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FAQs on Oscar Disease/Health 2

Related Articles: Freshwater DiseasesIch/White Spot Disease, Freshwater MedicationsOscars, Neotropical Cichlids, African Cichlids, Dwarf South American Cichlids, Cichlid Fishes in General

Related FAQs: Oscar Disease 1, Oscar Health 3, Oscar Disease 4,   Oscar Disease 5, Oscar Disease 6, Oscar Disease 7, Oscar Disease 8, Oscar Disease 9, Oscar Disease 10, Oscar Disease 11, Oscar Disease 12, Oscar Disease 13, Oscar Disease 14, Oscar Disease 15, Oscar Disease 16,

FAQs on Oscar Disease by Category: Environmental, Nutritional, Social, Infectious, Parasitic, Genetic, Treatments, & Cichlid Disease 1, Cichlid Disease 2, Oscars 1, Oscars 2, Oscar Identification, Oscar Selection, Oscar Compatibility, Oscar Behavior, Oscar Systems, Oscar Feeding, Oscar Reproduction, Neotropical Cichlids 1, Cichlids of the World, Cichlid Systems, Cichlid Identification, Cichlid Behavior, Cichlid Compatibility, Cichlid Selection, Cichlid Feeding, Cichlid Reproduction,

Spots on Tiger Oscars Hi guys, Firstly top web site very informative and I'm happy to say that I seem to be doing everything correctly. My question is this. I have noticed two small reddish brown spots on one fin of one of my tiger Oscars (I have two at about 3" long and two albino's at 4" long). I have seen lots of reference to white spot / Ich and have had to treat for this in the past, but learned my lesson well. I have not been able to find any info about brown / red spots. The Oscars behaviour seems to be absolutely normal, active eating well etc. What could this be? Do I have anything to worry about? Many thanks in advance guys, look forward to getting your answer. Mick Hawkes Southsea UK < Could be bacterial or could be normal coloration. Do a 30% water change and clean the filters and vacuum the gravel. Check the water chemistry to make sure all is OK. If the spots get bigger and it appears to be a bacterial infection then treat with Nitrofurazone as per the directions on the package.-Chuck>

Bloated Oscar Hi, I'll preface this by apologizing if this has been gone over before. I found similar cases but still have questions. My Oscar is 7 years old, lives alone in a 50 gallon tank. He has had a bloated, racquetball shaped belly problem for two weeks I'd say.  He is eating but not well. He is able to swim around pretty normally I'd say. His diet heretofore had consisted solely of a mixture of two brands of pelleted type food.   Treatments employed thus far: Metronidazole, 250 mg/ 10 gallons, every third day ( has had three treatments) 30% water changes with vacuuming prior to each Metronidazole dose salt added to aquarium (salted to .1%) Does it sound as if I am doing the right things? I am wondering, how many doses of the Metronidazole should I do? And as far as the salt goes, to what percent should I salt? Or, rather, what is the appropriate dose in my  case? Oh, yeah, I am now feeding him those little frozen ice cube things for Oscars- the "Lunch Box"...beef heart, krill, etc.; frozen into these nifty little cubes. I realize that his diet has not been varied at all and has been poor. I just want to fix him up. He is a great little (not so little!) guy. Thanks, M.C. and Oscar on Cape Cod <Metronidazole is used against protozoan infections. Best when fed in the form of medicated flake food. But I don't think that's your Oscar's problem. I think he has an intestinal blockage from a life of pelleted foods. I want to thank you for not feeding him feeder fish, but he does need some natural foods to keep things moving. I would stop the medication and salt. Then add five or six tablespoon of Epsom salt to the 50 gallon tank. This will help with the constipation. Try feeding him an earthworm. Keep them small until he learns how delicious they are. I'm a firm believer in feeding prepared foods for there balanced nutrition, but only with the addition of fresh, natural foods. I always check out the seafood specials at the local supermarket. A pound of small shrimp or scallops cost around six or seven bucks and will last you a month or more. Get whatever is on sale and mix it up for him. But always get saltwater fish and shrimp. Better nutrition and less chance of bringing in a nasty with dinner. I would not feed any land animal meat. Even beef heart is too fatty. Good luck with him. Don>        

Oscar Problems Hi Bob, I am coming to my wits end, I have a tiger Oscar which i purchased over 12 months ago (already an adult at 12 inches therefore i have no idea on the age of the fish). He had a scrape down his side measuring about an inch in length by about 1/4 inch which has never healed ( given to him by the guys at LFS transferring him to the bucket for transportation home ). About 14 days ago now he started swimming erratically, swimming downward in a spiral and then generally losing the ability to stay upright coming to the surface and listing toward one side. I suspected he might have a swim bladder problem so used Interpet's swim bladder treatment. I have now come  to the end of this course, and although he seemed to show an initial improvement this was short-lived and now he is becoming more lethargic and has taken to hiding behind an ornament that helps him stay upright, he also lost his appetite for about 36 hours but has eaten small amounts in the last 48 hours. Other than these symptoms, he has no other signs of any illness. I did a 50% water change and allowed 24 hrs to remove meds with carbon and a poly filter, i have now gone to day 3 of an 8 day course of anti-internal bacteria treatment by Interpet thinking that this may be the problem ? He is in a 200 litre tank with 2 apple snails ammonia at 0.1ppm (messy fish hard to get to zero) nitrite 0ppm nitrate <5ppm  Ph 7 (hard to make exact colour on card but with daylight behind me most closely approximates this colour. I have a Rena xp2 canister filter and 3 weeks ago also added a Fluval 304 in a further effort to reduce ammonia to zero. there are no plants only the plastic aquaria friendly type and about 1 1/2 inches of gravel and finally an air pump driven air tube for oxygenation of the water - oh and a powerhead for even further circulation. Am i jumping in with too many meds or do you have any further suggestions ? Oh 1 more thing i added Aqualibrium salt to a dose of 0.1% according to the dosage table on the box however this was right at the start of the treatment so is probably reduced to 50% of that dose because of the water change . . . .  Love your site and take your information as the Gospel according to WWM :) Thanks Trevor in Blackpool England ( your meds are difficult to acquire here ) <Your fish has an internal bacterial infection. Do a 30% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filters. Now that the tank is clean you should treat the disease with one of three things. The first choice would be Metronidazole. Second choice would be clout. The third choice would be Nitrofuranace at double strength. All these medications can be found online at DrsFosterSmith.com-Chuck>

Oscar Fish Unknown Illness Hi,    I was hoping you could help me determine what is wrong with my Oscar.  I've had the 14" Oscar for two years in a 65 gal tank.  I use a Magnum 350 filter without carbon. I am uncertain of my Oscars age, he was this size when we got him.  However I have a feeling he may be getting on in years.  Water temperature is 82, pH is 7.2, nitrates 0, ammonia 0, nitrates 0-20.  For the last six months I have been trying to eradicate a moderate - severe case of hole in the head.  I do 30% water changes (including gravel vacs) every week, have added aquarium salt 1tbsp/5gal and have unsuccessfully tried to vary his diet.  He eats only JumboMin pellets even though I tried not feeding him anything for 1-2 weeks before offering earthworms, etc.   Four weeks ago I treated him with 100mg Metronidazole per 10 gal for five days  for the hole in the head.  There was no improvement.   <Mmm, I might lower the temperature a bit... to the mid to upper 70's... and would try the vitamin treatment route>    One week ago he stopped eating and would lay on his side at the bottom of the tank, barely breathing, occasionally his tail would quiver.   I tested the water and it was fine.  At times he was so listless he would get sucked up against the filter intake.  At first there were no visible signs of illness.  Then four days ago he developed a swollen anus.  I treated him with Epsom salts and he's now pooping normally. <Good> However, the anus region remained swollen.  Three days ago he finally ate a bit but also started flashing and scratching himself on the gravel, particularly his head.  He also developed a heavy slime coat, grayish in color.  He has also lost a lot of color especially on his underside.  Two days ago he stopped breathing out of his left gill. <This happens... but am given to wonder whether you have a source of poisoning in this system? An ornament, rock... shell...?> I did a water change and treated him with clout and within several hours he was active and using both gills.  He almost seemed normal.  This morning he was back on the bottom breathing out of one gill.  I performed a 25% water change and treated him again with Clout today (1 tab/10gal).  Again within hours he was using both gills and swimming more normally but he is still flashing and itching on the gravel.  As I'm writing this he is laying on the bottom but appears to be breathing normally.    I'm concerned there is more than one problem here.  I don't know what my next step should be in treating my Oscar, any advice would be greatly appreciated.   Thanks in advance for your help. Sincerely, Catherine Green <Do seek out/use a pad of "PolyFilter" in your filter flow path and relate to me/us what color (if any) you observe on this filter media... Am speculating that there is some source of metal at play. Bob Fenner>
Re: Oscar Fish Unknown Illness
Hi,   Thank you for replying to my last email.   The day after I sent my last email, one source of my Oscar's discomfort became clear.  The grayish slime on his body turned into cottony tuffs and some of the skin around his head started peeling off.  I realized it was Columnaris <Umm, but what is/was the cause? You are describing, treating an "effect"> and immediately began treating him with Maracyn for the Columnaris and Maracyn-Two since I suspect a possible internal bacterial infection based on lack of appetite and some swelling of his lower body.  That was 3 days ago and he is improving rather well.  At first he displayed severe irritation, swimming erratically and banging his head off the glass.  That has subsided.  He is eating well and the cottony patches are slowly disappearing.      As for a possible source of poisoning, I don't think there is anything in the tank that would cause it. <Mmm, might even be from outside... cooking aerosols, sprays... even a stray bug>   I have a couple of large rocks that have been in the tank since setup, and I haven't added anything in since.  However, I will work on obtaining a Polyfilter, but most likely I will have to order it online since pet/fish stores in my area are poorly stocked.  (I had to go to 4 different stores to buy enough Maracyn for 5 days!)  I will let you know the results of the Polyfilter as soon as possible.   <Can be mail-ordered...>    I have a couple of questions:        First, how long should I continue the antibiotic treatment.  I have read Columnaris can be difficult to eradicate, so I was thinking of continuing the Maracyn for 10-14 days.   <Can be "treated" for this long... likely water changes, addition of some aquarium salt will/would accomplish the same ends>        Second, my tank has experienced a nasty bacterial bloom.  (Extremely cloudy water overnight, white stringy material throughout the tank.) I'm thinking it may be a reaction to the Clout I used earlier. <Very likely> Since I started medicating the tank, I am monitoring water quality on a daily basis.  I performed a 25% water change and serviced my filter which was clogged with the slimy material.  What is the best way to handle a bacterial bloom? <Reduced feeding, increased circulation, aeration, filtration... possibly the addition of purposeful beneficial microbes (e.g. BioSpira)>   Should I perform frequent water changes?  If so, how much and how often? <See WWM re> Also, should I also vacuum the gravel or am I risking disturbing the bacterial population further? <Possibly... one must measure ammonia, nitrite... and weigh the advantages and possible downsides>       Third, you recommend starting a vitamin regimen for the HITH.  Do vitamins added directly to the water help, or should I try dipping his food in vitamin solution before feeding him?  Also, can you recommend a good vitamin solution to use? <Please see WWM re... added to foods... soaking... from human or pet-fish commercial source...>     Thank you so much for all your help!  Your resources are greatly appreciated! Catherine Green <Keep studying, enjoying! Bob Fenner>

