Discus Bullying

Discussion in 'Discus Fish' started by toy4x, Jul 11, 2017.

  1. toy4xNew MemberMember

    Currently (past 2-3 days) my golden is getting really picked on and has gone into hiding. He stays in the corner underneath a plant to hide from the bullies.

    I have 8 discus in a 100g. 6 are approx 4.5" 1 is 2.5" and the one getting picked on is in approx 3". He was one of the originals that I purchased. But it seems 3 of them have turned on him. He can't come out without them charging him. I've noticed when he does come out... I've seen him shake his fins.. Kind of like a convulsion(best way to describe it) and then go back to the plant hiding. He didn't eat today.

    Do I need to seperate him out? Put a divider till he gets stronger? Not sure what to do as it's not just one bully but multiples. The others get along fine with each other with only the normal little chasing.

    Please advise...
  2. DiscusluvWell Known MemberMember

    There are a couple of things you might try. Do you have any driftwood, rocks, or plants in your tank?
    Many people who have discus have very bare tanks ( to keep them cleaner until discus are grown out because of need for pristine water parameters) so there are not many locations where the discus can mark out their territories.
    If this is the case, I would put some markers (plants, rocks, driftwood) in the back of the tank so that he knows where his "space" is in the tank. With this, he will know where to escape to if the bully's begin to chase him and they will usually back off when he returns again to this space.
    This is really just natural cichlid behavior and that is why it is advised to put all discus in the tank that are approximately the same size. He is low man on totem pole and, therefore, is getting the brunt of the aggression.
    When you feed try to feed at first on one side of tank and then drop food on the other for the smaller discus. You may also need to supplement with a good cichlid pellet to ensure that he gets the proper nourishment. But, as it is, he will always be the smallest fish in the tank.
    The other thing to do, but it is more work, is to take all the discus out, put in the markers, put the smallest fish in, wait a couple of hours, and then put the bigger fish in. This is sometimes more effective because it puts the bullies off much longer and allows the smaller fish time to seek out his space.
    Hope this helps.
  3. OP

    toy4xNew MemberMember

    Here is a pic of the tank. There is driftwood and fake plants in the tank throughout. I will add more driftwood or plants if you think it is necessary. These 6 were bought together and except for the little one( anyone know what strain it is?) they were approx the same size. But, the golden has not grown at the same rate as the Checkerboards, blue diamond, or the rose.

    3 weeks ago, I added in a blue Snakeskin and a red Leopard. The blue Snakeskin has taken over the tank and seems the most aggressive to the Golden, but seems fine with the others. The red Leopard is the most relaxed of all and very rarely has any aggression towards any others. I've never seen the red Leopard go after the golden or anyone else for that matter.

    Before adding the blue snake, the golden was "fighting off" the 2 Checkerboards. He held his own and everything calmed down. Then I added the , and things went to again.

    The little one hardly ever gets picked on at all. Thought since he's the smallest size, he would be the low man on the totem pole.. But nope. Hate to see my Golden getting picked on. Also like the way my tank is set up.. But if I have to add more hiding places.. So be it

    Maintenance wise I do 50% every 3 days. At that point my ammon is 0, nitrites are 0, and nitrates are at 20ppm. Almost like clockwork... Hardly ever any change in levels. fb470193de2683f065365fca731de2fe.jpg

  4. DiscusluvWell Known MemberMember

    Really beautiful set-up and your discus are very nice- good job on them :)!
    I think if you add a few more hiding spaces in the corners ( with plants, rocks, or driftwood, it may help some). But, I have the same problem with one of my discus, he is the one everybody harasses. But, they will usually chase him to his "sanctioned spot" and then back off. He doesn't get as much food as the others also, but he is still a beautiful fish and yours will be too.
    If you wanted to you could remove the two smallest ones, but I do feel that they would probably not get along either, as the golden would probably chase the smaller one and you would be back to square one! You wouldn't want to put him alone in a tank, to grow bigger, because discus by themselves rarely do well.
    You might get 1 more discus his size ( your 100 gallon should comfortably fit 9 discus ) so there are more small fish to alleviate the aggression on him. Or, try some dither fish, a school of rummy-nose tetras would be perfect- some times this has a soothing affect on cichlids and helps with aggression.

  5. OP

    toy4xNew MemberMember

    I also have in this tank :
    8 rummynose (had 11 but 3 didn't make the transfer) love their activity!
    10 cardinals
    10 neons
    7 sterbai corys
    2 pleco( bn and rubber lip)
    2 angels

    Not sure if I can go 1 more discus with this stocking. I would like to get one white discus(for my dad), but want alleviate this problem first.

    Filter wise I'm running:
    Fluval fx6, 306, 106, green killing machine, 1 sponge filter.... Yes I'm very overkill on my filtration, but the reason why I think I can go 3-4 day WC's.

