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4 Common Causes of Stunted Growth in Discus Fish

4 Common Causes of Stunted Growth in Discus Fish
This post is written to the author's best knowledge and is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. In addtion, this post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

You’ll love how amazing discus fish look in your aquarium. These are impressive fish that many people love to own.

It’s important to do your best to care for them to keep them healthy. They can be tough fish to care for if you’re a beginner, but many say that it’s a worthwhile endeavor.

Some new owners have a tough time getting these fish to grow. You might think that your fish aren’t growing as fast as they should based on your research.

What causes stunted growth in discus fish? Is there anything you can do to turn things around?

Read on to learn about stunted discus fish and what you should be doing. After reading everything you’ll have a much better idea of how to handle this situation.

Why Is My Discus Not Growing?

Is your discus fish not growing as normal? Perhaps it has stayed fairly small for quite some time?

It could be that your discus fish is experiencing stunted growth for one reason or another. Below, you’ll learn about some of the things that are known to stunt the growth of these fish.

1 – Improper Water Parameters

One thing to know about caring for discus fish is that the water parameters matter. You need to keep a close eye on the water quality or things can go bad fast.

Poor water quality has the potential to stunt the growth of the fish. However, it’s also important to know that water quality issues can kill the fish.

These fish become rather stressed when exposed to dirty water. They aren’t incredibly hardy fish and this means that you have to put more effort into maintaining the tank to keep them healthy.

For some, discus fish won’t be the best fish to own. If you don’t have time to look after the tank and do regular maintenance it likely isn’t wise to purchase discus fish.

You should be doing multiple water changes per week to keep things safe. Also, you need to clean the fish tank and test the water often to ensure that the pH balance stays in the right range.

It should be noted that these fish don’t do well with temperature fluctuations either. So do your best to maintain a stable temperature in the tank.

Looking after the fish tank and maintaining high water quality is an important part of helping these fish grow. It’s just as important as what you feed the fish.

2 – Significant Stress

You’ve already learned that stress can be problematic for these fish. Stress is often related to problems with the water parameters, but there are other things that can cause stress as well.

For example, these fish are schooling fish and are meant to be kept in groups. They don’t do well if you keep them alone or in pairs.

Some people have successfully kept these fish alone or in pairs, but it’s not the recommended choice. You’re meant to keep them in groups of six or more to get the best results.

So buy a group of these fish and keep them in the tank. It’ll make them more confident and less stressed in the aquarium.

Other sources of stress include improper tank mates and an inappropriate environment. These fish can be kept in community tanks, but you need to research compatibility so that they don’t get bullied.

Also, you need to keep these fish in a fish tank that’s the right size. They need enough space to move around comfortably or they will get stressed.

3 – Overcrowding

Overcrowding is a serious issue that you must work to avoid. Sadly, many people make the mistake of cramming discus fish into tanks that are a bit too small.

The general rule is that each fish needs ten gallons of space. So six fish would need a 60-gallon fish tank at a minimum.

It’d be better to go with something larger. This is especially true if you plan to keep them in a community tank with other types of fish.

Overcrowding can easily stunt the growth of fish. Avoid this by making sure that all of the fish in the tank have more than enough room.

4 – Not Feeding the Fish Right

Not feeding the fish right will keep them from growing to their full size. Adult discus fish should be fed twice per day while juveniles should be fed three times per day.

People generally feed these fish granular fish food or fish flakes. You’ll also feed them foods such as beefheart mix to give them enough protein so they can grow strong.

If you’ve been feeding the fish too infrequently, this could stunt growth and cause health issues. It’s also possible that feeding the fish the wrong type of food will cause the same problems.

So you need to make sure to follow a feeding schedule while also feeding the fish high-quality foods. Do this and they should grow and thrive under your care.

What to Do With Stunted Discus Fish

When your discus fish have stunted growth you simply need to try to help them. Change what you have been doing wrong to see if it turns things around.

It’s likely that the discus will start growing better once you make the necessary changes. However, the fish might not grow to its full potential.

Sometimes fish that have experienced stunted growth will be a little bit undersized. There may or may not be anything you can do about that.

Just focus on caring for the fish the right way. Maintain high water quality and feed the fish the right types of food.

This will make sure that the fish are healthy. You’ll have a better chance of helping the fish to grow when you do all that you can for them.

Final Thoughts

You’ve learned a lot about discus fish. Now you know that they experience stunted growth when exposed to improper conditions.

Putting them in a fish tank that’s too small will be bad. So will exposing them to poor water conditions.

If you don’t feed the fish right, you shouldn’t expect them to grow to their full size. You need to meet the care needs of these fish or they will have stunted growth.

Turn things around by making changes. You can help the fish to grow by using the advice above.

Even if the fish don’t grow to their full size, they should still be able to grow. So long as you do your part everything will be okay, but know that these are somewhat fragile fish that can die when not treated right.