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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
okay, this is an odd question first off.

*** had discus for a long time, and its very weird for me to be asking this, but i will be honest...i dont know the answer.

my blue discus have recently been very dark in color, almost a black, only changing back right after water changes.
my reds, are almost a brownish.

they all vary in size, there is 4 of them. 55 gallons. water is great, ph is 6.2, very soft water w/ peat moss. plants , hiding space etc etc.

no aggression either, everyone is peaceful

so what could be making them do this, i want them to have their full gorgeous color!!!!!

thank you all for any insight.
 

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Hmmm,....a discus turning black means that he is feeling bad. If his normal color returns after a wc I do suspect the water qualety has something to do with this. How often do you do wc and how much? The PH reading is fine but how abouth GH, KH, NO2, NO3 and TDS?
 

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There are two reasons that are most likely causing the dark colors of distress.

1. Something is very wrong with your water or temperature.
or
2. The discus are sick. Do they temporarily get better looking while they feed? Or since this began have they been reluctant to feed normally? Parasitic worm infections can produce these symptoms.

Try to get to the bottom of the water quality issue first. Do you have any other fish, like Tetras and if so, are they acting normally? This again points to parasites.

If water proves to be ok then the discus may have to be treated. I would start by treating them for parasites like flukes and nematode worms using PraziPro and flubendazole if you have some.
 

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Tank size, number of discus, age and size of discus, recent changes to your tank or new additions that were not QT'd, change in diet or any other routine, water parameters readings (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH ect.), are the discus feeding normally - do you feed live foods? How often do you perform water changes and how much water...

Answer all of those and we'll get to the bottom of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
okay, well

amonia- nitrate nitrite, are all at 0. GH is at 0 and carbonate hardness is about 20, ph is 6.2 (im suspecting the last 2 are the problem. ) temp is 82.

tankmates - oscars, pike, and a arowana.

HAHA just kidding. they live with neon tetras, rummy nose, corys, and a couple diff types of rams. all adding up to about 10 fish. (do you guys think this could be overcrowding??) 55 gallon tank.

4 discus, 2 about 4 inches, 2 about 2 inches - so up to this point i wouldnt say overcrowding was an issue because no one is in anyones way and no one is too big or aggressive, and lots of plants and c02 to live off of. but, i could be mistaken. no one in the tank is acting strangely, only problem was the discus' color. everyone eats on time and like i said, no one is in anyones way.

i never feed live, im afraid to feed discus live. i give them hikari discus food mostly, from time to time vegetable flakes. and maybe once a week for protein i give mysis or krill or whatever i have.

thats about it, if theres anything else please get back to me. ill answer whatever you guys have
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
ah forgot,

recent change would be tank size, they went through a HUGE change. from 29 to 55, and 3 discus and nothing else to what i have now. however that was over 2 months ago, water has long been set. it was also a pre existing discus tank. but i understand that any small change would get them angry.

water change once a week, 50 % at MOST depending on readings.
 

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I would guess the low temp might be at least part of the problem ... most people I know keep them at 86 F or so ... but I've yet to keep discus yet. But with everything I've read, I'd not keep them at 82 ...

I'm sure others will chime in though.
 

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amonia- nitrate nitrite, are all at 0. GH is at 0 and carbonate hardness is about 20, ph is 6.2 (im suspecting the last 2 are the problem. ) temp is 82.

Nitrate can't be at 0, especially with how many fish you're describing, unless the tank hasn't cycled. The pH is fine, gH is fine - are you using RO/DI water exclusively? If so you need to mix it with tap water to add minerals essential to the discus slime coat, which is a lot more complex than other fish.

Temperature needs to be upped to at least 85, discus need very warm waters to be happy.


tankmates - oscars, pike, and a arowana.

HAHA just kidding. they live with neon tetras, rummy nose, corys, and a couple diff types of rams. all adding up to about 10 fish. (do you guys think this could be overcrowding??) 55 gallon tank.

Might be a bit crowded - but again you're saying the nitrates are at 0 which isn't possible with weekly water changes and having this much stock in the tank - if I were you I'd get rid of the rams and get at least 6 discus in total in the tank - they're a shoaling fish and will do better in groups

4 discus, 2 about 4 inches, 2 about 2 inches - so up to this point i wouldnt say overcrowding was an issue because no one is in anyones way and no one is too big or aggressive, and lots of plants and c02 to live off of. but, i could be mistaken. no one in the tank is acting strangely, only problem was the discus' color. everyone eats on time and like i said, no one is in anyones way.

