Discus have been prized by aquarium hobbyists since the 1930s. In Melbourne we are lucky, since discus aquaculture is a major industry in several countries in Asia. Our proximity to these countries means that there is a usually a great variety of quality discus fish for sale in Melbourne, in a myriad of colours.

Discus are highly intelligent fish and will frequently interact with their keepers – they have even been known to watch television. There is little sexual dimorphism, so discus may be hard to sex, but males may display slighter longer fins and a more pronounced ‘forehead’. If you wish to purchase a sexed pair of discus fish, it is probably to observe the fish in the shop’s aquarium. In may be easier to choose a pair based on their behaviour. Melbourne has a number of specialist aquarium shops that carry a great selection of these fascinating fish.

If you wish to breed discus, you should know that they are very protective parents. The young live off a special secretion from the parents’ skin for up to two weeks.

Discus prefer particularly clean water that is very soft and mildly acidic. Luckily, Melbourne’s water is also very soft but tends to be neutral or slightly alkaline. If you intend to purchase discus fish for sale in Melbourne, it is advised to use a specific pH buffer to slightly lower pH. You can also add so-called ’black water’ extracts, which consist of tannins, humic acids and other substances that enable your water chemistry to mimic that of the Amazon Basin. Professionally prepared Amazon Extract is available from specialist aquarium shops in Melbourne.

Be aware that new fish can be subject to stress. Discus have black vertical stress bars that provide camouflage in their natural habitat, but these become darker when fish are stressed. Bright lights are a common source of stress, so if you have just purchased a discus fish that appears stressed, it is best to turn off your aquarium lights and provide plenty of cover until it has acclimatised.

Discus fish are picky feeders. They have small stomachs that are compressed by their swim bladders and do not tolerate overfeeding. Discus are grazers and consume small amounts of food often. Frozen foods such as quality brine shrimp are available in Melbourne from your leading specialist aquarium shop. Foods that hydrate in the stomach should be avoided.

If you are looking for tank mates for your beautiful discus fish, there are a fantastic variety of South American catfish for sale in leading Melbourne aquariums. Many discus keepers prefer bristlenose catfish for this purpose.

Discus fish are sometimes referred to as ‘pompadour fish’ and for many keepers represent the pinnacle of the aquarium hobby. You will find plenty of great discus fish for sale in specialist aquarium shops located in Melbourne.