Sudden discus death - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-31-2017, 05:48 AM Thread Starter
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Sudden discus death

I've had my planted tank up and running for about 6 months now, and added some juvi discus about 3 months ago. I know, they say don't raise juvis in planted tanks... My fish have been doing great as have my tank, up until I got home from work this evening.

My blue diamond, about 4" now, was floating belly up, little fin movement, barely breathing. He was fine last evening when I went to bed, and fine this morning when I fed them before work. Feeding normally, and acting completely normal.

I immediately removed him from the tank and placed him in a small 2 gal hospital tank I set up using some tank water. His belly was very bloated, and very dark grey/black in color. This wasn't looking good. I dosed the tank with Epsom salt, and covered it with a towel, hoping he would recover. I came back to check on him an hour later and he was dead. What could come on so quick as to kill a seemingly healthy fish this quickly?

My water parameters have been rock steady for months. Ph at 6.5, I change water 50% twice a week, nitrates and nitrites nearly 0, no change in water hardness.

Only two variables out of the norm are an albino bn pleco I introduced two days ago, and some new food I tried (discus gold pellets, yes I softened them). Could the bn have sucked on him? Excessive bloat from the new food?

Should I be concerned about my other discus? I have 6 other juvis all around 4", who all seem to be acting normally. But then again so was this fish less than 24 hra ago.. Are there any preventative measures I should take with the tank?

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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-31-2017, 06:51 AM
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What's the temp in the tank?


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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-31-2017, 06:53 AM Thread Starter
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What's the temp in the tank?


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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-31-2017, 06:56 AM
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That's really strange for it to happen so quickly, I have 8 discus and found that they weren't doing to well but that was because of the temp in the tank, I would say maybe constipation but it wouldn't have died so quickly. I would keep an eye out with the others, and at first sign of not eating I would put them in the hospital tank and start treatment.


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Is there a bully in your tank?


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Last edited by Darkblade48; 05-31-2017 at 07:52 AM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts
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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-31-2017, 07:15 AM Thread Starter
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Is there a bully in your tank?


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I have one fish (orange with black bars) that was a bully early on. I only had 5 discus at the time. I added two more, and rescaped the tank, and this seems to have solved the aggression issue. He is still noticeably larger than the other fish, and out competes them for food, but hasn't displayed aggressive behavior in over a month.

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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-31-2017, 07:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Jjonesls1 View Post
I have one fish (orange with black bars) that was a bully early on. I only had 5 discus at the time. I added two more, and rescaped the tank, and this seems to have solved the aggression issue. He is still noticeably larger than the other fish, and out competes them for food, but hasn't displayed aggressive behavior in over a month.

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I have one bully that has gotten to the point of other fish not eating but as soon as I put them all in a hospital tank it stopped. I honestly don't know how that discus died so quickly? Just keep an eye on them and hopefully it was only that one


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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-31-2017, 07:25 AM Thread Starter
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A photo of my tank from about a week ago for reference. Any further insight on the fish health would be much appreciated. I'm hesitant to seek advice on simplydiscus or similar forums as I will just be admonished for raising them in anything other than a bare tank.

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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-31-2017, 04:11 PM
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Well I don't know the cause, but the speed is probably temperature related. High temps are good for growing out discus because it keeps their metabolism very high which is good for growth and multiple feedings. However it also means that any issues are vastly accelerated. Especially if the issue is parasite or disease related as they multiply and work much faster at higher temps.
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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-31-2017, 04:49 PM
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May I ask what size tank that is?
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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-31-2017, 05:13 PM Thread Starter
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May I ask what size tank that is?
This is my tank: https://www.cadlights.com/index.php?...19367911b3ba77

Versa 92G

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post #11 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-31-2017, 05:34 PM
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I'm not sure with this photo, but they look a little bit skinny (their body shapes aren't perfect too, but maybe that's just because they're young). Are you feeding them any frozen food?
Did you quarantine the pleco? Discus can be really sensitive so most people wouldn't recommend any other fish with them, but you are braking the taboo with planted tank, so why not other fish ;-)


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post #12 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-31-2017, 05:58 PM Thread Starter
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I'm not sure with this photo, but they look a little bit skinny (their body shapes aren't perfect too, but maybe that's just because they're young). Are you feeding them any frozen food?
Did you quarantine the pleco? Discus can be really sensitive so most people wouldn't recommend any other fish with them, but you are braking the taboo with planted tank, so why not other fish ;-)
I feed mostly frozen foods (blood worms and beef heart). I could actually use some ideas on how to vary their diet a bit more. Ya, I'm breaking all of the "rules". I have the pleco, as well as some Cardinals, a clown loach, and a couple dwarf gourami. The discus were added after the other fish with the exception of the pleco, and there have been zero issues up until this point.

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post #13 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-31-2017, 06:02 PM
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I feed mostly frozen foods (blood worms and beef heart). I could actually use some ideas on how to vary their diet a bit more. Ya, I'm breaking all of the "rules". I have the pleco, as well as some Cardinals, a clown loach, and a couple dwarf gourami. The discus were added after the other fish with the exception of the pleco, and there have been zero issues up until this point.

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Maybe try adding some brine shrimp and other tiny scary monsters to their diet. Something with garlic wouldn't hurt too, it helps keeping fish in good health. I don't own discus now, but for my fish I just buy every frozen food that's the right size. This way I have 5-6 different types of frozen food, another 5 types of dry food and I don't have to worry if something is missing in any of them.


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post #14 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-31-2017, 07:08 PM
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I'm not sure with this photo, but they look a little bit skinny (their body shapes aren't perfect too, but maybe that's just because they're young). Are you feeding them any frozen food?

Did you quarantine the pleco? Discus can be really sensitive so most people wouldn't recommend any other fish with them, but you are braking the taboo with planted tank, so why not other fish ;-)


Talk about taboo! Lol
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post #15 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-31-2017, 10:54 PM
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There are going to be times when this happens and we never know what killed the fish. I have a 125 with two types of African cichlids. The main interest is the large open water Protomelas insignus with assorted mbuna who stay down in and around the rocks, mostly. All was going well with no signs of trouble but one day I heard water splashing and got there just in time to see the largest insignus head down and out of control as he had some type of spasm, stroke or heart attack.
No warning signs, illness, etc. but just dead within less than five minutes.
When a human does that, we do an autopsy to try to find a cause but in fish we just have to shake our head and move on.
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