Stressed Out New Discus?

Tuesday
  • #1
I bought two new discus today. One of them is doing wonderfully. The smaller, Snow White one. The larger (wild Brazilian blue?) not so much. His fins aren’t clamped or anything. But he’s super dark. He’s hiding under my moss tree, and is chillin at an ever so slight angle. I added him to the tank (75) about four ish hours ago, and right before that I did a 50% water change and added some (the correct amount) of prime. Up until about an hour ago I had an 11” pleco in there... but for whatever reason my pleco got sassy and started chasing them around. Pleco got moved and will have to find a different home. As sad as that is. Especially since he’s been a family pet for a while, and he’s the entire reason I have this tank to begin with. BUT discus were my ultimate goal. And also yeah the price difference is a thing. So basically, home boy is dark, hiding, and slanty. I did get them to eat some blood worms. ***Can somebody recommend the best food for discus?****And I also turned the light out. How long do I need to keep the light out... I do have live plants. Water parameters are
Temp-81ish (still rising I want it to be 83/84)
pH- 8.0-8.2 (high, I know. Everybody told me not to mess with it and that they will adapt)
Ammonia-0 (yay!)
Nitrite-0 (yay more!)
Nitrate- somewhere in between 0 and 5.

Tank mates are-
2 honey gouramis (also purchased today and doing great.)
2 guppies
1 glass catfish.
1 clam.
Can’t forget the clam.
What can I do to help this baby? I already feel so bad. He was kind of a rescue, in a way. He was in a tank PACKED with fish and plants. He was the biggest one there, and I got him for like 60% off because he’s blind in one eye. apparently the week before, one of the fish store employees stuck his hand in the tank, discus got spooked, knocked his eye straight into the filter. He was super dark when I got him, but I figured that’s because that tank was packed. He’s got white spots on his tail, I’ll add a pic. I’ve been told it’s coloration. And not ich. But in case this sweet baby is sick, is there just kind of a general antibiotic to give him?
 

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86 ssinit
  • #2
Ok I’m guessing he looked great at the pet store? Have you had discus before? Your ph is high. What was the ph at the pet store.
 
Tuesday
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
Ok I’m guessing he looked great at the pet store? Have you had discus before? Your ph is high. What was the ph at the pet store.

Nope. He didn’t look good there either. I think it was bc it was a cramped tank and the store was really loud. My pH is high. You are correct. I think( not 100% and I failed to test the water in the bag. That water smelled so bad it had to leave. Immediately.) but I think their pH was around 7,8 is what he said.
 
86 ssinit
  • #4
Just going by the picture he looks like a wild caught green. Unforunatly I’m not sure the tank mates are good in that temp water. He’s definitely stressed I would say put him in his own tank. How long has your tank been running?

Ok didn’t see the last 2 pics. He looks good in those pics. May just take a little while for him to adjust.
 
75g Discus Tank
  • #5
Looks like a wild caught. They generally don’t do well in tap water. Wilds can be kept in pH around 7.2 and down safely. A wild in an 8.0-8.2 won’t work too well.
I really want a wild caught discus but I can’t because of the pH problem.

Everybody is told that pH isn’t a problem with fish unless it is super high, super low, or it’s with wild caught fish. In this case, it’s wild caught fish.
 
Tuesday
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
I don’t have a different tank for him to go in, so I’m just going to keep the lights off for a bit and hope that helps. What do you mean his tank mates aren’t good with him? Gouramis should be fine in that temp... tank has been up for about 3.5 months. I’ve been cycling hardcore in that time. Since this was posted his lights have been off, colors have lightened; but stress bars are still really dark.
I’m in this for the long run with this one. I can lower the pH with chemicals if that’s going to make things better. But I’ve never done it before so chances are good I’ll screw it up.
 
