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Hi guys,

I'm needing some advice from the experts!

I have a 160l corner tank with 4x Cardinal tetras, 6 harlequin rasbosa, 1x blue ram, 1x yellow ram, 3x corydoras, 5x phantom tetras and did have 5 juvenile discus (just lost one 10 minutes ago). I realise that I will need to upgrade my tank fairly soon. All fish get along well except I have one very bossy juvenile discus (the smallest of the lot) who has been terrorising two of my slightly bigger juveniles, one of which has just passed away :( I'm devastated because he was my fave. Gorgeous millennium gold.

Ammonia - 0

nitrate - 10ppm

nitrite - 0

ph - currently 6.5 (has been fluctuating on the mor acidic side?) water direct from tap is 6.5

temp - 28 degrees

substrate - swapped gravel to pool filter sand about three weeks ago.

2x 40-50% water changes per week

fed discus bio-gold pellets in the morning & frozen blood worms at night.

i just can't seem to keep these beauties alive and I'm not sure why :( and what I'm doing wrong. i'm almost ready to give up on them.

The millennium gold that has just passed has been battling for about a month. He started hiding at the back of the tank (near the heater & air stone) was flashing, darting & breathing heavily. I treated the tank with Kusuri Wormer Plus believing that he/she could have flukes & Kusuri is apparently not so hard on bio filter and catfish. Darting, flashing etc stopped but still wasn't eating and still hiding.

Three of the smaller discus are happy as Larry, begging, fighting etc. one is showing worrying signs 😣 and is starting to lurk around the back of the tank. as I mentioned earlier, my littlest pigeon blood has been chasing him/her.

I haven't seen any further flashing, darting or scratching on plants lately and I haven't lost any of my smaller fish in about 2 months. Some of my neons had what appeared to be cotton mouth disease which was treated with no fatalities.

The gold that passed away today appears to have swollen, pink gills?

Any help, suggestions or feedback would be greatly appreciated.

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Hi you will no doubt get a lot of replies but the thing that comes to mind the most is that Discus can not handle stress. An aggressive fish be it another species (or in your case another Discus); severely stresses the other fish and weakens their immune system. First thing I'd be doing is removing the aggressive fish.

The other thing I'll mention is that mouth fungus is a sign of poor water conditions. Where the Neons new aquisitions or did you have them for some time? Are you matching the water temp when you do water changes?

Cheers

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Hi you will no doubt get a lot of replies but the thing that comes to mind the most is that Discus can not handle stress. An aggressive fish be it another species (or in your case another Discus); severely stresses the other fish and weakens their immune system. First thing I'd be doing is removing the aggressive fish.

The other thing I'll mention is that mouth fungus is a sign of poor water conditions. Where the Neons new aquisitions or did you have them for some time? Are you matching the water temp when you do water changes?

Cheers

Thanks for your reply :)

yeah, I'm thinking you might be right...the aggressive discus is actually a new addition, got him with another little cobalt blue about 3 weeks ago. Quarantined them for about two weeks and salt dipped. Should have quarantined them for longer but I've been having huge issues with ammonia & low ph in my QT tank even though I 80% WC daily. But yeah, he seems to only pick on the sickly discus.

I did pick up two new cardinals so not sure if they were already infected? The only issue I have with my water is the PH seems to drop down to about 6.4 after a couple of days? I'm testing every day.

Cheers,

Dani

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Hi Dani

Yes I'd isolate the aggressive fish as the priority and see if that helps. pH drop of 6.5 - 6.4 would be within the realm of margin of error of most test kits. Does it drop below the 6.4 and if so by how much?

Regards

Edited by none

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Hi Dani

Yes I'd isolate the aggressive fish as the priority and see if that helps. pH drop of 6.5 - 6.4 would be within the realm of margin of error of most test kits. Does it drop below the 6.4 and if so by how much?

