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Discus Primer

Title: Is this normal Discus behavor ????
Post by: 1boatnut on March 04, 2007, 07:10:24 PM
I just purchased 2 discus yesterday. One of the actually lays on his side (not on the bottom) and then will return upright.
I have watched him do this alot,and being new to this type of fish I'm not sure if I should be worried or not?
Also they come with a 48 hour warranty,which would be up tomorrow. If there is something wrong I would really like to know !

Thanks


Title: Re: Is this normal Discus behavor ????
Post by: dorn27 on March 05, 2007, 08:49:46 AM
They usually lay on their sides under extreme stress... but I think they could also do it if sick.  I personally don't have discus, but when I worked at Petsmart we got a few and they did that until we gave them lots of plants to hid in and the moving stress had passed.


Title: Re: Is this normal Discus behavor ????
Post by: Aiptasia on March 05, 2007, 10:46:30 AM
No, it's not normal discus behavior at all. It sounds like you have either a sick or stressed out fish on your hands.

You need to turn the temperature of your water up to at least 82 degrees first, then do some water changes.


Title: Re: Is this normal Discus behavor ????
Post by: 1boatnut on March 05, 2007, 10:59:50 AM
No, it's not normal discus behavior at all. It sounds like you have either a sick or stressed out fish on your hands.

You need to turn the temperature of your water up to at least 82 degrees first, then do some water changes.

The water was just changed and all parameters are good (except for water temp)only 80 degrees
On another forum a few people indicated that Discus sometimes do this when introduced to their new surroundings,like looking around their new domain. (Thoughts)
I want to point out this is not a continuous action,as the fish will just start to swim normal again. I also noticed that both of the Discus will start at the bottom of the tank and then swim to the top side by side,sometimes actually touching. Could this be any type of mating ritual?
Is 80 degrees intollerable (sp) for Discus? AS you pointed out earlier the higher water temps might not be good for the ther tank mates.

I have Black Skirts,Serpes,Cory Cats,Rasboras,Swortails,Glass Ghost Catfish,Danios and assorted platys.


Title: Re: Is this normal Discus behavor ????
Post by: Aiptasia on March 05, 2007, 11:29:04 AM
80 degrees is too cold for discus. 82 degrees is a bare minimum and actually they prefer it around 86 degrees. They are certainly not community tank fish, which is why most people do not keep them.

Discus require very clean warm water. The waters from where they occur in the Amazon rainforest are some of the purest, softest water on earth. Herbert Axelrod described their native water quality as "slightly impure distilled water." Captive bred discus are tolerant of a wide range of pH and water hardness levels (from pH 6.0 to 7.5, TDS 30-180 ppm) if they're acclimated gradually to it, but for two things:

1) Warmth. They need warm temperatures.

2) Purity. They need regular massive water changes, especially when stressed.

Your discus are showing signs of listless behavior, and it wouldn't surprise me if they were also darkened with black edging on their fins, overall darkening body color and/or black barring. See if you can keep them eating and crank up the heat, and start performing 50% water changes daily until they start to perk up.

A lot of Asian bred discus can also have problems with internal parasites, especially fish that have been fed frozen bloodworms, blackworms or tubifex worms of any type. All three of these foods are known to harbor intestinal parasites. Discus that are gaunt and emaciated looking with stringy feces are likely infected with intestinal worms or hexamita, which also causes hole in the head disease. These fish need to be treated with an anti-parasite medication such as prazi pro (praziquel).

If you can't adjust your tank to 82 degrees and perform the water changes, you may want to exercise that return policy and take the discus back to the pet shop.  :-\


Title: Re: Is this normal Discus behavor ????
Post by: 1boatnut on March 05, 2007, 11:47:17 AM
Thanks..
Actually I do not notice any of the darkening body color or black barring. They pretty much look the same coloration they were from the lFS.They don't appear listless as they do swim arond the tank and it appeared they were eating this AM. But I don't know how active they really should be. ??? ???
I did do a 3 hour acclimation before putting them in the tank.
I guess I will have to return to the store and discuss their policy. I believe there is a 48 hour guarantee if they died? :-[


I believe the Cory Cats & Swordtails(could) endure the 82 degree temperature,but even that is at the reccomended high end for these species.


Title: Re: Is this normal Discus behavor ????
Post by: ItsJustMe on March 05, 2007, 02:42:42 PM
Hi there,
Cory cats come from the same waters as discus, depending on
the species, and many are more than capable of living permanently
in temps of 82-86f with no problems.
Swordtails come from mexico and places where water temps are
 commonly 82-84F.
I keep my discus at 82 and all my other fish too, with no problems.

They often do lay on their sides or hide when stressed and often turn solid black or develop black stripes.
It will take up to a week to two weeks for them to get used to their environments.

They also prefer nice clean soft water. I keep mine in a ph of 6.6 with hardness of 60ppm. I do 50% water change every 7-10 days.
The tank is heavily planted.

