Best Fish Food For Discus Based On Ingredient Qualit

A lot of resources on the internet will tell you that Discus fish are strictly carnivores, but in reality, they eat a variety of foods in the wild that definitely make them omnivores.

We can help recreate this by choosing foods with the right ingredients.

And to help you do this, I don’t just want to share with you the best foods for discus available, but how you can look at any type of fish food and know instantly if it’ll be nutritious for your discus.

High-Quality Ingredients Vs Low-Quality Ingredients

When you’re shopping for fish food (or any food really) it’s super important to read the ingredient list. And it’s the first few items listed which are the most important as these make up most of the food.

Fish food companies spend a lot of money on flashy packaging and gimmicky bullet statements that try to convince customers that their brand of food is the healthiest.

The problem is, a lot of them spend tons of money on trying to trick customers and not so much on including healthy ingredients in their products.

Major brands (like Tetra and Aqueon), that you’ll see in every store, contain mostly low quality fillers that aren’t very healthy for your fish.

So look beyond the fancy branding and make sure that you’re getting a quality product for your money.

Ingredients to Avoid

Fish Meal

Generic fish meal is made from the guts, bones, scales and skin left over after fish have been filleted for human consumption.

Essentially, and quite literally, it’s garbage.

If fish meal is the only source of protein on the ingredient list, look elsewhere.

Pro Tip: While a generic fish meal is often a junk ingredient, fish meals listed by the name of the fish are generally better quality ingredients that include the meat of the fish. So, a food that contains “salmon meal” is preferable to just plain “fish meal.”

Here is an example of low-quality fish food you should avoid

Grains

Grains like corn and wheat are used as fillers in a lot of fish food.

A fish just is not designed to digest grains, at all. In nature, they would never come across something like wheat middlings

Ingredients like this are hard for a fish’s system to break down so they often just pass through  as waste.

It’s fine if there’s a little bit of grain mixed in as a binding agent, but it should not be a major ingredient.

Ingredients You Want

Whole Fish

Example of high-quality ingredients

Whole fish is one of the best possible ingredients to find in a fish food. All of the meat and fish oils are included, making it a great source of protein for your fish.

Spirulina

Spirulina is a blue-green algae (technically a cyanobacteria) that is an excellent plant-based ingredient in fish food.

It is a great source of easy to digest protein as well as a huge variety of vitamins. It’s also a great color enhancer, especially for blue and green fish. 

Black Soldier Fly Larvae

Black soldier fly larvae are the juvenile form of the insect Hermetia illucens. This non-biting fly is a great source of protein that’s easy to digest. 

Many freshwater fish eat insects and their larvae in the wild, including Discus, making this ingredient an obvious source of protein for fish food.

And the larvae of the black soldier fly have no exoskeleton. So it’s even easier for fish to digest than something like whole crickets.

Whole Shrimp or Krill

Here’s an example of high-quality ingredient

Just like whole fish, this ensures that you get the meaty part, not just leftover heads and shells that have been ground up.

 A Varied Diet is Best

In the wild, Discus eat a large variety of things, both plant and animal food sources. It’s best to mimic this as much as possible in the aquarium.

Making sure that your fish get a wide variety of foods ensures that they get all of the different nutrients they need to be happy, healthy and colorful.

Best Discus Foods With High-Quality Ingredients

New Life Spectrum Naturox Optimum All Purpose Flakes

These flakes are made from Protein sources, like krill, squid and whole fish, as well as great plant-based foods like a mix of seaweeds, kelp, spirulina, marigold and algae. They make a great staple diet for discus fish.

Click For Full Ingredients

Krill (Euphasia superba), Squid (Dosidicus gigas), Whole Wheat Flour, Fish (Brevoortia tyrannus), Garlic, Fish Oil, Seaweed (Ulva latuca, Undaria pinnatafida, Euchema  cottonii, Euchema spinosum, Chondrus crispus), Green Algae (Chlorella pyrendoidosa), Kelp, Ginger, Astaxanthin, Spirulina, Marigold, Bentonite Clay, Sea Salt, Vitamin A Acetate,Vitamin D Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement,Vitamin B12 Supplement,  Niacin, Folic Acid, Biotin, Thiamine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride,Calcium Pantothenate,  L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Vitamin C), Choline Chloride, Ethylenediamine Dihydroiodide, Cobalt Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Tocopherols (a preservative)

New Life Spectrum Naturox Optimum All Purpose Flakes 90g Fish Food
New Life Spectrum Naturox Optimum All Purpose Flakes 90g Fish Food

    Last update on 2024-04-10 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

    Zoo Med Spirulina 20 Flake Fish Food

    Spirulina 20 has always been one of the foods that I rotate around for my various aquariums and your discus will love it. It is a good mix between animal based ingredients and large amounts of spirulina, which is packed with all sorts of different nutrients. I’ve always had good growth from this food.

