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Tshethar
08-18-2018, 12:34 AM
It's been 2 years since I first tried heroically and failed spectacularly to keep discus.

In fact, I just went back and started reading some of my old journal and ER threads and am reminded that (1) man was it an all-in but relentlessly rough ride and (2) a whole lot of forum vets really paid attention and tried their best to help me out when I was having problems.

So, while it has been my preference to lurk from time to time on and off and that's my general m.o. for social media, I decided it wouldn't be entirely fair now that I have some good news for those who were routing for me back in the day. Despite the fact that I came close to vowing not to try discus again until I retired in 15 years... they're here!!!

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Yup, I have kept doing other things in the aquarium hobby but I couldn't resist giving these great fish another go.

Hope this time I can do more sharing and mutual admiration, and less problem solving! So far (3 days in) things are looking good! :D

Stay tuned...

Swedgin
08-18-2018, 01:30 AM
Hi Bill,

welcome back ;)

Once you're hooked, you're hooked. Just like you I've had breaks in between and have been disheartened at times, but in the end you can't fight it.

Glad you decided to jump back on the wagon.

It would be great if you could tell us about your new fish, setup and plans, always interesting to see what fellow enthusiasts are up to.

Love the fact you went with the classic strains.

Tobi

Tshethar
08-18-2018, 01:53 PM
Thanks, Tobi--glad to be back! :)

I'm afraid I really did get hooked, even though things went badly for me. When the fish were doing well last time, they really were fun. Very few fish I've come across in the hobby have the intelligence and personality of discus--even the little I got to see of it--and I felt like I learned enough to be successful. But there were some variables I couldn't be sure about (regarding my water supply, and/or the presence of some kind of pathogen), and both emotionally and financially it wouldn't have been right to have immediately tried again with a different group.

That said, people on here encouraged me, and I never really gave up wanting to keep discus. I've also been especially fond of the wild and wild-inspired tanks I've seen on here--yours being among the most impressive endeavors I've come across--so I've decided to go in a similar direction with this group.

So, I'm starting with seven 4" fish (as opposed to twelve 2.5" fish last time), and decided to go single strain, though I can already see some nice variations among them. They are Malaysian-bred fish sold as F1 Alenquer, and I was able to get them at a very reasonable price from a site sponsor. I'm planning to QT and finish growing them out in a 40 breeder, and then move them to a larger setup I originally intended for discus.

For fun I may show more on what's going on in that larger tank now... in short, I'm going to have some re-homing (and sterilizing) to do in the not-too-distant future in order to manage my, uh, hobby (read: addiction).

Stay tuned and thanks for the welcome.

Pices
08-18-2018, 02:17 PM
Welcome back Bill! The new bunch is looking good. You’ve got this! Can’t wait to see more.
Patty

Paul Sabucchi
08-18-2018, 02:46 PM
Wishing you all the best on this second attempt, very curious about what is going on the big tank. Looking forward to following the progress of your new discus

Second Hand Pat
08-19-2018, 09:02 AM
Welcome back Bill and what a great looking bunch. These should good spectacular as adults. Do you feel like you have a good handle on your water? Sometimes it is nice to know what your TDS, ph, KH and GH are moving forward. Also if you have pH swings while aging water.
Pat

Tshethar
08-19-2018, 11:37 AM
Wishing you all the best on this second attempt, very curious about what is going on the big tank. Looking forward to following the progress of your new discus

It turns out the big tank has become more fun in the last month. Here's what it looks like, and where the discus will eventually go:

117532

After struggling to figure out what I could do after my discus experiment, I decided to go back to African cichlids, but to try something I hadn't done before. (Some of my earliest fish 30 years ago were mbuna, and then I kept various Tanganyikans in more recent years.) I decided to try to find some larger "deep water" Malawi fish that would have a relatively peaceful disposition. Truth is, their personalities don't compare to discus in my opinion... they've remained on the skittish side, and there's more conspecific aggression than I would like.

However, I have a soft spot for just about any fish, and about a month ago I caught them doing this:


https://youtu.be/syDOpTcLRKg

Came back from vacation last week and saw the female had taken some damage... put up a tank divider, did a water change, and saw she spit some of these:


https://youtu.be/lhTJNONO3jU

Admittedly, this complicates my fishkeeping life just a bit, as my family and I might enjoy seeing if a grow-out is possible. (Good practice for discus?) Latest idea may be to rehome the adults (1m/3f) and raise a batch of juvies...

