Oscar not eating

  • oscarwilde
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oscarwilde created the topic: Oscar not eating

I gave my albino Oscar (1 1/2 years old) to my friend about two weeks ago. My friend had to drive to another city where she lives and the trip takes about 2 hours. Everything seemed to go well initially - we got a large rubbermaid container, filled it with my tank water, gently netted the Oscar, and placed him inside.

From the beginning my former Oscar did not look happy but when he was introduced to my friend's new 55 gallon he seemed okay and swam around a lot. My friend used the media from her cansiter filters (Flubal U2 internal filter, Fluval 305) to cycle the tank a couple weeks before I gave her the Oscar. My friend does regular water changes and has the API master test kit.

However, something isn't right with Poe (the oscar). Poe's appetite changed after the move and he refuses to eat anything my friend gives him, even foods I know he enjoyed when I had him. I fed him a variety of healthy foods (such as Hikari bio gold, algae flakes, frozen and freeze dried bloodworms, etc.) but he is still not eating and we are getting concerned because this has been going on for more than 2 weeks.

To make matters worse, my friend went away for Christmas and asked one of her neighbours to look after her fish tank while she was away (the person she would have asked who actually owned fish was gone for the holidays as well, so she did not know anyone else and the neighbour who could come did not have experience with fish). My friend told the neighbour how much to feed the fish and was gone for about a week.

But when my friend came back...the tank water was filthy because Poe was not eating the food and it began to cloud the water and rot. Poe and his parrot fish buddy were alive but her small mustard spot pleco (who was perfectly healthy when she left) sadly did not survive. The water was really disgusting looking and she was amazed Poe and his little parrot fish buddy survived at all.
I told my friend to do a 50% water change and to test it for ammonia and nitrates. She said the ammonia and nitrate levels are currently reading 0ppm and plans to do another 50% water change today.

Poe is alive but is still not eating. He is not gasping, laying on the bottom of the tank, and shows no visible signs of disease. Could the move have caused this or is he sick from the filthy water? What should my friend do from this point forward? Any advice is greatly appreciated.
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  • sharyn
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sharyn replied the topic: Re: Oscar not eating

Poor little Poe!

OK there are a few things here..leaving your care, the trip, the new aquarium, different water, the new tank mates...all of that may make Poe a bit out of sorts. Os can be very sensitive and sulky.

Having the mucky disaster would not have helped at all but it sounds like that is back on track.

How big is Poe and how big is the parrot fish? You know where I am going with that..55 gal...but that would not be a short term reason for not eating..

They can apparantly go for a while without food, I know other members have experience here.

Does Poe like insects? Maybe the live food / moving dynamic might stimulate a kill and eat response?
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Small Fry replied the topic: Re: Oscar not eating

Yeah if your LFS has crickets or meal worms that might stimulate him to want to eat again once he notices something moving on the waters surface ( If meal worms float that is LOL!! )
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  • oscarwilde
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oscarwilde replied the topic: Re: Oscar not eating

Thank you for your quick response guys! Everyone on this website is so helpful :)

I advised against my friend getting a parrot fish for the 55 gal because 55 gallons is the bare minimum tank size for just one oscar. The parrot fish she has in the 55 gallon with Poe is a baby and has not even turned orange yet. Fortunately, my friend came back into town and I advised her to buy an Aquaclear filter to manage the bio load she will have and she picked up an Aquaclear 70.

Poe is approximately 8 1/2 inches long from head to tail and is about 1 year and 3 months old. He's a pretty mild-mannered Oscar, minus his tendency to uproot every single plant in the tank. :)

When I had Poe, I tried feeding him large canned crickets but he just spat them out and ignored them! (he's such a little fuss pot!) He used to really enjoy shrimp pellets but he won't even touch them now. The water he was in when my friend returned home was about as brown as shimp pellets themselves... :(

One other thing that happened was my friend actually took Poe out of the tank and drained out all the water before refilling it with clean water. I'm worried that didn't make things any better for Poe because of the stress of being netted and removed from the tank. I told her to refrain from taking her fish out of the tank and to simply do 50% water changes.

Is there any way my friend can reduce his stress and encourage him to try eating again? Poe does not like insects that much and I really don't want him to get worse.
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Small Fry replied the topic: Re: Oscar not eating

Anything you can do to reduce the stress on him is advisable. Netting him and draining all the water I would agree is never a good idea and would just increase the stress on an already stressed fish, due to his resent move. They tend to be very sulky fish and almost don;t eat out of spite. Get your friend to follow a regular schedule on her water changes and get her to test her water every other day just to make sure everything is where it is suppose to be. A lot of things have happened in this tank and lvls can get out of whack quickly. If Poe seems fine with no external issues and swims well then I would say in time when he is hungry enough he will choose to eat again. He just needs stability at this time.
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streetsmart73 replied the topic: Re: Oscar not eating

hi there


1. my take: daily 20% water change.
2. feed pellets sparsely and remove uneaten pellets immediately.
3. add black water to calm poor poe!
4. the poor thing is stressful enough.

"somewhere in time ... gone with the wind"
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