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Old 01-02-2013, 12:00 PM   #1
graceful.04
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Unhappy Discus only diseases???

Are there diseases that only spread from one discus to another?? I had three Discus that were doing fine until the addition of two more Discus. The New Discus were acting strangely from the beginning (clamped fins, floating almost horizontal, looking almost dead...) and then my other three started doing the same thing! The weirdest part about this is that my two newest Discus are still alive while my three older ones have all passed away I have other fish in the tank that are completely happy so is it possible that there is a disease that only Discus can get??
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Old 01-02-2013, 01:01 PM   #2
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Species-specific diseases do exist, but they are very rare. Angels, Discus, Uaru and gouramis are especially prone. Captive vs wildcaught can lead to this sort of thing, too.
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Old 01-02-2013, 01:02 PM   #3
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There are a lot of diseases that many fish carry, but only seem to kill discus. This is why a lot of discus nuts refuse to put other fish in with them. The explanation I got was that discus live in water of very low pH (4) and hardness, nearly RO-like and that is also nearly free of bacteria. at least in some seasons. Therefore, they don't have much in the way of natural resistance.
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Old 01-02-2013, 02:22 PM   #4
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Wow, that's interesting. Thank you both so much. Now I have some sort of explanation as to what's going on with my Discus...
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Old 01-02-2013, 04:44 PM   #5
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I would love to have some Discus they are beautiful fish but they seem like the are bery deliquit and at $50.00 /ea starting I dont dare to get involved with them...
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Old 01-02-2013, 07:56 PM   #6
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Yep... so far I've lost three Discus and $90...
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Old 01-02-2013, 10:45 PM   #7
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pH of 4?? Might wanna recheck your sources... Many years ago, discus were difficult to keep but now adays they are not as difficult to keep. If you can do a water change a week and be able to indentify a sick fish before buying it, you should be just fine.
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Old 01-02-2013, 11:25 PM   #8
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Some of their wild waters, likely after a drought (lots of driftwood and decaying plant matter, no fresh rain) but I don't remember which species (there may be 4 or more). The point was that the water essentially got periodically sterilized and that explained the susceptibility of "blackwater" fishes in general to fish diseases that other fish live with.

The current crop of tank strains have been kept in a wide variety of waters and are far hardier than previous generations. However, most discus breeders I know are still absolutely fanatical about quarantine and so I expect the chance of a discus surviving the "supply chain" of wholesaler, store, home is reduced compared to similar sized "non-blackwater" cichlids. I heard of people selling "high-pH" discus, but not of disease-resistant discus.

Get your fish from a breeder, or get fish that have survived in the store for more than a month and show no symptoms. Cichlids are extremely adaptable and tough discus are likely only a matter of time, but I don't think they are quite there yet.

Big water changes, with warm, clean water are often suggested for "sickly" looking discus. And the massive water changes breeders typically do should allow these fish to tolerate big changes well.

Discus can also be treated with unconventional methods such as pH dropping. But read about pH changes due to meds, before you medcate, some meds with kick pH up to 8 in one dose. So you may need to add it slowly to treat them safely.

They are lovely, but keeping expensive fish would make me very nervous.

pH 4 is not that uncommon in "blackwater" areas of the amazon basin. Some of the wild Pike cichlids need pH around 5 to breed. A slow drop to 4 doesn't kill angels or rams (IME, though fins start to erode), but it does kill Aequidens (more of a "whitewater" SA cichlid). Not something you really want to do in your aquarium. Likely the low end pH reading is more commonly reported than is actually present because the best time to collect fish is the driest, hottest part of the year where the fish are all concentrated in the deepest (now shallow) areas making them easier to net. Once the rains come, the forest floods and fish spread out widely and the water parameters aren't so extreme.

Last edited by emc7; 01-02-2013 at 11:39 PM.
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Old 01-03-2013, 06:51 AM   #9
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Ok, so the weirdest thing has happened... I have Sterbai Corys in with the Discus and I figured that it was only a matter of time before my last two died -_- so I added a bubble wall for the Corys because they love to swim in it. I didn't do this before because I thought that discus didn't like any sort of current. Now with the bubbler in, they are doing much better... do Discus just need extremely aerated water?
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Old 01-03-2013, 10:36 AM   #10
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The higher the temp, the more aeration all fish need. I think discus can survive hot, stagnant water better than most, but, in low oxygen, they just sit still.
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Old 01-04-2013, 07:21 PM   #11
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All my discus are dead... -_- I think I'm staying away from them for a while.
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Old 01-04-2013, 08:50 PM   #12
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Oh man, I am sorry grace. Hopefully you can get where you want to be with them in the future.
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Old 01-04-2013, 10:09 PM   #13
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Well that sucks. The symptoms you listed only say "unhappy discus", they always do that when they are miserable, it doesn't tell you what killed them.
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Old 01-05-2013, 03:32 AM   #14
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there is a guy from colummbus ohio that sells discus on aquabid...good prices for nice healthy fish...such as 6 or 7 red turqs for $120....he sells as larryp...they are kept in ohio tapwater...
best thing i have found for keeping discus is................
deep tank.......keep them close when young.....good filtration..10x or close such as an aquaclear 110 on a 40 breeder or 55....
82-88 degrees F.......30-40% water change twice a week....the more water changes , the faster they grow.....feed 3-5 times a day...run an extra air diffuser or 2....give them tall live plants and driftwood....
the only chemical to use is a simple dechlorinating agent like "Dechlor" made by Weco... unless there is a need to treat for disease...
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Old 01-05-2013, 01:00 PM   #15
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Ya thats what scares me about discus and keeps me away from saltwater fish is if your tank goes you can be out some good money very quickly... Maybe after I get a few years I will be more comfortable to invest in them...
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