first attempt at discus. NEED HELP! - The Planted Tank Forum
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-13-2010, 06:01 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Mackinaw, Illinois
Posts: 73
first attempt at discus. NEED HELP!

well first of all jsyk i work at a pet store that specializes in tropical and marine aquarium fish so i know a hell of a lot, and have a good amount of experience. The other day i convinced my boss to let me take home 4 discus fish that we had in our 90 gallon display tank, because they were doing bad and wouldn't have made it through the night and my water at home is a little better than ours at work. She said yes so i went home with $120 worth of free fish. not too shabby huh? Anyways i have kept them alive for longer than i thought i would. They weren't doing well at all today after being in my tank for around 24 hours (its a 30 gallon and YES i know thats too small for discus so don't whine at me for that. i didnt want to see them die). They have lost almost all their color, are not very active at all, and are starting to drop their slime coat. I freaked out and decided to go all RO water so i did a 35% water change and replaced it with RO water i got from a local grocery store. My question is how can i improve the chances for survival? I really want these guys to live. I guess I'm a sucker for free fish no matter how bad the health of them is. Any suggestions or comments are greatly appreciated!

Ryan10517 is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-13-2010, 03:03 PM
Algae Grower
spaeth05's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Shawnee, KS
Posts: 99
I'm no discus pro but if you are switching over to RO water I think you need to make sure the minerals are replaced (Seachem Replenish or something similar). Not sure if you already took that step but since you didn't not it in your post I wanted to point that out. I think you will also need to keep up very regular water changes. I'm assuming your water parameters are ideal (PH, ammonia, nitrates, nitrites). You may want to post them for others to help as well.

Is there other stock in the tank? Are they full grown discus?

If they are crowded in a 30G with other stock I think you have an uphill battle on your hands (not trying to be doom and gloom but just being realistic here). If they are the only fish in the tank you may be able to nurse them back to health before getting them back to a bigger tank. There is a lot of knowledge on this forum so someone should be able to jump in with better discus knowledge than I have. Good luck and hang in there!
spaeth05 is offline  
post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-13-2010, 03:27 PM
Fresh Fish Freak
lauraleellbp's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Tampa, Florida
Posts: 24,403
Do you know what is wrong with them in the first place? Disease? Parasites?

Are they eating? If so, what are you feeding them, how often, and how often are you doing water changes?

What temperature are you keeping them?

If they're on straight RO water right now you might try using some blackwater extract and slowly dropping the pH down to the 5.0 range. This can help if the problem is parasites and also some fungal/bacterial issues. is where I recommend going for more advice.

Tampa Bay Aquarium Society - Next meeting Monday, Oct 13, 2014 @ 7:15pm- See ya there!
TBAS Annual Fish Auction - November 1st!!

lauraleellbp is offline  
post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-14-2010, 08:10 AM
Planted Tank Obsessed
albirdy's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: northern california
Posts: 463
i agree with the aforementioned posts: you need to tell us a lot more about your tank.
another helpful site is

how often are you doing water change?
what temp is the water?
what's your pH?
is this tank planted? bare-bottom?
other inhabitants?
are they eating? if so, or not, what are you feeding them?

it doesn't seem like moving them from a 90 to a 30 is the solution, but i suppose you got free fish out of them.

do you have photos of the fish so that we might determine certain maladies?

Only dead fish swim with the stream.

