Friend's Sick Oscar

  • john_oscar
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john_oscar created the topic: Friend's Sick Oscar

I have a friend who is having trouble with her Oscar, so I volunteered to get online and consult the Forum Gods.

She has been using a water conditioner and Stress Coat over the course of it's life and feeds it Aqueon Cichlid Pellets. She has had the water tested several times and so far it's right on the money. He is also, in my opinion, due for a larger tank (36 gallon at the moment).

She's had it since it was a little over an inch long. Recently, it started showing little to no interest in eating. Then it started showing swollen pockets under it's belly and the left side of it's abdomen seems to protrude a bit more than the right.

Onset of condition
Onset3 by elefntkpr , on Flickr

She was instructed by a local pet store to treat the fish with API Fungus Cure and API General Cure. When that had no effect, she was told to do a 7 day treatment of Melafix and Pilafix which she is over half way through.

Recent picture after 1st treatments and during 2nd treatment.
After Treatment by elefntkpr , on Flickr

I got online and dove into Google. From what I'm finding, diagnosing a fish is like trying to catch a fart in a bubble bath. Aside from the swollen areas under his abdomen, my only opinion from the internet is to treat him like he's constipated. The general, "safe and easy" consensus I'm getting is either frozen or thawed peas with no skin. I'm confident she can handle this obviously, but I'm not interested in trying to deal with a daily Epson Salt bath if I don't have to.

She tried live minnows and he wasn't interested. She has been putting in a small amount of thawed blood worms, but he'll only eat a few and leave the rest.

Any other suggestions for what we're dealing with or another way to treat him?



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  • OFL
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OFL replied the topic: Friend's Sick Oscar

Hi there, so that the Oscar isn't well. Yeah, unfortunately when fish don't eat trying to give them medications that have to be ingested is a waste of time.

Difficult to say from the picture, there certainly looks like some kind of swelling. I have heard of the Epsom salt bath myself, never tried it and I've never really read any information that it is a successful solution. However, you got nothing to lose by trying it if nothing else works.

How about the fishes respiration, is it breathing heavily at all?

I certainly wouldn't be putting in live fish, that is the last thing you want to be doing. Fish can go for an extremely long time not eating, weeks and weeks and weeks to be quite honest. Maybe you could try laying off any type of feeding for a few days and see if this possible blockage and blocks itself. Sometimes you will get a very large swelling that will end up with the fish producing very very large amount of waste in one go. However, whenever I've experienced this happening, the fish has not really started refusing food. There's obviously something not right, ask are normally very interested in meeting. Can I assume that you have tested the water for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH? We always ask this question, it can get a little monotonous at times asking this question, but it is important to know exactly what the conditions are.

Is the fish active most of the day, swimming around etc? If your fish becomes very ill that it will normally retreat to the bottom of the tank and just sit there breathing heavily.

Sorry I can't be much more help, like you say, trying to diagnose fish is really difficult. Unfortunately Oscar seem to be a species of fish that develop problems quite a lot.

Keep us posted on your progress.

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Suprd71 replied the topic: Friend's Sick Oscar

The fish is showing the effects of living in a tank thats half the size it should be. Unless the owner has been changing half or more of the tank water every 2days, water quality is also a factor. No meds will work in poor water. Mela and Pima are mild to the point of being useless, even in the best of water. Not eating is no issue at all. Clean up the water and get at minimum a 48x18 75-90g tank. That fish will live a shortened and miserable life confined to 36gals.

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