Having discus fish in your tank will generally be a great thing. They add so much charm to the tank simply because they look fantastic.
They’re not the most beginner-friendly fish out there, though. Sometimes things can go wrong and the fish will become stressed or sick.
Have your discus fish started acting sluggish as of late? Perhaps they haven’t been swimming around as often as they usually do and it’s starting to worry you.
What would cause a discus fish not to swim around normally? Continue reading to go over the various things that could be happening in your tank.
1 – Stress
Sometimes this will be related to problems with water quality. If the water isn’t as clean as it should be the fish might become stressed and will be lethargic.
You should also look out for issues in the tank such as bullying. If you’re keeping these fish in community tanks you need to be careful.
They can be kept as community fish, but you need to put them with compatible tank mates. Other fish might bully them if you don’t research compatibility as well as you should.
2 – Illness
Illness is something that can make fish feel lethargic. There are many illnesses that can impact discus fish that you should be aware of.
Something as simple as ich can wind up killing these fish. After a few days, this parasitic infection can kill all of the discus fish in your tank.
When they first get the disease they will likely be very sluggish. You’ll also see white spots on their bodies.
So take note of behavior changes and do your best to catch illnesses early. This gives you the best chance of saving the fish by giving them treatment before it’s too late.
3 – Swim Bladder Issues
Swim bladder issues can make it so fish won’t be able to swim normally. A swim bladder is an organ that helps fish control buoyancy.
It’s essentially just a gas-filled sac that inflates and deflates. This sac can become obstructed when a fish is constipated and bloated.
Also, a bacterial infection of the stomach lining can cause inflammation. This can also prevent the swim bladder from working normally.
You might need to treat the fish using antibiotics if it has some type of infection. Otherwise, you can solve constipation issues by feeding the fish boiled peas to make them poop a lot.
4 – Not Enough Discus Fish in the Tank
Sometimes people fail to keep enough discus fish in the tank. You might not realize this, but discus fish are schooling fish.
They’re used to living in groups and it’s recommended to keep them in groups in a fish tank. You should buy at least six discus fish for the tank so they can thrive.
Some say that it’s fine to keep three to five of these fish in a tank as well. However, it’s better to go with six if you have room for a slightly larger tank.
Each fish needs ten gallons of space so going with a 60-gallon fish tank or something larger is best. You want the fish to have more than enough room to swim around.
When there are enough discus fish in the tank they will feel more confident and you’ll see them swimming together. This should help the fish to be as active as possible in the tank so long as other problems aren’t causing them to be sluggish.
Knowing more about this issue will only help you. You now know that discus fish not swimming around normally can be a bad sign.
It could mean that they’re stressed or that there are significant issues with water quality in the tank. The fish could even be sick.
Since discus fish are somewhat fragile, they can die easily when they get sick. So you need to work to catch illnesses fast so you can treat them.
Many illnesses that make these fish sluggish such as ich can be treated successfully. Fish can make a full recovery, but they can also die within a few days if you do nothing.
So it’s imperative to pay attention to the fish to see what’s going on. Do your best to continue to be a proactive fish owner that notices behavioral changes in the tank.
These fish can be a bit of a challenge to keep, but they’re also rewarding fish to own. You’ll love your discus fish enough that you’ll be willing to put in the effort to keep them healthy.
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.