Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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doctorb 08-22-2008 10:32 AM

Oscar's hole in the head
So I searched and only saw one thread about oscars and hole in the head and it was locked so...

I have an oscar in a 75. A few years ago he started getting hole in the head, I did some research, decided I was letting the water quality get out of hand, and upped the changes and it went completely away. I have a 125 waiting for a stand and figured I'd put the oscar in it and get a few more larger fish. Well, a friend has an oscar in a 12 gallon tank (I know, I'm not sure what he was thinking) and he's not taking proper care of the tank. He wants to give me the oscar for them to share the 125. I want to take it, but it's got hole in the head.

So, I know 125 is big enough for 2, it'll be a new set up for both so I don't anticipate territorial issues, and I'd like to give this poor bastard a decent home, but my biggest question is, is hole in the head contagious? Can I fix him with good water quality and good food, or will he infect mine and maybe they'll both die?

jeaninel 08-22-2008 11:16 AM

I believe hole in the head is mainly caused by poor water quality and poor nutrition. I don't think it's contagious. But others who have more experience with Oscars should chime in to confirm this.

iamntbatman 08-22-2008 02:34 PM

Hole-in-the-head is sort of a hodgepodge of all sorts of possibilities. The biggest factor seems to be water quality, although some people think that the poor water quality simply serves to weaken the immune system so that it is prone to the other factors. Many believe that hexamita, a parasite, causes the disease, while others believe that this parasite is just another contributing factor. Malnutrition has also been linked to the disease. Many speculate that for a number of reasons, activated carbon in your filtration system may be a factor.

Although the scars from the disease may remain with the fish for life, the actual symptoms should go away as long as high water quality and a good diet are in place. Removing activated carbon from your filtration (and using it only when needed, such as after a medication regimen to remove the medication from the water) may also be beneficial, but that's still very controversial so you might want to read up on it and decide for yourself. Personally, I don't use activated carbon in any of my tanks because I just don't see that the benefits outweigh the potential risks.

okiemavis 08-22-2008 04:46 PM

Agreed- although a quarantine wouldn't be a poor idea, especially if you've got the 75 still set up.

I know someone with an oscar who begins to display signs of HITH whenever he slacks on water changes, but as long as he keeps up with his weekly maintenance, his guy is perfectly healthy. Likes are, it'll be the same with this new fish.

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