Oscar Problem Hey there folks!  I am so glad to have stumbled onto your site for some practical advice about my Oscars!  However, I guess I still don't know what to do about them.  One of my Oscars has developed a swollen eye with a white-ish ring around the outside.  When I noticed this I began to research through your site and found that it probably wasn't Pop-eye (since it's only one eye) but could be a tank injury...VERY possible for he has a buddy that likes to startle him quite a bit :).  So, I gave it a good 5 days to see if anything changed--not much has changed for the good.  He has taken a liking to lying on the bottom of the tank, very still, and often will jerk and twitch and rub his only good eye against the gravel.  He still eats occasionally, but certainly not as vigorously has he used to.  The other Oscar has also become very "chill" and rests on the bottom as well. This morning, after seeing the decline in the Oscar-energy, I did a 30% water change and replaced one of the two filter cartridges, no carbon, with a new clean one--the water looks better, but not the Oscars.  I have also introduced an anti-fungal medicine just today, "Maroxy" for many different infections, including "swollen eyes."  I also--par your web site--changed their diet a little today and gave them some blood worms as opposed to their normal Cichlid pellet diet. I ALSO, :) turned the heater up to about 78-80, from 72-75 to see if I could give them a little energy--no such luck yet.  :) I love your site, and I certainly have learned a lot reading through the archives. I hope it isn't too much to ask for you help once more?  Is there anything more I can do? Should I just cross my fingers? :) :) Thank you so much, and hope to hear from you soon... :) Kayla < You Oscars may be suffering form internal bacterial infections. the same one that has caused the Popeye on one of your Oscars. You are on the right track. Do another 30% water change while cleaning the gravel and change the other filter cartridge. Now that the water is clean, you can treat the tank with Metronidazole as per the directions on the package.-Chuck>

Oscars Doing Better Thank you Chuck for your response!  Yes, I am happy to report that my Oscars seem to be doing better. I'm on the third day of a anti-bacterial treatment, I have changed the water thoroughly AND replaced our cheap filter (it came in a "Start-up Kit") with a 250gph canister filter.  Both Oscars have been more energetic and active; not so "lazy." :)  The one Oscar still has a puffy eye and is not quite to his normal self ... hopefully the medicine will take care of it.  What should I be looking for as far him getting better?  Will his eye go down? Will his energy return first before anything? < His eye should return to normal if the disease hasn't progressed too far.> And one last question:  Do you know of any good, informational books (not necessarily "beginner information") on Oscars? I want to read up on these awesome fish. < For a great book on Oscars and other cichlids I always recommend "Enjoying Cichlids" by Ad Konings. Lots of useful information on all cichlids with a very helpful chapter that deals with Oscars.-Chuck> Thanks again and keep up the good work. Kayla PS I attached a pic of the sick Oscar ... hope it works. :)

Sick Oscar Hi, I have searched your site and not found an answer. We have 4 cichlids in 2 tanks that are all over 3 years old. They are all about 8" long. The 2 tigers in one of the tanks are fine and aggressive as ever. The 2 reds in the other tank, one is fine and eating normal and the other is lethargic and it is hard to get its attention even with the pellet food. I have not seen him eat in a few days. Absolutely nothing has changed in 3 years with my water changes, vacuuming, feeding, etc. The one that is lethargic also is holding its mouth open more than the other and when it swims by the filter(s) the water pressure knocks him sideways a little like he is weak. He just floats there staring at the back of the tank. They all go crazy when I walk in the room, except this one. His coloring looks great, eyes clear, no evident bloating, and there are no new cuts or bruises. Any ideas????? Thank you! Mitchell A. <You Oscar could have an internal bacterial infection brought on by stress. I would recommend a treatment of Metronidazole.-Chuck>

Tiger Oscar balance problems Hi crew, I am coming to my wits end, I have a tiger Oscar which I purchased over 12 months ago (already an adult at 12 inches therefore I have no idea on the age of the fish). He had a scrape down his side measuring about an inch in length by about 1/4 inch which has never healed ( given to him by the guys at LFS transferring him to the bucket for transportation home ). About 14 days ago now he started swimming erratically, swimming downward in a spiral and then generally losing the ability to stay upright coming to the surface and listing toward one side. I suspected he might have a swim bladder problem so used Interpet's swim bladder treatment. I have now come to the end of this course, and although he seemed to show an initial improvement this was short-lived and now he is becoming more lethargic and has taken to hiding behind an ornament that helps him stay upright. He also lost his appetite for about 36 hours but has eaten small amounts in the last 48 hours. Other than these symptoms, he has no other signs of any illness. I did a 50% water change and allowed 24 hrs to remove meds with carbon and a poly filter, I have now gone to day 3 of an 8 day course of anti-internal bacteria treatment by Interpet thinking that this may be the problem ? He is in a 200 litre tank with 2 apple snails ammonia at 0.1ppm (messy fish hard to get to zero) nitrite 0ppm nitrate <5ppm  Ph 7 (hard to make exact colour on card but with daylight behind me most closely approximates this colour. I have a Rena xp2 canister filter and 3 weeks ago also added a Fluval 304 in a further effort to reduce ammonia to zero. There are no plants only the plastic aquaria friendly type and about 1 1/2 inches of gravel and finally an air pump driven air tube for oxygenation of the water - oh and a power head for even further circulation. Am I jumping in with too many meds or do you have any further suggestions ? Oh 1 more thing I added Aquilibrium salt to a dose of 0.1% according to the dosage table on the box however this was right at the start of the treatment so is probably reduced to 50% of that dose because of the water change . . . .  Love your site and take your information as the Gospel according to WWM :) Thanks, Trevor in Blackpool, England ( your meds are difficult to acquire here . . . . ) < The internal bacterial infection has attacked the Oscar's swim bladder. I use Metronidazole for such treatments but am unaware if it is available to you. I would do a 30% water change and vacuum the gravel and clean all the filters. Treat with Metronidazole or Clout. If neither one is available then I would double dose with Nitrofurazone. These antibiotics may affect the bacteria bed in the filters so I would watch for ammonia spikes.-Chuck>

Beat Up Oscar Hello, My name is Josef Moran and I have a question about my  Oscar.  He is a red Oscar and he is getting bullied by my other two Oscars.  They are albino . When this happens he floats there like he is dead. And I  was wondering if you can tell me if there is any thing I can do to help my red  Oscar. < The other two Oscars may be breeding. The pair will guard the eggs and fry from all other fish. they will even kill the other fish if they are too close. I think the best thing to do is remove the beat up Oscar before he is killed.-Chuck>

Oscar Going Black Hello, I have an 8 inch albino Oscar, his name is Humberto, in a 100 gallon tank. Almost three weeks ago he started developing black along the edges of his fins. I assumed it was fin-rot and treated it as such, but alas it continued to spread. His anal and pectoral fins are now half black and his top fin is black along the back part of it. I've doubled the filtration (I'm currently using a 200 gallon filter) and increased the aeration. He is still as feisty as ever and it hasn't seemed to effect his health. He still acts exactly the same as he did before the black started developing, but I'm still extremely worried about my little (but getting larger) Humberto. I would sincerely appreciate any, ANY, information you might have about this. < I would be concerned too. Check the nitrate levels. They should be under 25 ppm. Do a 30% water change , vacuum the gravel and clean the filters. Black usually indicates neurological damage. I would initially though that the problem was bacterial and treated just like you did. It may be a kind of protozoa so I would try Clout this time around. Check the food too. Color foods may add ingredients to their food to bring out pigments that some fish just don't have.-Chuck> 

