8 Best Discus Foods Reviewed For a Healthy Balanced Diet 2021

In their natural habitat, Discus spend most of their day grazing on algae, plant matter and detritus.

Meaning they don’t eat just one kind of food.

In this guide, I’ll explain the type of diet you need to provide for your discus, and review the best fish food that’ll give your discus the balanced diet it requires.

TLDR – Top Pick For Best Discus Food

The best discus food, or diet, would be a range of the following listed below.

Rotating two or three of the pellets on the list will give your fish a varied, balanced diet with lots of protein and veggies. 

Preview Product
Omega One Super Color Floating Pellets, 3mm Pellets, 6.5 oz Omega One Super Color Floating Pellets, 3mm Pellets, 6.5 oz
Fluval Bug Bites Cichlid Fish Food, Pellets for Medium to Large Sized Fish, 3.53 oz., A6581 Fluval Bug Bites Cichlid Fish Food, Pellets for Medium to Large Sized Fish, 3.53 oz., A6581
Zoo Med Spirulina 20 Flake Fish Food, 4-Ounce Zoo Med Spirulina 20 Flake Fish Food, 4-Ounce
Northfin Food Krill Gold 2mm Pellet 250 Gram Package Northfin Food Krill Gold 2mm Pellet 250 Gram Package
New Life Spectrum Naturox Optimum All Purpose Flakes 90g Fish Food New Life Spectrum Naturox Optimum All Purpose Flakes 90g Fish Food
Omega One Freeze Dried Tubifex Worms, 1.5 oz Omega One Freeze Dried Tubifex Worms, 1.5 oz
Omega One Freeze Dried Blood Worms, 0.96 oz Omega One Freeze Dried Blood Worms, 0.96 oz
Omega One Freeze Dried Brine Shrimp, 1.28 oz Omega One Freeze Dried Brine Shrimp, 1.28 oz

Last update on 2021-08-03 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Discus Diet in the Wild

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.

In their natural habitat, Discus spend most of their day grazing on algae, plant matter and detritus. 

As they peacefully munch throughout the day, they also head to the bottom to search for things like worms and small crustaceans.  

They don’t eat any one kind of food exclusively, not at all.

Discus Food Ingredients – Always Read the List.

When you’re shopping for fish food (or any food really) it’s super important to read the ingredient list.

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.”

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

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

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

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.

 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 Food Reviewed

1. Omega One Super Color Floating Pellets

Main ingredients: whole salmon, halibut, whole shrimp

Description: I think that Omega One is pretty much the best fish food company in the business. Their foods always contain the highest quality ingredients. I use their foods in most of my tanks and have had great results. These floating pellets would make a great staple diet for your Discus.

Omega One Super Color Floating Pellets, 3mm Pellets, 6.5 oz
Omega One Super Color Floating Pellets, 3mm Pellets, 6.5 oz

    Last update on 2021-08-02 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

    2. Fluval Bug Bites Cichlid Formula

    Main ingredients: dried black soldier fly larvae, salmon, fish protein concentrate

    Description: Fluval Bug Bites are a really cool food that utilizes black soldier fly larvae as its main protein source. I feed this to my big cichlids and have seen it produce tremendous growth.

    These must taste pretty good because they are the only pellets they’ll eat now! It’s also an environmentally conscious food since the larvae are fed fruits and vegetables that would otherwise have gone into landfills.

    Sale
    Fluval Bug Bites Cichlid Fish Food, Pellets for Medium to Large Sized Fish, 3.53 oz., A6581
    Fluval Bug Bites Cichlid Fish Food, Pellets for Medium to Large Sized Fish, 3.53 oz., A6581

      Last update on 2021-08-03 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

      3. Zoo Med Spirulina 20 Flakes

      Main ingredients: salmon, spirulina, soy flower

      Description: Spirulina 20 Flakes are a great way to provide some extra vegetable matter in your fish’s diet. I would use these more as a supplement than a staple food. I’m not crazy about how far up the list soy and wheat flour are, but, there’s also lots of shrimp and krill added to this food that makes up for it.

      I’ve used these flakes for years. I really think this food helps make fish more colorful, it especially helps bring out the color of blue fish.

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

        Last update on 2021-08-02 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

        4. Northfin Krill Gold Pellets

        Main ingredients: whole Antarctic krill, wheat flour, kelp

        Description: I’ve really been impressed by these Northfin pellets. Normally, I would complain about how high up wheat flour is on the list, but the label states that the food is 85% krill.

