Discus Agression?

Discussion in 'Discus' started by Slagter, Jan 19, 2009.

  1. Slagter
    Offline

    Slagter Aquascaper

    • APSA Member
    • Sponsor
    73%
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Messages:
    5,988
    Likes Received:
    915
    Trophy Points:
    173
    Location:
    Joburg
    Hey guys.

    I have 4 discus in my tank. They are all roughtly 6-7cm long. Now, I started with 6 but have had 2 perish. I don't know why, but they never looked healthy to begin with.

    The 4 I have in at the moment are looking good. But, the one is constantly badgering 2 of the others. If they are seen, they are quickly chased away. The one is now hiding almost constantly and it has gone very dark. I fear the worst for them. I did water changes this weekend, but nothing. I know I should probably add a few more, but I am worried that my tank would be overstocked then.

    If you have any suggestions, that would be great.

    Thanks.

    Sean
     
  2. Solex69
    Offline

    Solex69 Algae harvester

    • APSA Member
    40%
    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Messages:
    839
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    26
    Location:
    West Beach, Cape Town
    I have a similiar issue with my discus. I have 3, one medium/big one and the other 2 are smaller. The big one is bullying the other two. It happens frequently but not all the time...seldomly I see two of them swimming together in peace. It definitely doesn't look like breeding behaviour...just plain nastiness by the big one I think. Occasionally, one of the 2 small ones will pick on the other small one (and vice-versa). All of them are very healthy and swims around the tank with no problem and they also eat every time they are given food.

    Can this behaviour be due to lack of swimming space/overcrowded tank? (I have a 240l tank that is quite stocked up with plants and other smaller tetras).
    Or is this to do with not having a full shoal of 6?
    Surely this can't be hierarchical behaviour as it normally stops within 2 weeks of fish being introduced in a tank? (I'm applying my betta knowledge here)

    Kom nou discus experts, help ons :)

    Cheers
    Dale
     
  3. Slagter
    Offline

    Slagter Aquascaper

    • APSA Member
    • Sponsor
    73%
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Messages:
    5,988
    Likes Received:
    915
    Trophy Points:
    173
    Location:
    Joburg
    I don't think it is hierarchy behaviour. They have been in the tank for well over a month now.

    It if a 250 - 300l 4ft tank with sump. So I doubt it's overcrowding. I have:

    30 neons
    8 dutch rams
    5 pakistani loaches
    4 discus
    2 angels
    1 whiptail and 2 ottos.

    I don't think it's overcrowded, but could be wrong.

    I've been told it could be worms...
     
  4. Solex69
    Offline

    Solex69 Algae harvester

    • APSA Member
    40%
    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Messages:
    839
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    26
    Location:
    West Beach, Cape Town
    Agreed, def not hierarchical behaviour

    Let me try and list my fish quickly

    +/- 10 Cardinals
    +/- 10 Small Green Neons
    +/- 20 Black eyed Tetras
    1 Torpedo Barb (hoping to make it 4 within a 2 - 3 weeks)
    3 Pandas
    3 Discus
    3 Chinese Algae Eaters
    1 Redtailed Black Shark
    +/- 6 Betta Females
    1 Plec
    2 German Blue Rams
    2 Bronze Cories
    +/- 3 Guppies
    4 Zebra Loaches

    I think that's my fish in there....don't think I've left anyone out.

    My tank also has a sump (will be connected within 2 - 3 weeks) but at the moment just a normal Dolphin F1200 internal filter is in there. I haven't had any problems with this tank yet (and hope to keep it so). Got tons of plants in there and I practically got no algae buildup in there either.

    I doubt its worms...if it was that, I don't think they would eat...just my opinion

    Dale
     
  5. Slagter
    Offline

    Slagter Aquascaper

    • APSA Member
    • Sponsor
    73%
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Messages:
    5,988
    Likes Received:
    915
    Trophy Points:
    173
    Location:
    Joburg
    Hmmm...

    Ok, so I don't think it is overstocking now either... I'm gonna try the de-worming and see how that works out. Otherwise I have no idea. Maybe I should do a water change and use 50% RO? I don't know...
     
