Domestic Discus Fish or Wild Discus - What Are the Differences

Published: 04th August 2010
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Discus fish capture crowds. It does not matter where they have been bred. They could be from the waters of the Amazon River basin (their natural habitat), or they could have been spawned in a domestic breeder's tank.

Truth is that there are so many types of discus fish that it is hard to tell the difference between natural and "un-natural."

Any time a person lays eyes on a discus tank for the first time, the response is almost identical. Eyes widen, mouth drops open, comments such as, "What type of fish are these?" or "Holy Cow, what a gorgeous aquarium!".

Most folks who know a little about aquaria will assume it is a saltwater tank because of the vibrant colors.

A first time observer would not be able to imagine that there are only four species of natural. That is because there are now so many varieties of discus fish. (Well, the truth is there is possibly yet another species that is being considered now by researchers).

Wild discus fish call the Amazon River home. You know, the world's longest river. That is the only place you will find discus spawning naturally. And each species is unique to a certain area of the Amazon. They don't mix together in nature.

The types of wild discus fish are somewhat simple. Scientists have their own methods of naming discus, but identifying them as Green, Brown, Blue, and Heckel is much easier. Heckel, you ask? How the "heck" did they get the name Heckel?

Well, actually, the Heckel could have a color name, too. They are either red or blue in color. The distinction of a Heckel discus fish is the prominent dark stripe that shows up at every fifth interval along its body.

Discus fish are a prized possession. Many folks want them for their aquariums. Their beauty just draws folks in. An aquarium with discus fish wandering slowly to and fro has a relaxing, or calming effect on a home.

This great demand for discus fish has created the need for many breeders to begin "discus farms" all over the world, literally. These domestic breeders have used selective breeding techniques to produce many different varieties of discus that have even more eye-catching colors and patterns.

There are solid colors available, such as bright orange, red, yellow, and even white. No self-respecting natural discus would be born without a pattern. This fish is a solid striking yellow color, one that you would definitely not see in the wild.

Then there are patterns called Leopard and Snakeskin and Leopard Snakeskin, each of which has a different color and/or pattern. One thing remains the same, though. It's the round, thin body style that is typical of discus fish.

So, which is better, the ones created domestically or the ones born in the wilderness? Consider two things.

First, wild discus fish come from a totally different natural environment than their domestic cousins. The Amazon is murky and muddy , quite different from the clean, fresh tanks of the breeders. The requirements of the aquarium vary, depending on the origination of the discus fish that live in it.

Second, fish from reliable breeders are used to the type of environment that you will probably supply for them, and they are more likely to be healthy coming from a controlled tank (remember, the key is getting them from "reputable" breeders - know where your fish are coming from).

Finding the most desirable discus fish types with such a wide variety of aquarium fish available to you is really a matter of personal preference and personal education. If you are an aquarium hobbyist "wanna-be", make sure you get the education before you dive into the tank with expensive fish. You might want to check websites that are dedicated to getting you the best start possible.

Make sure you visit for much more about these beautiful aquarium fish.

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