Discus Fish and Kribensis – Can You Keep Them Together?

Discus fish and kribs (kribensis) are two very popular fish species that many freshwater tank owners like to have in their tank.

However, there is often a question of whether you can keep these two fish species together in the same tank.

Although both discus fish and kribs are peaceful in nature, it’s not recommended to keep them together.

There are differences in behavior and water requirements, but also some other differences that mean these two are not very compatible.

If you’re willing to keep these two together, then you might encounter some big problems along the way.

It’s a well-known fact that discus fish will need higher temperatures in their tank than most fish. But there are some other differences between the two which mean that you shouldn’t keep them together.

Namely, kribs can get aggressive and territorial towards other fish, especially when they breed.

That doesn’t suit discus fish at all, as they are peaceful and somewhat timid fish that like to keep for themselves. They don’t like to attack other fish and won’t likely interact with them, too.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at why discus fish and kribensis fish are not the best tank mates for each other.

Kribs Can Become Aggressive

Kribensis fish are primarily a peaceful fish, which means that they will get along with other peaceful fish most of the time.

The focus there is on “most of the time”. Because when kribensis fish start to breed, they will get aggressive and territorial against anything that moves in their tank. And that can affect your discus fish negatively in that sense.

You should avoid these two fish species, especially if you are intending to breed kribs along the way. Although discus fish are fairly adaptable when it comes to tank mates, you will likely see them hiding most of the time due to potential aggression from kribs.

But you could get away with keeping these two in the same tank. You could, potentially, keep kribs in a separate breeding tank as they breed.

However, there are also some other problems and differences between these two fish that would still make it hard for you to keep the two together.

They are just different fish in essence in so many other aspects.

They Come from Different Continents

While it might not seem like a huge problem as they are from different continents, it might matter more than you think.

Kribensis are originally from Africa, namely from Cameroon and Nigeria, while discus fish come from the parts around the Amazon river.

They both prefer shallower waters with vegetation, but there are so many different factors from their habitat that will affect their ability to live with each other.

The truth is that the Ph levels in their habitats are very different, as are water hardness and temperatures.

Discus fish will prefer much higher temperatures than kribs, which is a huge problem and it’s shown by their natural habitat.

Their habitats are also very different in terms of the other living creatures they get used to, and other conditions that allow them to survive in their habitat.

These differences might seem minor and we have already seen many owners keep two species from different continents together successfully.

However, in the long term, these differences can affect both fish in the process. It’s very similar to cultural differences that we as human beings experience.

Water Temperature

A major stumbling block that keeps many fish tank owners from keeping these two fish together are the water temperature differences.

As we’ve already mentioned, discus fish will prefer significantly higher water temperatures than kribs – between 82 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit.

Kribs, on the other hand, are used to living in temperatures between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This makes them incompatible.

This factor is very much generated by their own living habitats, which is where the difference in their habitat comes into play.

Even if you would like to compromise and keep the lowest possible temperatures for discus (82), it would still be too high for kribs.

And while both fish can adapt for different temperatures for short periods, it’s certainly not advisable to keep them that way for longer.

It will cause stress, and stress can cause many potential diseases. Over the long term, you might also see one of the two fish die out.

Diet and Feeding

There’s another factor that would cause you much more trouble than you would like to – the diet. The discus fish will primarily prefer plant-based foods, as they like to feed on algae and other plant-based matters in their natural habitat.

While they are sometimes inclined to eat meat-based foods, they are much more likely to enjoy plant-based foods instead.

On the other hand, kribs are omnivores. But, the truth is that they will prefer a more meat-based diet where they get plenty of protein from their diet.

And it’s hard to get those proteins from vegetables only, so it would be very hard for them to survive with the same foods that discus fish enjoy.

You would not see the best colors of the fish, and they would also not grow as well. So there’s another stumbling block as to why these two fish are not the best tank mates for each other.

You could potentially keep the two together, but the diet would cause you way too much problems than you would like.

You would have to specifically pay attention as to whether your kribs are getting enough protein, and you would have to feed both these fish separately, which is a big inconvenience.


Kribs and discus fish are both relatively peaceful fish species, and they have been kept successfully together before.

However, if I am completely honest, I would not recommend you to keep these two fish together in the same tank.

Kribs can get aggressive when they breed, but there are also some minor differences between the two that make them not the best mates for each other.

avatar Noah
I’m Noah, chief editor at VIVO Pets and the proud owner of a playful, energetic husky (Max). I’ve been a volunteer at Rex Animal Rescue for over 2 years. I love learning and writing about different animals that can be kept as pets. read more...

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