Discus fish are bright, vibrant, and colorful fish that can thrive in the right environment and the right conditions. While the fry will consume secretion from both of their parents, this isn’t a feasible diet for most owners to provide their finned friends, and whether you are new to owning this unique cichlid, or are looking to improve the diet of existing discus stock, there is a great variety of foods that you can feed your fishy friends.
Because their diet is so varied and the food you feed your fish can impact their vibrancy and color, you must choose the right food. Below, we have compiled reviews of the best discus food so that you can find the right food without having to rely on trial and error and without having to conduct extensive research.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2024
|Hikari USA Inc. Tropical Bio-Gold
|Cobalt Discus Hans
The 6 Best Food for Discus Fish
1. Hikari USA Inc. Tropical Discus Bio-Gold – Best Overall
Hikari Bio-Gold contains vitamins and nutrients that enhance the growth of your fish and improve the vibrancy of their colors. They are also high in vitamin C, which improves the immune system health of your fish and the food is free from bacteria that can be found in some live foods.
The granules have a natural meaty smell that serves to attract your finned friends, and although the flakes sink to the bottom, they are appealing enough that most fish will consume them before they sink.
The only minor complaint about this food is that the pellets could be larger because they have a tendency to disappear in gravel and plant roots if allowed to sink to the bottom. Also, the meaty smell can be overwhelming immediately after feeding, but it is this smell that helps make the pellets so palatable even for picky eaters like discus fish. This pellet is used as a treat between meals, or as a replacement for beefheart when fresh food runs out.
2. Seachem NutriDiet Discus Flakes – Best Value
Seachem NutriDiet fish flakes have been formulated to appeal to discus fish while providing the protein they need to grow as well as the vitamins and minerals needed for a healthy diet. This also serves to promote vivid colors from your discus stock.
The NutriDiet food comes in the form of flakes and Seachem recommends that you feed one to three times a day, providing just enough flakes that the fish will consume within three minutes. Some buyers have reported that the flakes leave a red cloud in the water if left for longer. There have also been some reports of rejection, with some users putting this down to the high levels of garlic that are included in the ingredients.
These complaints about the color and the taste, as well as the fact that the flakes vary wildly in size and include some dusty flakes, prevent the Seachem NutriDiet flakes from being our top choice, but they are popular and inexpensive, leading them to be our choice of the best food for discus fish for the money.
3. Sera 307 Discus Granules – Premium Choice
Sera 307 Discus granules are suitable for all cichlids. They have a high protein level, which is not only important for the growth of young fish but also helps older fish to maintain high energy levels. The granules sink in water and become softer as they settle.
Importantly, though, they don’t swell during the process. Swelling food can cause problems for the fish if they eat the granules before they have had a chance to swell to full size. Granules are also beneficial because they don’t dissolve like flakes, and your discus should still be able to find them when they sink.
This is another discus food that has been enhanced with garlic, with other ingredients including spirulina, algae, fish oil, and vegetables including spinach and carrot. The food has been further fortified with the addition of vitamins B1, B2, and vitamin E. The Sera granules are expensive compared to a lot of other foods, but their granular shape and fortified ingredients make them a very good choice for your prized discus.
4. Cobalt Discus Hans Flakes
The Cobalt Discus Hans flakes contain a mixture of salmon fish meal, spirulina, earthworm powder, and garlic powder. This mixture provides the vitamins and nutrients that are essential to good growth and overall health of your discus.
The bacillus sp. bacteria further ensure good gut health for your fish. The food is formulated to prevent color from leaching into the water and clouding the tank, which makes tank maintenance easier too.
There are some reports of the flakes turning to dust in transport and this does mean a loss of food when buying. To remove this dust, pour the food into a watertight container and fill it with water. The dust remains at the top and can be poured away. Some buyers have reported losing up to a quarter of a tub of food in this way, but discus do tend to really like the big flakes, so if you’re willing to sort the larger flakes, it is money well spent.
