Selecting tankmates for discus fish is not easy. You need something that is capable of withstanding the higher temperatures of a discus tank, something that isn’t going to be eaten as the discus get bigger, and something that isn’t going to nip at your prized fishes fins!

I am going to start this with an honourable mentions list, fish that nearly made it in, but maybe didn’t quite meet the standards because of fin nipping or being just a touch too small.

Honorable Mentions:

  1. Harlequin Rasbora
  2. Electric Blue Rams
  3. Angelfish
  4. Golden Algae Eaters
  5. Clown Loach

To make this list these fish must be:

  • Active swimmers
  • Non-aggressive, and not fin nippers
  • Big enough not to be seen as dinner for the discus
  • Be hardy enough to withstand the higher temperatures that Discus prefer
  • Be hardy enough to withstand the other water parameters required for Discus Fish

5. The Cardinal Tetra

Cardinal Tetra
Cardinal Tetra School

The Cardinal Tetra look very similar to Neon Tetra with their bright red and electric blue stripes, but the cardinals a are slightly larger and instead of the stripes only reaching half way down their bodies, the stripes extend the full length of them.

They grow to a maximum of about 2 inches, making them a bit more difficult to eat than the little Neons, and they are less prone to disease than the Neons.

In a school of 10 or more, these fish add an unrivalled splash of colour and movement to your tank, easily earning them the number 5 position on this list.

4. The Bristlenose Plecostomus

Bristlenose Plecostomus
Bristlenose Plecostomus

As far as Pecostomus go, the Bristlenose is about the safest one you can put with Discus. They don’t grow anywhere near the size of the standard/common pleco, and they are generally less territorial than the common plecos.

There are two big risk factors with putting any Pleco into your discus tank.

  • The Pleco becomes territorial and keeps chasing and stressing the Discus out
  • The Pleco develops a taste for the Discus’ slime coat and will latch onto your Discus. This can create sores on your Discus. If you notice your Pleco harassing the Discus, you should definitely remove the Pleco.

3. The Kuhli Loach

Striped Kuhli Loach
Striped Kuhli Loach

Sometimes referred to as Noodles, the Kuhli loach is one of the most fascinating fish to watch. It sort of looks like a worm crossed with an eel, and its unusual swimming pattern will have you mesmerised for hours.

Kuhlis are a bit on the shy side, so you need a few of them in your tank to make them feel comfortable, but they are another fish who will not bother your discus and are very happy at the same parameters as Discus fish.

These are sensitive fish, so please ensure you do your research on them before purchasing.

2. The Corydoras Catfish

Bronze Corydoras
Bronze Corydoras

Corydoras Catfish come in many colours and varieties, 165 varieties actually, so there is bound to be one that takes your fancy.

These active little fish not only provide great fast moving entertainment for you to watch, but they are great at cleaning up uneaten foods at the bottom of your aquarium.

These hardy little fish will not bother your discus, they will just wizz around living their best lives. These were such a close contender for the number one spot, but I have a complete weakness for a good schooling fish… The Corys should really have taken first place in this list.

1. The Rummy-Nose Tetra

Rummy Nose Tetra
Rummy Nose Tetra

The number one spot for Best Discus Tank Mates fish has to go to the Rummy-Nose Tetra.

These fish are peaceful, hardy and colourful. They bother no one and spend their days cruising up and down your tank. I have never had a sick or sorry Rummy-Nose in any of my tanks.

They grow to a reasonable size, which will help prevent other fish from snacking on them but are often fast enough to keep out of their tank mates’ way anyway.

These fish are great all-rounders who are not overly fussy with care requirements or feeding habits, in my opinion, a tropical tank isn’t complete without a Rummy-Nose!


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