Regards[/quote

Sorry, my mistake, tap water is 6.6 according to API test kit. I did a 50% water change yesterday and it has already dropped to 6.4. I don't allow it it get below 6.4. I usually do a W/c or gradually add ph up, Depending on when I last did a w/c.

Could it be the sand?

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I wouldn't worry about the small drop in pH. Discus in their natural habitats live in water that is very soft (KH, GH about 1) and somewhat acidic (pH 5-6.5). The small variations in your tank are well within the tolerances for the fish.

Do you have a hardness reading for your tap water or a conductivity/TDS measurement? Looking at your tap water pH it probably is fairly soft water - which is great for keeping discus. If the water is soft, the change in conductivity/TDS and hardness that you are introducing by adding pH Up is likely much more severe than the small variation in pH you are trying to 'fix'.

There are two things that discus really struggle with, one is the built-up of pollutants such as nitrite and nitrate, hence the frequent water changes associated with keeping discus (and it looks like you are staying on top of that). The other one is stress.

The easiest way to avoid stress (apart from not keeping them with more aggressive fish) is to have a large enough tank and to have plenty of areas in the tank where they can retreat to and feel safe. Use lots of tall plants (real or artificial), larger pieces of driftwood, tall aquarium ornaments etc to generate sheltered areas.

You may not always be able to see all the fish, but your fish are much more likely to stay healthy

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Could it be the sand?

Hi unlikely that the sand would lower pH. Was is store bought or collected? If anything sand (generally) is more likely to buffer up hardness. I presume your pH was dropping before the sand was added? Only thing to bear in mind is "dead spots" that can occur with sand - pockets where rotting plant debris etc can gather. This isn't exclusive to sand and by the sounds of it you are on top of things with maintenance etc anyway. When you changed from gravel to sand did you do a complete tank drain out? This change may had added to the stress factor - rather than the substrate itself. Cheers

(P.S If the sand was collected and there is rotting matter in it yes it can cause pH drop.)

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I wouldn't worry about the small drop in pH. Discus in their natural habitats live in water that is very soft (KH, GH about 1) and somewhat acidic (pH 5-6.5). The small variations in your tank are well within the tolerances for the fish.

Do you have a hardness reading for your tap water or a conductivity/TDS measurement? Looking at your tap water pH it probably is fairly soft water - which is great for keeping discus. If the water is soft, the change in conductivity/TDS and hardness that you are introducing by adding pH Up is likely much more severe than the small variation in pH you are trying to 'fix'.

There are two things that discus really struggle with, one is the built-up of pollutants such as nitrite and nitrate, hence the frequent water changes associated with keeping discus (and it looks like you are staying on top of that). The other one is stress.

The easiest way to avoid stress (apart from not keeping them with more aggressive fish) is to have a large enough tank and to have plenty of areas in the tank where they can retreat to and feel safe. Use lots of tall plants (real or artificial), larger pieces of driftwood, tall aquarium ornaments etc to generate sheltered areas.

You may not always be able to see all the fish, but your fish are much more likely to stay healthy

Thank you, i can rule that out as being th problem then!

I'll buy a hardness test tomorrow and check it just in case. :)

yeah good point, I might look for some taller plants or ornaments. When they're stressed they hide behind an ornament in the back corner.

it seems like stress was the probable killer then :( the fact he had gill flukes and was weak then the stress of the new fish picking on him. His gills seemed quite swollen though? Poor little fella :( i put a blanket over the tank for 24 hrs in hope that he would calm down but when I took the blanket off this morning I literally watched him take his last breath :(

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I was told when getting into discus recently that aggression can also be caused by lack of numbers. I had problems with too few fish to start with, the main aggressor would bash anything that came near the food. In a large tank they run off & hide & get lost. Now have 30 discus in my 1300 ltr tank & the previous ones that had stopped eating are back eating. The aggressor is the one up the other end of the tank now by himself, eats & everything, just cannot pick on that many fish.

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