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Oscars - Who Keeps Them & Info Please


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My 4ft tank underwent a bit of a revamp yesterday.. well more like a demolition really and everything bar the filter, heater etc was ditched, including fish (rehomed to jebo), plants, substrate and terracing. The whole tank is going to be redone to suit its new owner Roy Orbison who will one day hopefully be my big O.

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Right now all the tank has is a backdrop pic, a heater (24C), filter (fluval 404) , and bubblewall (which I put in after a massive direct waterchange where I aged the water in the tank prior to Orbi being introduced to enhance/speed aging.

He's only little right now, but I'd like to set things up so that they are ok for when he grows too. Being a tank for an oscar I was thinking lots of swimming room, so keep the tank simple. Substrate of whitish riversand, a couple of large bunches of vallis at each end (I like the way it drapes over the surface of the water) & some driftwood in the centre. Does this sound ok for an Oscar?

Also feeding.. How much do I feed this guy? He's about 6-7cm long atm & has been eating orca high protein pellets which the lfs had them on. I swear he would just eat the whole bag if I poured it in. I've given him 7-8 pellets (medium sized just slightly larger than bio-gold) this morning. Everywhere I search about food all I come up with is "yes they will eat anything!" Not overly helpful :) Being that they grow so rapidly I'm assuming they need a lot of food, but the last thing I want to do is overfeed him.

Any other hints and tips would be greatly appreciated

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He is gorgeous! I really like the colours on him.

Thanks Jess! He's looking a little washed out in the pic because he was right up the back of the tank and got a little stressed.. he didn't want to say cheese for the camera *pouts* He's normally a lot blacker with really bright almost flouro looking orange.. Even GB went "WOW" when he saw him :)

I love Oscars, never game to get one though :)

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From everything I've read they are supposed to be fairly easy providing you maintain the water quality... why haven't you been game? *worries she's missed some scary literature*

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I've had an oscar for about 6 months now. He's doubled in size since I got him and lives on Tetra Cichlid sticks, about 5 a day. Occasionally he gets a block of bloodworms, he doesn't like brine shrimp. Just a warning, they jump and I just got splashed feeding him cause he jumps for the floating sticks and gets me. Also, mine tends to try to jump for bugs under the light and knocks himself out.

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I used to have a HUGE oscar, he was nearly 30cm long, a beautiful albino owe. I loved him, one of the best personalities i have had in fish. I rescued him from a friend who didnt want him anymore, he had the massive fellow in a standard 9L bucket with airstone so i decieded my 2ft tank was better than that! I eventually felt sorry for him a few months later and took him to the petshop to be sold to someone with a bigger tank. My little brother thougth it would be cool to wriggle his finger at the surface pretending to be a worm, the oscar jumped out the water and swallowed his whole thumb then dropped back in, it was one of the most funny things i have seen :)

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We have an oscar and I must admit that he does get neglected(compared to the bettas and cats). He gets a water change once a month if he is lucky. But he is 4 times the size he was when he came to stay. He chased the albino oscar out of the tank and he has jumped out himself after we had moved his tank. He was stroppy for several days. He gets fed one frozen cube( bloodworm, brine shrimp, Community, Discus) atleast once a day and all our deformed fry. They will also eat meal worms and worms from your garden. I check his PH when I change his water and that is it. I don't put plants in with him as he tears them to pieces. He is my low (very low) maintance pet.

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oscars dig and re-arrange so be prepared for you vallis to end up everywhere but where you want it. Try and keep the nitrates down or you can end up with problems like hexamita. I am ashamed to say that several of mine had hole-in-the head over the years that I kept oscars. They are great pets! 4' is a good size for him on his own. Fluval 404 is a good sized filter too. Mine were always fed quality cichlid pellets and occasionally some beef heart. I never fed anything alive, but I'm sure they would have liked it if I did. I have always believed in slight under-feeding so I'd say just follow your gut instinct and stop while he's still hungry. Can't think of anything else!

