Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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jsm11482 01-25-2007 09:51 PM

My new discus won't eat!
Hi, anyone have experience with getting new discus to eat? We put them in the tank on Saturday and they have barely nibbled when I drop food right in front of them (they don't even think of coming to the top of the tank to eat). Am I just being too impatient? I don't want them to go hungry! I have only tried to feed them beef heart so far (frozen) since that is the main ingredient that the breeder fed them.

Any help?

FDStation152 01-25-2007 10:03 PM

had this problem myself with my new discus.

1. they won't eat much until they get settled into the new tank. mine took about 5 days and some changes in his tankmates before he would eat regularly.
2. too many active fish in the tank with them unsettles them quite a bit. Anything else in the tank with the discus? Mine wouldnt eat with praecox rainbowfish around. Having some neons or cardinals to act as dither fish help out a lot.
3. switch up the food. discus have a very hard time resisting frozen blood worms
4. how big is the discus? once they get to be in the 3-4 inch range they can go awhile without food so you shouldnt have to worry about starvation or anything like that if he holds out for a few days.
5. whats the temp in the tank? they like it pretty warm (mine is kept at 84) and get pretty lethargic in temperatures under 80
6. what are some of the other water parameters? they'll go on a hunger strike if the water isnt agreeing with them
7. Are you sure its not eating? They tend to spend a lot of time poking around the bottom for food..another reason not to keep them with very active fish...the active ones will usually get to the food a lot quicker than the discus will

Shouldn't really be anything to worry about though. Mine wouldn't eat for days and now she's right up at the top of the tank when she sees the bloodworms coming.

jsm11482 01-25-2007 10:11 PM

Thanks for the quick reply.

2. I had (until last night) 7 danios in there. There is still one baby one I was too frustrated to catch (destroyed my tank, ripped out all plants to get the lil' bastards out) and a number of miniscule babies that I will have to catch later. I also have one small Clown Pleco and a small Gold Nugget Pleco as well.

4. Two of them are 2-2.5", the other 4 are between 3-4".

5. Also around 84f.

6. I should check again but last I checked, pH and kH are around 7.

7. I saw them pecking around and eating only one time.

They swim around fine, and they seem happy. Sometimes they hide behind the plants but for the most part they are active and have the run of the tank. They do not run and hide when I come up to the tank or walk past the tank - unless I reach for the canopy and open the tank.

We love these guys already! We can already see the different personalities between the six!

FDStation152 01-25-2007 10:22 PM

the pH should probably be lower. I keep mine at 6.5 and thats considered to be towards to top of the range they are most comfortable with. 6 to 6.5 is usually reccomended. my gH and kH are at 3.36 and 1.68 respectively as discus prefer softer water. Not always the easiest to trick is to buy distilled water, reconstitute it with an electrolyte blend to restore some trace elements, and add in neutral regular (Seachem) and discus buffer (also by seachem) at the rate of two scoops each per gallon. Do that with the water changes and you'll gradually soften their water and lower the pH or in my case keep the water parameters extraordinarily similar (all it does for me is very slowly lower the gH and kH pH hasnt changed a bit in a month of daily testing). Also they require very clean water...I do water changes between 7 and 15% almost every day...never more between changes than 2 days. They are very sensitive to water quality changes though so any adjustments you do have to be done very slowly. My guess would be that they arent eating because they havent adjusted to the new tank and water parameters just yet. Frozen bloodworms will help...they love em. Probably a good idea on pulling the danios too...lots of movement really does seem to screw with em. What are your nitrate levels out of curiosity? I have mine down to between 5 and 10ppm

jsm11482 01-26-2007 08:19 AM

Cool, thanks for the info. I knew the pH was a little high but other sites I've read says they are OK from around 6 to around 7.5. My kH is definitely a little high, though. My Ammonia, Nitrites and Nitrates are all 0 since I have a decent amount of plants in the tank. My water is very clear and clean since I use a UV filter.

FDStation152 01-26-2007 05:34 PM

While they most likely can adapt to that higher pH I always prefer to keep my fish in their natural ranges rather than force them to adapt to something else. With that number of discus do you plan on breeding them? If so the pH and gH will definitely have to be low to encourage them to spawn. And once again frozen bloodworms are to discus what a good steak is to me...practically impossible to pass up!

musho3210 01-26-2007 06:00 PM

have you tried feeding them live bloodworms?

FDStation152 01-26-2007 06:07 PM

live would also probably work great although I'm also concerned about possible contamination of the culture. Frozen bloodworms also tend to be more readily available and come with the convenience of being frozen in little cubes. just thaw em out in tank water (i use a small jar for this) and dump em in.

jsm11482 01-26-2007 07:13 PM

I will pick up some frozed bloodworms tomorrow and give it a try. thanks for the advice!

FDStation152 01-26-2007 07:57 PM

i can practically guarantee that it'll do the discus is to the point that when she sees me thawing the bloodworms she goes to the top of the tank to wait for em...if i have the can of flakes she could care less but apparently she recognizes the jar and whats going to be coming from it.

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