  6. Solex69
    Offline

    Solex69 Algae harvester

    • APSA Member
    40%
    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Messages:
    839
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    26
    Location:
    West Beach, Cape Town
    Before you take any action, let's wait on the other oakes' input. Here are some discus experts on here that can help us
     
  7. Andre
    Offline

    Andre Green fingers

    • APSA Member
    37%
    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2006
    Messages:
    2,202
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Cape Town
    Discus and angels definitely form a hierarchy, and although it settles after a while, the fish at the bottom of the hierarchy will suffer the wrath of the more dominant fish. This is why it is normally recommended to keep 6 or more discus, as this will give the dominant fish more options to focus on. The fish will constantly be fighting to gain status in the hierarchy and prevent other fish from overtaking them.

    In my opinion it is easier to keep 12 discus in a tank than it is to keep 4.
     
  8. Slagter
    Offline

    Slagter Aquascaper

    • APSA Member
    • Sponsor
    73%
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Messages:
    5,988
    Likes Received:
    915
    Trophy Points:
    173
    Location:
    Joburg
    Which is why I originally bought 6.
     
  9. Solex69
    Offline

    Solex69 Algae harvester

    • APSA Member
    40%
    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Messages:
    839
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    26
    Location:
    West Beach, Cape Town
    Makes perfect sense what you explained Andre...I'll go shop for some more discus month end.

    BTW, I just checked and I also have 12 Rummy Nose Tetras, 2 Harlequins, 6 black neons, 3 Emperor Tetras, and about 4 swordtails in the tank. Now I doubt I missed any other fish :)
     
  10. hartlands
    Offline

    hartlands Green fingers

    • APSA Member
    9%
    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2006
    Messages:
    152
    Likes Received:
    25
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Yeah, Andre is spot on, Discus can be nasty, best to get some more...
     
  11. Slagter
    Offline

    Slagter Aquascaper

    • APSA Member
    • Sponsor
    73%
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Messages:
    5,988
    Likes Received:
    915
    Trophy Points:
    173
    Location:
    Joburg
    I am also going to get a few more... Just waiting for month end... The very end of the month salty crack snack.
     
  12. Gerry
    Offline

    Gerry Noob

    • APSA Member
    80%
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2007
    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Sea Point
    I have read that one takes the bully out of the tank for a week or so and then put him back. This apparently makes him a newcomer and less agressive
     
  13. Slagter
    Offline

    Slagter Aquascaper

    • APSA Member
    • Sponsor
    73%
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Messages:
    5,988
    Likes Received:
    915
    Trophy Points:
    173
    Location:
    Joburg
    And in turn makes the sub dominant the bully... Hmmm... I donno so much.
     
  14. Solex69
    Offline

    Solex69 Algae harvester

    • APSA Member
    40%
    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Messages:
    839
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    26
    Location:
    West Beach, Cape Town
    I would assume size matters here; so if the bully is bigger than the others and you remove him & put him back, he will most likely notice this and try his bullying tactics again. That's just what I think that'll happen. The large will dominate small...

    Cheers
    Dale
     
  15. Dirk B
    Offline

    Dirk B Aquascaper

    • APSA Member
    73%
    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2006
    Messages:
    2,011
    Likes Received:
    1,093
    Trophy Points:
    173
    Location:
    Somerset West, South Africa
    Right, I am back from 3 weeks in Angola, so here goes:

    Discus of the size you mention occur in massive schoals in nature and one fish just simply does not get the overhand over the others there. If you keep 6 or less discus of this size in a tank though, you can just about write the death certificate for all except the biggest two before you even start. What happens in that the biggest fish dominate the others to such an extent that they stop feeding within a week and then you are already in trouble. When I start off with small discus I never start with less than 10, but then this gets expensive, but this is the general opinion of all that I am in touch with overseas.

    Kind regards,

    Dirk
     
  16. Solex69
    Offline

    Solex69 Algae harvester

    • APSA Member
    40%
    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Messages:
    839
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    26
    Location:
    West Beach, Cape Town
    Hey prof, welcome back :)

    Quite interesting point you raised. I must admit that I lost one of my smaller discus probably for the very reason you mentioned above :( The other smaller one is still alive and feeding normally, but the bigger is definitely dominating him; I'll split them up in tonight while I get more discus. I'm glad that I'm at least providing them with adequeate living conditions though.

