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FAQs on Discus Disease, Pests 3

FAQs on Discus Disease: Discus Disease 1, Discus Disease 2, Discus Disease 3,
FAQs on Discus Disease by Category:
Diagnosis, Environmental, Nutritional, Social, Infectious, Parasitic, Trauma, Treatments  

Related Articles: Plants + Discus = Wow! by Alesia Benedict, Planted Aquariums: Plants and Discus: What They Need To Thrive  By Alesia Benedict, Discus Divas, Glitz, Glam and Lots of Demands by Alesia Benedict, Juraparoids, Neotropical Cichlids, African Cichlids, Dwarf South American Cichlids, Asian Cichlids, Cichlid Fishes in General

Related FAQs: Discus 1, Discus 2, Discus Identification, Discus Selection, Discus Compatibility, Discus Behavior, Discus Systems, Discus Feeding, Discus Reproduction, Cichlids of the World, Cichlid Systems, Cichlid Identification, Cichlid Behavior, Cichlid Compatibility, Cichlid Selection, Cichlid Feeding, Cichlid DiseaseCichlid Reproduction,

water change over done; incl. Discus sys. f'  /Bob's go      12/17/16
Hi Crew & Merry Christmas!
<And to you and yours Elaine!>
My tank has been running for about three years. It has been in the current configuration and stocking for six months. I think I over did it with water changes.
<I see your statements below, and do agree. Nowayears water quality is a dicey, changeable proposition. Best, as gone over (READ) here:
TO: pre-make up the change water and STORE for a few days, a week ahead if this is the interval for maintenance
In an effort to make water changes easier, I changed from the bucket method (40% three times a week) to a hose connected to directly to the tap and thinking that more is always better, I changed my normal 40% water change to 80%.

Then because a water change out is almost always the answer to any issues. I did anther 80% water change using the hose. All my discus
<Eeyikes! Symphysodon, even the much more tolerant to change modern cultured specimens, are sensitive to water quality vacillation, parameters outside bounds>

started flashing, turning dark and labored breathing. Since nothing but my water change method had changed in this tank for 6 months I targeted the water change method as the issue. After lots of research, I have determined that by using the hose directly from the tap into the tank without aeration I mostly likely caused three issues (1) a micro bubbles probably compounded by the current colder temps, (2) rapid pH shift because of the increased percentage of water changed at once, (3) ammonia/nitrite issue because my tap water's high ammonia, nitrate and nitrite levels <Aye ya... got to convince you to get/use a large (Rubbermaid Brute is a fave) dedicated trash can and lid, heater, circulating pump (that you can
use to deliver the new water as well as stir it about)... for water changes, NOT use direct tap/mains>
and by putting it directly into the tank the Prime couldn't work fast enough to treat the water in the tank.
Tank Information
80 US gallon
Temp 84 deg F
8 discus 3 to 3.5 inches (domestic tank bred)
6 rummy nose tetra (12 were added about 6 months ago)
6 sarbi <Sterba?> Cory cats
1 bristle nose Pleco
1 large 4 year old angel fish (favorite hobby is picking off the tetras)
Sand substrate
Moderately planted - swords and crypts
Drift wood
2 Eheim 2217 Filters
Air Stone - running at night
Feed 2 times a day - rotation of flake, frozen blood worms, sera discus
pellets, frozen baby brine
Untreated Tap
<The above two matters are switched around>
Steps Taken
Daily water 40% water changes using buckets - for 4 days
Turned air stone on full time
Increased temp to 87 deg F
Added 2 table spoons aquarium salt with each water change
4 of the discus have fully recovered, they are eating and their color has returned. 4 are still hanging in the back of the tank, hiding in the plants, not eating and two of these are still very dark. I'm not sure what my next steps should be.
Thank you,
<Perhaps Santa is bringing you the above gear... and an RO device for Xmas!? Bob Fenner; sending/handing off to Neale>
water change over done /Neale's go      12/17/16

Hi Crew & Merry Christmas!
My tank has been running for about three years. It has been in the current configuration and stocking for six months. I think I over did it with water changes. In an effort to make water changes easier, I changed from the bucket method (40% three times a week) to a hose connected to directly to the tap and thinking that more is always better, I changed my normal 40% water change to 80%. Then because a water change out is almost always the answer to any issues. I did anther 80% water change using the hose. All my discus started flashing, turning dark and labored breathing. Since
nothing but my water change method had changed in this tank for 6 months I targeted the water change method as the issue. After lots of research, I have determined that by using the hose directly from the tap into the tank without aeration I mostly likely caused three issues (1) a micro bubbles probably compounded by the current colder temps, (2) rapid pH shift because of the increased percentage of water changed at once, (3) ammonia/nitrite issue because my tap water's high ammonia, nitrate and nitrite levels and by putting it directly into the tank the Prime couldn't work fast enough to
treat the water in the tank.
Tank Information
80 US gallon
Temp 84 deg F
8 discus 3 to 3.5 inches (domestic tank bred)
6 rummy nose tetra (12 were added about 6 months ago)
6 sarbi Cory cats
<Sterbai? As in Corydoras sterbai? An excellent companion for Discus.>
1 bristle nose Pleco
1 large 4 year old angel fish (favorite hobby is picking off the tetras)
<Ah yes, this is what they do, as I have warned aquarists, many times; these cichlids *are* predators. Not necessarily good companions for Discus though; somewhat different water chemistry requirements (white vs. blackwater) and certainly more pushy. Altum Angels might be okay though.
Would beware of introducing diseases from Angels to Discus; Angels do seem resistant/immune to some pathogens that Discus are not.>
Sand substrate
Moderately planted - swords and crypts
Drift wood
2 Eheim 2217 Filters
<Excellent filters.>
Air Stone - running at night
<Interesting, but logical.>
Feed 2 times a day - rotation of flake, frozen blood worms, sera discus pellets, frozen baby brine
Untreated Tap
<Are you saying there's 0 ammonia in the tank, but 0.6 mg/l in the tap water?>
<If you mean the tank has 0.25 mg/l nitrite, whereas the tap water has 0.4 mg/l, I'd still be wary of this; even trace nitrite *is* a stress factor, more so in acidic pH conditions than alkaline -- the opposite of ammonia, which is less toxic in acidic conditions.>
Steps Taken
Daily water 40% water changes using buckets - for 4 days
Turned air stone on full time
Increased temp to 87 deg F
Added 2 table spoons aquarium salt with each water change
4 of the discus have fully recovered, they are eating and their color has returned. 4 are still hanging in the back of the tank, hiding in the plants, not eating and two of these are still very dark. I'm not sure what my next steps should be.
<Well, I'd stop feeding altogether until nitrite is zero. I'd be focusing on biological filtration here, given ammonia is zero but nitrite is above zero. Check water flow, check the media, and if necessary give one of the filters a thorough clean this weekend, and the other the same next weekend (I'd not do both at the same time). Rinse media in buckets of tank water,
rather than tap water, so the filter media bacteria aren't stressed in any way. But do squeeze sponges until the water runs through them as clear as you can. Optimise water flow rate: the maximum flow with the minimum turbulence. This might mean using spray bars, reverse flow undergravel filters or something else to distribute current evenly. Review stocking
density, feeding frequency, and remove any decaying organic matter.>
Thank you,
<Cheers, Neale.>

Help, Discus poorly.      6/20/16
<Hello Daniel>
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...
Symphysodon spp.>

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.
<Bad signs>
Temp is 28deg C
PH is 6.5

Ammonia is 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 10ppm
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.
Please help!
Thanks you.
<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>

White spot on discus       3/9/15
Hi there,
<Jan.... your pix files are an order of magnitude too large>
Just wondering what would be this white stuff on my discus?
<Look to be physical cut damage>
Started as just one white pimple (1st picture)
then it grew (2nd picture)
<Mmm; think this fish is either frightened... at night, dashing itself into something hard; or another organism is harassing it. Should have read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/DiscTraumaF.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Thank you


Re: White spot on discus      3/10/15
Here's a smaller version of the picture. Hope it will open this time.
<All opened... Did you read where you were referred? BobF>

Discus burned from heater (just add Melafix, Bob?)<<Don't raise my BP!>>      1/27/15
Hi there,
We just added couple discus in our tank and one of them started sulking and didn't notice he was sulking by the heater. When I moved him, there's a white mark, scales sloughed off and u can see his white meat. The damaged area is about half inch.
<Oh dear.>
Right now, I have him QT with Melafix and 2 tbsp of Aquasalt. Temp is about 84-85F.
<Apart from the salt and the Melafix, neither of which are helpful, you're doing everything right. Time, good water quality, the right diet are all that's needed here. In spotlessly clean water (0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, below 20 mg/l nitrate) fish have an astonishing ability to heal. Provided the wound stays clean, it will be covered with mucous very quickly, largely sealing it off from the outside, and new skin will start growing within a few days. You should see clear signs of healing after a week or so. Adding salt doesn't really do anything helpful, particularly for soft water fish like Discus. Instead make sure the water soft (less than 5 degrees dH, and the lower the better) and keep the pH at 6-6.5 or even slightly below. Why?
Because bacteria don't enjoy acidic water, and many fish from blackwater habitats -- such as Discus -- are actually overwhelmed by bacteria if kept in alkaline conditions should they become stressed for some reason. Since
you're keeping Discus, you presumably know all about water chemistry, and I'd like to think you're keeping this fish in soft, acidic conditions anyway.>
Am I doing this QT right? Any medication u can recommend?
<Not really any medication for burns. An antibacterial is worth having on hand in case Finrot appears, but adding Melafix may or may not be helpful.
It's an unreliable medication, and while it is sold (in part) as a preventative, something to stop infections getting started, in some situations it makes things worse. Bob F is not a fan, and I can certainly think of better, more reliable medications.>
Thank u
<Cheers, Neale.>

White parasites on discus      5/1/14
I'm having a problem with my discus that have the kind folks at simplydiscus stumped. First, some background. I have 8 discus in a 210 gallon tank and change @ 40% of the water every two days, with the temp at
82. It's a lightly planted tank with a sand substrate, and the other inhabitants are some cories, a large school of neons, and various snails.
Two months ago, my discus developed white spots.
<I see this/these>
Thought Ich at first, but then they grew out - protruding from the fish 1-2mm.
<A bit large... though, for the record/browsers, what one actually sees on
 fish hosts is NOT the actual parasites, but accumulated body mucus from irritation... can be largish at times>
Three days later, they all fell off and fish appeared normal.
<... like a single generation instance of Ich>
Since my initial observation,
they've appeared 3 more times. Tried treating with formalin/malachite green (quick cure), PraziPro, and Metronidazole flake (although I was trying to treat Hexamita with that last one, only because I see what appears to be HLLE on a couple fish)
<Beware of too much Metro/Flagyl use (will kill the fish)... and the HLLE is likely due to treatment... IF applied properly some should have killed the snails, likely the Tetras>
while boosting the water changes significantly.
Today I noticed the white spots returning. I assume this is a parasite but at a loss as to how to combat this. Any ideas?
<Yes; a microscopic examination of some of these spots scraped onto a slide... may be nothing but Symphysodon mucus/bumps... How was the Prazi applied? Are these flukes?
Bob Fenner>

 White parasites on discus      5/1/14
Thanks for the input! I applied the PraziPro directly to the tank - I was thinking some form of body fluke is a possibility.
<How much and how? Did you try introducing via foods? See WWM re. B>

sick discus. Reading        4/23/14
Hello Timbra sent me to you!
I was given three sick discus! we thought parasite. There were three two died pretty quickly. The last one was treated with General cure for four doses.
<What do you think you were/are treating for?>

was not 100 percent better so moved him in with my big guys at which at first his sprits were listed. I have still never seen him eat but day before last he was out and not hiding.. this am he was at top with fins clenched then he moved around a pit..while in big tank...its prob been bout a week i have used PraziPro but he still ahs white poop and like i said doesn't look really happy..any advice? He's small bout two inches
<... Perhaps lumenal issue, protozoan... I'd have you read here re Metronidazole use:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: sick discus
i believe i was treating for Hexamita.
<.... Octomita now-named... General Cure "contains Metronidazole and Praziquantel in quick-dissolve powder form" should do this in proper use>
white stringy poop and not eating...when he's out and about with the group he looks normal..but the times he withdrawals he looks bad i go home in two hours so i can check on him then, i did read the article.. i kinda felt the way that guy did he was miserable when he was alone . The big tank was treated with PraziPro
<.... Read the FAQs please; and run your writing through spelling/grammar check before sending. BobF>

Please Help for Identifying the disease      1/20/14
<Sup Sup?>
This is my first mail to WetWeb media.
<You are a stranger here but once>
Today morning I found one of my discus dead with white belly . My all other fish including 3 discus are absolutely fine.

