Angelfish and Discus Fish Can Live Together?


Angelfish and Discus Fish Together

The question of whether the angelfish and discus fish can live together needs a lengthy explanation to make you or any upcoming aquarium hobbyists understand better.

Basically, the two species of fish need tank mates to make their lives interesting.

This statement alone answers the question posed above in a very simplistic manner although there is a lot more in store when it comes to keeping angelfish and discus fish in the same tank.

Keeping the two species of fish together may sounds like a natural mix to anyone with little knowledge about these adorable aquatic creatures.

Needless to say, both species are spectacular in the essence that anyone can get the temptation to place them in the same aquarium.

Interestingly, both species share a lot in common. For instance, their origin is similar and they tend to live in nearly the same environment.

That explains better why the discus and angelfish are a perfect choice for blackwater aquariums world over.

In fact, their side by side existence as tank mates is actually an essential part of their mutual interaction while in their habitat.

By nature, the discus fish are not supposed to exist alone. Their tendency to move slowly in schools or shoals means that they should have mates to spice up their lives and daily activities.

And the potential tank mates for these slow-moving fish are none other than the angelfish.

This is due to the fact that two fish are essentially alike in their behavior in terms of movement, eating habits, temperament and so on.

Angelfish and discus fish can live together in the same aquarium, however you need to follow some basic rules in order to keep these two fish species in good health conditions.

Learn more about how the two species can cohabit in the following sections of this article.

Angelfish and Discus Fish Requirements

Before you make any move to place your angelfish and discus fish in the same tank, you need to ask yourself if the two species of fish can share the same environments.

Otherwise, you may find yourself at crossroads when trying to make your angelfish cohabit with the discus fish without prior knowledge of the right tank conditions that make them thrive.

First things first. There are two major types of angelfish; there are those that live in saltwater and those that dwell in freshwater.

Once you make this clear distinction, you will certainly be on the right track to achieving your goals. For the discus fish, their ideal habitat is only freshwater.

Therefore, if your angelfish is the saltwater species, then you cannot place it together with the discus fish. Likewise, you cannot keep your discus fish in the saltwater tank along with the angelfish.

This interesting observation leads you to just one option which is putting the freshwater angelfish in the same tank with the discus fish. But keeping them in a freshwater aquarium is not the ultimate solution.

Discus fish thrive well in soft water with hardness ranging from 0 to 3 dH and at a temperature ranging from 82-90 °F (27-32 °C) with a pH of between 6.0 and 6.5.

On the other hand, the angelfish live comfortably in soft water with the hardness ranging from 0.6 to 1.2 dH and at a temperature of 72-82 °F (22-27 °C) with a pH of about 6.5 to 6.9.

From these tank parameters, you can easily tell that the ideal aquarium to keep both the angelfish and discus fish should be maintained at 80 degrees Fahrenheit with a pH of 6.5 and hardness ranging between 0.6 and 1.2 dH.

As such, you can say that angelfish and discus fish are environmentally compatible thus can live in the same tank as mates.

Angelfish and Discus Fish Temperament

Angelfish are always peaceful and calm but they can become aggressive, territorial and nippy when breeding or feeding. Discus fish, on the other hand, are known to be docile throughout and are likely to be prevented from eating by angelfish when placed in the same aquarium.

Make sure that your discus fish is getting enough food when they are kept in the same tank with other fish, particularly the angelfish.

One common factor that you should not miss out about these two types of fish is that they are both cichlids. As usual, cichlids have that reserved reputation of their aggressive behavior.

This reputation is what makes them be unable to coexist with other fish species in the same aquarium ecosystem.

Similar to what was mentioned earlier, discus fish are a little bit reserved timid and shy. Both fish become extremely aggressive and territorial when they are taking care of their fry.

Most aquarists keep them separate when they are raising their young as a way of controlling their aggression.

Keeping Angelfish and Discus Fish Together

There are important steps that you need to follow when facilitating an introduction of the angelfish to the discus fish and vice versa. What you need to do from the start is to ensure that your fish tank where you are intending to keep your fish is large enough to accommodate all the fish.

Larger tanks are recommended for keeping both the angelfish and discus fish in order to control their temperament. In most cases, these fish become territorial especially when they are kept in a small tank.

For you to ensure that the two species coexist peacefully, change or move all the decorations in the tank in order to break up their tendency of being territorial.