Re: Please help with my Oscar Thank you a million times, I removed the shells, changed a lot of water and treated the fish. He is now swimming normally, and eating. I couldn't find the medication you mentioned, I have been told it was pulled from the shelves because of people using it for other than fish. So I bought a product called Fungus Eliminator by Jungle. It said it treats swim bladder disease, and in about 3 days it did! I also used something called MelaFix. One more question... My large Oscar likes to eat crickets, are they ok for him? <Yes, very good. Bob Fenner>  

Oscar Problem I have 2 small Oscars in a 55 gallon tank, one is 2 years old and one is about 6 months old. They have always been OK with each other, no fighting and they even swam right next to each other. Anyway, about 4 days ago, this little guy started laying on his side on the bottom of the tank and I noticed some scales that looked like they were loose (and turning white). I divided the tank until I figured out what the problem is. I thought perhaps the bigger fish was beating the smaller one up. When he swims, he is upright sometimes, and other times he is on his side. He mainly lays on the bottom of the tank. He will eat a small amount IF it falls directly in front of him. I thought I would try some small feeder fish and he did go after them a couple times, but soon gave up. What could cause this? Other than the laying and swimming on his side, his personality seems normal. Please help! Melissa Dog In Suds Marcellus Michigan http://members.aol.com/rumorsbasenjis/Hailey.html   <Your Oscar has an internal bacterial infection that has attacked his swim bladder. Do a 30% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. Then treat the tank with Metronidazole. Raise the water temp to 80 degrees F and get rid of the shell from the aquarium. It leaches calcium into the water and raises the pH.-Chuck>

Oscar Bumped His Head, Now Afraid of Dark? Rapid Light Changes Hello, I'm quite concern about one of my Oscars. (I had them for about 3 months) About two weeks ago we moved my Oscars (2) from a 10 gallon tank to a 55 gallon. For the first week they seemed to be doing very well and loving there new home. One of my Oscars (my larger one) has had some missing fins since the first week we had him. Last week while at the pet store, I found some medication that was suppose to help with fin growth and repair. I started to apply the medication to the water last week Tuesday.  Since last week Wednesday, my larger Oscar stopped eating and was very unsociable, hiding behind rocks and plants. My smaller Oscar is doing perfectly fine. I just figured the larger one was not feeling well and decided to leave him be for awhile. Over the weekend he still was being the same, so we did a 20% water change, but still no change in the larger Oscar.  Then last night after eating supper, I was going to check on the Oscars, and could not find the larger one and then finally found him on the floor. We only have one tiny little opening on the tank and I'm quite amazed that he was able to fit through it. After we put him back in the tank, I'm notice that his scales around his eyes were all scraped up. He seemed to be very disoriented for awhile swimming vertically. After a few hours passed he seemed to be coming around. I tried to feed him again, and he still will not eat.  Just before bed time, I went to turn the light off and he went crazy (swimming totally fast back and forth throughout the tank hitting all objects in his path). I was total freaked out over this and quickly turned the light back on. He instantly clammed down. We have a water testing kit and have been checking it daily. The water seems to be perfectly fine and so does my smaller Oscar. I just have no idea what's going on with my larger Oscar. Any help is must appreciated. Amy <Your answer is actually the title I placed on your question. Fish don't like "lights on-lights off". I think they have difficultly with their eyes rapidly changing from bright light to darkness and visa-versa. The trick is to place a small Christmas tree bulb sized night light on the same wall as the fish tank try turning the room lamp on first before turning on the fish tank light, and then turn off the fish tank light first before turning off the room light. It should make a difference.-Chuck>
Hurt Oscar - Rapid Light Change Follow-up
Thanks Chuck, What should I do about the larger Oscar not eating? Its been about a week and 1 day now that he has not been eating. This worries me because he used to be the one that was always starving for more food and would often jump at my hand when it was feeding time. Also, he is very unsocial able now, where before he stopped eating he was quite entertaining. He doesn't even seem like the same fish anymore.  The only thing that we did differently in the last week before he stopped eating was give them the medication for the fin repair and we fed them two goldfish as a treat which they haven't had in quite some time. I don't believe it was the medication because the smaller Oscar is doing perfectly fine. And I'm also afraid that he was injured in his jump out of the tank.  He is missing a lot of scales around his right eye and on the tip of his head. Will these scales grow back??  Also, do you think that the larger one might have gotten sick from the goldfish?  If so, what would you suggest that I give him to make him feel better and to start eating again. The last couple of days I've fed them flakes, frozen blood worm, frozen shrimp brim and pellets. The smaller Oscar eats like a pig and my larger Oscar just looks at the food and swims away. Amy < The larger Oscar took a pretty good shot to the head when he jumped. He knows he is hurt and so do the other fish. I would place him in his own tank for awhile until he heals up. once the wounds are healed he should start to come around.-Chuck> 

Oscars Not Acting Right Hi, I am new at the fish situation, and I bought two Oscars which I thought were tiger Oscars at Wal-Mart. After spending over 100 dollars <WOW> on those two, trying to get their "color" back I was told they are common Oscars who really have no color. I also have an African cichlid which I had bought about 2 weeks after the two Oscars. My cichlid has started to lay on the rocks at the bottom with this god awful white silverish stuff all over him. I put him in a separate tank and have started an Ich treatment and he is looking a little better. What could be wrong? Also I have a 55 gallon and my two Oscars stay beside each other like they are Siamese twins. Why is that? My heater had cracked while in the water and it being on. I've recently bought a new heater and my Oscars lay at the bottom unless I tap the tank or feed them. What could be wrong? I love my fish, its the only pet my husband will let me have. Please help. Carissa < Do a 30% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. The water should be up around 80 degrees F. The problem sounds like an external bacterial infection they may have come down with while the heater was broken and the tank cooled. Treat with Nitrofurazone and follow the directions on the package. Wal-Mart may not have the medication so you may need to go to a local fish store or buy it online.-Chuck>
Oscars Not Acting Right II
Hi, bad news my African cichlid died this morning, I took him to my mom who told me he looked like he was infested with Ich, and that my Oscars more than likely have it. I come home and my sucker fish is covered in white stuff. What is going on? Carissa <You may have both a bacterial infection and an infestation of Ich. I would still recommend the above treatment but add Rid-Ich to control the Ich. I would clean the tank and medicate. On the second day I would do a 30% water change. On the third day I would medicate again. On the fourth day I would do a 30% water change. On the 5th day I would medicate. On the sixth day I would do a water change and add quality carbon to remove the medication. On the seventh day I would add Bio-Spira to replenish the good bacteria that may have been affected by the treatment.-Chuck>

Oscar Problems Hello, I have never owned Oscar before and I wanted fish that would be good potential breeding pairs. I love breeding fish. I used to watch my mom breed them, but when she stopped, the hobby kind of got pushed away from my life until this person asked me if I liked fish and if I had ever had a Betta. Rediscovering my passion for fish, I decided to buy a fish that was different and one that not a lot of people know of.  OK so I got Oscars and wanted to know more about the breed. So, I read your page about the Oscars and I believe that my question was not on there. See, I bought two Oscars about a month ago. They were in the same tank together and were doing really good with the other Oscars at the store. I brought them home and about two weeks later I saw white fungus on the body of one Oscar (Billy). Mandy (my other Oscar) was defiantly biting Billy. I even have seen them nibble at each other.  I don't have a lot of space in my house and I already own two goldfish. So I could only separate Billy and Mandy if I REALLY have to. So, I bought this medicine named Mela-Fix it is supposed to treat biting wounds and help fish cope with each other. It has helped some. But I'm not sure if it's working. These fish are amazing and aren't very big. Mandy is about 4.6 inches and Billy is about 2 inches I have them in a 10 gallon tank. Do you have any suggestions about this type of medicine or why it wouldn't work? < Change 30% of the water, vacuum the gravel and change the filter. Treat with Nitrofurazone as per the directions on the package. Mela-fix is not the same as an antibiotic so think of it more as a tonic then a medication.> Is the tank too small? < Much too small. When your fish is cured it will be torn up again by the other Oscar. If you really want to breed Oscars then you need to but six small fish and let them grow up. At around 6 inches they will begin to pair up. A pair will lay eggs and defend them against all other fish. A pair of Oscars should have a 55 gallon tank as a minimum size.> If you could help PLEASE DO!!!!! A worried fish owner < Two Oscars in a 10 gallon tank is nothing but trouble. Get a bigger tank or get some new smaller fish.-Chuck>

Oscar with Ich Hi Chuck thanks for the information, I have my heater on 78 and I have been feed him live feeder fish. it looks like he might be getting Ich on his body so I'm treating it. I left the carbon filter in and I was wondering if it might be soaking up the med to fast and it is not helping Oscar. Should I take the carbon filter out? How long should I leave it out? Thanks again, Jackie < The malachite green will be removed from the water with carbon. Remove the carbon from the filter while you clean it. Do a 30% water change and vacuum the gravel to remove the organics. Raise the water temp to 80 to 82 if possible. Treat with rid-Ich as per the directions on the bottle for best results. After treatment you can then add a high quality carbon to remove the medication. When the medication is gone I would add Bio-Spira to the water to replenish the good bacteria that may have been affected by the treatment.-Chuck> 

Oscar with Lock-Jaw? We have had our Tiger Oscar for five years. He is around 14 inches long and lives in a 75 gallon tank alone. We feed him brine shrimp and freeze dried shrimp and he eats a lot. He has been very healthy until last weekend when we noticed that his mouth is stuck open. He can not eat any food. How can we help him? < Sometimes cichlids damage their mouths by extending it out too much or hitting the bottom or side of the tank getting food. There is a little bone that runs down the center of the forehead. When the mouth is extended too far this bone sticks and the bone can not be retracted. Sometimes the bone slips back in place and the mouth heals over time. Other times it stays stuck and there is not too much that can be done. Some aquarists have tried to manipulate this forehead bone with limited success. If it looks like it is not getting back to normal in a weak I would think about trying to work it back in before it calcifies in place. Good Luck.-Chuck> 

