Fun Green Discus Facts For Kids

Oluwatosin Michael
Oct 20, 2022 By Oluwatosin Michael
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
Interesting and informative green discus facts for everyone.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 8.5 Min

The green discus fish, also known as red spotted fish, pompadour discus fish, or tefé discus fish that belongs to the family Cichlidae. It is endemic to Amazon Basin and its tributaries. Usually found in black water, the fish lives deep in the sea. It prefers slow moving water and floodplains which bring a huge amount of food with them. The diet of the pompadour discus fish is an omnivore, which means it feeds on both plant materials and small water animals, such as worms.

The red spotted discus fish species is one of the most popular aquarium fish. These fish have a blue body with beautiful red markings on specific regions. The genus name of this species composed of two elements: the Greek term symphysis, meaning 'grown together', and odous, meaning 'teeth'. There are two species in this genus, red discus and blue discus that are closely related to the red spotted discus.

To know more about similar fish species, you may also check out round goby and glowlight rasbora.

Green Discus Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a green discus?

It is a ray finned fish endemic to the western Amazon basin.

What class of animal does a green discus belong to?

It is a discus fish that belongs to the class Actinopterygii in phylum Chordata.

How many green discuses are there in the world?

The population size of these discuses has not been estimated yet.

Where does a green discus live?

The wild discus fish is a freshwater animal native to tributaries of the western Amazon River Basin. It is usually found in the floodplains of this region as in Amazon there is persistent flooding that happens throughout the year. The fish usually make groups around fallen trees near the coastline. It is more fertile in the slow moving blackwater channels. Humans introduced this discus species in the Nany River that is based on stock from the Tefé area.

What is a green discus's habitat?

In the wild, the ocean green discus fish inhabits deep waters. It is mostly found in blackwater rivers with an extreme temperature range of 81–86 F (27.2–30 C) and an acidic pH between 4.8 to 5.9. These parameters remain the same both day and night. It prefers Rio Nego and Rio Madiera with nearby floodplains that consist of water with low suspended materials or mineral content, unlike whitewater rivers. The small suspended materials make the water soft.  In a home aquarium, it is crucial to keep the red spotted discus fish in an almost similar environment as its natural habitats with plenty of plants and the same water parameters, such as temperature, pH, and mineral content. The discus fish can survive in a broad range of water factors as long as the changes are not instantaneous and the fish has enough time to adapt to altering parameters. One way to keep water parameters constant is by using high quality biological and mechanical filters. The water must be of excellent quality for the fish. Plus, it should not be kept with aggressive or noisy species of fish or in an aquarium with acute lighting or strong power currents. Some suitable mates include Siamese Algae Eaters, Tetra species, and celebus rainbow fish. If there is a need to use strong lighting for plants growing in an aquarium, make sure that the density of the plants is adequate to provide shade for the fish to retreat when needed.

Who do green discuses live with?

The red spotted discus fish or Tefé discus fish is a social species that live in a group of animals known as schools. One school may consist of several dozen individuals, depending on the species and the habitat. Schools forage food in the waters. However, in the breeding season, every discus fish becomes isolated from the groups and forms a pair. It is also a good idea to keep at least four to six fish in one aquarium with at least 10 gallons (37.8 L) of freshwater per fish.

How long does a green discus live?

In captivity, the discus fish, with proper care and maintenance, can live up to 10-15 years. Always look out for initial symptoms of disease, such as lethargy, swelling, not eating properly, and discoloration. The fish of this species often exhibits aging signs after around five years of life.

How do they reproduce?

There is not much information available regarding reproduction in red spotted discus species. According to some scientific studies, the mating season and reproduction in these fish are highly affected by altering fluctuations in the flood level of their habitat. They usually spawn at the high water level which comes with an adequate amount of food and lower predator density. So when two fish make a pair, they separate themselves from the group, perhaps to decrease the occurrence of cannibalism. After copulating and laying eggs, the hatching occurs in the next three or four days. Like other cichlids, the discus parents participate in caring for and developing their young by protecting and cleaning the eggs. They have a unique adaptation of secreting a mucus like elements through their skin which they feed to their fry for the initial weeks. When one parent gets weakened with this process, the fry shift to another parent. The young will become mature after around one year. Their fry life is tough because they may fall prey to other larger creatures in the wild. The red spotted discus is closely related to the Angelfish of Amazon. Previously their breeding habits were assumed the same because of their almost similar appearance. In 1970, some breeders tried to produce more colorful discus with a wider range of beautiful colors and stripes or markings. They selected blue strains of fish and made them mate which results in the production of Turquoise and Cobalt Discus. Some breeders also produced red spotted green discus and red spotted discus by selecting natural red strains. In the '80s and '90s, there was the emergence of new discus mutations with the expansion of blue diamond, snakeskin, snow white, and pigeon blood variations. With the help of selective breeding, people who have a hobby of collecting fish in the aquarium can select their favorite fish among various varieties of discus.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of red spotted discus fish is not listed in the IUCN Red List. It is believed that the population is constant and in good health as they are quite common in their native habitats. However, there are many threats associated with the survival of discus, such as habitat loss and predators. These fish is known to eat the fry of their own species.

