It is vital that you quarantine Discus after purchase. Parasites can invade and destroy your happy Discus environment in days. With just a few extra precautions you can avoid disaster.
Read how to quarantine your Discus and what to look for before you buy Discus. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Why Quarantine Discus
I am as guilty as the next person. I will admit that when I started out with Discus, I would take them from the bag and put them straight into my tank. After all the point of buying the Discus was to enjoy watching it in my tank, right?
All was well in the beginning until I changed my source of Discus. I went to a new place, all I wanted was more Discus! I lost all rational thinking, in fact, I didn’t look for signs of illness or care very much about the environment. I just wanted a new Discus.
I went home and placed the new Discus in my tank with all the others. Later that week, sometime after feeding, I noticed long string white waste coming from the new Discus. How long had this been going on? Is this Discus sick? Will my other Discus get sick as well?
Sure enough, after some time, the new Discus stopped eating. After a few more days it died. Then followed the others, with similar symptoms and not knowing what to do, they all died.
That is my story. I am sure countless others have experienced something similar. Back then I didn’t have the internet and books were scarce. Yep, no Amazon.com either! I tried going to the local fish store, they avoided the questions. They even got offended! I remember them saying that Discus were very delicate and difficult fish. Now I know better, Discus are neither delicate nor difficult, had I just taken a few extra steps. Here is what I learned.
How To Quarantine Discus
Quarantine means you are going to have another tank on standby for new fish to live in for a few weeks to observe for parasites or health issues. Here is the basic list of what you will need:
- Spare tank with cycled water. 10 gallon or 20 gallon will do.
- Tank hood to keep Discus from jumping out.
- Submersible heater
- Sponge filter
- Air pump
This is a bare bones system. No fancy stuff, just simple.
No gravel in this tank at all! Keep the tank super clean. The point of this tank is to provide a simple way for you to observe the health of your new Discus.
What to observe:
- Fish Waste must be observed for some time. You want to make sure no worms, tapeworms or other digestive issues exist.
- Food consumption must be observed. If the Discus is not eating it may have problems.
- Body fungus or injuries. Look for fin rot, cuts or scrapes and medicate if needed.
By keeping the new Discus in a separate tank you can also adjust parameters to help the new Discus heal or recover from infection, parasites or stress.
- Raising the temperature a few degrees is known to stimulate appetite. Also some parasites are known to die off in warmer waters.
- Adding aquarium salt also helps reduce Discus stress. A smaller tank means less salt and more direct impact.
- Medicating is much easier and cost effective. Should you find parasites, treatment will be simpler in a quarantine tank than if you had to treat your main established tank.
Questions For You
Do you have a Quarantine/Hospital tank setup?
Have you ever found parasites in your Discus?
What treatments have worked for you?