JB92668
  • #7
ph for discus should be around 6 to 6.5 and they need soft water low gh and kh it sounds like your discus was sick in the shop u should use mopannI wood in your tank to lower the ph and hardnes of the water he or she should recover in a few days if u keep your water conditions right sounds like stress
 
86 ssinit
  • #8
The tank mates I was worried about are the clam and guppies. Not sure if they can handle the heat. As 75 discus said wild caught need a lower ph. But lowering with chemicals doesn’t work well because the ph just goes back up when the chemicals wear off. People do use peat moss in their filters to lower ph with better results. Discus do best in a well established tank .But hopefully yours was caught young and has been in the high ph for awhile now and has acclimated.
As for tank mates I don’t think gouramis are a good choice they may stress the discus. There are many books on tank mates for discus. The pleco which you removed was probably going after the discus slI'm coat so it’s a good thing you removed it.
75 discus is keeping these fish now and knows more than me about today’s discus I’ve been out for a least 15 years now and they have changed a lot. Seems they can be kept in high ph now. I also started just like you. Saw them and bought them. So it can be done. Water quality is a must. I used a wet/dry filter for my tank. You will need a qt tank and you will probably be moving those other fish in the future so prepare for more tanks. Lol. Good luck and keep us posted on your progress.
 
Tuesday
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
I do have drift wood in there, not sure what kind. I’m using a sponge filter as I was told it was best for cycling the tank. I do have a HOB it’s just really loud are there other options on places to put peat moss or does it have to be in the filter? I’m scared to lower the pH but I’ll do what I have to to keep him happy. Why would I be moving them to a different tank? Also with the peat moss. We talking like just the kind you get from Home Depot? Also doesn’t it turn your water brown?

The tank mates I was worried about are the clam and guppies. Not sure if they can handle the heat. As 75 discus said wild caught need a lower ph. But lowering with chemicals doesn’t work well because the ph just goes back up when the chemicals wear off. People do use peat moss in their filters to lower ph with better results. Discus do best in a well established tank .But hopefully yours was caught young and has been in the high ph for awhile now and has acclimated.
As for tank mates I don’t think gouramis are a good choice they may stress the discus. There are many books on tank mates for discus. The pleco which you removed was probably going after the discus slI'm coat so it’s a good thing you removed it.
75 discus is keeping these fish now and knows more than me about today’s discus I’ve been out for a least 15 years now and they have changed a lot. Seems they can be kept in high ph now. I also started just like you. Saw them and bought them. So it can be done. Water quality is a must. I used a wet/dry filter for my tank. You will need a qt tank and you will probably be moving those other fish in the future so prepare for more tanks. Lol. Good luck and keep us posted on your progress.
Also I have an extra 10 gallon but it’s just a ten gallon and I don’t have a filter small enough for it. I’m on limited funds here lol. These discus were a gift, otherwise I can assure you they would not have happened .
 
RSababady
  • #10
I keep discuss. I find that the older they are, the more time they take to adapt to a new environment.
The pH is important and the water quality needs to be good. I control my pH with CO2 - bit of an expensive method as you need to be able to monitor the pH I real time to dose the CO2 when needed.
I tried using peat, however the brown color of the water disturbed me so I gave up that method.

If I were you, I would go back to your lfs and find out what conditions the discuss were kept in. If they are totally different from your water conditions it may be easier to choose a different type of fish......
 
86 ssinit
  • #11
Ok just checking there in a 75gal tank right? You will need at least a hob. Don’t think a sponge filter will work for a 75 gal tank. Why you will move the others and have more tanks is....it’s addicting. Lol.
 
Tuesday
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
Here’s the issue. Kinda, I guess I could call. But that’s not local. It’s an hour and a half away. C02 is definitely not in the budget, and the brown water also disturbs me too. I don’t have/ want a sump tank. If a sump tank even matters to this message . Is there a cheap co2 thing I can just like stick in the big tank? Like some sort of a bubbler? I have ZERO idea how co2 works. I really don’t want to pick a different fish. I mean maybe if these die I’ll grab one from my actual LFS and hope they have not awful water. However the guy at the fish store did tell me the pH in that tank he “couldn’t get low enough”. I suppose low is up for interpretation. But I REALLY don’t want to give up on discus. Like I’ll put it to you this way. Discus, and I stay in the hobby. No discus, and I’m out. In other news gouramis seem to be doin alright in the tank. I can see my Snow White swimming around like the little nugget she is. Occasionally I can see the big guy. But I’m in bed and not willing to get up yet.

