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Discus (fish)

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Discus (Symphysodon spp.) are a genus of three species of freshwater cichlid fishes native to the Amazon River basin[1]. Discus are popular as aquarium fish and their aquaculture in several countries in Asia is a major industry.[2][3][4][5]

Discus belong to the genus Symphysodon, which currently includes three species: : The common discus (Symphysodon aequifasciatus), the Heckel discus (Symphysodon discus), and a new species which has been named Symphysodon tarzoo [1]. A further investigation published in August 2007 [2], suggested that the genus held three species: S. aequifasciatus, S. haraldi and S. discus.

Like cichlids from the genus Pterophyllum, all Symphysodon species have a laterally compressed body shape. In contrast to Pterophyllum, however, extended finnage is absent giving Symphysodon a more rounded shape. It is this body shape from which their common name, “discus”, is derived. The sides of the fish are frequently patterned in shades of green, red, brown, and blue. The height and length of the grown fish are both about 20–25 cm (8–10 in).

Another characteristic of Symphysodon species are their care for the larvae. As for most cichlids, brood care is highly developed with both the parents caring for the young. Additionally, adult discus produce a secretion through their skin, which the larvae live off during their first few days. This behaviour has also been observed for Uaru species.