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FAQs on Discus Trauma

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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,


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.>

Injured discus -- 06/29/07 Hi Crew! Bob here, I have a question concerning one of my 5 Discus. This one happens to be the king of the tank! I think it's a male, still on the juvie side though. The fish was startled and ran into a piece of driftwood in my 55 gallon planted tank. <Out of fright? Fighting?> I see several scrapes on one side some areas have small amounts of tissue hanging loose, so it appears to go deeper than the scales. I have a huge concern of bacterial infection, thought it may be better to prevent than to wait and treat. <Likely, yes> It would be difficult to quarantine the fish, my 10 Q tank is in use with some new fish, but if necessary I could go ahead and put the new fish in a 55 community tank I have. Should I treat? With what? You know, I have penicillin 500 mg and Cephalexin 500 mg but have don't know how to dose a fish. I'm reading a study done on bacterial infection in fish and antibiotics, Penicillin was used with good success. Thank you for being there to help, it means a lot! Bob <Mmm, I would hold off at this point re treatment per se... Keep up your maintenance regime... the Penicillin will not likely do anything... the Cephalexin could cause more trouble than it's worth... Bob Fenner.>

Re: injured discus -- 06/29/07 Bob here again. I have a picture of the fish to go with my questions. Hope they catch up with each other. You can see the scrapes on it's side. Thanks again! <Good pic... and I definitely would hold off on treatment. Bob Fenner>

Re: injured discus  6/30/07 Thanks Bob, fish does look better today. I will be removing the driftwood with shape edges and keeping an eye on this fish. <Ah, good. Judging from the pic you sent along, and your general conscientiousness, I think all will be well here> Scares the heck out of me seeing these fish do that! This incident bring up an on going problem I am having with these fish, they startle so easily, then take off ramming into anything in the tank, I may be on the other side of the room. <Mmm, you might consider darkening one or more end/back of this tank... paper, dark vinyl-based paint.... can be removed at some later date... The diminished reflected light will do a great deal of good here> I hand feed them trying to develop some trust but one fish will brush up to another, unseen, he jumps then the whole bunch shoots off cowering behind plants. I thought removing some of the more active tank mates would help, so far I have removed 3 YoYo loaches and almost all of the school of Zebra Danios. Two Zebras remain as I just couldn't catch them without totally stressing them all. <These ditherfish are of benefit... I'd leave them in> I'm trying a fish trap right now. At this time it has had little effect. The only other remaining tank mates are a pair of Bristlenose Plecos, one Oto cat and a number of Red Cherry and Ghost shrimp. I have 6 Rummynose Tetras and 5 Otos in the QT tank to add to the 55 discus tank next week. Discus range from 3/12" to 5", 2 Blue Diamonds and 3 Marlboro Reds, they seem to get along well, a lot of head butting, tail slapping, nothing ever gets serious. <Mmm, they will need more room... particularly if, more likely when, two of them pair off...> I was hoping the Rummies would help calm the Discus a bit. I have no idea what to do next. Valium for fish? <A few "things"... more cover, space, time-experience...> As far as my tank condition: I do a 50% water change and vacuum every week Temp 82 PH 6.8- 7.0 the breeder recommends 7.0 <Mmm, no higher than this... I would say 6.5 or so...> GH 8 KH 4 Nitrite and ammonia 0 Nitrate 20ppm <This is more than I'd allow... no more than this> I add CO2 and dose ferts, the tank is planted kinda on the dense side. <Welcome. BobF>

A Marine (Water Quality) and a Freshwater (Discus Injury) Question - 04/22/06 Hello, and many 'thank you's' for all the wonderful help you've provided me over the years! <<Howdy...and you're welcome>> I have two concerns that call for your brand of expertise: <<Alrighty>> 1) My 55gal reef tank has quite a layer of 'scum' on the surface and has had quite an algae problem over the last week or so and 2) My discuss is breathing better and I'm wondering if he's going to keep on keeping on or what. <<Okay...lets split these queries up and tackle one at a time, shall we?>> Reef details: I recently (3 months ago) moved from having very good water (20ppm total hardness strait out of the tap) to having very hard water (340ppm out of the tap). <<Mmm, indeed...though should be a moot point if you are filtering your tap water before use>> Our area is also home to a very large phosphates mine-I don't know if this could effect the water supply, but I thought I'd throw it in just in case. <<Ah yes, there is likely a huge excess of phosphate in the ground water>> Until about 3 weeks ago I hadn't had any problems. <<Building up in your system over time>> Then I got a slight scum on the surface that lasted a couple days and went away...for a week...to be replaced with a worse scum for 3 to 5 days and went away...for 5 days or so...to be replaced by the current scum layer which continues to get worse as the days go by.  My surface skimmer is drawing just fine, I have about 780gph turn over in my tank, and my skimmer is only producing about 1/2 cup of dark skimmate every day. <<Hmm...is curious that the surface skimmer can't handle/remove the "scum">> I'm replacing 2gal. of top off daily that is filtered through a PUR-tm faucet filter. <<Ahh...herein lies the problem.  This filter is inadequate for your needs, it is neither designed nor intended to filter water to the quality you need for your reef tank.  It may have proved adequate with your previous tap water supply, but it seems obvious you need something with "more power" now.  Do look in to either an RO/DI or Kati/Ani filtration system...can make all the difference here>> I need to replace the 10000K 250w MH as it is around a year to year-and-half old. <<I doubt these are your problem...probably even have a few more months of useful life to them>> I also have 130w CFL super-actinics that are about 3 month old.  I have about 15 sm. snails of varying types and about the same number of sm. hermits.  The bioload is 1--3" Coral beauty angel, 1--2 1/2" Yellow watchman goby, 1 Fire goby, 1--2" Ocellaris clownfish, 1 med. coral banded shrimp, 1 pr. skunk shrimp, 3 peppermint shrimp, 1--2" sea hare (not the normal species...smaller and bright green).  Soft corals include: sm. Stolonifera, 8 anthelia polyps, and various mushroom, Xeniid, and Kenya tree frags.  I also have a 3" bubble tip anemone. <<Ugh...you were doing so well up to this point <G>.  I hate to see motile invertebrates housed with sessile invertebrates...especially in a small system such as yours>> Discus details: During the move (three months ago) the largest and most hale of my four 3" discuss managed to make a dive for the floor during transfer from the transport tank to the show tank. <<Ouch!>> From that point on he's been sickly and dark, and his gill covers have been unevenly distended. <<Likely suffered some physical trauma>> His right was hardly moving and the left was always twice as open as the other discuss.  Well, four or five days ago he started hiding in the back and got really dark...trouble signs...and I was about to separate him to his own hospital tank, when, two days ago, I noticed that he was back up front, lightening up, and HIS GILLS WERE BOTH WORKING! <<Yea!>> Well, he's kept a better color, though still not his best by a long shot, and he's still using both gills equally.  Do you have any idea what happened? <<Specifically?...no...but it's obvious he suffered injury/stress from the fall to the floor...and appears to be recuperating nicely on his own>> Thanks for both helps. Branon. <<Cheers my friend, EricR>>

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