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HELP! URGENTLY Tiger Oscar in peril!


Anasfire
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OK, so as many of you may already know I have a tiger oscar named Logan and I'm moving soon! He's been living in a 4ft filtered and usually heated tank. I started to slowly empty it a few days ago in preparation for the move. I've been taking about 15L at a time so not to stress him too majorly coz he's the biggest sook when it comes to water changes. As of last night the water level was too low to continue having the filter running so it's been off for about 24 hours. He hasn't looked the same since I've had the filter off. Just moping around the bottom of the tank, not eating as much as usual (couldn't even tempt him with bloodworms) and his colour has been faded and blotchy. So tonight I decided that the 4 ft needed to be emptied completely and maybe it was the water quality that was getting to him. I admit I've needed to do a major WC and tank clean in it for a few weeks but I've been putting it off waiting for the move to do it all then and just doing smaller more manageable WC's in the meantime. I set up a 2ft (40L) tank for Logan to reside in until we move and can set up the big tanks again. It has a heater in it (which I haven't had in his 4ft for a while now) and I've taken his old filter and put it in there. I gave the filter a clean out too coz it was pretty gross but squeezed the sponge out in the new tank a few times and made sure lots of that brown gunk was in there before doing so. I also added about 5-10L of the old tank water so it wasn't all 'too new' and he'd go into shock. My only major concern now is that the filter seems really strong in the 2ft and he's getting blown around by the current a lot (and it's even too big to be completely submerged, about a cm or so sticks out of the water at the top) when all he seems to want to do is just lay on the gravel but If I don't leave it on it can't 'season' properly and equalise the water bioload or whatever (so bad with all this technical water stuff). Have I done the right thing in regards to his new water? I knew it would be a major shock to him to just be dumped in completely clean treated water with a completely cleaned out filter and have done the best I could think of at the time. Anyone else got any suggestions? At this point I could use all the help I can get. Please keep in mind that going out and buying a bunch of stuff is not an option at the moment, can't afford to with moving expenses what they are.

Thanks in advance

Edited by Fighters4U
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Do you have any other filter available to you? If not, big rock or pot in the middle of the tank to reduce the whirlpool effect and point the outflow towards glass to stop it whizzing around the tank.

Adding the old gunk from the filter that had been turned off might not have been the best idea as about 20 mins of no water flow sees the start of bad bacteria. If it was a canister and you had it sealed and full for a day and then de-gunked it in the tank, that might have added to the seediness of your boy. If it is a HOB type or internal that you've had dry then you should be a bit better off, but in general I'd avoid using filter stuff from anything that has been off longer than 1/2 hour, especially if it is overdue for cleaning. If you need to do it again (when you move the tank/filter), swoosh the sponge in tank water as soon as you turn it off so it is gunk-free and just float it in a bucket of old tank water (not the swooshing stuff, new stuff) til you need it. It won't be as good as running it in the tank but it should keep the good bacterial colonies kicking along until you need them.

My bet is that he's a bit shocky as well as not liking the current. There is a good chance there was a fast ammonia build up in a small volume of unfiltered water in the old tank. In general, it sounds like he's gradually gotten used to the unchanged water in the old tank and that water differs greatly from what is in the tap. Every time you do a water change there is a significant difference that takes him time to get used to, which is probably part of the reason he doesn't like water changes.

If you have some, I'd add some Stability or Nitrovec or something like that. Waste build-up in this tank may not be the cause but the last thing you need is an oscar that is refusing food in a cycling tank, and I think you are likely showing ammonia and nitrite readings as is. Other than that, all I can really suggest is to reduce stress, even out that heater, add a baffle to reduce the filter current and reduce environmental changes as much as possible to try and give his body a chance to detox and catch up.

Is he eating again yet?

Do you have any test kits?

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If you turn a filter off within around 20 mins the good bacteria start to die off, when they die they can release things that are toxic as well as allow bad bacterias to grow etc... this is why that if there's a power outtage for longer than that 20 minutes you need to immediately remove the filter and thoroughly clean it.

