View Full Version : Why are all of my discus breathing at the surface?

03-15-2008, 12:45 AM

All of my 11 discus are at the surface and breathing air.
I checked the following:
pH= 6.4/6.5
nitrate =0

temp= 28.7 Deg C.

I did a water change yesterday with aged tap water.

Why are they doing this? Last night, they were swimming around fine.

What seems to be the problem? I need all the help I can get.


03-15-2008, 12:48 AM
Do you have an airstone in the tank? it sounds as if they are having trouble breathing. I would pump oxygen in there ASAP

03-15-2008, 12:49 AM
I dont have an airstone, but have a heavy duty EHEIM filter working.. Thanks, will put an airstone now

03-15-2008, 12:50 AM
yep, put in a airstone

my 90g had a corner box filter and a HOB temporarily after my resun canister broke and after i got the fluval FX5, i submerged the FX5 output and they were all gasping for air. i put in a powerhead with a aerator and all is good

03-15-2008, 12:53 AM
Yup, you need to get some surface movement going on in there. The warm temperature of the water lowers the oxygen concentration in it and thus the surface nees to be a bit more turbulent to allow for better gas exchange.

03-15-2008, 01:51 AM
I put in an air pump, not an airstone into the tank.Lots of bubbles are circulating around the tank...will see what happens.
Thanks guys

03-15-2008, 03:14 AM
its definately oxygen deprevation. I hope the added air helps. Keep us posted

03-15-2008, 08:48 PM
How big is your tank?

11 discus in one tank is a heavy bioload, you need to provide surface agitation.. Oxygen deprivation could be the problem but I am willing to bet it is as much carbon dioxide build up.

Better than any airstone, is surface agitation, point ythe outflow from your filter towards the surface so the water, this allows not only oxygen to enter the water, but also carbon dioxide to exit the water.

I had airstones, and in the end removed them, they were noisy and not necessary. If you go to any good local fish shop you will see very few airstones, but you will see the filters stirring the surafce of the water in some way. It doesn't need to splash, it only needs to agitate the surface.

Also, 28.7 degrees.. is that the recommended temp for discus? it sounds pretty hot, but then I dont know much about discus.

03-15-2008, 09:04 PM
discus like 84f-86f

03-16-2008, 09:22 AM
I also dont know much about farenheit.. what is that in celcius?

03-16-2008, 03:45 PM
85 is 29 in celsius so his temp is fine.

Lady Hobbs
03-16-2008, 03:48 PM
11 discus in one tank? grrrrrr I hope you have about a 300 gallon tank there. Discus are very sensitive to water conditions and need regular, large water changes. Your discus sound to be very low on oxygen or you are having a toxic water problem.

I don't know how large your water changes are but at least half the tank twice a week would not be out of line for these fish.

03-16-2008, 03:52 PM
Very much agreed in that I hope this is a very large tank.

03-17-2008, 03:02 AM
Thanks guys. My tank is 461L (210Gallons) but the discus are all juveniles.
I tried the method of using the filter output to disrupt the surface of the water and it seems fine now.

Lad H- As I said, this cloudiness in the water only happened after I did a 25% water change and gravel vacuumed the gravel. Before this, everything was fine and the water was clear. I have been doing 20% water change every week, and the cloudiness did not happen. It must be because I vacuumed the gravel.

I measure the ammonia, and it is about 0.5ppm. Is that normal? I put 4X dose of Sechem Prime ( as advised by LFS) and this reading is still coming up..

I also have about 4 large plants in there..you guys reckon C02 is the problem here?

03-17-2008, 03:07 AM
I had problems similar to that months ago.I have a planted tank and I used to keep my canister filter turned down to a low flow,I had no surface agitation.In the morning all my fish were at the surface.I turned my pump up,pointed my jets toward the surface and installed a air stone for night time,the problem has disapeared.Im sure your problem is a co2 buildup,but for sure keep an eye on that ammo.I would imagine you are doing water changes at least twice a week?