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-   -   Questions about oscars (http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/cichlids/questions-about-oscars-122552/)

moswald09 12-13-2012 10:20 AM

Questions about oscars
 
Lets start with the basics, I have 135 gallon aquarium with a Aqueon proflex 4 sump moving 2200gph, wet dry setup. I also have the largest penguin bio wheel hang on approx 350gph (?) along with emperor hang on which runs roughly 400 gph. I illregularly run carbon through the two hang on's. Currently i have 1 9-10 inch oscar, 4 baby oscars 3-4 inches, 5 picus catfish, and two placos, a huge one and a little one. I have the 3 baby oscars divided off in to 1/3 of the tank with a ciruclation pump pushing the water through the divider in to the rest of the tank. I had to move one of the baby oscars over to the big side due to something crazy going on with it. This fish would do circles every noc unless i did a water change. In 4 days i changes approx 125 gallons of water. When i added the little fish to the other side she now only does the circles at night. Any ideas? Another question is would it be safe to pull the divider and add all the fish together. When i added the little fish with the big oscar all the big oscar did was bump it with its nose and move on. My other 3 oscars in the little side are starting to become aggressive and personally i think i need to open the tank period, i just dont want to take a 56 dollar gamble with out some advice. Another question is i cant get my big oscars to heal up. He has white circles on his sides, and i have tried melafix and pamafix, and nothing helps. I no my nirate lvls are high and i have constintly changing water and vaccuming out the gravel. I own a 6 stage RO/DI unit with an added membrane, so technically its a 7 stage. This water test perfect. What are anyone thoughts on all this? If you have any questions let me no and i will answer them as soon as possible.

Thanks!

lakemalawifish 12-13-2012 10:56 AM

Wow, you have an incredible tank set up, awesome filtration and some great fish! Our largest tank is a 220 g with a Fluval FX5 and Cascade 1500 (thinking about removing the Cascade and replacing it with another FX5) we have it heavily stocked with very aggressive Lake Malawi Haps (6-10") and one Predatory Hap that is 12" who eats from my fingers (all of them eat from my fingers, but this big guy gets some special food)

Moving on to your tank... your filtration sounds awesome, over my head for sure, but it appears you have that on track.

As far as what to do with your separation issue, I can contact a friend of mine, Tom, who is an awesome breeder of South American cichlids (40+ years) and try to get you two hooked up. He can be hard to catch, recently had a heart surgery, but I think he is on the mend so let me see what I can do. He will probably also be able to address your fish that is swimming in circles.

Tom may give you better advice than I know of as far as treating the wounds you described. Thank goodness you are not seeing the white blotches on the fish's head! We recently re-homed a 10-12" Oscar (I call him a 10" because when I held the measuring tape up to the tank, he did not like that, so I will underestimate him at 10") We got him from a friend who was moving and could not take his fish. In the process of netting him, he trashed around a good bit and skinned his side. We brought him home and placed him in a 55 gal by himself. My husband found two products that we have treated the tank with and I am dead serious, these wounds were completely gone within 2 weeks. Of course fresh water and good tank parameters are the best medicine in the world, but you are already doing that. These meds are:

Acurel - Health Guard
Acurel - Body Guard RX

They are not expensive and very easy to use. I used both of them once per week, directly after a water change, 1 tsp of each per 50 gals of water. This is a liquid medicine in a small 1 ounce bottle. I am now using it on a Peacock that got into a fight and I had to remove him to a QT tank.

Here's our big guy. I think I have found him a home with a friend who has a 500 gallon indoor pond. Mr. Oscar is a wild caught Astronotus SP Orinoco Colombia Rio Caqu

http://i1263.photobucket.com/albums/...nocoOscar1.jpg

Shoot me a PM if you are interested in contacting Tom.

Thanks!

lakemalawifish 12-13-2012 11:10 AM

Oh, welcome to the world of large fish and nitrates. Over-filtration which is necessary for these large guys is the culprit. No place for anaerobic bacteria to grow. And no way to have plants with these big guys. My hubby Brad and I are looking at several options right now because we have tried just about everything on the market now, with the exception of Matrix. Brad is thinking about rigging up our Cascade 1500 with the outlet connected via pvc pipe and a flow valve to slow down the water flow that will allow the tank water to seep into a nitrate receptor filled with De-Nitrate or Matrix, before it goes back into the tank. Wish us luck!

lakemalawifish 12-13-2012 01:37 PM

Thank you for the message, please let me know how your conversations with Tom go and keep us posted with your progress. I am curious to know what you do with this, you have quite a complex situation going on. Tom is a great guy and a highly admired person in the hobby around this area!

moswald09 12-14-2012 09:16 AM

Just to let you no i did have to leave a message with him. I was also wondering what your thoughts where on pulling the divider. The one oscar is doing ok with the big one but what do you think will happen when i add the other three? I have spoken with a guy from aquariumguys.com (he has been my only contact before now) and he said just make sure there is enough places for them to hide, but i no that if hector (the big one) doesn't want them to eat then he wont let them, general nature of an oscar i believe. I just no i need to open this tank back up. I believe leaving it sectioned off isn't good for the little fish. Also i believe that one of the little ones have develop a fungus and thats another reason for opening it up. I don't believe that the pimafix would ciruclate evenly thorough out the tank with the divider in there. and i don't have a hospital tank yet :(

lakemalawifish 12-14-2012 09:39 AM

I advised Tom that you would be calling.

