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