View Full Version : lonely discus . . . is he sick?

01-24-2003, 04:15 AM
Hello. :DI am new to discus. I started my discus experience a couple days before xmas when my wife bought me 3 red turks ~4-5" from a LFS. They got along great and eating well for a week or two until the two bigger ones bullied the other one into the corner and preventing the little guy from eating. I decided to buy 2-3 more discus. This time from a breeder/distributor. I bought 2 3" Wattley Red Pandas and a 3" Blue Diamond.

Now the smallest red turk is comfortable now and eating. ;DThe two Red Pandas get bullied during feeding time but seem to get their share of food. The lonely blue diamond only started eating recently but very little since the introduction of CBWs. He eats a little, occasionally spits some out and heads for the corner. He is very timid. This week I have fed them exclusively CBWs and every morning and evening all discus except the blue diamond follow me around the tank eager for food. I am concerned. I know I skipped quarantine but the breeder said the discus are healthy and had them in his tanks for over a month. I needed to throw them in right away to reduce aggression to the smallest red turk. I also only have one tank. I NEED YOUR HELP.

What should I do? Does he have hexamita? The first three were medicated with quick cure followed by hexamit. Should I do the same for the newer three? Please help!

Parameters: Temp 86 degrees; pH 6.6; 10 gal WC 3x week with 50% tap 50% DI; Nitrites/ammonia is 0; KH is 5

Tank: 60g with only a layer of large sized gravel and will probably go BB this weekend. One large and one small piece of driftwood and two plastic plants. Two penguin 330s currently with carbon to try to remove the tannins.

Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you

01-24-2003, 09:50 AM
Well, first off, skipping the quarrantine is a bad idea, obviously. Distributors will ALWAYS say their fish are healthy to get a sale. Don't listen to them.

Since you've already gone and done it, I won't belabor the point!

It really is impossible to say if your fish is sick, stressed or both. (Probably so!) If I were you I would pull the gravel, up the W/C to 50% daily instead of 3x weekly. Target temp: 86-88 degrees to get them eating and a bit of salt to help with the stress.

Make sure you feed at a couple of locations in the tank to give everyone a fair chance.

Then observe. Is the fish dark? Do you see abnormal feces? Is it getting picked on?

Unfortunately, there is usually one fish in any tank that bears the brunt of the rest of the pecking order. It could just be that. Medication is not a good idea ever, unless you know for sure what you are dealing with.

Let us know!


01-24-2003, 12:56 PM
When a breeder/seller tells you their fish are healthy, it could very well be (and usually is) true. However, their fish may be carriers of something that they show no symptoms of. Also, your existing fish may appear healthy to you, but may also be carriers. Many times people introduce new fish without quarantine, and the new fish get sick while the existing fish are fine, or vice versa. So they all may very well appear healthy, until you mix them all together. Of course, this is all JMO. Always quarantine.

Blackworms usually encourage even the most finicky eaters. If your blue diamond doesn't go after them, I'd be concerned. Does he eat other types of foods? I've kept small groups of 6 - 8 fish together before and even the lowest on the pecking order ate like a horse, he just got chased a bit more than the others.

I agree with John. I would increase the water changes (you never know what's lurking in that gravel) and keep the heat up. Maybe he's just shy, but I've never known a shy discus to spit out food once it eats it.


01-24-2003, 03:42 PM
Many times simply doing more water changes will cure your discus.

I notice you are trying to use 50/50 tap DI.

Why don't you just use aged 100% tap water?

I'd get a 30 - 50 gallon container to heat and agitate the storage water in and change 25 gallons per day in your 60 gallon tank. It will be much easier (and cheaper) for you to do water changes. don't worry too much about your pH and hardness at this stage unless it is really, really high. My pH is 7.8 and hardness is GH 11 and I have discus everywhere.

Carol :heart1:

01-24-2003, 03:44 PM

I re-read my last post and it sounded like I was saying all distributors have sick fish - that's not what I meant! I meant you can't trust anyone who SAYS their fish are healthy. Because of the reasons you noted!

As for the fish spitting out the blackworm - I've seen some really stressed fish doing it or fish that are not used to them - kinda trying it and thinking about it. I agree though, it's not a good sign.

I do think the w/c will help and with luck the BD will come around. Observation is the most important key to fishkeeping IMHO - know what's going on before acting!


01-25-2003, 03:06 AM
Thanks for all your replies. The lonely blue diamond is definitely on the bottom of the pecking order. He did eat better today but I did not do a water change yet. He also did not spit out his food.

I plan to do a 25% wc (10g tap/5g DI) everyday and try to wean off the DI to slowly bring the pH up to 6.8-7.0. Yes it does get expensive. Is it less expensive in the long term to go RO? I do not have the facilities to house a big tank of water and heat it up so I go straight from the tap. Should I just stop the DI and lower the pH with chemicals?

I will also remove the gravel. I'll keep you posted on my progress. Thanks.

01-25-2003, 10:28 PM
What is the pH of your tap water without adding DI/RO/chemicals. A big misconception is that discus require soft water with a low pH. Some swear by it, but it will not kill your fish if they are in harder water. Carol has a pH of 7.8 and is raising discus like crazy. All of my fish are in 7.6 - 7.8 and are fine. It may be easier for you in the long run to cut out RO and DI altogether and use straight tap, unless your water is extremely hard and has a very high pH. Also, for breeding you'll probably want to break the RO/DI unit back out again, but you still have plenty of time to prepare for that.