        The large amounts of whole krill in this food should definitely help bring out the color on yellow, orange and red Discus varieties. I’ve seen the difference krill can make on fish color and it’s pretty darn amazing. This food also contains great plant-based ingredients, like spirulina and kelp.

        Northfin Food Krill Gold 2mm Pellet 250 Gram Package
        Northfin Food Krill Gold 2mm Pellet 250 Gram Package

        Last update on 2021-08-03 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

        5. New Life Spectrum Optimum Flakes 

        Main ingredients: whole Antarctic krill, giant squid, whole wheat flour

        Description: Optimum flakes contain some great ingredients that should really help enhance color. The krill should bring out red tones, and it also contains marigold extract that is a spectacular color enhancer.

        Wheat flour is high on the list, but this is just used as a binding agent. There are a huge variety of both plant and animal-based ingredients in this food. So, it would be a good choice for a staple diet.

        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 2021-08-03 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

          6. Omega One Freeze Dried Tubifex Worms

          Main ingredients: tubifex worms

          Description: Tubifex worms make a great snack for your fish. Since Discus need such a varied diet, you shouldn’t feed something like this as their staple food. But, these are a tasty treat that they will go crazy for and tubifex worms are protein rich.

          Omega One Freeze Dried Tubifex Worms, 1.5 oz
          Omega One Freeze Dried Tubifex Worms, 1.5 oz

            Last update on 2021-08-03 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

            7. Omega One Freeze Dried Bloodworms

            Main ingredients: bloodworms

            Description: This is another “snack food” for your discus. Bloodworms are the larvae of non-biting midge flies. They are a protein packed food that most fish find to be delicious.

            Omega One Freeze Dried Blood Worms, 0.96 oz
            Omega One Freeze Dried Blood Worms, 0.96 oz

              Last update on 2021-08-03 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

              8. Omega One Freeze Dried Brine Shrimp

              Main ingredients: brine shrimp

              Description: Brine shrimp, aka artemia, are tiny marine crustaceans. They’re another high protein snack that Discus will gladly gobble up. Just be careful. Brine shrimp are a natural laxative, so it’s best to only feed them a few times a week, not every day.

              Omega One Freeze Dried Brine Shrimp, 1.28 oz
              Omega One Freeze Dried Brine Shrimp, 1.28 oz

                Last update on 2021-08-03 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

                Which Is The Best Fish Food For Disucs?

                This isn’t a case where I’m going to come down on the side of recommending one product over another. 

                In fact, I would urge you to pick out several foods from this list. 

                If you rotate foods using two or three 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!

                Preview Product
                Omega One Super Color Floating Pellets, 3mm Pellets, 6.5 oz Omega One Super Color Floating Pellets, 3mm Pellets, 6.5 oz
                Fluval Bug Bites Cichlid Fish Food, Pellets for Medium to Large Sized Fish, 3.53 oz., A6581 Fluval Bug Bites Cichlid Fish Food, Pellets for Medium to Large Sized Fish, 3.53 oz., A6581
                Zoo Med Spirulina 20 Flake Fish Food, 4-Ounce Zoo Med Spirulina 20 Flake Fish Food, 4-Ounce
                Northfin Food Krill Gold 2mm Pellet 250 Gram Package Northfin Food Krill Gold 2mm Pellet 250 Gram Package
                New Life Spectrum Naturox Optimum All Purpose Flakes 90g Fish Food New Life Spectrum Naturox Optimum All Purpose Flakes 90g Fish Food
                Omega One Freeze Dried Tubifex Worms, 1.5 oz Omega One Freeze Dried Tubifex Worms, 1.5 oz
                Omega One Freeze Dried Blood Worms, 0.96 oz Omega One Freeze Dried Blood Worms, 0.96 oz
                Omega One Freeze Dried Brine Shrimp, 1.28 oz Omega One Freeze Dried Brine Shrimp, 1.28 oz

                Last update on 2021-08-03 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

                Default image
                Katherine Morgan
                Hey, there! I'm Katherine from Northwest Florida. A nunchuck specialist, I've kept aquariums for over two decades, enjoy experimenting with low-tech planted setups and an avid South American cichlid enthusiast. If You'd like to see more of my tanks, check out my Instagram

                Leave a Reply

                This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.