Oscar Fish is a SLOW Eater.

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Phillipw311 created the topic: Oscar Fish is a SLOW Eater.

Hello, I am new to the forum and this will be my 2nd post to the board that I need help with. The 1st one was pertaining to color variations. However, this one is about feeding. My Oscar fish is a baby Oscar. (2.5-3") He has an appetite and begs for food frequently, BUT he only eats one at a time. I feed him mini sized pellets, due to the fact that every LFS I have tried only sells mini pellets. They do not have baby cichlid pellets. He grabs one and only one. I learned real fast to only feed him one at a time because it takes him about a minute to chew it up since it is not presoaked. Before anybody suggests presoaking, he for some reason doesn't seem interested or have any desire to eat it it if it isn't fresh out of my hand. He will let it float or spit it back out if I have already soaked it. He also makes a much larger mess with presoaked pellets if he by some slim to none chance eats one that's been floating for a few. He is currently eating Topfin pellets since that's the ONLY thing he will eat. I'd like to try to get him on some cichlid gold instead. I have read nothing but good things about it so I thought I'd buy a small bag of it. Spoiler alert: He wont eat them.. He's worse than a cat I swear... haha! but every now and then I can sneak one in if he's really hungry and he'll eat it but I cannot get him off of the other food because its about all he'll eat and again, it takes forever for him to eat. He doesn't scarf it all down at once or swallow them whole. He takes his sweet time on the bottom. So I cant really use the good rule of thumb to feed him 3 times daily for 2 minutes. Because that would literally be 3 pellets a day which isn't anything obviously.. So for about an hour I give him a pellet whenever he begs for it which is about 4-7 pellets an hour. and I just do that 3 times daily. Any thoughts on why he's so overly picky and why he eats so slow? Thanks in advance guys. I really appreciate it. He is great and very active so I know it isn't due to stress. By the way, one last factor to consider is there's no competition. He's by himself with no other tank mates in a 55 gallon.
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Bri B replied the topic: Re:Oscar Fish is a SLOW Eater.

That is kind of odd for an oscar. Good situation for him being tiny and in the 55 alone. The fact he's active says that he isn't sick. I would try some other things for him. Blood worms baby gammarus shrimp peas maybe even a cichlid flake food. Omega 1 has brine shrimp that come in little bricks that u can cut to any size. Some of the other guys on here may have experienced something similar but my O's eat like it's the last meal they will ever get. They will stuff 4 or 5 pellets in their mouths at a time.
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Phillipw311 replied the topic: Re:Oscar Fish is a SLOW Eater.

Wow thank you so much for the fast reply! And yeah I have watched tons of videos and done hours of research and everybody else seems to have trouble keeping them fed and not being a glutton. lol mine eats and has a solid appetite, he just eats very slow and won't bat an eye at anything other than this one specific pellet which is slightly frustrating.
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UNC-CH replied the topic: Oscar Fish is a SLOW Eater.

This fell off the first page pretty quickly and not everyone got a chance to look at it.

I'm glad to hear from your other thread that you purchased a water changer. You're in good shape now with a baby oscar in a 55 gallon all to himself with water changes being made easy.

That is strange behavior, but oscars are known for behaving strangely. It is common for an oscar to get used to one type of food and refuse to eat anything else. The same goes for soaking the pellets. I tried to soak my pellets in an epsom salt solution and my oscar absolutely refused to eat them.

A few members have been successful at changing pellet brands (to hikari in your case) by not feeding their oscar for several days. After a few days without food, your oscar will eat anything. If he won't eat the hikari now, I'd go a few days without feeding him and I bet he'll eat the hikari then.

Regarding the slow eating, what would happen if you gave him a pellet or pellets to eat, but only enough for one minute? How many would he eat? By giving him one every few minutes over an hour, you only reinforce his eating habits (which I don't think is anything to worry about.)
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Phillipw311 replied the topic: Oscar Fish is a SLOW Eater.