    @Discusluv, Thank you for continued advice. I will try a few more pieces of driftwood and plants to help "sunshine" out.
  6. DiscusluvWell Known MemberMember

    Oh! I didn't realize you had those others :). Good luck and keep me posted!
  7. Disc61

    Disc61Well Known MemberMember

    Hmmm, bullying will happen regardless.
    first to give a name to the strain of the little guy, a better pic up close would help but it looks like a Blue Turq.
    because it didn't eat, a little concern needs awarded to this. has he/she eaten since? if so, I would continue to monitor but let them work it out.
    someone is always gonna bully, someone is always gonna get bullied. if you pull it out, someone else will become the target, its just there nature.
    AND someone will undoubtedly become a runt so to speak for the good of the group. (just how it is)

    what I might do at this point, if you have the space (tanks) and filtration. move them all out, move the décor around and re introduce them to their new home.
    might help, might not.

    if the one is still not eating and its been several days, I would probably pull it to a hospital setup for a Metro treatment.

    and by the way, Beautiful setup.
  8. OP

    toy4xNew MemberMember

    Golden has had enough...He's fighting back... and he has briefly come out of hiding. I saw him eat a little bit today. I had to put most of the food on the opposite side of the tank drawing the others over and then feeding him. I overfed in his area to try and entice him to eat... then the others came over looking for more food and he finally fought back. He came out to greet me today as well...

    Video taken this morning during feeding time:

    And Golden today interacting with the others a little bit, then went back to hiding:

    And little guy needing strain info:
  9. DiscusluvWell Known MemberMember

    Good for him, LOL!! :)
  10. grantm91

    grantm91Fishlore VIPMember

    Looks amazing just had to say lol.
  11. OP

    toy4xNew MemberMember

    It was a very encouraging sign! Still a lot of fight left in him so it made me feel good. Still feel bad that he went back to hiding later.

    @Disc61 I updated the previous post with a pic of the little guy for strain id.

    Thanks for the help... Still have to get more hiding places. And also big thanks for the kind words of the setup.
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2017
  12. Disc61

    Disc61Well Known MemberMember

    that's awesome. it is best to let them work it out. sounds like that is whats happening now. he will continue to push back now that he's started. nothing wrong with spot feeding to get him/her thru the process. this is nothing more than them building a Hiarchy. with the quality that appears in your tank, they will work it out and the bullying will calm down.
    the little guy is no doubt a Blue Turquiose (non-pigeon based) should grow to be a beauty.
  13. OP

    toy4xNew MemberMember


    The bullying has gotting worse... They bullied him into the corner behind a filter now. Still not eating pellets(although he never really did and it shows in his slower growth) he tries to eat blood worms, but when he comes out... They immediately bully him to the corner again... Actually just the Blue Snakeskin seems to have an issue with him.

    What else can I do? I've turned off the lights.. Seems to have lowered the aggression.. A little bit.. Changed around the decor... I do not have another tank going right now.. So taking them out/ him out is not an answer.
  14. KimberlyG

    KimberlyGFishlore VIPMember

    What temperature do you run the tank at?
  15. OP

    toy4xNew MemberMember

  16. KimberlyG

    KimberlyGFishlore VIPMember

    Thank you, I was just curious. That's certainly not the high end for temp.
    Good luck with your guy. They certainly are beautiful.
  17. Disc61

    Disc61Well Known MemberMember

    without another tank available there is not much you can do. they're gonna have to sort it out. BUT, if the golden stops eating altogether it is a sure sign of sickness with all the bullying going on. you will need a hospital tank if this gets worst than it already is. monitor daily (which I know you are) and maybe keep moving décor around.
  18. KimberlyG

    KimberlyGFishlore VIPMember

    Is it still going on? :(
  19. OP

    toy4xNew MemberMember

    It is still going on but it seems to be less agrressive. I'll see him mingling with the others some times... then in the corner again other times. But before he was hiding behind the filters/plants. Now he's just there not really hiding anymore.

    I have finally seen him eating. Both blood worms and tetra bits. He's never been a great eater like the rest, as it shows in his smaller size.

    I increased the temp up to 85.5* to try and get them all to eat more and get bigger! Still doing water changes every 3 days.
  20. Disc61

    Disc61Well Known MemberMember

    it sounds to me like just typical Discus Agression. I hi archy has to be established within the group. obviously the golden is not in charge and may become the runt so to speak. this is just their nature and will always go on. some groups are better at it than others. I have had groups that no matter what I did they still chased one all the time. other groups have been little to nothing in aggression. if you pull the golden out another will just take its place.
    I wouldn't keep the temp that high for to much longer.

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice