Candidate Species for Florida Aquaculture: Discus Symphysodon spp., a Profitable but Challenging Species for Florida Aquaculture
view on EDIS



How to Cite

Livengood, E. J., Cortney L. Ohs, and Frank A. Chapman. 2010. “Candidate Species for Florida Aquaculture: Discus Symphysodon spp., a Profitable But Challenging Species for Florida Aquaculture: FA166/FA166, 12/2009”. EDIS 2010 (2).


FA166, an 8-page illustrated fact sheet by E. J. Livengood, C. L. Ohs, and F. A. Chapman, provides an overview of this disc-shaped freshwater chiclid fish — description, habitat and feeding, conservation issues, taxonomy, genetics and domestication, culture methods, and markets. Includes references. Published by the UF Program in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, School of Forest Resources and Conservation, December 2009.

FA166/FA166: Candidate Species for Florida Aquaculture: Discus Symphysodon spp., a Profitable but Challenging Species for Florida Aquaculture (
view on EDIS


Axelrod, H. R. 1993. The most complete colored lexicon of cichlids. T. F. H. Publications.

Au, D., S. S. Seng, and F. Denitto. 2007. Trophy Discus: the art of selecting, grooming, and showing discus. Cichlid Press.

Bleher, H. 2006. Bleher's Discus. Volume 1. Aquapress.

Bleher, H. 1995. Discus discoveries and history. Buntbarsche Bulletin. Journal American Cichlid Association 170:9-13.

Bleher, H., K. N. Stölting, W. Salzburger, and A. Meyer. 2007. Revision of the genus Symphysodon Heckel, 1840 (Teleostei: Perciformes: Cichlidae) based on molecular and morphological characters. Aqua: International Journal of Ichthyology 12(4): 133-174.

Burgess, W. E. 1981. Studies on the family Cichlidae: 10. New information on the species of the genus. Tropical Fish Hobbyist 29: 32-42.

Chapman, F. A., S. A. Fitz-Coy, E. M. Thunberg, and C. M. Adams. 1997. United States trade in ornamental fish. Journal of the World Aquaculture Society 28: 1-10.

Chellappa, S., M. R. Camara, and J. R. Verani. 2005. Ovarian development in the Amazonian Red Discus, Symphysodon discus Heckel (Osteichthyes: Cichlidae). Brazilian Journal of Biology 65(4): 609-616.

Chong, A. S. C., R. Hashim, and A. B. Ali. 2000. Dietary protein requirements for discus (Symphysodon spp.). Aquaculture Nutrition 6: 275-278.

Chong, A. S. C., R. Hashim, L. Chow-Yang, and A. B. Ali. 2002. Partial characterization and activities of proteases from the digestive tract of discus fish (Symphysodon aequifasciata). Aquaculture 203: 321-333.

Chong, A., R. Hashim, and A. B. Ali. 2003. Assessment of soybean meal in diets for discus (Symphysodon aequifasciata, Heckel) farming through a fishmeal replacement study. Aquaculture Research. 34(11): 913-922.

Chong, K., T. S. Ying, J. Foo, L. T. Jin, and A. Chong. 2005. Characterization of proteins in epidermal mucus of discus fish (Symphysodon spp.) during parental phase. Aquaculture 249: 469-476.

Crampton, W. G. R. 1999. The impact of the ornamental fish trade on the discus Symphysodon aequifasciatus: a case study from the flood plain forests of Estação Ecológica Mamirauá. Pp. 944. In: C. Padoch, J. M. Ayres, M. Pinedo-Vasquez, and A. Henderson (eds). Várzea: Diversity, Conservation and Development of Amazonia's Whitewater Floodplains. New York Botanical Garden Press.

Crampton, W. G. R. 2008. Ecology and life history of an Amazon floodplain cichlid: the discus fish Symphysodon (Perciformes: Cichlidae). Neotropical Ichthyology 6(4): 599-612.

Degen, B. 1990. Discus: How to Breed Them. T.F.H. Publications.

Degen, B. 1991. A Discus Reference Book. T.F.H. Publications.

DACS. Department of Agriculture and Consumers Services. 2008. Florida Aquaculture Plan 2008/2009. DACS-P-0061.

DACS. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Florida Aquaculture Best Management Practices.