Oscar Problems Hi, I own 5 tanks and have several different kinds of fish (not in the same tank!) my newest fish is an tiger Oscar. I have had him for about one week and he is not looking too good. I checked the water and it seems to all be ok. My poor Oscar lays on the bottom of the tank and doesn't move around unless I move him myself, not even to eat. what am I doing wrong? I'm hoping that he won't die, please help. thanks Jackie < Oscars like warm soft water at least 80 degrees F. Try some live food like worms or brine shrimp to get him up and about. If you think he is really sick then look closely for signs of disease and check back with the store you bought him from to see if they are having any problems with the rest of the tank.-Chuck.>  

Oscar Problems  Hi Bob, I have two tiger Oscars that are about 4" - 4.5" long.  I have had them for about 1 and a half months now and everything was fine until yesterday. My favorite one, "Rocky" started getting a blackness on his head and it even looks like a scale is coming up. I got them from Pet Smart, when I set up the tank they gave me aquarium salt and conditioner that is also a stress reducer. The tank ran and built up the proper bacteria for about 4 weeks before I put them in. I gravel vac every other day but I never take a lot of water out. I have them in a ten gallon tank (I know too small but my 58 gallon is still setting up at this time). I don't understand what is wrong with him, he is the one that already eats from my hand and know who his daddy (owner/master etc.) is. I did a 3 gallon water change and added the proper dosage of stress coat in it, but it looks worse here are the pics. this one he is perfect (the one on top) Here is the bad (the one on bottom) and the tail.  <<Only one photo came through - posted above>> < The blackness is caused by a bacterial infection. Do a 30% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. Treat with Nitrofuranace as per the directions on the package. When treatment is complete use carbon to remove the medication and add Bio-Spira from Marineland to replenish the good bacteria.-Chuck>

Oscar Problems - Chuck out.. What caused this infection and how can I prevent it from coming back? P.S. I greatly appreciate the advice, these are my first Oscars I got them from PetSmart when they were about 1 1/2" long. Thank you again - Mike <<Mike, this is Marina here. Chuck has marked himself out, so I'm going to offer a follow-up. I've looked at your procedure, and noted that you appear to have "cycled" the tank without any fish or source of ammonia. This means that there could have been no nitrifying bacteria present, it would be impossible to culture these without that source of food (search our site on freshwater cycling). THAT means that ammonia and other nitrogenous wastes hit toxic (and I do mean TOXIC) levels very quickly, thus inducing omnipresent disease organisms to gain a foothold. Therefore, the good husbandry mentioned by Chuck is a MUST, and do make further use of our site. Search using the Google tool or however you like on Freshwater fishes, Oscars, etc. Also, PLEASE, for future reference (and as the one who will likely be editing) we kindly ask that all emails please be sent using proper capitalization and punctuation. This saves the rest of us volunteers a great deal of time, as all messages are archived. Thank you, Marina>> Oscar Problems Hi, I just bought 2 baby tiger Oscars 4 or 5 days ago. They seemed fine when I saw them at Petco and when I put them in their new 10 gallon home. I have a plecostomus too. These past 2 days my tiger Oscars have been acting strange...I'm feeding them "Oscar bites" (micro pellets) and they're only eating one pellet each. The pellets just lay on the rocks and in the holes of the filter.  Another problem I have is that both of them lay together on their sides against the gravel in a corner of the tank. not only do they lay on their side, but they swim sideways too. Oh my gosh!!! I love these fish already and I'm so worried about them. What do you suggest I do? Thanks- Jasmine < Change 30% of the water, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. Check the water temp and make sure it is up around 80 degrees F. Only feed once a day and only enough food so that all of it is gone in two minutes. Siphon out the rest of the uneaten food. Hopefully they will be normal in a couple of days. If there still is a problem then they may have an internal bacterial infection and need to be treated with Metronidazole.-Chuck>

Oscar with Hole in the Head Hello, I have acquired a 5 year old Tiger Oscar.  It had lived in a  70 gal tank with other cichlids for two months and before that lived in another tank that broke.  He has been through a lot of changes in the last few months.  He is now in a 40 gal tank with no other fish. He has had hole in the head disease for about a month in a half. I brought him home two weeks ago and he was very happy, swimming around eating regularly etc.  Three day's ago  I got Metro+( Metronidazole medication), did partial water changes every 24 hours with every new dose of Metro+.  I have repeated this three times and have see no changes in his physical condition. After the second day of treatment he has been staying near the bottom of the tank and eating very little.  I'm afraid to continue the treatment because of his behavioral change.  Should I use something else to treat him? Should I continue with Metro+?  The water quality of the tank is as it should be.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Krystal < You are on the right track but may need to take it a step further. Make sure the tank is clean. Change the filter remove the carbon and vacuum the gravel while doing a 30% water change. Replace the water with R/O, demineralized or distilled water. Keep up with the metro and look for a medicated food with Metro in it. I would raise the temp up to 82 degrees F. try to get him eating again with washed earthworms. Add vitamins to the pellet food by soaking them in the vitamins for a few minutes before feeding. This didn't happen overnight and may take awhile to cure. When the pits turn black you should be on the right track to a speedy recovery.-Chuck>

Injured Oscar 4.7.05 Hello. I have an Oscar, I'm not sure specifically of which type  <Big fella, black and orange colored, fleshy lips and one heck of an appetite? Astronotus ocellatus http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/oscars.htm > He decided to take a jump out of his freshwater tank. Unfortunately, due to where the fish jumped, there was a brief lapse in time before the fish could be returned to the tank.  <It sounds like the problem was more in the landing than in the jumping.>  Upon being returned to the tank, a majority of the skin peeled. Over 85% to 90% of its tail fell off, and the entire middle third of its right side fin fell off as well. I was advised by the pet store to add Melafix to the water, in addition to changing 25%. This isn't working. And where the fish would normally be very aggressive in eating live feeder fish, he swims away from them. If this isn't the case, he remains in the corner of the tank, floating awkwardly, even with some of its body out of the water. I don't know what to do. <Your description he sounds pretty bad off, but big Cichlids are tough fish. My dad had a large Pacu jump ship, bounce down a flight of stairs and off of a wall at the bottom of the staircase; he plopped him back into the tank and the Pacu was good to go with only a swollen lip to show for his adventure. With all of the pealing, ripping, and falling offs, your fish is vulnerable to a secondary infection, you need top notch water quality if you want him to heal.  I would do 25-50% water changes weekly, add Aquarium salt (the dosage should be on the box or on this site if you search for it), and stop feeding feeders. It does not matter how clean your water is if you bring in feeder fish who may be hosting who knows what kinds of bacteria, fungus, yuck, and filth; best to leave them out of the equation.  Blind taste tests at the Harford household have proven Hikari's Cichlid Gold is yummy. If he is not eating at all try live crickets, or if you can catch a moth they make for great surface action. Keep your water temp stable and leave the lights off (or shorten the daylight cycle) to reduce stress. Watch for signs of a secondary infection and treat if necessary. The healing process is slow, be patient. I am not sold on the Melafix, if you think it is helping, go for it. That is about all you can do at this point. Best of luck, Gage (Oh yeah, Buy a Lid!)> 

FUZZY OSCAR Hi, After a 75% water change and clean, my Oscar's eyes both became clouded (about of each eye surface). Can I treat this? What is it? He does not appear to be blind. He still follows my fingers. He is eating normally and acting fine. Thanks for your input. Please email your response. Kelley  < Many fish don't appreciate big water changes. Especially if the chemistry of the water is very different. The new water may have also been cooler too. Either way you Oscar has been infected with a bacterial infection. Oscars are pretty tough and many times this goes away on its own within a few days. If not then treat with erythromycin. This is a pretty powerful anti biotic and may affect your good bacteria that break down the fish waste. Check for ammonia spikes after treatment.-Chuck> 

My Oscar That I Just Got I just got an Oscar yesterday from my husbands uncle and he has had him for about six months. He keeps his mouth open all the time and we have noticed that one of his gills is red and swollen. I have added a bubble stone to his tank and that has not helped. We have four other Oscars and two of them were bought at the same time this one was but they do not have the same problem that he has. I can't get this Oscar to eat and he is even smaller then my other Oscars. We put the one we just got in a tank by itself because the other Oscars that my husband's uncle had with this one died, and he was the only one left of the three he had.  I would really like to know what I can do about this because I have never had a Oscar in the shape this one is in and we have been raising Oscar for at least 12 years now and I have been around Oscars all my life because my mom use to raise them and none of hers had this problem at all. Jenny <Sounds like you put a fish from a known problem tank into your tank. Not good. You may have several problems very soon. Good that you moved him. Red gills can be caused by either a bacterial infection or a parasite. I would suggest you first try a good wide spectrum antibiotic. If no improvement do a few water changes and try an anti-parasitic med. Don> 
My Oscar That I Just Got pt 2
Ok I will try that but what about the fact that he keeps his mouth open all the time and won't eat? We tried to feed him again today. The tank that he is in had been set back up for at least a week before we got him. <A big Oscar can go a week or more without eating. So don't worry about him starving. Stop feeding and clean up the old food and any waste. One week is not enough time to get a tank cycled and ready. Please read here on establishing FW cycling. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm.  For right now I would start doing a few water changes. 50% daily. With the tank newly set up you are sure to have ammonia building up in there. If that does not help him within two or three days try an antibiotic. You will have to continue with water changes during treatment, replacing the removed med. Best done in a small tank to save the expense. Don>

