FAQs on Discus Social Disease
FAQs on Discus Disease:
Discus Disease 1,
Discus Disease 2,
Discus Disease 3,
FAQs on Discus Disease by Category:
Discus = Wow! by Alesia Benedict,
Plants and Discus: What They Need To
Thrive By Alesia
Benedict, Discus Divas, Glitz,
Glam and Lots of Demands by Alesia Benedict,
Dwarf South American Cichlids,
Cichlid Fishes in General,
Related FAQs: Discus 1,
Cichlids of the World,
Help, Discus poorly. 6/20/16
I'm sorry to bother you but I don't know what is happening to my discus.
I tried your article on poorly fish, self diagnosis, but the link isn't working.
I have 2 discus in a community tank, it's 240l.
<Mmm; well... Discus aren't really "community" fishes... Can be kept with some
other species... best w/ others hailing from the same soft, acidic, hot water
habitats... but... Best in a group mainly of their own...
One seems perfectly fine, the other is always at the back of the tank hiding and
is always sitting on either the floor/ the heater or ornaments.
His head seems to be angled up a lot and his fins are always down.
Temp is 28deg C
PH is 6.5
Ammonia is 0
Planted tank with plenty of hiding places.
I do water changes once every 2 weeks and clean filter on alternate weeks.
Diet is frozen bloodworm, daphnia, mosquito larvae. Tropical flakes.
<What other species are present? Some/one may be badgering the hiding fish.
This may sound/seem strange, but if it was me/mine, I'd add another Discus...
these are social animals, and best kept in odd numbers if only a few animals...
that way one can't be beating up on the other solely. Bob Fenner>
Sick Discus... social...
I was talking to you guys about my discus with the Hex,
<... a six sided system? Hexamita?>
I received the Metronidazole and treated him. He recovered, so he's back
in the big tank.
<... the system itself is infested. All fishes there need/ed to be
After being put back into the big tank, i realized that he'd not grown
much, and the other discus had.
She's quite the bully to him and he stays in the corner hiding
in a plant most of the time,
<Very likely needs to be moved elsewhere; particularly if this
is a small/ish tank or hexagonally shaped>
But when he does come out to eat,
He has black lining the tops of his fins, very thin
line, but as far as i know it's not supposed to be there.
<Common stress coloration... Move it, NOW>
And also his ventral fins are completely black and there's a black patch
around that area that covers maybe a quarter size of his body.
I've got no idea what's happening to him,
>.... then you haven't been searching, reading on WWM>
I am happy that he's back to swimming happily and no longer sick like he
But I'm kind of worried about this new development.
Any ideas of what it is, and what i can do to get rid of it?
Or should I not worry at all?
<As above... move it or it will perish... Be
chatting, Bob Fenner>
Re: Sick Discus 6/16/12
well today he came out in good color and the other discus is leaving him
the entire tank was treated for the Hex for a few days before putting
him back in.
It's not a hexagon shaped tank, it's a rectangle 55 gallon.
and i did search your website, and all i could find where questions
about the entire body being black,
<Ahh, I see. Thank you>
not just that specific region.
<Is about the same... cause and effect>
Today he's out and about and only changes color like he was if he's back
hiding, which he hasn't done for the past 4 hours I've been keeping an
eye on him.
So do you think i should still move him?
<Not w/ your latest observations. I would just keep a close eye; a
look-see each time you're by the tank; particularly during feedings>
He seems like a complete new fish today.
there is also a blue dwarf gourami that hangs out with him, not
aggressive towards him or anything, but is the fact they're the same
color a possibility why his color was strange?
<Mmm, don't think so>
seems like a long shot but maybe not.
<Thank you for this further report. BobF>
Re: Sick Discus
thank you for helping me.
at feeding he comes out and is fine, so I guess as long as he doesn't go
back to what he was he's alright.
