New Canadian Member - Oscar Rescue

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TNJ_Adventures created the topic: New Canadian Member - Oscar Rescue

Hi everyone!

Over the last few days I've been reading a lot on this site and absorbing as much info as I can. I recently fell in love with two oscars at my local fish store. I noticed them every time I went in, but knew I could never afford to get them. I got in to the fish hobby about 9 months ago and have already spent ALL my disposable income on them. So I enjoyed seeing them when I went in for something else, but never really considered getting them for myself. That is until I heard their story.
They had been rescued from a home where they were neglected to the point that they both have hole in the head disease. I had noticed the marks and scars on them but being completely unfamiliar with oscars I never thought much of it. The lady that works at the store told me about the amount of neglect that would transpire to cause this disease and my heart broke for the two of them. Also, due to unforeseen circumstances they needed a home very quickly. This was three days ago on Monday, November 27.
I went back the next day, my birthday, to visit them. I'd thought about them all night. By the time I woke up that morning I knew I had to give them the best home they could possibly have. They had a bogus start to life so my mission was to give them the best life possible from this point forward. So Operation Oscar Paradise had started.
The afternoon of the 28th I went back a second time to see them. I had no idea how I could possibly afford it but I had to check. I spent an hour or so talking to Kat, my go to at my LFS because she's so knowledgeable, and priced all new gear. That was getting me in to $1500 for the two set-ups. Definitely a no go. I also couldn't stand the idea of only getting one. Luckily another LFS employee had a 50 gallon tank for sale. For a great price.
It was time to decide. I knew I couldn't get all new gear but if I got as much used as I could then I might be able to do it. I talked to Teri, my wife. That camera I wanted for Christmas? Don't want it. Please let me spend the money on fish. Approved. We both have a soft spot for rescues (all of our cats came from shelters or through shelters) and Teri was as adamant as I was that we needed to have these fish. As long as I didn't spend $1500...
I still wasn't quite there. I could afford to get one, but I really needed to give both a wonderful new home. Please don't misunderstand. The LFS they are living in now is top notch. They are very well cared for. They needed a HOME though. By this point I was at a loss on what to do about the second fish.
That's where my mom chimed in and said that she had been saving up some money from all the hours she's been working and wanted to help out. She even mentioned having one of them for herself. Why hadn't I thought of that? Well, the decision was made. Teri and I would have one oscar and mom would have another! Operation Oscar Paradise was now in full swing. All that was left was everything!
I called Nathan from my LFS and told him I wanted the 50 gallon tank. He knew how important this was to me so he threw in an almost new AquaClear 70 filter. These are my favourite filters that I have on my big 75 gallon tank. That saved me $90. So far so good. He also tossed in some heaters and other goodies. For $100 I had a 4' long tank, stand, filters, and heaters. I went back to my LFS the night of the 28th and picked up everything else I would need for my tank and the tank that would be going to mom's place. Which we still didn't have.
After a while on kijiji I found another 50 gallon tank and stand for $100 about an hour and a half away. That's getting picked up tomorrow. Last night, the night of the 29th, I cleaned everything I had picked up. It was a lot of cleaning, about four hours worth. Then I got the tank set up at my place and got both AquaClear 70 filters (one for each tank) to start building bacteria ASAP. Unfortunately the fish need to come home in 6 days and I don't have time to prep fully cycled tanks. It's not much of a boost but it's better than nothing.
I also have two Seapora 60 foam filters that have been in my well established 75 gallon community tank for about 10 days now. They will have a total of 16 days in a tank with perfect water parameters. It's not much, but anything will help.
The most important part of my plan is DAILY 25% water changes with Prime in the new water. I can't change the timeline so I have to do what I can. I expect to have to do this for 2-3 weeks. I'll monitor the water parameters twice daily when I feed them. Other than that I will keep an eye on the fish and their HITH and do what I can.
I've got a lot more work to do but I wanted to introduce myself and Operation Oscar Paradise. I will let you guys know what I have planned for the future for them but it's time to get my arms wet again instead of typing! Any advice is greatly appreciated but I have done my due diligence and read all the articles on the main page and a lot of posts on the forum so hopefully I won't have to ask any stupid questions!
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Suprd71 replied the topic: New Canadian Member - Oscar Rescue

Welcome to OFL. Great intro, kudos to you and Mom for helping the Oscars. I will offer 2 VERY important bits right off. Yes, monitor water parameters daily. Use a liquid test kit, strips are no good. Yes change 25% water daily, but only for a week or so. Then up the volume to 50%. Do that for a week or so. Then do as much as to leave the fish able to swim and breath, 90% if you can. Do that every 3 days. More often if you detect any ammonia or nitrite(bad toxins). The major key to recovery is clean water. Also, can you post a pic or two of each fish. I would like to see the severity of the hith. Lastly, for now, where in Canada are you? I am in N.Ontario


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TNJ_Adventures replied the topic: New Canadian Member - Oscar Rescue

Thanks for the reply SuprD! First off I'm in Nova Scotia.