I have found few white spot on discus pectoral and caudal fin three days back. But today I found all white spot gone. I have attached a picture of dead fish. I want to know what is happening with this fish because I never saw this before.
                     Previously the discus was not eating and hanging tank top corner with some bloated stomach.
Already I have tried epson salt and tank temperature to 30C. I have measured and found all parameters are absolutely fine.
[image: Inline image 1]
<IF all Discus were similarly affected I might guess (and have you confirm with microscopic examination of a skin scraping) body flukes, perhaps one of a few Protozoans. But the fact that the sole Symphysodon is thus leads me to believe it was "picked on" by <an>other fish present. This does happen; and is likely related to the isolated, non-feeding behavior... Too crowded, de-selected... other factors. I'd keep your eyes open for aggression amongst your remaining fish/es; remove the bullied, or bullier if obvious.
Bob Fenner>

Re: Please Help for Identifying the disease. Symphysodon     1/21/14
thanks a ton for reply. Today i have evacuated my 4 nos 4 inch clown loach from my discus tank because they are very notorious swimmer also destroy my
live plants.
But i don't really understand after dead why my discus belly turned white?
<It was very likely gone over roughly by another (fish)... Possibly the loach; but more often by a "sucker" of some sort... A rogue "Pleco" perhaps>

Discus problem. Lack of data, rdg.    2/11/13
I have a pair of blue diamond discus with me since last 2 yrs.
Since last week there is a problem with them. They have turned dark and refuse to eat normally as they used to. Their fins are also stuck to their body . 
<Something off here... When, where in doubt, massive water change/s w/ Symphysodon... Or moving to another established system>
They are aggressive as usual. My water temp is at about 32 degrees as I am located In India.  I have done a recent water change.
Could you suggest me a solution to the problem . I will be very much obliged.
Thanks in advance.
<Can't "tell" more w/o knowing more... re water quality, the set up, any changes done  or perceived recently. So, I'll refer you: Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/discusdisf3.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Discus problem.    2/12/13

<Not you too Amit! Proper nouns, the beginnings of sentences are capitalized. Next you'll be telling me/us that you're a Wall Street Journal reporter>
thanks for replying promptly to my mail.  i have gone through the link forwarded by you.  I would like to add more regarding the discus that i have observed \that have started swimming erratically. I am located in India so there is no ph testing kit available  at  my local lfs. 
<Can surely be ordered via the Net>
I normally fill the water directly from my tap.  I have been doing this for the last 5 years but there was no problem. 
<Does the tap/source water vary in quality? Likely so>
can you suggest me a medication for my sick fish.
<Not w/o knowing what the issue is, no>
 I am worried about them.
water changes every week and I feed my fishes with Tetrabits and frozen bloodworms.   My temp in the tank is at 30 degrees.  I have a corner filter.  I have 1 inch black gravel in my tank.  I normally siphon of all the dirt from the bottom every week.
<Have you read on WWM re Discus as you were directed?>
is it possible for you to diagnose the problem and suggest me any medication.
thanks in advance
<Please, don't write w/o following directions first. BobF>

still white spot? Symphysodon... other Protozoa     11/27/12
Hello, I have had my tank up and running for a few months now. Tank cycled using ammonia and have had no issues since on this side of things.
Tank is a 55g with 3 cardinal tetra's, 1 ram and 9 small discus. I realise this is to many for size of tank and will rehome some discus when they grow some.
Ammonia, nitrite are zero, ph 7, kH I maintain at 4 using bicarb at water changes as my tap water is super soft with 0 buffer. GH sits at around 50ppm.
<These are cultured Symphysodon, so there should not be an issue of too hard water>
I have been tackling a Ich out break which has been fatal to 1 ram, 4 tetra's and sadly my smallest discus.
Ich came in with cardinals, don't have space for quar tank.
Im on the second course of Waterlife's Protozin now, the first course helped a lot but was obviously just short of eradicating it.
<The fish in the pic sent along looks very poorly>
My temp is 30 degrees. Water changes before treatment was 30% twice a week, sand substrate.
My question 7 of my discus are now looking great, colour back, fins erect, very alert etc but 2 small ones are not doing very well at all, the white spots have become light coloured patches.
<I'd keep these separated from your others... in a different tank>
 Could you tell me if this is still white spot on them
<I don't think it is; instead that it's accumulated body mucus/slime coalescing into distinct dots... the real issue something else. Perhaps Octomita/Hexamita, other protozoan/s; quite common unfortunately in far east imported Discus at times... Read here re:
and search WWM re treatment... re Metronidazole in particular>
 or have they developed something else like body rot from the stress etc.
Pic below, I've added a tank and healthy pic for you to see also.
many thanks.
<Separate them... and treat pronto... via food/s, feeding. Bob Fenner>

Re: still white spot? Discus...      11/27/12
Thanks for your help, they have both perished now but I will read the likes <links> you provided.
I'm not sure if you mis-understood what I wrote but its just the lack of buffer that I add bicarb. My tap water is 1kh so I just buffer it to stop ph swings.
<Ahh, I see.>
Thanks again
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
disease, FW...      11/28/12

Hello, I have had my tank up and running for a few months now. Tank cycled using ammonia and have had no issues since on this side of things.
Tank is a 55g with 3 cardinal tetra's, 1 ram and 9 small discus.
<... I responded to this ayer... See WWM re>

 I realise this is to many for size of tank and will rehome some when they grow some.
Ammonia, nitrite are zero, ph 7, kH I maintain at 4 using bicarb at water changes as my tap water is super soft with 0 buffer. GH sits at around 50ppm.
I have been tackling a Ich out break which has been fatal to 1 ram, 4 tetra's and sadly my smallest discus.
Im on the second course of Waterlife's Protozin now, the first course helped a lot but was obviously just short of eradicating it.
My temp is 30 degrees.
My question 7 of my discus are now looking great, colour back, fins erect, very alert etc but 2 small ones are not doing very well at all, the white spots have become light coloured patches. Could you tell me if this is still white spot on them or have they developed something else like body rot from the stress etc. Pic below, I've added a tank and healthy pic for you to see also.
many thanks.
<... same response. B>

Sick Discus... social...       6/15/12
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 treated>
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 was,
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 alone.
<Ah good>
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.
<I see>
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. (:
<Welcome. B>

discus has always been sick    5/15/12
hi I bought 4 discus five months ago and one was hiding and black coloured I only took it  because I felt sorry for it and thought he would do better if it was in my aquarium .it has grown slightly in this time as I ensure that I drop food where it  is hiding. I have spent days searching for advice but not spotted anything suitable for my problem
It would flash it colours at times when the mood took it, but now its colour has gone white all over its body, the fins have just a touch of blue in them but very little, its fins are erect
<Discus only behave normally (and show bright colours) when they are "happy", by which I mean they are [a] kept in the right environmental conditions and [b] kept with the right tankmates. Let's be clear about how demanding Discus are. These aren't community fish! They are best kept ALONE, and no-one should think about adding tankmates before keeping them on their own for a good six months first. Just keeping Discus happy is difficult, so adding tankmates makes life more difficult that it needs to be. Secondly, they are fairly demanding in terms of water chemistry and water quality. They must have soft water, or at least, not hard water. By that I mean something like 2-12 degrees dH, pH 6-7 for the standard farmed varieties. Water quality needs to be excellent: 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and less than 20 mg/l nitrate. Actually, virtually all cichlids need similarly good water quality, and virtually all cichlids will sicken if kept exposed to nitrate levels above 20 mg/l (as is often the case with tap water in urban/suburban areas, and almost always the case in Southern England where I live).>
all ph etc .etc are spot on
<Meaning what? I really do need your numbers here, not your interpretations. See above for what they should be.>
and the other 5 discus, 3 clown loaches and two dwarf gouramis are in wonderful condition,
<I hope this aquarium is huge! Clown Loaches pump out massive amounts of waste, and unless we're talking 200 Imperial gallons/900 litres, it's unlikely you can provide good water quality for BOTH the Clown Loaches and the Discus.>
all fed 4-5 times a day, partial water change 20+ % 1-2 times weekly temp 29c
<Would dial this down to 28 C outside of wanting to breed them.>
I have never seen any excrement from any of the fish but with what they eat there must be lots coming out.
in a 4ft tank 189 litres 42 uk gallons the two red Turks are  now double its size and nearly adults.
<Much too small for all these fish. Do be aware that only a *mated* pair of Discus will cohabit. Otherwise, keep a singleton or a group of six. In groups of 2-5 specimens, Discus usually end up with one bully and the rest being bullied. You may not see the bullying (some of it is chemical) but you'll surely see one dominant fish and the others staying smaller, eating less, and displaying their stress colours, typically darker with vertical bands.>
its a peaceful tank for having discus in it.
heavy planted and oxygenated ( aerated ). spend most of my nights searching for signs of what sexes I have in there, there are two other blue discus in there but they have grown a bigger size should I take it out to my other tank 6 ft which has Mollies and Guppies in it ( for maturing of water purpose? nothing new in there  thanks for any advice given , sorry no photo
<Mollies and Guppies need fundamentally different water chemistry to Discus. I do need the water chemistry values to say something specific about these systems, and their usefulness for Discus.>
regards Laurie
<Do believe stress, incorrect care are likely to blame here. Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: discus has always been sick    5/16/12

