PART ONE: In their natural habitat Discus mostly live in acidic, tanned, murky water, with lots of rotting vegetation in a sandy riverbed. In this habitat the Discus find their food by using their senses.

Discus prefer to eat live prey - so mosquitos, larvae, shrimp and other worms and crustaceans. Where live prey isn’t available they’re also happy to eat ripe fruit and vegetable matter, for instance Algae. Rotten food or foul smelling food is left – unless there is no other option!

All wild Discus have their own unique patterning and colouration, to match the habitat that they live in. When feeding, Discus shoal head down to the river bed in groups, blowing water into the sandy riverbed looking for potential prey. When I imported my Super Reds I used silver sand as the substrate and leveled it out so it was around 1cm deep. After the initial acclimatization, I fed them live mosquito larvae (bloodworm) – they waited until it was halfway in the sand and then they began their feast! Was it the colour, smell or movement that excited the Discus? Well, I personally feel it was the movement. Moving prey excites them. It was even more fun to watch them when I fed them live, washed tubifex worms! These were definitely their favourite – most of the worms didn’t get a chance to bury themselves in the sand, and the ones that did didn’t last long! The Discus had to try hard to get the tubifex worms that had buried themselves – they blew water at the end of the worm sticking out of the sand which made a little crater around the worm allowing them to suck the worm up out of the sand. Bon appetite!

Discus have large eyes in comparison to the size of their bodies so they can hunt down their prey and clearly see their predators. The position of their eyes also tells us a lot about the Discus, their eyes are off the side and front and they can also rotate 45 degrees, which helps them look for prey.

Watch this space... Part two coming soon! If you enjoy reading Steve's Discus articles you might want to join our VIP Club. We hold regular Discus event days throughout the year where our VIP Members come along and listen to talks from leading Discus experts, ask questions and access even more useful advice and information. Sign Up today - it's free!