Caring for discus fish can be a bit tough for beginners. Many newcomers have a tough time with discus fish since they’re needy fish.
You need to focus on providing the fish with the best possible care to keep them healthy. Water quality is very important to the well-being of these fish.
If you’ve been focusing on keeping the water clean, you’ll be dismayed to see that your discus fish aren’t eating normally. What would cause discus fish to stop eating?
Read on to learn about reasons that can lead to this happening. This should help you to troubleshoot the situation and see what’s wrong.
Why Is My Discus Not Eating and Hiding?
Are you having a hard time getting your discus fish to eat? Perhaps it’s hiding instead of coming out to eat like normal.
What would cause a fish to not want to eat? There are several things that could be happening.
Below, you’ll see some of the common reasons why discus fish will stop eating. This will give you a better idea of what’s likely happening in your tank.
1 – Water Parameter Issues
Discus fish are very sensitive to changes in the fish tank. They don’t do well when the water parameters aren’t right where they need to be.
Many people refer to discus fish as “fragile.” They can die if they’re exposed to poor water quality in a fish tank.
If the water is in bad shape then the fish will suffer. They might start acting strangely and will not want to eat as usual.
So check to see if things are okay in the water. You need to check the water by testing it with a pH balance testing kit.
This will allow you to see if the ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite levels have spiked. The tank could have many issues that you’ll need to address.
Know that you need to focus on keeping the pH balance in line as well as the water temperature. You also need to ensure that the oxygen levels are appropriate so the fish can thrive.
2 – Bullying in the Fish Tank
When keeping discus fish in a community tank you need to worry about bullying issues. Sometimes fish will get bullied in the tank by other fish.
Discus fish are known for being a bit shy and they like to hide. If you keep them in a community tank with aggressive fish there might be issues.
The discus fish could feel threatened by their tank mates. If they feel the need to hide from them they might not want to come out even to eat.
This is why it’s imperative to choose appropriate tank mates for discus fish. You need to make sure that these fish are kept only with fish that are known to be compatible with them.
If you’re keeping discus fish in a tank with incompatible tank mates you should make changes right away. Separate the incompatible fish to protect the discus fish.
3 – Not Enough Discus Fish in the Tank
Did you know that discus fish are schooling fish? You’re not supposed to keep just one or two of these fish in the tank.
Discus fish do best when they’re kept in groups. Ideally, you want to keep six or more discus fish in the tank.
It should be okay to keep three to five of them in a tank as well. However, the fish will be more confident and happier if you keep them in groups of six or more.
If you’re keeping a single discus fish in a community tank it might hide and stop eating. The fish is simply stressed due to being alone and it wants to escape the situation that it finds itself in.
4 – Illness
As you might expect, various illnesses can cause discus fish to lose their appetites. If your fish is sick it might stop eating for a while until it gets better.
As soon as you notice that your fish is sick it’s imperative to take action. Discus fish can easily die when they get sick so you don’t want to ignore symptoms.
Pay attention to your fish and take note of any symptoms that they have. Diagnose the problem as best you can and then seek out treatments for the fish based on what you believe is wrong.
You can also reach out to get the help of an exotic veterinarian that treats fish if you’re so inclined. Of course, doing so is going to cost a bit of money.
Why Is My New Discus Not Eating?
It’s normal for new discus fish to be nervous in the tank. When you first introduce discus fish to a tank they’re likely going to hide.
Commonly, discus fish will hide for several days when entering a new aquarium. So the fish will likely not eat until it starts to get comfortable with its new surroundings.
In some cases, it might take a fish up to a week to feel normal. Just give the fish some time and try to focus on giving it the best environment.
Keep the water quality high and offer the fish high-quality foods. The fish will start eating so long as nothing else is wrong.
What About a Discus Not Eating for Weeks?
A discus fish not eating for weeks will tell you that something is wrong. It could be any number of reasons that are causing the fish not to want to eat.
The most common causes involve water parameter issues and stress. Your fish could be unhappy with its environment and that is keeping it from eating.
Use the information above to troubleshoot the situation. You should be able to get an idea of what’s happening by observing the fish and testing the water.
Once you determine what’s going on you can take steps to fix things. You should be able to get your fish eating again.
What If Your Discus Is Turning Dark and Not Eating?
If your discus fish is turning dark and not eating it’s likely that the fish is sick. Your fish could have some type of illness if it’s showing symptoms such as this.
Exactly what is wrong will be impossible to say without more information. For example, your fish could have a simple bacterial infection, but it could also be another problem.
You have to pay attention to the symptoms to determine what is wrong. Take note of what is happening with your fish and then look at common discus diseases to make a match.
This will allow you to treat the fish and get things back to normal. It does take time, but this is the best thing you can do in this situation.
How Long Can a Discus Go Without Eating?
Discus fish are known to survive for up to a week without eating. People have gone on vacation and not fed their fish before.
This means that the fish can survive for quite some time even without being fed. That doesn’t mean that this is good for the fish.
Even if the fish can technically survive for this long without food it’s not going to be wise to do this to the fish. It will cause the fish stress and make it more likely to get sick.
Also, these fish are very susceptible to getting sick when the water quality dips. You need to be present to maintain good water quality in the tank.
These fish are meant to be fed twice daily. A healthy adult discus fish can survive for weeks without food, but that doesn’t mean that the fish should be put in that situation.
If your fish isn’t eating, work to solve the problem fast. The fish won’t starve to death right away, but know that illnesses can kill discus fish faster than you might realize.
Now you have a much better idea of what causes discus fish to stop eating. There are many things that can go wrong when caring for these fish.
Sometimes fish will stop eating due to being stressed. The fish might be stressed due to water quality issues or overcrowding in the tank.
You could be dealing with bullying problems in the tank as well. Or perhaps the fish is sick and you need to treat it so it can return to being healthy.
Do your best to figure out what’s wrong with your discus fish. You should be able to get the fish eating normally again by taking the right actions.
Jeff has always enjoyed having pets, but as a child, he was drawn to his family’s fish tank. Being able to maintain a small ecosystem and observe the behaviors and interactions in the underwater world peaked his interest early on and has kept him hooked until this day. On Avid Aquarist, Jeff shares everything he’s learned about helping aquatic life survive and thrive in a home aquarium.