5. Ocean Nutrition Discus Flakes
Ocean Nutrition’s Discus flakes have been formulated specifically for discus fish. As such, it contains a lot of protein. Protein is important for young fish because it helps them grow, while mature fish benefit because it helps retain high energy levels and ensures that your fish feel sated after eating. This food is cheaper than other fish foods.
However, while Ocean Nutrition claims that the small flakes are ideal because they equate to a single mouthful in each flake, they are too small for a lot of adult cichlids. This food also suffers the same fate as a lot of fish food flakes, with the flakes effectively disintegrating to dust and leaving a cloudy mess in the bottom of the container. Most buyers report that, despite the dust issue, the food does not discolor or taint tank water, however, which can be a big problem with some fish foods.
6. Omega One Discus Sinking Pellets
Omega One claims that the discus sinking pellets are the only discus food in the world made from fresh Alaskan seafood. Despite this, there have been some reports that discus will not take the food. If your fish do enjoy this food, it offers good value for money, and the sinking pellets are considered less messy than flakes.
While flakes can turn to dust during transport, leaving a portion of the food completely unusable, this shouldn’t be an issue with pellets. The pellets sink slowly, encouraging your fish to try them, and they can still be found if they do sink to the bottom before being eaten.
Sinking pellets can also be used to prevent bladder problems that occur with regular surface feeding. Buyers have reported that, after adding this food to a balanced discus diet, the colors of the fish have improved considerably.
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Foods for Discus Fish
The good health of your discus depends on the food you feed them and your discus has very specific dietary requirements. Unlike a lot of other fish, discus require a diet that is high in protein. Young fish benefit from a protein-rich diet because it helps them grow into healthy adult fish, while older fish use the protein source to maintain high energy levels. So, a good quality fish food that is complete with the vitamins and minerals needed, not only encourages a long life but it maintains energy levels and can even encourage brighter and more vivid colors from your beautiful discus.
Feeding a Varied Diet
Discus benefit from being given a varied diet, rather than a single source of food. They are carnivorous and enjoy beefheart and bloodworms, although in the wild they would eat shrimp, insects, and even some small fish. However, beefheart and bloodworms do not provide the vitamins and nutrients required to ensure a long-living and healthy fish so you should supplement with flakes or pellets. Discus food usually comes in the following forms:
Discus require very regular feeding. Under the age of three months, they will need feeding between 10 and 12 times a day. Those between three months and one year of age need feeding five times a day, and adult fish over one-year-old need to be fed two or three times a day.
If you aren’t available to feed this often, or you are heading on vacation and need to ensure that your fish are fed regularly enough, you can use an automatic fish feeder to meet your discus’ daily requirements.
Overfeeding any fish can cause major health problems, and this is true of discus. If you feed too much food, and it is left to rest on the bottom, your fish can expel water at the flakes or pellets to bring them off the ground and eat them. As such, you should only feed your discus enough food that they can eat in the few minutes after feeding.
You will also need to perform regular water changes, especially if you overfeed your discus. In the wild, your fish can go several days or even weeks without eating, and overfeeding poses more of a potential threat than occasional underfeeding.
Discus are bright, energetic, and colorful fish, but they need a high-protein diet that is filled with vitamins and nutrients to maintain good health. The best diet is one that consists of a range of different food types including meat products like beefheart and bloodworms, but feeding these foods alone is not enough, and you need to supplement with a choice of pellets, granules, or flakes that have been formulated especially for your discus fish.
There are a lot of options on the market, some of them providing a balanced diet for your cichlids, some of them not. Whether you are new to discus feeding or looking for an alternative food for existing fish, we hope our fish food reviews enable you to choose the best diet for your finned friends. During our testing and review writing, we found the Tropical Discus Bio-Gold from Hikari USA was the best food on the market. If you’re looking for the best value fish food, the Seachem NutriDiet flakes were the best food for the money.
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