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Discus eatting problem.


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Hi, I have two Red Rose discus (15cm in size).

The problem I have is they will not eat. Its been three weeks now.

At the Aquarium they were eating beef heart. I’ve tried lots of different

Foods, Spectrum Pellets, Spirillum Algae flakes, Blood worms, Live black worms,

Tetre pellets, and also the same Beef heart which was feed to them in

The aquarium.

They approach the food then turn around. They seem to want to eat but just don’t.

The tank is 3.5 foot, set up for breeding.... So the bottom is bare.

I’ve tried putting plants ECT but still no go.

I’ve tried garlic guard also.

I had the pH set to 6.0 but it’s now sent to 6.7.

Nitrite is low but not zero (.02)

Any help would be much appreciated.

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I'm not a discus expert but IME when fish won't eat it's usually because they don't like the conditions they're living in. You need to check everything.

Nitrite needs to be zero. Did you check ammonia and nitrate? They need to be zero as well. What kind of filter are you using?

How often do you do water changes? What kind of water are you using? Tap? or RO?

When you say pH was set to 6.0 but is now 6.7, what caused the change? Did you use additives to lower and raise the pH? What's the pH of the water that you use for water changes?

What's the temperature of their tank? How much does the temperature fluctuate? Check the temperature first thing in the morning, middle of the day (or as soon as you get home from work), and last thing before you go to bed.

Three weeks seems a long time for them not to be eating. My concern is that 3 weeks is probably long enough for their immune system to drop and for them to start succumbing to diseases which they would otherwise be able to resist.

What is their general condition like? Have they lost weight? Colour? How is their behaviour with each other? Any changes to their mucous membrane? Check the tops of their heads. Any holes? Do you know what hole-in-the-head looks like? Check for whitespot. Check for finrot.

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I use tap water, which is 7.4 PH, Carbonate Hardness 2dh, General Hardness 3dh.

I use Seachem Discus buffer to lower it to 6.7PH. The water is conditioned with Seachem

Prime. The water is stored to settle and heated

in a 60litter storage tank for two days before adding it to the tank.

I change 30liters daily and vacuum the tank daily.

The water is heated to match the tank (29 degrees) before it is added.

The temp has a maximum fluctuation of 0.6degrees in a day (I use a 300w Eheim Jagger heater).

My filter is a 2777 Eheim Wet/Dry filter. I also have an 11w UV steriliser.

Eheim 100 Air pump.

The Ammonia is Zero but sometimes it does come up a ittle.

Nitrate, I cant measure :( (no test kit).

The general condition of both Discus are great. They have not lost weight, their colour

Is bright, they swim side by side (no aggression shown to each other at all) and there stress

Bars are not showing.

Yes I do know the symptoms of hole in the head, fin root, whites spot ECT. They do not display any

sighns of disease's or parasites.

I think the filter has not developed 100% bacteria, or perhaps the Eheim filter

is just not good enough.... this is the first time I'v use a wet/dry filter.

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Sorry, hope I didn't come off as too rude asking all those questions. Wasn't implying that you didn't know anything.

Even if the filter is not quite there yet, you're changing water daily so that should balance things out. Maybe you could add some Cycle each water change to speed things up a bit. But I'm not convinced there's a problem with your filtration. Are your water conditions same as where they came from in terms of pH and hardness? But I reckon it's probably not the problem either.

Have you considered worming them? Although you'd expect to see some other symptoms to confirm a worm infestation like white faeces and/or loss of colour. But don't some discuss owners worm their fish on a monthly basis? I think I read that somewhere.

Well at least the fact that their general condition is excellent probably means you have some time up your sleeve to figure out what's wrong. Could it possibly be that they're getting ready to spawn?

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No. I didn't think you were coming on to strong at all, and all Info is good.... Thankyou.

What would I use for deworming?

I'm pretty sure they don’t need it thou, cause there droppings are dark in colour and they would

ussually still eat if they had worms, but it might be worth a try.

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Praziquantel is used for the treatment of flukes and intestinal worms. I know someone who uses it on their Discus tank. I'm going to use it as a preventative treatment when I get my Oscar as soon as the tank cycles (any week now :lol:).

In Aus, praziquantel is available as Aquamaster's "Fluke & Tapeworm Tablets". I got mine via the net from AquaShaks.

Other people might have alternative suggestions.



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There's a pinned topic in the Clinic Forum about the use of Avitrol, a bird wormer, for worming bettas. Click here to go to that topic. However, I'd personally be more comfortable with a product that's been made for fish like the praziquantel that Jason mentioned above. Have a look at the instructions on the bottle. I think it's preferable to add the medication to food rather than to the water. But your fish aren't eating so that's not going to work.

I thought I had a discus book somewhere but can't seem to locate it. Have to rely on scraps of information to percolate through to the front of my brain. :wub:

How long was the tank cycling before you introduced the discus? One of the scraps of info that I kept in my head is about starting a discus tank, because I've always wanted to keep discus but never got around to it, but nevertheless this bit of info keeps cropping up every time I see, hear or read about discus. Anyway, this is for a display tank rather than a breeding setup like you've got. Get a 6 x 2 x 2, put in 12 cardinal tetras, lots of plants, big canister filter. And here's the important bit: cycle for 3 months (yikes!) then add 6 of the smallest discus you can find. The expense and long lead time is the reason why I haven't kept discus yet.

The other scrap of info in my head is in regards to the pH. I always thought the optimum pH was around 5.5. The reason I remember this is because my test kit only goes down to 6.0. And every time I check pH (which admittedly isn't very often) I'm reminded that I can't keep discus because I haven't got a test kit that can measure pH for them.

It might be worth considering gradually lowering their pH further over a week or so. You might also consider adding blackwater extract or Indian Almond Leaf. Apart from tannin and humic acids, IAL has anti-bacterial properties which might assist with low level infections.

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I originally had the tank setup and running for 3 weeks with two dolphine cichlids hoping that

the bacteria in the filter would develop.

When I got the Discus I added a bottle a Cycle, and the PH was set to 6.0.

3 weeks later I noticed that nitrite was high even thou I'm changing 30L

a day and vacuuming every day. I read on the net that bacteria has a hard

time growing at anything below 6.5ph....Is this true??

I then decided to bring the ph to 6.7 and once ready for breeding will bring it back

down to 6.0.

Got some good news.... The male ate some black worms today :lol:

I'v got alot of good books on Discus.... the best two I'v read are 'Penang Discus'

and 'The Naked truth'.....Any one wanting Discus should read these books... But there

not cheap... I paid $130 each for em.

I'v never had problems with Nitrite before.... I'm not convinced that this Eheim Wet/Dry filter

is any good.... with 4L of substrate and only two Discus you would think it could manage the nitrite load.

Has any one used Zeolite to remove Ammonia/ Nitrite??

Today I added some salt into the water...I'v been told it helps them to eat....does anyone know

if this is true?

I was also told to turn off the UV filter till the bacteria has established....is this true?

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Hi Steve, hope your Discus are eating now. Have you noticed them pooping (sorry for such a basic question) but with my new discus they don't like being watched and come out later to eat. I knew they were eating coz they pooped.

Try grating the frozen discus food, mine have taken to eating it that rather than thawing it. It thaws once it hits the tank anyway. Try and get some blackwater extract as well or try and get a good piece of driftwood in the tank - or both!

PH is better close to 6 than 6.7 and the temp a constant 28. I agree cardinals are good tank mates to help the tank cycle.

Also keep the lights low until they get used to you and the tank. Sterazin is good for intestal worms as well.

They are not a cheap fish to keep are they??!!??

Good luck - hope they settle soon

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