Green Discus Fun Facts

What do green discuses look like?

These fish got discus as their name because of their flat and rounded body. They have big noticeable fins on the pelvis and back. Apart from this, there are two more main body colors which are red and blue with different unusual patterns. These fish have the unique capability to change their color based on their age, water parameters, mood, and stress levels. This  fish can grow to around 6 in (15.24 cm) but not more than that in the wild. In captivity, they can grow up to 9 in (22.8 cm) probably due to an adequate amount of food. In the breeding season, when the abdomen of females becomes large, it is arduous to distinguish between sexes. S. aequifasciatus is moderate length. The tank bred fish are highly distinguishable in color and patterns, while the wild fish is bland and unremarkable. The tank bred discus is different from the wild green discus. The latter usually has a brown to greenish body with around nine vertical bars or stripes along the body. It does not possess a bold central bar but has asymmetrical metallic stripes along the belly, anal and dorsal fins, and on the upper side of the body. The red spotted discus is the most popular among all related species.

The green discus has a florescent body underwater, which is greenish to yellowish.

How cute are they?

Although there are other discus fish, such as red discus fish and blue discus fish, the red spotted discus fishes are one of the most popular flatfish species. People love to collect and keep them in aquariums as a hobby. The fishes with beautiful green color with red patterns are adorable to watch.

How do they communicate?

The communication in this species is unknown.

How big is a green discus?

The size of a pompadour fish is 4.8–6 in (12.3–15.2 cm), which is five times larger than a clownfish.

How fast can a green discus swim?

The swim speed of a red spotted discus fish is unclear.

How much does a green discus weigh?

The weight of a Tefé discus fish is between 5.2-8.8 Oz (150-250 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names of ocean green discus male and female, separately.

What would you call a baby green discus?

The baby tefé green discus is usually known as a fry or larva.

What do they eat?

The Tefé discus diet consists of algae and other plants materials. They also feed on worms and small invertebrates. In the aquarium, you can give them manufactured foods to eat.

Are they poisonous?

No, the green discus is a nonpoisonous fish species. In fact, they are friendly.

Would they make a good pet?

Yes, the pompadour discus fish do make good pets in aquariums or tanks. However, they are suitable as pets for experienced aquarists. Also, due to their unique body, color, and size, they are quite expensive to the rear and even buy. One of the advantages is that you can raise them as a pair but it is rare to find them in pairs. However, there is no guarantee that they will live together as they can end up fighting which will eventually lead to killing each other. But this can be avoided if kept as pairs of male and female.

Did you know...

The pompadour discus fish is known as the king of the aquarium because of its magnificent beauty.

Are green discuses smart?

No study or experiment has been carried out yet to observe the smartness of these fish.

Keeping green discuses

The red spotted discus fish are expensive due to their beautiful color and pattern, water requirements with optimum temperature and pH, large tank or aquarium size, and difficult breeding. They are social animals that can be live in a group of the same species. Also, the diet is very simple. They can also eat market foods.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these elegant firefish facts and lionfish facts pages.  

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our Green Discus coloring pages.

Green Discus Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Plant matter and small invertebrates

What Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?

150 eggs

How Much Did They Weigh?

5.2-8.8 Oz (150-250 g)

What habitat Do they Live In?

lentic habitats, aquarium, and tropical water

Where Do They Live?

brazil, peru, and columbia

How Long Were They?

4.8–6 in (12.3–15.2 cm)

How Tall Were They?








Scientific Name

Symphysodon aequifasciatus

What Do They Look Like?

Brown, blue, red, green, black, yellow, and orange

Skin Type


What Are Their Main Threats?

habitat change

What is their Conservation Status?

Not threatened
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Written by Oluwatosin Michael

Bachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology

Oluwatosin Michael picture

Oluwatosin MichaelBachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology

With a Bachelor's in Microbiology from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Oluwatosin has honed his skills as an SEO content writer, editor, and growth manager. He has written articles, conducted extensive research, and optimized content for search engines. His expertise extends to leading link-building efforts and revising onboarding strategies. 

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