Ok just checking there in a 75gal tank right? You will need at least a hob. Don’t think a sponge filter will work for a 75 gal tank. Why you will move the others and have more tanks is....it’s addicting. Lol.
It’s a double sponge filters. So essentially I have two. If that helps.

If I put the HOB back in, (sigh) what do you recommend for media? I have bio max rings, and sponges (the aquarium kind not just scotch brite) and was going to go that route but I also have the charcoal inserts
 
RSababady
  • #13
Are the two sponge filter powered by air? If so, use the HOB as aerating the water and creating a lot of surface agitation will also raise your pH level. This is because the more surface agitation you have, the mofr CO2 that is in the water gets exchanged out into the air.
Minimise your surface agitation whatever you do!
 
86 ssinit
  • #14
They usually sell aquarium peet at you lfs. Yes and again 75 discus is at the same ph you are. Your problem is just he’s wild caught. The white one has been bred to look like that and has adjusted to these water conditions. So you should be able to stay with discus. Just need ones bred here.
You will need an hob. Look on eBay for a penguin 350 with biowheels. You should be able to get it for around 40 bucks. If you have more to spend get a tidal. The biggest one probably about 75.
 
Tuesday
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
so that means take out my air stone too?
 
RSababady
  • #16
Are the two sponge filter powered by air? If so, use the HOB as aerating the water and creating a lot of surface agitation will also raise your pH level. This is because the more surface agitation you have, the mofr CO2 that is in the water gets exchanged out into the air.
Minimise your surface agitation whatever you do!
Just noticed in one of the pics, that you have an air stone bubbling away ........ do you really need it?
 
Tuesday
  • Thread Starter
  • #17
They usually sell aquarium peet at you lfs. Yes and again 75 discus is at the same ph you are. Your problem is just he’s wild caught. The white one has been bred to look like that and has adjusted to these water conditions. So you should be able to stay with discus. Just need ones bred here.
You will need an hob. Look on eBay for a penguin 350 with biowheels. You should be able to get it for around 40 bucks. If you have more to spend get a tidal. The biggest one probably about 75.
FUN FACT. That’s actually the filter I have. DING. Guess who’s proud of herself now?

Just noticed in one of the pics, that you have an air stone bubbling away ........ do you really need it?
I mean... it’s cute
 
Danjamesdixon
  • #18
Just my 2c, but if you want to keep Discus, you have to be prepared to put in the work. They are one of the hardest species to keep stable, particularly if they are wild caught. I kept a group of 20 high quality line bred Discus once, that had been bred in generic hard tap water, and they were wonderful. That's not to say they still weren't a load of work, but they were worth it.

I wouldn't keep Discus with anything less than a canister filter, tank bred or wild caught. As mentioned, if you can't match the conditions this particular fish came from, i'd rethink your decision and work out a new path. If Discus are essential to your hobby, but you have pH issues - source some tap water bred Discus, and go from there.
 
Tuesday
  • Thread Starter
  • #19
If I go with peat moss is there anyway to reduce the brown ness?
 
RSababady
  • #20
It may be a deal breaker........ airstones raise the pH...... if you want to drop the pH and don't have an issue with water circulation, remove the airstone.
 
86 ssinit
  • #21
Is that filter running now on the tank. That’s the 350 right not the tidal?
 
Tuesday
  • Thread Starter
  • #22
They usually sell aquarium peet at you lfs. Yes and again 75 discus is at the same ph you are. Your problem is just he’s wild caught. The white one has been bred to look like that and has adjusted to these water conditions. So you should be able to stay with discus. Just need ones bred here.
You will need an hob. Look on eBay for a penguin 350 with biowheels. You should be able to get it for around 40 bucks. If you have more to spend get a tidal. The biggest one probably about 75.

I hate to say this, but would it be easier to give him to the “LFS”? My issue is I just bought him (an hour and a half away) and he’s got a bum eye, so nobody really wants him.
 
86 ssinit
  • #23
Rs I’m of your school of must be low ph. But have been told here that discus here have been bred to handle the high ph.
 
RSababady
  • #24
If I go with peat moss is there anyway to reduce the brown ness?
I couldn't figure out a working solution - lots of advice and suggestion....didn't work for me.
 
