COMING BACK TO OWN OSCARS… SOON! – With some Doubts

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S.S. created the topic: COMING BACK TO OWN OSCARS… SOON! – With some Doubts

Oh no! More of the same questions again? Maybe or not… :silly:

Being an “Oscarfishlover” that is wishing to own an Oscar again after the previous experiences (had two before) I´ve been reading a lot on OFL other websites and books and I have a few issues.

TANK SIZE:

Volume
Most experts on OFL say that one Oscar needs 55GAL (250lts) or 75Gal (340lts) and those are UK GAL. Let’s say the minimum is 55 and the ideal long term is at least 75 (if you have more give your O more), that’s consensual around this parts as well as for two Oscars the minimum volume necessary is 100GAL. Other websites and books say less (45GAL (200lts) for one and 65Gal (300lts) for two).

Lenght
However there are more items for me that have a huge influence in the volume necessary to house one Oscar than just simply the total volume of water in the tank. Only a few times I’ve heard about the length of the tank necessary to house perfectly such a beast as a fully grown Oscar. On OFL 4FT (120cm) seems to be the minimum for a single Oscar and 6FT (180cm) is the minimum recommended for two. By comparison other websites and books say less too (4FT for one but only 5FT (150cm) for two).

Height and depth
Because of the different size and shapes, a tank may give us good enough water volume but may not have the necessary footprint. So for me the ideal is to achieve the minimum water volume with the minimum length, and without forgetting the necessary minimum height and depth of the tank because of the Oscar size he must have some space to turn around. As far as height and depth it seems at OFL that 2FT (60cm) is the minimum for long terms. Once again on other websites and books is suggested as minimum 1.64FT (50cm).

QUESTIONS ABOUT TANK SIZE:

So after this summary of opinions I still have some questions:

1 – How do experts got to this defined volume, length, height and depth? Plain experience some will say for sure as well as water tests that give us the idea of the bioload generated by one or two Oscars but… there’s always a but, isn’t that dependent on the amount of food, type and quality of filters and amount of water changes (WC) you make?

Can you give me your practical examples, like these I made it up, for instance:

A - “I have 75GAL for one 12INC Oscar and I do a 50% WC every week and nitrates are at the end of the week at 40ppm so for me to have 2 Oscars or the current one with other fish as some Silver Dollars in that volume I would have to make more frequent or larger WC and that for me is not good for the fish, causing too much stress, or is not possible due to my lack of time.”

B – “My previous tank had 100GAL but less than 6FT length. It was very deep and tall but short and my two Oscars where always at war so inspite having good quality water I upgraded my tank on length to avoid those figths…”

With some practical examples as the ones invented by me it’s easier to understand the implications of following or not the basic tank size rules, either on volume as well as footprint.

2 – If I have plenty of filtration that assures no ammonia or nitrites and If I make the water changes necessary to keep nitrates level always below 20/30ppm wont I be able to have lesser volume than the recommend at OFL? Let’s say I would on those conditions respect only the minimum volume and footprint recommended on the other sites and books.

To be continued...
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S.S. replied the topic: COMING BACK TO OWN OSCARS… SOON! – With some Doubts

FILTRATION:

“There’s no such thing as over filtering” this seems to be consensual. A good filtration system guarantees most part of good water quality and that system should for me always keep ammonia and nitrites at zero full time, keeping up with a messy or several messy fish like Oscars. But… let’s put a but in this too, even top rated filters don’t perform miracles if you overfeed or miss the regular and adequate WC do not blame the filters.

The main issues here are:

A - how many times per hour must you total volume of water pass by the filters; and

B - how large are the filters and what type and quality of filter media do they have to guarantee those zero levels at all time.

For me and as far as it concerns cichlids a total of 5 times or more of the volume of water passing on the filter per hour is essential to keep the water clean of ammonia and nitrites. But besides the real flow its necessary to have quality filtering materials and adequate amount of it. Keep in mind that most filters announce pump capacities that in real conditions are far less inferior to the ones mentioned. I always consider a decrease of about 40% of the announced flow taking in consideration to the calculation of real flow.

About the materials I like porous ceramic rings and lots of mechanical filtration as sponges of different density and have at least 50% of my filters with mechanical filtration due to excessive debris caused by cichlids.

In this area I use canister filters because I consider hang on filters far too small in the available space for filtering materials and I don’t consider sumps because they are a little bit noisier but I do realize they are far more able in space if Its necessary to accomplish the task of filtering 5 times per hour the total volume of water in a really large tank that 2 large canister filters can’t keep up with.

QUESTIONS ABOUT FILTRATION:

I have none… except maybe:

1 – Some difficulty to understand how small hang on filters apparently support all filtration in Oscar tanks. Maybe that is explained by the fact of those tanks having a daily or every other day extremely large (more than 50%) WC routine. Is that so?

2 – Are my definitions about the 5 times per hour enough for you all or too much for some? I have to remember here that this is for real circulation. That has a 40% rate subtracted to the announced capacity of the filters. If you considered only the announced capacity then make it as a reliable number about 8 or 9 times per hour.