So by using stuff from the old tank it doesn't help. I'd remove and thoroughly clean the filter again with hot water etc (let it dry in the sun).... as well as do a 100% water change to eliminate anything bad that you've introduced from the old tank. place the filter back in and then you'll have to cycle again. (do 10-20% water changes every week til this happens to keep it clean and reduce the ammount of toxic ammonia etc.)

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Ok, I've removed his giant honking filter (which said on the box it was for 40-60L tanks but it's WAY too fracking strong) and put one from the 3ft in there that's a lot softer and has been running for at least the past few weeks and added a big lava rock for him to hide behind.

He's gotten a little bit of his colour back now but it's still blotchy and he still isn't eating :P even when bloodworms were dropping on his head he was ignoring them completely. I used to have a pH testing kit but I've lost it somewhere (it'll probably turn up once I move) but no others. I want to get some cool things like u have stace..the little wheel things and the middle changes colour depending on the levels but I've never seen them here. I'll keep you all updated on how he goes. I really love him heaps and don't want him to die! I think we're pretty far away from that but as we all know fish have a tendency to just cark it when you least expect and for no apparent reason except stress. Thank god humans aren't like that or I'd be dead a month now!

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Ok. Logan is getting worse. He's now turned into an anorexic emo. See below.

100_2108.jpg

He's injuring himself on the lava rock, so I removed it and still refusing to eat. I put some bloodworm in there and he literally turned a more sickly shade of green just seeing the worms:(

As u see him in this photo is about all he does these days.

100_2109.jpg

I'm so worried he's going to die on me. I don't think his injuries are that bad, just a scratch that's removed some scales. He's not bleeding. I added some sea salt to help them heal nonetheless. I might do a gentle 30% WC...his temp is up to almost 30 so he's gotta be loving that in this cold weather. Maybe he just needs a little fresher water coz I haven't changed it since I added that bad brown gunk :P

Wish me luck!

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I thought you said he hated water changes. I don't know about doing 30%. Seems a lot for a fish that's already stressed. I'd be trying to get some Melafix, Stress Coat and a good filter bacteria product like Seachem Stability. And turn the lights off or shade his tank. You're removing all the uneaten food, right? Also 30 deg seems high. Is that the normal temperature you keep him at?

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When he had a heater in his tank it was always around the 30 mark yeah. I didn't do the WC, put it down laziness and the fact that I'm frantically trying to organise 3 years worth of collected junk to move!, and he seems a little better today. Colour is darker. Haven't tried feeding him yet today but it seems whenever I come near the tank his colour drains. Maybe it's more he's afraid of me coz I moved him, traumatically in a net that was too small and even tried catching him with my hands, and now he's terrified of me. I've been removing what uneaten food I can find. mostly the filter seems to be sucking it up. I'll keep you all updated

Thanks for the replies

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I think he's sulking, and that he's not going to stop sulking until he gets his big arse 4 foot tank back. Oscars are notorious for this kind of behaviour. They get spooked very easily - more than likely something has spooked him, he's not used to having less space and he's pranged himself on the lava rock after darting around in a panic.

Having said all this, if the filter was turned off for 24 hours, then the BB may have died back and now the tank may be going through a complete cycle. If it is, and he's now in a tank half the size, he might be suffering with some ammonia poisoning.

In my experience... *waves white flag*.... now don't shoot me people.... oscars are extremely hardy and I do about 80% water changes on my tank regularly with no apparent adverse effect on Buzz. Now Buzz isn't one to sulk, he was swimming within 10 minutes of me bringing him home as a baby (compared to my previous one before him which sulked and didn't eat for an entire week), and he never sulks after water changes, but MOST oscars do sulk at the slightest little thing including you forgetting to feed them...

Is he gasping? You need to watch him from a place where he can't see you. You'll find a lot of the time they are only sulking while your around, and you can bust them swimming about happily when they think you aren't there, the little drama queens.