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Hey, as mentioned above, they are shockers for re-arranging anything you put in the tank as decoration. I guess really, really heavy rocks might be un-movable for him. He'll shred, uproot and generally destroy pretty much any sort of plant you put in with him. As for diet, I would try to have a varied one. Imagine only eating steak and chips for the rest of your life. One day, probably after about 5 years you would get sick of it (maybe), you could try varying the frozen foods and pellets, maybe even experiment a bit with small pieces of chicken or beef or something. Another note here... oscars can be VERY messy feeders.... just something to keep in mind with when experimenting with foods. One thing I think you should definitely do though is get him a toy. We used to have an oscar in the pet shop (funnily enough his name was.... Oscar) He had a plastic cat toy (a clear plastic ball with a fake fish skeleton inside) He used to play with it, bash it about, and you could pick it up and drop it in and he'd hit it to you, etc, etc. He used to like chin scratches as well =)

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thanks guys - I really appreciate all the replies! I really wanted Vallis because ..well it just looks so fab! I'd even read about someone having some success with it when they planted it while the oscar was little. Everything else I've read though totally agrees with you guys about them shredding and rearranging plants, and quite a few recommended plastic plants since they can at least be replanted easy enough. Maybe that would be the better way to go.. I've seen some very realistic (although pricey) fakers in a lfs recently - even some pretend vallis from memory. What do you guys think about plastic/silk/fake plants in an oscar tank? Or I guess the other option to try could be potting the vallis in something big and heavy? but then again he'd probably only dig them up anyways and I didn't really want to put anything too bulky into the tank since it cuts down on the swimming room. with the PH I've read they are fairly tollerant, and my tap water is usually well within their range so hopefully I should be ok. Would you recommend buffering if it swings? I'm usually of the opinion that its better to just let the fish adjust to the regular PH (if they can) rather than messing with it, but realise that sometimes having to adjust it is unavoidable. With the diet.. are black worms ok? They are the most easily accessable live foods I can get hold of atm aside from feeders which I don't want to use because of the disease factor. I'm not sure he's big enough to take meal worms yet, but they will definitely be on the menu when he is. My plan is to have as varied a diet as possible. What about veggies? Do they eat any greens (besides your plants LOL)? Toys! That reminds me of this fish that used to be resturant (possibly local can't really remember now) that used to have a dummy. I'm not sure what species the fish was now.. possibly a giant gourami, but it used to play with the dummy and suck it etc LOL. I don't want him getting bored, so I will definitely look into that - thanks!!

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My little brother thougth it would be cool to wriggle his finger at the surface pretending to be a worm, the oscar jumped out the water and swallowed his whole thumb then dropped back in, it was one of the most funny things i have seen :(

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Are you serious... is that possible?

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Also, earthworms. Quite a meaty little treat. And yes he does sink to the bottom of the tank after his head bashing 'exercises' but a few minutes later he snaps out of it and goes back swimming.

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That would be so bizarre! I'd be preparing to perform CPR in a panic :)

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We inherited our fully grown Oscar with the second hand tank we bought. Originally we were going to try and re-home him as we had bought the tank as another grow out tank for our fry. But after a couple of weeks he kind of grew on us. :) He's a bit of a weird Oscar in the fact he is not driven by food. In fact he can go days with out eating. At first we thought that he was sick or that something was wrong. But we have had him almost 2 years now and he really hasn't changed much. He never really got a name, we just call him "Oscar". But I'm now thinking of naming him "Bruce" after Finding Nemo as he seems to think "fish are friends not food". He currently has 3 feeder fish sharing his tank with him, the oldest being in there for almost 3 months now. :( Our Oscar has also nocked himself out once. We keep plastic plants in his tank as toys. He loves nothing more then picking up the plants in him mouth and moving them around. One time he grabbed hold of a plant and took off at a 100 miles an hour only to run into a rock head first. He just floated and layed on his side for a while. :( They are great fish to own with big personalities. :( Najina

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Our Oscar has also nocked himself out once. We keep plastic plants in his tank as toys. He loves nothing more then picking up the plants in him mouth and moving them around. One time he grabbed hold of a plant and took off at a 100 miles an hour only to run into a rock head first. He just floated and layed on his side for a while. ;)  They are great fish to own with big personalities. :)

Najina

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ouch! Seeing this guys personality beginning to emerge I can almost visualise it ;)

Given everyone's experiences I'm definitely going to go with fake plants. I think I'm pretty well settled on riversand as a substrate too. I'd really like the driftwood, but it will depend what I am able to get. I'm a bit worried about introducing possible sharpish objects into the tank considering they all seem to bash into things :blush:

I put one of those small fish breeder trap things into the tank (minus all inside fittings & lid), but sunk it rather than leaving it to float & suctioned it to the side of the tank, so he's now going in there a fair bit. I thought it might help make him feel more secure about suddenly being in this huge empty tank all on his own.

