Discus very slowly geting ill, one at a time??

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discuspaul

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Jun 22, 2010
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Surrey, B.C. Canada (Vancouver)
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Paul
As an afterthought message for you Ranger..........

Should you be amenable to eventually accepting that poor water quality & conditions might have been at the root of your problem, and if the concept of starting over & doing it the right way might appeal to you, I just want to let you know that I'd be more than happy to help you out in every way I can, so that you may fully succeed at keeping discus - right from directing you to the best sources for quality fish, through to taking all the correct steps and measures to setting up & maintaining the healthiest discus environment possible.
 
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Ranger

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Jun 20, 2001
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Everett, WA
Thank you all for your input and support, no it did not seem blunt or rude to me at all. The situation is what it is, and there is always more that I can learn. To me it is just a hobby and they are only fish, as frustrating as it can get,…there is more to life.

DiscusPaul: if a cleaner tank is what it takes then I am willing to try that. To answer your question the discus probably are not from the best sources. Since I’m new to discus I don’t know the best sources, so I bought some from the better stores in the area (so source unknown), and got many from Macs Discus.

It is a show tank so I would like some substrate. Would you recommend changing to a finer grain (as it looked like in your tank) for better vacuuming ,? (yes is does get vacuumed) I actually used larger size gravel when I set up the tank because I thought it would trap less detritus material.

The plants are artificial; I didn’t want to do live plants and discus all at once since I was new to discus. (it was a Dutch tank before, every few years I like to try something new)

I would like to ask what it was you saw about my fish that you could tell they were from poor stock? What should I look for in good stock?

The back ground is less than a year old and the problem has been going on before that. It is fully epoxy sealed with no dead cavities behind it.

The filter is a wet-dry trickle sump with a duck weed bio filter (like an algae filter but with duckweek).
Water changes are automated, so I can reprogram if more are needed.

YES the QT tank is trashed right now, it looks like a hospital ER after New Year’s Eve :) Was just trying a lot of things this last week ,as a last ditch effort and experimenting since that fish was probably a goner anyway.
 

discuspaul

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Jun 22, 2010
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Surrey, B.C. Canada (Vancouver)
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Paul
Yes Ranger, I agree that it's just a hobby, they are only fish, and there's more to life - but they are expensive fish and I believe that most people who keep them want them to be healthy & thriving, so its only sensible for them to learn how to keep them that way. Discus do need more care & attention to water quality & conditions than most tropicals do, so discus-keepers must be prepared to accept the challenge that passive, laissez-faire, or negligent care will be insufficient to succeed at keeping them. I would hope you would agree with that.

Now on to the matter of how to tell healthy, well-shaped discus from those that are not well-conditioned and inferior.
As a whole, that is something that is more or less learned only after years of experience with discus, and observation of both quality fish, and non-quality fish, and runs the gamut from determining good or poor shape, good or poor coloration, odd or natural behaviors/mien, finnage, eye to body ratios, and other factors.
On top of that, it's much more difficult to gauge those factors from looking at photos, than by actually observing the fish in the flesh, and at close range.

In the case of your fish - I can tell you this - by looking at the second photo above, the two small blues on the left side do appear to be (and I'd bet on it) no more than 3" in size from nose to tail base, perhaps less. Their fins are not fully/well outstretched, the eye to body ratio is not good, and the stress bars on one are dead giveaways that the fish are not in prime condition, and likely stressed from poor water quality & conditions. Furthermore, since they are likely more than 18 months old (even if were less than 12 months), with good care and attention they should be twice that size. So my conclusion is that they are stunted ( again, due to poor water quality).
The orange and red fish to the blues' immediate right are not much bigger, and they too don't look to be in anywhere near prime condition, even though the head- on shots are not a clear indicator. The pigeon-based fish on the right side is larger but the slightly clamped fins are an indicator of stress, as is the uneven coloration.

Your substrate is bad news - it's contrary to what you think - the larger size gravel would actually trap & harbor more undesirable matter. What you want is, imo & e, the best discus substrate - and that is nothing more than #20 grade density inert quartz-based silica pool filter sand - which is easy to keep squeaky clean at all times.
Artificial plants too, are notorious detritus gatherers only, having no use for any nutritional value from organic waste material.

You say the background is fully epoxy sealed, but is it certain there has been no leakage, and that there is only air behind it - no water and no waste matter ? I have seen a number that were considered sealed at inception but didn't remain that way for very long.

If I were you, I would rid the tank of the background (put something else on the outside of the tank), use PFS as substrate, along with a limited number of live plants (or no plants at all - perhaps just driftwood), and do large (50% or more) water changes at least every 2nd day, at which time I would vac the substrate well, and do a thorough tank glass wall wipe-down with each & every wc.
And I would get discus of not less than 4 " in size (preferably larger) from a well-known reputable supplier of quality fish. In your case, quite frankly, I know of no discus providers of top quality in Washington state (including Macs who I have knowledge of). Your best bet would be deal with Kenny Cheung, of Kenny's Discus in Daly City, Ca. (near S.F.) who will air ship & guarantee live delivery of high quality, well-shaped discus.

Btw, will you explain your automated water change system in broad terms, so I can understand how your wcs are being accomplished.

I'm willing to assist you with anything more that you'd like some feedback on, and I wish you all the best with your discus-keeping.
 
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discuspaul

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Jun 22, 2010
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Surrey, B.C. Canada (Vancouver)
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Paul
BTW, Ranger, you're not far from Vancouver and you may want to drive up sometime & take advantage of the 30% stronger U.S. dollar than the CAD dollar to get discus. There are two excellent sources of very good quality discus here in Vancouver.
 
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