hello Neale
this little fish was purchased from a tank with 50 or more discus and was the only one that was not happy and hungry. I  kept discus years ago and with out any problems. I apologize for not sending you the water parameters but since they were within all specifications it did not seem to matter Again Sorry  Poor excuse I know..
Temp. 27  now was kept high to induce breeding ( hopefully)
<I see.>
GH 30
<Very high! Much too high for Discus.>
KH 0
<Too low. Would be surprised if the pH is stable. Are you using a pH buffer?>
Ph 6 with peat
<I would not adjust pH using peat. How do you know the pH is stable? Plus, below pH 6, filter bacteria stop working.>
No2 oo5
<Do you mean 0.5? Do believe your biological filtration is borderline… filter bacteria work better above 6.5, and ideally you shouldn't allow the pH to go below 7 unless there's a damn good reason. Discus will be fine at pH 7, provided the hardness isn't excessive, say, 5-10 degree dH.>
No3 10
I find it annoying how most people use different measurements ( ppm ,etc ) very confusing for a lay person ( My problem, Suck it up as they say.)
<Well, not for me to say… I do prefer the simpler units -- degrees dH or KH for hardness. But so long as you know what them mean qualitatively, i.e., "soft", "hard", and shades in between, that's fine! Likewise, with nitrite, nitrate and ammonia, so long as you know what's good and what's bad, use whatever you want.>
The fish is looking fine today, with as usual, fins extended (showing much more colour on the fins and white on the facial bones only now) and in the mid to high water table
I have been cycling my new tank for two months now so with the baby guppies in there for a change of diet It now gets ox heart, fish flakes, frozen brine shrimp, dried food, raw prawns, and blood worms.
I keep looking out for the old strains of discus but all we seem to get here in Aus. is the modern strains without any bars on their sides ( although I do have a old style brown one which I love dearly   don't recall where I got him from ,probably just a throwback to the wild varieties
I am still hopeful of this sick one getting its health back to increase the numbers of breeding fish, never had any success before but the numbers 3 or 4 probably was to blame for it
<Could be. Getting groups of six does seem to be the magic number for getting stable schools of Discus, and from those six, there's a good chance of at least one of each sex.>
On another thing ( while I've got you) how many breeding discus can my 6 ft tank  63.40 UK gallons take.?
<A group of six will be fine in there… but a matched pair of breeding cichlids, even Discus, could take over that tank. You might be okay if their "nest" is at one end of the tank. But if their nest is in the middle … it could be trouble for the other Discus!>
Again you guys are wonderful
Many thanks and kisses
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: I need your help, please. Discus... comp./hlth.     4/28/14
Hello again,
Despite your wonderful advice my boyfriend got me discus and I was so happy, I didn't have the nerve to take them back.
They're actually doing very well with my angels.

They've established their areas and can happily swim next to each other with no pecking or anything.
But I do have a question.
I have 2 discus now.
They're male and female.
Young, never mated.
And the male is just  slightly smaller.
My question is that he's been acting a little odd.
He's kind of hanging low to the sand and seems very lethargic.
He also hugs himself with his fins.
<Bad signs...>

I know they like dark places and such so at first I wasn't too worried, But then I noticed the fin thing.
I did a water change, about 30% roughly, and that helped the female come out a little, but no change in the male.
I do have a bubble wand and a powerhead running so could it be possible that the current it too strong?
<Not likely, no... How large is this system? Water temp.? Hardness?>
I see no change when they're off too so that seems unlikely.
Thanks for your advice,
<.... Please read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: I need your help, please.  Discus fdg.    5/4/12

the tank is 55 gallons, temp sits around 80 degrees, all of the water parameters are fine.
<Specifically…? We do need numbers.
For a start, the water is too cool, with 28 C/82 F being optimal for Discus, up to 30 C/86 F for breeding. Water hardness must be low, at least no higher than 10-12 degrees dH for farmed Discus, and the pH needs to be slightly acidic to neutral, pH 6-7 being about right for farmed Discus. Ammonia and nitrite levels must be zero, and nitrate MUST be low, 20 mg/l at the absolute most.>
I tried reading up like you said, but that didn't offer me much help.
I did get to treat the discus separate from the tank, but medicate their food to get rid of any cross- contamination for the angels, which I've done. The Male Discus is now currently in a 10 gallon, with this "Rid all" medication and seems to be slowly getting better.
<Which "Rid All" medication? There's a variety, each for certain diseases. No one medication treats everything, and if used indiscriminately, most will do more harm than good.>
he's still not eating though, any advice of how I can entice him to eat?
<As with all, and I mean ALL, Cichlidae, Discus will eat like pigs when they're happy and healthy. If your Discus isn't feeding, it isn't about "enticing" him to eat, but about asking why he isn't hungry. Solve that riddle, and you're done. Environmental issues (water quality, temperature, lighting, tankmates) are usually at the heart of problems with Discus. Some farmed stock are susceptible to worm infections to be sure, but generally farmed Discus are otherwise adaptable, hearty fish given the right environment. Cheers, Neale.> 
Re: I need your help, please. Discus hlth.     5/15/12

the sick discus is in a 10 gallon tank that's at 88 degrees actually.
<Very small volume for a Symphysodon of any size... and the temp., dangerously high in terms of gas exchange>
all the numbers check out in the tanks, ph is around 6.2
hardness is 190.5
<These are fine, particularly if this is a cultured specimen>
basically everything checks out water wise.
However, where my discus originally were bought from, had all of their discus die off.
Their fish have all sorts of illness now, we got lucky and the others we have from that store aren't sick, but perhaps the discus were exposed to some serious illnesses .
But I believe this could be Hexamitiasis, he has the stringy white poop and the other symptoms,
but he just started eating yesterday and the dark color over his body has lightened.
<... I would post-haste treat (via foods) w/ Metronidazole and Praziquantel. See WWM ASAP re. Bob Fenner>
So now I'd like to ask,
Do you think I should purchase the m Metronidazole and medicate him still?
he's not 100% better, but seems to be fighting it off.
Is there another medicine you suggest that would be better?
I have to order the Metronidazole off of the Seachem website because it's not found around here, I'd really like to find something around here rather than order online, but will do so if I need to.
Re: I need your help, please.    5/16/12

I only have him in the 10 because it's all I had he's only in this small of a tank until I've got him healed up ,
<Do monitor at least NH3, NO3>
and I decided it'd probably be a good idea to separate him so he's not bullied, and doesn't transport what he has to the tank anymore than what he has already .
I can only afford the Metronidazole right now , and I've barely got enough for that with shipping and handling because no one carries it around here.
Will that be enough?
<Can't tell>
I read it can be toxic to over treat,
<Ah yes>
so what do you suggest as a healthy dosage without the combination once I receive the Metronidazole ?
<... posted; this/WWM is not a bb. Is a reference system. Read>
Is there anything else I can combine with it that may be quite cheap or even found in common households ?
<No; not as far as I'm aware>
Thanks so much for your help,
I really do appreciate it .
<Welcome. BobF>
Re: I need your help, please. 5/16/12

I am monitoring all the water parameters everyday, and do small daily water changes.
I will have to try the Metronidazole by itself then.
He's a little guy so hopefully he'll be able to fight them off.
I know you're just a reference site, but I'm looking for anything to help me right now.
<... When you can afford it, a/the Anthelminthic. B>
Re: I need your help, please.  Symphysodon hlth.?  5/19/12

I should treat him with the Anthelminthic when I can afford it?
Should I do that even if he's healed up?
<Yes I would>
Oh, and I should medicate the big tanks food I read, But should I only do that once?
<Once will do it, depending on what used. B>
Re: I need your help, please.  5/19/12

Okay will do,
I'll medicate the food with the Metronidazole.
Will that be okay?
<Review what we've exchanged,>
It's going to be another 2 weeks before I can get the other medication.
I'll have to order that one too.
Thanks for your help .  
Re: I need your help, please. Discus... hlth., fdg....  – 5/22/12

So I've got the medication, I've medicated the sick discus.
But I'm really confused as far as how to medicate the big tank's food.
<Search WWM re>
I feed them flake food in the morning, and blood worms or brine shrimp at night - blood worms right now,
<See WWM re these sewer worms as well>
I was thinking I'd do it to the blood worms because you have to put the food in the freezer with the medication, and blood worms have to be frozen anyway,
<Will rot if left out>
But is it as simple as putting the bloodworms in some water, with some medication and throwing it in the freezer?
the bottle says something about food paste?
I'd really like to medicate the big tank soon,
because the sick discus seems to be doing better already, even before the medication,
I'd really hate to reintroduce him to the tank and become reinfected.
Re: I need your help, please. – 5/22/12

<... Welcome>
although navigating your website is still a big confusing.
the search bar for searching your website rather than through Google just results in highlighted things like "to" within a word,
<Ah yes>
so it doesn't really yield much result.
I've figured it out I think.
<Ah good>

Hi I need help with angel fish! And Discus... mis-treated, no reading    11/28/11
Hi there!
I don't know if you guys can help me, but this is weird. I have there huge tanks/Aquarium in my house. 85 gallon (4 months old), 155 gallon (7 months old) & 200 + gallon (1  year old). I have angel fish in all the 3 tanks. 
I have a single pair in  85 gallon and 155 gallon tank. Which is healthy and fish are happy in those 2 tanks. My other 200 + gallon tank had 9 angel fish (same age and size) and 4 discus (different age, size and new to the tan).
<Three and tank; with you so far>
The tank which is 200 + gallon, had no problems, It was going fine. One day I added 4 discus to the tank.
<Sans quarantine>

 When I had purchased the 4 discus fish, I put both thin discus in my 85 gallon and the both shy discus fish in 200 gallon (they were in there for more than a month). Later on I did moved the both shy discus to 155 gallon tank, where they were in there for more than 15 days. When I added them and uploaded pictures of them on a forum. People over the forum informed me, that all the 4 discus has internal parasite.
<Quite common...>
 So I needed to cure them. I asked for a suggestion to a LFS here (same place where I purchased the discus) and followed his medication procedure (confirmed it on a forum as well).
<... not so fast pardner... What med./s? and the SOP employed please>
That is, moved the discus fish into a bath tub and started the treatment,
 where they died the very next morning.
<Most such Symphysodon treatments are administered via foods...>

However, I don't think so the discus were sick. 1 of them stayed in the corner, the 2 of them were extremely thin, the 4th red discus (my love) was okay, but he was shy once in a blue moon. The discus which stayed in the corner all the time, use to come out only, when I use to exit the room.
When I use to get back in the room, again he use to hide behind the trees.
The previous owner said of this 4 discus said, his 4 blue diamond discus died in the same tank where these discus were there. So he don't want to go into loss and he does not has time to take care, so he is selling his fish.
But still as per forum users and shop keepers, I followed their advice.
Now the problem started after discus's death. The tank which is 200 gallon + had around 9 angel fish along with the 2 discus (which were moved to a different tank later and into a bath tub). In those 9 angel fish 2 were males, 6 were females & 1 undetected (however suspected male). The very next day after the discus died, 1 of my female angel fish had a big tummy (I knew the trouble has started, thinking internal parasite has spread),
<Your changes in time are maddening>
but she was not on any of her side or upside down. She was swimming perfectly. She was constantly on top of water. I moved her to a tub for cure & she died. Then same thing started to happen with 4 female angel fish and the undetected angelfish (one at a time). However the 2 males are healthy and perfect till date. Now I am left with a female and 2 male angel fish. Where as the other 2 tanks fish are happy and healthy, without any problem. I have done more than four times 80% water change even past 2 weeks. Currently the last female angel fish in the tank shows no signs like that, since I have done water change yesterday. Still wondering this thing, the discus were there in all the 3 tanks, 2 tanks are healthy from past 2 months without a problem. The biggest tank of mine had problems with only female angel fish. The shy discus were big and dead, where and the thin ones are improving and currently in 200+ gallon tank with angel fish. Any idea about what's going on? I hope I haven't confused you guys. LOL. :P
<... Well, could be your choice or means of administering "med./s" are the problem here (can't tell as you haven't related what was used and how), and/or that there is some biological agent involved here (Protozoan, Worm...), or...?
DO read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/discusdisfaqs.htm
and the linked files above, and here for Angels:
and on WWM re the use of whatever it is you've been pouring in... Oh, and Metronidazole and Anthelminthics...
Bob Fenner>
Re: Hi I need help with angel fish! & Discus, hlth.  11/29/11