Discus are not at all what I would call an "active fish". They generally kind of float around at slow speed, and may remain in one place for hours.
If they are taking food, then you should be ok.


Title: Re: Is this normal Discus behavor ????
Post by: 1boatnut on March 05, 2007, 04:22:33 PM
Hi there,
Cory cats come from the same waters as discus, depending on
the species, and many are more than capable of living permanently
in temps of 82-86f with no problems.
Swordtails come from mexico and places where water temps are
 commonly 82-84F.
I keep my discus at 82 and all my other fish too, with no problems.

They often do lay on their sides or hide when stressed and often turn solid black or develop black stripes.
It will take up to a week to two weeks for them to get used to their environments.

They also prefer nice clean soft water. I keep mine in a ph of 6.6 with hardness of 60ppm. I do 50% water change every 7-10 days.
The tank is heavily planted.

Discus are not at all what I would call an "active fish". They generally kind of float around at slow speed, and may remain in one place for hours.
If they are taking food, then you should be ok.


Hey THANKS for the imput. I just went to the store where I ourchased them and believe it or not their tank temp was only 78 degrees.
I also bought some Mices shrimp and I did see the one eat that has concerned me the most.

I am a little concerned about what Aiptasia stated about frozen food. I have fed my fish frozen blood worms(which I thought was OK)
Also the other shrimp I bought is frozen.
For food this is what I currently have at hand.
Quality flakes
Frozen Blood worms
Frozen Brine Shrimp
Frozen Mices shrimp
Freeze dried bloodworms
Freeze dried(cubed) brine shrimp
pellets for the Cory cats
Any other suggestions?


Title: Re: Is this normal Discus behavor ????
Post by: Aiptasia on March 05, 2007, 04:29:32 PM
Freeze drying is generally a safer process, but any live food source can contain parasites. Even frozen, several disease pathogens can survive in the guts of their hosts.  Bloodworms and tubifex worms are the most notorious foods which carry disease. There are a few brands out there that gamma irradiate their frozen foods, but you typically don't find those brands in the major fish stores.

Switching your foods over to freeze dried foods would be the most prudent choice for the long term care and health of your fish. True, there are some people that haven't ever had a problem with feeding their fish frozen foods, but i've run into a few problems with very specific foods (tubifex and bloodworms). These two food items typically are collected from very impure areas and can harbor all kinds of bad stuff.


Title: Re: Is this normal Discus behavor ????
Post by: ItsJustMe on March 05, 2007, 05:04:26 PM
Switching your foods over to freeze dried foods would be the most prudent choice for the long term care and health of your fish. True, there are some people that haven't ever had a problem with feeding their fish frozen foods, but i've run into a few problems with very specific foods (tubifex and bloodworms). These two food items typically are collected from very impure areas and can harbor all kinds of bad stuff.

I disagree respectfully, freeze dried foods can be hard for fish to digest, and some species of fish with small or limited
guts should NOT be fed freeze dried foods at all (gouramis, bettas, goldfish, etc). These fish often get constipated or develop
intestinal impactions due to freeze dried foods.
I am a firm user and believer in frozen foods, and the brand I use (angel brand) I have had absolutely no problems with,
been feeding them now for years.
The use of irradiated food though that opens doors too, is gamma irradiation safe? Its not safe for use on human foods, and even dog foods like pig ears
and such state clearly on packages "treated with radiation NOT Safe for human consumption wash hands or wear gloves when touching".
So my thoughts are, if it aint safe for me to even touch, it certainly isnt safe for my fish or dog to eat it.

The chances of getting parasites from feeding frozen food are slim. Most bloodworms sold frozen are actually raised in
bloodworm farms, not out in the wild. At least the ones I use are. I am unsure of other brands, there are no other brands
of frozen foods sold here.

I remember several years ago I too heard the myth that one shouldnt feed their fish tubifex worms that had been
freeze dried as some parasites in tubifex survive the freeze drying process. Just like this myth, I believe the frozen food
issue is also a myth.
Its much much more likely that parasites in your fish did not come from fish food, but instead were brought in via your purchase of
poor quality fish. Remember - many parasites may not even show up in fish during a 1 month long quarantine process, camallanus and other intestinal worms may not appear visible to you in symptoms for up to 8 months to 1 year after the fish has been infected.


Title: Re: Is this normal Discus behavor ????
Post by: 1boatnut on March 06, 2007, 08:01:17 AM
How about the Micys frozen shrimp? The guy told me his fish went nuts over this compared to the Brine shrimp. I bought some yesterday and although my tank gobbled them up,I would not say the Discus went crazy. Although that is the 1st time I definately saw them(Discus) eat.
The Discus were very active last night also. They were more in the open,and the one that laid on an angle alot,was actually picking at some of the decorations. :)


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