I'd remove the ram and get 2 more discus into the tank, as I said above.

i never feed live, im afraid to feed discus live. i give them hikari discus food mostly, from time to time vegetable flakes. and maybe once a week for protein i give mysis or krill or whatever i have.

Until they're adult size you need to give them a lot more protein - beef heart is a good source.

recent change would be tank size, they went through a HUGE change. from 29 to 55, and 3 discus and nothing else to what i have now. however that was over 2 months ago, water has long been set. it was also a pre existing discus tank. but i understand that any small change would get them angry.

water change once a week, 50 % at MOST depending on readings.

Putting them through change will upsete them, but it shouldn't last two months - discus turning dark in color is a sign of stress and/or illness in the fish and I would venture to say it's either due to overcrowding in the tank, bad nitrate readings, or using pure RO/DI water that isn't offering mineral content they need (you should be using 50/50 RO/Tap). With only 50% a week I would expect nitrate in a tank that size with that many inhabitants to be at around 20-40 ppm.

Like I said, figure out what's going on with that nitrate thing, discus are nitrate sensitive fish - I would get rid of the ram and add two more discus - see how things go from there. Most discus keepers do 50% daily or every other day - you may want to try it and see if it improves their coloring.

I'd say the issue here is a combination of stress and water quality, maybe get a new nitrate test kit and see if that's the problem. I dunno.


visit www.simplydiscus.com for way more expert advice on all of this stuff, I think you'll get a better solution to your problems there.
 

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Erp, one last thing. If the background on the new tank is black, or if you're using dark substrate - the discus will mimic this and darken up a lot. Blue and white substrate are the way to go - or a bare bottom tank. But definately a light blue background.
 
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DirtyBlackSocks said:
Erp, one last thing. If the background on the new tank is black, or if you're using dark substrate - the discus will mimic this and darken up a lot. Blue and white substrate are the way to go - or a bare bottom tank. But definately a light blue background.
Interesting... I recently switched my discus tank which now has a black background and dark (black) substrate in half of the tank. I did not notice my discus turning darker because of this.

Anyhow, not sure how long you have had your 2" discus, but if you had them for a while, they are very small. Also, small discus require frequent feeding, which will require more water changes. For small discus, the temp could be higher. I keep mine at 86 to 88. Do more water changes and hopefully, that will take care of the problems. Good luck.
 

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dntx5b9 said:
DirtyBlackSocks said:
Erp, one last thing. If the background on the new tank is black, or if you're using dark substrate - the discus will mimic this and darken up a lot. Blue and white substrate are the way to go - or a bare bottom tank. But definately a light blue background.
Interesting... I recently switched my discus tank which now has a black background and dark (black) substrate in half of the tank. I did not notice my discus turning darker because of this.

Anyhow, not sure how long you have had your 2" discus, but if you had them for a while, they are very small. Also, small discus require frequent feeding, which will require more water changes. For small discus, the temp could be higher. I keep mine at 86 to 88. Do more water changes and hopefully, that will take care of the problems. Good luck.
That's the first I've ever heard of that, unless they're pigeon blood strains? I've changed my substrate out on several occassions to black with various strains and every time they either darkened up, peppered or started showing stress bars because of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
i do not use RO water. i take out the water i neeed and have it made before its put into the tank. this was recommended to me by a few people. and unfortunately i cannot buy an RO at the moment. i use instant amazon which has trace elements and other traces for the discus, this product has worked amazing for the water and for the discus as of maybe yesterday. stress coat and or tap conditioner work for the conditioning against metals, and the IA gives the trace elements.

i picked up a few things and i thank you all again

i figure that 1) overcrowding, and nitrate is indeed NOT at 0, bad test?? who knows. 2) rams stressing them out due to overcrowding and overactivity. 3) shoals, they want more of themselves, and less tiny bothersome fish. 4) and most important. protein difficiency. as with people and all animals it will stunt growth, lose weight, loss of color, inactivity, etc etc.

i realized # 4 after reading Blacksocks answer, so thanks again. i think i may have found my answer and i happen to have beef heart!
 
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