Gas Bubble Disease In Discus And How To Prevent It
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Gas Bubble Disease In Discus And How To Prevent It

This is a discussion on Gas Bubble Disease In Discus And How To Prevent It within the Canadian Aqua Farm Discus Hatchery forums, part of the Vendors category; Gas Bubble Disease is an issue that has been coming up with great enough frequency, especially for those keeping small ...

  1. #1
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    Exclamation Gas Bubble Disease In Discus And How To Prevent It

    Gas Bubble Disease is an issue that has been coming up with great enough frequency, especially for those keeping small discus, that I feel it deserves a thread to raise some awareness and hopefully save some fishes lives.

    What is Gas Bubble Disease (GBD)?
    GBD is the transfer of gasses from water into the body of a fish.

    What causes GBD?
    GBD is caused when water supersaturated with gasses is added to our aquariums. This happens when we do not give the gasses in our tap water an opportunity to escape into the air prior to adding the water to our aquarium. It is a problem most commonly seen when changing a large percentage of the water. It is also most common during the colder months of the year when our source water is cold and carrying a higher level of dissolved gasses. When we heat this water it becomes supersaturated with gasses that are now looking for an unsaturated medium to escape into. The atmosphere is a prime candidate but unfortunately so are our fish! When these gasses transfer into our fish they form bubbles in the blood stream and other body fluids which can pose a serious risk to the fishes health.

    How do I know if my fish has GBD?
    Symptoms can be seen in as little as 5-10 minutes after doing a water change and most commonly include bubbles visible inside the tail or pectoral fins. In extreme cases the fish may loose balance, head stand or have a greatly swollen belly. Smaller fish are the most at risk as they have thinner membranes and the gas can diffuse through them with greater ease. These symptoms will often disappear within a few hours and the fish will be back to normal however in extreme cases GBD can be lethal. Additionally chronic expose to GBD can cause long term damage to the fish's organs. ***It should be pointed out that bubbles on the outside of the fishes body/fins are normal after a water change. GBD is characterized by bubbles that have formed inside the fins as shown in the photo below***



    My fish has GBD what can I do?
    Most of the time GBD is not deadly. The gasses that diffused into the fish will start to diffuse back out once the aquarium water has a lower level of dissolved gasses. Increasing aeration in the tank will help to speed up this process. The bubbles seen in the fins often disappear within a few hours and fish that have lost balance will often regain balance within 1-2 days however. GBD is not to be taken lightly though as chronic exposure can cause damage to the fishes organs and in extreme cases even a single exposure can be lethal.

    How can I prevent GBD?
    The good news is that GBD is easily preventable! There are a couple of ways that a person can go about this. The first method would be to age your water. It doesn't even have to be a long term aging. I have found that letting water sit in a bucket for only 5 minutes is sufficient to prevent GBD. When you fill your bucket with water you may notice a slight hazing caused by massive amounts of micro bubbles floating around. As soon as those micro bubbles are gone you are safe to add the water to your aquarium. The second technique is for those of us that fill our tanks direct from the tap via hose. In this case I cover the end of the hose with my thumb so as to create a fine spray as the water goes into the aquarium. This also has been sufficient to prevent GBD.
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    Thanks Rick for the informative article....very short, precise and to the point

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    Hello. once again, Thanks Rick. i never even herd of this GBD. but good to know. so with the hose method it sounds like i should spray it like a garden hose ? and i assume you spray the wall of the tank. i know you explained it well but i like to be 100% clear. Cheers
    55g, In the Wall, Planted, 2 Blue Turk Discus, 1 yellow pigeon Discus, 1 pigeon cross Discus, Rams, Red Eye Balloon Tetras, Corydoras, Silvertip, Bn Pleco's, Flying Fox.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scherb View Post
    Hello. once again, Thanks Rick. i never even herd of this GBD. but good to know. so with the hose method it sounds like i should spray it like a garden hose ? and i assume you spray the wall of the tank. i know you explained it well but i like to be 100% clear. Cheers
    Yes, spray it like a garden hose. It does not matter if it is sprayed against the aquarium wall or directly on the surface of the water.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Canadian_Aqua_Farm View Post
    Yes, spray it like a garden hose. It does not matter if it is sprayed against the aquarium wall or directly on the surface of the water.
    Thanks. Cheers
    55g, In the Wall, Planted, 2 Blue Turk Discus, 1 yellow pigeon Discus, 1 pigeon cross Discus, Rams, Red Eye Balloon Tetras, Corydoras, Silvertip, Bn Pleco's, Flying Fox.
    40g, Long, Discus Grow Out Tank.
    20g, Planted, Electric Blue Balloon ram, trying to bread
    20g, Discus, Brilliant Turk, Eruption Leopard, trying to bread
    5g, Nano, Planted, Blueberry, Tiger, Painted Fire Red Shrimp.
    - 4'x3'x18" Water Dragon Terrarium.




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    I've seen your tanks and they would require quite a few buckets to hold all the water. How do you deal with the issue?

    Sorry missed the fine spray bit! Mind you I mix the cold and hot water in garbage cans and let the pump circulate it for 10 min or so before adding to tanks.
    Last edited by Lamplighter; 09-13-2012 at 11:17 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lamplighter View Post
    I've seen your tanks and they would require quite a few buckets to hold all the water. How do you deal with the issue?

    Sorry missed the fine spray bit! Mind you I mix the cold and hot water in garbage cans and let the pump circulate it for 10 min or so before adding to tanks.
    Your method is good. I now have a garden spray nozzle attached to the end of my hose. I set it to the finest mist setting and it works great at degassing the water.

    Last edited by Canadian_Aqua_Farm; 09-29-2012 at 01:26 PM. Reason: photo added
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    Rick,
    Thanks for this piece of information. I did nto knwo gad bubble disease can be fatal.
    I still see lots of tiny air bubbles on my glass after my water change. When I dis not blast the water into the tank, they sometimes would turn a bit dark and I could see some slime coming out from their fins (is this a really bad thing by the way?).
    So, I have since turned up the water and really blasted it into the tank.
    I am still not able to fill up the tank without any air bubble on the glass but they seem to be fine.
    Is there some signs to look for before they die of this disease since the damage is internal?
    Thank you very much.
    Quote Originally Posted by Canadian_Aqua_Farm View Post
    The most probably issue is with the way that the new water is going into the tank. When it runs down the glass it doesn't have an opportunity to degas before going into the aquarium and this can cause harm to the discus. The idea behind blasting or spraying the water is to give it an opportunity to degas to at least some extent prior to going into the aquarium. Aging your water would be an ideal solution but not everyone (myself included) has space or time to do this. The solution that I use is a garden spray nozzle on the fine mist setting and this has been incredible. The discus are so comfortable during water changes that they will readily feed. Since your discus was going dark after water changes Gas Bubble Disease was the most likely cause. It is a common problem in discus especially in the winter and since it is internal it can be hard to detect. I have posted more details about it here:

    https://www.bcaquaria.com/forum/canad...prevent-25972/

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    Bubbles on the glass and even on the outside of the fish is normal. I would worry a little if they are going dark after water changes, or if they have difficulty keeping their balance (swimming head down) or of course if you see bubbles inside the fins/tail. If they are acting normal, the colour is remaining bright and and they are willing to feed within a few minutes after the water change then there is nothing to worry about.
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    great to know! <3
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