Setting up 72 Gallon Bow Front

  • Trev186
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Trev186 created the topic: Setting up 72 Gallon Bow Front

So I am setting up an Oscar Fish aquarium for my 72 Gallon Bow Front.

Had a few questions:

Here are the tank mates I am considering:

1. 2 Tiger Oscar
2. 2 Green Phantom Pleco (grow to 8 inches)
3. 2 African butterfly fish (long shot I am sure they will get eaten...but my old tank had 2 of em and it sprung a leak and they are the only survivors) (Just wondering if anyone has kept them successfully with oscars. They live at the surface and are 4 inches long and love crickets)

Wondering what is recommended for the water change cycle?

I was thinking of maybe changing 5 gallons a day every day and a 20% change on the weekends.

I am aware the Oscar does not need a partner to school with I just would like to have two.


Thanks for the help my community tank broke and most my fish passed on so this a new endeavor for me.
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DMD123 replied the topic: Setting up 72 Gallon Bow Front

That will be overstocked. You could do a single Oscar and pleco. That is pretty close to what I have in my bowfront, except I have a L114 pleco. I hate the poo on the sand and vac 10 gallons out daily to keep it clean looking and have two larger water changes in there that are at 50%. Water quality can go very quickly in such a small environment so better not to overstock and keep up with those water changes.
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  • OFL
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OFL replied the topic: Setting up 72 Gallon Bow Front

Wellcome to our little community.

Okay, 72 gallons is big enough for one Oscar only.Unfortunately the pleco will need a minimum of 50 gallons. So you can see straight away that 72 gallons is not going to be big enough for the fish that you have listed.

You're better off carrying out one water change a week, that will probably need to be a minimum of 50%. What filter are you going to be installing?

I may not always be right, but I am always the BOSS :-)
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Lammergeier replied the topic: Setting up 72 Gallon Bow Front

A 72 gal bow front is only going to be big enough for one oscar. You won't be able to keep any tank mates with it for any significant period of time. To keep two oscars with no other tank mates you will need a minimum 6ft, 125 gal tank, and to keep 2 plecos and two oscars you will probably need a 6ft 180 gal tank.

The reason for needing such large tanks for oscars is that scars are incredibly messy fish that can grow very large very quickly (it is not uncommon for adult oscars to be 14" or larger), so have a massive bioload. They are also very territorial and need a lot of space, and on top of that need very clean water. You won't be able to keep the water quality half decent (even with big daily water changes) if you go ahead with your planned stocking, and the fish will end up with severe health issues at a young age, and that's assuming they don't beat each other to death in such a small space.

Even if you only have one oscar in that 72 gal, you will need to have a much larger w/c schedule than what you are planning. You'll need to do ~75% once per week to keep nitrates below 20ppm. Again, oscars are big, messy fish, grow very quickly, and the juveniles (even if small) produce a lot of waste that isn't proportionate to their size at all.

If you have your heart set on having a semi-community tank, I'd suggest looking into cichlid species that don't grow so large, such as acaras, firemouths etc.

I wouldn't keep butterfly fish with any large cichlid. A juvenile (~2 inch) oscar may not eat them, but as soon as they can fit into their mouths (which won't take long, oscars grow fast and have big mouths) those butterly fish will be oscar breakfast.

Good job joining up before you get the fish, however! This forum is full of very knowledgeable people that will be able to help you plan a setup that will be great for you and whatever fish you decide on :)
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Trev186 replied the topic: Setting up 72 Gallon Bow Front

thanks for the advice I see a lot of conflicting reports on Oscars. Some say you only need 30 gallons per.

I will probably go with 1 Oscar and 1 Green Phantom Pleco then.

As far as the butterfly fish it is now a question of whether I let them live a happy life in the 72 gallon til the Oscar decides to eat them.....Or let them tough it out in the 5 gallon emergency tank they have been living in the past week....

The Wife aggro is too high for me to acquire any additional tanks....

i guess I could always donate them to a fish shop but most LFS would probably see them starve as they have been eating crickets only for years. Spoiled and expensive to feed.

i have 1 Fluval 406 for filtration and if need be I have a couple of 60 gallon HOB filters I could add to the mix
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UNC-CH replied the topic: Setting up 72 Gallon Bow Front

Hi and welcome to the forum. I'm reading a lot of great advice.

I'd decide if you want to have a community tank or an oscar tank. There are pros and cons either way. Since you still have those butterfly fish, a community aquarium might be the way to go. Of course, I'm partial to Oscar's so I'd go that way.

If you went with the oscar tank, you'd have a similar setup to mine. I have a 75 gallon with one adult oscar. The info above on water changes is correct.

Feel free to ask any questions you may have.
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Lammergeier replied the topic: Setting up 72 Gallon Bow Front

If you do go with 1 oscar and 1 pleco then be prepared to adopt DMD's water change schedule, if not more depending on how much you feed.

As for reading that you only need 30 gals per O, I think it's very outdated information at best, and also is a more common mentality with people that are fond of just stuffing as many fish as they can into as small a space as possible. If you have heard it at a pet store, think about the underlying motivation for it. Sadly, most LFS (local fish stores) just try to make $$$.

This forum is probably the best forum I've found for getting information on not just oscars, but fish keeping in general. The community here places a much higher emphasis on the overall health and well-being of the fish than any other forum I've been on personally.

I don't know enough about butterfly fish to offer much in the way of advice, but I'd imagine that a 5 gal will be too small for them. A quick google search is telling me they need a min of 20 gals.

I don't think the Fluval 406 will be enough on its own for filtration so I'd definitely add the HOBs. I'd guess that would be enough for an oscar alone, but with a pleco as well I'm not sure. Someone with more experience with HOBs will chip in, I'm sure.
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DMD123 replied the topic: Setting up 72 Gallon Bow Front

My 72g bow is being filtered by a Eheim 2217 and a AC110. This combo has kept up well but my O is only like 8" at this point. I bought a FX6 to replace the Eheim but have not installed it yet. I should also point out I have the option/luxury to move any fish I need to into a 210g community. So Oscar and pleco along with four expendable Australian rainbows are in my 72 at this time.

I think the 406 and a HOB should do pretty well for that set up.
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