Discus becoming skittish

Discussion in 'Technical' started by Laracroft, Feb 24, 2011.

  1. Laracroft

    Laracroft

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    Dear Dirk

    Could you please help me with the following discus problem?

    I would appreciate your assistance.

    Kind regards,

    Marijke

    Where do you stay?: JHB - Roodepoort
    How long have you been keeping tropical fishes?:almost 6 months
    How long have you been keeping discus? round about 4-5months Are these the first discus you keep? No, me and my dad had discus breeding pairs about 18years ago
    Description of the sick fish (age, size, breathing speed):Not sure if they are really sick but lets try. They are all under a year, 2x about 5cm from top fin to bottom fin, 2x 10cm from top fin to bottom fin, 1x 6cm for top to bottom, and 1x 15cm from top to bottom. Only the one is breathig heavily the rest are all breathing fine.
    Describe the problem that the fish is having: (behaviour, breathing, excretion (droppings), food intake, colour):they were all fine, eating like crazy coming out to feed but now they refuse to come out when feeding, they will only come out once I move away from the tank. The excretion are all brown/black but I did notice one of them had white coming out, a from of parasite I think. I feed them tetra bits, bloodworm, live brine shrimp. Only the big guy will eat the the meaty foods, he refuse to eat the dry foods. I am now soaking all the dry food in garlic guard to try and entice him to eat. O I also feed some other dry food that looks like bloodworm but also has garlic and vitamins in. The colour is still good, just the turqous is a bit black but I think its because my lights has given up on me, I have now fixed and the lights will go back on again tonight.
    Has the problem occurred before?: No
    Have you treated the problem and how?:I have change 20% of my water but did not add anything special to treat but seachems stability.
    Have you had any other problems in the past? No What were they? Did you treat for these problems? How?
    When and where did you buy these fishes from and what size were they when you bought them?:I bought them from Bryan at Jungle Acquatics, they were all about 2cm smaller than what they are currently (see above measurements)
    What type of discus are these? Wild or hybrid and which type?:they are hybrid, 2x reds, 2x either golden or snow white can't remember, 1 chekerboard (fighting fish) 1 red turqous
    Your aquarium (Size; what do you have in the aquarium such as logs, stones; plants; gravel; fertilizer use; CO2? etc.): I have 3 logs which the bristlenoses occupy, some plants, gravel, and I use a cannister with also an internal pump
    Your filtration (Type and size of filter, what is in your filter, liters per hour) 1200l per hour
    Aquarium hygiene: (how do you clean your aquarium and your filter, how often do you clean your filter, when last did you clean your filter, when last did you clean your gravel?) I use to clean every 2 weeks and change water with only RO water, I use to put is some Discus buffer and Mineral salt. I change the carbon every two week and filter material also every two week, I vacuum my gravel everytime a change water.
    How many fishes do you have in your tank (discus, their size and other fishes):besides the 6 discus I have two black bristlenoses about 4-5cm, o I nearly forgot, I bought 3 clown loaches but they have all died off, I think this was due to the high temp.
    When did you last buy any new fishes and from where were they bought?:I added another bristlenose about two weeks ago, also from Bryan
    Which food are you feeding and how often do you feed? try and feed as often as possible, morning, mid morning, early afternoon and late at night.
    Water changes? How often, how much, what is the temperature of the water you use for water changes, what is the source of the water (tapwater, well water, borehole water, river water) :I change every two weeks, but since my problem I am anticipating chaning water every week, one week with RO water the other week with tap water. The water is room temp when I through into the tenk and I change 50L.
    Do you prepare your water for water changes? Reverse osmosis, peat filtration, do you add peat extract?:I used to use only RO water, but I dont prepare my water otherwise??
    Water description (smell and colour): no faul smell and the water is tea colour
    Water parameters in your aquarium
    Temperature of the water:30
    General hardness (GH):?
    Carobonate hardness (KH):?
    Nitrite (No2-):0
    Nitrate (No3-):10ppm
    pH-value and how did you measure your pH: 6.8
     
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  3. SHiBBY

    SHiBBY DIY Guru

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    Looking at your symptoms, I experienced EXACTLY the same with my Deacons a while back... I'm still not 100% sure what it was, but I now only have 1 Deacon left :-(

    He seems to be doing fine though. I took out some dodgy driftwood, changed my substrate and built a sump filter that could choke a dinosaur. Also added an air pump. They seem to do wonders in an aquarium!
     
