Common name: red discus
Synonyms and Other Names: pompadour fish, Heckel discus
available through www.itis.gov
Identification: For a recent review of the genus, refer to Kullander (1986). The only other species in the genus recognized as being valid is S. aequifasciatus. Photographs of live fish were given in Axelrod et al. (1985) and Axelrod (1993). Several subspecies and color variants are found in the aquarium trade (Burgess 1981).
Size: 20 cm (Petrovicky 1988).
Native Range: Tropical America. Amazon basin of South America including lower Negro, Trombetas, and Abacaxis rivers (Kullander 1986).
Hydrologic Unit Codes (HUCs) Explained
Puerto Rico &
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps
Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Symphysodon discus are found here.
Table last updated 12/6/2023
† Populations may not be currently present.
Means of Introduction: Probable escape from local fish farm (Zuckerman and Behnke 1986).
Status: Reported from Colorado.
Impact of Introduction: The impacts of this species are currently unknown, as no studies have been done to determine how it has affected ecosystems in the invaded range. The absence of data does not equate to lack of effects. It does, however, mean that research is required to evaluate effects before conclusions can be made.
References: (click for full references)
Axelrod, H. R. 1993. The most complete colored lexicon of cichlids. Tropical Fish Hobbyist Publications, Inc., Neptune City, NJ.
Axelrod, H. R., W. E. Burgess, N. Pronek, and J. G. Walls. 1985. Dr. Axelrod's atlas of freshwater aquarium fishes. Tropical Fish Hobbyist Publications, Inc., Neptune City, NJ.
Burgess, W. E. 1981. Studies on the family Cichlidae: 10. New information on the species of the genus Symphysodon with the description of a new subspecies of S. discus Heckel. Tropical Fish Hobbyist 29(7):32-42.
Kullander, S. O. 1986. Cichlid fishes of the Amazon River drainage of Peru. Swedish Museum of Natural History, Stockholm, Sweden. 431 pp.
Petrovicky, I. 1988. Aquarium fish of the world. Hamlyn, London, England.
Zuckerman, L. D., and R. J. Behnke. 1986. Introduced fishes in the San Luis Valley, Colorado. Pages 435-452 in R. H. Stroud, editor. Fish culture in fisheries management. Proceedings of a symposium on the role of fish culture in fisheries management at Lake Ozark, MO, March 31-April 3, 1985. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, MD.
Revision Date: 3/31/2020
Peer Review Date: 12/6/1999
Nico, L., 2023, Symphysodon discus Heckel, 1840: U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?SpeciesID=478, Revision Date: 3/31/2020, Peer Review Date: 12/6/1999, Access Date: 12/7/2023
This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.