Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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justplainjenn 07-30-2008 11:13 AM

Suggestions please! :)
Hello! I am new here and I would like to hear some of your suggestions! I have a 90 gallon tank that I would like to set up as a cichlid tank. I would like to know what you all would put in there. I really like Oscars, so stuff that would go with them would be great. Also, is 90 gallons big enough for more than one Oscar? Or would only one be better? I have been keeping fish my whole life, but its alway either been saltwater or freshwater angels and gouramis and stuff. Any input you all could share would be great! Thanks! :D

redpaulhus 07-30-2008 12:09 PM

I think one would be easier - two are potentially do-able assuming you keep up with the water changes, but when they get bigger that can be hard to do.

I've got one in a 125g tank, along with severums and other fish - and if I go more than about 7-10 days between water changes, his Hole-in-the-head starts to come back. (he had really really bad HitH when I rescued him, very broad deep pits).

But he's also at least 7-8 years old and over 10" long :)

The other issue with two is compatability - if you end up with a breeding pair they will make life miserable for their tankmates...

as to tankmates - I like loaches, pictus cats, large dither fish (large barbs, large rainbows, giant danios, etc) Mid sized cichlids (acara's, sevrum's, etc) also work well - oscars are usually not real aggressive (more hungry than aggressive IME). I'm also partial to plecos.

Big filters, and better yet, a python or similar water change device :D

okiemavis 07-30-2008 06:32 PM

I think the two most important things are:

1) You cannot over filter an oscar tank. The more filtration the better. For a 90 gallon tank, I'd recommend at least 700-800 gallons per hour of filtration, although more would be better. Same goes for water changes, the more, the better.

2) They grow fast! While he may be dwarfed by a 90 gallon aquarium when you get him, with that much space, and proper food, he'll be a monster in no time.

Obviously this is all within reason/basic logic. You don't need 800 gph filtration if he's a 3 inch fish by himself in a 90 gallon tank. These calculations are based on him being much larger. If you have larger tank that you can upgrade him to later, or other tanks to rehome tankmates to later, then you will have a lot more flexibility in stocking.

Oscars should be just fine with anything that won't pick on them (their temperaments vary greatly, some are very docile, others much more aggressive) and also won't fit in their mouth. Just make sure to monitor the water parameters regularly, and be prepared to remove fish if needed as his bioload increases.

justplainjenn 07-30-2008 11:05 PM

Thanks guys! I appreciate the advice! :) As far as stocking, could I do, like, one Oscar, a firemouth, a gold or green severum, a pleco and a bala shark? Would that be too much, or would I be okay? Keep the advice and suggestions coming!! I am so excited about getting this new tank set up, but I wanna make sure to do it right! :)

iamntbatman 07-30-2008 11:55 PM

I would skip the bala. They get about as long as the oscar but they're fast swimmers so they'd appreciate an even bigger tank. Not to mention they prefer to be in schools, which 90 gallons would not allow for. The other fish might work. Keep in mind that you might still have aggression problems to be on the lookout for. The pleco and the oscar especially will be huge waste producers so I'd recommend way over-filtering that tank and providing at least 25% weekly water changes.

justplainjenn 07-31-2008 12:16 AM

well, crud! thanks! but now i am reconsidering the oscar. they sound like a pain! lol. i guess i will do some more research and see what else i can find! :) what would you stock it with?

girlofgod 07-31-2008 11:57 AM

that depends on what your preferences are ...there are a vast amount of choices within the cichlid world...=) I myself keep angels. i love them. yellow labs are great too. just do your research on whatever fish you decide to go with and make sure that they are all compatible. good luck!

redpaulhus 07-31-2008 03:19 PM

If you're looking for decent sized fish, colorful, active, and smart - I'd go with Lake Malawi cichlids, specifically the various "mbuna".

They're hardy and pretty forgiving - a great introduction to cichlid keeping.

Personally, I'd put a thin layer of coral sand or crushed coral on the bottom of the tank, then decorate it with lots of rockwork.
Adjust the pH and hardness - you want hard water with a pH of about 8.0 - 8.4 ( I use the Seachem Malawi buffer).

I'd stock the tank with about 4-6 varieties, with about 6-10 fish of each type.
There are many that are easy to find and make great choices:
Red "zebras"
Rusty cichlids (springerae's)
Yellow "Labs"
(just to name a few).

If you keep to fishes that aren't to closely related, and ones that don't overlap in colors (not too many blue varieties, etc), and make sure you have a decent sized group of each type, you can minimize cross-breeding and agression issues (especially if you have lots of rockwork, caves, etc).
And you'll probably see baby cichlids sneaking around the rockwork in a few months.

Feed a good quality veggie-biased menu of foods (I like many of the "veggie pellets" like Omega One and Ocean Nutrition brands) with the occasional color enhancing food, and you'll have a spectacular tank. And many people who see it for the first time will ask "Is that saltwater? " !!

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