high throughout the whole day, therefore a quality heater is a must-have for a discus tank. In countries with colder climates, discus fish breeders have difficulties maintaining stable temperatures in their tanks. 

Adding additional heaters, or heating the entire room quickly adds up to the cost of raising baby discus. That’s why the Discus fish coming from Asia have a lower price point compared with other places. It costs less to raise a baby discus there. 

They need pristine water quality and large amounts of food

The first thing you’ll hear about these fish is that they need clean water. And it’s true. 

In fact, it’s the single most important factor that determines whether you are successful or not in keeping discus fish. 

They have very strict requirements such as daily water changes, oftentimes as large as 100 %. 

If you add up the cost of food, you’ll quickly realize that raising discus fish is not cheap at all. 


A lot of effort, resources, and time are put in raising and breeding a discus fish. It’s not a type of fish that you’ll feed it once and call it a day. Baby discus fish require constant monitoring and feeding every two hours. 

In addition, breeders lose fish frequently, which makes the cost of raising discus fish even higher. 

Time to grow 

Raising discus from fry to an adult fish takes time and patience. If you take into consideration the process of culling, as well, you’ll see why raising a high-quality discus fish is so difficult and expensive. 

Final Thoughts 

The Discus fish might be expensive, however, in the grand scheme of things, that is a good thing. 

If discus fish were cheap, novice hobbyists would buy them without thinking twice. 

Given the fact that they are very delicate fish and require certain expertise and resources to be kept, beginner hobbyists would have a difficult time keeping them alive. And the king of the aquarium deserves more. 

Give or take, the price is fair considering the fact what you get. A gorgeous, colorful fish that for sure will be the center showpiece of your aquarium.

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