South American Cichlids • New Member, Oscar Questions

Discussion regarding only South American Cichlid species. (Oscars, Geophagines, Discus, Apistogramma, Green Terrors, Angels, Severums, Pikes, etc.)

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New Member, Oscar Questions

Postby LovesRuben » Tue Apr 18, 2017 2:32 am

Hi
I am a new member here. I am not new to having freshwater fish, but I am fairly new to keeping Oscars. I have 2 and I am completely smitten with them...Never thought I would love large American cichlids but I am getting a little bit obsessed with them now.
I have had my Oscars for a little bit over a year. Got them as babies at the same time. They were together , by themselves in a larger tank at first, but one was injuring the other and dividers were not staying in place. I separated them each into their own smaller tanks.
They are both the only fish in those tanks.
One is in 95 gallon with a Rena Filstar XP3 and SunSun 304B.
The other is in a 75 gallon with Cascade 1000 and Jebo 835.
I change about 70% of the water on each tank each week.
One concern is the one in 75 gallon. I know this is the minimum tank size but I was a little pressed for space after having to separate them. I dont like it that her tank is smaller than the other , but was hurting for room where they are kept (guest room). She is right around 8.5 - 9 " which I thought seemed on the small side for a 1yr+ Oscar. Should I be looking for a larger tank and try to make room?
Another concern is whether or not I have enough filtration.
And I have the tanks bare bottom with some fake plants and decor to hide behind. It is easier to clean this way. But she seemed to want things to do so I put aquarium rocks on a plate in her tank. She likes to move the rocks all over the tank. Should I just cover the bottom? Or does a plate-full seem like enough to keep her busy?
The other Oscar is also right around 8.5-9", so I was concerned about the same things. Enough filtration and water changes? Is that size tank ok for his permanent home?
And they seem to not like the curtains open and bright light, so I keep that room fairly dim. No lights on their tanks. They hide. Is this affecting their growth? (Room is not completely dark or anything... it has windows..just very subdued light)
Thank you!
LovesRuben
 
Joined: Tue Apr 18, 2017 1:56 am
Location: CA

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Re: New Member, Oscar Questions

Postby Iggy Newcastle » Tue Apr 18, 2017 5:57 am

Welcome to C-F!

What are the dimesions on the 95 and what is the total gallons per hour rating on the filtration.
What is the total GPH on the 75?

Sounds like you're doing big water changes, which is great. Do you have a test kit for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate? How often do you crack those filters open for a cleaning?

Since both tanks are in a guest room, I'd imagine it doesn't get a lot of foot traffic in the home. Combined with a dimly lit room and no aquarium lighting, this can condition a fish to hide when someone walks in the room or flips a light switch. You could buy a cheap light(something that isn't too bright) for each tank and run them on a timer so it's on for several hours a day, preferably when you are usually home. That could be hit or miss.

If you were willing to upgrade to something like a 125(72x18) then you could add dither fish like some of the smaller species of Silver Dollars. Their constant activity would make the Oscar feel at ease and be more actively swimming around. I realize this is a very expensive option, especially 2 setups.
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Re: New Member, Oscar Questions

Postby LovesRuben » Tue Apr 18, 2017 11:20 am

Thank you for the reply!
The 95G is 5' X 18" X 21". The filters combined are supposed to be a little over 700 GPH (but I'm sure in reality not so much).
I do have a test kit! So far ammonia and Nitrite has been 0. Nitrates get a little high (over 40) so I upped the amount that I vacuum off the bottom and feed a bit less.
75G is 4' X 18" X 21" and filters combined supposed to be about 520 GPH.
You are absolutely right about them being in a dimly lit guest room! I should have realized that. I thought the dim lighting was making them feel better but it has most likely caused them to be more reclusive.
This AM I turned on a small lamp in that room and opened the curtains a bit. They hide with the curtains open but they will likely get worse unless I start opening a bit
They are only in the guest room because my husband is not too crazy about all of the tanks. When they were in one tank he was sort of ok with it, but since they are in 2 now he was getting cranky. So guest room seemed to work for him.
I have been wanting silver dollars forever. The idea was to have the Oscars in the bigger tank (200 gallon) and add silver dollars. But it was not long before I realized I would need to separate them. And having the divider in the tank sort of killed the idea of having SDs. I did not want to cut their swim space in half.
When the divider kept falling apart I realized I needed separate tanks.
I would love to up the tank size and add some dithers. Would have to persuade the husband, which could be a challenge.
However if the tank sizes are unhealthy for them I would likely upgrade anyway...but I do sort of like to have him be in agreement.
As for how often I open the filters to clean, not enough! Maybe every 3 months. I should add that to my list of 'must improve'
Outside of them being shy I was mostly concerned about their size. Not sure if there is anything else to look for to know if they are healthy (except the obvious..no torn fins, cloudy eyes, missing scales etc)
Thank you!
LovesRuben
 
Joined: Tue Apr 18, 2017 1:56 am
Location: CA

Re: New Member, Oscar Questions

Postby Iggy Newcastle » Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:09 pm

Check out the 2 articles at the top of the South American forum. Both dedicated to Oscars.

Try keeping your nitrates down. Do enough water changes to get it down to 10 or so ppm. Monitor daily and see how fast it raises. If you can schedule your maint to prevent nitrate from raising above 20, you're doing great. You could alternate cleaning filters for each tank every 1 to 2 months. This will help with nitrate.
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Re: New Member, Oscar Questions

Postby LovesRuben » Wed Apr 19, 2017 12:55 am

Thanks! I will...I know better than to let the Nitrates get so high...as a baby Oscar at the fish store my girl had the worst HITH I have ever seen ...The pitting has filled in for the most part but she is permanently scarred and deformed. I was advised that she may always be more susceptible to problems associated with high nitrates. I did not realize that cleaning the filter more frequently would help, but it makes total sense...
Thanks!
LovesRuben
 
Joined: Tue Apr 18, 2017 1:56 am
Location: CA


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