Farias, I. P. and T. Hrbek. 2008. Patterns of diversification in the discus fishes (Symphysodon spp. Cichlidae) of the Amazon basin. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 49: 32-43.

Feldwick, R. C., 1998. Protein Composition of the Parental Mucus of the Discus Fish, Symphysodon Species, with Respect to the Nutrition of their Larvae. Masters Thesis. University of Florida.

Francis-Floyd, R. and R.P.E. Yanong. 2002. Cryptobia iubilans in Cichlids. VM-104. University of Florida, IFAS Cooperative Extension Service.

Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2009. FishBase.World Wide Web electronic publication., version (07/2009).

Hildemann, W. H. 1959. A cichlid fish, Symphysodon discus, with unique nurture habits. The American Naturalist 93: 27-34.

Hill, J. E. Regulations pertaining to non-native fish in Florida aquaculture. University of Florida, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, FA-121.

Keller, G., 1976. Discus. T.F.H. Publications; Distributed in the U.S.A. by T.F.H. Publications.

Khong, H., M. Kuah, A. Jaya-Ram, and A. C. Shu-Chien. 2009. Prolactin receptor mRNA is upregulated in discus fish (Symphysodon aequifasciata) skin during parental phase. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part B: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 153: 18-28.

Klinger, RE and R. Francis-Floyd. 2009. Introduction to Freshwater Fish Parasites. Circular 716. University of Florida, IFAS Cooperative Extension Service.

Koh, T. L., G. Khoo, L. Q. Fan, and V. P. E. Phang. 1999. Genetic diversity among wild forms and cultivated varieties of discus (Symphysodon spp.) as revealed by random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) fingerprinting. Aquaculture 173: 485-497.

Kullander, S. O. 1996. Eine weitere übersicht der diskusfische, gattung Symphysodon Heckel. DATZ: Die Aquarien-und Terrarienzeitschrift 1: 10-16.

Kullander, S. O. 2003. Cichlidae (Cichlids). Pp. 605-654. In: R. E. Reis, S. O. Kullander and C. J. Ferraris (eds). Checklist of the Freshwater Fishes of South and Central America. EDIPUCRS, Porto Alegre, Brasil.

Leibel, W. S. 1995. Cichlids of The Americas. Bowtie Press, Mission Viejo, CA.

Lyons, E. 1959. Symphysodon discus tarzoo. New blue discus electrify aquarium world. Tropicals Magazine 4: 6-8 & 10.

Paul, G. C. and R. A. Matthews. 2001. Spironucleus vortens, a possible cause of hole-in-the-head disease in cichlids. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms. 45: 197-202.

Pellegrin, J. 1904. Contribution á l'étude anatomique, biologique et taxinomique des poissons de la familie des Cichlidés. Memoires. Societe Zoologique de France 16: 41-399.

Ready, J. S., E. J. G. Ferreira, and S. O. Kullander. 2006. Discus fishes: mitochondrial DNA evidence for a phylogeographic barrier in the Amazonian genus Symphysodon (Teleostei: Cichlidae). Journal of Fish Biology 69 (Supplement B): 200-211.

Sanna-Kaisa, J. and S. Jukka. 2004. Sustainable use of ornamental fish populations in Peruvian Amazonia. Lyonia 7: 53-59.

Savas, E. and M. Timur. 2003. Ultrastructure of the chorion and its micropyle apparatus in the mature discus (Symphysodon spp.) Eggs. Turkish Journal of Marine Science. 9: 231-240.

Schultz, L. P. 1960. A review of the pompadour or discus fishes, genus Symphysodon of South America. Tropical Fish Hobbyist 8: 5-17.

Silva, T. and B. Kotlar. 1980. Discus. T.F.H. Publications.

Tave, D. 1995. Selective breeding programs for medium-sized fish farms. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper 352; also available online at:

Wattley, J. 1985. Jack Wattley's Handbook of Discus. T.F.H. Publications.

Weiss, M. 1995. Guest commentary: wasting away in discusville. Cichlid News 4(2): 18-22.

Yanong, R. P. E., R. Russo, E. Curtis, R. Francis-Floyd, R. Klinger, I. Berzins, K. Kelley, S.L. Poynton. 2004. Cryptobia iubilans infection in juvenile discus (Symphysodon aequifasciata): four case reports, pathology, and treatment trials. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 224:1644-1650.