Thank you for you reply's!
Didn't expect is so quick.
<Glad to help.>
So here are the answers to the questions.
Regarding the discus cure, the LFS told me to move them in the bath tub as all the 3 tanks had angel which were healthy and discus may spread the disease.
<Would treat ALL fish in ALL tanks if there's any risk of cross-contamination, e.g., through moving fish between tanks, shared buckets and nets.>
The LFS store keeper requested me to use Metrogil or Flagyl to cure the discus fish. He came and check the size of my bath tub. I checked the medicine shop here and Metrogil was available at the moment, so e told me to add 4 bottles of Metrogil and fill the entire tub. As soon as I added discus to the tub, they were happy. However next morning they died.
<Used correctly, ideally with veterinarian help, Metronidazole (Flagyl) should be completely safe.>
So I believe I will have to make 1 more tank for my remaining 4 discus fish. XD kewl. I will do that by today itself. & Also once the tank is ready and cycled. Shall I keep it bare bottom tank for discus? As I have heard that bare bottom tanks are best for discus fish.
<There is an argument for bare-bottom tanks when keeping Discus. They're easy to clean, and with less "dirt" in the tank, there's less risk from bacterial infections. On the other hand, avoid bright light bouncing off the glass at the bottom -- Discus hate this! There is an ample literature available on the care of Discus, here at WWM and elsewhere. Modern forms are fairly hardy, and can be kept in traditional tanks with plants and gravel. But avoid mixing with known carriers of diseases, such as Angels, and keep stocking levels LOW.>
So do you want me to currently put the medicine in all the tanks or only infected tank?
<See above.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Sort of sickish Gourami in new Discus tank    10/18/11
Hi, crew,
Thank you again for all your wonderful advice. Wasn't sure whether to start a new thread, but now one of my smaller discus has been hiding in the back for over a week, and now light eating has turned into not eating--not even live food.
<Worrying. Do review the tank carefully. Apart from water quality and chemistry, look at social behaviour. Discus can be bullies, and the smaller one could easily end up starving because the bigger ones push it around.
Discus should be kept in pairs or groups of 6+ specimens. Singletons can do fine in quiet aquaria.>
Simultaneously the old pearl Gourami has developed a bit of a gray patch on his head again.
The Gourami is eating and chasing the female, but remains very thin, fins still not really growing back, still indentations in his head, but not exactly holes like HITH. (Your advice about the live brine shrimp did help him. I did continue to use some of the Jungle Anti-Bacterial food, but not exclusively, and all the fish ate that too--did I create a resistant something???)
<Probably not.>
Anyway, with the discus hiding for over a week now (he does get bullied, but this is a personality change), I am thinking of treating the whole tank with Metronidazole. Or should I move the Gourami & the hiding discus into quarantine for treatment?
<I would treat the whole tank, if economical to do so.>
I hesitate to overmedicate (especially with an Ancistrus), but if the Gourami has transferred something, it's probably in the whole tank, right?
<Yes. But often these parasites and bacteria are latent in all fish, and only cause problems when the host is stressed somehow.>
Tank parameters are all the same, 000, very low kH,gH,pH7, the only difference is that I started using some live blackworms to try to get the small discus to eat. That worked briefly, but now all the other fish pig out on them except him.
Thanks again in advance.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Sort of sickish Gourami in new Discus tank  10/18/11

Thanks very much Neale. I will treat the whole tank. You've set my mind at ease about it.
I have 6 discus, all fairly similar in size when I got them, and that bullying issue you mention is something I am concerned about. The two biggest food hogs have gotten bigger, while this little guy who used to be
very pugnacious and go toe-to-toe (fin-to-fin?) with them now just hides.
For a while I thought maybe the biggest one had shown him who's boss. I haven't ever seen white or clear feces on this fish, or any of them, for that matter.
I will medicate with metro, and see if he comes back to his old self.
Thanks very much, and for the quick reply as well!
<Glad to help. Your analysis and what you plan to do sound correct. There may be a combination of bullying alongside a possible parasite infection.
Some aquarists deworm Discus regardless, and stay prepared to treat for Hexamita as well. While Discus are less prone to bullying than Angels, it does happen. Not much can fix this, though removing them all, moving the plants and rocks about, then reintroducing can sometimes reset the social hierarchy. Removing the bully for an hour or two can also work. Adding more should help, but may not be an option in all cases. Removing the bullied one might end up with the next smallest being picked on. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: urgent Discus fish laid eggs again.   8/11/11
Dear Sir,
One more discus fish stomach is swollen & eyes are bigger. I started treatment of metrogyl 400mg 3tablet.
but I find now result. can I dip discus fish in potassium permanganate water.
<Too toxic... I'd not use KMnO3 unless it was the only thing available>
I want to safe his life.
On internet 100 of homemade food recipes are available for discus fish.
I want you to suggest the best homemade food for discus fish.
can you please give me the recipes.
<You'll have to look about yourself here. There are quite a few formulations; many based in part on terrestrial animal meat. Bob Fenner>

discus fish treatment   7/25/11
Dear Sir,
I am having blue diamond breeding pair.
from past 15 days the male discus is pointing downward. he is healthy and even eating Too much. while eating he get straight. I have putted Epsom salt for 5 times but no effect. please give treatment for this problem.
<Difficult to give an answer here. I need more information. How big is the aquarium? What is the water chemistry? What is the water temperature? What food do you use? Inbreeding and constipation are both possibilities, particularly if the fish is otherwise healthy: i.e., it eats well, has bright eyes, normal colours, and has interest in its companion. Diet can be cause problems if lacking fibre or if it contains too much fat. Parasites shouldn't be a problem if you have been using dry and/or wet-frozen foods, but some live foods can introduce parasites such as intestinal worms, particularly Tubifex, a known carrier of "Whirling Disease". Cheers, Neale.>
Re: discus fish treatment
tank size is 2ft x 2ft x 2ft.
<A bit over 200 litres/50 gallons. Should be acceptable for a pair of Discus.>
I feed them beef heart.
<Do need more variety than this.>

color and eyes are perfect.
the female is too active.
<Really? Are you sure it's active, or does it look stressed, nervous or alarmed? Check the water quality. Cichlids often get jumpy if nitrite and ammonia levels rise, or if there's something else wrong with the system.>
temperature id 30 degree c.
<A bit warm for routine maintenance. Keep them at 28 C most of the time, and up to 30 C only for spawning. Don't try and spawn them until they're a good size and only after proper feeding. As for why your male can't swim, you still haven't said anything that seems obviously wrong. The diet could be at fault though. Review constipation in cichlids, and vary the diet accordingly. Good high-fibre foods for Discus include brine shrimps and daphnia. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: discus fish treatment   7/25/11
<You're welcome.>
can you suggest some medicine for them.
<Not really. Unless you know what is wrong with your fish, you cannot safely add medication. Random use of medicines will cause more problems than it will solve. Review the things I've mentioned, and act accordingly.
Try contacting a local or international Discus club, perhaps via an online forum, to see if anyone else has seen this particular set of symptoms. Do be open minded: most sickness is caused by problems with maintenance rather than disease, and inbreeding can complicate things even further.>
I am doing treatment for my leopard male discus fish. at start he was doing white poo shit.
<We do prefer family-friendly language here! But clear, slimy faeces that lack colour are a common symptom of Hexamita infection. This is normally treated using Metronidazole; nothing else works.
Hexamita infection is common among farmed Discus. It is probably latent in most farmed cichlids, but if the fish is stressed, the parasite multiplies wildly, and that's what causes problems. Other symptoms include lethargy, odd swimming, loss of colour or dark colour, and ultimately death. Remember to remove carbon when medicating. Calculating the correct dosage is difficult to do, and advice from a vet is very, VERY useful.>
I put Epsom salt for 5 times. then on 4 day I saw fins are darker & got fungus.
I put Tetracycline 500mg capsule. after 3days I saw his stomach is swollen. I put Epsom salt 5 times after every 4 hours & metrogyl 400mg 2 tablet. but still the stomach is swollen and fish is not eating.
please guide me sir
<Do see above. Cheers, Neale.>

My discus health problem   5/15/11
Hi to all crew members,
Good evening.
<Hello Ravindra,>
One of my small red turquoise having health problem.
Description-all of sudden he is behaving abnormally. as per my observation he is not getting the food properly. so he become a weak member in the team.
What shall I do to recover fast ?I don't want to lose her in any case.
<Do need information here. How big is the aquarium? How many fish are in the aquarium? What is the water quality like (nitrite and nitrate in particular)? What is the temperature? What is the water chemistry? Most problems with Discus come down to social problems, poor water quality, or too low temperature. Farmed Discus are pretty robust compared to their wild ancestors, but they still need considerable care. Do read:
Second query.
One my red snakeskin not swim normally. he swim little vertically i.e. head down and tell on upside. What is a meaning of this. and some time his shit become white colour.
<Sounds like Hexamita. Copious, colourless faeces are a common symptom.
Quite common among cichlids generally. Becomes a problem when the cichlids are stressed. Non-zero nitrate levels and diets without enough FRESH greens are two common causes of stress that lead to Hexamita. Metronidazole (Flagyl) is the only reliable medication. Do read:
what medicine I should provide to recover.
Thanks & regards
<Cheers, Neale.>

discus problem... STILL NOT READING   5/6/11
I am located in India. I have a 4 juvenile discus housed in a 20 gallon tank. I do 40 percent water changes after every 3 days. I siphon off the feces also. All my water parameters are normal.
<Need actual values (numbers)... for what is tested>
The temp of water during summer is 31-32 degrees.
Recently one of my discus is swimming erratically and sometimes upside down or lying flat in the corner or either hiding. He is also refusing to eat.
<Very bad signs, symptoms. Have you read where you've repeatedly been referred to on WWM?>
Can you let me know the reason behind this and also suggest me an appropriate treatment for my discus.
<Likely environmental... Again, and hopefully for the last time, READ on WWM re Symphysodon:
http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/discusfish.htm and the linked files above. B>
Thanks in advance