You can do this with your angelfish in mind because it is the most aggressive and territorial of the two species when placed in the same tank.

Making new changes in the tank will definitely get the angelfish distracted thus forcing it to reestablish their territories.

Once you realize that your angelfish has already created a new territory, you may introduce the discus fish to your tank knowing that they will not have to experience the aggressiveness of the angelfish.

Should you realize that your angelfish is still aggressive, you may add more fish to the tank to help reduce the harassment subjected to any individual species of fish that might be docile.

You can also eliminate the aggression from the angelfish by feeding them well before introducing your discus fish to the aquarium.

Furthermore, you may add a number of rocks, plants and any other thing that can create perfect hiding places for the discus fish whenever they face some aggression from the angelfish.

Discus and Angelfish Acclimation

Another way you can introduce your discus fish to the aquarium by acclimatization. The process of acclimatization plays a significant role in reducing the physical stress of the discus fish.

You may start this process by turning off the lights in the aquarium and then turning down all the lights in the room where the tank is located.

When the lights are out, take the bag and place it with your discus fish in your tank for about 15 minutes. In the course of 15 minutes, the water inside the bag will have adjusted to the water temperature in the tank.

Then open the bag to let in a little of the tank water into the bag. After a few minutes, add some more water until the bag is completely filled up. In the next step, discard half the amount of water in the bag.

In the following intervals of a few minutes, apart ensure that more aquarium water is being added to your bag until it is filled up once more. Then take out your discus fish from the bag using a net to release it into the tank.

At this point and time, you will need to watch out to see if the angelfish still show some aggressive behavior towards the new fish. If it happens that way, you may use a plastic spaghetti strainer or divider to confine your angelfish for a period not exceeding four hours.

During the four hours of confining your angelfish, it is likely that the discus fish will have enough time to explore the rest of the aquarium.

Final Thought

It is indeed right to say that the angelfish and discus fish can live together although some precautionary measures need to be put in place.

Apart from that, the two species of fish share a lot in common. The two thrive in nearly the same tank conditions in terms of water temperature, pH and water hardness.

When it comes to their temperament, there is a sharp contrast, especially in their behavior. The angelfish are peaceful but resort to being aggressive and territorial when breeding and feeding.

Even if discus fish is calm and docile, they sometimes become territorial just like the angelfish when raising their young.

But what makes these two types of fish to be considered a perfect match for tank mates is that they are both cichlids have almost similar characteristics.

When keeping them together, ensure that the tank is large enough with plenty of plants and cover for hiding.

Frequent water changes and maintenance of the right tank parameters are crucial in ensuring the survival of these fish.

But keep in mind that even with these perfect conditions are there, you need to make sure that your angelfish and discus fish live together successfully no matter what.

Questions and Answers

Alan Anderson August 26, 2019 Reply

I’m sure its just a typo but “the temp range for Discus is 77 and all the way up to 78 degrees”. In fact anything lower than 82 is detrimental
and up to 88 is realistic. I’m by no means an expert, I have only been raising them for 35 years but hundreds of fellow enthusiasts agree with me. Also from my personal experience I would never put Adult Angels with Discus due to their aggressiveness/fin nipping. Discus will hide and stop eating if pressured.

    Hey Alan, thank you for your feedback. I’ve corrected the information, it was a typo indeed.
    I know that discus fish are very shy fish and they are very sensitive. I don’t know much about wild discus though. How they survive in the wild with such a timid behavior?

In my experience, it depends on the health and temperament of the specific individual discus fish you own.
Some of my discus are more sensitive and more prone to stress and stopping eating, others are very robust fish and not much can rattle them.
I have mixed the latter with healthy docile angelfish recently, and so far it is a great success. I adore seeing these species together in the same aquarium!
Gotta love discus though for their intelligence and different individual temperaments, and my advice would be to get to know all your discus first and settle them over a good period into your home aquaria first.
Also, rather add the angelfish later, so the discus have the slight advantage of having settled in properly into the chosen aquarium – first.

Gordon Lewis March 4, 2020 Reply

Hello Fabian.
Which Discus would you put with Angles, or are all Discus good.
Regards Gordon.

    You can keep any type of discus fish with angelfish, just make sure the tank is big enough and you have at least 6 discus fish – so they feel safe in a smaller school. Also watch out that your angels will not bully your discus. While discus are very sensitive to aggression, you need to keep one eye on this, to keep your fish healthy and happy.

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