Discus Food 101 – Guide For Beginners

Discus Food 101 a guide for beginners

Table of Contents

Why Do Discus Spit Out Food?

Discus normally spits out the food because they don’t have teeth rather they have grinders in the jaw and that is why your Discus might be spitting food out and taking it in again in order to chew it properly.

In some rare cases, Discus might be spitting out food because of some type of parasite infection so in this case, the best thing to do is to treat for parasites just in case as a precaution.

NOTE: Another reason for Discus Fish that spit out food is overfeeding so, avoid it.

What Do Discus Eat?

Normally, Discus fish likes to eat meaty meals such as bloodworms, earthworms, and mosquito larvae as well as eating a significant quantity of plant material. Frozen foods and live foods are also used to feed Discus.

NOTE: It is much better to adjust their diet and feed only what they can consume under 2-3 minutes.

You should look forward to providing a healthy diet that usually is a combination of more than one food type.

What Do Wild Discus Eat?

In the wild, Discus fish essentially forage on zooplankton, insects, and invertebrates. Plant matter can also be used to feed wild Discus but in rare cases, that’s why Discus is unlikely to damage live aquarium plants in captivity.

NOTE: Wild Discus searches for food the whole day rather than consuming more food at once.

Discus fish cannot bear large portions of food due to the compressed structure of their bodies, thus overfeeding is a vital concern for captive Discus fish.

What Are Frozen Bloodworms?

Frozen Bloodworms

Bloodworms refer to a few different types of worm; mainly the small red larvae from mosquito flies (Chironomidae) and the genus (Glycera), bloodworms that are the larvae of the non-biting midge fly are bright red in color.

NOTE: It is so important to know that I do not advise you to feed your Discus with frozen bloodworms, despite whos advising you to do so, there are many aquarists who start having health issues and infections on their own after a while from feeding them frozen bloodworms. 

How To Feed My Discus Frozen Bloodworms?

When you are ready to feed your Discus fish, fill a small container with some of the tank water and place a cube of bloodworms in, to thaw it out. Once it has thawed, strain the defrosted food to remove the water and excess juices and then feed it to your Discus.

NOTE: These are ideal for large tanks that have much fish, BUT, still I do not advise feeding your Discus with frozen bloodworms since there are many aquarists who start having Discus health issues and infections on their own after a while from feeding them frozen bloodworms.

Frozen bloodworms are more convenient than live foods as they can be preserved frozen for up to 6 months.

Is Bloodworm Good For Discus?

Indeed, live bloodworms are very beneficial for feeding Discus. feeding your Discus bloodworms will majorly reduce the risk of parasites infections and the occurrence of any disease also becomes very unlikely compared to feeding wild bloodworms.

NOTE: You should avoid using any wild bloodworms to feed your Discus because they can and do carry disease.

If you are willing to use live bloodworms then find a person with a culture that is clean.

NOTE: Again, I do not advise feeding your Discus fish frozen bloodworms which can cause health issues to your Discus and that happened to my Discus once.

Can Discus Eat Flakes?

beef heart flakes

Yes, flakes are consumed by Discus but they should not be the focus of their feeding plans. Beef Heart Flakes is a staple food flake having a well-balanced composition of nutrients.

One of the features in the composition is the protein in cattle’s hearts. It does not decompose when fed, nor does it cloud the water, in addition, the flake offers much higher nutritional value than the frozen cattle heart, and it is not subject to any cold chain, much better to feed and space-saving to store.

NOTE: If you want to feed flakes to Discus, you should probably keep them starving for a few days (not making them sick), this will make them hungry and they will start eating flakes.

How Much Should I Feed My Discus?

A decent measure of feeding your fish is to provide the food that is 3% of their body weight. Feeding depends on the maturity of the fish. If the fish is younger, then they should be fed up to 3 times per day and if the fish is adult then it should be fed twice a day.

Example: Adult fish approximately weighs 75 grams so you need 2.25 grams per serving twice a day.

Overfeeding is even harmful to our Discus as this may lead to improper fishbone’s growth. This can even cause a shorter operculum or a bent backbone.

What Is The Best Food For Discus?

Beefheart is the best food for Discus fish as well as any diet that includes meat as they are carnivorous by nature such as bloodworms, earthworms, and mosquito larvae are some of the favorite food of the Discus fish. However, fish flakes, pellets, and frozen food can also be used to feed Discus.

The most popular food type among Discus keepers is the beef heart, which usually comes in its frozen form. It is the best diet for the growth of your Discus.

NOTE: Beef heart needs to be used with caution as it is not a normal part of the Discus diet in the wild. The excessive beef heart can lead to digestive issues and other related illnesses, but when administered in small, carefully regulated amounts, it can be highly beneficial to the fish.

For further details on how to prepare the best Beefheart homemade, refer to the below article, or you can refer to my article 11 Best food for Discus – What is the best food for Discus?

beef heart recipe and stepsHow To Make
Beef Heart
for Discus

Will Discus Eat Neon Tetras?


No, Discus will not eat neon tetras as long as neon tetras size is big enough compared to Discus mouth, they both can live along. Discus may eat smaller fish on occasion, but they won’t make a habit out of it.

NOTE: Any creature that can fit your fish in its mouth is a threat to that fish.

Discus fish are relatively larger in size than neon tetras so there is every possibility that Discus can eat neon tetras. In spite of this threat, we should also consider the fast swimming of tetras, their size and agility.

Neon tetras are suitable companions for Discus fish despite being so tiny because they are also peaceful and social. They usually get along with other types of fish.


This is me Firas Sameer, the founder of DiscusRescue.com, I am an aquarist guy with a passion and love for Discus fishes, I am learning every day with my hobby at home and sharing the things I am learning from my experience with you.

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