Discus Fish Dying One by One

I was traumatized following the death of several of my discus fish, so I decided to find out the cause. I am now going to share what I learned with you all.

What leads to discus fish dying one by one? There can be two main reasons for the same. Discus fish are sensitive to water conditions of the tank and can thus die if the conditions are not suitable. Overeating is another common cause of the death of discus fish.

Finding out the causes that can lead to discus fish dying is integral if you want to make sure that all your fish thrive and remain healthy.


Causes of discus fish dying one by one

Watching your beloved pets die can be a traumatizing experience. People tend to set up aquariums with so much love. However, when their fish starts to die one after the other, it certainly takes a toll on their spirits. Thus, it is important to know more about the common causes of discus fish death so that such situations can be avoided. There are two leading causes that one needs to be aware of:

  • Water conditions
  • Overeating

Water conditions

Discus fish are sensitive to changing water conditions. Thus, an inexperienced person might not be able to take care of a discus fish in the best way. It is essential that you have the passion and yearning to learn how to take care of discus fish in the best possible manner.

Discus fish prefer a slightly warmer temperature as compared to other fish. The temperature of the aquarium should be somewhere between 82o F and 86oF.

The pH of the water should be maintained between 6 and 7. It will be ideal if the pH of the water is around 6.5; a pH beyond or below these limits can put the discus fish under stress.  Water hardness needs to be within the range of 1-8DH.

Discus fish cannot tolerate even very low nitrate and ammonia levels in the aquarium. You will notice a change in their health in the presence of these elements. Water change is warranted at the earliest if you want to prevent any lasting damage.


Discus fish cannot tolerate overeating since they have a compressed body structure. Therefore, one needs to be rather careful about how much food they put in the aquarium. Otherwise, the fish can overeat and succumb to numerous diseases which might lead to their death.  The meal should be given to them in small regular portions. You should only drop enough food in the tank which can be consumed within 5 minutes by the fish.

What type of tank will be perfect for the discus fish?

As important as the water conditions are for a discus fish, you cannot ignore the housing that you select for them, either.

Planted aquariums work best for discus fish. Their natural habitat is the Amazon, where they prefer to stay in shaded areas. Thus, opting for planted aquariums which are enriched with long stems and foreground plants will be a good idea. Driftwood is one of the plants which will be suitable for this type of fish. Another benefit of the plant is that it keeps the pH of the water in check.

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You can also opt for a bare-bottomed tank if aesthetics are not something that you are worried about. However, while bare-bottomed tanks might not be very beautiful, they do offer a great deal of convenience in terms of cleaning. Discus fish cannot survive long in an unhygienic tank. Thus, if you want to make sure that the aquarium is cleaned perfectly, a bare–bottomed tank might make things easy for you.

How should I provide food for the discus fish?

This is a crucial step in taking care of discus fish. Let us first talk about the diet that discus fish prefer to have. Discus fish are not very particular about what they are given to eat. Since they are carnivorous, beef heart and bloodworms prove to be the best food for them. They also feed on plants.

To make sure that the fish do not suffer owing to any nutritional deficiency, it might be a good idea to strike a balance in their diet. You can also opt for frozen food items but make sure that the quality is top-notch.

Discus fish do not like to feed on the food that is present on the surface. Thus, give them food in the form of granules which they will indulge in as they float. Furthermore, these fish do not eat the food in one go. They keep it in their mouth, spitting it out after a while and then going after the food which lies at the bottom of the tank later. This forage usually takes them around an hour. So, do not clean the tank before you have given them adequate time to be done with their food.

What are the things I should take care of when the discus fish is breeding?

Breeding is a time when the fish are under a great deal of stress. Thus, it is essential that proper care is provided to them during this time to make sure that their health does not take a turn for the worse.

For one thing, make sure that your tank is spacious enough for spawning. Keep the size of the fish in mind before purchasing the tank. The water temperature needs to be above 82F and the pH maintained at about 6.5. Special attention needs to be paid to their diet. During this time, a protein-rich diet will prove to be a suitable option.

Ensure that there are no drastic changes in the water conditions when the fish is breeding. The conditions need to be kept as stable as possible. The fish will need a place to lay eggs since they usually prefer a hard surface for the purpose, so it might be a good idea to keep a clay surface in the aquarium.

How to take care of the juvenile discus fish?

On the whole, discus fish are capable of taking care of their eggs properly. You will find them fanning the eggs to provide them aeration. The parents might even feed on the unfertilized eggs lest they lead to any diseases in the healthy eggs.

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Eggs take around 48 hours to hatch. There is no need to feed the baby discus directly as soon as they hatch. A secretion is delivered from the mother shortly after hatching which is their first food. Discus fish do not take long to grow. You will find them swimming in around 48 hours.

While you can leave the fry with their parents, it is better to remove the parent discus for a while. This is because the young discus fish tend to become aggressive and cause harm to their mother. Thus, for the safety of the parent discus fish, remove them from the aquarium.

Start feeding them on artificial food. They should be fed around five times till they reach 12 months of age. Once they become adults, you can reduce the duration to twice or thrice a day.

It is interesting to note that adult discus fish can go for months on end without food, though you should never actually try that.

Related questions

Can a discus fish die because of lack of food? Feeding discus fish is tricky since they do not understand the amount of food that should be ingested by them. Therefore, if you are contemplating going on a short trip, it would be better not to feed the fish at all. Adult discus fish can stay weeks without eating with a lot of ease.

Do discus fish turn aggressive to one another? Discus fish are actually quite calm and timid. They are taken by surprise and get scared if you tap on the aquarium. As evident from such behavior, they do not usually exhibit aggressive behavior. It is only when they are kept with other tropical fish that they might turn aggressive as they might feel the need to mark their territory.

Can I keep other fish with discus fish in the aquarium? Yes, you can keep other tropical fish in the aquarium. However, there are a couple of things that you need to keep in mind. For one thing, discus fish tend to prefer warmer water as compared to other species so make sure that you opt for those fish which can survive in hot water. Furthermore, discus fish are not very competitive when it comes to food. Thus, if you pair them with fish that devour their food quickly, there is a high chance that the discus fish will not be fed.

What should I do if I notice any abnormality in my discus fish? Aquariums containing discus fish should be thoroughly hygienic. Change water regularly if you do not want any diseases to affect your fish. If you notice any change in the behavior or appearance of your fish, it is important to take prompt action. Seek medical attention and check the water settings. Discus fish are sensitive to biomass as well. Thus, cleaning of the tank needs to be optimal. Timely intervention can save your fish from a lot of harm.

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Nadine Oraby

My name is Nadine; I am a passionate writer and a pet lover. People usually call me by the nickname “Joy” because they think that I am a positive and joyful person who is a child at heart. My love for animals triggered me to create this blog. Articles are written by vets, pet experts, and me. Thanks for visiting. Your friend, Nadine!

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