Discus Pecking Order

DizzyFish77

Hello, I am new here.

Recently I got 8 discus, their size around 2" to 3". I bought them from the same breeder, they are:
2 Red Melon
2 LSS
2 Pigeon CB
2 Stardust

I put them in a relatively matured aquarium. It's 66 gallons with good filtration, plenty of oxygen, a heater, and even an MBBR. Water is good, crystal clear, and consider zero ammonia. The decoration is full of hardscape because I've done enough for plants. Now just using sand and driftwood. In the aquarium before the discus join, there are few small fish like 4 black tetras and 7 black phantom tetras. Basically, the tank is prepared for them.

When I put them together, everything is okay. The fish still adjusting to the new home. They start exploring the tank. I don't give any food for a day. Tomorrow I start giving them Tetra Bits. I can see they not get used to eating that since the breeder feeds them with frozen bloodworms. But, they still eat that slowly.

Starting on day 3, they start to show aggressiveness towards each other. I can see 7 out of 8 my discuss the start to show who is the boss of the tank. Size does matter in this case, the winner is the 3" size.

Actually, I thought this situation is temporary because of the pecking order. So I let it happen and start to notice that 1 of my LSS is hiding in the hole of the driftwood. Only go out occasionally to eat or for just a while.

I saw the aggressiveness still continue, so I start to seek out the answer. I understand that discus is basically a cichlid and aggressiveness is their DNA even though all of them are born in the aquarium tank. There is an answer I got from Jack Wattley's video is my tank may consider underpopulated. In my observation, there is plenty of areas still empty. Maybe because of their size still consider small. So last week I bought another 6 discus from the same breeder. They are:
2 Curipera
2 Blue Diamond
2 Leopard


I put them all and the new discuss relatively accepted by the community at the beginning. However, staring on day 3, the pecking order still continues and my LSS still enjoys hiding in the cave. All of them are healthy I suppose. Eat a lot and chasing each other. As the population already reaches 14, I am not in a plan to add another at the moment.

I seek some answers to my questions from the experts here:
1. Why my discuss is not showing the schooling sign? I thought they are schooling fish. Are they only schooling based on the same type of discus?
2. How to make my LSS not shy and join the community?. He still eats but I miss the show. No sign of stress by the way.
3. Is there any way to speed up the process of the pecking order? I thought to increase the population may stop the aggression. Apparently not yet.

Thanks in advance.
 

Shamannite80

Hello, I am new here.

Recently I got 8 discus, their size around 2" to 3". I bought them from the same breeder, they are:
2 Red Melon
2 LSS
2 Pigeon CB
2 Stardust

I put them in a relatively matured aquarium. It's 66 gallons with good filtration, plenty of oxygen, a heater, and even an MBBR. Water is good, crystal clear, and consider zero ammonia. The decoration is full of hardscape because I've done enough for plants. Now just using sand and driftwood. In the aquarium before the discus join, there are few small fish like 4 black tetras and 7 black phantom tetras. Basically, the tank is prepared for them.

When I put them together, everything is okay. The fish still adjusting to the new home. They start exploring the tank. I don't give any food for a day. Tomorrow I start giving them Tetra Bits. I can see they not get used to eating that since the breeder feeds them with frozen bloodworms. But, they still eat that slowly.

Starting on day 3, they start to show aggressiveness towards each other. I can see 7 out of 8 my discuss the start to show who is the boss of the tank. Size does matter in this case, the winner is the 3" size.

Actually, I thought this situation is temporary because of the pecking order. So I let it happen and start to notice that 1 of my LSS is hiding in the hole of the driftwood. Only go out occasionally to eat or for just a while.

I saw the aggressiveness still continue, so I start to seek out the answer. I understand that discus is basically a cichlid and aggressiveness is their DNA even though all of them are born in the aquarium tank. There is an answer I got from Jack Wattley's video is my tank may consider underpopulated. In my observation, there is plenty of areas still empty. Maybe because of their size still consider small. So last week I bought another 6 discus from the same breeder. They are:
2 Curipera
2 Blue Diamond
2 Leopard


I put them all and the new discuss relatively accepted by the community at the beginning. However, staring on day 3, the pecking order still continues and my LSS still enjoys hiding in the cave. All of them are healthy I suppose. Eat a lot and chasing each other. As the population already reaches 14, I am not in a plan to add another at the moment.

I seek some answers to my questions from the experts here:
1. Why my discuss is not showing the schooling sign? I thought they are schooling fish. Are they only schooling based on the same type of discus?
2. How to make my LSS not shy and join the community?. He still eats but I miss the show. No sign of stress by the way.
3. Is there any way to speed up the process of the pecking order? I thought to increase the population may stop the aggression. Apparently not yet.

Thanks in advance.
I haven't kept discus but I've done a lot of research on them, so I'll share what I know. Discus are cichlids and in general will establish a pecking order. I have a feeling though that you may have been overstocked from the start. The basic rule I found for discus is one discus for every 10 gallons. With 14 discus you will need a 150 gallon tank. Also, that rule applies at any age for discus. What they lack in size as juveniles they make up for with personality. I hope someone else also sees this question. I would like to know what they think. Best of luck.
 
Upvote 0

DizzyFish77

Thanks for the answer. I understand the generally accepted calculator for 1 discus per 10 gallons. Since I bought the smaller size, I read that 10 gallons can fit for 2-3 discus with the size of 2"-3". It is in my plan to upgrade the tank when they grow up.
 
Upvote 0

Redshark1

When you researched your plan what did you find.

Or did you not research your plan?
 