30 gallon planted
albirdy is offline  
post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-14-2010, 09:32 AM
Planted Tank Obsessed
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Charlotte NC
Posts: 453
As above the parameters are important. If they are eating, you need to be feeding them a high quality food (i.e. frozen discus formula or something else high in protein like beefheart). I would be doing daily 10-15% water changes being your water volume is so small (generally 20 gallons per discus is what I recommend, I've gone as low as 11ish (8 fish in a 90 gallon) but they were 4" not full grown. ANYWAY, if they have a specific ailment, then it would be best to find out what the proper treatment is, but if I'm reading your post correctly, it just seems that most likely the water in the store display wasn't up to snuff, so the fish suffered to the point of almost death, and you now have them to nurse back to health, which if this is the case, proper water conditions, strict water changes (with pre-heated, re-mineralized RO, pH matched etc etc, you get me) and high quality food. Maybe the next thing is to ask the boss for a big enough tank to keep them long-term
chrisnif is offline  
post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-15-2010, 05:34 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Mackinaw, Illinois
Posts: 73
well i lost 3 outa 4 so far. Last one is still hangin in there. To answer your questions, ammonia nitrates, and nitrites are all at 0 right now. Its a live planted tank w/ a 30-45 gallon HOB filter. Other inhabitants include: rubber lip pleco, 3x phantom glass catfish, lots of fancy guppies (getting rid of soon), 3x khulie loaches, and im sure im forgetting something. Water temp at 83-84F not doing remineralized ro yet just for the fact that my gh is a little high and i was hoping to bring it down with the ro water. Just have a 30watt 8000k t8no strip light on there right now but im upgrading to 72 watts PC 5500k full spectrum with MIRO enhanced reflectors. These were small discus around 2.5" in diameter. They never did eat the bloodworms i gave them. Ill try again tonight to see if the last one will eat anything. Ph is around 7.8-7.9 and the ro water's ph is around 6.3. The initial problem i believe is a combination of stress from transport and improper acclimation, water quality issues, and the 2 full grown discus we had in the 90 picking on them. It was weird, cuz the first night i had them home they looked terrible, the next day they looked a little better (more active as well). I lost 2 that night. The next morning the 2 left (turquoise and heckel) were doing great and started to get a lot of there color back. When i came home from school, the turquoise was dead and the heckel was hiding behind a rock. Im thinking that fluctuating Ph levels might be a cause also. I might do another pwc with ro tomorrow if i have time. So i'm just left with the heckel right now. i guess its just a waiting game now. Thanks for your help guys.

Ryan10517 is offline  
post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-15-2010, 01:26 PM
Planted Tank Guru
james0816's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: VA
Posts: 2,081
Man that pH is awefully high for a disc. Especially when they aren't doing well. Heckel's are specially more sensitive to pH than others. Don't suppose you have a seperate tank that you could move him to do you?
james0816 is offline  
post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-15-2010, 09:45 PM
Planted Tank Obsessed
Franzi's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: CT
Posts: 485
Hope that you didn't just infect your entire tank with whatever disease(s) those discus might've had.

65g planted tank - 200W heat - PC 192W/6700K - Eheim 2217 - Pressurized CO2 - EI Dosing
Franzi is offline  
post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-15-2010, 10:17 PM
Wannabe Guru
fresh.salty's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: SoCal
Posts: 1,953
I think a lot of these fish are raised in bare bottom tanks and the transition to getting food from the water column is tough sometimes. Especially when they have to compete with more aggressive feeders. I've had some experience with them but it never ended well.
fresh.salty is offline  
post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-17-2010, 06:02 PM
Planted Tank Obsessed
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: St. Louis, MO
Posts: 417
Send a message via AIM to adamprice271
pH is way too high, at work we run them at 6.4 but at home I run mine at 7.2 4 degrees gH, 86.6 F, 0amm, 0 Nitrite, 20-30ppm nitrate. Whenever you get new discus in, QT them in some 88-90F water for about a week. They don't mind that temp at all, and it will kill any parasites shortly, they usually start eating REALLY well during that time as well. Healthy fish should be eating a ton out of the water column but also foraging around for food as well. All mine do is eat, and eat and eat. Got 6 between 2.5" and 3.5". Good luck with the rest


125g semi planted. 2 silver angels, 14 silver tips, 16 white fin ornatus tetras, pair of Nicaraguense, pair of nototus severums, trio of firemouth cichlids. 2 FX5s, 1 1500gph circ pump, 2 48" LED lighs, and a HUGE piece of driftwood.

650g fish room. 15 30g tanks, 150g sump.
adamprice271 is offline  
post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-17-2010, 11:02 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Mackinaw, Illinois
Posts: 73
k well i don't need help anymore the last heckel died yesterday. Oh well i probably won't do discus for a while now even tho i know i can do it. The water in the discus tank that we sell em out of at work is a 20 gallon, has a pH of 8.4, and nitrates of like 10-20 ppm so i know my water is better that that. But the discus in that tank at work are doing great so i really have no idea what im doing wrong. Oh and Franzi, there is no sign of disease in my tank atm. Everything is healthy fat and happy so thats a good thing. Like i said before, im pretty sure it was just shock and stress that killed all of them. good thing im not out any money. Thanks for all your help guys.

Ryan10517 is offline  

discus, fish, sick

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome