New Discus Always Quarantine Easy Step Guide
This is information I put togather from various sources.
I follow these steps starting out with a new Discus aquarium or adding any Discus to an existing Discus Aquarium.
Lets start with some basics:
How to purchase Discus and what to look out for is another subject.I want to mention:
I like to purchase Discus 3 inch body diameter or larger. It is much easier to pick out the runts and there imune system by 3 inch diameter is pretty well developed.
Before purchasing Discus spend some time researching and find a reputable breeder. Closer they are to you the better. You will save yourself a lot of headaches by spending a few hours on the net. I strongly recomend you do not purchase Discus based on experience threw a Broker. It is always best to know the history of the Discus.
The temps are a bit controversial. This works well for me and I find my Discus have a much better growth rate.
Fry and young Discus: If you increase metabolism the Discus appetite will increase, eat, develop and grow better. As the fish become young adults (10 to 12 months of age), I back the temperature off to 84 – 85F or 29 C. I do not recommend keeping discus below 84 F.
I really like this common since approach.
From Vern at Archers Discus:
Unfortunately judging fish in a store, by just looking at them, will not tell you their health or the potential risk to your existing discus population. I hear it over and over “the fish looked fine and I thought they would be OK”.
These days with the viruses and all the parasites and bacterial problems, it can be very expensive if you take a chance and are wrong. So if you are attached to your existing animals, why place them in jeopardy?
So the best thing to do is quarantine.
What Do You Mean By Quarantine:
We basically place the new fish away from your existing tanks in the basement laundry or furnace room, preferably near a laundry tub to make it convenient for you to do water changes. The tank should be elevated to eye level so you can watch things closely, and they feel more secure.
You need separate hoses and nets and most importantly, you need to wash your hands thoroughly after working with them. I use alcohol soap and always wash my hands prior to feeding. Viruses like the Herpes virus can live outside the water..some hobbyists claim it can travel through the air, which I think is nonsense. It’s like most viruses, for example the common flu virus can live on a door handle for a couple of days or on your hands if not properly washed.
You need a reasonable size tank (30 gallon or larger depending on size and quantity of fish you are thinking of purchasing), bare bottom, with just a heater, sponge filter, glass lid (discus can jump), and access to a couple of air stones, in case you have to medicate. Wrap the back and sides of the tank and use indirect subdued light.
The fish are placed in the their new home and for the first two weeks, the feces is monitored. If you have a microscope you can check for worms, other wise the feces should be dark not white or stringy. The fish should be eating normally.
After the two weeks and everything looks fine, then we take one fish from your existing household discus tank (the sacrificial lamb) and add it to the quarantine tank with your new fish.
At this point, you have a good antibiotic like “Furan 2” as well as course non iodized pickling salt just in case your sacrificial lamb or the others get sick.
It can act in reverse, where your existing fish at some point were exposed to the virus and they are now going to infect your new arrivals.
(This is not uncommon the customer thinks his fish are fine, when he introduces outside fish he realizes his fish are carriers of the virus or pathogen).
Either way, if their is a virus present you will see indications of a problem within a couple of days. Symptoms can be clamped fins, heavy breathing, turning dark generating access slime (in an attempt to ward off the infection) and the fish will not eat.
The virus impacts the immune system, and usually it’s a secondary bacteria from the water that attacks the gill area slowly suffocating the animal. The anti biotic Furan 2 along with a concentration of salt and water changes will help keep the secondary bacterial issues away long enough for your fish to recover which can be 10 to 14 days.
If we review the symptoms listed above and the fish are fine after a total of 6 weeks, then it will be safe to move them into your main tank. During this 6 week period I think it’s a good idea to de-worm especially if you do not have a microscope to confirm that the feces is clean. I have seen fish, with perfectly healthy looking feces, have a small concentration of internal worms.
It’s no different then de-worming your cat or dog.
Adult Discus, can live and survive with a small concentration of worms and, to the untrained eye, look fairly normal, however if you introduce fry which love to eat everything and anything including adult feces, the worms quickly infest their intestine and eventually cause the fry to die from lack of nourishment.
So if you are placing young fry with adults, make sure the adults are free from intestinal worms. If you plan on keeping the fry in their own aquarium, make sure to use a separate net and syphon hose, and wash your hands, as transmission of worms and other pathogens are easily transmitted from tank to tank.
The Medicine Cabinet should be set up prior to purchasing any Discus. Google search and find the meds on the net or your LFS.
For those that like to be prepared, I have assembled a list of antibiotics and medications that you can add to your cabinet or drawer that should be stored in a cool dry place. I have found these particular products to be effective. However, antibiotics should be used properly, and when treating make sure to finish the treatment so as not to develop resistant bacteria strains.
I don’t use “shotgun” or “cure all” treatments as I feel targeting a specific problem is more effective, easier and less stressful on the fish. In an emergency, and a “shotgun remedy” is all you can find, then you have no choice, but a follow up with a specific treatment should be done at a later date.
1) A good general anti-biotic; Furan 2, or Maracyn 2
2) A good internal anti-biotic; for internal infections Kanamycin sold by Seachem as Kanaplex.
3) Internal flagellates; metronidazole sold at “Ken’s fish Place”; or Seachem’s Metroplex
4) De-worming medications; “Wormer plus”, with flubenol, sold in the UK by “Plymouth discus”. I purchase direct from Plymouth Discus in the UK.
5) Course, Non Iodized, Salt; sold at your local grocery store. (Non Iodized Pickiling Salt in 2 lb bags)
6) Clove Oil; used for euthanizing, sold at your local pharmacy or Health food store.
7) Prime or Safe (which is the powder form), for conditioning the water
8) Seachem’s Stability for reseeding your filters.
9) Methylene Blue