Tshethar
08-19-2018, 11:46 AM
Welcome back Bill and what a great looking bunch. These should good spectacular as adults. Do you feel like you have a good handle on your water? Sometimes it is nice to know what your TDS, ph, KH and GH are moving forward. Also if you have pH swings while aging water.
Pat

Hi Pat... nice to "see" you again. Very much appreciated all your help last time. Congrats on your new wilds! Happy you have a chance to dust off your big tank(s)...

Honestly I haven't measured my water recently--I just change it! :) Last time I remember the TDS was in the 70s and the pH just a shade below neutral, with no swing. Hardness was relatively low as I recall but never been so low that I saw pH crashes. I may take a look just because, but presently I'm just going ahead and aging my water anyway, mostly as insurance and to get my systems streamlined as I know I will have microbubbles in the winter, and I want to temperature match. Currently changing 50% daily, experimenting with different foods just prior and saving the favorites for later.

Pices
08-19-2018, 12:02 PM
It turns out the big tank has become more fun in the last month. Here's what it looks like, and where the discus will eventually go:

117532

After struggling to figure out what I could do after my discus experiment, I decided to go back to African cichlids, but to try something I hadn't done before. (Some of my earliest fish 30 years ago were mbuna, and then I kept various Tanganyikans in more recent years.) I decided to try to find some larger "deep water" Malawi fish that would have a relatively peaceful disposition. Truth is, their personalities don't compare to discus in my opinion... they've remained on the skittish side, and there's more conspecific aggression than I would like.

However, I have a soft spot for just about any fish, and about a month ago I caught them doing this:


https://youtu.be/syDOpTcLRKg

Came back from vacation last week and saw the female had taken some damage... put up a tank divider, did a water change, and saw she spit some of these:


https://youtu.be/lhTJNONO3jU

Admittedly, this complicates my fishkeeping life just a bit, as my family and I might enjoy seeing if a grow-out is possible. (Good practice for discus?) Latest idea may be to rehome the adults (1m/3f) and raise a batch of juvies...

What sized tank is that? It’s gorgeous! Also enjoyed the spawning video. Isn’t it funny that as soon as we have our plans our fish let us know who has the real last word. Tough decision. I’d say, get another tank except I work too and know how unrealistic that option is. Don’t worry though, as soon as you decide what you want to do, they will throw another wrench into your plans. Ha ha Seriously though, I love the way you’ve done that big tank. Very nicely done!
Patty

Tshethar
08-19-2018, 07:40 PM
Thanks, Patty! I should tell you that I really enjoy your discus tank as well. (Also, I've spent a lot of time in Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte, where my parents lived for years. I really began the saltwater hobby in earnest when visiting them in my early 20s and going to Ft. Myers. Those Florida houses seem like they're made for fish!)

Well, the good news is that I just persuaded the family to join me for a lunch out and a visit to the one real hobbyist LFS in the area, where the folks there appreciate the ins and outs of the hobby. Not only did I get store credit for some red cherry shrimp, but I have a feeling they can help me re-home my adult
cichlids when it's time, as well as any young I might manage to raise in the meantime. Not sure if I have the space to manage that, but it might work.

The tank itself is an odd-dimension Craigslist special I've had for several years. It's 6' long and I drove a ways to get it thinking it was a 125. Turns out it is only 16" wide (instead of 18") and 18" tall (instead of 23", if memory serves). This makes it about 90 gallons. In reality it is a little scratched and I have wanted to put a 125 in its place (desire is endless), but it actually fits the spot we have in the dining room better than something bigger. My wife will only let me get rid of it if and when we can afford something seriously stylish, and that isn't in the budget. But when I see it through others' eyes, I can be glad for what I have!

Meanwhile, the discus are doing great. Not only are they eating--something two of my last group never did from day one--but as of today they have even gone for two types of flake food I've had lying around for a little too long as well as an experimental homemade seafood mix. Doesn't seem as though getting their digestive systems going will be an issue, which is awesome. Their pecking order stuff is pretty funny, as you all can imagine. Good times!

Pices
08-19-2018, 09:52 PM
That’s pretty neat that you’ve spent time in my neck of the woods. We moved here after vacationing several times to visit my father in law in Ft Myers, and my mom was a snow bird in Port Charlotte.
I’ve been to Little Rock, Arkansas and Batesville and Conway as I have people there. My dad was born in Arkansas and those hills are beautiful. I felt like I was on a roller coaster driving around.
I think your custom tank looks great. I love the java fern. I just added some to my 75 gal and hope it does as well as yours.
Your discus are gorgeous and have great appetites if they are eating flake! I have 2 new ones coming Wed, so i went the extra mile cleaning the 125 gal. Since I’ve cut my cigarettes down to 3 per day, my tanks have never looked better! Ha ha
I look forward to watching your fishies grow up here.
Patty

Tshethar
08-20-2018, 12:07 PM
Wow, glad I said something about your geography--we're in Conway and moved out here for my work 12 years ago! My parents were originally snowbirds from New England who settled year round in SW Florida almost 30 years ago. Lots of visits to them help me appreciate why folks would choose to settle there. (I was the last one out of the nest and when I was staying with them and figuring out what to do at age 21-22 I used to tell people I had retired from college.) :-) Sort of wish it could have stayed that way sometimes...