***EDIT - forgot to add, oscars can go for about 3 weeks without eating. Just don't feed him for a few days and he'll bounce back... Oh - yes they hate nets, I found the easiest way to catch them without them freaking out too much, and without damaging scales, was to use a really big clear plastic bag (like a giant fish bag), or just scoop them up in a bucket.

Edited by Beano
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He is gasping actually. Noticed that earlier. I'm gonna do a water change. After what you just said and the gasping I think he really needs it. He's finally eaten though. Brett suggested a live swimming type food...so I grabbed some kink backed guppies and plopped them in the tank. I didn't mind sacrificing them for Logan, didn't want them breeding the deformity into fry anyways so kills 2 birds with one stone. He gobbled them both up and looked a little happy on the hunt but is back to sulking now. At least I know he's got 2 scrummy protein rich female guppies in him (both pregnant hehe) and don't have to worry about his lack of interest in pellets and bloodworm. Hopefully he'll be back in his 4ft by the end of the week. I've put his old filter (honking big one) into the 3ft tank where the tiger barbs are after cleaning it so it'll have a small chance to season in there before I put it back in his 4ft. I'll make sure I remember to transport all filter media in a bag, still moist.

Thanks for the reply Beano!

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YAY he's finally eating!! His colour still isn't great but I just went and said hello to him and he actually swam up to the surface to greet me like he usually does to I grabbed his pellets and he ate a few then thought *must give him something more* and got a block of frozen blood worm and threw it in the there. A little concerned that he swallowed the whole block while it was still frozen, just hope he doesn't get sick or sore from it but at least his appetite has returned. I think he was more just moping coz he missed his tank and didn't like the smaller one but now he's used to it. Which is gonna be worse when I have to move him during the week back to his 4ft. Damn drama queen he is! Having a oscar is a bit like having a puppy that lives in water :) they have moods and personalities. I just can't pat him :) Maybe that's something we can work on once he's settled back into his 4ft at the new house.. He will eat from my fingers so patting him shouldn't be too much harder to teach. Wish me luck!

Crap...just realised I'm gonna need bigger bags to transport fish in! *heads off to the LFS*

Edited by Fighters4U
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ARRGGG Logan is so frustrating! He's back to moping and not eating again! I'm trying to tell myself at least he hate those 2 guppy's and that blood worm so he's not going to starve but I've no idea why he's back to moping. Maybe it's because of the position of the tank. He's used to the 4 ft being in the loungeroom and no-one comes near unless it's food time. Now he's on the kitchen table where my son eats and does homework and I sometimes put groceries. I know I startled him earlier when I put a bag down and he face planted the end of the tank, he's probably not all too happy about that. Can you say "UNCO"

I'll have to see how he goes when we move him back into the 4ft. He'll probably be back to his normal self within a day...silly fish.

Oh speaking of which, I'm currently cleaning the river stones from his 4ft..just rinsing them in hot water and giving them a swirl to get any muck off them. I added a tiny bit of dish washing liquid to the first few batches but rinsed them after draining the sink so it should all be ok to just put straight back into his tank right?...there are no suds coming off them or anything...I rinsed them thoroughly.

Edited by Fighters4U
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Yeah...kind do :P it's where I put my handbag etc when I come in. But this will be my last night in this place so it's not so much a problem any more. As he'll hopefully be back in his 4ft tomorrow night or Friday at the very latest. I'll let you all know how he goes when he's at the new place

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not sure about dishwashing liquid but you can't clean gravel with something like bleach.. this is because the gravel can absorb the harmful chemicals and then retain them for some time before leeching them back into the new water they are immersed in... I guess it would depend on what's in the dishwashing liquid... if you rinsed them very well you're probably good to go, but just to be sure i'd be sitting it in the sun for a few days and then testing some out on a "sacrificial experiment fishy" that you don't care if it dies or not :P

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:P I bleached one of the barracks, gravel and all, and just rinsed it well and left to dry. Got 2 fishies in there now at the new place and they are in NO WAY sacrificial at all!!!! EEEEK must move them outta there first thing tomorrow and chuck the gravel. They can do the "bare-bottom tank' look for a while till I get more. Although I'm sure if I look through all the boxes and bags there I'll find some gravel somewhere. Just have to go digging through them!

