Perfect scavenger for oscar tank?... process of elimination.

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THQ created the topic: Perfect scavenger for oscar tank?... process of elimination.

Hi all, I am getting a 165G/6x2x2 oscar tank and want to find a scavenger that will eat the food that the oscar spits out/discards.

I fully understand the whatever I add to the tank, will add to the bioload and am in no way shirking my water change/cleaning routine. I just wanted a fish that could also work for me whilst they are living in the tank.

My stocking will be
Oscar
Gold severum
Heckelii
Red forest jewel
Electric blue acara
+ scavenger(s)

FWIW Aqadvisor says I am 67% stocked excluding the scavenger.
I have done as much reading as I can and I have narrowed it down to a few, but they all have disadvantages:

Fish in mid-water, doesn't scavenge from botom
- Silver dollar school

Too many fish/too much bioload
- Clown loach school (also has nasty spines)
- Geophagus school

Fish too big/too much bioload (if it's bigger/messier than my oscar, I'm not keen)
- Pleco (we only have normal/sailfin ones in australia, very limited range of the L numbered ones, and all the ones we have are unsuitable)
- black shark
- eel-tailed/tandanus catfish

Fish too aggressive
- banded leporinus (I have heard of them killing though not necessarily eating every other tankmate, even decent sized ones)

Fish too small/can be eaten (all roughly max size 6" with slimline bodies that can fit in oscars mouths)
- flying fox
- SAE
- red tipped shark
- rainbow shark
- pictus catfish
- bristlenose catfish

Invertebrates:
- Don't really like apple/mystery snails and they poo a lot
- Freshwater crayfish can become food.

At moment frontrunner is Synodontis eurypterus (featherfin squeaker). Peaceful, solitary, and 10", but I have also heard that the long delicate fins can be easily shredded to tatters by boisterous cichlids like oscars.

Really not sure what else is an option? My perfect scavenger will be one that thrives in soft acidic water, is solitary, hardy, active during the day so it can scavenge immediately and I can see it), peaceful yet able to defend itself but not with spines that can kill my oscar, is large enough say 10" to avoid being eaten, and that continually sifts the substrate to eat chewed up food. Is there such a perfect tankmate? I don't need it to eat algae, as I won't have my lights on for long (non planted tank).

Any advice is much appreciated. Thanks
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Suprd71 replied the topic: Perfect scavenger for oscar tank?... process of elimination.

Not all of what are referred to as common plecos get huge. If you can count the backfin spines and see 10 or less, these fish will stay in the 10-12in range. More than 10 spines are the ones that can get to 2ft long. I have a smaller one, a bit over 4yrs old, about 10-11ins. Good community plec, gets lots of leftovers. Yes, avoid the Sailfin, I have one of those as well. 14ins, still growing and a VERY messy fish.


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OFL replied the topic: Perfect scavenger for oscar tank?... process of elimination.

The problem with a lot of the pleco species of fish that get quite big is they produce an enormous amount of waste. So basically you're not really saving yourself any work because okay the fish may eat leftover food, but you're still left with all the mess that these fish produce that you have got to physically remove yourself.

I used to have a couple of Syndontis catfish and they were really good at clearing up all the little bits of food that was left over.

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Phantom replied the topic: Perfect scavenger for oscar tank?... process of elimination.

Back when I had my lutino oscar I found that a striped raphael catfish is a great tankmate. They'll eat whatever the oscar misses and will even eat oscar poo if they think there is still good stuff in there lol. They are extremely hardy and armored like a tank with serrated edges; nothing an oscar can really do to hurt one. They are stubborn; when my oscar tried to push it around my raphael pushed back lol. Just make sure the raphael is large enough not to simply be swallowed. They can grow fairly large, 8-10 inches, but are slow growing. Can also live a very long time.
They do need a couple hiding places to feel comfortable. Although they are very cool looking a lot of people have ones that always hide and are never seen. The one I had knew when it was feeding time and would always come out. He was pretty tame and would swim into my hand since I preffered to feed him by hand so the greedy oscar wouldn't steal his food. If you don't like going arm deep into your tank everyday, just feed him when the lights are out and the oscar is in sleep mode.
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jnet replied the topic: Perfect scavenger for oscar tank?... process of elimination.

lol was going to say only one fish will be perfect the Raphael catfish or its knows as striped dora or humbug catfish. These things can handle oscars fine and eat anything and everything they are very greedy but they do hide alot. I have one hes 21 years old :) and I love him to bits nearly brought a baby one they other day just love them to bits. I also have a spotty baby, if you get one get a bigger one as they are very slow growers for first 3years. and they do like to hide they are something you will def not want your oscar to eat as they have spikes.

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Phantom replied the topic: Perfect scavenger for oscar tank?... process of elimination.

Also forgot to add a bit of info. I found raphaels reach the 5-6 inch mark fairly fast but then REALLY slow down. They get so much girth to them though, there is no way an oscar can fit one in its mouth, unless your talking about a 15-16 inch monster of an oscar.
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jnet replied the topic: Perfect scavenger for oscar tank?... process of elimination.


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Vinny replied the topic: Re:Perfect scavenger for oscar tank?... process of elimination.

I've had a featherfin for years. Never throw food in there specifically for him and he's done fine. I can count on 2 hands how many times I've thrown sinking food in there for him. He's also survived my not so proud moments of neglect and poor water quality. He's a great fish

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THQ replied the topic: Perfect scavenger for oscar tank?... process of elimination.

Wow, thanks for responses guys.

So.... 2 votes for synodontis/featherfin and 2 votes for raphael.

I did consider the raphael but have heard that they basically hide all day and only come out at night, so was put off. Were your guys out scavenging when the lights were on at feeding time? My cichlids need their beauty sleep :P Not a catfish blundering its way around the tank whilst they're trying to doze off.

I think featherfin is more active during the day. Did you guys have any issues with the fins getting torn?

It'll come down to whatever my 5 LFS's stock, but I guess I could have one of each, if they don't fight each other. My stocking will be 78% with one of each.
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Rocksor replied the topic: Perfect scavenger for oscar tank?... process of elimination.

You do not need to add a scavenger. The heckelii is a sand sifter, and will eat any food from the bottom. Sand sifters are one of the best bottom feeders for food that gets lodged in the substrate. You will need fine sand, like play sand, and not have more than 1.5" of substrate depth.


www.cichlidae.com/article.php?id=59

The electric blue acara will also eat food off of the substrate. I personally do not recommend these guys since they are slow growers compared to oscars, unless you wait one year to get the oscar, and stay much smaller than a normal blue acara.
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