BUGGY OSCAR - EEWWUH! Hello! Your site has been a great help to me on many occasions. This time, I have a really nasty problem with my Oscar. First of all, I have a 55 gallon tank. I had two Oscars for over a year until about a month ago. The albino Oscar attacked the tiger seemingly overnight (my roommate heard splashing) and in the morning, the poor tiger was ripped literally to shreds and barely alive. I separated them and changed some of the water, but his wounds were rapidly infected. Medication was no help, and he died shortly after (total time: 3days).  The albino appeared to have some fuzzy infection on his forehead afterward, but after changing nearly 100 percent of the water over the next week and adding meds, it went away. This was over a month ago. Now it's just the albino and an old Pleco in there.  Recently, the albino has been acting crazy. He's been swimming frantically along the tank sides with his mouth open. He has been scratching A LOT on the rocks as well. The other day I noticed that he looked kind of, well...dirty...like he had actual dirt on his sides. Upon closer inspection, I saw (YUCK!!!) the "dirt" was actually bugs! Gross, clear little bugs. I could see them moving around on my fish (many of them!!) and on the large rocks in the tank!! The Pleco appears to be clean of them, but the albino seems miserable! He lays on the bottom sometimes. I just realized that they were nasty bugs yesterday. Unfortunately, there appear to be A LOT of these little monsters. They look like little lice or something. Clear, but big enough to see if you look closely. What can I do? Its a nasty nightmare! Please help! < Sounds like fish lice to me. Treat with Fluke Tabs or Parasite clear. The medication works best in a clean tank. I would recommend that you change 30% of the water, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter before treating.-Chuck>

Tiger Oscar--lethargic, brown belly Hello, <Hi there> I came home yesterday to notice my Tiger Oscar lying on the gravel-he hasn't really moved since.  I did catch him swimming about while the lights were off, but today he's still the same.  Normally, he's all over the place, begging for food.  I threw him some frozen krill which he goes nuts over, but barely moved to eat it.  This is VERY unusual for him to say the least. <Mmm, sometimes Oscars do "just get into a funk"... I would change a good quarter of its water, vacuum the gravel and wait a couple days before offering food again> I kept the lights out to see if he was just nervous or scared of something. I turned the lights on today and noticed a faint brown spread on his belly and part of his gills.  Not sure if this was ever there or not though. Perhaps this is related. <Mmm, maybe... but they do change color in the dark, when bummed out...> I did a 25% water change and running a diatom filter now.  Hopefully, that will assist with whatever might be in the water causing this. <Oh! I see you and I think alike here> I have some Fungus Guard and Clout, but I want to make sure I diagnose the problem correctly before I start meds (if meds are even necessary). <I agree. And would NOT place these chemicals in the water... more likely to poison the system, your fish than help> Any suggestions on what this might be and how to fix it? PH, Ammonia, Nitrate all good levels-will make sure they are normal after the diatom filter as well. Thanks! Justin <Best to do the other water change, wait this out. Bob Fenner>

Oscar disease Hi, <Hello there> I just ran across your website and hoped that you might be able to help me. I have an Oscar, which we call "Jail Bait" because of her black stripes,
<Good name> that is a couple of years old, at least.  She has been very healthy until recently when she developed white circular areas on her tail. <Unusual>   I initially treated it with a medication for fungus, and when that didn't work, my local pet store guru recommended treating her with a parasite medication.  Neither has worked.  The areas over the past month have enlarged and the tissue beneath has swollen, which makes it look like cauliflower.  Over the past week I have noticed that it is now evident at her gills, though she has not had any decrease in appetite, aggressiveness, nor does she currently have any labored breathing.  I am really worried that whatever it is may be beyond treatment since it is at her gills now.  I wish I had found this website earlier in the month.  I cannot seem to find any disease symptoms consistent with this anywhere.  Please let me know if you have any ideas.  I will send a photo if necessary. Thank You, Melinda Buck <Please do send along a couple of images... close-up of the affected area please. Bob Fenner>

Re: black Oscar advice, please Bob, Thanks for the quick response back. I'm afraid I may need a little more support. Immediately upon reading your response, I made my way to the grocery for shrimp, as advised. (I'm in Wisconsin, so hunting for earthworms is out for a few months) Anyway, I cut the raw shrimp into bite size pieces and fed it to the tank. All of the cichlids went crazy for it, including the Oscar. Great, or so I thought. Since I had suspected the Oscar of having trouble swallowing, I watched him very closely. For the 10 minutes following his intake of the one and only bite of shrimp he anxiously ingested, I watched as he eagerly "attempted" to swallow it. After this 10 minute period, he seemed to have given up and spit the whole piece out. <You wrote: "bite size pieces"... you did remove the shells?> He seemed "disappointed" or depressed that he could not eat and swam to the bottom. Thinking again that he may have some kind of blockage that I missed the first time looked down his throat, I removed him from the tank to repeat the procedure. Not being an expert on the anatomical make up of an Oscar's jaw, I'm going to tell you what I saw.  I removed him from the tank and I was surprised at how cooperative he was... he calmly laid in the towel in my hand with his eyes closed and opened his mouth wide open for the very brief period I had him out. I saw no foreign objects. However, what I believe to be his pharyngeal bone (a white cartilage like bony disk with vents through it that I would also describe as being covered with small teeth) angled up...  <A good description... these are gill supports and rakers...> ...appearing to entirely block his throat (except for the vents). Is this what Chuck referred to other writers as "a damaged pharyngeal bone?" <No, don't think so> He also mentioned to someone that they (the bones) can "heal" on their own." Is this true? <Yes> Could this be what the issue is? Please advise again on what you may think and how I should proceed as now the entire length of his belly is beginning to lose its pigment and is no longer black...it's white and it's moving up his sides... his fins are beginning to fray, and he appears to also be acting erratically now. Thank you. <Try smaller pieces of food... Bob Fenner>

Saving poisoned Oscars Hello WWM Crew, I have a good sized pond in my garden where I have 4 good sized Oscars. I should say I HAD 4 Oscars.  3 were Tiger and 1 was Albino.  Last Sunday during the dressing of our garden, we moved our Christmas tree close to the pond. As the pot in which the Christmas tree was very heavy, my family folks kept it on the pond sill. As it was a transplant from a smaller pot, we put anti weed in the pot and watered it. <Oh oh...> The next day, I was shocked to see that all my Oscars lying on their side on the pond floor. After quick investigation I realized that the anti-weed which is poisonous has flowed in the pond from the pot overflow.  I immediately started adding fresh water to the pond. I was able to save 2 Oscars but 2 died even before I realized the accident.  One tiger and one albino are alive but still quite sick. The tiger was lying on his side for a few hours but then started swimming. However at the end of the day, it sort of struggled and again went on its side as if it died. This continued for a few days but now he is back to swimming. The albino was on his side for almost 4-5 days and just breathing. He started swimming just a couple of days ago. however today he parked himself near one side of the pond and then slipped on his side. I thought he died too. But he is alive as he is slowly breathing.  Both of them refuse to eat and so I guess they have become too weak from the poisoning. I do not know how to recover them. Please help. I may lose these two too if I continue in the present way. <Don't worry re: feeding them... they won't starve... and will hopefully recover. There is nothing else that I'd suggest to "withdraw" the poison (now likely metabolized)> I have been adding fresh water regularly everyday in an effort to dilute the poison which might have got into the pond from the Christmas tree pot.  We have also shifted the Christmas tree away from the pond.  Your expert advice ASAP would be highly appreciated.  Ranjit.  <Am hesitant to suggest adding salt at this point... as your fish may be so weakened that this will only harm them further. Bob Fenner>

Ichy Oscar Hi! I think my Oscar has Ich. I see the little white specs on him and in the tank. What to I do to get it off him and keep it out of the tank. <Sounds like Ich, but you should not be seeing the spots anywhere but on the fish. Ich is far too small to be seen with the naked eye. The white spots on the fish are his tissue reacting to the infection. To cure Ich use salt. Cheap, less stressful than meds, and 100% effective. Please read the link below for it's proper use in controlling this parasite. Take note of the life cycle and continue treatment for at least two weeks after the last spot drops. The best way is to QT all fish in a small bare bottom tank and allow the main to go fishless for a month. The parasite will starve out while you treat the fish in QT. If you do this, throw a small raw shrimp in the tank to keep your bio filtration going. If you are offering your Oscar feeder fish, please stop. Next time you may bring in something worse. Don >  http://www.aquariumadvice.com/showquestion.php?faq=2&fldAuto=32

Oscar help "911" I'm not sure but I think my Oscar has swallowed some thing. he opens his mouth over and over like he is trying to get something out of his throat. he tries to eat but spits everything back out and now his fins have a white streak along the edges, and moves around the tank in an erratic manner flip-flopping and such. Should I try to extract him from the tank and see if I can see anything in his throat ? Thanks Vince . <I WOULD try this Vince... hold the fish firmly with a clean wet towel, mostly underwater, WITH whatever large forceps-like tools you have and a small flashlight that either you can hold in your mouth or that someone will hold for you... look for an object wedged in the fish's articulating joint of the jaw... if it has swallowed something further down the gullet, where you can't see it, I would NOT try to extricate this.... hopefully "it too will pass". Bob Fenner>