Thanks again. (:
Discus... stress beh., hlth., incomp. with
angels 12/12/08 Good afternoon, I am hoping you
can help me out with a discus problem. Currently I have a 330 litre
tank with a ph of 6.4 and temp at 28C as well as quite a few fishes, 20
Rummy nose 4 bristle nose 4 angel fish (paired, very territorial) 10
Zebra Danios 1 blue diamond discus 4 red melon discus (Is this too many
for the tank?) <Sounds great. But Angels can be quite waspish, so
I'd watch how the Discus behave. It's pretty common for Angels
to bully Discus. There's also a risk of transmitting diseases that
Angels don't seem too bothered by, but can cause real problems for
Discus.> The red melons were added 6 days ago. On the 1st day they
got "head butted" by the blue diamond a fair bit, I read up
on a site and dismissed it as a greeting of some sort. <Well, Discus
are hierarchical, but if you upped the group to six, I'd fully
expect them to settle right down.> Now the 4 red melons are slowly
showing black patches on their face. There is one that is particularly
bad, his upper and lower fin has a dark shade around the edges while
his back fin has gone from clear to black. I've read your previous
posts about unhappy discus turning black, in my case it is only to
their head and fins their body is still bright red. <Could well be
stress; Discus when stressed typically show a series of dark vertical
bars on the flanks. I'd carefully observe the interactions within
the Discus group, as well as between the Discus and Angels. But as ever
with Discus, do a quick check of water quality and especially water
chemistry. In soft water tanks pH can drop rapidly, and as pH drops,
biological filtration becomes less efficient, basically stopping
altogether at around 6.0. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Discus 12/14/08 Thank
you Neale, for the prompt reply, I will move the Angels out in the next
couple of day and put in 2 more red melons. Will let you know how it
goes. Regards, Leon <Sounds like you have a good plan there. Let me
know if things still don't work out. Good luck!
Fin nipping in all discus tank -- 04/1/08
Hi guys. It has been a while since I sought your sage advice, but I am
back again with a new issue. First, I want to thank you for all of the
extremely useful advice that you have given me in the past!
<Cool.> I have a 55-gallon discus only tank that is home to 8
discus ranging in size from 3-6 inches or so. All of them have done
well together from the beginning and we are starting our 3rd year now.
Obviously, some of them eat a lot more than others-the size difference
between the largest and smallest fish is staggering. And although they
do chase each other around and have face-offs every day, there have
been no injuries, and all of them have eaten well (some better than
others!), and stayed healthy and active...until now. <Oh?> I
recently noticed one of the medium-size discus hanging out in the
corner by himself instead of with the rest of the group, but didn't
think much of it at the time. Not long after that, I noticed some very
obvious fin-nipping damage on the back edges of his dorsal and anal
fins. I then realized that it had been a few days since I had seen him
joining the community meals along with everyone else. That was about a
week ago and I still have not see him eat. On top of that, the exterior
cover to his gills looks kind of frayed, his color has become pale, and
he is breathing faster than the other fish. <Discus are of course
territorial once mature and in the mood for breeding. So it may well be
you have one mated pair that are driving off the other fish. But if it
is just the one fish showing signs of ill health, consider other
factors, e.g., Finrot rather than nipping. Do a water quality test.
Look over the fish for signs of eroded lateral line, hollow stomach,
red patches on the body or fins, etc. Different symptoms will help pin
down different diseases.> I have read that damaged fins will grow
back, so although I found the damage to his fins very disturbing
(especially after two years of harmony in the tank), I didn't
immediately panic but maybe I should have. I thought perhaps that they
were not getting enough food, so I increased the amount of food per
feeding, but stayed on the same schedule. (morning and evening). After
all, I have never seen my discus stop eating when they could still
graze around and find any more morsels of food. Okay, so more food is
going into the tank and mealtime lasts a little longer, but the guy
with the fin damage still doesn't eat. All of the others eat
ravenously, then graze until the food is all gone. They look really
healthy and vibrant-like they could jump out of the tank and arm
wrestle me! I see no obvious evidence of disease on any of the other
fish. <Hmm... I'd tend to suspect this fish is otherwise ill
rather than nipped. Check water, but also check the fish itself for
signs of Hexamita or whatever.> I am afraid that I have waited too
long now. There has been no improvement in the past week and I am
afraid I am going to lose him now. Any advice will be gratefully
accepted. <Would use an antibacterial/antibiotic medication now on
the assumption that at least a secondary infection is likely.