He's also begging for food constantly. As soon as anyone walks anywhere near the tank he zooms to the front and does all these little shimmy-type wiggles. :lol:

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OH GOSH Mousie!...is he a Tiger oscar? I just decided on a nother "use" for all those excess fry I have, and am now the proud and nervous owner of 2 of these gorgeous creatures...any and all help/advice appreciated... I am an oscar-virgin owner :D ...LOL

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We have 2, bought them as 'tiny' about 4cm sized last June and now they are both over 7inches. Too big for problem fry now, I have to use feeder fish but they only get them every week, otherwise on cichlid pellets and bloodworms. They pull out their plastic plants a lot and play with them, the only one safe has been siliconed to slate. Love to rip the heater off the wall and bury it too!! One is a red, the other a tiger. Real characters and like to bump the cover and/or grab my fingers when I feed (lightly don't hurt) but fine when I clean the tank, sometimes they come over for a stroke, Cheers Deb

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OH GOSH

Mousie!...is he a Tiger oscar?

I just decided on a nother "use" for all those excess fry I have, and am now the proud and nervous owner of 2 of these gorgeous creatures...any and all help/advice appreciated...

I am an oscar-virgin owner  ;) ...LOL

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He is a tiger... such a gorgeous baby. I originally went in with the idea I was going to get an albino or lutino, but when I saw the tigers it was no competition. The only one that gave him a run for his money was a black long tailed tiger, but he looked a little bit sickly (probably wasn't though) so I left him. What did you get Quokka?

A really good read is Oscarfish.com

from what I have learnt so far, the key to keeping your oscars healthy is a good diet, enough tank space and water quality.

Love to rip the heater off the wall and bury it too!!

I'm thinking a heater guard might be the way to go. I've read about a lot of cases of broken heaters so far! :D

I've currently got Roy on cichlid pellets, algae wafers, axolotl pellets (well the do have a similar diet :D ) and spirulina flakes and a tiny bit of beefheart every now and then. I'm not sure he's quite big enough for crickets, but he is growing rapidly so they won't be far away! He's nearly 9cm now and he was only 6-7 when I bought him!!

His personality is amazing.. he even has GB snapping pictures (he's GB's desktop picture on his computer atm.. but shhhh don't tell him I told you so :( )

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OHHH how cool is that...yes mine are Tigers as well...I got a pair...ones about 5-6cm and the other about 8-9cm... theyre still new to me and are at the shy stage...I had a brief surf through the oscar web-sites...dont know if I saw the one you popped up yet...I shall go have a look-see in a minute...had a quick look...will be spending the next few hours learning and drooling !...excellent,,,ta mousie... :D I was having a dilemma about all these excess fry and the fact they are half-short-tailed and I will have NO-HOPE sexing them ! and NO ROOM or time for 200-plus jars of fishies... the boys all think its hilarious to feed em a fry or 2....and hubby too has taken a liking to these 2 and big apologies to all betta lovers...I really dont hate bettas and I certainly never intended to do this to them ... BUT I have a major surgery coming up and cannot possibly raise over 200 fry and this seemed to be a quick-fix...yes i am a little ashamed I am feeding my babies to my new bigger babies...but..life goes on... they ARE a stunning colour arent they mousie!? these 2 have pellets, feeder fish, and a heap of other stuff to eat...apparently pretty much the same diet as bettas and yeah..terrorize tank decor ...so I got my huge tank cleaned out...another job I needed done desperately before I go out of action for a lil while... I was trying to think of names for the pair... and I cant wait for them to be huge!

Edited by quokka
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