Stunted Discus Fish: Causes, Symptoms, and Cure


There’s no easy way to say this but keeping discus fish is not easy especially if you’re considering their natural rate of growth and metabolism. Regardless of their source, it is a challenge for pet owners to keep them, much more to nurture and make them grow.

However, favourable conditions feeding can help achieve the desired maturity size of the fish. By conditions we mean favourable water temperature, proper feeding, and optimum fish tank water pH. Hygiene and other proper fish care aspects are also held of great importance when we want a healthy and growing discus fish.

Unfortunately, there are fish owners that are confronted with growth problems among their aquatic pets. Regardless of variety, some may find it difficult to get to mature size. This condition pertaining to growth and development can affect the fish as early as during the young age. Experts call this fish as stunted discus.

In this article, we will tackle on the causes, signs and possible treatment for stunted discus.

Cause of Stunted Growth

Obviously, failure to observe in keeping the abovementioned fish tank and care handling procedures may result to undersized discus fish. The quickest reason to point out is the feeding program of the fish. Feeding these tropical water beauties haphazardly, whether lacking or plentiful in quantity and size may lead to stunted discus. Furthermore, giving them the wrong kind of food may contribute to the problem as well. For example, instead of feeding them high protein flake food, they were being given with generic fish feed. Protein, as everyone knows, is important to the growth of discus fish.

Temperature is another problem to see why some fishes fail to reach the desired size. Sometimes, owners tend to forget to turn off or on the water heater which is needed to maintain favourable water temperature. If the weather is considerably hot, then there’s no need to run the heater. Otherwise, keep it running the tank is placed in an air-conditioned room.

Adaptation could also be a concern with discus fish growth. Most often than not, small fries are quite stressed living in a space where there’s already huge and fully-grown discus inhabiting. This is also in connection with overcrowding of the tank.

Signs to Show Stunted Discus

Although it depends greatly from fish to fish, there are ways to tell if your discus fish is suffering with some growth problems.

-Football or bullet-shaped body

-Fish eyes are relatively large when compared to the body size

-Fish eyes have different sizes where one is larger or smaller than the other

-A particular fish is stuck with the same size despite the considerable time it has spent in the tank

Common Solutions to Stunted Discus

With regards to food, give only what is best for them. Brine shrimp, beef heart mix, daphna, and blood worms, etc. can be a good source of rich protein. Environment-wise, we recommend buying discus by batch and they should be of the same size or age. When it comes to the population of the tank, refer to this rule of thumb: 10 gallons of water per fish.

The final concern would be the reversibility of the condition. A lot of owners keeping discus fish may argue that stunted discus can still grow to their full potential. Remember, “stuntness” is greatly affected by how or where the discus fish live. Improving these factors may solve the problem. However, when genetics come into play and if the condition remains the same, then the size of the fish can get stuck as well.

Visit Uncle Sam’s Discus to see a wide range of available discus fish online, click this link.


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