South American Cichlids • Oscars 101

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

Moderators: notho2000, Iggy Newcastle

Oscars 101

Postby TheFishGuy » Mon Aug 21, 2006 7:54 pm

Welcome to oscars 101. In todays class we're going to discuss the basic care needs for oscars. http://www.cichlid-forum.com/profiles/s ... php?id=531

TANK SIZE (YES!! SIZE DOES MATTER.)
1.) If you've always wanted an oscar, and why wouldn't you, you're first going to need a large tank. Buy the tank, then the fish I always say. The most common size tank suggested for an oscar is a 75 Gallon (48"x18"x18"). 75's are ideal, as they really DON'T take up much more room than a 55
- A bare (no decor) 55 would work as a minimum, but why not get what's ideal for the fish?

GROWTH RATE
2.)I know what you're thinking... Geeze, this fish is 2" long, why do I need such a big honkin' tank. Well, the reason is with proper care and feeding a healthy oscar will grow at least an inch a month, maybe even faster! So yes, you're going to need that tank because a 10" fish is only 8 months away! Oscars will slow down a bit in growth after they mature. Which incidently takes place around the 8-10 inch mark. My theory on why they slow down growing after maturing is because they're so concerned about taking care of their hormones and sewing their wild oats..... That well, they forget that eating was once their biggest priority :lol: Hey, it's just a theory...

FEEDING
3.) Please do NOT feed your oscar live prey unless you breed your own feeders or know the breeder. Goldfish are a great way to give your oscar a parasite.... Feed your oscar a good brand of large cichlid food. Don't be concerned with the fact that they chew up and spit out their food. I think it's fun for them, they do eat some of it so don't be concerned. For a recomendation on what to feed your little pet, either start a thread or check out our product review section. http://www.cichlid-forum.com/reviews/ca ... ?CatID=402
Once you've chosen the food you're going to feed your oscar it's important to not over feed the little guy. Cichlids can eat and eat and eat. That doesn't mean feed them every time you walk past the tank. I feed my young oscars twice a day as much as they can eat in about 30 seconds to a minute. After they mature I'll only feed them once a day, usually in the morning. It doesn't matter though, morning or evening, it's just what I do.... After five minutes if there's any left over food it can be removed with a small net. Once you figure out how much your little guy can eat then it'll be easy to decide how much food to put in. Just do your best to not leave un-eaten food in the tank as it will rot and decay causing less than desirable water conditions. Which leads me to step 4 :)

FILTRATION/WATER CHANGES
4.) Here's the best advice I can give on filtration for oscars. If the package says it's good enough to filter a 75, and you have a 75? Then get TWO of those filters. That's right, double your filtration efforts with oscars, and any other cichlid for that matter. I make it common practice. And believe me: you simply can't over filter when it comes to the pigs of the water. The one thing you definitely NEED to do is have a strict water change schedule. For one oscar in a 75 gallon, 30% weekly is perfect. (30% is a good start: moving an even higher percentage of water during cleaning, will NOT hurt.) During that 30% water change you should slowly vacuum the substrate starting at one end of the tank working your way from front to back, slowly moving towards the other end. In a 75 you should get about half of the tank vacuumed while removing at least 30% of the water. A week later start the vacuuming on the other side. And so on and so on. Get it? Good, now go do it :D If you already have a 55 and are planning on an oscar water changes will need to be more often. Say 30% every 4 days. Remember, it's better to do more smaller water changes than one big one. Keeping the water clean and fresh is a must for oscars, remember these fish at one time lived in rivers and streams. More than likely the oscar you have has been breed in captivity for generations. Which leads me to another subject.

WATER CONDITIONS
5.) Clean, that about sums it up. Oscars are very adaptive and can live in a wide range of ph and hardness. Just be sure your tank is properly cycled for fish and keep that water clean and at about 80 degrees.

DISEASES
6.) Hole In The Head (HITH) is the most common disease that affects oscars. To treat it simply recreate in your tank what the oscar would do in the wild. In the wild an oscar (or any fish for that matter) will move to shallow water when feeling ill. They don't swim to the nearest pharmacy and get an over the counter drug to cure their ailment. The reason they move to the shallows is because the water is warmer, highly oxygenated and replenished with new water at a faster rate. Soooooo...... Do the same in your tank. Turn the temps up to about 83-85, add a bubble wall or two and change 10% to 15% of the water daily until you see improvements in the fish. The only difference between us doing it and mother nature doing it is there isn't some big ol' predator waiting to snatch the fish from the water..... Besides, if you've followed all 5 previous steps in oscar 101, you won't have to experience your beloved oscar getting a disease.... hopefully!!