Sick Oscar Hello, <Hi there> I'm hoping you can help me. I know it's hard to diagnose something that you cannot see but I'd appreciate any help you can offer. I'm writing about my Tiger Oscar. He's the first Oscar I've ever owned and I really enjoy his antics. However, today I noticed that he has small white filmy patches on both eyes (they don't cover his whole eye) ,some white above his top lip and along one side in a light strip. It's almost hard to see the areas above his lip and on his side unless he turns then you can notice it better at a certain angle. I know it's not Ich but I'm not sure how to treat it. He's in a 20 gallon aquarium. (temporary until we can upgrade to a 55 gallon) He's about 6 inches long. His tank stays within normal temp of about 76 degrees. He has a corner filter and a Regent filter made for a 40 gallon aquarium. I can't remember the filtering rate but I remember that it was above the suggested parameters that I found when I researched what he needed before I purchased him. There is also sea salt in the water. I've noticed that with the heat running in the house that I've had to add more water to the tank due to evaporation. I wasn't sure if I should do a water change or if the added stress would make his situation worse. He really seems to stress any water changes. I'm not sure which medicine(s) to add to his tank or how to use them.  Thank you for your time, Laura <Laura... I would do the water change... and check for ammonia, nitrite if you have the gear for these... Your problem here could also be a biological disease agent... I do hope/trust you do NOT feed goldfish to this Oscar. Have you seen our archives on this species?: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/oscars.htm  Please read them, and the linked files (in blue, above) where you lead yourself. Bob Fenner>
Re: Sick Oscar
In a message dated 2/3/2005 crew@mail.wetwebmedia.com writes: Laura... I would do the water change... and check for ammonia, nitrite if you have the gear for these... Your problem here could also be a biological disease agent... I do hope/trust you do NOT feed goldfish to this Oscar. Have you seen our archives on this species?: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/oscars.htm Please read them, and the linked files (in blue, above) where you lead yourself. Bob Fenner Thank you for your reply. : )  Norman, my Oscar, does NOT eat goldfish. He eats Cichlid floating sticks and dried baby shrimp and sometimes Hikari floating Cichlid food. I feed him twice a day. I try to be careful not to overfeed him. We vacuumed the bottom of his tank yesterday and removed about 25% of the water. I was wondering for the time being how often you would recommend doing this in this situation. I checked the archives even before I sent out the mail and I now realize that I need to really keep up with his tank because of his size and the size of his tank. However I didn't receive any linked files. < If you have high periodic ammonia or nitrite readings in means that you need more biological filtration. If your nitrates are over 25 ppm you should do more water changes or do them more often. To be on the safe side I would feed your Oscar once a day only enough food so that all of it is gone in two minutes. Then I would do a weekly water change of at least 25% and vacuum the gravel every other water change. Service the filter on the weeks that you do not vacuum the gravel. This will improve his environment. I would also add some live food such as washed earthworms, crickets or mealworms.-Chuck> Thanks again, Laura

Oscar with unusual problem I work in an aquatics department in a local pet store. I have a customer with a problem that I have no idea what it is, let alone how to fix it:  1-6inch Oscar in a 30gal long aquarium. <Mmm, needs larger tank...> Penguin 330 filter and 2- 1 inch airstones. Fish exhibits 3 small white spots on the head. They treated for Ich.  <... likely NOT Ich> Fish also has what they described as bubbles all over it's stomach and sides.  They increase the water temp and the bubbles went away, the white spots did not.  <... the white spots are likely neuromast degradation... like HLLE... the bubbles are real trouble... likely symptomatic of emphysematosis... gas-bubble disease... an environmental condition brought on by supersaturated gas condition... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/PdBblDisease.htm  and the Related FAQs (linked, in blue, above). The article is about ponds, but this can/does occur in aquariums at times.> The temp has been turned down to 76 degrees again and the bubbles are returning, this time on the plastic plants as well. They said that they observed a white string coming out of the side of the fish. The string had bubbles attached to it. The fish has stopped eating. It takes the food (pellets) into its mouth but then spits them out. I have told them that I would ask you, the experts, and get back to them. For now they are putting the carbon back in the filter to remove the Ich medication, adding Doc Wellfish salt and removing any uneaten food. Any idea on what this may be?? <... strange that airstones alone would result in this problem... do they have well water? New changes should be done with water that has been out-gassed... stored or aerated for a few hours ahead of use> I have not had the chance to test the water. Is this parasitic in nature or perhaps  environmental? <The latter> Are the bubbles from the air stones sticking to his slime layer for some reason? <Internal...> Please, any information so that I can help these people would be greatly appreciated. We take pride in our aquatics department and our ability to troubleshoot, I want to help these customers.  Thank you, Caryn <Please do have the folks switch their airstones for ones that are more coarse. Bob Fenner>

Help-I think my Oscar is dying Hello, <Hi there> I recently stumbled across this site and have been very impressed with the excellent forum for information. <Ah, glad we've found each other> My 5-year-old adult Oscar is very sick. His symptoms are swollen abdomen, lethargic behavior, and apparent lack of appetite- he has not eaten a morsel in at least 6 days. Normal diet consists of a combination of dry Cichlid pellets and frozen bloodworms. The other fish in the 70-gallon tank are eating normally. <Mmmm, perhaps he ate something... that fell in the tank... like a bug> I have tried a water change, and his behavior did not improve. I researched other related problems on your site, and it seems that it could be constipation or dropsy. I fear that I may lose him soon if I don't try something. I'm going to try Epsom Salt tonight (1/8 teaspoon per 5 gallons), but would love other ideas. PLEASE HELP! THANK YOU! Howard <The Epsom is a good idea... Have you done any water changes? I would... a good 25% now... and another three days hence. Vacuum your gravel, check the pH, ammonia, nitrite... perhaps raise your water temperature a few degrees F... to the low Eighties. Bob Fenner>

Mysterious Adult Oscar Deaths I had two adult Oscars: 1 red tiger and  an  albino.   Both were about 12 inches.  I have had the  red tiger for about three years; I adopted the albino shortly after  Christmas. He was a very healthy fish; no battle scars, no evidence of ever even  having hole in the head, very active, friendly, and a good eater.   They were in a 55 gallon tank with a Filstar xp3  Biochemzorb with Biochemstars and ceramic rings.   <Okay> We went away for two days and a friend with experience fed them with  no problems. Last night, (the night we came home) I noticed the tiger  swimming funny; he was dead a few hours later.   However, the  albino seemed fine.  Today, I did a partial water change because the  tiger died.  I treated the water with CopperSafe.  The albino  seemed sluggish, so I cleaned the filter and three hours later he was  dead. They both appeared to die from the same thing; they had problems  breathing, they had large holes near their fins and gills that appeared to come  form the inside, and then they started swimming upside down. <Not good... evidence of likely poisoning of some sort> My wife thinks that the hose I used (  ) caused the trouble.    <A good guess> Since, I added water to the tank with it last night and the first dies.  I  used it again today for the water change, and the second one died.   Could it be the hose?    <Yes... take a "whiff" of the plastic... especially when new, some hoses are quite toxic to fishes> Also, she worries because she has a scent stories plugged in nearby and, even though it never seemed to have an effect before, she thinks that it was on both times when the fish died.  Could scented candles or Scentstories cause this?   <Not as far as I'm aware... and would likely have killed both at the same time if so> I am using new food, too.  Could the food be contaminated? <A long-shot, but yes> Do you have any other thoughts about why this happened?    Thanks, Dave <Are there any metals in the tank? Seashells? Geodes or other odd decor? If you're curious, there is a filter that can be placed in your tank (PolyFilter) that may give an indication (changes color) of the cause here. Bob Fenner>

Oscars and .."How about some more beans, Mr. Taggert?" One last question. Do fish fart?? Mine seem to. Is it normal? <What would Ben Franklin say? "Fart proudly!"... yes, some do> They aren't going to spontaneously explode? <No, another urban myth dispelled> hehe. But seriously, when they...."release waste", there are a lot of bubbles coming out with the feces. And their feces is HUGE. All normal? <Yes> Thanks for the quick response, by the way. Is a good thing you guys got going there. <Perhaps too much. Bob Fenner>

