Oscars keep dying but tank mates are fine???

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xjpmx03 created the topic: Oscars keep dying but tank mates are fine???

I have a 55 gallon tank with two small african cichlids, a pleco, and two oscars. Both the oscars look like they're on the verge of dying... They just float at the top corner of the tank by the filter and look sick...

I had a small white oscar fish before these two and it looked sick for a couple days then it died. So I replaced that small white oscar with the two small oscars I have now and they look sick too.

The two cichlids and the pleco are thriving, and look healthy and happy as can be. I haven't had the water tested but if the other african cichlids are at 100% health I don't think its the water but I dont know.

I cycled the tank a full week before stocking any fish in it. Maybe they dont like the cichlid flakes Ive been feeding?

Any advice is greatly appreciated.
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DRACO replied the topic: Oscars keep dying but tank mates are fine???

one week cycling the tank is not good enough...
and that is probably the main reason why your Oscar keep on dying..
cleaning uncycled tank can make thing more complicated...

unless you can get water parameters: ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH,..
I always suspect water quality as the cause of fish death.
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Suprd71 replied the topic: Oscars keep dying but tank mates are fine???

Hello and welcome. You def have water issues, and Oscars being more sensitive than Africans or pleco are succumbing to it. Some fyi though. Your tank is too small for that many fish. An Oscar needs 75gals to itself in a cycled system to stand a chance at a good life. Oscars and Africans should not be mixed. Water, diet requirements are very different. Depending on species and size of pleco, just one can ruin 55gals of water in a matter of days. If 55g is you only tank, and is the biggest you can manage, I suggest forgetting Oscars. Rehome the pleco, add a few more Africans and you have a colorful, active cichlid tank that is manageable.


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xjpmx03 replied the topic: Oscars keep dying but tank mates are fine???

As bad as it sounds, I used to have an oscar for almost a year in a smaller 20 gallon tank, and he thrived in it with the tank not even being cycled and put in there with two pacu fish and a cichlid.

But now I upgraded to a 55 gallon and this is the third one that died in a matter of 4-5 days and the other fish seem happy and healthy as can be. The tank has been set up for at least 2-3 weeks as of now.

If it was the water I would assume the other fish would be sick too, and it cant be the space because I housed an oscar 3x the size with double the amount of fish and less than half the tank size...

Assumed it had to be the food or something..
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Rocksor replied the topic: Oscars keep dying but tank mates are fine???

not all fish have the same poor water tolerance levels. Some die sooner than others. If you don't have a liquid test kit, then you do know how bad your water is. Oscars live as long as dogs under the right care. Clear water is not clean water.

i doubt that you had 10" oscar and 2 10" pacu in a 20 gallon tank. If they were not that size after 1 year in a 20g then you stunted your fish in a 20 g tank.
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xjpmx03 replied the topic: Oscars keep dying but tank mates are fine???

Rocksor wrote: not all fish have the same poor water tolerance levels. Some die sooner than others. If you don't have a liquid test kit, then you do know how bad your water is. Oscars live as long as dogs under the right care. Clear water is not clean water.

i doubt that you had 10" oscar and 2 10" pacu in a 20 gallon tank. If they were not that size after 1 year in a 20g then you stunted your fish in a 20 g tank.


I never stated the oscar nor the pacu's were 10". I had them about 9 months roughly and the oscar was about 6ish inches and the one pacu jumped out of the tank.

As for the water, I got it tested at Petsmart and my ammonia levels were through the roof apparently. So I bought some ammonia remover and we'll see how this goes
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Suprd71 replied the topic: Oscars keep dying but tank mates are fine???

I wouldnt count on the accuracy of a Petsmart test. There is no doubt you have dangerous ammonia levels though. Ammonia remover is a very temporary fix. Ammonia is produced around the clock from fish respiration and waste production. When the ammonia remover wears off, you are back to square one. Water changes are your best option. Every day, 50% tank volume or better. The use of a quality water conditioner will lessen the dangers of ammonia for up to 48hrs. A real help would be if you could buy/borrow some seeded bio media from a shop or fellow fishkeeper


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xjpmx03 replied the topic: Oscars keep dying but tank mates are fine???

Suprd71 wrote: I wouldnt count on the accuracy of a Petsmart test. There is no doubt you have dangerous ammonia levels though. Ammonia remover is a very temporary fix. Ammonia is produced around the clock from fish respiration and waste production. When the ammonia remover wears off, you are back to square one. Water changes are your best option. Every day, 50% tank volume or better. The use of a quality water conditioner will lessen the dangers of ammonia for up to 48hrs. A real help would be if you could buy/borrow some seeded bio media from a shop or fellow fishkeeper


Every day 50% water changes? That's ridiculous lol. When doing a water change though what kind of water do you put in it...because I heard tap water is like poison to them so where else am I going to get water?
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DRACO replied the topic: Oscars keep dying but tank mates are fine???

well... it may sound ridiculous but that is how we understand of keeping the fish alive in an UNCYCLED tank...
yes... normally tap water is not good if applied direct from the faucet, thus some people use stock or age water
from the bin or bucket... some people use anti-chlorine to reduce the potency of chlorine in tap...
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Rocksor replied the topic: Oscars keep dying but tank mates are fine???

xjpmx03 wrote:

Suprd71 wrote: I wouldnt count on the accuracy of a Petsmart test. There is no doubt you have dangerous ammonia levels though. Ammonia remover is a very temporary fix. Ammonia is produced around the clock from fish respiration and waste production. When the ammonia remover wears off, you are back to square one. Water changes are your best option. Every day, 50% tank volume or better. The use of a quality water conditioner will lessen the dangers of ammonia for up to 48hrs. A real help would be if you could buy/borrow some seeded bio media from a shop or fellow fishkeeper


Every day 50% water changes? That's ridiculous lol. When doing a water change though what kind of water do you put in it...because I heard tap water is like poison to them so where else am I going to get water?


Actually it is not ridiculous to do large water changes. Many fish live in flowing water where they receive 100% water changes in less than an hour. Use a water conditioner like Seachem Prime to make the water safe for fish, which will neutralize chlorine and chloramine.
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