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Old 04-16-2006, 10:34 PM   #1
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tonnes of problems since the inception of the new setup-HELP

hey guys
i've had my tank running for quite a few years
recently my pleco died so i decided to commemorate his death with a propper aquarium setup
i've always wanted discus so that was one of my main goals
when the pleco died i got pretty lazy... long story short it was a couple weeks before i took him out.. he disintigrated when i removed him from the tank.. gross.. completely my fault for leaving him in there that long
AAAAAAAAAnyway
i didnt get discus right away
instead i did a couple of water changes
and started with plants
i soon realized i needed fish to create CO2 for the plants to brethe, so i got fish, i started with angels, they stayed for a week and survived so i picked up more plants, a barracuda and some neon tetras.. my stupidity.. not thinking my barracuda ate tetras that week
after that i got him some ghost shrimp, feeder guppies, and rosy minnows, he enjoyed those. the guppies lasted all of a week.. i had about 20 soemthing..
my barracuda got bigger
one day i went to a local fish store and saw discus on sale.. i ahd always wanted them but wasnt ready.. this time i was going to do things right
i noticed plants dying so i went out and bought a 36 inch t5 coralife plant light setup.. it was nice.. kind of expensive.. but i'm fairly happy so far
time passes
barracuda gets bigger
i try some cardinal tetras, rummynose tetras, and more neons
the cardinals died before the next morning.. all 4 of them.. i lost about 6 rummy nose
all had a wierd sort of infection.. their entire tails turned white, their body turned white and their tails disappeared
once they died i took them out right away
i then watched the other fish for a while everything was going good.. so i had my water checked for things needed for discus.. everythign was good to go.. so i picked them up
almost instantly after this my heater backed up so i FLEW to the store and got another one made for a much larger tank
i then got an infection on other fish and FLEW to another local fish store to pick up some meds
i got macaryn and macaryn 2
i used the macaryn and the fish seemed to get better
today i noticed a little wormy type thing on one of my discus
yes.. i get that close to the tank to notice things like that
it was almost peachy in colour and the fish was twitching a little..
shoudl i throw in the macaryn 2?
it's supposed to cure worms( this parasite i think?)
i dont want to lose the discus.. i enjoy them a lot and they cost me a heap on top of everything
the macaryn 2 says it heals worms
it says that it will clear the greyish colouration that im noticing on the angels too
please help
i know it's a fair amount to read but it's everything from the top
oh.. i also noticed a couple species of snails and i picked up a 1 inch bristlenose pleco
i dont want anything to die
please let me knwo if i shoudl throw in the meds or what i should do
thanks
if anyone has experience with these meds please help
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Old 04-16-2006, 11:20 PM   #2
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Welcome to AA. Let me try and help out. First is the barracuda in the same tank as the discus? What are your water parameters in that tank and the temp you are keeping it at? Discus prefer temps between 84-88, and perfect water parameters, no ammonia or nitrite and low nitrates.
The maracyn or maracyn II will not help your discus in this instance. It would be better to treat with a medicine for parasites. But knowing your water parameters would be beneficial. I would do a large water change immediately as pristine water conditions will help your fish. Match the temp of the tank and add necessary dechlorinator. As for parasitic meds for discus, I will do some checking. I thank goodness, have never had to worry about worms in my discus. But I will get back to you asap.
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Old 04-16-2006, 11:28 PM   #3
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What are you feeding your discus? Sorry forgot to ask that in the previous post. You can try AP's General cure, Jungle's parasite clear, there are a lot of parasites that can affect discus and I will direct your thread to another member who is quite good with discus ailments.
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Old 04-17-2006, 07:05 AM   #4
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Hi toyotasrfun. I'm going to try and help you but I need much more information.

1. How many gallons is your tank?
2. How many discus, and are they adults or juveniles?
3. WHat is pH of your tank vs your tap water?

Discus happen to be rather hardy fish but they will succumb to many more diseases when under stress. Stress can be caused by deteriorating water conditions, overcrowding, sudden shifts in pH, or merely introducing more fish. The very best thing you can do for your discus is improve their environmental conditions. By that I mean isolate them to a hospital tank.

In my thinking you've got 3 major problems which is why I'd like to see those discus have their own pristene tank for at least two months.

1. More than likely the parasites were introduced with the feeder fish. Feeders are kept in notoriusly bad conditions and should never be introduced to a discus tank.

2. Your tank probably is overcrowded. This not only results in a build up of nitrates, but also disolved organic compounds which can be deadly to discus.

3. Keeping discus with a large predatory fish such as a barracuda cannot be giving the discus a sense of security.

It's also never a good idea to just throw meds at any fish without taking the total environment into consideration. Very often the cure can cause worse problems than the disease. I know you don't want to hear this but unless you practice the correct husbandry for the discus, medicating is just putting off the inevitable.

