I cannot express strongly enough the need to quarantine and evaluate the condition of your newly acquired discus, it is the rule rather than the exception that discus are carrying one parasite or another when they come into a new environment. It sometimes seems as if the act of transporting discus alone is enough to trigger reproduction in parasites! Of the problems that discus develop, gill flukes are probably the most common and the least harmful to the adult fish. Jack Wattley, the world-renowned discus breeder and author, likens them to fleas on a dog, an aggravation to be sure, but not life-threatening.
You should have a quarantine tank up and running at all times when you are keeping discus. This tank should be about 20 gallons and contain nothing but a heater, a sponge filter, a box filter, and perhaps a plastic plant for shelter. The water should be of the correct temperature and chemistry, well-aged, and ready for fish at any time. You will use this tank not only for your new fish, but for any fishes in your community tank that appear unwell or are being harassed. With any luck at all, it may someday be your first breeding tank, but of course it would have to be sterilized before being put to this use.
In the meantime, however, every new fish you bring into your house, discus or tank mate for discus, goes straight into a quarantine period of at least four weeks. Make it an unbreakable rule!
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