  4. Dirk

    Dirk Dwarf Catfish

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    Hi everyone,

    After a very long day in the office, I would like to reply. PLease be patient with replies at the moment, because I have a very heavy work load at the moment.

    Before I even get to Marijke's problem, I want to reply to Shibby. Although deacons come from the same area as discus, we just simply cannot compare them, Deacons are as tough as nails in comparison to discus, so any comparison just simply does not work.

    I will reply separately to Marijke.

    Kind regards,

    Dirk
     
  5. Dirk

    Dirk Dwarf Catfish

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    Hi Marijke,

    Ok, let us see if I can help.

    Firstly, I do not know how large your aquarium is, so please confirm this.

    Then I think that when you are doing water changes you are not changing a high enough percentage of water as this decides how much you reduce your nitrates. Also the water you are using, once RO and once tap water is going to cause too big fluctuations.

    I would not use carbon at all, you are wasting your time as the quality that is sold is so low that it does not make a difference as it is saturated without 24-48 hours. If you say that you are changing your filter material every two weeks what do you mean. If you change all your filter material you would be removing all bacteria that do biological filtration but I think you mean your filter wool. You do not need to do this as a matter of fact you would be removing the bacteria which would not be good.

    I would never use a seachem buffer on discus, this will harden the water with negative consequences.

    Your diet is a huge problem as it has a shortage of vitamin C, the brine shrimps are ok, but only bw and tetra bits are causing major shortages, see my comments on: http://www.tropicalaquarium.co.za/showthread.php?5469-Discus-food-and-supplies/page3

    and also my feeding recommendations.

    How much are you feeding? You need to feed this lot with 3-4 blocks of bw at a time, if you feed less then only the dominant fish will eat enough food the rest will be underfed.

    How large is your filter?

    I need answers on the above questions before I can make suggestions, but I think you are underfeeding, maybe you have filtration problems and maybe you have a flagellate problem.

    Kind regards,

    Dirk
     
  6. OP
    Laracroft

    Laracroft

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    Thanks for your reply, well needless to say all seems fine. All are back to normal I think the water change did the trick, I will be changing water again this weekend. Should I stick to just RO water change everytime? If so what do I add once i have the RO water in? The tank size is 200L. I also removed a piece of wood as i saw there was some funny stuff growing on it. I have been boiling it, would it be wise to put this piece of wood back again? Another problem that i have is snails, can this cause a problem? How do i get rid of these snails? I am trying my best to get your special mix of beefheart will get back to you on that. The carbon is in the canister filter and also in the internal filter. I have Cascade 600 internal filter and Dolphin cannister C1600 - 120V/230V, 60/50HZ, 1053/1096L/H, 45.5/29W. We feed early morning, just dry forgot the name but it looks like bloodworm, it has spirulina and garlic in, mid morning we feed tetra bits, when I come home at 3;00 I feed bloodword, then round about 7:00 I feed the brine shrimp at the same time I am also giving food to the bristlenoses, which the discus has decicide they like. Hope this helps.

    Marijke
     
  7. Dirk

    Dirk Dwarf Catfish

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    Hi Marijke,

    I am glad to hear that things have improved.

    You should definitely not be doing water changes all the time with only RO water, it contains no salts (I do not mean salt, sodium chloride, I mean a collection of balanced ions). Johannesburg's water has problems that I want to write a thread about soon (currently I have too many lectures) so if you would take RO and would add some of these discus salts that are sold, then this would be good. I would purchase a conductivity meter (about which I also need to write a thread about) and use it to prepare my water. When you do water changes you should also be careful not to drop the temperature more than 2 C or else you will have swimbladder problems.

    Then a rotting piece of wood can be a big problem. What type of wood is this? Is this true driftwood or is it the Mopani stuff that is sold in the LFS? You have to be careful with the Mopani as it can go rotten and because it is actually not wood that has been in water before, it can and will release huge amounts of tannins, which the literature says are good for discus, but tannins are chemically very different and I am not convinced that the Mopani stuff is good for discus.

