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Hello Everyone,

I currently have a 60 gallon heavily planted tank. I have 6 juvenile discus about 3 inches long that i've had for a few months. My water params are:

pH - 6.7 (due to pressurized co2)
Nitrates - 10 ppm
Nitrites - 0
Ammonia - 0
Temp 82F

I keep the temp at 82 as my limit sometimes jumping up to 83F since my plants and other livestock willnot tolerate the higher temps.

plants:
Limnophila Aromatica
Rotala Rotundifolia Colorata
Rotala Wallachi
Rotala sp. Vietnam
Cabomba Furcata
Ludwigia Senegalensis
Nasea Sp (not sure)
Bacopa Caroliniana
Diandra
Dwarf Hairgrass
Red Lilly
Glosso
Hygro Polysperma

I do a 50% water change weekly. I do not add any water conditioners outside of Novaqua. I dose fertilizers regularly and have my 260 watts of lighting on for 10 hrs a day. My co2 shuts off when the lights go off and turn on when the lights do.

My problem:

I just sold one of my discus because he was a complete jerk and bully to EVERYONE else. I've tried waiting it out to see if he will calm down but it wasn't happening and 2 of my discus were not able to tolerate it much longer. They both stopped eating and hid in the corners most of the day. Their appetites are now gone, and they have darkened up in color.

After selling the PUNK discus, my fish are coming out. 3 of them eat just fine and are quite active. Two of them come out but are shy and are usually darker than normal. They do not eat and the stringy white feces is coming. it's actually rather long, segmented in that the diameter of the feces is inconsistent with some portions being bulbous. Their belly's are not swollen but are not concave as you would expect from a fish that hasn't been eating in weeks. it's actually round and looks like a fish's stomach would that had a healthy diet.

Now i know that without a Microscope, its impossible to be able to accurately diagnose the problem but from my experience with other cichlids that i've kept my entire life, it was almost always hex. Which is what i'm assuming here. I used to use CLOUT to treat them and they always recovered. I want to treat but here are my obstacles.

1. My tank is FULLY planted and high tech. I cannot dose the other tank since i have characins and cory cats that will not handle the meds well.

2. I do not want to treat a tank full of plants especially since the aquascape means as much to me as the fish.

3. I cannot raise the temp due to the fragility of some of my stem plants and some fish.

My response so far has been:

1. Soak FBW and Frozen Mysis in Seachem metro. Problem is, the sick fish don't eat so it doesn't work.

2. I am going to go out and buy a 20 gallon tank tomorrow to treat but i'm afraid i will have new tank syndrome until my filter becomes established. I will hold the tank at 90F and do DAILY 50% WC's.

Questions:

1. Can any of you help me diagnose? (Round bellies lead me to believe that it's either the beginning of bloat or a worm infection. White poop leads me to believe it is Hex)

2. Will the added stress of capture, especially in a fully aquascaped tank make matters worse?

3. Is metro or CLOUT harmful to plants if i decided to dose into the main tank?

4. What are the chances for survival from my fish?

5. Can my plants tolerate 86F for a week?

Sorry for the long post. Thank you all in advance for all the great advice.
 

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I doubt that it is bloat. I would treat for hex in the 20G. Severe stress from tankmate bullying can bring the hex on. They won't like being caught, but it's really a non-issue, they'll get over being caught rather quickly. Can you take some of the established filter media from your 60G tank and place it in the filter you'll be using on the 20G? That would be the best thing to do to avoid a totally new tank syndrome. There'd be nitrifying bacteria to process the fish ammonia being produced. You may still see a small cycle, but it should be very short. Clout is a very harsh medicine, I personally would use the metro in the water column first. Do you feed frozen bloodworms and are they not eating them? They are like discus candy!
 

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There were 3 locally bred discus in my tank when I bought the set-up. Two months later I had yet to see any of them eat. Brought them to my shop and put them in a cycled 20g I use for trims. Couple weeks they still wouldn't eat. Transferred them to another just set-up 20 and moved the HOB filter with them. This tank was bare bottom and they started eating. They never ate from the water column only picking the worms off the bottom. Once the anorexic look went away I gave them to the LFS.

SteveU
 

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Is that 10ppm Nitrates shortly after a water change or is that the max reading during the course of a week? As I'm sure you know, young discus are extra sensitive to poor water conditions. Are your plants healthy? No decay? Maybe you can throw in an extra water change some time during the week to help out.

Otherwise I'd move the sick ones to a 20 gallon BB tank and medicate there maybe with Maracyn/Maracyn II. Otherwise you're risking the health of all your other fish/plants. I don't have the plants you have, but a quick swing from 82 to 86 degrees could hurt them.

6 discus (albeit juvis) in a "heavily" planted tank is a little cramped. If they grow out to 5+ inches, they won't get the "10 gallons per discus" rule of thumb.
 
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