Oscar with HITH/HLLE Chuck, I wrote to you the other day in regards to my new job at work  taking care of our fishes. We have some type of dwarf catfish that isn't suppose  to get much bigger than it is now (5 inches) and a Oscar (currently about 7  inches). Anyway, they were in a 30 gallon tank under terrible conditions. We had management change, and new manager did not want to initially buy a new tank  because he did not like larger fish in general. Old management was going to get  larger tank after a couple of months. Needless to say, the Oscar out grew the  tank. The waste and food was at least 1/2 thick on bottom of tank. Lucky the fish didn't die from toxic waste syndrome. I was trying my best to maintain them in the  small tank, but HLLE was already in development, and it took them nearly 4 months before buying a 55 gallon tank. I think manager was hoping the Oscar   died. Now the Oscar has numerous scars around head. However, they are looking a  lot better and he has a healthy appetite. He has been in his new tank now about  1 1/2 months. Although the old scars look a lot better, I noticed a couple of  newer small ones working their way down one side. I thought one of his eyes were  going to fall out with all the scaring around it. You answered my questions, and  I want to thank you for that very much. I have a few more specific questions  that I hope you don't mind answering for me. Oscars are beautiful fish, and I  want to do my best to keep this one healthy. Our manager is getting a 150 gallon  salt tank that will be monitored by a fish store, so the care of the Oscar has  fell upon me. I don't want to take up anymore of your time, so I will ask my  questions. Thanks a lot! 1. You mentioned that I should give the Oscar "Metronidazole" where  would I find this at...a store or thru a vet? < You can get it at some fish stores . If not you can get it on line at Drsfostersmith.com.> 2. How much should I give the Oscar daily? < Directions are on the package. Keep the tank clean and the medication will work better.> 3. You also said to give it vitamins, What type of vitamins i.e. A,  B, C, D, multi, etc? < A good multivitamin will cover all the bases. Use fresh food that still has all its vitamin content. Old stale food usually has no vitamins left in it.> 4. Should I try and get liquid or solid vitamins? < Soak pellets in liquid vitamins.> 5. I have eliminated goldfish as a food source. I now feed him   a different meal each day of the following items meal worms, beef hearts, frozen  brine shrimp, dry pellets, and frozen blood worms...Should I add or delete  anything from that diet? < No beef heart and try some washed earthworms.> 6. You mentioned to lower my ph down to 7....Should I leave it  there permanently, or just a few months during treatment? < Lowering the pH should be gradual and hopefully permanent.> 7. You mentioned something about giving him Tetra Cichlid Vital for iodine...is that food product, or liquid water treatment? < It is a liquid water treatment for cichlids.> 8. I was told elsewhere that I could use a product by Kent Marine  that is a concentrated Iodine that I believe is for a healthy reef life in salt  tanks. It comes in a liquid form. I believe 1 tablespoon per 50 gallons. Is this similar to the Tetra Cichlid Vital? < It may be but the tetra product is specifically for cichlids while the other product is designed for reefs. Read the ingredients on each and compare.> 9. I did the water change...How often should I keep doing it?...and  what water percent each time? < Depends on the nitrates. The lower the better. Clean the filter often and vacuum the gravel. Keep the nitrates to a maximum of 25 ppm > 10. If I have a hard time getting the Oscar to ingest vitamins in  dry food, cause he eats the pellets less than the other mentioned foods...Can I  remove carbon filters and pour diluted vitamins in tank? < Don't feed him for a couple of days before you try the pellets. If that doesn't work then remove the carbon and add the vitamins to the water.> 11. I also went to a website by a Company called Aquatronics. They specialize in fish related products. I have pasted a product they offer on this e-mail. It's called Hex-A-Mite 2. It is suppose to be fortified with vitamins.   Would this be worth my time and money to get?AA6  AQUA-AMAZON HEX-A-MIT II The first nonantibiotic hole in the head treatment.  Add one capsule to 2 ounces of prepared food. Feed twice daily for 1 week.  Vitamin fortified with a calcium additive. This product is also an effective  disease preventative when added to the aquarium water monthly. (Sold since  1992). 410 mg capsules are available in 10 capsule packages. < I have not personally used this product but it sound like it is worth a try.> 12. My tank temp is currently around 78/80...I was told that I  should slowly turn it up to a higher degree, is this true?...if so, how  high?. and for how long? would the temp raise effect the dwarf  catfish? < You water temp is fine.> 14.Last, but not least, this is a algae question. The new tank is  already developing algae on the bottom, plastic plants, and a tad on the glass.  I cleaned it out yesterday during water change and added some algae kill. What  is the best way to keep a hand on algae. I have been told live plants, weekly doses of algae kill, etc? < Algae is the result of excessive nutrients combined with light. I prefer to try and keep the nitrogenous wastes under control and deal with a little algae on the glass and plants.> Thanks for taking your time to read all of this. I am truly  appreciative. I know Oscars aren't high dollar fish like salt fish, but they  still look great when they are healthy. This fish looks healthy color wise on  the sides now, and I would like to keep him that way if possible. I know there  is nothing I can do about his face. I had a pair of my own Oscars 25 years ago,  and they never had a problem. Hell, from about 5 inches on, they didn't even  have a heater in their tanks. Just heat from lights. They both lived around 6  to 8 years, and were large healthy fish. However, that was many years ago.  I just want to be able to help this one live as long and healthy as possible.   Hopefully, whoever replaces me here at some point won't have to deal with  treatment of the Oscar because it will be healthy and well. < Your hard work on treating this Oscar is to be commended. Others would have simply tossed him and got another. At least this way you and others reading this may be able to save another cichlid.-Chuck> Thanks a lot for your time, John
Re: Oscar with HLLE
Chuck, This is another letter in regards to the  Oscar I am taking care of at work. Thanks for your help so far. Just a few more  questions.  1. I found some liquid multi vitamin, but it is berry flavored for  taste.  Can I still add this to his food, or should I get pill form and dissolve  in warm water?< Neither, Go to Drsfostersmith.com and get a bottle of Vita-Chem.> 2. Should I try to add Metronidazole, Cichlid Vital, ph Lower at  the same time or different days?<The Metronidazole and cichlid vital could be added now and modify the pH with the water you replace doing the water changes.> 3. How long and often should I treat the Oscar with the above  medication?  i.e.. once a week for a month, every other week for 2 months,  etc... <Follow the directions on the packages. The disease may be gone but the healing will take time.> 4. I also have some multi-vitamin enriched Krill, Is it all right  to feed him that?< That would help.-Chuck> Thank for your help, John

Popeye and unhappy Oscar Hello, I have been reading on Popeye problems and I was wondering how long it does take to heal?  It is only the one eye at the bottom lid that is white but it has been sometime now, 45 days, of treatments of Epsom salts and 20% changes to the water as one of your responses had suggested under Popeye. Would Popeye cause my Oscar to be very timid and not eat and also shy away every time we approach the tank?  I am quite worried as he has eaten very little over the past 3 weeks except for some shrimp on a skewer.  Flakes, pellets and bloodworm was his diet in the past but now he will not surface often and tends to lay at the bottom a lot and moves very slow with lack of energy. He was once very happy and would actually come to you and get very excited as you approached.  It has been 2 months since we changed his tank from a very small 10 gal to a 40 gal. and this is when changes started.  There is no background yet on this tank, two filters, we got some taller plants also.  I am afraid to change something again as the last change was 3 weeks ago and aggravating him might prolong his adjustment problem to the new location.  All levels seem to be good and temp is 80F.  I know they are very sensitive but how long to adjust is my question.?   Thank you and we appreciate your great love for marine aquarium life. Dave Holmes and my Oscar Krusty < After this long of treatment some medication is needed. Treat the tank with Metronidazole. Keep the water clean and service the filter weekly.-Chuck>

Sick Oscars We have two Oscars in a 55 tank and they both have white spots on their eyes. I would appreciate any advice you can give me <This is usually not Ich but a bacteria forming over the eyes. Do a 30% water change and service the filter. Vacuum the gravel when to do the water change. The ammonia and nitrites should be zero and the nitrates should be under 25 ppm. If things don't improve then treat with erythromycin (Myacin) or Nitrofuranace. These medications may affect the good bacteria that break down the fish waste so check for ammonia spikes.-Chuck> thank you for replying however one of the fish died two hours after I sent this to you. the other is not acting like there is anything wrong with it. < I still stick with my recommendation of at least the water changes and servicing the filter.-Chuck> 

Sick Oscar I have a six inch red Oscar who I have had for about a year.  He is in a 50 gallon with Fluval 304 filter.  I perform a 20% water change every two weeks, add stress zyme and coat, and vacuum the gravel.  Each month I change the carbon and rinse the filters.  Last week (6 days ago) I noticed him struggling with his respiration and going to the top constantly skimming air.  I immediately tested the water and found that my nitrites and my ammonia were maxed out.  I was advised to do a 50% water change, add aquarium salt and use Cycle.  This did not help.  I went to a local fish store and they recommended that I use the biological strain called Bio Spira by Marineland.  I did that yesterday and once the 24 hours was up I did another 50% water change and added Ammo lock.  My nitrites are now 0 and my ammonia is 2.0.  However, I am now on day 6 of my Oscar not eating...and he is still at the top of the tank skimming oxygen.  His head which is normally green has now faded a bit to a yellow green.  Is there anything else for me to do?  How long before he will get over being stressed and return to normal if possible?  How long before he will begin eating?  I am hoping that he will begin the road to recovery soon.  Thank you for your time. Hamlet's mom < High ammonia and nitrates can actually burn the gills and reduce your Oscars ability to absorb oxygen. Keep the ammonia and nitrites at zero. Keep the nitrates as low as possible with 25 ppm being an absolute maximum. Reduce the temp of the water to 75 to 77 degrees. The lower the water temp the better oxygen carrying capacity of the water. Add an air pump with an airstone to increase the aeration. The gills will grow back over time if they are not too heavily damaged. Feed only enough food so that all of it is consumed in a couple of minutes each day. Siphon out all the uneaten food. Be patient.-Chuck>

Oscar w/ HITH We just set up a new tank and we purchased 2 Oscars two days ago.  Percy is doing just great, but Quincy has HITH - no doubt about it.  I am very upset but don't want to return him because he is mine and I love him.  Since he is in better water conditions, will he improve? < Cleaner water will definitely improve his heath. Keep the ammonia and nitrates at zero and keep the nitrates below 10 ppm until he has healed up and then you can let them go up to 25 ppm as a maximum ceiling.> He does not seem to be eating at all.  How do I help him without disturbing Percy? < Feed only enough food so that all of it is gone in two minutes each day. Siphon out the rest. Try feeding freshly washed earthworms.> One of my filters that came with the kit has carbon in it.  If I take it out, do I need to put something else in with the other filter that is in there too? < The carbon in the filter is fine until you add medication. Then it needs to be removed.-Chuck> HELP - I don't want to lose him already! Carrie