discus plague? (Bob, any thoughts'¦?)<<>>    2/8/11
I have purchased 6 Discus and they are currently housed in my QT tank.
50ish Uk gal. I have had these for one week and they have developed what looks like Plague? Please see picture attached.
<Yes, very sick indeed!>
They are huddled in the corner and 2 and floating on top. They are all producing excess mucus and the sand
<Are you sure this is not Whitespot?>
is sticking to the fishes body, The fins also look to be getting eaten away.
<Presumably Finrot or some other opportunistic bacterial infection.>
What do you suggest?
<Would work through a checklist of possibilities. First, Whitespot. Heavy infections will cause excess mucous production, lethargy, Finrot, and ultimately death. Secondly, review environmental conditions. Specifically, check you have zero ammonia and zero nitrite in the system; check also the temperature is sufficiently high, i.e., around 28-30 C; and finally, check the water isn't too hard, 1-10 degrees dH being about right for farmed Discus (although pH is secondary to hardness in importance, the pH shouldn't be above 7.5). If you can eliminate these two, then yes, Discus Plague may be the issue, but do remember that most so-called "Discus Plague" cases probably aren't, in the same way most of the bacterial infections people call "Fish TB" are nothing of the sort. Discus Plague is primarily an issue with cheap Discus mass-produced on farms in Southeast Asia, but these are precisely the same Discus likely to be bought be inexperienced aquarists, so knowing when a Discus has Discus Plague and when it's been killed by poor care is very difficult to judge. But if you are an experienced aquarist who has handled Discus before, then you could consider Discus Plague as a possibility here.>
Daily water changes as per plague or is this something completely different?
<Treatment for Discus Plague is extremely hard. If the fish gets better, it does so under its own steam. Medications serve no purpose at all, and ones with copper and/or formalin in may well make things worse. Instead, optimal water conditions do seem crucial. That's why daily water changes are recommended -- to optimise living conditions by removing nitrate. If you can do that, great, but you do need to make sure you water changes don't cause pH, hardness or temperature changes, and also don't stress the fish by lowering the water level in a scary way (turning the lights out is a big plus). Discus Plague as normally defined appears to be viral, something equivalent to Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus or Koi Herpes Virus in nature if not in symptoms.>
Thanks Paul.
I have also added Cuprazin as advised by LFS
<Not my favourite anti-Whitespot medication. Would recommend eSHa EXIT over this as more reliable. But would not use either if I didn't think Whitespot was to blame. Most anti-Protozoan medications are toxic, and in stressing your Discus, reducing its ability to fight off a viral infection. Cheers, Neale.>
re: discus plague? (Bob, any thoughts'¦?)   2/8/11
thanks for the reply the water has been spot on over the week I have been doing 10% water changes every day
<<RMF would change half every day>>
 I have 6 neon tetras in there as well its just that the guy who sold me them told me it was velvet
<Look for a golden sheen on the body. Velvet typically attacks the gills before anything else, so fish with Velvet will often "gasp" or exhibit laboured breathing.>
and to add salt and Cuprazin,
but when I was talking to a local guy today he said it could be the plague,
<Could be, but by no means certain. Because it's viral, outside of a fish laboratory, there's no way to confirm.>
I was using water that I had in a bucket for a couple of days with an air stone in so it was only at room temp when I was adding it so the temp will of been dropping off while doing w/c
<Do review conditions, symptoms as stated in last e-mail, and act accordingly. Cheers, Neale.>

RMF could swear this IS Ich and bacterial challenges... would remove the Neons, raise the temp. to high 80's F., add aeration and 250 mg. of Nitrofuranace per ten gallons... see WWM re...

More re: discus plague? (Bob, any thoughts'¦?)   2/8/11
thanks for the reply the water has been spot on over the week I have been doing 10% water changes every day
<<RMF would change half every day>>
<<<Neale would not disagree, provided water hardness, pH and temperature are kept steady. If you're not 100% sure you can control these factors, changing smaller amounts, say, 25%, may be better, but at the same time, do other things to minimise nitrate levels in the tank -- stock the tank very lighting, feed minimally, use plants to export nitrate (ideally via a "vegetable filter" in a sump so light is kept outside the tank, else floating plants like Indian Fern that produce shade while growing rapidly). Cheers, Neale.>>>

Re: discus plague? (Bob, any thoughts'¦?)  2/8/11
Hi Bob,
Yes, you will see that was my first thought too -- hence my list of things for Paul to check through before assuming this is viral Discus Plague.
<<I did, and do... this one fish, and likely all others are very close to death from both the protozoan and bacterial challenges. Need treatment immediately>>
Paul -- bacterial infections through the punctures in the skin caused by mature Whitespot parasites are EXTREMELY common.
Cheers, Neale
<<Paul: See and heed my comments on the dailies. B>>

Sick Discus -- 02/05/11
Good morning crew,
I have 17 discus in a 240g aquarium. I run a constant drip, (approx. 2 gal per hour). My nitrates are maybe 10ppm.
I've had 11 of the discus for 12 to 15 months. 2 of them had that white poop thing
<Stringy, white faeces from cichlids is usually caused by Hexamita, but can have other causes.>

about a year ago were treated in a quarantine tank, recovered, and have been fine ever since.
About 8 weeks ago I purchased 6 discus from Kenny in Daly City. Followed his direction and everything has gone well.
2 weeks ago I changed out my black sand to white sand so that I could more easily view my fish and to lighten everything up.
<They won't like that! In fact I doubt the colours will improve. Discus show their best colours in shady tanks.>
For about a week I've noticed the smallest discus hanging in the corner first thing in the morning when I feed. (similar behavior to the white poop thing). I just assumed that maybe it was taking him a little longer to wake up than the others. It wasn't until this morning that I noticed that he wasn't really eating. (so now the symptoms are much more consistent with the white poop thing)
<Agreed. Would assume Hexamita, and treat accordingly. I'd probably treat all the new batch, but that's up to you. Certainly the ones exhibiting odd symptoms.>
Then it seemed to happen right before my eyes that one of the other "new" fish darkened and began a behavior that I can only describe as "tail standing" .
<Not good, and with Discus usually implies overall weakness, perhaps through lack of food.>
I've removed both fish to a quarantine tank and began treatment with "API General Cure"
<Not a particularly useful medication except for a few, easily identified things. Despite the marketing, this product isn't a cure-all by any means!>
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you
<Would recommend a combination of Metronidazole and Nitrofuranace, a good combination for cichlid ailments such as these.
Cheers, Neale.> 
Re: Sick Discus  2/14/11

Hi crew,
I thought I'd give you an update:
The discus that was doing the tail stand thing seems to have recovered completely. He was bullying the other sick little guy so I put him back in the display tank.
The other little guy seems better, he is eating, although he's not eating very well.
He's in a 10 gal quarantine tank. Thought I'd a 50% water change, and see if that causes any improvement.
<Needs more room than this... but do keep up the water change regimen.

Male adult discus constantly swims head down
Discus Stays Head Down In Tank Corner   11/22/10

Hello Crew, I have been keeping discus for a few years now in a 100gal tank, pH 6.8; dGH 0.5; dKH 0; temp 30 C; nitrites / ammonia/ nitrates all 0.
< Hard to believe zero nitrates unless the resin you mention is specifically for nitrogenous waste..>
I do about a 12% water change most weeks using RO water with carbon, resin, micro and membrane filters adding Pro Discus Mineral.
I run two external filters and clean them out alternately monthly using RO water and rinse the filter media in the RO water I have used to rinse out the sponges and discard half the sponges at each clean out.
One of a pair of breeding discus I think developed TB and just slowly wasted away despite continuing to eat well. Her partner became reclusive and adopted a head down position so I put them both into quarantine. This male had been responsible for killing a rival male previously and in the process severely damaged one eye resulting in the lens hanging outside the eyeball for a few weeks which gradually seemed to resolve and his eye now looks normal. I tried all forms of remedies including worming, Hexamita etc.
none of which made any difference so I just kept them in the quarantine tank.
Eventually the wasting discus died. Her partner remains in head down position, eats well (though I'm not sure his vision is all that it should be as although he can clearly see he does tend to bump in to things, such as the filter or artificial plants, easily) and loves any live food I put in, swimming around actively chasing it, but resumes head down as soon as he is finished. He tends to reside in one small area of the tank unless
This situation has been maintained for several months and I am reluctant to put him back into the main tank for fear of infecting my other discus which seem perfectly healthy.
Do you have any thoughts? Many thanks Mike
< The tank conditions, and maintenance procedures seem fine. I would start to look at the diet. You mentioned live food but did not mention the diet. Live foods like worms may contain parasites. Live adult brine shrimp has almost no nutritional value. I would recommend trying to feed a high quality pellet or flake food. It will be difficult at first since they will probably hold out for live food since they have you trained to feed that to them. Place the food in the tank for 5 minutes. Remove any uneaten food after that. After a few days they will get hungry enough to at least try the food. Once they accept it then you will probably see a difference in the behavior.-Chuck>
Re: Male adult discus constantly swims head down
Discus Stays Head Down In Tank Corner II   11/22/10

Hello Chuck, I use Zeolite in the filter media to get rid of nitrogenous compounds.
Thanks for the advice however I always feed with a mixture of frozen bloodworm, TetraMin crisps, and Tetra Prima Discus. I only occasionally give them live food such as bloodworm or daphnia or enhanced brine shrimp to get them chasing their meals. The fish feeds avidly and will swim up to the surface to feed if there's anything floating but when finished resorts to head down. I did worm him with Mebendazole but that made no difference.
Regards Mike
< Blood worms may absorb toxins from the mud they are found in. I would stay away from the bloodworms for a couple of weeks and see if that makes any difference in the behavior.-Chuck>
Re: Male adult discus constantly swims head down
Discus Stays Head Down In Tank Corner III   11/24/10

OK I'll see what happens and let you know. All the others (15 of them) are fine on the same diet however. Best wishes Mike
< Stress is a big factor in diseases. This fish may be at the bottom of the pecking order and that could play a major roll. Move some of the decorations around so the fish need to set up new territories and then see if that helps too.-Chuck>
Re: Male adult discus constantly swims head down
Discus With Head down In Corner IV  11/24/10

I moved the fish from the main tank into my quarantine tank several months ago with his partner who subsequently died (I think from TB) by just wasting away despite continuing to feed. He was already head down when I moved them both. He used to be the largest and most vigorous of my fish at the top of the pecking order and as previously mentioned had killed a rival who was trying to move in on his partner one evening in a huge battle when his eye was damaged. He still feeds avidly and looks expectantly when I approach with the feed tub but is still head down. V Strange!
< If he is alone in a hospital tank with his head down then I still am thinking internal infection and sticking with my recommendation of Nitrofuranace and Metronidazole.-Chuck>
Re: Male adult discus constantly swims head down  11/27/10
Finding Nitrofuranace

Hello Chuck I've never heard of Nitrofuranace. Do you mean Nitrofurantoin and do you have any dosage guideline? Mike
< At drsfostersmiths.com it is listed as Furan-2.-Chuck>
Finding Nitrofuranace For Head Down Discus  11/28/10

< Go to dersfostersmith.com . It is listed under Furan-2. Follow the directions on the package.-Chuck>