I'm going to suggest you do daily 1/3 water changes to improve the water quality. The med I would use is permoxyn (although anything containing potassium permangenate should be effective). When using meds containing pp, your water will turn a deep purple. You need to leave it in for 4 hours, and then do a 50% pwc. This must be repeated in a week as it will kill the adult parasites, but not their eggs.

Don't feel too badly. You've made some newbie discus mistakes. It isn't that it's difficult to keep discus, it's just that you need to be armed with the proper knowledge. We're here to help you learn that.
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Old 04-17-2006, 10:07 AM   #5
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1. yes the barracuda is in the tank with the discus
2. not sure of the parameters, will have to get my water tested again, nitrites and nitrates were said to be in the acceptable range. ph was said to be nearly neutral, pretty sure ammonia is non existant but not sure whether or not it was tested for.
3. temperature is a steady 84 degrees farenheight
4. i am feeding my discus bloodworms, they are hikari and are supposed to be exceptionally good for them( i was told this by someone who i thought to be more knowledgable on discus, but he could have been trying to sell me on the hikari stuff because they had that in store, in defense though they had another brand, he told me these particular ones prefered hikari)
5. my tank is approximately 40 gallons ( 36"x13"x18") i think? not exactly sure
6. the discus are all around 3-4 inches ( i guess the discus woudl be juveniles)
7. not sure what the ph difference is between the tapwater and my tank water

finally
i had thought that some of the discus were being stressed due to the large number of feeders in the tank, so i luckily won another tank and have since been keeping the feeders separate from the nicer fish population aside from one or 2 which i keep in there for the barracuda to much on when he is hungry.
i had thought about it being overcrowded and keep only a maximum of 3-4 feeders in the tank, replenishing those numbers when they dwindle to 1 or 2, i ahve 4 black tetras, 11 neon tetras, 4 rummynose tetras, 10-20 ghost shrimp (not exactly sure because i never see them but i had bought more than that) 5 angelfish (each no larger than a nickel) and a couple different snail types
one have a more rounded shell like a beehive, the others swirl nicely and are a reddish pink colour

i had thought of the barracuda scaring the discus but the discus are much larger than the barracuda, while he has grown to 5 inches, he is long and slender and his body diameter is no more than a couple of centimeters at most, and even that it's an oval shape and measuring from the bottom to the top not side to side
that and he stays away from the discus for the most part
i think he's more afraid of them than they are of him
all of the discus now swim together for the most part and fairly freely
one is still darker in colour but he swims freely with the others
the one i noticed the worm on was one of the more vibrant one
nearly all of my neon tetras hide for most of the day except feeding time
nearly all the rummynose too
the black tetras seem to be fearless (or just smart enough to know that bobby chao my barracuda is only going to eat the feeders)
i havent lost any nice fish since the introduction of my barracuda
i had noticed a stringy fuzz growing on a plant leaf in the tank the other day
i took it out immediately, i had only seen anything like this on dead fish before.. even so i had taken them out immediately.. that fuzz was pretty gross looking
like one of those cottony type weeds that grown in yards that you blow on for them to fly nicely (i know everyone played with these thigns as kids.. nice then but not in my tank)

i almost forgot
i have plants

3 onion bulbs
1 pineapple plant
java moss (made 4 balls and tied some of it to driftwood)
1 rose sword
1 larger crypt tonkinensis
another crypt whose name i dont remember
3-4 jungle val
3-4 corkscrew val
3 different types of cabombas (2 different reds and one green)
another lotus looking plant whose name i cannot remember
that's about it
i also have pictures of my setup
i dont have any of the worms
i only saw one worm on one fish and now he seems to have buried himself inside the fish i guess
either way i appreciate your help
please let me know what to do
i cant afford a larger tank yet
i will be getting one in a couple of months
i will dedicate it completely to my discus and tetras, maybe an arowana, but in that case i'de have to throw feeders in also
i ahve a sneeking suspicion all this was the fault of those feeder guppies
i lost many more of those than i did feeders for absolutely no reason
most of them looked fairly sickly too
either way i have no more guppies in the tank
let me know what you all think
thanks for the help
i can email my setup pics to someone to post if that's possible
thanks again
patiently awaiting replies
toyotasrfun
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Old 04-17-2006, 11:15 AM   #6
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Well, without know everything, it doesn't sound like the problems aren't correctable. I applaud your efforts to care for this terrific species. You didn't tell me how many juvenile discus you have.

I raise all my juvenile discus in bare bottom tanks. They contain only sponge filters and heaters. The reason I do this is because it's easier to keep the tank clean. You may have noticed that discus develop a heavy slime coat which sheds. It's a breeding ground for bacteria. Especially at the higher temps discus require and you should wipe the glass and keep filters as clean as possible.

If you can't islolate your discus, at least do the pwcs. It's amazing how quickly they respond to really clean water. And here in lies your biggest problem. The tank is probably way over stocked. This will more than likely kill the discus if it isn't remedied. You see, every living thing produces waste. That waste dissolves in the water column and will make the discus stressed. Once stressed they stop eating are vulnerable to many secondary infections as their immune systems weaken. Then they turn dark and waste away.