My experience with large fish in a group is only with Africans. It could be the small fish has a fungus because the water circulation is ok, but not adequate enough on their side of the tank. With our large Green Severum male (the size of a man's hand) if I did not stay on a very strict substrate and water change schedule he would get some fungus on his bottom fins from sitting on the substrate. It was a very minor amount that cleared with Melafix/Pimafix combo but it did not take much for this to start happening, like if I was just a couple of days behind on my tank maintenance schedule and if I had fed them food they did not eat. I use an Eheim Quick Vac Pro to pull up any uneaten food and waste between water changes, but this Severum was just super sensitive.

Your juvies that are picking on each other, that sounds normal to me, not sure what your male/female ratio is and they may be too small to vent. But, from experience, spreading out the fish and giving them more hiding places and distractions by other fish in the tank does lessen that aggression. So does moving around the rocks and decor and just turning off the tank light.

Not sure how long ago you acquired the juvies and if you placed them in the tank all at the same time, but that can cause issues. We try to add juvies all at one time, you probably already know that if you add just one fish to an established tank, the newbie is going to get picked on until the pecking order is re-established.

My thoughts are, if you already know the large Oscar is just nudging the juvies around and haven't seen anything serious there, go ahead and remove the divider but do it when you will be home for a few days so you can watch them. In our tanks, there's always a boss, we have lost a few fish over time while this is getting established, but that probably happens to all fish keepers. Since you do not have a time out tank set up, what we have done before is just net the fish that is either the one causing problems or the one being picked on in our huge net and leave the net in the tank with the fish (secure it with the lid) and just let it have a time out for a few hours.

Hopefully Tom will call you soon, he is just very hard to reach. If he has not called you back in a day or so, call him again. He gets swamped with phone calls and since his health has not been up to par I know he just can't get back to everybody as fast as he used to.

If I think of anything else I will let you know, but you know your fish better than anybody else and what you feel is right for them is the best call.

1077 12-14-2012 09:54 AM

I might wonder if the water is straight R/O water, which does not contain mineral's that fish need and might consider mixing this water 50/50 with tapwater to help provide mineral's., or just plain tapwater assuming it is safe to drink.?
I might also wonder what food's are being offered for the fish and would offer thing's like frozen chopped Krill,Chopped earthworm's,Fluker's freeze dried cricket's (petco),and quality pellet food such as New Life spectrum,or Hikari cichlid Bio-gold.
Certainly would NOT offer feeder fish especially storebought.
could be recent addition? of smaller fish brought some type of parasite with them but this is merely speculation.
Mixing some Metronidazole as per instruction's per gal with equal amount of crushed fish food and a few drop's of water,and then freezing might be something I would consider especially if poop look's white/grey and stringy as opposed to solid dark color. Could break off chunk's of this medicated food and offer only it for a week or two.
Would feed the fish once a day and no more than I actually SEE them eat in a couple minutes.
I would stay on weekly 50 % water change at minimum,and perhap's twice weekly when juvenile Oscar's begin to approach adult size.
I'm no fish expert,but have kept these large fish on more than one occasion and am offering some thing's I might try were it me.

lakemalawifish 12-14-2012 10:10 AM

Reply to 1077's advice :)
 
"I might wonder if the water is straight R/O water, which does not contain mineral's that fish need and might consider mixing this water 50/50 with tapwater to help provide mineral's., or just plain tapwater assuming it is safe to drink.?"

That is a very good point, Oscars prefer ph around 7.2 so check your ph and see if it is close.

"I might also wonder what food's are being offered for the fish and would offer thing's like frozen chopped Krill,Chopped earthworm's,Fluker's freeze dried cricket's (petco),and quality pellet food such as New Life spectrum,or Hikari cichlid Bio-gold.
Certainly would NOT offer feeder fish especially storebought."

Agree on the store bought feeder fish!

"could be recent addition? of smaller fish brought some type of parasite with them but this is merely speculation.
Mixing some Metronidazole as per instruction's per gal with equal amount of crushed fish food and a few drop's of water,and then freezing might be something I would consider especially if poop look's white/grey and stringy as opposed to solid dark color. Could break off chunk's of this medicated food and offer only it for a week or two.
Would feed the fish once a day and no more than I actually SEE them eat in a couple minutes."

Excellent advice if white or clear stringy poop is noticed or if the fish just stops eating, or takes food in it's mouth and spits it back out!

Also, very good advice below on water changes :)

"I would stay on weekly 50 % water change at minimum,and perhap's twice weekly when juvenile Oscar's begin to approach adult size.
I'm no fish expert,but have kept these large fish on more than one occasion and am offering some thing's I might try were it me."

moswald09 12-14-2012 10:53 AM

I advised Tom that you would be calling.