Question... FW, Discus sys. issues... overcrowded, metabolite build-up...    8/20/10
<Hi Max! Melinda here tonight!>
I have read your F.Q but I need help for the following.
I have 75l freshwater fish tank with 13 Discus, 2 Angels & 1 Betta.
<Is this tank 75 liters, as in less than 20 gallons? Or am I not understanding correctly?>
I use conditioned tap water 7.6 ph, Ammonia: 0.25, Nitrite: 0.25 & Nitrate around 80.00 ( I have not been able to bring it down ).
<The Nitrate is a problem, but the Ammonia and Nitrite worry me more: for some reason (likely overstocking, if my above guess on the volume of the tank is correct), this tank isn't cycling. Please read here:
I add salt with every water change.
<How much are you adding? Salt can be used to detoxify Nitrate if you're adding it in the correct amounts with water changes. Please read here:
Otherwise, I'm not sure what the salt is for.>
Recently I am losing only Discus. They start being in the corners, develop fin damage, white patches on the body & not feeding & eventually die...
<Various issues due to water quality/overstocking.>
I even had one dead with hole(scare) in the head & another one suddenly lost balance & it was up-side-down for two days until it died. One of them has darkened in colour.
The rest of Discus seems to be o.k. with no visible signs of illness but they are not active like any other Discus.
<Your fish are in bad shape. Is this tank really only 75 liters? The fish can't possibly be full-grown, if so, they literally wouldn't be able to
move. In any case, your problems likely lie in the numbers you gave me above for Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate. The tank is overstocked, and your maintenance may also be lacking... please read here on maintenance:
Please help me urgently...
<Max, there's certainly something wrong with your system, and it's causing your fish to fall ill. That "something" is the water they live in. This can be due to a number of issues, including the following: fail to cycle properly in the first place, overstocking, overfeeding, lack of proper filtration, and/or lack of proper maintenance. I think most of these are covered in the links above, but here is a link on filtration:
In addition, what cannot be ruled out at this point is that your source water is introducing Nitrate into the system. Do test your source water to help gain clues as to what could be causing poor water quality. However, with this stocking list, I wouldn't doubt that your Nitrate would be as high as it is, even if you do regular maintenance.>
with regards
<I hope this helps, Max. Please do write back if you have further questions after reading.
--Melinda><<Well done Melinda. BobF>>

Discus fin rot!  6/8/10
Hi crew,
One of my discus has what I think is fin rot just above what would be his forehead. Part of the fin looks like it is deteriorating and has something white on it (definitely not ich). I've quarantined him in a ten gallon tank. I've never
had a fish with fin rot, but I don't know how else to describe what I'm seeing, nor do I know how to treat. I've got eight discus total. The other seven seem fine. The sick one first got my attention because he wasn't eating.
Please help!
Thank you,
<Hello Pat. Without a photo it's difficult to diagnose this. Possibilities include Finrot, Mouth Fungus and Hexamita. Finrot typically begins on the fins as bloody swellings that eventually decay into the raggedy fins we associate with the disease. Mouth Fungus -- actually a bacterial infection also called Columnaris -- is more common around the mouth, as you'd expect.
Distinguishing it from Finrot isn't easy, but Mouth Fungus tends to look fibrous, hence the analogy with Fungus. Hexamita is a parasitic infection that may or may not be responsible for Hole-in-the-Head disease. Discus, like all cichlids, are prone to both straightforward Hexamita infections and Hole-in-the-Head, the latter appearing as white pits in the head that suppurate over time, releasing dead white goo. Does this help any? Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Discus fin rot!
Hi Neale,
<Hello Pat,>
I don't see anything around his mouth. I also don't see any holes anywhere (head or body). When I described the location as being above his "forehead", I was attempting to describe the location of the affected "fins". The affected fins are the ones that form what sort of look like "spikes" or "fingers". Having said that, the affected area is approximately in the middle of this "spike" area.
<Finrot should look very distinctive. The fin membrane decays from the outside edge inwards, so the profile of the fin becomes ragged. Usually, the fin rays stick out beyond the receding fin membrane. You usually see red or at least orange/white specks on the fins where blood vessels have become congested, especially near the base of the fin.>
Now, this morning, I got out my flashlight so that I could get a real good look at him, and to look for the red swelling you described. I no longer see any white "fungus" looking stuff at the base of the fins. The fins look a lot better although a little like part of them has "melted away" ?
<Fin membranes and eventually fin rays can, will fall away as the infection progresses. Given good water quality, a healthy diet, and if necessary medication, fins heal back very quickly.>
The fish seems to have improved in appearance. Is this possible.
He's still not eating and I think one of the other seven isn't eating as well.
<Stress, including social stress through bullying, can make fish vulnerable to secondary infections. Finrot often follows on from aggression, though that's uncommon among Discus. But with that said, Discus can be bullies
sometimes, so keep an eye out for it.>
I had Hexamita in a couple of these guys on the 15th of last month. Do you think it might be a recurrence?
<Doesn't sound directly related. Hexamita typically manifests itself though white, stringy faeces, loss of overall condition, and in some cases the appearance of "weeping" pits on the head.>
Thank you for your help and patience with me
<Cheers, Neale.>

Discus hanging in corner, beh., hlth.  -- 5/17/10
Hi crew,
Last Monday that I moved my eight Turquoise Discus to my 240.
They all seem to be doing fine, but one hangs in one of the corners and I don't really see him eat even when the food passes right by his nose.
He seems to be the runt.
<Perhaps. But do be aware of the symptoms of worm infections, e.g., Camallanus, and also Discus Plague.>
He doesn't seem to be getting skinny, but he also doesn't seem to be growing like the rest. I also thought I saw white poop coming out of him soon after the move.
<A common symptom of Hexamita infections, treated using Metronidazole.
Prompt treatment is essential. Although contagious, it's likely latent in all farmed cichlids, and only becomes problematic under certain circumstances, typically stress, non-zero nitrate levels and/or the use of a poor quality diet. I wouldn't treat the other Discus unless they were obviously sickly. Note that Metronidazole needs a clean aquarium to work well, so remove as much organic detritus from the aquarium and filter as possible.>
Any ideas?
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Discus hanging in corner -- 5/18/10

Hi crew,
I've isolated the discus in a ten gallon bare bottom quarantine tank with a product called Parasite Clear.
<Never used this, so can't comment from personal experience.>
After I contacted you, I noticed 2 more not eating so I've included them in with the first one. The remaining 5 are really eating aggressively. The package lists the following ingredients:
The package does not state quantities.
The directions say to add one tablet per 10 gallons of water.
My question is:
How long do I need to treat these fish?
<Follow the instructions on the packaging. Doing otherwise rarely helps.>
Again, the only symptoms are not eating. Their fins are erect, not held close to their body, respiration seems normal. I mentioned that I saw white poop, perhaps I should watch for poop in the ten gallon. It shouldn't be
too difficult since it's bare bottom.
Thank you very much for your help!
<Do read the articles linked to last time. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Discus hanging in corner  5/24/10

Hi crew,
I'm happy to report that my sick discus are eating today after just 24 hours after being treated with API General Cure which contains 250mg of Metronidazole!
<Ah, good>
After 4 days treatment of Parasite Clear, I wasn't seeing any improvement.
I found another LFS about 90 miles away that still didn't have exactly what I was looking for, but better than what I was using.
I changed out all the water from the ten gallon quarantine tank, refilled with fresh water from my 240 gallon tank, added the medicine and fish at about 11:30 AM yesterday. As of 2:00 PM today all 3 fish are eating. There is still 3 more days of treatment based on the directions, but I was so excite, I wanted to share the good news!
<Thank you for doing so... and do continue to monitor water quality, do such change-outs. Cheers, BobF> 
Re: Discus hanging in corner, now FW quarantine   5/25/10

Hi crew,
I can't remember ever having fish survive a quarantine procedure. When its complete, do I just remove them from the quarantine tank and reintroduce them to the display?
<Is the standard method for freshwater fishes... Though some folks use the opportunity to run them through prophylactic dips/baths...>
Or should I do a 100% water change on the quarantine tank (using display tank water), and allow them more Time?
Thank you!
<Welcome. BobF>

Sick discus, help !!!!!!!!
Sick Discus  3/8/10

I have a sick discus and I'm pretty sure he has Hexamita he has white stringy feces and is not eating one fish make that two fish have already died the pet store gave me some Metro. But I'm not sure how to properly administer this ??? the website where I found you says soak food in 1 percent metro 1 percent of what ??? how much metro is that ??? a teaspoon tablespoon in terms of quantity I don't know ???? and what do I put some Metro in a cup and throw fish cube in it and just let it soak in the fridge??? I also read 250mg of Metro directly into the water per every 10 to 20 gallons ???? I'm greatly confused I don't anymore fish to die please help !!!!!! Thanks, Freddie Baigen
< If your discus is eating , then getting the medication into the food is the best treatment. Check the ingredients for the medicated foods at the fish store. If they don't have it then you can buy it online at Drsfostersmith.com. You can also buy the medication to add to the water directly. In the meantime I would recommend a 50% water change, clean the filters and vacuum the gravel. Organic matter seams to interfere with medications.-Chuck>

Discus fin rot 11/11/09
Dear Crew,
<Hello Victor,>
First I must thank you for your helpful site.
<Glad you enjoy.>
However, I am still facing a problem.
My discus in my 33 gallon tank are currently suffering from fin rot.
<Do review water quality first and foremost, and also think about any sources of physical damage, such as fin nipping, fighting, or careless handling by the fishkeeper. These are almost always the root causes of
The tank is a 33 gallon with 3 discus, the largest with a diameter of 5 inches, and a Raphael catfish.
<This tank could easily be overstocked, depending on the size of the fish and how much food you're adding.>
It is a planted tank, ph 7, nitrate 40 (it never seems to change even after water changes) and I do 2-3 20% water changes a week.
<I see.>
I also recently added a CO2 thing in October.
<This shouldn't in itself cause Finrot, but rapid changes in pH can be stressful, so check this. Do also remember than biological filtration works best at pH 7.5; as pH drops, biological filtration works less well, and below pH 6, it stops working altogether. So if the pH drops too far below 7, you can easily have spikes of nitrite and ammonia.>
I have tried using Pimafix and nothing has happened.
<Largely useless tea-tree oil remedy. Do use a proper medication, e.g., eSHa 2000, Maracyn, etc.>
Earlier, like September I saw their fins starting to get a bit ragged, but now they are starting to miss chunks of their fins. I am very worried because they never got fin rot, even before in their old overcrowded tank
of 20 gallon. What could be the cause of the loss of their fins?
<See above.>
Thank you, Victor
<Cheers, Neale.>

