Newbie setting up 165G oscar tank. How much more work is it?

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THQ created the topic: Newbie setting up 165G oscar tank. How much more work is it?

Hi all, I'm from Australia, nice to meet you all. I am a beginner and only have 6 months fishkeeping experience, with my low tech planted nanos:
5G (RCS + oto)
10G (BWT/BST + WCMMs)

However, I have read extensively on the hobby and am very comfortable doing fishless cycling, checking water parameters, doing PWCs, etc.

I have finally saved up for my main tank, which will be just under 6x2x2.

Filtration: 2 x Eheim 2217s with included substratpro media (yet to buy).

Lighting: Aquaone Plantglo LEDs (2 x 4 ft with overlap). I bought these on sale when I thought I was going to get a 4 ft planted.

Substrate: 2mm fine natural/beige coloured gravel

Water: my aged, primed tap water is acidic and very soft (pH 6.6-6.8, dKH < 3, GH/KH < 50 ppm)

I originally intended to go community planted tank filled with aquarium plants and cheap, hardy, peaceful schooling fish that were happy to take pellet and flake food. However, on a recent trip to my LPS I saw a cute juvenile red tiger oscar (4 inch) that I just fell instantly fell in love with. He/she seemed to follow me around the tank and look at me. It was the first time I actually had the feeling a fish was trying to interact with me. After doing some research, it appears that if I want to keep him, I have to completely rethink my 165G (basically none of my previous fish, and no plants). There is no option for me to get a 4th tank.

1 Red tiger oscar
1 Severum
1 Firemouth
1 BGK
3 Clown loach

Aqadvisor says my stocking capacity is 111%

The other tankmates are fish that seem to also have their own personality yet seem to be compatible with oscars and my tank size and water parameters. As I would be buying all juveniles, my hope is that they will grow up with each other and hopefully get along. Not keen on plecos as there are already enough messy fish, too big, and I shouldn't have algae problem given minimal lighting as no plants.

My question is, how much more work would this tank be vs my original idea of planted community tank (20% PWC weekly)? I imagine the oscar tank with no plants and several huge, messy fish would be more work to keep nitrates down, as well as to feed them with heaps of frozen seafood rather than just pellets. I can't do more than weekly water changes, on weekend.

Thanks!
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Suprd71 replied the topic: Newbie setting up 165G oscar tank. How much more work is it?

Hello and welcome to OFL. For your planned stock I would skip the Knife. Oscar and Sev usually go well together. Firemouth may struggle with its lack of size. Clown Loaches are very cool, but do best in larger groups. They are also very fragile with anything other than pristine water. If the best you can do is a weekly water change, make it a big one, like 80%. Keeping stock low will enable you to maintain with a weekly change. I would go with an Oscar and 2 Sevs, buy the Sevs considerably larger than the Oscar. Pair of 2217's will offer excellent bio filtration, an Aquaclear 110 hob, or even 2 will add much needed mechanical assistance. Quality pellets are the best as a staple diet. Heaps of frozen seafood not so good. The odd chunk of white meat fish or shrimp is a good treat. Oscar and Severum need a good portion of veg in their diet, either raw veg or veg based pellets.


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Rocksor replied the topic: Newbie setting up 165G oscar tank. How much more work is it?

Nice a 180 US gallon tank!

It will take at least an 80% if not more for your current stocking once the oscar reaches 10+" (1 years time), and the rest at 6" (exlcuding the loaches). If you want to do less water changes, then reduce your stocking. If you want a number on how many gallons minimum to change as they grow, roughly about 5 US gallons per inch of fish.

You can do planted, but it would be the type where only the plant is partially submerged with the leaves out of the water type plants. Many folks use golden pothos in their aquarium. If you plan on doing a sump, you could use the sump with aquatic plants like a refugium.

You don't need to feed frozen foods more than once a week, unless you want to.
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THQ replied the topic: Newbie setting up 165G oscar tank. How much more work is it?

Thanks for the reply guys. Just wow?! I didn't realise the PWC were so massive with these guys!! Coming from small fish in planted tanks, it's kind of been ingrained in me to not change more than 25% a week, to maintain balanced parameters in the water. Even then, I'm just doing it more out of habit to replenish minerals, since parameters are all 0/0/0-5 before I change.

I did some more reading on this site, as well as saw some cool videos on youtube. taking your advice, and reduced my stocking level. How about

Red Tiger Oscar (14")
Red Severum (8")
Electric Blue Jack Dempsey (8")
Banded Leporinus (12")

(max adult size in aquarium)

Aqadvisor says
"Stocking level 77%
Recommended water change schedule: 25% per week. (guess I know better now!)"

5 gallons/inch water changes.... when they're adult, that's still more than my entire tank water LOL. I guess there's no way around doing a massive water change on weekends. What's the easiest way to do these water changes and NOT shocking the fish with difference in water temperature? I guess the python system is kind of out of the question, and I don't think my indoor tap even can connect to it despite the adaptors. I was thinking of using long gravel vac and doing PWC into a 240L (63G) wheelie bin that I then tip outside (X 2-3 times). Then I'll put primed tap water into the bin, with a 300W heater until it gets to temperature, then use a powerhead to put it back into the tank? (X2-3 times)?