On the java fern, I've actually started throwing it out I have so much of it in all my tanks! I love it in my shrimp tanks as they can really hang out in the roots and feed on infusoria or the like, and I like that it doesn't need pots, soaks up some nitrogen, and adds a bit of green in low light. For the discus tank, though, I'm not sure if I'm going to keep any of it in there or not, as the roots really do end up trapping a ton of detritus if you let them go. (One reason I just cleared out a ton of it.) I suppose if one glues the stems to driftwood and keeps trimming the roots, they probably can stay under control and work well. No fish I've had has bothered them, and they don't seem to decompose quickly.

Still trying different foods to see what they'll do. Water is super cloudy after dumping some Omega cichlid pellets this morning in the hopes they would take them at their hungriest. They weren't too impressed but have been picking so we'll see if they might come around. Trying to find a good balance between expanding their culinary horizons and keeping their water clean as they and the bio-filter settle in.

Good luck on cutting down/quitting. Not easy--watched my wife do it--but if you have the discipline to keep discus, there's no doubt you can succeed!

brewmaster15
08-21-2018, 12:53 PM
Hey Bill,
Very cool seeing you back again! Only thing I like better than welcoming new members is welcoming back old members!:)

Very glad to see you giving them another go.

Al

Tshethar
08-22-2018, 12:04 AM
Hey Bill,
Very cool seeing you back again! Only thing I like better than welcoming new members is welcoming back old members!:)

Very glad to see you giving them another go.

Al

Thanks a lot, Al. Really glad the forum is here as a resource, and as a place to share the hobby. Been invaluable as a source of knowledge and for having a sense of shared appreciation, and it's really fun to undertake the process this time with the experience gained both first-hand and from watching and listening to others. Fish are doing well! :)

Tshethar
08-22-2018, 12:22 AM
As of tomorrow I'll be a week into my time with the new batch. So far the fish are doing great. I'm watching them carefully for changing dynamics, which are really interesting, and for health/food/water change reactions/preferences, etc. The social part has been the most fun, as the pecking order seems established but yesterday we noticed "the boss" was not scrapping so much with others (or the #2 in particular) and may have ceded space (was he knocked off his perch?), though perhaps because of potentially amorous feelings... I can appreciate the soap opera-like dynamics that I recall others talking about, as it seems as though things can change quickly! This time, I'm relieved that the story isn't about sickness and health but rather who's vying with who and for what. Oh, the intrigue! What will tomorrow bring? :D


Meanwhile, there was quite a bit of bacterial bloom going on today as the filter establishes, so I avoided my messy seafood mix and went with some cleaner foods as I get a handle on how much they like getting new water, which I'm aging and temp matching. I saw one fish rub on the heater after my WC, and they took a little while to go back to normal after about a 60% change, so I'm watching that. (Last time I started with huge 90% changes and realized that wasn't always appreciated.) So far 50% has seemed good. Been considering using a two-stage whole house-type water filter (sediment + carbon block) in between my tap and my aging barrel, but not sure it's needed. (I had mysterious possible "water issues" a couple of years ago, and am inclined to err on the side of caution...)

For now, though, all the fish are getting plenty of food, and they have come around to eating everything I've thrown at them. Hopeful I can put some more size on them before any of them take their social dramas to another level!

Tshethar
08-29-2018, 11:18 PM
Another week in and the honeymoon phase continues... basically can't help but put up some gratuitous fish pics just because... :p

But before we get to that, I did think to share one thing that might be of use to some other hobbyist: my tank is not cycled, but my discus don't care, thanks to Seachem Safe (powdered form of Prime) and a large daily water change (occasionally supplemented by a smaller one). I'm feeding 6x/day on average, everything from flakes and pellets to frozen prepared foods (like brine shrimp), a messy seafood mix, and FDBW, all of which are being consumed with greater or lesser degrees of enthusiasm. By day's end I'm getting ammonia readings around 2.0 ppm, but I bring those down with a 50-70% WC with aged water to which I add Safe at the recommended dosage for detoxifying ammonia. I'm just now adding a second type of bottled bacteria after the first really didn't seem to do anything (no measurable nitrates yet), but really the only issue is the gradual buildup of some ugly, cloudy water. I say all this because in the past I started with smaller discus that didn't seem to settle in my tank and I worried that my sterilized equipment wasn't fully seasoned, so to avoid ammonia/nitrite issues I brought over an established filter from another system. While I don't think that was the cause for further problems, in hindsight I think that was a riskier maneuver than just staying the course as far as cycling and detoxing was concerned. Not tempted to do that ever again given what I'm seeing now.