Yeah large water changes are much easier now! First off, how much water would you change weekly with him being a baby...? I know 50% twice weekly or 75% once weekly once he's larger, but being 2.5-3" how much would be enough? As far as feeding goes, if i feed him for one minute he will literally eat one and only one pellet... haha and he won't beg again for 1-5 minutes depending on how many pellets he's had. After 3-5 he'll start slowing down between begging after each pellet. But he's getting to where he chews and swallows faster since he's grown a little in a month. Not much but a little.. He seems to be begging sooner and sooner. But he's too little to swallow the pellets whole and that's the smallest one i can buy locally. I have tried cutting them in half, but he still munches on them for a while.. I am open to any and all suggestions. OH! Almost forgot! Last night he seemed to have gotten bored with the top fin pellets and kept spitting them out. So just for a shot in the dark I tried a hikari pellet and he seems to have taken a liking to those. So for the past 24 hours he's been eating those and appears to like them!!!
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UNC-CH replied the topic: Oscar Fish is a SLOW Eater.

Good news about him eating the hikari. I'd start feeding him twice a day for one minute without anything in between. Then, he should begin to eat faster. Oscars are very good at training their owners instead of the other way around. :)

I can't remember how long you've had your tank and filtration. It normally takes around 2 months for a filter/tank to cycle. If you're still cycling then you'll have readings for ammonia and (probably) nitrite. These are much more toxic to your oscar than nitrate. Once your tank cycles, your ammonia and nitrite will drop to zero, and nitrate will be your main concern. I recommend three things to people keeping oscars. You already have one of them, a water changer. Another is 'prime' as the water conditioner for removing chlorine and chloramines. The third is the API master test kit (liquid test kit, freshwater) ... around $35 at petsmart or petco. This will tell you exactly how much and how often you need to do water changes. Once your tank is cycled (ammonia and nitrite read 0), you should change your water enough so that nitrate doesn't go above 10-20ppm. If you're still reading ammonia and nitrite, you'll want to do enough water changes to keep ammomia below 0.5 - 1.0ppm and nitrite below 0.5 - 1.0ppm.

When testing for nitrate, follow the directions to the letter, shaking solution#2 vigorously for 2 minutes and the test tube for 1 minute. Wait 5 minutes to match the color to the chart. Otherwise, you'll get a false low or zero reading.
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Bri B replied the topic: Re:Oscar Fish is a SLOW Eater.

Everything unc just said is spot on. Your O will train you for sure. My 2 have me wrapped around their pectoral fins for sure. If u have good filtration you can prob do a big water change every 3 or 4 days considering your O is small and by himself. The api test kit will let u know exactly what kind of regiment u need tho. Best of luck and always post any questions u have on here.
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daddadoo7 replied the topic: Re:Oscar Fish is a SLOW Eater.

I wouldnt feed the little guy so much while your still cycling. Fight the temptation to over feed. even when your cycled a few pellets twice a day is cool. Try to vary his diet nls is a great food along with omega one. Fd krill and veggies too. Peas are good for keeping the plumbing running smooth. A couple of times a year a few days of feeding epsom soaked pellets is a nice preventative.
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Phillipw311 replied the topic: Re:Oscar Fish is a SLOW Eater.

I do not think my tank is still cycling. Is there any obvious signs other than nitrite? Because mine is at 0 right now after my roughly 75% water change I performed 4 days ago. I know I've already had a bacteria bloom in my nitrogen cycle. The tank was VERY cloudy for about 10 days. It was a white cloudiness looking through the side of the 4' long tank. I used the API quick start once I filled my tank completely since that has artificial bacteria. So I dosed it with that and waited for the bacteria bloom to settle, the white cloudiness to clear up, and then added my fish. It seems to be stabilized now as far as I can tell! I just have a slow eating little guy and it has required tons of patience. haha I just feel like he should eat faster so I could do the rule of thumb feed him 2 -3 times daily for 2 minutes... It's hard to determine how much he NEEDS and how much he doesn't need. I cant really find a balance between the perfect amount of food and over feeding. And I am also not sure if I am underfeeding.
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Phillipw311 replied the topic: Re:Oscar Fish is a SLOW Eater.

But yeah I am super stoked that I FINALLY got him to eat the Hikari pellets. He LOVES those now that I finally got him to take them. He seems to eat those a little bit faster and have more desire to meet me at the top and take them oppose to the other pellets. He has been munching on them. I am just excited I got him to eat the higher quality food. He certainly appears to like them better! Thank you all again for the input!
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