Ammonia burn or Fin rot or What?

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dhimmelstein created the topic: Ammonia burn or Fin rot or What?

My oscar is struggling.

Not sure where to start. Have had oscar for about a year. Didn't start checking the parameters until recently (because he started looking/acting weird).

Two weeks ago, he was treated for HITH and about a week ago, he got a bad case of ich. So he was treated for that. He got very lethargic and had a white film over his body/eyes and all of his fins started to "shred" a couple millimeters or so deep. So i panicked and changed 75% of the water (I assumed he was overmedicated and i should have done more water changes during treatments).

Turns out the pH was 6.0-6.5 (which I've slowly corrected over the past few days to about 7.5)

Ammonia and nitrate/nitrite were over the recommended levels. (which has also been corrected to normal using beneficial bacteria).

All other parameters were within normal (temperature, water hardness, etc.)

Through some research, it looks like he might have ammonia/pH burn from lack of care. Other forums also say that it could be tail/fin rot. (its hard to tell now because i'm told they have the same symptoms.

I have a 52gallon tank, 1 oscar. Appropriate size filter. He's probably about 2 years old.

And kind of an update, he seems to be doing slightly better (activity-wise) since I fixed the pH and the ammonia/nitrate/nitrite. Still not hungry, and still a little lethargic.

My guess is the pH/ammonia are causing the white film over his body? and that it is causing his fins to deteriorate? Can it do both of those things?

Thanks for the help!
(Having trouble uploading photos!)
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Suprd71 replied the topic: Ammonia burn or Fin rot or What?

Hello and welcome to OFL. Everything you are stating re past and current conditions of Oscar are directly related to water quality issues. I wager you have not been changing enough water as a regular thing. Tank is very small for an adult Oscar. The 75% water change you "panicked" into shoukld be done at MINIMUM twice a week. If you are showing ammonia in testing, then your filter is inadequate for a big fish in small volume water. Specifically, it hasnt the biological capacity to handle the fish's ammonia production. PH of 6-6.5 is perfect for Oscars, you shouldnt manipulate that to higher levels. Best advice short term is change lots of water, and do it often. Long term, a bigger capacity filter and bigger tank will go a long way to keeping the fish healthier.


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dhimmelstein replied the topic: Ammonia burn or Fin rot or What?

Thanks for the help.

So I'll upgrade the tank/filter and water changes.

Curious about the pH recommendation from 6-6.5 though. I've been advised to maintain it at 7.5. Also, the pH recommendation on API brands say cichlids should be 8.0-9.0. Can you explain this please?

Thanks again.
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Suprd71 replied the topic: Ammonia burn or Fin rot or What?

The majority of cichlids are located in South America, Central America, and parts of Africa. Each area has different water. South America, the Amazon river and basin is acidic soft water. This is Oscar's origin. Lower Ph in the 6's. Central American water is slightly more alkaline, harder. Ph in the 7's. African Rift lakes are more alkaline still, very hard. Ph 8-9. The bulk of fish most hobbyists keep are aquarium bred in the water of the breeders home town. Fish will adapt to whats available, but ideally they should be kept as close to their origin water as possible. Whatever comes out of your tap source water, keep it that way. Dont adjust using chemicals, or that PH up and down crap. If your tap is anywhere between 6 and 8, Oscar will be fine. Tidbit of info.. the higher the Ph, the more harmful toxins in the water will be. Lower Ph is more forgiving with ammonia content


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dhimmelstein replied the topic: Ammonia burn or Fin rot or What?

Oh okay. That makes a lot more sense than the other descriptions I've been given.

Final question, assuming that the water quality parameters are maintained, my oscar will be fine from now on?
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dhimmelstein replied the topic: Ammonia burn or Fin rot or What?

Last note, whatever has been happening lately to him has resulted in cloudy eyes and he has trouble seeing (swimming into the walls, swimming into the filter) and is startled when it happens. Since this has been very recent development, is his eyesight damage permanent or will he recover?

Am I supposed to hand feed him? I doubt he can find the food on his own. Going on day 4 with no food.

Thanks!
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Suprd71 replied the topic: Ammonia burn or Fin rot or What?

Cloudy eyes are another result of living in poor water. Doesnt necessarily mean he is totally blind. Keep lighting dim, Oscars are light sensitive at the best of times. Recovery is never guaranteed, but a shortened life is most guaranteed if you dont act quickly. Fish likely has a weakened immune system from a rough start to life. They are tough fish and can recover from terrible afflictions. Not to panic with 4 days no food. An Oscar that age can go several weeks. Clean up his water and you should see some positive results.


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DRACO replied the topic: Ammonia burn or Fin rot or What?

normally, cloudy eyes is the end result of high ammonia...
keeping the water in good condition can make your fish recover in time!
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