Anyway, I swear the fish are growing as I look at them, but who can tell when you see them every day? So, maybe if I keep putting up a pic every so often over the next few months I'll be able to tell. Tonight they were definitely enjoying their FDBW...

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I'm no photographer, so phone pics are all you will get from me, but I was pleased how nicely some of them cooperated for this one...

117698

edit: oops--pick is sideways--oh well, you get the idea!

Mod edit: pic fixed

Paul Sabucchi
08-30-2018, 02:16 AM
Thank you for the info, good to know that your discus are proving they are tougher than many give this species credit for (2mg/l ammonia!!!!). I have read of people cycling "on the hoof", just thought it required bigger water changes twice a day at least to start with.
You are also probably right that it is easier to fix a mini-cd let than a bacterial cross. Even if I have a few well established tanks personally I prefer to start from scratch with a fishless cycle, maybe attempting to kick-start things with some bacteria in a bottle, although I am still not convinced most of them really do much. What brands have you tried? Keep enjoying your discus, they are looking good (even sideways)

Swedgin
08-30-2018, 03:41 AM
I'm no photographer, so phone pics are all you will get from me

Don’t worry about it, same here. As long as you keep them coming.....

Tobi

snxtif
08-30-2018, 04:54 AM
Yeah, with 150%+ daily WC, nitrogen cycling is way overrated lol.

I mean, if you can keep that much WC, bottled bacteria wouldn't do much anyway
since they would probably get drained out with the water.

Tshethar
08-30-2018, 09:37 AM
Thank you for the info, good to know that your discus are proving they are tougher than many give this species credit for (2mg/l ammonia!!!!). I have read of people cycling "on the hoof", just thought it required bigger water changes twice a day at least to start with.
You are also probably right that it is easier to fix a mini-cd let than a bacterial cross. Even if I have a few well established tanks personally I prefer to start from scratch with a fishless cycle, maybe attempting to kick-start things with some bacteria in a bottle, although I am still not convinced most of them really do much. What brands have you tried? Keep enjoying your discus, they are looking good (even sideways)

Thanks, Paul, I appreciate it, and also I suspect you are generally right about bigger water changes to avoid ammonia problems in the absence of Safe. I honestly wasn't sure whether to trust the product claims about eliminating ammonia toxicity, so I've been watching the fish, and I'm happy to say nothing about their behavior has suggested to me that I need to change more water. I would if necessary, but I can only store about 30 gallons in a brute trash can so anything beyond that is more or less going to be out of the tap. That isn't a problem per se right now--last I checked, no pH swing and not the season for microbubbles--but I still notice the fish are more likely to go through some acclimation with a big water change, and the whole point is to reduce stress on them. So, I've been trying not to overdo it. Anyway, so far, so good.

On the bottled bacteria, more below; this time I tried FritzZyme 7 as I read some older threads on the forum that suggested it might be the best option. So far, nothing doing. Now using Seachem Stability, which frankly I've tried before to little effect. Hard to think Dr. Tim's, MicroLift, Tetra or whatever else is going to yield something all that different, but I don't mind throwing my $10-$15 dollars toward moving things along. Just glad that it doesn't seem to matter much.


Don’t worry about it, same here. As long as you keep them coming.....

Tobi

Alright, Tobi, it's a deal, so long as you keep those pictures of your wilds coming! :)


Yeah, with 150%+ daily WC, nitrogen cycling is way overrated lol.

I mean, if you can keep that much WC, bottled bacteria wouldn't do much anyway
since they would probably get drained out with the water.

Hey Cyrus, I'm not personally changing that much water, though your point is well taken!

I do think the issue of losing bottled bacteria to WC is an interesting one, and I've wondered about whether or not to tweak things a little to get better results. Again, it might not really matter that much in the big picture, but would people be better off trying to soak media in a concentrated solution of bottled bacteria, or pour the stuff into the HOB filter and let it sit for a while (even a couple of hours) before restarting? In the same vein, I've been wiping down the tank during some of my WCs to keep harmful bacteria from growing--standard practice in an established system--but how much am I working against the whole process of seeding the tank in the first place with nitrifiers? Given all this, maybe I shouldn't be too critical about the products I'm using... glad it doesn't really matter! :p

Tshethar
08-30-2018, 09:49 AM
One last thought here--so far what I'm doing is working just fine starting with 4" fish. No idea whether smaller juvies would respond as well. Sometimes it seems like people planning out their systems almost always think about going with 2-3" fish or 5-6" adults, but honestly something in-between feels like a nice sweet spot for me. These guys seem tough, and not a risky proposition to start with in case mistakes are made, but there's still some excitement about seeing how they change and helping them reach their potential. And of course they're cheaper than fully grown adult fish!