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I've bleached gravel and rocks and all manner of porous stuff before without a hitch, the key is just rinse well and dry even better. I wouldn't be too hasty with the tossing. Soaps and detergents are a bit more tricky as they have quite a long list of chemicals that are potentially harmful and surfactants which make them tricky to remove completely.

Are they the polished river stones or big hunks of rock?

Be careful when you move Logan. I think sulking is a distinct possibility, and the prang on the rock is dead on the money, but I'm a bit worried that he has had a very big environmental change in a very short space of time on top of everything else, so his body is likely to be suffering a bit of physical stress too. Add to that a car trip and different water from new pipes and possibly a different water source, plus the fact that the vibrations, sounds and lighting in the new place will all be different and he could end up in a bad way. Do your best to keep things similar for him and keep the stress level as low as possible, and have a biostarter for his tank when you move him, enough for at least the first 3 days to get that filter ticking over, and keep some zeolite or ammochips to hand in case of emergency. In all likelihood the tank will need to cycle again and you are going to need to give it an almighty shove forward :P

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They're polished river stones :P. I've got his filter in the 3.4 ft with tiger barbs and it's been running constantly since I moved him. I'll be reserving as much of his current water as I can transport without thoroughly soaking the car. Should I transport the filter in tank water or just take the sponges out and put them in a plastic bag to keep them moist? I've got 4 running tanks to transport so you'd think I'd have asked this question somewhere before now but NO didn't think of that did I!

I've 2 coolers here that a friend lent me to transport cold and frozen food in whilst the fridge is being moved and one is big enough to transport the food in alone so I was thinking of placing Logan in the other cooler 1/2 filled with tank water and all the filters. This way he hasn't got the added stress of being in a bag/container (was gonna put him in a 5.1L round container to transport him) so it'll be dark, safe and he can kind of swim around a little. It's only a 10 minute drive up the street, 20 in bad traffic but it's more the fact that he'll be in whatever I transport him in until I can get the 4ft tank set up. I've only got a friend helping me from around 10am-12:30pm so in this time we need to get all the tanks over but the stands won't arrive until around 6pm so worst case scenario he'll be in a cooler/container for 5-6 hrs max. (I'll transport him at the last possible moment). I'll probably get a chance to check this thread tomorrow morning but will be moving the computer after that and there's no internet connection at my new place yet so I hope someone manages to reply before I have to move it!! hahah if not I'll just have to work it out on my own!

Thanks for all the replies guys!

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Ahh, well you have a bit more luck then ;) They are still porous to a degree but much much easier to clean detergents off than something like lava rock. :P

If it is 10 or 20 mins, sponges in water should be fine. Just swoosh them clean before you pack them up to go and get them in circulating water ASAP when you get to house B (run the filter in the bucket if you have to). I wouldn't put them in with Logan for transport, it'll probably stress him out to have weird clunky things touching him in the dark :P

If you do travel him in the esky, face one of the short sides towards the front of the car. The water will move a bit more but he'll be less likely to slam against the sides. Make sure he's off the floor and not in the boot as those areas vibrate way too much. On someone's lap would be good as they can compensate for corners a bit. If you have a big enough bag for him, in a bag in the esky would be my suggestion. Bags have a bit of bounce, eskies are less forgiving and slosh an awful lot.

Good luck!

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Sorry for the quick hijack, but while we're on the subject of oscars breaking heaters - I'm planning an oscar tank and need to buy a heater. Are the stainless steel ones good for "enthusiastic" fish? Do they keep the water temp stable or should I go a Fluval with a guard? Don't know if I want to stretch finances to a Hydor inline...

Kylie

Edited by kb46
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Hey Fighters - Buzz smashed his first heater today! I'm sort of proud of him... but I don't have another heater. Might have to get a heater guard...

Next stop - tank smashing...

lolol

why are you proud of him? because he cost you $30+ or because he is being tough? haha

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