    Click For Full Ingredients

    Salmon Fish Meal, Spirulina Algae Meal, Soy Flour, Wheat Flour, Corn Starch, Dried Krill Meal, Shrimp Meal, Plankton Meal, Lecithin, Vegetable Oil, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (stabilized Vitamin C)

    Sale
    Zoo Med Spirulina 20 Flake Fish Food, 4-Ounce
    Zoo Med Spirulina 20 Flake Fish Food, 4-Ounce

      Last update on 2024-04-10 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

      Omega One Super Color Flakes

      These flakes have always been a favorite in my fish room and are an excellent choice for discus. They’re made up of great protein sources, like salmon, whole herring and whole shrimp. Mixed with pea protein, kelp and color enhancing marigold extract.

      Click For Full Ingredients

      Salmon, Whole Herring, Wheat Flour, Whole Shrimp, Pea Protein, Wheat Gluten, Herring Oil, Kelp, Mixed Tocopherols, Carmine, Annatto Extract, Citric Acid, Ascorbic Acid, Marigold Extract, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Inositol, Astaxanthin, Canthaxanthin, Riboflavin, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement

      Omega One Super Color Flakes 5.3 oz
      Omega One Super Color Flakes 5.3 oz

        Last update on 2024-04-10 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

        Repashy Super Gold

        Although this food is marketed towards goldfish, it makes a great food for tropical fish as well including discus. The balance between high-quality protein sources and plant-based ingredients makes Super Repashy Gold an excellent choice as a staple food for discus.

        Click For Full Ingredients

        Krill Meal, Spirulina Algae, Black Soldier Fly Larvae Meal, Chlorella Algae, Squid Meal, Dandelion Leaf, Seaweed Meal, Whole Egg, Pea Protein Isolate, Rice Protein Concentrate, Banana Powder, Brewer’s Dried Yeast, Mussel Meal, Mango Powder, Lecithin, Locust Bean Gum, Citric Acid, Stinging Nettle, Garlic, Ginger, Cinnamon, Dried Kelp, Phaffia Yeast, Dried Watermelon, RoseHips, Hibiscus Flower, Marigold Flower, Paprika, Turmeric, Salt, Calcium Propionate and Potassium Sorbate (as preservatives), Magnesium Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Methionine Hydroxy Analogue Chelate, Manganese Methionine Hydroxy Analogue Chelate, Copper Methionine Hydroxy Analogue Chelate. Vitamins: (Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D Supplement, Calcium L-Ascorbyl-2-Monophosphate, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Beta Carotene, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex)

        Repashy Super Gold Goldfish and Koi Gel Food 6 Oz JAR
        Repashy Super Gold Goldfish and Koi Gel Food 6 Oz JAR

          Last update on 2024-04-10 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

          New Life Spectrum Naturox Series Cichlid Formula

          New Life Spectrum’s sinking pellet is packed with proteins like krill, giant, squid and whole fish. It also contains Kate plant beast ingredients, such as a variety of seaweeds, and Marigold, which is a color enhancing ingredient.

          Click For Full Ingredients

          Krill (Euphasia superba), Squid (Dosidicus gigas), Whole Wheat Flour, Fish (Brevoortia tyrannus), Seaweed (Ulva latuca, Undaria pinnatafida, Euchema cottonii, Euchema spinosum, Chondrus crispus), Green Algae (Chlorella pyrendoidosa), Kelp, Garlic, Ginger, Astaxanthin, Spirulina, Fish Oil, Marigold, Bentonite Clay, Sea Salt, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin D Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Niacin, Folic Acid, Biotin, Thiamine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Calcium Pantothenate, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Vitamin C), Choline Chloride, Ethylenediamine Dihydroiodide, Cobalt Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Tocopherols (a preservative)

          Sale
          New Life Spectrum Naturox Series Cichlid Formula Supplement, 300g
          New Life Spectrum Naturox Series Cichlid Formula Supplement, 300g

            Last update on 2024-04-10 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

            A Note on Beef Heart

            I’m probably going to get raked over the coals by some aquarists for not telling you to feed your Discus beef heart.

            I generally do not recommend that you feed fish heavy amounts of protein that doesn’t come from an aquatic or insect source.

            Fish are not designed to digest terrestrial protein sources. 

            Hence, the lack of burger joints at the bottom of the sea.

            It has been noted that proteins like beef heart can strain a fish’s kidneys, potentially leading to dropsy and/or other health problems.

            Fish are designed to digest aquatic and insect proteins, which put much less strain on their digestive system. 

            So, I would recommend feeding foods that contain these ingredients, instead of ones that contain large amounts of terrestrial protein.

            Which Is The Best Fish Food For Disucs?

            When deciding on what food you’ll feed your discus, I would urge you to pick out several foods from this list. 

            If you rotate foods using two of the pellets on the list, you’re giving your fish a varied, balanced diet with lots of protein and veggies. 

            Throw in one or two of the “snack foods” for some added protein and you’ll be providing some top notch nutrition that should result in healthy, super colorful fish.

            I hope you find this article helpful.

            I wish you and your fish the very best!

            Katherine Morgan
            Katherine Morgan

            Hey, there! I'm Katherine from Northwest Florida. An aquarium specialist, I've kept tanks for over two decades, enjoy experimenting with low-tech planted setups and an avid South American cichlid enthusiast.

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