Thank you for letting him no.

My experience with large fish in a group is only with Africans. It could be the small fish has a fungus because the water circulation is ok, but not adequate enough on their side of the tank. With our large Green Severum male (the size of a man's hand) if I did not stay on a very strict substrate and water change schedule he would get some fungus on his bottom fins from sitting on the substrate. It was a very minor amount that cleared with Melafix/Pimafix combo but it did not take much for this to start happening, like if I was just a couple of days behind on my tank maintenance schedule and if I had fed them food they did not eat. I use an Eheim Quick Vac Pro to pull up any uneaten food and waste between water changes, but this Severum was just super sensitive.

The Circulation on that side of the tank consists of the second sump pump turned down some to not flood the tank and the biggest penguin bio wheel hang on, along with the cirulaction pump to push the water through the divider.

Your juvies that are picking on each other, that sounds normal to me, not sure what your male/female ratio is and they may be too small to vent. But, from experience, spreading out the fish and giving them more hiding places and distractions by other fish in the tank does lessen that aggression. So does moving around the rocks and decor and just turning off the tank light.

The only thing i have in this side of the tank is the fake plants and gravel. All the other decor i took out because i wanted to be able to vaccum the hole gravel thinking that there was stuff under them on the smaller side causing higher lvls.

Not sure how long ago you acquired the juvies and if you placed them in the tank all at the same time, but that can cause issues. We try to add juvies all at one time, you probably already know that if you add just one fish to an established tank, the newbie is going to get picked on until the pecking order is re-established.

I got the fish n late november and yes i did add all four of them to the smaller side of the aquarium together. However the issues with the white one started happening leading my to change 125 gallons of water in 4 days and finally moving the white one to the bigger side of the tank which looks to be doing good but idk how much food its getting because it never comes out of hiding when im home and feed all of them, however i have been putting in some siniking shrimp pellets but again idk if the little oscar is eatting them.

My thoughts are, if you already know the large Oscar is just nudging the juvies around and haven't seen anything serious there, go ahead and remove the divider but do it when you will be home for a few days so you can watch them. In our tanks, there's always a boss, we have lost a few fish over time while this is getting established, but that probably happens to all fish keepers. Since you do not have a time out tank set up, what we have done before is just net the fish that is either the one causing problems or the one being picked on in our huge net and leave the net in the tank with the fish (secure it with the lid) and just let it have a time out for a few hours.

Hopefully Tom will call you soon, he is just very hard to reach. If he has not called you back in a day or so, call him again. He gets swamped with phone calls and since his health has not been up to par I know he just can't get back to everybody as fast as he used to.

If I think of anything else I will let you know, but you know your fish better than anybody else and what you feel is right for them is the best call.

moswald09 12-14-2012 11:01 AM

I might wonder if the water is straight R/O water, which does not contain mineral's that fish need and might consider mixing this water 50/50 with tapwater to help provide mineral's., or just plain tapwater assuming it is safe to drink.?"

The water is not safe at all for fish d/t high nitrates. The water isnt even safe for elderly or pregnant woman. That being said I do add R/O right by Kent to the water to add back in the minerals and so forth. Currently at the moment i am out tho...

That is a very good point, Oscars prefer ph around 7.2 so check your ph and see if it is close.

Before the R/O DI unit the pH had been running 8.2. On 11/18 i checked it and it was 7.4.

"I might also wonder what food's are being offered for the fish and would offer thing's like frozen chopped Krill,Chopped earthworm's,Fluker's freeze dried cricket's (petco),and quality pellet food such as New Life spectrum,or Hikari cichlid Bio-gold.
Certainly would NOT offer feeder fish especially storebought."

The little oscars are getting Hikari Cichlid Staples and dried blood worms, and The big one is getting Tetra Jumbo Sticks, IDK enough about other food sorces to venture in that area yet.

Agree on the store bought feeder fish!

I use to feed hector feeder fish back in the day but ever since i got my 135 gallon aquarium i have only done it once, when i bought the little oscars n late november, but i have had enough problems with feeder fish that i wont feed/buy them any more.

"could be recent addition? of smaller fish brought some type of parasite with them but this is merely speculation.
Mixing some Metronidazole as per instruction's per gal with equal amount of crushed fish food and a few drop's of water,and then freezing might be something I would consider especially if poop look's white/grey and stringy as opposed to solid dark color. Could break off chunk's of this medicated food and offer only it for a week or two.
Would feed the fish once a day and no more than I actually SEE them eat in a couple minutes."

IDK about the Metonidazole. But i do only feed them what i see they eat every morning and thats it.

Excellent advice if white or clear stringy poop is noticed or if the fish just stops eating, or takes food in it's mouth and spits it back out!

Also, very good advice below on water changes :)

"I would stay on weekly 50 % water change at minimum,and perhap's twice weekly when juvenile Oscar's begin to approach adult size.
I'm no fish expert,but have kept these large fish on more than one occasion and am offering some thing's I might try were it me.

I do atleast try to clean the tank weekly, approx 45-50 gallons of water. Mostly consist of draining the sump and then vaccuming the gravel.


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