Tuesday
  • Thread Starter
  • #25
Is that filter running now on the tank. That’s the 350 right not the tidal?
That filter is not running, no. And yes, the 350

Rs I’m of your school of must be low ph. But have been told here that discus here have been bred to handle the high ph.
Crossing fingers that that’s accurate

I couldn't figure out a working solution - lots of advice and suggestion....didn't work for me.
Hmmm. That is not ideal. Is peet moss the only media I would need or would you recommend adding something else. Also my water level is as high as it can get but my HOB is SO loud. Any way to quiet it down? It’s just the splashing sound. For a while I had cut thin foam and zip tied it on , so the water would just kinda run down if. That also reduces surface agitation. I guess that’s probably my best option?
 
RSababady
  • #26
Rs I’m of your school of must be low ph. But have been told here that discus here have been bred to handle the high ph.
Agreed - what I have found with discuss, is that I have to buy them ALL from one trusted breeder...... otherwise the outcome is totally unmanageable and unpredictable.

Hmmm. That is not ideal. Is peet moss the only media I would need or would you recommend adding something else. Also my water level is as high as it can get but my HOB is SO loud. Any way to quiet it down? It’s just the splashing sound. For a while I had cut thin foam and zip tied it on , so the water would just kinda run down if. That also reduces surface agitation. I guess that’s probably my best option?
Absolutely...... just point the outlet as low as possible to avoid water noise and surface agitation.
 
86 ssinit
  • #27
Ok thought I saw that in pic. If you can put him in the 10 gal. Fill that tank with water from the 75. Add one of the sponges from 75 to the 10 keep the temp in ten at 85 and add a table spoon of sea salt or unionized table salt. That’s a fungus on its eye and can be cured. I know this is a lot but it will help him.

I also have the 350 and yes it’s loud. It’s only downfall. It’s a great filter with lots of area for media. But being it’s not on the tank already it’s going to take weeks to get it full of bb. So you have to leave the sponge in there. But I would install that 350 with a sponge on both sides some floss and some bio matrix in mesh bags. This will build up the bb. Yes I’m guessing this is overwhelmingly. Again it all can be done. Your at the hardest time right now and it will probably take at least a month to see this through. Once up and running they are beautiful fish probably the best fresh water fish.
 
Tuesday
  • Thread Starter
  • #28
Ok thought I saw that in pic. If you can put him in the 10 gal. Fill that tank with water from the 75. Add one of the sponges from 75 to the 10 keep the temp in ten at 85 and add a table spoon of sea salt or unionized table salt. That’s a fungus on its eye and can be cured. I know this is a lot but it will help him.

That's not actually a fungus. he's blind in that eye.

Heres what I've decided to do- Call me stupid if you'd like, (but trust me.looking at my past dating history, its something I already know)
I bought acid buffer and I'm going to do it that way. I'm under strict instruction from dude at LFS (its really starting to look like he has an obsession with fish and these forums are his bedtime story, so I trust him.)
I'm going to add the HOB back. keep the sponge for now, I literally threw away my bio wheels last night. (spring cleaning, again, call me an idiot)
luckily I kept the rest of it.
anyway, going to add the HOB. add sponges, add ceramic rings. and new bio wheels. I'm going to stay on top of water changes, on top of prime, and on top of acid buffer.

***I am adding the buffer in a little tupperware, not directly in my tank, but I am using tank water. ****
 
86 ssinit
  • #29
Sounds great and good luck. As I said they prefer older tanks. So as your tank ages hopefully the ph will drop. Down the line things to think about would be the tidal 110 filter. Much quieter and also has a large space for media. Another thing actual maybe first look into the sunsun caniste4 filters. There cheap and good. Get a 302b with the uv steralizer. Run it with the hob. Yes the more filtration the better with discus.
 
Tuesday
  • Thread Starter
  • #30
Sounds great and good luck. As I said they prefer older tanks. So as your tank ages hopefully the ph will drop. Down the line things to think about would be the tidal 110 filter. Much quieter and also has a large space for media. Another thing actual maybe first look into the sunsun caniste4 filters. There cheap and good. Get a 302b with the uv steralizer. Run it with the hob. Yes the more filtration the better with discus.

Wait so am I not totally screwing things up by using acid buffer? You think it might work?
 
