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Thread: 2 Sick babies, dont know what else to do, please help

  1. #1
    Registered Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2018

    Default 2 Sick babies, dont know what else to do, please help

    Hi all,
    Ive had my babies for a few years now, and until now have been pretty lucky with their health, and have always managed to survive from reading others posts on here. I have two sick now, and the things I have tried have not worked. I would really appreciate any advice or help. Many, many thanks.


    1. Please explain the problems with your fish. When did you notice the problems and did anything unusual happen that you think started them?

    About a month ago, our filter clogged and we didn’t realize it until nitrite levels peaked and fish started swimming at the top. Immediately fixed filter and did daily 50% water changes until nitrite levels returned to 0. Nonetheless, we still lost our smallest. 
    For about 2 weeks we have had problems, possibly in response to the situation mentioned above:

    One fish (we will call it Blue), we have had for about a 1.5 years has developed small holes in its head. It stopped eating and was losing weight. White zits on this one (on body and also coming from holes in head) and a few other fish on their bodies. Blue also looks like it has tear on its fins (see pic) Also maybe white fizz on ends of fins.
    My oldest (2 years) and largest (we will call it Red) also stopped eating.
    I raised temp to 35C and dose of Metro for 6 days at 1.3g/200L every other day with daily 50% water changes. Added MicroImmun vitamins to diet. Zits are gone on all fish, the one with holes now eats very well, but holes and white fuzz persist. Appears to be gaining weight.

    Red shows no signs of improvement. I let the tank rest for ~3 days and have started Metro again, now on day 4, with dosage noted above. Red has not started to eat and is now resting on the bottom of the tank (see pic). Appears as if it is having a hard time swimming. Appears interested in food, but does not eat. Occasional pecking at debris or plants after feeding. Hides near filter, joins the group at night.

    2. Symptoms (i.e. turning dark, excess slime, not eating, clamped fins, flashing, darting, clamped gills, white/yellow/green poop, hiding, headstanding or tailstanding, white on tips of fins, rotting or fungus, blisters/white zits on fish, bloated, cloudy eyes, wounds).

    Blue has stress lines and rather dark in general, holes in head, ‘torn’ fins, and small amounts of fuzz on fins. Eats well, normal poop, acts normal.
    Red has clamped dorsal fin, poop seems normalish – not white/green/yellow or stringy, but appears rather empty – like small bits of food or pebbles in a clear, long sack, so to speak. Rests on bottom. Avoids others. Hides in corner by filter. Appears interested but does not eat.

    3. What medications/ treatments have you already tried and what were the results. Include dosage and duration of treatment.

    I raised temp to 35C and dose of Metro for 6 days at 1.3g/200L (as per Metro bottle instructions) every other day with daily 50% water changes. Added MicroImmun vitamins to diet. Blue showed signs of improvement and stopped treatment and lowered temp to 29C for 3 days. Red appears to be getting worse. Have started Metro again for 3 days.


    4. Tank size and ages, numbers and sizes of fish.
    Tank is 200L, planted. 8 discuses ~ 4inches long. Red is ~5 inches long. No other fish.

    5. Water change regime (What percentage and how often).
    Usually 30-50% once a week. Since problems, 50% daily.

    6. How long has tank been running? Is it bare bottom? If you have substrate, what type and how deep is it?

    tank has been running for ~2 years. Pebble substrate, 1nch deep.

    7. Do you age your water? If you do for how long and what is the ph swing.

    8. Parameters and water source;
    Note: Water Parameters are important in diagnosing problems within a tank. If you don't own test kits for the following information, you can purchase them, test your parameters and post this info as soon as possible.

    - temp 29C

    - ph 7.4. (I know its high. These are Stendker Discus that have been raised to be accustomed to German/Swiss tap water with this high pH.

    - ammonia reading 0ppm

    - nitrite reading 0ppm

    - nitrate reading 1ppm

    What type of water or combinations of water sources do you use? If it is an RO/tap/well water mix, please list percentages in the mix.

    - well water ____

    - municipal water: 100% tap water, as breeders suggestions.

    - RO water ____

    9. Any new fish, plants or inverts added recently. No.

    10. Please tell us what you feed your fish and how often. This can be critical information for solving the problem so be as specific as you can.

    Stendker frozen food (beef heart, vegetables, garlic), 200g 2X per day

    11. Include any pictures or videos you have which shows the symptoms. If you can't add them to this post, please provide a link to them.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Registered Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Northern Ontario
    Real Name

    Default Re: 2 Sick babies, dont know what else to do, please help

    I believe your issue is bigger than just a recently clogged filter.

    My biggest piece of advice is to increase the frequency and % of your water changes. You have 1) a lot of fish 2) in a small tank 3) with large substrate which traps waste and uneaten food particles 4) with small infrequent water changes and you are starting to see the end result of this imbalance. You may need to age and heat your water in advance if the ph swings at all. Sometimes the ph of tap water can change after it sits for a day. I determine if this is the case fill a bucket with tap water and test the ph immediately. Then aerate it with an air stone for a day or if u don't have an airstone just let it sit for a day and test the ph again. Let us know what the results of both tests are and we can advise.

    The next best thing you could do for the fish is remove the large gravel and either switch to a totally bare bottom system (this would be my first recommendation) or if you dislike BB replace it with a very thin layer of sand. If you do this you must make sure you don't crash the cycle in your tank, as a lot of beneficial bacteria have probably established them in your substrate. Additionally, toxic gasses can build up in substrate so I'd recommend to remove all fish to a holding tank while you remove the gravel, then do a 100% wc, then replace the fish. After this you will likely need to do huge daily water changes while monitoring the parameters of the water while your beneficial bacteria grow back to their optimal numbers on other surfaces in the filter itself.

    What kind of filtration do you have on the tank?

    I am certain this isn't the response you wanted to hear, and my suggestions will be first viewed with skepticism, but I can't see you having long term success with these fish if you continue the current regular maintenance routine. I'd expect them to slowly die off as their immune systems become weakened over time. I have been in your shoes and lost a lot of fish until I changed my set up and routine.

  3. #3
    Registered Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2018

    Default Re: 2 Sick babies, dont know what else to do, please help

    Hi Kyla,

    Thank you very much for your time and advice.

    We are running an Eheim 2226 (rated for 350L). I feel terrible if this is what is causing their illness - We set up our tank according to what we had read online - to the breeders of our discus (http://www.diskuszucht-stendker.de/g...q,index,0.html), who suggest 10 - 30% water changes weekly, and up to 1 disk per 15L, so in theory, we are doing much 'better' than that.

    We check our water parameters weekly and have only had problems with this filter clogging.

    --- do you think the Stendker folks are giving misleading advice?

    Larger and more frequent water changes - I was under the impression that one should not change more than 50% if possible, to keep the good bacteria - is this not the case? I can change more, more frequently - what and how often do you suggest?

    I can also remove the substrate - thats not a problem, and I have a holding tank. I clean the substrate with a siphon weekly, being sure to kick it up and get the bottom clean, but you suggest this isn't enough?

    I add my water heated (from the tap) and have checked the pH on our tap water before. It comes out at ~8.5-8.6 and settles ~8.4 after a day. Do you think adding 30% - 50% with a 0.2pH difference is harming them?

    Im sorry, I dont mean to second guess you - I was just under the impression we were taking good care, and it seems that perhaps we were not, and I want to make sure we are giving them the best care possible.

    Thanks a again for you help and advice.

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