SEXING and BREEDING
7.) If you want to breed oscars here's what you need to do. Get yourself a 125. Buy six bouncing baby oscars of your choice. Then proudly watch them grow and pair off. After you have a pair, (trust me you WILL know) then remove the other four fish by either returning them to the store for store credit or bringing them to my house to put them in my 800. Keep the temps around 83 and do 30% water changes every four days. Feed them well and give them a flat rock to lay their eggs on. After that, watch as instinct takes over. Don't forget they're new to this and may need a few practice rounds. (It happens to everybody, give em a break.) Remember to keep the water clean! Now as far as sexing goes.... There's lots of theories.... But nothing beats simply watching them spawn to figure out who's the boy and who's the girl! Some say males have more "eye" spots and longer fins. Others say males get bigger and are more aggressive.... It's all theory, nothing is concrete. Well except for venting.... For that you'll have to get a photo of the vent out of the water and post a picture. Yet another good reason to start a thread!

Good luck with your oscar(s), I hope you have your wet pet - or even a pair - for a long (up to 15 years) time!!

For more in depth reading and some more wonderful things to learn about oscars, read this article! http://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/oscar_cichlid.php

Have a nice day!

TFG

This thread is taken strictly from my personal experience with many many oscars over a 20 year span. You may not agree with it, that's fine, just wanted to write something in small print that people would have to strain to read to see if there was anything good in it or not. So, to re-cap, if you disagree with what I've written then call your representative and tell him to do something about it. This thread was started to help the first time oscar owner and to maybe help the veteran oscar owner. the rest of this small print will be written by my 18 month old son. sgh;fkdfdfujrgfoidsfhffjdsg;adsfjkljarefgoigfj frdklaujhf fewurewhfa auiefr sdfh aregerggh argthu setrguh weroiuyeyegsjh esrtouh saefrihj srgtserkh asertuiehr rgeruitkyh dergterhj srgfteoihf etrgeoihu swefrwoiud aqweuywehg rgtrij weroih werfwiyh dsfgkjeghr efrjgh fkjgh dsafgjkh sfj sdfgjk saefgjkegfrse;ghj sefgj skfjghf gksgh ;fehewr gituewy t54iuhg sdfklturelieurtywea ergh erougiyrehgt welye rgweruihwetrg irefjwh4r437yf elutrh eroiuhwerpg87ye rgwiutregyegwoui54hgregiuwtregjqpeworq43ftitugh wpeoitruhj retijk!!!!!! And he wonders why I tell him to use his words?



Here's some additional info on keeping multiple oscars:

Here's my take on the whole two oscars and tank size issues.... It's been my experience that no matter the size of the tank, even an 800, males will simply not get along. The problem comes when you have a tank smaller than 800 gallons one male WILL kill the other. Especially if a female is present. I currently have six oscars in an 800, three are mature, three are not and have not revealed their sex yet. Of the three that are mature only one is female. The two males still hate each other but there's room to run in a 14' tank, not a 240, or a 75. To get two males to get along is not an easy task but it's been done.

In short here's the deal:

F + F = OK
F + M = OK (sometimes)
M + M = No way

That's usually why only one oscar is recomended for a 75, not because there's not room for two oscars but because there's aggression issues.

Two females will work in a 75 with a 90% success rate. I say 90% because there's still a 10% chance they won't get along. I'd still do it though.

I'd give a pair about a 75% success rate in a 75 simply because a female will test a males strength before spawning with him, if he's too strong and she's got no place to run then she's dead. If he's not strong enough then she might kill him if he's got no place to run..

And two males I'd give about a 10% shot... best not to try it.

Now here lies the problem, there's no proven method of sexing juvinile oscars.... So you're stuck with the only safe option of getting one Using dithers to spread aggression around doesn't work with oscars.... (Dithers are target expendable fish that are used so your main fish don't kill each other. They spend their time going after the dithers instead of each other) Oscars will simply eat the dithers, or ignore them

So, now that that's out in the open let's deal with the problem we have at hand. Young lad has two oscars already and is more than likely attatched to both so returning one probably isn't an option. If I were in your situation I'd try to get the largest tank available to me. I'm not going to put a size limit on it as I've proved that the tank needs to be GIANT in order to get them to survive with each other with a 100% success rate. BUT, the bigger you go the better so you can have the option of a tank divider in the future. You've got about a 50/50 chance the fish will get along, maybe less, so you need to be prepared. Also keep in mind that young oscars are fragile little things and require a tank temp of about 80* to keep them healthy. Keeping the tank at that temperature will increase their metabolism which means they'll want to eat more, which means they'll grow faster, which means they will create more waste, which means you'll need to do frequent water changes if you plan to keep these fish for their 15 year life expectancy. During those water changes you'll need to vacuum the gravel in order to suck up the poo poo and uneaten food. Also you never want to change all of the water in the tank. 50% of the water is usually the max that I change. In your 20L you're going to want to do 30% changes about every four days in order to help keep those little guys in tip top shape.

These are my opinions that are backed up by a couple of decades of having kept and bred these things. Do with the info what you will, I'll do my best to help. And thanks guys for being understanding!!

-peace!

TFG
Last edited by TheFishGuy on Wed Feb 14, 2007 9:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar
TheFishGuy
 
Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2005 9:27 pm
Location: Orwell, Ohio

Share On:

Share on Facebook Facebook Share on Twitter Twitter

Return to South American Cichlids

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests