5 Best Aquarium Plants For Discus (And Tips)

Picking the right plants is key to a vibrant discus tank. These colorful fish like specific types that can handle their living needs.

This article shares the top aquarium plant recommendations for discus. Each choice is tailored to their care requirements and will enhance your tank’s beauty.

So, let’s explore how to create an attractive, healthy home for your discus fish.

Best Aquarium Plants For Discus

Understanding Discus Fish Requirements for Aquarium Plants

You already know that not all plants are suitable for every fish species. The plants you choose for your Discus fish tank can greatly affect their health. Discus fish are captivating but sensitive, so it’s important to choose wisely. So, let’s explore suitable characteristics that make an aquarium plant ideal for Discus fish.

What Makes an Aquarium Plant Suitable for Discus?

Discus fish like plants with big leaves. These leaves act as covers or safe spots for these fishes to hide in the tank. Plants like Anubias Nana and Java Fern are good choices, they help the discus feel safe.

Also, these types of plants offer places for Discus eggs to stick on when spawning time comes. Tall grass-like plant called Jungle Vallisneria can grow very high up to 6 feet, it gives a thick barrier where Discus can spawn behind it and hide too.

The Brazilian Pennywort is also good; if rooted or left floating freely, this plant provides cover and areas for egg placement. Other suitable plants include Amazon Sword, African Bolbitis, Cryptocoryne plants, and Bucephalandra.

Do Discus Fish Eat Aquarium Plants?

Discus fish do not eat live aquarium plants. They only munch on protein-rich foods. Their meals include beefheart, bloodworms or brine shrimp. The beauty of your aquarium will stay intact with them! It’s good to have live plants in the tank.

These greens help to clean the water and give hiding places for shy discus fish. Just ensure you keep the water temperature right for the plants and fish to thrive together.

The Importance of Live Plants in a Discus Aquarium

Live plants are key in a Discus aquarium. They offer many things that discus fish need. One role is to clean the water by taking in waste materials. These wastes serve as food for the plants, and then they give out fresh air.

Live plants also make good hiding spots for discus fish. They like to place their eggs on these sturdy leaves too. Lastly, live plants come with some small bugs that some discus fish like to eat.

So, they not only keep the tank looking nice but also help keep your discus fish healthy and happy!

1. Anubias Nana: Best Overall

Boasting a high tolerance to varying water conditions and compatibility with discus fish. Anubias Nana is the top choice for aquarium plants because it is easy to care for and provides great cover.

Features & Description

Anubias Nana is a plant loved by many discus fish keepers. It has wide and flat leaves that give the fish places to hide. The plant can grow in almost any spot inside the tank, making it easy to use for different looks.

You can tie this small plant on rocks or wood so its roots stay out of aquarium soil. A great thing about Anubias Nana is its hardiness, meaning it does not die easily even under tough conditions! Discus fish also do not eat Anubias plants, making them last longer in your tank.

Pros & Cons

Anubias Nana is a perfect choice for discus fish tanks, yet there are pros and cons to consider to make an informed decision.

Anubias Nana provides cover and privacy with its broad leaves, making it a favorite for discus fish.It grows slowly, so it may take a while to establish a substantial presence in your tank.
The plant can withstand a range of conditions, from low light to varying pH levels.It’s prone to algae growth if exposed to too much light.
Anubias Nana can be positioned anywhere in the tank, making it versatile.Its leaves may become targets for snails or certain types of fish, though discus fish do not eat plants.
This plant doesn’t require a specific type of substrate, it can be placed in gravel or tied to rocks or driftwood.If not properly anchored, the plant may float around in the tank.

2. Java Fern: Best for Easy Maintenance

Java Fern is a top choice for easy care plants in a discus tank. Also called Microsorum pteropus, this green plant thrives even with low light and water conditions common for discus.

The hardy leaves give shelter and comfort while resisting nibbling fish. It needs minimal light, is easy to propagate, and adapts to diverse water chemistries. This makes it great for beginners or busy aquarists.

It may take some time to fully establish or cover spots in your aquascape. But the resilience and attractive leaf design still make it a must-have low-maintenance plant for any discus tank.

Features & Description

Java Fern has long, thin leaves that form a wall-like shape.

This leafy wall gives discus fish places to hide and feel safe. You won’t need strong light or rich soil to grow Java Fern. It comes from the special epiphytic plant family, which means it’s best to tie it down on rocks or driftwood in your tank instead of planting it in the ground.

Java Fern offers both beauty and privacy in one package!

Pros & Cons

The Java Fern is highly regarded in the world of discus keeping for its ease of maintenance and versatile nature. Below is a table of the pros and cons for your consideration.

The plant is easy to maintain, making it suitable for beginners.It may be susceptible to algae growth if not properly maintained.
The Java Fern can tolerate a range of water conditions and temperatures.
It can be anchored to driftwood or rocks, adding a natural aesthetic to the aquarium.
The long, flowing leaves provide hiding spots for discus fish, creating a more comfortable and natural environment.
As a slow-growing plant, it doesn’t require frequent pruning.
It absorbs excess nutrients and provides oxygen, which can help maintain water quality.

3. Jungle Vallisneria: Most Versatile

Jungle Vallisneria is known for its versatility. It provides a peaceful habitat and adds aesthetic value to your discus tank. It can grow tall, serving as an excellent cover for Discus while adjusting well to various water conditions.

This plant’s characteristics make it an excellent choice regardless of the aquarium size or the keeper’s experience level. However, bear in mind that Jungle Vallisneria needs moderate lighting and regular pruning due to its fast growth rate.

Be careful though; too much trimming might stress this species causing them to die off in some instances.

Features & Description

Jungle Vallisneria shines as a hardy and easy-to-care-for plant. Its tall height, which can reach up to 6 feet, makes it an ideal background choice for your fish tank. The plant not only offers lush greenery but also provides hiding spots for Discus fish.

You can put the Jungle Vallisneria directly into the substrate or keep stable with weights. Discus fish find it perfect for laying eggs due to its inviting forest-like environment.

A wide range of water conditions works fine with this versatile plant. In addition, it tolerates varied pH levels, light needs and temperatures well.

Pros & Cons

Jungle Vallisneria is a versatile and beneficial plant for a discus aquarium. However, it also has its pros and cons. Before adding this plant to your discus tank, you need to consider these factors.

Jungle Vallisneria can grow quite tall, providing hiding spots and places for Discus fish to lay their eggs.Because it can reach up to 6 feet in height, it might require regular trimming to prevent it from monopolizing the tank space.
This plant can survive in a wide range of water temperatures, pH levels, and light conditions, making it adaptable to the higher temperatures preferred by Discus fish.Due to their different requirements, some discus keepers might find it challenging to maintain the ideal conditions for both the plant and the fish.
It’s a hardy plant capable of removing toxins from the water, which can contribute to a healthier environment for Discus fish.Despite its benefits, it still requires regular maintenance such as removing flowers or seeds for proper growth.

4. Brazilian Pennywort: Best for Colors

Brazilian Pennywort is the best plant for adding vibrant color to a discus tank. Its bright green, rounded leaves grow quickly to create a splash of color.

This South American native plant not only looks good – it also helps keep discus healthy. The plant absorbs harmful nitrates from the water and gives shy fish needed cover.

The versatility of Brazilian Pennywort allows you to plant it or let it float freely. This makes it a great addition no matter your aquascape design.

However, it requires high light for optimal growth. It can also attract some algae if care isn’t taken. But the beauty and benefits make it a top choice for any discus tank needing color.

Features & Description

Brazilian pennywort has thin green stems with rounded leaves. The plant is bright green. It brings color to a discus tank. This plant can stand in the soil or float on water.

The Brazilian pennywort grows at an okay speed. It can do well in many kinds of water types. This makes it easy to keep it and adds beauty to a discus tank as well.

Pros & Cons

Brazilian Pennywort is a versatile and colorful plant that can enhance your aquarium’s appearance while providing numerous benefits for your fish. Let’s explore the pros and cons of the Brazilian Pennywort plant.

Brazilian Pennywort has thin green stems with rounded leaves that add a pop of color to your tank.Like many aquarium plants, Brazilian Pennywort will require regular trimming to prevent it from overgrowing and taking over your tank.
It provides additional cover and spawning surfaces for Discus fish.Some fish may nibble on the leaves, causing the plant to look less appealing over time.
Brazilian Pennywort can be used as a rooted plant or left to float, giving you flexibility in how you design your aquarium landscape.This plant may struggle in aquariums with very strong water flow or with aggressive fish species that can uproot or damage it.
This plant has a moderate growth rate, making it easier to manage compared to faster-growing species.While it is generally hardy, Brazilian Pennywort may be susceptible to certain aquarium plant diseases or pests.
Brazilian Pennywort is tolerant to a wide range of water conditions and can adapt to higher temperatures required for Discus fish.If not properly cared for, Brazilian Pennywort can potentially contribute to algae growth in your aquarium.
It helps remove toxins from the water, improving the overall water quality in your aquarium.Despite its benefits, some aquarists may find that Brazilian Pennywort doesn’t fit their aesthetic preferences or the specific needs of their tank setup.