Tshethar
09-07-2018, 11:45 PM
Alright, another week in and things are doing okay but I've hit my first bumps in the road. Or, more likely, bugs in the road. Or in the water, as the case may be. I started a thread asking if people used whole house filters (or HMAs) and why, and Pat linked me to her experience doing so and some helpful discussion about that. (Over here: http://forum.simplydiscus.com/showthread.php?133427-Who-s-using-HMA-Whole-House-Filters-and-Why) As mentioned there, I noticed that my discus didn't seem to enjoy their water changes that much, and I've been watching them carefully and seeing if I can tell the difference between a certain amount of shyness to be expected from fish that are new and are having their tank messed with, and fish that don't like something about their new water. Given that I have history with possibly suspicious municipal water, I was already a little paranoid. But the fish, robust as they've been, have also been starting to show me a few signs that they were dealing with something minimally irritating.

Essentially, they were staying huddled up, definitely not playing in the fresh water or begging for food, and darkening a little, and I started to see some rubbing from a fish or two, plus some occasional fin fluttering, usually the ventral fins. Eating and feces have been totally normal for all. So, I went ahead and ordered the cheapest whole house filter I could find, with 5 micron sediment and carbon block filters, which at minimum is going to eliminate large particles, metals, and hopefully some other nasties. (Haven't really researched this much, but curious about whether this will block all protozoans or not, or flagellates... seems like some cysts and bacteria will get through, but it's the external parasites I'm imagining at the moment.) So far, happy with this purchase, which now filters the water going into my aging barrel. Water parameters are 6.4 pH (no swing), 3 degrees dH hardness, some ammonia still showing on the API kit but maybe a false positive from using Safe (still dosing for possible ammonia toxicity), and finally (today) some nitrates were showing before a water change. Been generally changing about 65% once per day in the evening, sometimes siphoning off and topping off a bit in the morning.

By the time I got the water filter installed I was seeing clearer signs of some darkening and flashing, with the most recent top-of-the-pecking order fish showing stress bars and ceding his place to others. So yesterday I decided to try increasing the heat and adding some kosher salt. Brought it gradually up from 82-83 to 87-88, and dosed at 1 tbs/5 gal. Fish seem to have responded favorably to this. Still seeing some occasional darkening and sulking but everyone is eating and no signs of bacterial issues. Didn't see rubbing or flashing tonight, so hoping things are heading the right way. Stopped feeding my messy seafood mix the last couple days in order to keep water changes to 50%; fish have been happy with hikari pellets, some spirulina and immune boosting flakes, and FDBW.

For experienced folks who made it this far reading, I'd welcome advice on how long you'd keep the salt and the higher temps going. And I'm also curious if you think these issues will improve with the whole house filter or not.

snxtif
09-08-2018, 03:49 AM
IMHO, “keeping”, “raising / growing out” and “breeding” discus are literally different beasts.

For starters those are starting to “keep” the discus,
from my personal experience (or lack there of) rule of thumb is, the bigger the better.
Buy the biggest 6+ fish as your budget allowed.

2-3” inches need a lot more caring/pampering.

I myself started my first batch of 8x3” 6 months ago, and I think I stunted most of them
(seems like their growth has slowed down already, and most of them are 5”ish)
And I think that’s the common newbie mistake.

If only I could change anything in the past, with the same amount of money, I would buy 2-3x5” instead.
That means, sure I might have to save up more in order to buy 6 of them.
But in the end, i should have ended up with better size and shape,
rather than 8 of mediocre batch.

Later, I bought 4 more of 5”, put into the same tank, gave them better care,
Now they are 6.5”+-.

Then, I started raising a new batch from 2”, with better (hopefully at last “proper”) care,
They are now 4”+- within few months and boy, I fed these guys 3 times more than my first batch.
Change water every day. Siphon poops 3 times a day.
It’s harder work, but I had more fun in a way of “watching your kids grow”.
Totally different experience.

TL;DR
Buy the size according to the experience you want/skill you have.
If you just want to keep beautiful fish, less-ish work, go biggest you can buy.
Wanna have fun growing them out, but don’t mind harder work, buy many smaller ones.