Quarantining the sick fish and observing carefully would be
sensible.> Nothing changed before this happened-no new fish or
decorations. Water changes 30-35% weekly as usual. What could have
caused this? <Difficult to say without seeing the fish or knowing
anything about the environment.> Thank you for reading my post and
for any advice you can offer. <Cheers, Neale.>
Help... Discus sys., comp., hlth.
11/5/07 My partner has a large fish tank and in there is a
variety of fish, but he had purchased 6 discus. The fist one over
night had lost weight and just lost it's colour and died
within the space of a day. Then the second one that died 3 days
later had been swimming in the tank like it was mad and at extra
high speed. This one the started to swim on its side and went
within a day also. Then just 2 days ago, a week later from the
other two, this 3rd one was swimming at high speed around the
tank then it was on it's side and spinning upside down, then
went to lie at bottom of tank and when we woke up it was also
dead. Have you any ideas what this maybe as everyone I've
asked seems to be stumped!! Many Thanks Peter <Hello Peter.
Discus are not fish for the community tank. They need unusually
high temperatures to last any length of time (28-30 degrees C).
They also need very good water quality, in particular, low levels
of nitrate. Soft, acidic water conditions are also helpful,
especially with wild-caught fish. They don't like aggressive
tankmates (even Angelfish) and don't like hyperactive or
nippy fish either (such as Tiger Barbs). Big Suckermouth catfish
can freak them out, because the catfish have tendency to rasp
away at the mucous on their flanks. Any one of these issues could
have caused the sudden deaths of your Discus. Tell us something
about tankmates, aquarium size, nitrate concentration, water
chemistry, and we can perhaps narrow things down. Cheers,
Re: HELP!! Dying Discus 11/07/07 Hi Neale
<Hello Tony,> In the same tank as my discus are.. Moonlight
Gourami x 2 Pearl Gourami x 2 Kissing Gourami x 3 Featherfin
Catfish x 2 Clown Loach x 3 Clown Pleco x 1 Albino Pleco (large)
x 1 Golden barbs Golden Algae eaters <Not a mix I'd put
with Discus. The Golden Algae-eaters, presumably Gyrinocheilus
aymonieri, are nasty fish that will put the fear of God into
Discus. If nothing else, they latch onto their sides and eat
their mucous. But they're also horribly aggressive animals
when mature. There's also a problem with water temperature.
Golden Barbs are subtropical fish, and above 25C will be stressed
and distinctly short-lived; Discus, on the other hand, won't
last long at 25C and really need 28-30C for good health.
There's no happy medium here: the Golden Barbs will
asphyxiate at high temperatures, and the Discus will die at low
temperatures because their immune and digestive systems stop
working. The only fish that would make obvious companions for
Discus in your collection is the Clown Plec (Panaque sp.
presumably); the Clown Loaches, and the Moonlight & Pearl
Gouramis. The Kissing Gourami is a crap-shoot; some specimens are
excellent community fish, but others are quite aggressive and
territorial. Regardless, their large size will be apt to stress
Discus.> The tanks holds 480 litres (approx 127 gal US), the
ph is 6.2, nitrate/nitrite is monitored regularly as is ammonia
and water changes happen weekly. I use a reverse osmosis machine
to filter new water when doing water changes. The loss of discus
has happened 1 at a time on almost a weekly basis. The first was
a swim bladder problem as I told when I returned the discus back
to the supplier before it died. <OK, one thing is carbonate
hardness. Soft water with a low pH is great in many ways, but it
isn't stable. Tank-bred Discus are tolerant of a wide range
of pH values, but they still don't tolerate *rapid* changes
in pH or hardness. So, the question here is how stable is the pH,
and how different is the environments in your aquarium to the
water chemistry at your retailer. Acclimating a Discus from, say,
hard water at pH 7.6 to soft water at pH 6.2 would be a
challenge, and something that I'd only recommend doing in
stages across several days, if not weeks, using a quarantine
tank. Simply dumping the fish from one set of conditions into the
other will likely kill it.> What I am not understanding is
that all the Discus were laying eggs and seemed to be doing so
well and then literally overnight, this problem started. <Odd.