To be continued...
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S.S. replied the topic: COMING BACK TO OWN OSCARS… SOON! – With some Doubts

QUESTIONS ABOUT TEMPERATURE:

Keeping in mind the far extremes in minimum and maximum are only comfortable for Oscars for a brief period of time and is best to have a constant temperature all year around instead of lower temperatures in winter time and higher in the summer as it happens in nature, I presume, my doubts in this matter are:

1 – Is it really better to have constant temperature all year around? or a temperature on winter time closer to the minimum and in the summer nearer the maximum? Let’s say from 73.4ºF (23º C) in winter time to 78.8/80.6ºF (26/27º C) in the summer. Note that if this change does occur it must always be slow and not sudden because as we know that may cause sicknesses.

2 – Being better to have constant temperature all year around for the fish, what is the minimum temperature comfortable for Oscar to live constantly? Is the 27º C mentioned on OFL really necessary? If so what’s the reason to recommend an average temperature far closer to maximum temperature supported by Oscars than one in between minimum and maximum that in that case should be of 25.5º (between 21º and 30º)?

3 – This is not about temperature but related. Knowing Oscars tend to bully heaters sometimes even breaking it, and not having a termofilter right now or a sump to use the heaters out of the main tank, what heaters are recommended? I´ve been looking around and I can get the Fluval E series that has a cover protecting the heater and cool functions as temperature alert and digital view of the tank temperature that dispenses a thermometer.

QUESTIONS ABOUT FOOD:

Good quality and diverse food, more often when juveniles and far less often as adults, and the amount only that is enough so his stomach doesn´t get swollen. The size of pellets should be updated accordingly the Oscar gets bigger giving larger pellets as he becomes larger too. That’s understood by me but I still have some questions:

1 - Should be chosen Sinking or non-sinking pellets? And why?

2 – Brands? Well I use mainly Tropical, Sera, JBL and Hikari pellets for cichlids due to the lack of available products from some premium recognized brands like NLS, Dainichi, OSI or Omega One that I see being available in other countries (by the way I’m from Portugal as some might remember from my presentation in the forum some years ago) and highly recommended by those that use those brands. I´ll try to get some from e-bay too. What are the best value for the money payed and if there are others please tell me as well as if you have a reliable seller on line feel free to give me the link.

3 – About frozen and live food. Are they really needed if you use several different quality pellets? Aren’t they far messier?

4 – If frozen or live food are considered an extra guarantee for Oscars healthy growth please tell me what are the top choices in both? For example frozen bloodworms I can easily get, but live crickets for example is possible but not as easy.

5 - If live and frozen food is recommended, how often? And how should be prepared frozen foods. Defrost it fully first? Has it to be washed previously in tank water?

QUESTIONS ABOUT CLEANING THE TANK

It’s a good thing to clean the bottom of the tank while performing WC. I Don´t always do that because I have very powerful filters and it’s rare to see the poos lying on the sand but with Oscars it may be different so I´d like some advice on this.

1 – What is the best bottom cleaning system available for large tanks? I have some but all are far to small in diameter and it takes a lot of time to clean a large tank.

2 – Is best to clean all the gravel or simply clean at the surface of it instead of making a greater mess by moving all the dirt below the sand?
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S.S. replied the topic: COMING BACK TO OWN OSCARS… SOON! – With some Doubts

Another thing, If you are from Europe please send me some online shops links where I can get unavailable stuff or better prices than the ones in here.

And for now it’s all I have to ask. Please bear with me :unsure:

Best regards,
Sérgio.
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Suprd71 replied the topic: COMING BACK TO OWN OSCARS… SOON! – With some Doubts

I personally dont like a 4ft tank of any volume for a large adult Oscar. Given similar volumes, the longer tank gets the nod over shorter. Fish should be no more than 75% as long as a tank is wide. Eg.. a standard 55 with a 12in width should not be used for a fish over 8ins. Oscars are a strain on the bioload of any tank, so excessive filtration is the way to go. Imo the 3 keys to successful Oscar keeping are clean water, tankspace and quality diet. Tend to those factors and you have 95% of the battle won. A single large Oscar of a foot long or better should have a minimum tank of 60x18 holding at least 100US gals. A pair should have a 6x2x2 180g. You can do less, the recommended minimums, but why not offer the best you can manage. If big tanks are not doable, go with smaller fish.


I may not be the Boss, but I'm ALWAYS right!
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S.S. replied the topic: COMING BACK TO OWN OSCARS… SOON! – With some Doubts

Thank you. I do understand the bigger the better and Oscars are really special and a very extreme messy fish. Just trying to get to some conclusions on the whys that are easily pointed as the volume necessary for instance.

Can you give me a more detailed opinion about each specific question on the several subjects I mentioned? Take your time its a long topic and several specific questions.

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL!
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S.S. replied the topic: COMING BACK TO OWN OSCARS… SOON! – With some Doubts

Hello again :) where are all the experts that love to help and give answers to ones doubts? I know there are to much questions but only one small answer (that I appreciate) so far that´s not enough for me. Please try and give your expertise on the questions post by post.
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S.S. replied the topic: COMING BACK TO OWN OSCARS… SOON! – With some Doubts

Hello, because this topic is huge with lots of questions on different subjects and has not received answers to all the questions (maybe its hard to real all of the info), I decided to split the subjects on this topic and give it a try subject by subject on other topics.

This topic is now closed. Help needed on the new ones.
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