My other question is, juruparis/demon earth eaters/horseface (I don't know what the current term for this fish is) are pretty cool fish and I was thinking of getting one, and I have 2mm fine gravel which should work with them. However, I have read that they really need a group to do well? It's a shame, because I can't fit a decent group in the tank, even if I just have one oscar. Has anyone kept a single one in an oscar tank successfully? I would swap it for the leporinus, as the leporinus will be nipping its long trailing fins.

Final question is, is there a reason I need a HOB filter to add more mechanical filtration if my dual canisters already have mechanical filtration? I really don't want too many electrical devices as my 6 way powerboard and wall outlet won't be able to handle it (2x300W heaters, 2xlarge canisters, 2xlights). I have another small tank and my home PC in the same room running off the only dual wall outlet. If needed, I can get even larger dual canisters (overkill would be like 2 x Aquael Unimax 700s, with a total of 4 impellers, 4 intake, 4 outlet pipes, 30L media capacity). I'm not keen on a sump as I don't want to drill my tank, it doesn't offer much mechanical filtration, and it's noisier than the almost silent canisters.

Thanks!
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Suprd71 replied the topic: Newbie setting up 165G oscar tank. How much more work is it?

Hello again! The Python will adapt to almost any faucet. You have a large tank, you would like a fairly large stock. Its pretty well imperative. Your 2217's do indeed offer mechanical filtration, but are best suited for bio. The less you have to open up a canister the better. You can rinse an AC110 sponge in about 2 minutes, versus the half hour to clean a canister. If you get an Eheim Jager 300 watt heater, a single will heat your tank. I use singles on 2 different 180g tanks. They handle them easily.I run 2 FX5's, another canister and 2 300 watt heaters off the very 6 way power board you are likely speaking of. Leporinus are cool, and a good cichlid tankmate. Blue Jack will likely not fare well. Very dainty and super slow growth rate. You could look into any breed of Acara, Saum, Green Terror. all generally good Oscar mates. All Geophagus(earth eaters) do best in groups and need a finer sand bottom to sift/feed.


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bland replied the topic: Newbie setting up 165G oscar tank. How much more work is it?

I upgraded from a 75g to a 125g (6ft) with a pair of eheim 2217 filters, and found they didn't create enough water movement to really clean and filter the tank. I'm sure the bio was fine, but wanted more water movement. I just sold them a bought a fluval fx6 and couldn't be happier. Lots of water movement and keeps the tank nice and clean, but surprisingly the 2217 hold a lot more bio media, but the fx6 should still have enough.

I also have 2 large sponge filters in the tank to help with bio. They also make a great backup in case of a power outage with just a battery powered air pump, and I can also quickly set up a hospital tank if needed
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THQ replied the topic: Newbie setting up 165G oscar tank. How much more work is it?

Thanks for the advice guys.

In terms of stock I did some more reading and taking the advice on board, how about this? I read the tankmate info on this site.

1 Red tiger oscar
1 Green terror
1 Red severum
1 Jack dempsey
1 Blue acara
1 Firemouth

Stocking level 86%
Or is that too many large cichlids for a 6x2x2? Will there be enough space for each to have their own territory? Each has 2ft x 2ft x 1ft = 4 cubic feet of water. I'm not sure about which levels of the aquarium these inhabit... or do they go around the whole tank?

In terms of filtration I think I'll go with either 2 x Aquael Unimax 700 canisters (they are truly huge! 450GPH and 15L media capacity that I can fill with polyfilter and marine pure) or 1 of them + 2 x Aquaclear 110 HOBs. I take the point about ease of maintenance of HOBs. However, the latter option means no hood on the tank, and maybe even the cover glass doesn't leave enough gap. But I need something to stop the oscar jumping out. Also, I am keen to have quiet filters in the study, and am worried the 110's might be too noisy. Anyway, we will see when I get the tank.

Thanks!
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THQ replied the topic: Newbie setting up 165G oscar tank. How much more work is it?

Also by the way, I had a look at the python and while it's fine for filling, it just wastes too much water for my liking when siphoning. Also looks pretty slow.

I think I'll put a powerhead in the tank eg., Dymax PH5000 (1320GPH) and pump out the water via a long hose to my garden (faster than sucking a siphon i would think). To refill for temperature matching do you guys just test the water out of the faucet and hose it in? Any issues with using the hot water out of the tap? When I was a kid I've always been told not to drink it, so was wondering whether it's safe for fish.

Cheers.
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Suprd71 replied the topic: Newbie setting up 165G oscar tank. How much more work is it?

Imo Oscar, Sev GT and Acara would be a good stock. Dempseys are a gamble, males in particular can be very aggressive. Aquaclear hobs are very quiet, and stay that way as long as you keep the tank water level topped right up. The part that sits inside the tank is only a couple of inches, does not mean no lids. You need some space for canister hoses anyways. For filling the tank, just match the temp within a degree or two. Some dont care for hot water, as there may be some issues with older hot water tanks. I've never had a problem. Dose the tank with a quality conditioner, Seachem Prime liquid or the powder form Safe is most trusted. Drain water, add conditioner, refill. No need to pause or wait, these conditioners react instantly, allows using tap water right away. Get hold of your city water report to determine amounts of chlorine or chloramine in your water supply.


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THQ replied the topic: Newbie setting up 165G oscar tank. How much more work is it?

Awesome advice! Great to see what a helpful community this is.
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