86 ssinit
  • #31
Like I said it won’t last it’s a chemical. Unforunatly peet is the only way I know to reduce ph. I really wouldn’t mess with the ph it may just cause more problems for the other fish. No matter that green is going to be stressed for awhile. He’s got to adjust to the ph and other fish. Doesn’t mean he’s dieing just stressed. He’s much better off in your tank than that pet stores. I had a 200gal discus tank and still had stressed fish. There’s allways one getting picked on. But with plants in the tank and hiding places they find places to calm down for awhile. Do some reading on discus there’s a lot to learn.
 
Charlaboo
  • #32
I noticed something very strange tonight.. I've got 4 discus who always almost seem to be in varying degrees of stress. 3 are blue tourquise and the other is a red tourquise. They aren't babies by any means but not fully grown yet either, about 4 inches. Anyway, they almost always have stress bars, although once in awhile I get to see their beautiful normal colours (except the red one she is never happy)water tests fine in terms of ammonia 0 nitrite 0 and nitrates less than 20 ppm.. just recently added some of those almond leaves to help with ph because it was at 7.8.. not long enough for that to take effect but I happened to wake up in the middle of the night and used a flashlight to see what's up and all 4 of the discus looks beautiful absolutely fantastic, the best I've ever seen them .. no stress bars, brilliant colours and Finally I've seen the red in the red one after like a month of having her .. can discus get stressed out by too much light? I don't remember the exact bulb I have but I do remember we picked a "mid grade@ bulb because the pet store guy said the next one up was much brighter mostly geared towards growing plants and could cause algae bloom ms .. if my discus look I fine when the lights are out could it be the lights and not the oh that's the problem? Also they are being kept at 84 degrees.

I'm new to discus and I've had my head bitten off in the forum on a number of subjects so please if I did something wrong don't bite my head off.. I'm trying to learn to give my fish a good quality of life
 
Zentuckyfriedchicken
  • #33
What size tank? Discus like to be in schools of 6.
 
Charlaboo
  • #34
It's a 90 gallon tank right now I just have 4 but I can get two more .. I saw some peach- orange colour ones I like - does it make any difference to them what colour their new friends would be?

It seems very strange that suddenly when it's night they all looked k happy with no stress bars
 
Mcasella
  • #35
Make sure they are around the same size because adding more will have a reestablishment of order. I would see if you can get a hold of a dimmer from walmart or online to dI'm the light and see if that helps them.
 
fishfanman
  • #36
Do you have dark substrate and/or background? They don't like that. Could be lighting. Turn them off during the day and see.
 
esdwa
  • #37
It seems very strange that suddenly when it's night they all looked k happy with no stress bars
Pardon me for asking, why do you think stress causes bars to appear? Just curious.
 
Charlaboo
  • #38
I suppose because they are referred to as stress bars.. lol

Pardon me for asking, why do you think stress causes bars to appear? Just curious.
Supposedly it's also a form of communication.. like when they are bullied they show the same bars
 
Disc61
  • #39
it could be the lighting, but more details are need. what's the color of background and substrate. do they have tankmates? are the eating and otherwise healthy?

lets talk about the stress bars, which I hate they are labeled that way. bars don't always mean something is wrong. bars in general were bred out of strains years ago BUT some strains like the blue and red Turq, especially Red have for the most part held on to the bars and is very common to see bars with Turqs all the time.

are they huddling together, hiding in the corners, etc or otherwise healthy...
 
Charlaboo
  • #40
it could be the lighting, but more details are need. what's the color of background and substrate. do they have tankmates? are the eating and otherwise healthy?

lets talk about the stress bars, which I hate they are labeled that way. bars don't always mean something is wrong. bars in general were bred out of strains years ago BUT some strains like the blue and red Turq, especially Red have for the most part held on to the bars and is very common to see bars with Turqs all the time.

are they huddling together, hiding in the corners, etc or otherwise healthy...
HI thanks for answering.. I've got a 70 gallon for the discus now and they have a few cherry barbs and danios as tankmates.. dither fish. 3 of the 4 currently seem happy and healthy they are brightly coloured torquoises.. the 4th is always, always dark and huddled in a corner by himself.. I saw what looked to me like an anchor worm on him so I've treated the tank with prazipro
 

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