Second Hand Pat
09-08-2018, 08:52 AM
Hi Bill, are you aging your water? Also is your tank fully cycled? Also check your nitrite and nitrate levels before a water change. I used the salt/heat (88) when I noticed one of the wilds doing the head tilt and allowing itself to the bossed around. I only added salt once but continued the heat until the fish returned to normal. I never saw any poop issues BTW.
Pat

Tshethar
09-09-2018, 10:16 PM
Thanks, Pat! Yes on aging the water, though the pH seems stable and no microbubbles this time of year--allows me to temperature match if nothing else. I don't think the tank is fully cycled, from what i can tell. Still showing ammonia on the API kit, and nitrates seem negligible--I may have been hoping to see orange last night, or if I am, it is minimal. No nitrites.

I added salt twice but based on your practice decided to just change with clean water over the last day or two. Since the fish look happier about the change, I did two 50% WCs over the last couple of days. (Adding Stability with each of these.) Everyone is eating, though a couple of fish have been "sulky" on and off (with some hanging out on their own and darkening or showing bars), and unfortunately I did see some rubbing earlier today, which makes me think I may not have eliminated all sources of irritation with the salt and heat.

Decided I might let the temp slowly come back down and see how we do over the next few days before deciding if things will resolve themselves or require some other intervention. As always, thoughts are welcome.

Tshethar
09-10-2018, 11:31 PM
Well, just under 6 weeks in and we've got problems.

Honestly, it may be a good thing that this is a busy week for me because I just don't have time to obsess over the discus, but I'm worried this tank could end up crashing like my last attempt two years ago.

In short, the fish are definitely "bugged," but I don't know by what or what to do about it.

So, I brought parameters back to 83-83 degrees after about 4 days running 87-88, the first two with 1 tbs of kosher salt/5 gallons of water. Haven't medicated in any other way yet, even with Prazi or Levamisole for QT.

Thought I'd try providing lots of clean water and pristine tank conditions for a few days, now that I have my sediment filter and carbon block between my water supply and aging barrel. So, I upped my WC to 50% 2x per day, morning and evening, and have been feeding cleaner foods, still several times a day.

But this morning after WC I had my first splash and dash, which I heard from the next room. Caught a bit of it on video in case people haven't seen this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnUXL4_QWtA
Everybody is still eating, but there are fish that hang out on their own now (one in particular, not the dasher), and I took some video tonight of a few of the other fish rubbing/scratching:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GxVACua3LSI
The same fish from this morning did some more splashing this evening--though he ate some, too--and his poop is normal. Some other fish seem to be producing what looks like intestinal lining or clear (not white) feces in large quantity (took a quick pic before WC), but honestly I'm not entirely sure what it is--seen some of it all along, and hadn't thought it was an issue. (It often floats.)

117959

Anyway, I really don't know what to do at this point. I'm a little bummed out that my water seems to be a problem and I may be again stuck with something I can't get rid of or prevent from getting into my tank. :fried:

What would you do? :confused:

DiscusBR
09-11-2018, 12:29 AM
So sorry to hear about your problems with such a beautiful group of fish. I suggest you post all information, including the videos, in the forum's "Emergency Room":

http://forum.simplydiscus.com/forumdisplay.php?34-Emergency-Room

Don't forget to copy and paste the Disease Questionnaire (link at the top of the page)

Tshethar
09-11-2018, 12:57 AM
Thanks, Mauro. Good idea--will do. Love your fish, by the way; holding out hope of holding onto these guys. Will open up a thread over there and eventually link back here.

Second Hand Pat
09-11-2018, 07:11 AM
Hi Bill, I hate the splash and dash. Let's try reducing your water change to one 40% per day for a couple days and see if this helps the splash and dash guy. I know this sound counter intuitive. I have had this happen with baby wild heckels and the reduced water change amount did help.
Pat

Tshethar
09-11-2018, 06:08 PM
Thanks a lot, Pat.

I actually was going to go in this direction, too, as I remember also seeing other fish happier with smaller water changes when they were stressed, so long as the tank was stable. But Al just (correctly) figured out in the ER thread that I'm dealing with a nitrite issue--didn't show up on tests until this afternoon--so I'm going to start with that.
Greatly appreciate the insight.

--Bill

Tshethar
09-15-2018, 01:42 AM
For those keeping score at home, the ER thread is over here: http://forum.simplydiscus.com/showthread.php?133466

As mentioned above, the symptoms seen above turn out, it seems, to have been nitrite-related. (Learned something there, that's for sure. Maybe this will help somebody else cycling on the fly, or going through a mini-cycle if they lose their filter bacteria.) I'm waiting for my methylene blue to show up tomorrow, but in the meantime have been using 4x the normal dose of Safe and some kosher salt with my daily water change, and the fish are doing better than they looked above. One of the smaller ones still darkens and hangs out with less appetite than the others, but I'm hoping the methylene blue, some time, and some clean water should help him get back to being himself. Didn't test the water today, but as of yesterday I was finally seeing some significant nitrates, so hopeful that the tank may finish cycling quickly. Crisis averted! :sun:

DiscusBR
09-15-2018, 10:49 AM
Good to hear the good news.

