MY DISCUS HAVE STOPPED EATING!!
WHAT CAN I DO?
By Jim E. Quarles
This seems to be a fairly common problem we all run into now and then.
Exactly why discus do this is unknown. But a good guess would be something
has changed in the water parameters, or food supply or maybe you have the
onset of a disease waiting to make its self known.
Now let me make a generalized statement about this condition. I have
never known of a discus fish that died because of a lack of food. Not if
the fish is in normal health to begin with. I have seen what is known as
WASTING disease become a factor in non eating discus. But this is a
parasitic condition that could have been controlled or prevented with
early treatment of the disease.
- What is the causative factor, was it lack of food that weakened the
fish to the disease?
- Was it the disease that caused the fish to quit eating? My guess
would be the second condition.
Sometimes a simple change in the water can cause a discus to stop
eating, moving a fish in or out of the tank can start the problem. What
ever the cause the fish will not starve to death if it does not eat like a
pig or even at all for a couple of weeks. I have seen far more discus
killed by over feeding than lack of eating.
WHAT TO DO
The very first thing to do is check the water parameters, make sure the
water is clean and pure. The pH should be between 5.8 and 6.8 without
rapid changes. Make sure the bio filter is working and in good order. And
check for toxic chemicals in the water.
Then you might consider adding a few fish that are big eaters to the
tank, this has proven effective for me lots of times. I use young
angelfish that I know to be disease free.
The non-eating fish will generally join in the feeding after a short
If this does not work, check carefully for any specific problem you may
note with the fish it
self. Cloudy eyes, swollen gut area, any sign of fin rot, or external
parasites! Is or has the fish been dropping white stringy waste? If so you
can be sure it has internal parasites that will need to be controlled, and
if the fish has stopped taking in food, that just about wipes out any
chance of getting medicated food into the fish.
THE BEST CURE IS PREVENTION
It is far better to prevent a problem than to try to cure one. Keep
your water in tip top shape, keep the tanks at 82 to 86 degrees F. Don't
suddenly change food, if you must make major changes do so slowly over a
long period of time.
I recommend treatment with Metronidazole, at regular intervals. This
will help keep internal parasites in check, and this in turn will keep the
fish eating normally.