Why is My Discus Fish Hiding All the Time?


Why Discus Fish are Hiding?

Have you ever asked yourself why your discus fish is hiding? Or do you think this is just normal behavior?

Inasmuch as different species of aquarium fish have a tendency to hide especially when they feel threatened, you should never take it to be a common behavior in all fish.

So, what will make your discus fish hide despite providing it with its meal?  Let’s find out more about this interesting but strange behavior displayed by discus fish.

It is likely that your discus fish will hide if your aquarium is established with all necessary hiding places available. The fish might spend a few days, hiding away while taking some time to get used to the environment in the new tank.

If it happens that way, just give your discus fish a few days or even a week to see the next form of action. Much to your surprise, you will find your fish moving around freely, exploring their new tank environment.

While this behavior seems to be normal in discus fish, it’s advisable to monitor them for signs of falling over on their sides, sluggishness and turning grayish or blackish color longer than normal. If you notice such behavior and physical changes, it means your fish is stressed in their immediate environment in one way or the other.

More often than not, discus fish get threatened by other tank fish such as angelfish. Or they may feel uncomfortable with the prevailing tank parameters, forcing them to seek refuge in other sections of the tank.

If you are new to keeping discus fish, please read my comprehensive guide on discus fish care to learn all ups and downs of keeping discus.

What Should You do When Discus Fish Hides?

As an aquarium hobbyist, you need to be fully aware of how to handle your discus fish. This is important, especially you when settling your fish in a new tank environment. Discus fish, just like other species of tank fish, require close attention to monitor their progress. Give them your quality time and observe their behavior as they move around the tank.

You should know that discus fish love human interaction even though they are slow in adapting to their new environment. Also, these fish are very friendly, especially when they are fully settled down in the tank.

Discus fish are quite strange in their behavior and this may prove to be a challenge if you do not know how to handle them. Even though they are friendly to humans, discus fish tend to hide all the time.

If the hiding takes longer than normal, there are steps you need to take as soon as you can. Here are the possible measures you can take into account when you realize that your discus fish is hiding longer than it is expected:

  • Every time you notice that your fish is hiding, you need to check the tank conditions first. Look into the maximum water temperature that your discus fish can handle before checking other water parameters. Make sure that the minimum and maximum temperatures fall within the right range for the survival of your fish.
  • Keep your discus fish in a quart fish tank that is probably 10 gallons in capacity. Raise the water temperature to about 90 or 94 degrees Fahrenheit. Then treat the tank with 40miligrams per gallon of metronidazole with at least 50 percent water changes on a daily basis. But when you realize that your discus fish is not eating, don’t give it food for the first three days.
  • Once the first three days are over, get your fish a few frozen brine shrimp to eat. Give it this frozen food in small quantities and sprinkle it on some metronidazole. Make the frozen brine shrimp look like the powdered donut before feeding it to your discus fish.
  • You may notice that your fish is not eating for several days but when it starts to feed it spits out some of the food. This is a clear sign that the medication is getting into its system as it is required. At this stage, you should keep on treating the tank water and food for a week or a little longer for better results.
  • It is always recommended to use at least 20milligrams per gallon of metronidazole to medicate your fish tank although this amount is not enough. This is due to the fact that metronidazole expires in eight hours, meaning that you should do water changing twice on a daily basis.
  • Add some Epsom salt to the tank along with metronidazole to help control constipation problems in your fish. The two components are the best remedy for cleaning out your discus fish digestive system. Provide your fish with 1 teaspoon each day for a period of two days to make it 3 teaspoons for every 10 gallons of water. Give it a try and save your discus fish.

Discus Fish Plague

Sometimes your discus fish may hide for other reasons rather than extreme tank conditions. And one of such problems is the Discus Plague which is actually detrimental to the well-being of your fish. Below are the details about this deadly infection:

What are the Symptoms of the Discus Plague?

Discus Plague is a common disease among different species of fish, including the discus fish and angelfish. However, one of the noticeable signs that your fish have contracted Discus Plague is huddling together in a corner of their aquarium. In addition, they will lose their coloring to become dark or gray as well as resorting to being reclusive.

Often times, the Discus Plague is characterized by heavy mucus secretions on their skins, followed by severe fin deterioration (or rotting), rubbing or scratching against objects and rapid breathing. All these are symptoms that should tell you that your fish is suffering from Discus Plague.

When you look closely, you are likely to see clear, non-pigmented spots on the fins with some tissues appearing dissolved. Additionally, the mucus layer will appear streaky especially in those areas where the fish has been scratching or rubbing against objects.

Despite being infected with Discus Plague, the fish will keep on feeding

as they usually do. During the feeding time, you will notice your fish moving in a tight shoal towards the food before retreating together to hide in a dark corner. Some fish, however, may lie horizontally while trying to hide in any shadowy setup available.

What are the Causes of Discus Plague?

The plague comes about as a result of bacterial infestation. Some of the common causes of this condition in discus fish include the following:

  • Hexamitiasis
  • Streptococcus
  • Pseudomonas
  • Chondrococcus
  • Aero Monas
  • Column Ares

Discus Plague typically gets its way into the aquarium through new fish plants, live food or decorations. In most cases, the carrier turns out to be a healthy fish or plants obtained from another aquarium that had previously harbored the disease. The symptoms will become visible within three or five days after they have been exposed to the disease.

What is the Treatment for Discus Fish Plague?

Discus Plague can be controlled effectively using the following medications or antibiotics:

  • Chloramphenicol
  • Oxytetracycline
  • Tetracycline
  • Gentamicin

All these antibiotics will be very effective in controlling fin deterioration and reductions of mucus secretion on the skin. Sadly, these antibiotics will not help in regaining the fish natural color or change the behavior of huddling together in a corner.

The good news is that the symptoms associated with the Discus Plague will disappear within 7 to 21 days, leaving your fish looking active and well in its environment.

Apart from using the aforementioned antibiotics, you may turn to concurrent treatment with the help of oxidizing agents such as Potassium Permanganate. These agents are known to suppress the bacterial count, thus helping the fish in fighting the infestation.

The change in the acidic levels within the tank is another important way of controlling the disease. For instance, a lower pH of about 5.5 to 6.5 may prove to be effective in controlling bacterial response for causing Discus Plague. This is because most of the bacteria cannot withstand acidic conditions within that lower pH levels.

Other Causes of Discus Fish Hiding

Every time you see your discus fish hiding, you need to ask yourself whether the hiding involves all the fish or just a handful of them. It is likely that one or a few of the discus fish is becoming dominant to the extent of not allowing other fish to swim freely in the open parts of their tank.  Such problems do occur occasionally and they are brought about by aggression from other fish within the tank.

Also, you need to be observant enough for signs of aggression. The most aggressive fish do display nipping behavior and this could be one of the reasons your discus fish hide from the rest. Perhaps you can solve this problem by providing your fish with a larger tank that has enough room to allow tank mates to swim freely without getting into each other’s territories.

Final Thought

Your discus fish may hide from time to time. But if you realize that they are hiding longer than normal, you need to find out the reason for doing so. Maybe your fish could be sick, looking for the conducive tank environment or avoiding to collide with aggressive tank mates.

Whichever the case, you need to find a solution in time in order to let your discus fish enjoy its tank environment. After all, discus fish look vibrant and appealing when they are comfortable in their surroundings.

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