Upvote 0

DizzyFish77

Hi Redshark,

I did research many months before I bought the fish. I read a lot and watch tons of videos before I start. Even the tank I set up nearly 3 months before the fish. I want it to be matured since the fish price is not cheap. Just want to get it right before I start.

Many things I got from the research. In my opinion, water is the most important. If we can maintain the water quality, the fish can take care of themselves.

Thanks
 
Upvote 0

86 ssinit

With those numbers you will need to change 70+% of your water daily. Even in a 125. To many at once. Move half into another tank. Pictures would be nice . And welcome to fishlore.
 
Upvote 0

Demeter

I think you were going for the over stocking idea to spread aggression when you added more discus. That can work great but you'll have to remember that more fish means more waste and that mean more frequent water changes. Seeing as discus are a fairly sensitive fish I'd be a cautious when stocking them in large numbers.
For discus you have to keep their water pristine, breeders would be doing large daily water changes in their growout/breeding tank.

Sounds like too many fish at this point. Yes you can upgrade them when they grow but keep in mind they need a proper growing to tank to reach their full potential. If you can't keep them all in there as adults then they probably shouldn't be in that sized tank as juveniles, at least for very long.

The largest of your fish may be a maturing male trying to win the attention of a female, this can cause aggression. I can't say for sure what size they need to be before they start spawning but if the average adult is 6-8in long then I'd guess they would be able to breed near the 4in mark. Just a possibility.

For the time being, you can try adding more decor/tall fake plants to block the line of site. If the aggressive fish can't see the others it shouldn't go attacking them as often. Getting them into a bigger tank soon is the best advice I can give. You'll need a very large setup for that many discus, it will be a lot of work but very beautiful should it work out for you.
 
Upvote 0

DizzyFish77

With those numbers you will need to change 70+% of your water daily. Even in a 125. To many at once. Move half into another tank. Pictures would be nice . And welcome to fishlore.
Hi ssinit,
Thanks for the advise. Yes I am considering to reduce the population back to 8.
For water change, if I understand correctly, as long as I can maintain 5 parameters of water in the good level, 20% a week should be fine cmiiw...
I love fish, but will not let my hobby become a heavy time investment. I can’t afford to do daily water change. I better invest in good filtration instead.
Here’s the family....
With those numbers you will need to change 70+% of your water daily. Even in a 125. To many at once. Move half into another tank. Pictures would be nice . And welcome to fishlore.
 

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Upvote 0

jmaldo

20% a week, is not enough for "Healthy Growing" Discus.
I had 6 - 3" Blue Diamonds in a 55g. I changed 30-40gals at least every other day for the 1st few months then 2x a week.
Had aged / heated/ treated water in a 45gal brute and used a pond pump.
Every tank is as different as a "Fingerprint".
By the way, check out this thread:
Discus Gang Updates | Discus Fish Forum | 420110
Quite a bit of info, members of the gang sharing their "Trials and Tribulations".
Go ahead and post any questions, it's still active. We all learned together.
Good Luck!
 
Upvote 0

DizzyFish77

I think you were going for the over stocking idea to spread aggression when you added more discus. That can work great but you'll have to remember that more fish means more waste and that mean more frequent water changes. Seeing as discus are a fairly sensitive fish I'd be a cautious when stocking them in large numbers.
For discus you have to keep their water pristine, breeders would be doing large daily water changes in their growout/breeding tank.

Sounds like too many fish at this point. Yes you can upgrade them when they grow but keep in mind they need a proper growing to tank to reach their full potential. If you can't keep them all in there as adults then they probably shouldn't be in that sized tank as juveniles, at least for very long.

The largest of your fish may be a maturing male trying to win the attention of a female, this can cause aggression. I can't say for sure what size they need to be before they start spawning but if the average adult is 6-8in long then I'd guess they would be able to breed near the 4in mark. Just a possibility.

For the time being, you can try adding more decor/tall fake plants to block the line of site. If the aggressive fish can't see the others it shouldn't go attacking them as often. Getting them into a bigger tank soon is the best advice I can give. You'll need a very large setup for that many discus, it will be a lot of work but very beautiful should it work out for you.
Hi Demeter,
Thanks for the advice. I understand the waste increments as the risk of getting more population. That’s why I invest in good filtration. I even have an MBBR on top of my 10x turnover filtration. So far 5 parameters of water are well maintained. I agree I should consider to reduce the population.
My daily dietary for them are Hikari and Tetra Bits. I only feed them frozen bloodworms on weekends. I found that they are less aggressive during bloodworms time. It’s a good sign
For breeding, I am not into that level yet. Actually I haven’t any plan to breed them. Maybe later after they big enough to match.
Thanks
20% a week, is not enough for "Healthy Growing" Discus.
I had 6 - 3" Blue Diamonds in a 55g. I changed 30-40gals at least every other day for the 1st few months then 2x a week.
Had aged / heated/ treated water in a 45gal brute and used a pond pump.
Every tank is as different as a "Fingerprint".
By the way, check out this thread:
Discus Gang Updates | Discus Fish Forum | 420110
Quite a bit of info, members of the gang sharing their "Trials and Tribulations".
Go ahead and post any questions, it's still active. We all learned together.
Good Luck!
Hi jmaldo,
Thanks for the advice. I will try to check the thread later.
It’s good for fish if we can do WC as often as we can. You are very lucky to have the time to do that. For me, time is a bit tight. I work for weekdays. There’s no way I can do WC after I get home. It’s quite late and I need some rest
Alternatively I am quite diligent checking on water parameters. Ammonia, pH and TDS. To my understanding, these are the 3 important things we need to manage especially for discus. Yes temperature and cleanliness also important, but to me they are 2nd liner.
Just want to check. Are your BD schooling in your tank? I always love watching discus schooling...
Thank you...
 
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