3.10.2011

Oscar the Tiger Oscar Cichlid

I recently helped a very good friend of mine start up a tank of his own since he had recently aquired a 10-gallon tank and he knew I was into fish so I could be of assistance. I was quick to learn he had a love for Oscar's, a fish I have yet to own myself...but obviously this is a fish that is said to require much more living space than he currently has in this tank. So...I couldn't sway him toward the smaller line of hearty tetras, guppies, neons, etc and...we decided to push our luck and try our hands at a Oscar regardless.
A few things I have learned and observed about Oscar's...

#1 They apparently grow fast, so his Oscar that is pushing 3 inches may soon get too big for his tank as they can grow over a foot in length.
#2 Their poop looks similar to many turtles I've seen (yes, a bit large) so a good filtration system would really help (however, his 10-20 bio filter probably isn't up for the job).
#3 They are said to be interior decorators...as their size does not stop them from up-rooting plants and moving heavy decor that you strategically placed in your tank.
#4 It's also said Oscar's will jump out of their tank, as for the reasons why...perhaps to see if the water is cleaner on the other side??? or lack their of, heh.
#5 They love to eat and will eat a variety of food however, vitamins B and C are very essential to their health.
#6 They will lay at 45 degree angles, this is mainly to catch prey by acting as if they are a bit dead.
#7 They tend to be more active at night (or perhaps just like dark places in general?).
#8 They can be aggresive and should be placed in a tank with similar sized fish, they will eat small fish.
#9 I have read it could take them a good week or so before they become more active in a new environment.

So, I had to think up some ways for my friends Oscar to survive in such a small environment...of course I'm always up for a little challenge when I'm limited in resources. So...here's the plan for now...

Our Tank Process

We started by cleaning out the old tank and filtration box (dish soap and a scotch brite goes a long way). Dumped out the old clown colored gravel, bought 2 bags of natural looking gravel (rinsed and placed into the clean tank). Had no clue what filter cartridge to buy because I couldn't tell the actual brand of the filter box, however I got lucky and found that the Whisper cartridges fit perfectly as a replacement for the old one we threw out. Also got him to buy some Seachem Prime water conditioner however, Petco did not have the right size of fish net available so...perhaps we need a trip to PetSmart later. We added roughly 8 gallons of luke warm water to the tank, a small amount of Seachem Prime and let the tank run for several hours (this isn't recommended by most aquarist but...the fish has survived thus far) with the Oscar in the bag on top the tank water. We also bought some pellet type cichlid food (recommended by the Petco employee who gave her 2 cents) which Oscar does enjoy eatting.

5 days later, my friend added a few items to the tank...Oscar's laying on the bottom right.
More to do later

Now that we've realized Oscar the Oscar likes to play dead and be inactive I figure we need to get some heavy peices of driftwood (which ugh...takes forever to soak out the tannins from my past experience). The driftwood will help with nitrite levels and such which will probably be a must for a fish like this in such a small environment. I also think this will help Oscar become more active as he'll have some places to hide and feel more secure rather than just a tank with an inch or so of gravel in it. I will also have to show my friend how to do bi-weekly water changes because a messy fish like this is going to need this done to stay healthy (around 2-3 gallons of water changed every other week) and also cleaning/replacing the filter cartridge. A gravel vacuum will also be of use because I'm sure this filter box will not get out everything from the tank so we'll probably need a 5 gallon bucket as well to help move things along. I read that Oscars don't like much water agitation...however I'm hoping that won't be the case because I feel the more water pressure falling from the filter box may be able to keep particles moving and being filtered through (however, that is just my logic whether it's accurate or not). All else fails...we'll go buy some water test strips and try something else.

2 comments:

Lydz xX said...

nice , enjoy the fishes when its all done :)

http://themashedup.blogspot.com/
Lydz xX

MISO-HAPPY said...

Thanks, luckily Oscar has became more active on his 10th day in the tank setup.