Why My Discus Fish Darting & Dashing?

I know the feeling. You’ve just set up your brand new discus fish tank and filled it with beautiful, healthy discus fry.

You sit back and watch them swim around, admiring their gracefulness… when suddenly, one of them starts darting and dashing around the tank wildly!

Now you’re wondering – why is my discus fry darting and dashing, and is there anything I can do about it? First of all, don’t panic!

Every problem has a solution, so let’s take a look at some of the possible reasons why your discus dashing and darting, and what you can do about it.

What Are the Symptoms Discus Darting?

To start with, it’s important to identify the symptoms of darting. This can help you figure out what’s causing the problem and how to solve it.

Here are some signs tell your discus fry is darting:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Clamped fins
  • Discus fish swimming straight up and down
  • Swimming strongly towards the walls
  • Swimming quickly around the tank
  • Discus jumping out of the tank

Why Are My Discus Dashing & Darting?

1. Improper Water Conditions

Sometimes you can get deceived by the fact that your discus fish are robust and able to withstand a lot of abuse.

However, they are still very sensitive creatures, and if the water conditions in their tank are not ideal, it can stress them.

This can lead to them darting and dashing around the tank as they try to escape the stressful situation.

2. Ammonia Concentration & Nitrite Levels

Even the slightest amount of ammonia or nitrite in your tank can be toxic to your discus fry and cause them to become ill.

These toxins can build up for a number of reasons, such as overfeeding, too many fish in the tank, or not cleaning the tank regularly enough.

If you don’t provide a refuge for your discus, it will become stressed and start zipping around the tank trying to escape.

3. Sudden Change in the pH Level

In fact, a rapid shift in pH levels is one of the most harmful things discus fry can encounter in a fish tank.

While they may be able to adapt to slowly changing pH levels over time, a sudden change can cause them to feel disoriented and stressed.

In an attempt to feel better, your discus fry will start darting and dashing around the tank like they are looking for a way out or trying to find something they’ve lost!

4. Wrong Water Temperature

Discus fry needs warm waters similar to their natural habitat in the Amazon basin.

When the temperature falls below 82°F (28°C), they will start looking for somewhere warmer to swim.

If there’s nowhere for them to go, they will become anxious and start darting and dashing around the tank in an effort to raise their body temperature.

Similarly, if there is a sudden change in water temperature, it can also shock your discus fry and cause them to start swimming erratically.

5. Parasite Attacks

Parasites can attach themselves to your fish in several ways, such as by sucking its blood or attaching to the body or digestive system. These parasites might be worms, protozoa, or other organisms.

Consequently, your fish will feel irritated and itchy. They will start trying to scratch themselves on the gravel or decorations in the tank to get rid of the parasites.

6. Overcrowding

When your discus fry doesn’t have the space to swim around and feel comfortable in their tank, it will cause them a great deal of stress.

They will start to push other species around, causing fights and making everyone in the tank feel uncomfortable. Thus, your fish will start darting around as they try to find some peace and quiet!

In addition, too much fish means too much waste in the tank, which can lead to ammonia and nitrite buildup, further making the problem worse.

7. Aggressive Tank Mates

Imagine living in a place where you always get bullied and pushed around. It would be pretty stressful, right?

Well, that’s exactly how your discus fry feel when they are living with aggressive tank mates.

Discus fish are relatively peaceful creatures, so they don’t do well with bullies in the tank. This bullying can manifest in nipping at the fins or tails, chasing, or simply not letting them have their share of food.

In this case, it will make your discus fry anxious and stressed, causing them to start darting and dashing around the tank in an effort to get away from their bullies.

8. Improper Diet

I think we all know the feeling of being triggered by something we ate. It doesn’t feel good, right?

Well, the same goes for your discus fry. If they are not getting the right diet, it can lead to all sorts of problems, such as malnutrition, indigestion, and even organ damage.

If your discus fry is not receiving the proper nutrients, it will become weak and sick. This often manifests in erratic swimming as they attempt to find a solution on their own!

9. Loud Noises

Like any other fish, discus fry is very sensitive to sound. In fact, loud noises can be even more harmful to them than sudden changes in water temperature or pH levels.

This is often seen in tanks that are located near a TV or stereo system. Even if the volume is not turned up too loud, the vibrations can still be enough to stress out your fish!

As a result, they will start searching for a quiet place to hide, or just hitting the glass to try to get away from this loud and stressful environment.

10. Sudden Lights Changes

Discus fry is used to living in murky waters, so they are not used to sudden changes in light.