Metronidazole for breeding pair... Symphysodon   9/16/09
Dear Crew
We have been doing a lot of reading, and are still somewhat confused about the dosage for Metronidazole.
We have a breeding pair of Red Turquoises and have had them for about 3 months now. The male went off his food quite a few weeks ago and had white stringy poo, so we treated him with Octozin by Waterlife. His symptoms improved and we thought he started eating again. We also treated the female with Octozin and then put the pair back together.
<Never found Octozin terribly useful, to be honest.>
In the last couple of weeks however, we have noticed that he is taking in food and then spitting it out again and swimming off rather than eating the smaller pieces of food. We also have not noticed him poo at all. He is dark in colour and hanging at the top of the tank.
<Sounds like Hexamita or similar; do review things like diet, water temperature, and nitrate concentration, all relevant facts where cichlids are concerned.>
We read that the most likely thing to be wrong is flagellates and the best treatment for this is Metronidazole, however we have found many conflicting methods for dosage.
<Optimal dosage is quoted in milligrams per kilogram of fish weight. The fish can then be *fed* the precise amount of medication required for proper effect. Because so few people know how heavy their fish are, fishkeepers tend to go with a milligram per litre dosage instead, e.g., 250 mg per 37.5 litres/10 US gallons (you will find both higher and lower dosages recommended in the literature). But with the best will in the world, this is a rough-and-ready approach. Your vet will have a listed dosage in milligrams per kilogram fish weight, and you'd be best going along with that.>
We live in the UK and have obtained 200mg tablets from our local vet. We have the pair in a 100litre tank, all water parameters are fine and we are raising the temperature to 32 degrees C (as we read that Metronidazole will not work at temperatures lower than this) Currently it is at 30 degrees and the male's colour has already improved, although his stress bars are still visible. Please could you advise us what the optimum course of treatment for Discus would be.
We were also wondering if there was any information regarding whether this drug affects the fertility of fish, in particular Discus, as we recently found out that Acriflavine can cause fish to become sterile.
<Not heard of any such side effects re: Metronidazole, but an infertile fish is certainly better than a dead one, so can't imagine this being an issue as such.>
Thank you for your time, look forward to hearing from you.
Joe and Harriotte.
<Cheers, Neale.>

help Hexamita problem ?? Discus dis. f'   8/18/09
Hi crew,
Firstly thanks a ton for the previous times you guys have helped and the way the site is kept up. Ok have two queries...
1. My discus in a planted tank seem to have got Hexamita (seems) attaching some pics along. The fish have very good appetite and am feeding them freeze dried blood worms, freeze dried Tubifex, NLS spectrum Thera +A , NLS discs formula, NLS spectrum grow.
<None of which have medicinal value for treating Octomita/Hexamita>
Tank size is 48' * 18 * 18'. Water is changed twice weekly 30% with RO water . PH is a 6.8 mainly due to the driftwood.
Ammonia is 0. Filtration is by 2 Eheim 2217 canister filters which house sponge in one and carbon with Zeolite in another. Water temperature is kept at 28 degrees with the help of a Jager 300 watt heater. Lighting consists of
6 compact fluorescents of 30 watts each.
All the rest of the fish that include Angels
<A poor idea to mix these with Symphysodon... see WWM, books re>
and Ramirezi are thriving. the
discus do get ample of food and still are getting paper thin, with black spots or pepper on the body. There is no aggression in the tank so far. It has been up and running for the past 11 months now. Feces of the smaller discus are a little pale but not white completely. My LFS sent me
Hexamita clear medicine, as he has seen remarkable results with it . You can
check the stuff at http://www.bigfish88.com/ .
<The ingredients are not listed... little is in English...>
Would like to know if I should start giving Metrogyl
<What is this? Metronidazole hopefully>
and Nitrofuranace to the fish.
2. My 2 inch FH has a bloated stomach, is of food and sitting on the bottom of the tank. Prior to this I did see white stringy knotted feces hanging from him. Just bought this guy 10 days back. H is in a temporary tank of 36'* 18 '* 18' with two Aquael unfiltered 1000. Temp is at 30 degree PH is 7.5 ,ammonia is 0. I have done 50% and then next day 30% water change now added Metrogyl 500mg (IV form) 50 ml and Nitrofuranace to the tank as he is not eating. Have cleaned the filters also. Attaching pics f him also.
Need help.
Abhishek Singh Gaur
Adios Amigos.
<... you crashed our mail server, by sending 30 some Megs of images...
100's of Kbytes is all we allow. Follow directions... Read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: help Hexamita problem ??  8/18/09
Hi Bob,
Yes Metrogyl is Metronidazole I have it in IV form of 500mg concentration.
<Ahh, so, I take it you will be injecting this... rather than hoping to administer via ingestion>
The angels were put in on request of my daughter, but they are going to the LFS as planned.
<Ah good>
Sorry about the crash caused will send the pics again.
<No need>
still waiting for a reply to my second query.
<Please see WWM (again) re Octomita... and Metronidazole... can't be just  added to the water... BobF> 

Discus Not Growing   7/23/09
Hi, I have a 75-gallon tank with 5 Discus, a Uaru, a Rummynose, and a small assortment of various Cory catfish. The Discus and, especially, the Uaru, are growing nicely; however, one of the two Cobalt Blue Discus I have is as small as he was when I got him and the others about 9 months ago. Even the one that is growing is doing so at a very slow pace, but at least he's growing. The runt, or "little guy," which is what I tend to refer to him as, seems to be eating his fair share of food, which consists primarily of frozen blood worms (mosquito larvae), brine shrimp, and plankton, during every feeding. Also, the water is always crystal clear and kept at a steady 82 degrees, at times, 83 or even 84 on the really hot days of Summer. 30% water changes are done once a week as well. All things considered, in addition to him acting healthy and his colors being so vibrant, I am stumped as to why the "little guy" is not growing. I say, "little guy," but, for all I know, he could very well be a she. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. Regards, Gregg
< Three things could be the cause. The first is nutrition. With a varied diet like that, nutrition should not be the problem unless he is being chased away from the food and actually getting less food than the other
fish.. The second is water quality. High nitrogenous wastes interfere with the growth of young fish. High protein diets do produce lots of this waste. The ammonia and nitrites should be zero and the nitrates should be under 20 ppm. <<Much lower. RMF>>  The last is genetics. In the wild small fish are removed from the gene pool by predators. No such predators are usually found in an aquarium. Most commercial discus breeders sell everything they produce with little concern for long term results. I'm afraid you just may have a runt.-Chuck>

Discus with white poop - weighing options -- 06/12/09
Hello Crew,
Not long ago I got two new Stendker Discus from Discus Hans in Baltimore.
They are in an established 75 gallon tank, pH 7.6, temp 82, GH 8 degrees, ammonia=0, nitrite=0, nitrate=10ppm. Tankmates are two other discus, a few tetras, 4 cories, and 2 small Plecos.
<I'm not wild about mixing Corydoras with Discus; with the exception of Corydoras sterbai, most traded Corydoras prefer cooler water than Discus, so one or other species ends up being stressed and has a shorter life than otherwise.>
I noticed a couple days ago that the larger of the two fish (5") became less interested in food and began spitting out the blood worms I have been feeding them. Today I noticed that the fish had a white poop coming out and had little or no interest in eating.
<Well, most fish prefer a variation of food, and will bore of any one thing. So if you're keeping Discus, it's a good idea to cycle bloodworms, brine shrimps, earthworms, daphnia, flake foods and pellets through the
week. Beef heart is an old stand-by, and you can add this to your frozen food collection, though aquarists tend to use this food sparingly rather than the as the staple that it once was. Letting fish starve for 24 hours
does them no harm at all, and often they take foods willingly afterwards that they otherwise ignored.>
I did some research on the discus forums online and of course as is the case with nearly any issue like this, there are as many different diagnoses and cures being suggested as there are people posting. I don't want to
blindly medicate the fish, but from what I read, the problem seems to either be Hexamita or intestinal worms depending on who you ask. My questions are as follows:
<Hexamita infections are quite common among tank-bred cichlids, and some argue they're ubiquitous, and merely switch from being harmless to lethal only if environmental conditions and/or diet shortcomings allow.>
1. I think hex is the more likely scenario. Do you agree, or do you think worms more likely, or do you think it would be better to medicate for both types of parasites.
<I'd go with Metronidazole first, since the copious production of pale (mucous-rich) faeces is a classic symptom of Hexamita infection.>
2. If I medicate the entire tank with Metronidazole or Praziquantel, will either of these medications affect the biological filtration of the tank?
<Used correctly, the filter should be unharmed; the one treats Protozoans, the other helminths, and neither is strongly anti-bacterial.>
3. I have not had good luck saving any other fish that I have removed to an outside tank and medicated. If I do nothing, do you think there is any chance the fish could recover on its own?
<Cichlids rarely recover from Hexamita infections on their own; it's almost always lethal unless treated early on.>
4. If I medicate the fish in a separate, uncycled tank, would I be able to use Amquel to keep ammonia in check, or would using Amquel adversely affect the potency of the medication?
<Would treat all the fish together on the assumption cross-contamination is likely, even probable.>
Thanks for your help.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Help me (Symphysodon; mystery deaths) 6/6/09
Hello dear Neale,
<Hello again,>
How are you? I hope you will be fine there. Neale I have 4 discus in my tank of 90 gallon.
<Should be kept in groups of six or more; in smaller groups, Discus tend to be bullies, until just one mated pair is left, and the others are so battered they have to be removed.>
Neale I am used to feed them twice a day and they finish all of them in 2 to 3 minutes. Neale today my small discus died and I observed it from last 2 days it was showing in balance in its movement while swimming.
<I need more information that this. What's the water chemistry? What's the water quality? To recap, Discus need 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, less than 20 mg/l nitrate, less than 10 degrees dH hardness, and a steady pH somewhere between 6 and 7.5.>
I think it died due to swim bladder disease or due to the constipation problem?
<Neither is likely. Discus aren't especially prone to constipation, and on the usual diet of good quality flake foods plus frozen (or live) invertebrates should do very well. "Swim Bladder Disease" is a catch-all name given by some hobbyists to a range of different things. Almost always, when fish die from what people think is "Swim Bladder Disease", they actually died because of something else. For example, water quality problems, inadequate diet, etc. In the case of Discus, you can add to this pH stress when people try to keep them in soft water without using a buffer, and starvation, when Discus are forced to compete with more active fish. Discus are sensitive to certain parasites carried by Angelfish, and if the two species are mixed, Discus may sicken and die. Not always, but sometimes. So how the Discus are kept prior to you purchasing them matters as well.>
I don't know Neale what happened wrong? Water condition is perfect. Please tell me that what is swim bladder and constipation problem and how can we cure our fish? What is the cause of these two diseases? How can we prevent them? I am very much depressed why is these disease are so common in fish? Please help me, waiting for your reply.
Thank you,
Ali Zaheer
<Much written about Symphysodon, here:
Good luck, Neale.>

