in their growing period, and their growth will
certainly be inhibited by their being together
with the 5-inch fish. Remove them now.
You bought the two wild brown discus, and
say “they are gorgeous.” I haven’t seen them,
but will say that a beautiful brown discus can
be just as outstanding as any of the crosses
we’re all producing these days.
At feeding time many cichlids become
belligerent, probably due to an increase in their
metabolism, and your two brown discus will
probably continue to be so at their feedings. I
would certainly stop feeding the bloodworms to
your fish, thus forcing the brown discus to accept
your other discus foods—which they will do as
they see the other discus feeding. Don’t worry
about the brown discus starving as you withhold
their bloodworms. They can go without any food
for weeks without any health problems.
As to your “browns” being confined to
“solitary confinement” forever, I don’t think so.
However, should they continue to be aggressive
and disruptive at feeding time when back in
your 125-gallon discus tank, you’ll have to put
them back in the slammer!
Jack Wattley is worldwide
the most recognized name in
discus breeding. Breeder, judge,
collector, scholar, Jack is the
foundation on which modern
discus keeping has been built.
He has been sharing his
experience and knowledge—
and the discus he breeds—with
aquarists throughout the world
for decades, and just one of
his many awards was his
recent Lifetime Achievement
award from the ACA. Long
past the age at which most
people retire, he still serves
as ambassador of discus and
goodwill across the planet.
I have a 125-gallon discus tank, lightly
planted with some driftwood, pH 6, 0 ppm
ammonia, 0 ppm nitrite, 5 to 10 ppm nitrate,
KH and GH each 1°. I do about a 20-
percent water change daily. I have nine
discus ranging in size from 2½ to 5 inches. I
got them all from breeders, and they do well
together even through some are still young.
However I recently purchased two wild-caught browns (they are gorgeous, I couldn’t
resist!). The shopkeeper had them in his
store for a couple of months—he got them
from an importer who cleaned them up, and
they look and act very healthy.
I put them in my tank with no quarantine
(risky, I know), and at first everyone got along
okay. However the browns have become very
aggressive at feeding time. They chase all
the other fish away, herd them into corners,
peck at the others, and don’t let anyone
else eat. The rest of the time they’re fine. I
think part of the problem is that they have
been fed a diet of bloodworms exclusively.
I’m trying to wean them off that and onto
a shrimp or beefheart mixture, and pellets
or flakes, but they are resistant. So I think
they are a bit hungry because they are not
getting all the bloodworms they want, and
this is what causes their behavior. Right
now I’ve separated them into another tank.
I’m thinking I should leave them there until
they start eating the shrimp and beefheart,
then I might try introducing them again
to the community. What do you think? Is
this a good plan, or will they be in solitary
confinement forever? Thank you.
Your water parameters look to be excellent. I
like the 6 pH of the water. Most hobbyists who
contact me keep a 6. 5 to 7 pH, but 6 is better!
Before you do anything regarding a separate
tank for the new discus, I would first have a tank
for your 2½- to 3-inch discus. Those fish are still
I have a 250-gallon freshwater tank with
discus (mostly). They have all been doing
fine for at least two years, but I can’t get my
phosphate levels down at all. It’s stuck at 10.
I read that I should be feeding a few small
meals a day. I feed a variety of different foods;
they all eat and are growing.
My largest discus has developed popeye,
and I am frantic—I added blackwater and
garlic, no chemicals. What else can I do? I live
in Cape Coral, Florida, and supposedly our
water has phosphates in it. Is this suddenly
the problem? I do all the maintenance, etc.
What should I look for as a cause? Thanks.
The “popeye” problem one of your adult discus
is experiencing is not common, but it does appear