Alenquer Discus (Symphysodon aequifasciatus 'Alenquer')

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Alenquer Discus
Symphysodon aequifasciatus 'Alenquer'
Alenquer Discus (Symphysodon aequifasciatus 'Alenquer')
Name Alenquer Discus
Name Lat. Symphysodon aequifasciatus 'Alenquer'
Family Cichlids
Family lat. Cichlidae
Order Cichlids
Order lat. Cichliformes
Origin Brazil
Habitat Rivers, tributaries
Diet Carnivore
pH 5.0-7.5
Behavior Peaceful
Keeping Pair, group
Care Level Difficult
Reproduction Substrate spawner
Breeding Difficult
Life Span 8-10 years
Protection No
Metric Units
Size 15 cm
Temperature 27-30 °C
Hardness 1-10 °dH
Aquarium ~ 350 l
US Units
Size 6"
Temperature 81-86 °F
Hardness 18-178 ppm
Aquarium ~ 90 gal

Distribution and habitat

The Alenquer Discusfish originates from the Alenquer area in northeastern Brazil. They live in sluggish flowing or stagnant waters, such as tributaries and lakes, rarely in the big rivers, where they often stay in groups in deep water, among roots, dead wood and stones.


The aquarium should have well structured planting, providing both shelter and swimming space, with roots as hiding places. A dark substrate covered with some foliage (sea almond leaves), subdued light (floating plants) and soft, slightly acidic water is ideal. No ammonia, ammonium and nitrite should be detectable, the nitrate value should not exceed 100 mg/l. To ensure the water quality and oxygen content, a filter and heater adapted to the aquarium size is required, as well as lighting for the species-appropriate day-night rhythm of the animals.


In nature they feed mainly on zooplankton and insect larvae. The food supply consists of live, frozen and dry food. For a balanced diet, feed once a day with a high-quality dry food for discus fish (flakes, granules, pellets) as well as daphnia, artemia, mysis, mosquito larvae, etc. (live or frozen).

It is recommended to feed small portions several times a day. Only feed as much as will be eaten within a few minutes. A regular and varied diet promotes health and increases resistance.

Behaviour and compatibility

Discus fish are calm peaceful fish that only show pronounced territorial behavior during spawning season. They should be kept in pairs or in a group. Keeping multiple pairs or a group is only recommended in a large, richly structured tank. They should only be socialized with other calm, peaceful and heat-loving fish

Basically, only compatible fish species with similar demands on water quality and water temperature should be socialized.

Sex dimorphism

Outside the spawning season the sexes are hardly distinguishable. With some experience, the sexes can be determined during mating by the shape of the genital papilla, which is pointed in the male and round in the female.

Reproduction and breeding

After a harmonizing pair is found, the female usually spawns on a root. The larvae feed for several days on a skin secretion secreted by the parents. Together they care for and guard the clutch and look after their offspring for a long time

Young fish must be fed several times a day with special rearing food (Artemia nauplii). In community tanks breeding is hardly possible, because the young fish are easy prey.


In the large distribution area of the discus fish there are some site variants, which differ in coloration and pattern.

Discus fish are very shy and skittish and need many shelters and hiding places to feel comfortable. They make special demands on water quality and water values. Foliage (sea almond tree, oak, etc.) enriches the water with humic substances, naturally lowers the pH and strengthens their immune defenses

Due to their body height, the aquarium should be at least 50 cm high.

The well-being of the fish should be checked regularly. The temperature should be checked daily, the pH, hardness and nitrate value at least every 14 days. Regular partial water changes are recommended, even if the pollutant level has not yet reached the upper limit. Sudden changes in water quality should be avoided. Newly introduced fish must be accustomed slowly to the water in the aquarium

Further literature can be found in your pet store.


Text: Werner Winter; Image: petdata

Source: BMEL (1998): Tierschutzgutachten - Haltung von Zierfischen (Süßwasser); RIEHL & BAENSCH (2006): Aquarien Atlas Bd. 1, Mergus Verlag; ENGELMANN (2005): Zootierhaltung - Tiere in menschlicher Obhut: Fische, Verlag Harri Deutsch

  • Gemäß § 21 Abs. 5 Tierschutzgesetz idgF