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! Neale.>

Discus with I believe with HLLE (yep!)  11/05/08 Hi I have a 75 gal tank with 8 Discus four are the size of the picture I am sending and the remaining being silver dollar in size. Filtration is a Penguin BioWheel 350 filtered with Bio ceramic filter balls and filter cartridges w/activated carbon, second one is a whisper filter 60 gal that I use filter cartridges with. 1 airstone. Gravel1-1 1/2" deep. Artificial silk plants. Feeding is as follows: San Fran Bay Frozen Spirulina Brine shrimp, San Fran Bay frozen beef heart, Beef heart flakes, Hikari bio encapsulated w/vitamins bloodworms, Hikari microwafers, frozen plankton, omega one color flakes, omega one vitamin flakes, Tetra cichlid sticks. I dose the water with VitaChem once a week and add to frozen food. I vary the food giving flakes and frozen everyday and feed 4-5 times a day. Water parameters today are: AMM- 0, Nitrite- 0.3, PH- 7.5, temp- 85 degrees. Water changes are done once a week at 75% change with Kordon NovAqua Plus. I want to make sure this is HLLE I noticed Sunday clear matter floating around like poop but totally transparent note all fish have normal poo.  This was discovered on fish yesterday added salt and this morning it is worse can you let me if I am correct in HLLE and I've read the threads metro is what I should use. The first picture is yesterday, next two are today. <Greetings. This does indeed look very much like Head-and-Lateral-Line-Erosion, or HLLE. This disease is "caused" by one of two things, possibly working in combination, though the precise details are obscure. The Hexamita parasite is at least partially involved, and while normally associated with problems with the digestive tract (commonly observed as white, stringy feces due the excess mucous production) the parasites somehow can spread to the surface of the fish under certain situations. Once that happens they cause the sensory pits on the head and flanks to become infected and ultimately the pits decay, causing the tell-tale wounds we call Hole-in-the-Head (HITH) or HLLE, depending on where the wounds are seen. It is possible Hexamita is latent in many fish, and only under specific situations does it become a problem, and both diet and water quality seem to be extremely probable triggering factors. With cichlids, any nitrate level about 20 mg/l seems to lead to a, elevated risk of HLLE/HITH. Every cichlid I have ever seen with the disease was in an overcrowded tank or one with infrequent water changes, and this is based partly on observations of my own mistakes! Bob Fenner has also written convincingly about the appearance of HLLE/HITH in marine fish as being closely related to lack of vitamins. Herbivorous fish are particularly prone to receiving inadequate diets, and cichlids are overwhelmingly at least partially herbivorous in the wild. Even fish-eating cichlids will be consuming herbivorous fish, and in that way consuming the plant material in the guts of their prey. Tinned peas, Spirulina flake and cooked spinach are usually taken by even the most carnivorous cichlids. So while the immediate treatment is Metronidazole, long term you need to review water quality and diet, and see if there's anything there you can improve. Cheers, Neale.>

Sick discus- Discus Not Eating 06/15/08 I have an 8 month old discus that was very healthy last week no it is not eating and is pooping clear I read it could be internal parasites but what can cure it ? Please don't say metro because I've been reading that it don't really solve the problem? Please I don't him to die Thanks < Check the water quality of the tank. Ammonia and nitrites should be zero and the nitrates should be under 20 ppm for domesticated discus and under 10 ppm for wild discus. The water temp should be around 80 to 82 F. If these look OK then do a 50-30% water change and vacuum the gravel. Clean the filter too. Now that the environmental factors have been addressed we can look at some of the others. In the wild discus actually eat algae and very small aquatic invertebrates. Sometimes commercial foods are too rich for their long intestinal tracks. These foods may cause a blockage. Now the bacteria in the gut start to break down the food instead of the fish's body absorbing it. As the bacteria grow and multiply it extends the gut of the fish and stresses the rest of the body. Not too many medications can be absorbed into the fish's body. If too much time goes by then no medication will work because the infection has gotten too large. The bacteria or other parasites grow faster than the medication can kill it. Other factors include organics in the water. Many medications are absorbed by the activated carbon in the filter or by the mulm found in the gravel. When not treated effectively the bacteria and other parasites can build up a resistance to any medication and will make it totally ineffective. Metronidazole is a reasonable treatment. It needs to be done early and often. You may have already waited too long for any treatment to work at this time. If you want to believe the other source that Metronidazole doesn't work, then I have heard that Clout or a triple dose of Furanace has worked on occasion.-Chuck>

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.>

Ick, FW... Discus incl.  -03/27/08 Hello, I have discus and cardinal tetra in a 44 gallon tank. The tetras have the ich white spots. As soon as I noticed them I raised the tank temperature to 82-84 removed the carbon filter and treated with Rid-Ich. After several days and treatments the ich was still on them. I then did a 50% water change and began treating with super ich treatment. The discus appeared to be stressed so after two days put filter back in and did water change. Cardinals still have white spots but not noticeable on Discus. What can I use to get rid of the Ich and not harm or stress the discus? Any assistance you can give me would be greatly appreciated. Susan <Hi Susan. There's really no magic to Ick medications, and when they don't work, it's either because the disease was misidentified (e.g., it's Velvet, not Ick) or else the medication was used improperly (e.g., wrong concentration, without removing carbon, etc.). So check these things; it's easy to make mistakes. Next up, I'd recommend trying alternate brands of medication. I've found some medications much less effective than others in some instances. I'm not a huge fan of raising the temperature when using copper/formalin medications IF the Ick problem is being dealt with early on. The standard operating temperature for Discus is around 28C/82F, and that should be ample warmth to speed the Ick life cycle to under a week. Raising the temperature makes more sense with coldwater/subtropical fish where the life cycle takes longer. Because Ick damages the gill membranes, the combo of high temperature (= low oxygen) coupled with the Ick damage can lead to breathing problems for the fish. In any case, removing carbon shouldn't be causing distress to your fish. If you have so much organic material being dumped into the aquarium that the water turns nasty within a few days, you have bigger problems than Ick! Seriously, carbon plays no particularly useful role in freshwater aquaria so I wouldn't bother with it. Do always check that "modules" in filters don't have hidden carbon sachets. Carbon exists in the hobby primarily as a way for manufacturers to extract cash from consumers, and they love to build in carbon (costs pennies) into filters to force inexperienced consumers to buy new carbon modules every month. Almost every time I've experienced or been told about Ick medication not working, it's been because there was carbon somewhere in the system. Cheers, Neale.>

Sick Discus questions ???  3/12/08 Hello, My Grandson & I have a sick Blue Cobalt Discus. We noticed him hiding in a hollow resin log the other day, and he's also stopped eating. He's lost some of his color, and his eye's have gone from red to jet-black. Today, we noticed two small lesions just above the mouth, look almost like two nostrils (hole in the head ?); His eyes are beginning to bug out a bit as well. The other Discus in the tank seem to be in great health, so we decided to put the little guy in the hospital tank. I have the temp in the hospital tank turned up to approx. 88 F. with good aeration and a dose of "General Cure" in the water. He is also exhibiting symptoms of internal parasites, white trailing fecal matter. The fish in question is young, barely 2" in length, that's being generous. Can you please tell me if I should be treating him/her with anything additionally ? Thanks in advance for your time, Dan & Gabe. <Does sound like Hole-in-the-Head. Do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwhllefaqs.htm  Usually treated with Metronidazole in the food, though there are some off the shelf medications as well, e.g., eSHa Hexamita 'Discus Disease'. Regardless, this is difficult to cure in very small fish, and you must certainly treat promptly to have any chance of success. Do also remember HITH is triggered by environmental issues even if a parasite is the problem. Water quality, particularly nitrates, are a common triggering factor with cichlids. Cheers, Neale.>

Discus plague   3/5/08 Dear sirs, I am a discus keeper from Macedonia. I have been keeping discus fish for many years very successfully. Recently, I made a huge mistake in keeping discus. I have a 450l tank with all equipment needed. I kept my fish at 86F, performed regular water changes and everything was perfect. <Very good.> A week ago I went to a local pet store seeing a new discus imported fish from Asia. I could not resist the fish colour and I bought two new fish for my tank. I owned six semi-adult discus in my tank which were a good size of 15cm in diameter. I made a disastrous mistake of introducing the new fish in my tank without putting the new ones in quarantine first. <Uh-oh...!> I had a severe outbreak of Discus Plague in my tank. All my fish get sick with symptoms of darkening of their colour, hiding in the corner of the tank with clamped fins and finally swimming in disoriented way. <Could be 'Discus Plague' but do remember: many other diseases cause the same symptoms. A lot of people blame Discus Plague, but unless you are a microbiologist or a vet, actually confirming that Discus Plague is to blame is impossible. So you must be broad minded. Check water chemistry and water quality. Think about other disease-causing organisms that could be to blame, such as Hexamita. Toxic chemicals can also cause similar problems; for example paint fumes. Also check the behaviour of other fish in the tank. Loricariid catfish such as Plecs for example will sometimes decide to suck on the mucous on the side of the Discus. Needless to say this causes intense stress, and a stressed Discus is not a healthy Discus! So be sensible and look at the big picture rather than *assuming* it is Discus Plague.> The new two fish were not so inflicted so I returned them to the store. After few days of fighting with the virus I decided to stop my fish from misery. Now I only have my albino and long fin albino Bristlenose Plecos in my tank and I am continuing to perform massive water changes to clean the tank from the reminders of the virus. My Plecos did not get ill as they are not inflicted with the discus diseases. Can Plecos carry the disease? <Unlikely; but I wouldn't keep Plecs with Discus anyway for the reason mentioned above.> I am planning to reintroduce a new discus fish in my tank as the tank is without any discus now. How long would last to be safe to put new fish in the tank? <I would tend to remove all the fish if possible, and run a course of anti-protozoan medications and then a course of anti-bacteria medications. While doing this, remember to keep adding occasional pinches of fish food so the filter bacteria have something to "eat".> Should I medicate the tank with something before introducing new group of fish? <I would, yes.> Thank you in advance for your answer. Yours Igor! <Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: DISCUS AND AMMONIA SPIKE AFTERMATH... induced Discus prob.s, hypochondria... reading  2/1/08 Hi , thanks for your response <... where is the prev. corr.?> to my ammonia issue I bought the AmQuel + and that has resolved the ammonia( chloramine in my tap water at H20 changes), can I use this everyday at water changes the bottle says to wait 24 hours between applications and since I need to do wc everyday is it ok. <Can be used daily, continuously if necessary> Second question is I noticed that one of my discus has two small white spots on his caudal fin, treated with combo formalin and malachite green per directions for three days (whole tank) <!? VERY toxic... I would NOT place formalin in a biological system> with wc of 20% each day, also the carbon was removed. <Likely all your biological filtration/nitrifiers have been wiped out> However on the second day of treatment I noticed that the fish looked like they had Finrot and on two of them they appeared to have swollen abdomens, as well as red around the nose area. <Effects of formalin poisoning and nitrogenous waste exposure...> I did a 65% wc and replaced the carbon. My nitrites spiked to 0.3mg/l and the ph was at 7.8 which is normally 7.6. I should mention that the tank was setup in late Sept. and was cycled properly (AQUACLEAR 110) but I live in an area where we are experiencing more frequent power outages and I am not always at home so the time the filter is down is not always noted. I have a 75 gal, with two filters a BioWheel 330 and a AquaClear 110 the latter was the original and it was the one that I turned off (fear of media had become anaerobic) after an outage of 4 hours in late Dec. <Likely so> which meant the BioWheel was only cycled for about 3 weeks and on its own. I Have since put some filter media in from a well established tank on Tues. of this week can't find BioSpira even on the Marineland site says error when click to buy. Could this and the combo of the ammonia (that is in tap water) spike caused this problem in my tank with my fish. <Yes> Could it be a bacterial infection. <Is this a question?> This is all the symptoms that my fish are displaying dark colored, clamped fins, as of today they don't look swollen in the abdomen, Finrot looks a little better gave 1 treatment of parasite clear tank buddies by jungle active ingred. ( Praziquantel, Diflubenzuron, Metronidazole and Acriflavine) <... for?> and redness around their nose area. What to do next I haven't done anymore Rx only added salt <? On Symphysodon? A poor idea> and have kept lights off and feeding sparingly they haven't seemed to have lost their appetite at all. Thanks in advance. <Uhh, I'd stop pouring in medications (you're killing these animals with same) and invest your money and time in educating yourself... There are quite a few good Discus books about, and some useful information on the Net re the genus. Ours: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/discusfish.htm  and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>  

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