Keeping Discus 2

Keeping Discus 2


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Keeping Discus The Easy Way II
By Uncle Bill

Last week we ended the first installment of this series with some careful observations as well as some steps to be taken prior to purchasing your Discus.

It is very important that you have done your homework and are prepared for these fish when they arrive at their new home (yours). This is a critical time for both you and the fish. It is a good idea to have tested the water of both your quarantine and display tanks (pH and general hardness). Do this several days before picking up your Discus. When the fish have arrived at your dealer's shop, or when you first see them, have someone at the shop test their water for pH and general hardness. Do this a couple of days before picking up the fish. If the shop's water differs much from yours, you may wish to alter the pH or general hardness in your quarantine tank to lessen the initial shock and to reduce stress. Setting up a quarantine tank is very important. This is the way for you to observe, treat if necessary and acclimate your pets to their new environment prior to releasing them into the display tank. All fish should be quarantined for at least 30 days prior to release. 

Now it's time to bring them home. The first thing to do is to talk with your dealer about how you would like them to be "bagged" for transport. Hopefully they have bottled oxygen available. Be sure never to transport more than one Discus per bag, regardless of size. Better safe than sorry.

When bagging your fish, request the procedures in steps 1 - 4:

1. Fill the bag no more than 1/3 full with water. No more than one fish per bag.

2. Do not blow into the bag to fill it with air prior to sealing it. This will only add carbon dioxide to the air in the bag. Fill the bag with oxygen. If there is no oxygen available, simply grab the top of the bag as quickly as possible, twist the top, fold the twisted part over and wrap with the rubber band - tightly.

3. Next, wrap this plastic bag with a layer of newspaper. This will help to insulate the water and will add an extra layer of protection against the fish puncturing the bag with its spines.

4. Take the now sealed and wrapped bag with your fish in it and place it upside down into another plastic bag of the same size. Seal this bag with a rubber band. By doing this, any folds in the bottom of the first bag that may trap the fish are thereby eliminated. Put these bags into a paper bag and you are finished.

5. Put the bags on the car floor, not on the seat, if they will be in direct sunlight. Do not stop for any errands. Take your fish home as quickly as possible.

6. As soon as you arrive home, float each of the inner plastic bags holding a fish in the quarantine tank for 10 - 15 minutes. This will equalize the temperatures between the water in the bag and the tank.

7. After the bags have floated for awhile, remove the rubber bands, fill about 1/4 more with water from the tank and drape the empty part of the bags over the side of the tank. Wait for another 15 minutes.

8. Continue adding water every 15 minutes until 2/3 - 3/4 of the bag is filled with water from the quarantine tank.

9. Now it's time to release the fish into the tank. If using a net, be sure that it has a very fine mesh that is as soft as possible. Otherwise you may find that the fish gets his fins caught and /or the slime coat is damaged. I prefer to use my wet hand. Slowly and carefully, use your hand to remove the fish from the bag. Far less damage is done to the fish as well as it being less stressful.

10. Whatever you do, don't dump the water from the bag into the quarantine tank along with the fish. It may seem quicker and easier but, it will defeat the purpose of the quarantine by possibly introducing unwanted bacteria, viruses, parasites or their eggs from the shop's water into yours.

11. Finally, leave the lights off and do not feed until the following day.

That's it! If the steps described in both this and previous article are followed, you will have greatly increased the fish's and your chances for success.

Part 3

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