Pigeon Blood Discus: History, Appearance, and Feeding Habits




Pigeon Blood Discus

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Do you know that Pigeon Blood Discus results from a natural color mutation? Their bright red color with contrasting blue fins makes them one of the most popular freshwater fish in the world.

I know you might think that since they are cross-bred, they might not be as hardy as the wild-caught Pigeon Blood Discus. But that’s not true at all. In fact, they are some of the most resilient freshwater fish around.

I will share everything you need to know about Pigeon Blood Discus care in this guide. From their tank requirements to their diet, I’ll cover it all. So, let’s get started!

Pigeon Blood Discus Info
Minimum tank size 50 gallons
Temperament Peaceful
Diet Omnivore
Temperature 82ºF to 86ºF
pH 5.5 to 6

Pigeon Blood Discus History

The Pigeon Blood Discus fish species was created when a Striped Turquoise male, originally from the Schmidt-Focke lineage (an unusual fish with a golden base, violet stripes, and black dusting ‘peppering’ all over), bred with a Red Turquoise female.

Out of their offspring, 50% were red turquoise individuals, while the other half were striped turquoise.

These individuals had the ‘pigeon blood’ phenotype from the male, which included many black spots (peppering) on a light orange or yellow base with yellow or, less often, red eyes.

However, the pigeon blood strain was never stabilized and reproduced similarly to its parents. A strain must be stabilized if it is to reproduce successfully. To do so, 100% of the young generated by the strain must be identical to their parents.

After Kitti exhibited them at Aquarama in 1991, many people with the pigeon gene were sent worldwide, further disseminating the almost amelanistic DNA.

Because of this, they subsequently showed up in a variety of areas. If you want to use a dark backdrop for Pigeon Blood, be aware that they will acquire a dusting of black spots (peppering).

Pigeon Blood Discus Appearance

The pigeon blood discus is white or cream-colored with red stripes and a black tail. As its name suggests, it was named for its eyes’ deep red hue, which resembles rubies found in Myanmar.

However, the quality of Pigeon Blood Discus and the new generation is superior, with red eyes, less black dusting, richer reds, and more white on the body.

Over time, the coveted pigeon blood phenotype has become more and more refined due to selective breeding. For example, black peppering observed in Kitti’s original strains of pigeon blood was almost entirely phased out through strategic breeding practices.

In addition, some fish enthusiasts have discovered that by shining bright lights on young discus in their tanks, future generations of the fish will develop fewer black spots. Not only does this create more vibrant coloration, but it also allows the base color to be accented against other patterns.

Pigeon Blood Discus Size

The Pigeon Blood Discus is a medium-sized fish that can grow up to 10 inches in length as long as they get proper Pigeon Blood Discus care.

Pigeon Blood Discus Tank Setup

Water Cycling

When it comes to Pigeon Blood Discus care, one of the most important things you can do is ensure your tank is properly cycled. The process of cycling a tank helps to establish beneficial bacteria colonies that will help to break down waste products in your water.

To cycle your tank, you’ll need to add a source of ammonia, such as fish waste or a commercial product. Over the course of several weeks, the beneficial bacteria will multiply and begin to break down the ammonia into nitrites. Finally, other bacteria will convert the nitrites into nitrates, which are much less harmful to your fish.

During this process, it’s important to regularly test your water to ensure the ammonia and nitrite levels are stable. You can find test kits at your local fish store or online.

Water Temperature

These fishy friends come from the Amazon River Basin, where they dwell in warm waters ranging from 82ºF to 86ºF.

When you keep them in captivity, you should recreate these water conditions as closely as possible to ensure their health and happiness.

One way to do this is to use an aquarium heater set to the appropriate temperature. Also, you can use a combination of heating and cooling devices, such as an air conditioner, to maintain the correct water temperature.

Whatever method you choose, monitor the water temperature regularly with a reliable aquarium thermometer.

pH Level

Sometimes it gets tough to recreate the perfect natural environment for your fish, especially regarding the water’s pH level.

In their natural habitat, they live in waters with a neutral to slightly acidic pH level between 6.0 and 6.5. However, your tap water might have a different pH level, making it difficult to achieve the desired range for these guys.

If tap water is too alkaline, you can use a water conditioner to lower the pH level. Also, add driftwood or peat moss to your tank to help create a more acidic environment.

On the other hand, if your tap water is too acidic, you can use a baking soda solution to raise the pH level. Always test the water frequently, so you don’t accidentally make it too alkaline.

Tank Size

Pigeon Blood Discus are active swimmers who need a lot of space to move around. For a single fish, you should have at least a 50-gallon tank.

With every extra fish you add to the tank, you’ll need an additional 10 gallons of space. So, if you want to keep a group of five discus together, you’ll need a minimum of a 150-gallon tank. Of course, the bigger, the better when it comes to these guys. If you have the room, go for it!


