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Couple of Oscar questions

January 29th, 2007, 09:12 PM
I adopted a now 12'' Oscar with 'personality issues' which just means its bored in its 20gallon tanks (oscars keep growing no matter where they are housed).

So.. I bought a 55gal and have plenty of rock and room. I just havent set it all up yet.

My first question is whether sand is ok for south american cichlids since Ive had cichlids that like to spit rocks around and I wasnt sure if the sand would be bad.

Next is ideas for potential buddies for him. He's not small and not especially friendly (will draw blood if you let him catch your finger when youre feeding him). Any ideas?

Oh.. he only gets pellet food. I believe that goldfish feeder fish are harborers of all sorts of nasty diseases and make a huge mess of your tanks.

ok guess thats it for now :)

January 29th, 2007, 09:24 PM
I probably wouldn't add anything if he is overly aggressive. My large oscar lived with a pleco and a few convicts but they had many places to hide if needed. I used gravel and he did like to move it around a lot, not sure about sand.
I love the oscars, quite the personality for a fish. We also only fed pellets. The feeders just made too much of a mess however he did get them every so often as a treat.

January 30th, 2007, 03:55 PM
Hi there,
first of all kudos to you getting the Oscar out of the 20 gallon
tank. Second, while a 55g is still a bit too small (i would recommend
no less than 75g, as Oscars reach 16-17 inches in length and a 55g
is only 12 inches wide where a 75 is 18 inches wide), but the 55 is definitely
a huge step up for this big beast.

Sand will be just fine - keep in mind you will need to shut off your filters
when doing water changes - you cant vaccuum sand but rather have to slowly siphon above it so that crud comes off and the sand doesnt, and that sand can and will get in a filter, so Canister filters must be carefully maintained and will need regular impeller replacement with a sand substrate.
Sand poses no issues to the health of the fish. You must use your finger or a stick, perhaps 2-3 hours before a water change, to move around the sand stirring gently to dislodge crud and aneorobic pockets in the sand. Keep a depth of no more than 1.5 inches in a freshwater tank and do not use an undergravel filter.

Tankmates - well, considering 55 is a bit too small for even a single oscar, youre very limited in tankmates. One, large, robust and tough tankmate would be about all you could. A common pleco would work HOWEVER
these fish reach 18-24 inches in length and really need a much larger tank than 55g - think more around 100 gallons+.
A green phantom pleco reaches around 9 inches, and would be suitable. These fish usually run about 30 dollars for a 4 inch specimen. A Royal pleco, reaches about 10-12 inches, and is suitable, and runs about 50 dollars for a 4 inch specimen. Queen arabesque are about 8 inches, are also suitable, again in the 30-50 dollar range.

If a pleco doesnt suit your fancy, then how about a big Synodontis Catfish? These large african catfishes are peaceful, but armored and tough enough to withstand an oscars playfulness. Synodontis Eupterus, the Featherfin Cat is the most common in the trade, with others like the Cuckoo Syno, and similar are harder to find, but also available commonly. These fish average between 8-12 inches depending on species.

Another type of Catfish that may work is the Striped Pictus Catfish. These fish prefer to be kept singly or in large groups, Id recommend a single. These fish reach about 8 inches, have super long whiskers, and are quite tough.
Dont go for the spotted ones they are much too small and would perish.

Any other suitable cats I can think of are much too large for a 55g tank, as are many of the robust cyprinids and the like I can think of.

For cichlids, you dont really have the space to accomodate another large behemoth such as an oscar, and any others I can think of are too small and may become tortured to death with an Oscar.

If you had a tank 75-100 gallons or larger, you would have more options,
but these are really the only ones I can think of.

January 30th, 2007, 08:36 PM
Thanks for the tips. I didnt think the sand would be a huge problem, besides additional work in cleaning because it can get up in the siphons and filters, but was glad to hear it from others.

Much appreciated on the feedback. I think a pleco would be a good addition, but for now ill leave him in the big tank (will be at least set up this weekend i hope!) and ill have to find somewhere to get a decent sized one.

the beast --> 21837

Dad of Dog's
January 30th, 2007, 11:39 PM
Since you are moving the fish to a new tank I would suggest not getting rid of the good bacteria in your filters, don't replace with new when you move them over. I may also if the tank is not dirty, transfer the water from the tank he is in to the new tank and fill the rest with pretreated water. This way the tank will not be starting a cycle from scratch.

January 31st, 2007, 01:02 AM
Hi there,
again, I cant stress how much I would NOT recommend getting
a common pleco. Any you see "Pleco" "Marble Pleco" "Sailfin Pleco"
"Chocolate Pleco" "Albino Chocolate Pleco", are all either Gibbiceps
or Hypostomus species plecos, all of which reach 18-24 inches or
bigger. In the wild marble sailfins reach 30-32 inches long!
Definitely not a contender for the 55g tank.

Heres pics of the 3 contenders Ive recommended, so you can know
what it is youre looking for.
You wont find any of these plecos in a large size (4 inches
will be about max if youre lucky, unless youre willing to break the
3 figure number), but dont worry, they grow fast enough. (6-8 inches in
one year for any large pleco is common).
Any pleco will need a roomy cave, heavy enough that the oscar cant turn it over. With a nice size, heavy cave, the pleco will be able to escape the oscars attention when needed.

Green Phantom Pleco L200 ~8 inch adult size
Baryancistrus Demantoides

Queen Arabesque Pleco L260 ~8 inch adult size
Hypancistrus sp. 260

Royal Pleco L027 ~10-12 inch adult size
Panaque Nigrolineatus