These discus in your care require a very clean environment. If you're willing to do the water changes, and improve their environment they stand an excellent chance of reaching maturity. I'm not going to go into meds and treatment now. It's much more important that they have the proper conditions. Without that, no med will be effective.

A nuetral pH is fine. Hikari frozen blood worms are likely the best. They do well with weekly feedings of shaved frozen spinach also. Check out my gallery for some discus pics, and keep me posted. I'll do what I can to help you.
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Old 04-17-2006, 01:48 PM   #7
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alright i just got home from the fish store
they tested my water
here goes

tank water:
nitrates-40
nitrites-1.0
very hard- 300
Alkalinity-120
ph-7.2

tap water:
nitrates-20
nitrites-0.5
hardness-300
alkalinity-120
ph-7.2

sorry bout that
i have 5 discus
i'm going to do a water change right now (about 30%) and then i figure i'm going to try a med
this med takes 24 hours to cure ?
not so sure about that but after that i'll be changing the water again
i'm going to start on doing around 4 a week opposed to my regular 1-2 times... my levels right now are a little high.. i have only changed the water once since the medication period
the med is called clout
i'll also be using some aquarium salt
i'll await replies before i go ahead and do anything
BrianNY i'll definately check your gallery
thanks so far guys
keep it coming!
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Old 04-17-2006, 02:40 PM   #8
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Thanks Brian for jumping in here.

On a side note nitrites should be 0 ppm. The lfs didn't test for ammonia? Which should also be 0ppm. Nitrates are a bit high, water changes will bring that number down as well as the other parameters.
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Old 04-17-2006, 03:08 PM   #9
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hey
no they didnt test for ammonia
they did however refer me to another test kit that would do it.. cost soemthign like 35 bucks or something?
it was a 5 in one strip
i didnt have that much on me so i wasnt able to pick it up
hopefully soon i'll be able to arm myelf with a test kit
realistically it probably should ahve been the first thing i bought
i've never had problems before though with any fish i've kept.. but at the same time i've never kept discus
oh
i've also got a tiny bristlenose pleco
i'm hoping to get a whrilwood pleco soon.. i think that's the name
but first i need to get past this problem
if i remember correctly there is one place that can check my ammonia level i'll have to check them tomorrow however, just too tired to make another trip out today
i'll be doing another partial water change the day after tomorrow i figure it's going to take a little while before i'm back to changing the water frequently
anyhow
that's it so far
let me know what you guys think
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Old 04-17-2006, 06:04 PM   #10
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ive been doing some research on these fish as i want to get them. when i have my new tank set up
and ever where i read the high ph they like is 6-6.5 that seems really high.
and maybe you should try to lower it slowly. that would help too.
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Old 04-17-2006, 09:02 PM   #11
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IMO the test strips aren't as accurate as the liquid tests. AP makes a master kit, usually less than $30.00. Also I would leave the ph as ph swings are harder on the fish than a steady ph.
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Old 04-18-2006, 05:28 AM   #12
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Oh man. Your tank is going through another cycle. 1ppm Nitrites, and 40ppm Nitrates. This means that you added too many fish too quickly. That's tough on any fish but especially tough on young discus.

Have you done anything to reduce the bioload? If not, please take those discus back to the lfs. A 40 gallon can handle 5 juvenile discus, but not with all those other fish in the tank.
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Old 04-18-2006, 08:51 AM   #13
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am i able to reduce bioload by doing more frequent water changes or is it simply a matter of removing fish?
the tetras hide for most of the day with the exception of feeding time..
either way i'll be weening the fish to more frequent water changes
i see it taking a little while but that's something im willing to do
i'll research more on the bioload.. i guess it's sort of a dumb question..
thanks so far guys!
keep it coming!
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Old 04-18-2006, 09:42 AM   #14
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Sorry but that won't work toyotasrfun. I know that you're intentions are good but you aren't understanding what's occurring. You'd have to change 50% every day just to keep things from getting MUCH worse. I've no idea what kind of filters you have, or even if you know what the nitrogen cycle is. There's an excellent article in the Articles section that you should read on cycling a tank.

Listen. You haven't done anything that most new aquarium owners don't do. The problem is you've done it with discus. They aren't angelfish and they aren't tetras. They have VERY special requirements. You saw the fish on sale and thought they look great, I want them. I'm sure they were expensive at 3-4 inches. I did the exact same thing when I bought my first 3 discus. Just threw them in a 55 gallon with angels and tetras. The tank went to pot in a few days. I immediately set up a 29 gallon tank for them. The whole set-up cost less than what spent on the discus. I still have those three discus four years later and they spawning.

The best discus keeper in the world can't help you keep those fish healthy if you keep them in a polluted environment. IMO your options are few. Either return the discus or set up a tank just for them today.
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