Tshethar
09-19-2018, 11:33 PM
Thanks, Mauro (a few days late!).

Overall, fish are doing pretty well, as I continue working to manage the nitrite situation as described above. After consulting with Al I decided not to dose the tank as a whole with methylene blue, as the product info indicates it would set back the biological filter. What I did instead was to drain the main tank for a water change, and when the level was low I pulled one of the smaller fish who has been the most sullen and dark of late and gave him a 10 second dip in approximately a 50 ppm methylene blue solution. (He evacuated at once upon return, and seemed to lighten up a bit. Otherwise, jury's out on the effect, and his long-term prospects.)

So, I'm continuing to watch the tank and I'm using a little salt and a lot of Safe when I do water changes and when I see signs of irritation or darkening that seem concerning. (They are more likely to show some of this when food is added to the tank, I've noticed, which is consistent with Al's theory about depleted O2.) On Al's advice, I decided that if several fish still weren't looking good I would pull the biomedia and keep cycling it in a bucket with pure ammonia and then go with just aeration, water changes and methylene blue. So far it doesn't seem like I need to go that route.

However, the fish I dipped may be dealing with some hex or the like slowing him down, as I see some white poop out of him, and decreased appetite. However, he's still eating, so I'm just keeping an eye on him for now. He doesn't look too bad in this video from last night. I may try a little more salt and raising the temp a bit if he doesn't come all the way back soon.

I'd say my experience with the group has left me a little less sanguine about the idea of adding fish before the biological filter is well-established. Even with big water changes there is a significant bio-load to contend with over the course of a 24-hour period. Safe is a great product and I think it has saved me here, but I'd rather not be relying on it to stave off toxicity. Lesson learned!


https://youtu.be/3UFLJbXd2gw

Tshethar
09-27-2018, 08:55 PM
Well, lots happening on the forum and with fish today for me--2018 Grow Out Challenge has begun--but wouldn't want to neglect these guys.

After watching and waiting for a while I decided to pull the lagging fish a couple of days ago; he's been in a hospital tank dosed with methylene blue, salt at 1 tbs/gallon, and I've raised the temp up to 88-89. He's gotten a 50% WC each day for which I've diluted the methylene blue but replaced the salt.

He still is pretty lethargic but otherwise okay, and he will pick at food, slowly. When I come back he has eaten his favorites, which are hikari pellets and occasionally frozen brine shrimp. His poop today was stringy but dark, so I have held off on metro to this point. May try dosing him if he doesn't show more life in the next few days, or if an experienced reader recommends.

Beyond that, though, the rest of the group are doing great, despite the nitrites persisting. Tank shot from this afternoon:

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And a look at their afternoon snack. These guys are definitely feeling active and feisty, and seem always ready to eat. Here's hoping the nitrites abate so I can indulge them with impunity!


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P82hcI0JBVg

Tshethar
11-11-2018, 05:36 PM
A little more than a month since I last checked in on the forum with these guys. Regulars will know that most of my attention has been focused on the Grow-out Challenge, where I have done my best but not really achieved the best results (how's that for spin?).

Anyway, these guys have mostly been going along well, though not without some difficulties. Unfortunately, the one fish that started showing issues described above was unable to make a real comeback. I ended up treating him in a hospital 10 gallon tank for about 4 weeks; started with salt and heat, did a levamisole bath, and eventually a metro course for 12 days. He recovered enough to eat every day and his poop darkened, but he was always lethargic. Water changing him every day was difficult on top of everything else, so after a day or two of recovery at normal temps post-metro treatment, he went back into the main tank.

Unfortunately, he never managed to reintegrate very well; he mostly hovered in the background and darkened, and was not interested in competing for food. He would come out and pick at FDBW and other food at first, and at some bits that ended up on the filter sponge, but that was it. After about 3 weeks of further decline, plus some indication that another fish was less interested in eating pellets, I realized that he was only falling further behind and was not going to recover, and might harbor pathogens that could threaten the others. So, I had my first experience with clove oil last night. A task I had been avoiding, but one that I must say went very peacefully. :(

I also had another scare a few weeks ago when my water supply seemed to go funky for a day or two, and everyone darkened and gasped for an hour or so after a water change. Added carbon quickly and they eventually stabilized. Now I usually never change more than about 75% and only add maybe 10% of unaged water (my barrel is not as big as I'd like), with a large dose of Safe. Fortunately, there were no aftereffects from that episode.

