Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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zdowell 01-31-2008 09:52 PM

question about oscars.
First question is do oscars like to be in groups of 2 or more? I have one right now and it took almost 2 weeks but he swims around the tank most of the time. Would he be happier with a buddy. Right now all he has is the plecostmus. Its funny because they are the same size and the pleco will push him out of the way and he doesnt do anything about it.

Also, will they eat ghost shrimp?

bettababy 01-31-2008 10:23 PM

What size tank is he in? Remember that oscars average about 15 inches full grown. If mixed in a small tank they tend to fight, and this happens male or female, no matter how they are mixed. 2 oscars and a pleco will need about 200 gallons minimum, and even that can be a lot of work to keep up the water quality. There are other fish that mix with oscars, but I won't know what to suggest unless I know how much space you are working with.
As for ghost shrimp, some do some don't. Oscars each have a unique personality, and some are fussy eaters. If he doesn't eat them they're great bottom feeders/maintenance animals. The more dense decoration in the tank the less chance of him eating them.

zdowell 01-31-2008 10:57 PM

im not going to debate this anymore than this but, 200gallon? If you spend that kind of money and only keep 3 fish in it that would be a HUGE waste. it would look like there was no life in there. a 200 gallon should be able to hold at least 4 full size oscars if not more(unless lots of decorations) to his, his own. my $.02

bettababy 02-01-2008 12:42 PM

There honestly is not room for more than 2 oscars and a large pleco in a 200 unless you're wanting to do water changes about 2 - 3 times/wk.
My own 220 held 3 full size oscars, and anytime I backed the water changes off to less than 3 times/wk the nitrate levels would go off the charts. There was also a lot of fighting between the fish for territory. A 15 inch fish needs more than a foot of space to call territory of its own. A standard 220 gallon tank is 6 feet long. With 2 oscars that allows them 3 ft of space, each fish is over 1 ft by itself. Add the pleco which full grown is 1.5 ft long, and the space fills up quickly. The only way to fit more than 2 full grown oscars and a pleco into a 200 gallon tank is to have it custom made to be shallow and wider, longer. It's all about area, not just volume. Cichlids are territorial, aggressive, and have specific needs. Crowding them only gets ugly. Think about how much territoy a fish that size would claim in a wild habitat...we can give them some limits, but others just don't work.

bettababy 02-01-2008 01:25 PM

I'm going to post a couple of pictures for you, sometimes a visual image can help. These pictures were taken about 6 yrs ago, the fish were about 8 - 9 inches each, and there were a couple of feeder goldfish that survived and later had to be removed due to waste issues. These fish are now 10+ yrs old and full grown. One of them measures 15 inches, the other is 16 inches, the pleco is about 16 inches now, so they are about double the size now as in the pictures here. Trust me when I say that tank is full!

fish_4_all 02-01-2008 03:26 PM

Personalities play a huge part of keeping agrressive fish together.

I have seen Oscars kept with tank mates that no one would ever believe. I have also seen ones that were so territorial that no other fish would live long regardless of what it was.

The only way I can see it working is if the fish are bought at the same time, are a very small size, placed in the tank together and can grow together. It is the only way I have seen it ever work with fish like Oscars, Jack Dempsey, green terror and other aggressive fish.

You never know until you try but I would never try to put another aggressive fish in a tank when one that already has it claimed as his territory.

zdowell 02-02-2008 11:30 AM

Falina 02-02-2008 12:09 PM

What size tank is that?

Your oscar still looks quite young, so I would consider upgrading just for him on his own depending on what size it is. Doesn't look too large, but photos can be deceiving.

zdowell 02-02-2008 10:00 PM

its like a 10 or 20. I forget. I have a much bigger one at home. Im raising him in this one for now because my dorm will only allow for this size. In like 3 months when school is done he will be moved. In the tank there is just a pleco, oscar and i think there might be 6 ghost shrimp left. I dont think the oscar likes them.

bettababy 02-03-2008 04:47 PM

How big is the other tank? You'll want to be prepared for how quickly the oscars grow. To go from 2 - 3 inches to 2 - 7 inches within the first year is expected, which means a good size tank right away. I can see an oscar making it 3 months in a 20 gallon provided water changes are done often enough, but I would be worried about 10 gallons.

I was just wondering, is there a heater in the tank? From the picture no heater is visible, and thats something an oscar can't do without. Proper tank temp for an oscar is 78 - 82, and the only way to be sure it's stable is to add a heater.

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