5. Amazon Sword: Best for Large Aquariums

The Amazon Sword is the best plant for large discus tanks. It grows big with vibrant green leaves – ideal for adding beauty to a big aquarium.

This aquatic plant doesn’t just look good. Its wide leaves give discus excellent hiding spots, creating a comfortable habitat.

However, Amazon Swords need strong lighting and nutrient-rich substrate to grow in an aquarium. They also must withstand the warm temperatures that discus require.

With proper care, the Amazon Sword will thrive and make a discus tank feel like the natural Amazon environment. Despite some demanding care needs, it’s the perfect plant for mimicking the discus homeland in a large tank.

Features & Description (Amazon Sword)

Amazon Sword plant is a good pick for large fish tanks. The plant has tall and wide leaves that discus fish love. These leaves make great spots for the discus to hide or lay eggs on, so they feel safe.

To grow right, this plant needs good soil under it. You can find them in the rainforest by the Amazon River in nature. If there’s room in your tank, this plant can get up to 16 inches high!

Pros & Cons (Amazon Sword)

The Amazon Sword comes with its own set of pros and cons.

Amazon Swords have large, wide, and broad leaves providing ample hiding and resting places for Discus fish.These plants require a nutrient-rich substrate to thrive, making them high-maintenance.
They are highly adaptable and can handle a wide range of water conditions.The Amazon Sword can grow quite large, which might overcrowd smaller tanks.
These plants are beneficial for the tank’s ecosystem as they help remove toxins from the water.The plant prefers a temperature below 82°F, which may require a compromise in regulating the Discus tank temperature.
Amazon Swords add a vibrant green touch to the Discus tank, enhancing its overall aesthetics.Overgrowth if not properly maintained can block light for other plant species in the tank.

Plants to Avoid in Your Discus Tank

It’s wise to avoid certain plants in your discus tank. Here are some you should steer clear of:

  1. Cold water plants: As discus fish prefer warm water, cold water plants will not survive.
  2. Fast-growing plants: Quick growth is not ideal for a discus tank since it can crowd the fish.
  3. Plants needing high maintenance: These take up time and can cause stress to your fish.
  4. Large aquatic plants: Large plants may overpower the tank and limit swimming space for the discus fish.
  5. Non-toxicity floating plants: Though they provide protection, they could also block light to other plants.

Tips for Keeping Discus in a Planted Tank

To keep discus fish healthy, check tank conditions often. Keep the water warm. Discus fish like to live in water that is between 82°F and 88°F (28°C and 31°C). For plants, a slightly cooler temperature of around 82°F works well.

Clean your tank every week. This aids the growth of both discus fish and plants. Use tools to trim overgrown plants. Long plant leaves can block light needed by other smaller plants.

Feed your discus fish good food with lots of protein. Foods like bloodworms, white worms and brine shrimp are favorites amongst discus owners.

Use rich soil for growing aquarium plants providing them nutrients they need to grow healthier roots.

Also, use liquid plant fertilizer as an added nutrient provider ensuring optimal growth in your planted tank.

Remember the comfort of your discus too! They love large leafy spaces where they can hide, so they always include such additions in their habitat.

Your chosen lighting option should benefit both parties: When choosing aquarium lights, balance the needs of both plants and discus fish. The lighting should not be too bright, which can disturb discus. But it must be bright enough for the plants to photosynthesize. Find a lighting balance that allows aquarium plants to thrive while keeping discus comfortable. Consider the light requirements of the specific plants you select. Then choose lighting that meets the flora and fauna’s needs in the discus tank ecosystem. With the right balance, lighting can support healthy plants and happy fish.


Finding the right plants for your Discus fish is an art. Remember, your choices should be pretty and fit well with your fish. From Anubias Nana to Amazon Sword, these options could work great for you.

Your journey to create a healthy and pleasing home for Discus begins here!



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