You can put a discus fish in with an angelfish but use caution. Quarantine any new fish before adding it to an established aquarium in case of illness, and if possible, add the most passive fish to the aquarium first. Fish can have personalities of their ow, and some may be more aggressive than the general guidelines suggest. There are also ways to reduce aggression and stress for a successful introduction.
There are many types of saltwater and freshwater angelfish, but discus fish inhabit only freshwater. If you already have a saltwater angelfish, you cannot put a discus fish in the saltwater aquarium with the angelfish. If you have a freshwater angelfish, you can put the discus fish in with the angelfish. Discus fish are most comfortable in soft water (0 dH to 3 dH) at a temperature of 77 degrees Fahrenheit to 84 degrees Fahrenheit and pH of 6.0 to 6.5. Angelfish thrive in soft water (0.6 dH to 1.2 dH) at a temperature of 78 degrees Fahrenheit to 82 degrees Fahrenheit and a pH of 6.5 to 6.9. A freshwater aquarium kept at 80 degrees Fahrenheit, 0.6 dH to 1.2 dH and a pH of 6.5 would be suitable for an angelfish and a discus fish.
Angelfish are usually peaceful, but they can be aggressive when feeding and breeding. Discus fish are docile and may be deprived of food by angelfish. You can put them together but make sure the discus fish is eating.
How to Introduce a Discus Fish to an Angelfish
There are steps you can take to facilitate a successful introduction. Make sure your aquarium is large enough for all the fish. Some fish may be more territorial in a small tank. Angelfish can also be territorial when breeding. Move or change decorations in the aquarium to break up the angelfish's territory. The angelfish will be distracted with the changes. It will also have to reestablish its territory, which should make adding a discus fish to the aquarium easier. If the angelfish is still aggressive, adding more than one new fish to the aquarium will reduce the harassment done to any individual fish. Angelfish can be aggressive when feeding, so feed your angelfish before introducing the discus fish. Add plants, rocks and other hiding places so that the discus fish can hide.
How to Acclimate a Fish to an Aquarium
Acclimation will reduce the discus fish’s physical stress. Turn off the aquarium lights and turn down the lights in the room. Place the bag with the discus fish in the aquarium for 15 minutes so that the water in the bag adjusts to the temperature of the aquarium. Open the bag and put a little aquarium water into the bag. Add more water after a few minutes and continue until the bag is full. Then, discard half of the water in the bag. Every few minutes add more aquarium water to the bag until it is full again. Take the discus fish out of the bag with a net and release it into the aquarium. If the angelfish is aggressive towards the discus fish, use a divider or plastic spaghetti strainer to confine the angelfish for four hours. This should give the discus fish time to explore the aquarium.
- Live Aquaria; Freshwater and Brackish Compatibility Chart; 2004
- Aquatic Community; Discus Fish; 2006
- Aquatic Community; Keeping Angelfish; 2008
- American Aquarium; South American Cichlids; 2011
- Live Aquaria; Introducing New Fish Into Your Aquarium; 2011
- Live Aquaria; Acclimation Procedure Guidelines; 2011
Ellen Murphy began her writing career by transcribing classical works in 2005. She has laboratory experience in experimental molecular biology and has studied archaeology and chemistry. Murphy graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science in biology and a minor in biomedical engineering. She then went on to study virology and molecular biology at the University of Florida.