Cichlids generally only breed when settled. Were they laying eggs
in this community tank? Or in the other tank before they were
installed into this community tank?> Any advice you can offer
would be most grateful. Cheers Tony <Personally, I'd skip
Discus for this collection of fish. I'd be looking at
Severums maybe, or even Festivums if you can find them.
They're both much more robust animals. Festivums are lovely
pet fish with bags of personality, and Severums are available in
a range of colour morphs including some really stunningly nicely
marked ones. Cheers, Neale>
|Discus Might Be Getting Sick
5/20/07 Hello Crew, I haven't been writing to you so please
forgive me if anything wrong. May I discuss about my Discus? <
Sure, they are still tropical fish.> Last Monday, I bought 2
Yellow Face and 2 Pigeon (pic. 1) (as the fish seller said) which
around 1' each and I put them into 1'x1' tank with 28c
Heater, 20Watt lamp and air pump. I feed Tetra Bits flakes for 4~5
flakes/ 3 times/ a day. I change 20% of water for every 3 days and
also put 1 tsp of salt after water change. This morning, I realized
one of my fish's color was turned lightly (pic. 2) and the
other one's fins are turned black (pic. 3). Both of them
didn't eat well. Fortunately, the rest of my Discus are normal.
I haven't been breeding Discus as before; therefore, I
don't know what's wrong with them. Please give me some
advices. I don't want to loose them. Really thanks to you. KMMK
< Some strains of discus are genetically hardier than others. At
1" all discus are susceptible to getting sick. In the wild
they like soft, warm, clean, acidic water. I would do a 50% water
change , vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. Check the
nitrates. They should always be under 20 ppm, the lower the better.
I would skip adding the salt. Discus are not big flake food eaters.
Try to get them on to small sinking pellets. Some live brine or
frozen food should get their appetite going. Discus turn dark when
they are not happy. They could simply be the low fish on the
pecking order and are not happy with the other
Disappearing Discus - 10/25/06 I have a 55 gallon tank. I had [at the
time] 7 discus & 2 Plecos. About a month ago, I noticed my little
2-inch Yellow Siam Master had turned very dark. I was scared he would
die. I changed the water almost 3/4 of it - all tests were good.
Then a few days later - I just couldn't find him OR my little Pleco
(2 inches)! I cleaned out the tank - took all plants (plastic), big
rocks, etc. out & searched. Nothing. Just gone. Now it is 3 weeks
later & I just got 3 new discus - all doing fine BUT now my 2-inch
Blue is completely gone!! I have never found a body, bones, from ANY
fish in my tank. I have also searched all around my tank in
case they jumped out. I feed them 2 x day & change water
3-4 x month. Are my discus creepy little cannibals or what?? Does
my tank have a wormhole? Alien abduction? This is completely freaking
me out. PLEASE tell me what is happening (if you can.) < Your discus
turn very dark and start to hide when they are sick. When they die the
bacteria start to break them down and their bodies decompose very
quickly in an aquarium. If your water is soft and acidic then the
skeleton will dissolve pretty quickly too. Remove some of
the decor so you can watch them more closely.-Chuck><<RMF suspects the other
My Discus ... in trouble 10/2/05 Hi, I have a Juwel vision
180 tank with 5 discus in. I have a proven breeding pair of discus and
1 proved other female. The discus I have are 1 turquoise discus, 2
royal red discus, 1 Asian yellow discus and 1 orange discus (I
don't know the name). what I wanted to ask you was my 2 royal red
discus and my turquoise discus are black all of the time just lately
but my other two discus are fine. What should I do?? <The dark
coloration is a bad (warning) sign... that something is not right...
water quality or social wise most especially... I'd be reading re
these issues, correcting (making water soft, acidic, warm, low
organics... providing plenty of space)... soon. Bob Fenner> Yours
Sincerely Chris Griffiths