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Old 06-22-2009, 05:33 AM   #1
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Sinking, dying Discus

Hey all,


I've had my discus for around two years now.

I have(had) three blue diamonds, two maize turqs, two red leopard, one white diamond, three Golden Discus, and one Red Pigeon Blood Discus.

They are mixed in a tank with four pelcos, and four black angelfish.

Recently, two blue diamonds, a maize turq, and a red leopard died.

It wasn't overnight, it was over... about 3 months time.


I searched for what was wrong with my discus, but i couldn't find an answer.

Now, ALL of the discus have the same symptoms as the ones that died:


- sink down to the bottom of the tank, breathing rapidly/sometimes very little and little movement from fins.

- when they swim, they "wobble" a lot. Almost as if they are struggling to even stay several inches above the bottom

- their top dorsal fin, it's smoothed back. looks like the fin is trying to go flat on the top of the body
- their tail fin sometimes twitch for a good five seconds before it goes back struggling to swin.

- the cheeks are dark

- very skinny, they eat regularly. I feed them Flakes, I'm not sure of the name. It's in a different language, but it is specifically for Discus. Ingredients: (Fish meal, shrimp meal, soy bean, wheatgerm meal, dry yeast, vitamins and minerals)



this time all the discus is infected, now three of them are in critical condition. They lay flat on the tank bottom. They try to get up occasionally, but they look so weak.




My angelfish and pelcos are absolutely fine...



I have a six feet long, one foot width, and two and a half feet tall tank.
Sorry, I forgot the number of gallon, but I will measure it later.



I also just changed 40% of the tank water yesterday. They aren't getting any better, in fact... they're getting worse.

further info:
Filter system is fine, I do have bubble wand about a foot long, working fine. Temperature is at 30 degree celsius (temperature dropped a little due to water change)

I do have a little planaria, i believe they are called. The tiny squiggly white worms from over feeding. (over feeding was caused by a ten year old feeding huge cup loads of food without my permission)



Please help, I know this is a long post and everything. I don't want my fishies to diee!!!
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Old 06-22-2009, 10:19 AM   #2
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I have no idea of the cause, but heres a tip: try to do very small water changes daily.

Hope this helps!
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Old 06-22-2009, 10:46 AM   #3
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How often do you do water changes? Discus will benefit greatly from pristine water. The larger the changes the better. I know of discus breeders that will change 90% when raising juvies. Small changes will do nothing significant for a tank that size. Your tank measurements come out to about 110G.

You may also want to vary their feeding to include something more "meaty" (beefheart, blood worms, etc.). Do you test your parameters with a liquid reagent kit? If so, what are your readings?
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Old 06-22-2009, 05:46 PM   #4
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I do water changes about once a week, each time 40-50%.

I always thought that was too much.

But in the past month, I was away and my helper forgot to change the water. He only fed them.

That's when their conditions worsen.




I checked again this morning, one of my pelco's died a very horrible death.

One of the discus isn't laying on the side anymore, but on its stomach. The other two have worsen, their gills are raised and sometimes non responsive.

I put them in a seperate tank, hoping they will go peacefully now.




as for a liquid reagent kit, there are so many out there that I don't know which one to choose.

However a friend of mine says I might have too much chlorine and amonia?

How do I find a kit to test ph, chlorine and amonia??




And thank you, I will try to buy meatier food for them. How often should I feed them those kinds of food?

I hear they are quite expensive to feed daily?
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Old 06-22-2009, 07:09 PM   #5
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api makes a fresh water master kit, i have used them for years, its very important to have one. next are you using a de-chlorinator with every water change? you should have NO chlorine its deadly.

Get the test kit and test your water. Post your results.
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Old 06-22-2009, 07:34 PM   #6
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Do an extra water change or two. Clean water will save your fish. Don't worry about too much or too often. What dechlor product are you using? You definitely need to test your water. The API Master FW kit is pretty good and relatively affordable (~$20).
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Old 06-28-2009, 03:38 AM   #7
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do you add dechlorinator to your water?

and you can buy like a pack of frozen blood worms for like 4-6 dollars, and it comes with like 24(possibly more or less) cubes of frozen blood worms...
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Old 06-29-2009, 11:48 AM   #8
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I think you can still save them if you are willing to do daily water changes, maybe even twice daily while they are in quarantine (don't forget to dechlorinate the water with prime or something like it)

Judging from the info that you went away for a month and they didn't get a water change, and then your child fed too much I would say you had a massive ammonia spike. You need to do lots of water changes at this point to keep them alive. Make sure the water temp coming in is the same as the tank temp. Do at least daily changes for a while (at least 10 days) if you want them to recover. Then wean it down gradually to one 50% change every 3 - 5 days max if you can.

In my personal experience my discus would suffer if I was even a few days late with a water change. They need absolutely pristine water. I did 60% water changes every 5 days on my 90 gallon planted tank and they would still act happier if I could sneak in an additional water change in a week.

They are also very susceptible to diseases which angels can be carriers of and not be affected by so you have to be very careful with your quarantine procedures when mixing anything with discus (even other discus)

Definitely get a test kit, you need to test for
Ammonia (should be 0)
Nitrite (should be 0)
Nitrate(should be under 15 for discus)
API master freshwater test kit is pretty easy to find and easy to use. Test everyday right now while your fish are sick. Clamped fins are a sign of severe stress.
Many people will actually age their water for discus so they don't have to add additional chemicals to the water to dechlorinate it, this way they can also have a heater going so it is the same temp as the water coming out of the tank, they can also add a power head to agitate the surface and gas off any CO2 so there is also no change in pH level in the tank with the large water change.
I wish you all the best. Discus are beautiful and can be quite rewarding but require a lot of maintenance.

For what it's worth, my daughter also fed some discus of mine....even though I sucked out as much food as I could and did a 50% water change immediately, the little piggies ate so much before I could get it out that they all bloated and died. I learned to be a lot more careful and locked the food away where my kids couldn't get to it anymore.
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Old 06-29-2009, 11:56 AM   #9
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I don't have anything to help you. I just wanted to wish you luck.
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Old 06-29-2009, 01:38 PM   #10
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I may be way off base here, but the fact that your discus were eating and still are very skinny suggests that you might have parasites. If you have ruled out everything else (with a good liquid test kit like API's), as a last resort you might try medicating them. I've had success with Prazi Pro (praziquantel) in the past. Again, I'm by no means an expert on fish disease and medication, but it was just a thought. Good luck.
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