Today I did a deep clean of the sponges/filters, and the fish were looking pretty good afterwards, so thought it was time for a video update. They're usually getting 2x/day ~50-60% water changes, with liberal feedings, and they've been growing. Haven't measured anyone but I imagine they'll look different from the last update. Overall I'd say 1-2 have a bit of an oddball-type look, but a couple of them also have really nice size and shape. Looking forward to seeing how it goes from here. :)


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9y87bQra_3Y

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEXiZEBOwRg&t=1s

MickO'S
11-20-2018, 12:18 PM
The fish look class !!!! I hope I can get mine to something like that shape !!
Mick

Tshethar
11-20-2018, 08:06 PM
Thanks, Mick! Appreciate the comment. I'm mostly glad to see them healthy and growing... I haven't measured them but they seem to keep getting bigger and I'm grateful not to have run into any issues. I'm paranoid about my water supply and so I'm more than pleased just seeing them healthy.

As far as shape goes, I'm going to be honest and tell you that I think 2-3 of them have really nice shape. I don't have photography skills but maybe I can get an image of the ones I like best. I haven't owned many discus at all but from being on the forum a lot I can now appreciate how nice the ones with the rounded foreheads are compared with those that are either kind of sloped and angular, or those that look kind of "beaky," or a little more (American) football shaped.

I guess since these are "wild-type" and sold as F1s, there is likely to be more variation and not as much artificial selection for roundness... All in all I am happy with all the fish as a group, but I also think that if I were lucky enough to get them to the point of breeding, I would try to pair up the most rounded ones.

After that, I'm a little torn about whether I like the almost all-brown look (virtually solids, little pattern), or the ones that show some striation and color with great shape. Will see if I can illustrate these in-between taking care of them!

By the way, Mick, good luck with your fish! Looks like you're set up for a good start. :)

Tshethar
11-21-2018, 01:48 AM
Here's a shot of the one I think has the best shape. I did highlight him in the videos above for sure. (Right front in both shots.)

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There are a couple of others I also think are pretty nice... shape isn't perfect but I'm fond of this guy as well.

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Had them just over three months now. Still need to clear out the living room tank for them, but with the current setup is it's really easy to do daily big water changes on them. Seem to be coming along steadily enough and without aggression, so I've been letting it roll.

Tshethar
11-25-2018, 02:21 AM
Living room tank is empty now... thanks to my LFS for re-homing my large Africans, and letting me sell them a bunch of cherry shrimp, too. Will thoroughly clean and sterilize the equipment in the days ahead and probably do a fishless cycle as I'm not really in a hurry to move the group. They're growing out well and they're easier to maintain where they are, so I'll try to get them a little bigger before the move.

Meanwhile, best pics of the process so far...

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The interest in Dad's fish obsession here was mostly a way to avoid going to bed just a little longer, but he couldn't help admitting that these guys were pretty fun fish!

Second Hand Pat
11-25-2018, 09:25 AM
Hi Bill, I nominated the second image in the post above for Nomember "Pic of the Month"!! :D Great image!
Pat

Tshethar
11-25-2018, 01:11 PM
Aw, thanks, Pat! :o

Now you know what my real grow-out challenge is! (Trying hard not to stunt this one... :grin:)

MickO'S
11-25-2018, 02:57 PM
Hahaha brilliant!

I have one as well thatís turning 9 in a couple of weeks, stunting doesnít seem to be an issue with the human charges !

Mick

Tshethar
11-26-2018, 12:44 AM
Hahaha brilliant!

I have one as well that’s turning 9 in a couple of weeks, stunting doesn’t seem to be an issue with the human charges !

Mick

Nice to be running parallel with you, Mick--this one turned 9 two weeks ago! He seems to be growing pretty well, though he can be a bit of a picky eater! (He doesn't show any interest in beef heart at all!) :evilgrin: Still, given not only his father's fish obsession but other... unique personality traits, shall we say... its his emotional development that I'm worried about. :p Does Andrew Soh have anything for this? :idea2:

Second Hand Pat
11-26-2018, 09:21 AM
... its his emotional development that I'm worried about. :p Does Andrew Soh have anything for this? :idea2:

Being a boy only time will help...feed him well and change plenty of water and all will be fine!! :evilgrin:
Pat

Mando
11-26-2018, 09:25 AM
Lol! You guys are too funny. Bill the fish look great! Your favorite is my favorite as well. I was more of the birght colorfull discus lover but as of late, I’ve fallen in love with the wild types or wild look-a-likes.