    Which snails are these. In principle they are not a problem as they eat uneaten food, but they can get a little much if they are all over the show. Under no circumstances must you use any antisnail treatments as these are toxic for sensitive fishes and some of them contain copper which is very bad for discus.

    Feeding is crucial and we have discussed this, quantity is also important, can you answer my previous question about how much you feed please, this is very important.

    What is in these filters besides sponges, I mean do you have siporax or bioballs of ceramic rings or what. I do not know these filters so I would like to know what the volume of the compartments is and how much of the solid filter media that I have mentioned are in these compartments?

    From what you explain you are feeding faaaaaaaaaaar too much bloodworm. You should not feed it more than twice a week and if you are feeding the cheaper types then this stuff is loaded with bacteria. Does the bloodworm leach out red colour when you add it to the water and what is the colour of the worms/larvae? From the dried food that you are feeding, I do not hear that this stuff is very high quality and you do not know what it contains. This combined with tetra bits which has a shortage of vitamin C, I can hear that you are headed for flagellate problems as they are the result of dietary shortages of vitamin C. The brine shrimp is excellent and is your saving grace at the moment, however, I am worried about the amount, discus need a LOT of food and this is where the common mistakes are made. One tends to think that one should not feed too much so as not to pollute the tank like for smaller fishes but that is not enough as the temp is high and their metabloic rate is high and therefore they need a lot of food.

    If I may ask again, what is the size of this aquarium?

    What I also want to point out is that you say the temperature is 30C. Are you sure that this is correct? Is the temp 30C throughout the aquarium? Why I ask this is because if you have measured this near your heater then you might think that the temp is correct (it should be 29-30C) whilst it is actually say 28C, this alone will cause discus to be very skittish and needs to be checked carefully.

    Let us see if we can get this sorted out!

    Kind regards,

    Dirk
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2011
  8. OP
    Laracroft

    Laracroft

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    Hi,

    You talk about Discus salt to add in when using only RO water, is this the same as the Discus Buffer? If not which one are you refering to. I don't want to mess up my water with just anything, these fish are to delegate to play with. The wood i have in the tank is driftwood the real one. I don't think it is rotting there was just a slimmy growth on it. the funny thing is after I removed it, the discus tend to swim more closly to the area where it was, so i don't think I will put that piece back. I have only tried to attempt to treat the snails with clown loaches:) They are the small cone like snail. I just remove them by hand as and when i see them. The cannister has three compartments, the bottom compartment is filled with ceramic rings, second compartment is filled with charcoal and the top compartment is my filter sponge. the whole cannister can take up about 30L of water. Could I perhaps exchange the charcoal for peat? I know I feed to much bloodworm and I am already feeding a lot less. this week only they had one helping. The problem is that my big turquos refuse to eat anything other than bloodworm. Hence me soaking the dry food in garlic guard. Bryan has sold me another product, it is a brineshrimp jelly, and the fish go crasy for this stuff. The turqous wont eat it when I am standing in front of the tank but I have seen him picking at it if I am not near. I will move the temp gage to the other side of the tank and see what the reading is and let you know. Tank measurement - 100X46.7X59cm, 8mm glass. Hope this helps.
     
  9. Khalid

    Khalid Loricariidae

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    Hi LC
    A bit off topic , What BN are you keeping with Discus?
    The normal browns/ blacks or ABN are not suited to these high temps.
    I once had a few of mine in the pekoltia tank at 28'c and they were on constant fast forward mode.
    They were on a constant grazing mode.
    The true L183 will be more happier in a Discus tank.
     
  10. OP
    Laracroft

    Laracroft

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    @ Khalid, it is the normal brown bristlenoses. The one has been in the tank before I added the discusses. So he/she has been in the tank for about 6 months. The albinos did not last.
     
  11. Khalid

    Khalid Loricariidae

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    It would be interesting to see how he/she copes. Keep us posted.
     
  12. TomK

    TomK

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    Please Prof, give this some priority... pretty please?
     

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