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Thread: Appetite vs Water Temp

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    Registered Member jwcarlson's Avatar
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    Default Appetite vs Water Temp

    I've been "fighting" a couple of discus that just don't seem to want to eat. There doesn't appear to be any appreciable bullying or anything going on. Following advice here and elsewhere, I've brought the temp up to 92 and that seemed to get the two major hold out eating. Over the course of the last 2 or 3 weeks I've brought it down to 87 as of a few days ago and now it seems like they're eating maybe half of what they were before. In their defense, they got levamisole on April 29th. It didn't seem to slow down their eating at the time, but it was still about 90 in the tank at that time. I bumped the controller back up to 89 this morning.

    Their first chunk of beef heart is barely touched until some time later they'll start after it.
    These have been growing out with me from 2.5" since February 15. Are they getting to a size where they're going to start slowing down on food consumption? I've not had discus before so I don't know what to expect in that regard. But they've been doing something like four or five beef cubes (roughly 3/4" cubes) per day and 2-3 black worm cubes per day. Now they're maybe eating most of two beef heart cubes and one worm cube and there is always worm left at nightly water change. They do get a little sprinkling of vibrabites and discus biogold after water change. The two runts are about 3". Six of the other 7 are >4" and one middle one that's probably 3.75".

    Further... the smaller two simply do not eat unless it's 90. I really don't know what to do with them. They were both going OK, but then they dropped back out again. Trying to balance what I should do with water temp vs what is best for the greater number of fish. I know temperature shortens life overall for most fish. I've seen a bunch of you discus folks who say they keep them at 82 and I'm not sure mine would even move at that temperature. Or is there just a very long transition period that I'm not used to seeing. Seems like they pick up pretty quick at warmer temps, but as soon as it's a couple degrees below 90 they turn into lumps.

    Any experiences to share based on what I'm seeing? I've been toying around with getting a little school of tetras to add. Any idea if that could help the two smaller ones start to eat more? Possibly spreading aggression to the dither fish vs the smaller discus, maybe? Sometimes I see the smaller ones "boss" around the biggest ones in the tank and very rarely ever see the smaller ones get messed with. They just kind of hang back.

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    Administrator jeep's Avatar
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    Default Re: Appetite vs Water Temp

    How long was the temp at 92-93?

    Levamisole can throw them off food for a couple of weeks.

    Have you ever examined the feces with a scope?

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    Registered Member jwcarlson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Appetite vs Water Temp

    92 for about 10 days. And then down to 90 for probably two weeks +/-.

    Re: Levamisole - during the treatment they seem entirely uneffected and even for a day or so after. But then here I am closing in on two weeks later and they're weird now? It happens to correspond with me having started turning the temp down a few degrees, though.

    I've got a microscope, but have not looked at any poop with it. Poop normal to me.

    I'm thinking about pulling the two small ones to the 10 gallon and getting it to 92. Seeing if they'll eat. I just really don't want to deal with more water change activity if at all possible. But doing 50% daily on the 10 gallon isn't impossible.

    Side note: I've been salting to 1 tbs/10 gallons as well.
    Perhaps this is just levamisole hold over, but it seems to be so "behind" the actual treatment that it doesn't make sense to me. But I am discus-inexperienced as I said.
    Last edited by jwcarlson; 05-11-2022 at 01:12 PM.

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    Administrator jeep's Avatar
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    Default Re: Appetite vs Water Temp

    Without examining the feces it's hard to say. Nematodes are common in discus and can be hard to get rid of. If you isolate them in a smaller tank it'll be easier to examine and deal with this.

    There certainly is something off with them

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    Registered Member jwcarlson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Appetite vs Water Temp

    I think I'll get the QT tank heated up and slip the two small ones over tomorrow night. I'm off tomorrow.

    What am I looking for when I get a fecal sample that I know if from one of the small ones?

    I used 675mg of pure levamisole in the 75 gallon, is that the right dose? Francis said 90mg/10 gallons.

    Re: nematodes, maybe I should do another round of prazi? I've got plenty of most meds laying around. Because I had a mess on my hands after my first Levamisole treatment in the first few weeks (was following Al's QT), I didn't follow up with a second dose two weeks later because of some mistakes I made resulting in the fish being pretty sick around the time it was due. So tomorrow night is 2 weeks and I'm thinking I'll do Levamisole again tomorrow. If Prazi is a good move as something to try (in addition to heat/salt), how soon after this levamisole should I do it? My assumption would be if one fish has an issue then all of them should be treated, correct?

    Prazi is 100mg/10 gallons?
    Last edited by jwcarlson; 05-12-2022 at 10:50 AM.

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    Administrator jeep's Avatar
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    Default Re: Appetite vs Water Temp

    Prazi is for flukes and tapeworms so I don't think this will help. Levamisole is for roundworms and capillaria (nematodes). If your discus have tapeworms, treating with Prazi should make it obvious when you see the worms protruding. It's ugly!

    Capillaria and roundworm eggs will look like this-
    capillaria eggs.jpg
    roundworm egg.jpg

    Levamisole doesn't kill the parasite, it paralyzes it and they and the eggs are expelled, which is why reinfestation is common. It should be dosed in a bare bottom tank with lights off and a thorough cleaning and wiping of the tank bottom and water change in between doses.

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