    I'm on the search for more discus as I am planning to downscale on the different fish species type in the current 1.2m that that my discus are in. I would only like to have discus, cardinals & small green neons in there with tons of plants. I have done some heavy maintenance with the plants last week as it was growing just too dense and plants were scattered everywhere in the tank. There's fewer plants in there now, but at least there is a much better structure

    Cheers
    Dale
     
  17. Dirk B
    Offline

    Dirk B Aquascaper

    • APSA Member
    73%
    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2006
    Messages:
    2,011
    Likes Received:
    1,093
    Trophy Points:
    173
    Location:
    Somerset West, South Africa
    Hi Dale,

    Discus are very peculiar fishes in that if you separate them and keep them on their own at that size, they are also not happy at all. They are schooling fish when they are small, so keeping them on their own also stresses them. What does help is to keep angels with them, as they also occur with them in nature, but on their own you have the next set of problems, they mope around and do not eat properly. I think that they need to competition situation to eat well, crazy eh?

    On keeping discus in a large planted tank, I also have my reservations. If one feeds discus properly, in other words, one feeds them a lot, you have a problem with their droppings and waste food getting into the gravel. Also if you keep them at the required 29 C and higher, very many plants battle. I have given up keeping discus with plants, management wise, it is just too intensive for me.

    Kind regards,

    Dirk
     
  18. Solex69
    Offline

    Solex69 Algae harvester

    • APSA Member
    40%
    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Messages:
    839
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    26
    Location:
    West Beach, Cape Town
    Very interesting....I will definitely stock up my discus as I am seriously wanting to move away from all the different fish species....getting very tired of seeing the rainbow nation in one tank; I'd rather want to just have a minimum amount of fish species in one tank. I have one black-laced angel (think that's the type of angel in there) with the discus at the moment and they seem to be getting along just fine.

    Oddly enough, the tank currently runs 29 to 30 degrees and bulk of the plants are growing at a rapid pace (thanks to the intense lighting + your drops). I have read that some plants do struggle when going above 26/27, but so far I've been blessed with this tank :)

    Substrate is completely silica sand. I have seen how they eat...quite messy yes, but I am reserved when feeding them as I noticed they clean up the floor-bottom once bulk of the food has been consumed. I have found this to work quite nicely in keeping my tank clean at the bottom

    Dale
     
  19. Neville
    Offline

    Neville Green fingers

    • APSA Member
    9%
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2007
    Messages:
    633
    Likes Received:
    46
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Cape Town, Parklands
    Hi all

    This is exactly the problem I have too. Bought 2 discus about 2 months ago as they seemed inseparable in the shop's tank and it was thought that they might be a pair. I wouldn't have bought them otherwise. Initially they hid a bit whilst adjusting to their new environment as expected. In less than a week they started coming out nicely and were eating quite well, foraging together. The one fish seemed a bit more shy than the other though.

    With time the shy one seemed ok and was coming out almost as often as the other one. Lately, like the last two weeks or so we noticed the shy one completely retracting itself again and we just thought that it was its usual shy self. I started watching them whenever possible and saw the truth: the shy one is not shy - it is being intimidated into hiding! And quite aggressively so, to the point where the shy fish practically goes and lies on its side when the dominant fish approaches it. The shy one is also not eating and isn't allowed to.

    I only made this final discovery for sure this AM on my way out to the office, so didn't have time to relocate the fish. I've placed the weak one in a guppy breeding net until I can get home to move the aggro fish out.

    How do I nurse the weak fish back to health again or will it start eating again once the other fish is gone?

    Cheers
    Neville
     
  20. Slagter
    Offline

    Slagter Aquascaper

    • APSA Member
    • Sponsor
    73%
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Messages:
    5,988
    Likes Received:
    915
    Trophy Points:
    173
    Location:
    Joburg
    As far as I know, once they are separated, the shy one should start feeding again. If not, you will need to get more of them. At least 6 in a tank.
     

Share This Page