I monitor my other three tanks every other day. I am using strips right now but will switch to liquid kits asap. I've been wanting to anyway and you just convinced me!

As for the HITH the store has been taking really good care of them and they are doing well. Let me get photobucket sorted out so I can post some pics.

Can you give me the reasoning behind the change you're suggesting in the initial water changes? Is it just to make absolutely sure nitrites and ammonia are nil? I understand the cycling of a tank under normal circumstances but I've never attempted a fish-in cycle.

Also for treatment for HITH they have been treated with Metro Plus (I think that's what it's called). I have some ordered in but I would rather make sure they have a pristine place to live and a proper diet. From what I understand that should do worlds of good for them. I will only treat at signs of worsening disease of course.
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TNJ_Adventures replied the topic: New Canadian Member - Oscar Rescue

Here's the links at least. Can't quite figure out how to embed images in the post...

Carl 1
Carl 2
Gord 1
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SantaMonicaHelp replied the topic: New Canadian Member - Oscar Rescue

I'm happy to hear that you found this site useful. Congrats on joining the community!

-Kamran

My name is ??. I work for SantaMonica.
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Suprd71 replied the topic: New Canadian Member - Oscar Rescue

Pics are a bit blurry but fish do show signs of neglect. On the positive side, I have seen far worse. The reason I recommended 25% daily for a week is to make sure the fish acclimate to better water on a more gradual scale. Osmotic shock can kill a fish that has been thrust into water far different than what it has been subject to in the past. If you are confident that the lfs has been offering plenty clean water, then you could likely go ahead with 50% changes. Fish look to be a good size so I will offer you a filtration tip... a pair of AC70 filters will not handle a 50g tank with a medium/large Oscar in it. Filter ratings don't apply to tanks holding big cichlids. Bioload is high with such fish. If you run the filters with sponge on bottom and as much ceramics as the media bag will hold, you get the most possible performance from the AC. Do not use any carbon, it does more harm than good. Keep us updated, ask anything you need to. No such thing as a stupid question,lol!


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TNJ_Adventures replied the topic: New Canadian Member - Oscar Rescue

I am very confident the LFS has been keeping them in good water. The staff there really cares and is very knowledgeable. The oscars have been there for about 2 months now (I forgot to mention that before) so they are used to good water. My main concern is the lack of cycling. In my other set-ups I always start slow. 4 weeks with no fish or until the cycle is complete and then add fish slowly. That's hard when your new buddy is 12" long!
I was concerned about the filtration. Two AC70s works great on my 75 gallon community tank with about 25 fish in it so I was hoping that would be enough for this. You confirmed by doubts though. Mom and I are going on a road trip today to pick up the second tank. The lady we are getting it from mentioned a canister filter she has for sale so I will take a look at that. I'll be monitoring water parameters daily on both tanks for the first while anyway so I will adjust my water changes as needed. I will also take out the activated carbon, which I have been thinking of doing on my other tanks, and add another bag of BioMax until I can get a better filtration set up. Would you recommend canister or sump? I do intend to move the oscars to bigger tanks when I can (I would love 75 gallons for each of them) so I would like something that can either be moved/upgraded with the fish or kept with the tank and adjusted as needed.

Oh yes I took your advice and picked up a good liquid test kit today.
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TNJ_Adventures replied the topic: New Canadian Member - Oscar Rescue

Also what pH should I aim for? I keep all my other tanks right around 6.8
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TNJ_Adventures replied the topic: New Canadian Member - Oscar Rescue

So I got a Fluval 306 with the tank. Specs say 300GPH (6X my tank capacity) with 6.6L of filter media capacity. I assume it's the media capacity that makes the big difference. I would say the AC70 only has 2.5 L of media max. It seems to me like this should do a better job than the ACs.
So I will still have to run two AC70s on one tank. I've also got an AC20 that I'll throw on because why not. Until I can afford a better filter for that tank I will just keep a REALLY close eye on water parameters and most likely increase my water changes depending on my test results.
So now it's just a matter of setting up the second tank and the new filter, a bit of tweaking, and then new buddies!
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Suprd71 replied the topic: New Canadian Member - Oscar Rescue

You certainly have some basic knowledge and experience on your side, that's a bonus. I would suggest running the AC's and the 306 together, permanent. The canister will be the primary bio filter, the hobs will be good mechanical assistance. You cant over filter an Oscar tank. 6.8 Ph is bang on perfect, provided you don't have some oddball water with low Ph but still higher hardness. Its rare but not unheard of. A bit of concern about your cycle method. With no fish, what do you do for an ammonia source? 12in Oscar in 50g of uncycle is actually quite dangerous. By all means monitor that water closely. Change as much and as often as you need to keep toxins at 0, or as close as possible. Lower Ph affords some cushion, as ammonia is exponentially less harmful as Ph drops. Sump filtration is for larger tanks. Canister/hob combos work very well for most average size home tanks. I would feed the fish sparingly, like maybe 2-3 x weekly to keep waste production low. Aids in maintaining water quality.


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