For example, if you turn on the lights in the room too suddenly, it can startle your fish and cause them to dash around with anxiety.

The same goes for any sudden changes in lighting, such as from a power outage or a flash of lightning. These sudden changes can be very stressful for your fish, causing them to feel disoriented and lost.

What Should I Do If My Discus Darting & Dashing?

Do Frequent Water Changes

There is a great chance that your discus fry is experiencing stress due to the water quality in their tank.

Therefore, make sure to do a water change of at least 20-25% once a week to keep the water fresh and clean. This will reduce the stress on your fish and make them feel more comfortable.

Treat Ammonia in Your Tank

If you suspect that the ammonia levels in your tank might be too high, you can test the water with an ammonia test kit.

If the levels are high, you can do a water change to bring them down. Also, you can add an ammonia remover to your tank to help get rid of the ammonia more quickly.

To control ammonia levels in the future, you can install an aquarium filter with an ammonia-removing pad.

Add Suitable Tank Mates

If you think that the problem might be due to aggressive tank mates, you can try adding some more peaceful fish to the tank.

Some good tank mates include neon tetras, Corydoras catfish, and ember tetras. These fish are all relatively peaceful and will help reduce the stress in your tank.

Adjust pH Level & Water Temperature

As I mentioned before, sudden changes in pH levels and water temperature can be extremely stressful for your discus fry.

The ideal range for discus fry is between 6.0-7.0 for pH levels and 82-86 degrees Fahrenheit for water temperature.

To keep the pH levels stable, you can use a pH buffer in your tank. As for the water temperature, you can use an aquarium heater to keep the water at a consistent temperature.

Avoid Overfeeding

Sometimes you might think that you are feeding your discus enough when in reality you are overfeeding them.

For discus fry, it is best to feed them 2-3 times a day with only as much food as they can eat in 2 minutes.

If you are still not sure how much to feed them, you can always consult with your local fish store or veterinarian. They will be able to give you more specific advice on how to properly feed your fish.

Maintain Stable Lighting

Last but not least, adequate lighting is crucial for the health and well-being of your discus fry.

To avoid any sudden changes in lighting, you should use an aquarium hood with a timer. This way, the lights will turn on and off at the same time every day and your fish will get used to the light schedule.


Darting Discus, What Does This Mean?

This can mean a few things. It could be that your fish are getting comfortable in their environment and are exploring their tank.

Or, it could be a sign of stress due to poor water quality, aggressive tank mates, or sudden changes in lighting or pH levels.

Why Does My Discus Fry Swim Up and Down the Tank?

There could be a few reasons why your fish is swimming up and down the tank, including:

  • They are looking for food
  • They are bored and need stimulation
  • They are stressed and need a place to hide
  • They are sick or injured

My Discus Fish Keeps Flashing, What Does This Mean?

Flashing is a common behavior in fish, and it can mean a few different things.

Sometimes fish will flash to relieve stress or to get rid of parasites. Other times, it could be a sign of poor water quality or an infection.

If you are concerned about your fish’s behavior, it is always best to consult with a veterinarian.

What’s the Best Way to Feed My Discus Fish?

The best way to feed your discus fry is to give them 2-3 small meals per day. Each meal should consist of only as much food as they can eat in 2 minutes. This will help prevent overfeeding and keep your fish healthy.

How Often Should I Change the Water in My Discus Tank?

For a discus tank, I recommend to do a partial water change (about 20-25%) once a week.

However, you may need to do more frequent water changes if your tank is heavily fish stocks or if you have poor water quality.

Why Is My Discus Fish Swimming Strangely?

There could be a few reasons why your discus fry is swimming strangely. It could be a sign of stress, poor water quality, or an infection such as swim bladder disease.

Why Is My Discus Fish Hiding All the Time?

Your discus fry could be hiding for a few different reasons. Sometimes fish will hide when they are stressed or sick. Other times, they may be trying to avoid aggressive tank mates.

Also, it is normal for discus fry to hide when they are sleeping or resting. So, if you see your fish hiding during the night, there is no need to worry.

Do Discus Fish Get Along with Other Fish?

Discus fry is generally peaceful and can get along with other species. However, they can be territorial when it comes to their breeding season. So, it is best to avoid keeping them with other aggressive fish during this time.

Last Words

Discus fish are beautiful and unique creatures that make a great addition to any aquarium.

However, it is important to remember that they have specific care needs that must be met in order to keep them healthy and happy.

By following the tips in this article, you can be sure that your discus fish will have a long and healthy life.

I hope you found this article helpful. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. Thanks for reading!