The natural habitat of Pigeon Blood Discus is the Amazon River Basin, which is home to various plant life. So, when setting up their tank, you should include some plants to make them feel at home. Some good options include Java ferns, anubias, and Amazon swords.

Aside from plants, you can also add other decorations to your Pigeon Blood Discus tank. Driftwood, rocks, and caves all make great additions and provide your fish with plenty of places to hide. Just be sure that any decorations you choose are aquarium-safe and won’t release harmful chemicals into the water.

As for substrate, these fish don’t have any specific requirements. You can use gravel, sand, or even bare-bottomed tanks. It’s really up to you!

Pigeon Blood Discus Diet & Feeding

Pigeon Blood Discus

Now that you have their perfect home set up, it’s time to focus on their diet. Pigeon Blood Discus are omnivores, which means they eat plants and animals. Their diet consists of small insects, crustaceans, and plant matter in the wild.

To recreate this diet in captivity, you can feed them various live, frozen, and freeze-dried foods. Some good options include brine shrimp, bloodworms, daphnia, and krill. Also, you can give them vegetables like spinach, zucchini, and peas.

When it comes to feeding frequency, you should feed adult Pigeon Blood Discus three times a day. For juvenile fish, you can feed them five times a day. As for portion size, you should only give them as much food as they can eat in two minutes.

Pigeon Blood Discus Fish Compatibility

These fish are naturally peaceful, so they can live with various other fish species. Due to their social nature, they do best when kept in groups of four to six fish. Some good tank mates for Pigeon Blood Discus include:

However, males can get territorial with each other during the breeding season. If two males are vying for the same female, they may unwittingly put themselves in front of one another. They begin a form of arm wrestling that lasts until one of them surrenders his grip.

Pigeon Blood Discus Breeding & Spawning

Sometimes, Pigeon Blood Discus will breed in community tanks. However, to ensure a successful spawn, it’s best to set up a separate breeding tank. This tank should be large enough to handle the growing fry (baby fish) and decorated with plenty of plants and hiding places.

Also, the water in the breeding tank should have a pH level of 5.5 to 6 and a temperature of 82-86 degrees Fahrenheit. Plus, install a sponge filter to clean the water and provide gentle filtration.

After the conditions in the breeding tank are just right, they will start the spawning process. First, the male Pigeon Blood Discus will select a suitable location and start to clean it off. Once satisfied with the spot, he’ll start to court the female.

The courtship ritual involves the male chasing the female and gently nudging her with his nose. If receptive to his advances, she’ll start to lay her eggs. After she’s done laying the eggs, he’ll fertilize them, and then both parents will work together to guard the eggs.

Within 60 hours, the fry will hatch. During the first 5-6 days post-hatching, they will feed off their parent’s skin mucus.

How To Acclimate My New Pigeon Blood Discus?

These fish are packaged in water that differs from the aquarium’s water, and because these fish are finicky about their surroundings, gradual acclimatization is essential.

Do not hurry with this procedure! For at least four hours after introducing the new fish to their tank, turn off your aquarium lights, and do not feed them for the first 24 hours.

Then you can the right acclimation method for your Pigeon Blood Discus. There are two ways to do this, and both are pretty simple:

Floating Method

  • Turn off all the aquarium lights
  • Float the fish bag in the tank for about 15 minutes. This allows the water inside the bag to equalize with the tank water’s temperature.
  • After 15 minutes, open the bag and add a ¼ cup of aquarium water to it every 4 minutes for an hour. Doing this slowly acclimates your Pigeon Blood Discus to the new water parameters.
  • Discard half the water in the bag, then let it float again. Every 4 minutes, add ¼ cup of aquarium water to the bag until it is full.
  • Then release your Pigeon Blood Discus into the tank

Drip Method

  • Turn off all aquarium lights, and place an airline tubing into the tank
  • The fish’s bag should float on the surface of the water for about 15 minutes so that the temperature of the water changes gradually
  • Pour the contents of the bag into a 1-gallon bucket that has never had any chemicals in it, making sure to submerge the fish completely
  • To start, take airline tubing and set up a siphon
  • Then, run a drip line from the main aquarium to the bucket. To control flow, tie several loose knots in the airline tubing.
  • To start the siphon, suck on the airline tube that goes to the bucket. Regulate the flow at 2-4 drips per second
  • When the water in the buckets doubles, take half out and discard it. Repeat this process until it doubles again
  • Then release your Pigeon Blood Discus into the aquarium

Wrapping Up

Pigeon Blood Discus are some of the most beautiful freshwater fish you can add to your aquarium. They have a unique appearance and are relatively easy to care for as long as you provide them with the right conditions.

With the proper Pigeon Blood Discus care, they will thrive in your aquarium and bring you years of enjoyment. Just remember to acclimate them slowly and carefully to their new environment, and you’ll be rewarded with a stunning addition to your fish tank.

I hope you enjoyed this article on Pigeon Blood Discus care. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below.

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