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Re: New Discus

Kevin Reavis is expecting some new Discus:
"Temp 84, PH6.8, KH4, GH3 & DIY CO2 - and i am just finishing treatment for
an outbreak of ich - i used "Maracide" - I have 1 more day to treat."

I'd be more concerned about the recent outbreak of Ich in the display tank -
don't you quarantine ALL new fish prior to putting them into your display
tank? Discus are big, beautiful, expensive, and can be delicate, at least
initially and especially after a big move.

You might want to consider giving them their "spa treatment" (2 weeks in
slightly salted, warm water) in a bare quarantine tank so that you can allow
them to recover from the stress of shipping without any possibility of
having to deal with Ich parasites. You don't want any substrate in the tank
where cycts can hide. In a bare tank, you can also have better control over
the lighting during this initial period (it ought to be low). To avoid cross
contamination, any equipment (filters, nets, etc.) used in the main display
tanks should never be used in the quarantine tank - have separate ones that
are reserved only for use in the quarantine tank.

I'd also remove ALL of the fish currently in your display tank and treat
them for Ich in a separate, bare quarantine tank at the same time (NOT in
the same tank that you quarantine the Discus in). Again, don't use any
equipment from this tank in either the main display tank OR in the
quarantine tank holding your Discus. Things like nets or a spare Aquaclear
power filter don't cost a lot of money, so this shouldn't be a big deal.

Part of the life cycle of Ich involves the formation of cysts which fall to
the substrate - when those cysts mature, they release a new generation of
free swimming parasites into the water column. If there are no "available
victims" (i.e. fish) in the tank at this time, these free swimming parasites
will die without completing their life cycle, and effectively end your
tank's Ich infestation. The life cycle of the Ich parasite is hastened by
elevated tamperatures, so you might want to turn up the heat in the display
tank while it is empty of fish. I'd also want to do a good vacuuming of the
substrate - you want to get those resting cysts OUT of the tank BEFORE the
Discus, or any other fish, are reintroduced.

Many (most?) established tanks have some Ich cysts laying in wait in the
substrate - and most healthy fish can overcome a slight infestation, but any
fish that is under stress and has a weakened immune system is a prime target
for major problems from the parasite. No amount of chemical treatment can
take the place of good husbandry.

If you can afford to order a box of Discus, you can afford to have a spare
15 or 20 gallon tank that can be used as a quarantime tank. When not in use,
you can put it in storage, until you buy more new fish. The tank and all
equipment used in it ought to be completely sterilized between uses.

James Purchase