Psycologically damaged oscars :(

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mary93 created the topic: Psycologically damaged oscars :(

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Hi everyone!

I am new to being an oscar mumma (I've only had them since January), my fish are still fairly young and only measure at 10-15 centimeters.

Anyway a week or so ago my roommate thought it would be funny to walk up to my tank holding a taxidermy crocodile head. This scared the absolute shit out of my fish and created instant chaos in the tank.. fish were all looking for somewhere to hide and were smashing into the tank walls ect.

I obviously wasn't happy with it because like any good fish owner i dont enjoy seeing my aqua bebes distressed. The whole crocodile thing would have lasted probably no longer than 20 seconds as i was pretty slow to realise what was happening. But since the incident my fish have not been the same. They used to be playful and curious and swim up to you when you came up to the tank but now instead they lurk in the shadows and hide.

When i feed them i like to sometimes put my hand in the water so they can swim up without any fear and eat from my hand, i tried to do this the other day without thinking anything about it and as soon as i got too close to the water they reacted just as they did when the initially saw the crocodile. It took them a couple of minutes to calm down enough to even bother with their breakfast.

I'm really worried. Especially because lately ive noticed they've been having random unprovoked freakouts which is also making them injure themselves. I came home yesterday to find that one of fish was missing a chunk between his eyes.. the only thing i can guess it was from was if they had had one of their freakout episodes and he panicked and his head when he was trying to get into my plecos pvc pipe/dark place.

What can i do? should i take out all the ornaments so they have less things to hurt themselves on? will they ever be the same? they're such intelligent little guys that it sucks knowing that they're now mentally scarred :(

Helpppp i dont want them to hurt themselves anymore. Im already keeping a close eye on my tank water conditions to make sure their open wounds dont get infected and heal nicely :(
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Suprd71 replied the topic: Psycologically damaged oscars :(

Hello and welcome to the community. Your fish will not be psychologically damaged. What may happen though is that they may incur a serious injury from thrashing about. Your fish are in the juvenile stage, where they grow fast and develop more distinct character traits. Could you relay more info on your tank and regular maintenance? Water changes, filtration , precise readings of ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Any other fish besides a pleco? Any bits of info you can share will help us to help you raise happy and healthy Oscars. Just regarding tank ornaments, yes remove anything that could cut or scrape the fish. Juvie Oscars are well known to be clumsy oafs, always banging themselves up.


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DRACO replied the topic: Psycologically damaged oscars :(

i am not sure how your friend approached the tank with the croc's head...
but fish normally do not recognized danger.. however, one for sure...
you throw towel near the tank when the fish is swimming around..
surely... it will be shocked and will swim aimlessly...
and will hide afterward ...
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mary93 replied the topic: Psycologically damaged oscars :(

Hi :) Thanks so much for your time! I'm honestly trying my best but sometimes it doesnt seem like enough with these little guys, any help is greatly appreciated :cheer: :cheer: :cheer:

At the moment i have too many fish in my tank, when i went to the pet store to buy them i asked the guy for advice and he recommended me oscars. The guy encouraged me to buy 6 oscars and 2 other cichlids (i think he was just trying to make money out of me and didn't really care about the welfare of the fish). So i currently have a total of 9 fish including my pleco. My tank is only 4-5 foot long (250 litres), i know that's too many fish for my tank and am currently in the process of re-homing 4 of the oscars as 2 have already bonded :(

I do a 30% water change every 2 days and treat the water with some stuff another pet store sold me to control nitrates ect. I also do a 50% weekly water change along with a glass clean and vacuuming of gravel. I don't have my own test kit (tried to buy one from my local not long ago but apparently they were sold out till further notice) so instead just take my water to them every couple of weeks for testing. nitrates are always higher than they should be but i think thats because i cant keep up with cleaning up after my fish.

I have a few plants in the tank which my fish always like to destroy (but i think my fish love the plants and enjoy swimming through them). and a couple of ornaments. 2 PVC pipes, when big enough for my pleco to hang out in and another small one that my plants are attached to.

I know i sound like a lunatic when i say my fish are psychologically damaged haha but its hard not to think that when there has been such a big change in behaviour. I honestly would not have thought the crocodile head would have much of an impression on them but its seemed to have set off some natural instinct where theyre now weary of everything. They're also quite used to vibrations and loud noises because the tank is in the living room not too far from the tv. So i dunno what to do :(

I dont have any pictures of my tank on my phone but ive attached a link of a timelapse i uploaded to instagram
www.instagram.com/p/BD0KVLXtsnO/
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Suprd71 replied the topic: Psycologically damaged oscars :(

Well Mary you have a very bad situation there. Your tank is what is generally considered the ,minimum size for 1 Oscar only, and when said fish exceeds a foot long, that tank will be too small as well. Good that you are trying to get the stock down. If you seriously want to keep 2 Oscars and a pleco, long term, and keep them healthy, you need a 6ft tank of no less than 150 gals.Because 2 have the appearance of bonding, dont take that as a guarantee. Your fish are too young to be sexually mature. There is no "stuff" that controls nitrate. Water changes lowers nitrate levels. You may be using water conditioner, its a dechlorinator and ammonia neutralizer. Exact name of this product please? A handy tip for you.. stay out of that pet shop. They either have no knowledge on cichlid care, or see you as a beginner and have fleeced you into bad purchases. Maybe both.


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