Please help! Discus emergency !


Aug 9, 2021
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So I have a mated pair of discus. I’ve had them for a month or so, when they paired off and behaved aggressively to their tank mates, I removed all other discus and left the pair.

This morning before work; I noticed their first batch of eggs. I’ve come home tonight and immediately noticed the female is almost all white. She is so pale and in active. I panicked and threw in some frozen beef heart as this is their favourite. I turned my back and heard a loud slam. I turned around and saw the male discus had launched himself at the food and almost hit the roof of the tank. He lay on his side for a few moments. After not moving, I put my hand in and moved the male away from the side of the tank. The male immediately swam to the bottom corner, behind some plants, and has remained there, in active. The female is swimming normally but incredibly pale in colour.

Now I have the male, hiding and incredibly still. Also the female, almost white in colour, but behaving normally.

The eggs were eaten while at work. Please help


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Bit of a strange one… but the fish are completely fine this morning?
Have you taken any tests of the water for various issues...pH, GH, temperature, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate? These could identify something, or confirm OK water wise.

Second issue is the bonding of the pair. They may have gone through a divorce. I have had other cichlids (rams) and I know that angelfish do this too; they spawn once, twice, three or four times, then bang, the male (usually) makes it abundantly clear he is no longer accepting of the female. Sitting quietly in front of the tank for a good spell might be instructive.

Angelfish almost always eat the first few egg clutches before they seem to settle down. I don't know if discus can do this or not.

BTW, beef heart is not a good food for discus. I know that back in the 1980's it was touted as superb, but we now know very differently. Discus are omnivores but they eat a considerable amount of plant matter. Fluval Bug Bites and a quality veggie-base food like Omega One Veggie Flakes would be much better nutrition because these provide exactly what the discus eat in their habitats.
Hi Byron, every aspect of water is perfect. Don’t have details to hand but, I’m aware of what they should be, and tested to find all was well.

As said before, it is very strange, because this morning, all was normal again. They follow each other round like a perfect pair, eating fine, looking great, acting as they always have done. There seems to be no aggression/divorce signs. They act beautifully together. My tank is in front of my sofa, so I sat there all day and saw nothing but Good behaviour and no concerns. The females colour has returned, and the male is absolutely fine.

Regarding beef heart, I am aware of the debates on its quality and benefits. I feed mainly tropical flakes, and discus specific food, as well as fresh veg etc. Maybe once or twice a week, I give them half a frozen beef heart, and they go nuts for it. I consider it a treat, not a main source of nutrition. This is why I fed to them when I noticed the other day.

To summarise… I came home to a pale/white female. I popped in their favourite treat. The male launched himself at said treat, hitting the roof of the tank, and almost appeared to have knocked himself out; before settling at the bottom of the tank on his side.

12 hours later, they were absolutely fine!
Weird one….
It's actually very predictable SA Cichlid stuff. What has likely happened is that the eggs were infertile. Whether this was inexperience or the male is hard to say. Time will answer that.

Both fish would be in hyper parenting mode, and failure needs blame, right? The female was in submissive colouration to keep the male from killing her. The male was amped out of his brains, so you got that food reaction. Then they settled down a bit, and may try again.

When a spawn fails with Apistos or other SA Cichlids, there can be deaths. I'd expecrt the same from a discus. I once saw a young but large male cacatuoides decide to eat the eggs, and he was dead within seconds. The female hit him at the base of the gills, and he was an instant goner. I have lost a few SA Cichlids to failed spawns. Their brood care is phenomenal, but they are hormone monsters when they are trying and failing.

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