Oscars with spots on eyes! we have two Oscars in a 55 tank and they both have white spots on their eyes. I would appreciate any advice you can give me < This is usually not Ich but a bacteria forming over the eyes. Do a 30% water change and service the filter. Vacuum the gravel when to do the water change. The ammonia and nitrites should be zero and the nitrates should be under 25 ppm. If things don't improve then treat with erythromycin (Myaxin) or Nitrofuranace. These medications may affect the good bacteria that break down the fish waste so check for ammonia spikes.-Chuck>

Oscar Ozzy not Ozzy since Christmas Please! Please! Please help me I've read your faq's and still can not pin point what is wrong with OZ.  The last thing he ate was a feeder fish on Christmas Eve for the family in which we are now thinking he could have sucked in a small rock.  We don't see anything by looking in his mouth though. He seems to be growing a cloudy film around his eyes.  We've did a 40% change of water adding Prime for chlorine and nitrates.  We have been adding Quick Cure as we thought he was starting to get ICH but does not seem to be helping.  I also put in some Epsom Salt as directed from you to one of your other readers.  Should I put the Epsom Salt in everyday.  AAAGGHH <NO>      I just don't know where to turn.  I went to our pet store K-9 Country Club and Bridgette did inform us that our Ph was extremely high.  She gave us a bottle of Neutral Regulator to adjust it.  She said our water we were putting in Ozzy's tank was perfect all around, but when tested from the aquarium itself it was very high.  What could be causing that? < Rocks/gravel/shells with a high calcium content dissolving in the water. Topping of the tank with tap water. Accumulations of food and chemicals you have been adding to the water.>   Ozzy seems to be getting a red tint on the very top edge of his dorsal and tail.  His tail will sometimes quiver and his side fins will flutter in a circular motion.  Maybe 2 - 3 times a day he will flutter on the bottom like he's trying to shed what looks very very little like ICH or velvet.  It also seems like he is having a hard time breathing.  He does not have HITH I believe or any of the other diseases Oscars are prone to.  He just lays their in his corner and just now as we speak he swam up a hair either gasping or blowing with quick mouth movement and now he's laying back in his corner.  Please help me I'll try just about anything right now.  I did not want this for Ozzy's first Christmas as he is only 6 months old. He has brought a lot of happiness and joy into our home and I want it to stay that way.  Please respond like NOW or ASAP!!!  I would be so much in debt and appreciation if you could help some how.  Oh as nerved and stressed out as Ozzy I forgot to tell you which you probably figured out by now  he is a RED TIGER OSCAR.  Sincerely Brenda < Do a 30% water change and service the filter. Vacuum the gravel when you do the water change. Feed only enough food so that all of it is gone in two minutes each day. Once the water checks out ok, (O ammonia and nitrites, 25 ppm nitrates, you can treat the tank with Nitrofuranace  for the bacterial infections.-Chuck>

Infernal Internal Infection Dear Crew, I have a five year old, 11 inch tiger Oscar alone in a 46 gallon tank. I put about 10 feeder guppies in her tank (I know, big mistake). My fish developed a swelling locally in her lower abdomen (right above the anus) equally on both sides and a small white lump seemed to be coming from the anus. I could tell she wasn't defecating. she was eating normally (fish sticks and pellets) for about a week after I noticed the swelling. I changed out her water immediately- the water was good: 0 nitrite and 0 nitrate and normal pH I added Epsom salts to the water because I thought she was constipated. I did that for a week and then added Paragon II (concurrently with the salts) as she wasn't improving. After that treatment I did a 50% water change and then a 25% change and gave her Maracyn II for 5 days. This didn't help either. Then I gave her Nala-gram (2 day treatment) which didn't help either. The last treatment ended the beginning of Dec. She continues to swim around and has been active and comes to the surface when I open her lid. She is becoming less active and is listing to the right and she is obviously getting weaker. She hasn't eaten for over 2 months and I know I will lose her if she doesn't get better soon. I feel like she could recover if I could just get the right antibiotic. Can you recommend something? Can you also direct me to a site to purchase it? How do I know when to give up and euthanize my fish?? I see her starving every day and it breaks my heart. I live on an outer Hawaiian Island with no one (other than an uninformed fish store owner) to offer advise or recommend medication. Please help me. I'll do anything that's best for Cleo. I am so attached to her I don't want to lose her but I don't want to see her suffer either. Thanks for any help you can offer. Aloha and Best Regards, Tamara <Hi Tamara, Don here. Sounds like an internal infection. Do several large water changes to remove all trace of the meds you have tried. Then treat with Metronidazole. If he was eating I would suggest a food medicated with it. But since he's not, add it to the water. You can pick it up at most pet stores. If not, any of the large online pet suppliers. Good luck>

Sick Oscar cichlid My large albino Oscar has blood seeping from her gill.  I have never noticed this before. She is swollen slightly at her left gill.  She is the only fish in the aquarium.  She is on a diet of blood worms and Cichlid Floating Pellets. There doesn't seem to be an thing sharp in her tank. Her tank is ready for a good cleaning.  Do you know what may be causing this? Should I put some Epsom salt in the water? Any suggestions? Thanks. Terri < Oscars aren't always "the sharpest tools in the shed". While moving gravel and things around your Oscar may have tried to eat something and pass it through his gills. It may become infected so I would do a 30% water change and service the filter. To prevent infections I would use some Melafix.-Chuck>

Bertha the Oscar hi again I'm sorry to keep bothering you with questions, but I'm new to the Oscar world, and am lost when it come to taking care of bertha (my red Oscar),,, anyhow, I found what is to appear as "hole in the head", and I think that's why she was acting so sporadic (the last time I e-mailed you). but my real question is this, I want to change her diet, I was feeding her goldfish, and I think that's what she got that hole in the head., I've tried a whole bunch of things.  I didn't feed her for two days now, and have tried to give her pellets, krill and blood worms.  she still wont eat. what do I do?? < Changing the diet is a good idea. Try washed earthworms and large cichlid pellets by Spectrum. Be patient. Fish can go for a long time without eating. Offer only enough food so that it is all gone in a couple of minutes. Oscars aren't dummies . She will be eating in no time. Make sure the water temp is up around 80 degrees and keep the water clean by changing the water and by cleaning the filter often.-Chuck> thanks again for all your help. Mike & Bertha

Sick Oscars We have had our Oscars for five months now  all seem to be healthy until now. Lately their behavior has changed a lot. At first we noticed slight scratches and attributed this to their daily squabbles however, lately they seem to be white patches appearing on most of the Oscars and they seem to be scratching  or itching against the rocks a lot. In addition to this there has been a slimy white substance in the tank .The patches seem to be growing and they seem to be getting much more aggressive. Could you please advise? <Test the water for ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. The ammonia and nitrite levels should be zero and the nitrates should be under 25 ppm. Do a 30 % water change and service the filter. Treat for external bacterial infections using Nitrofuranace. Follow the directions on the package very carefully. Do not over feed. Only enough food once a day so that all of it is gone in a couple of minutes.-Chuck> Kind Thanks, Yasmin

Oscar Problem I have a red Oscar, I have had him for over a year now. He is about 6-8 inches long. I had him in a 10 gallon tank, and about 3 weeks ago, I moved him to a 29 gallon tank. Ever since then things have gotten bad. At first, I bought him feeders, in which he at, but not as quickly as he usually does. Now, he doesn't eat. His eyes are very cloudy. I must admit that I am not a pro at this. I only have an algae eater in the tank with him, and I use the filter that came with the tank. I apply ick-Away once a day, and also feed him medium pellets, in which I find at the bottom of the tank. He has this white spot in the middle of his eyes, I assume as the Hole-In-The-Head disease for some time now, he has had it ever since he was in the 10 gallon. Please give me some suggestion quickly, I feel like I am losing him. I am going to go and get a vacuum to clean his gravel. A we speak, my boyfriend is changing out 25% of his water. I have been looking at different message boards, and some posters speak about a certain nitrate and ammonia. What is this? What does Epsom Salt do? Please inform me on my stupidness!!! <The 25% water change was good practice, now do another. This time do 50%. Just match the temp and use a dechlorinator. Nothing else! Do NOT add the Ick-Away!!! Even if he had Ick, you do not dose daily! This is killing your Oscar. You need to do at least one big water change a day until you clear that out. Use the gravel vac to get all the old food and waste out. Please read this link to understand cycling. http://www.marineland.com/articles/1firstthirty.asp It will explain your question about ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. You will need a test for each. This is very important and is the underlying source of the eye problems and his failure to eat. One last point. NEVER give him feeder fish. This is a sure way to introduce Ick, or worse, in to your tank. Don>

Red tiger Oscar has lost his red :( Hi there :) I have read through your FAQ page in the hope that it could help with my Oscar problem but could not find my fishes problem. In fact, I don't even know if it IS a problem. If anything it is more aesthetic than anything! My Oscar is about 6 months old and about 4 inches long. He is a red tiger Oscar. I also have in the tank with him (until he is a little older when he moves to his own) a 7 inch Jack Dempsey, a 5 inch Gold Severum, a large silver dollar, small red forest cichlid,1 large and 1 small silver shark, 3 large sucking cats, 2 quite large and shy clown loaches, 1 ghost knife (who also keeps to himself), and 1 small kissing Gourami (who is very new to the tank). Now about a month back (most of them we have had about a year but the oscar-5 months and the Gourami -1 month) our tank got some funky green algae which I think was related to too much sunlight reaching the tank but regardless it took a while to fix the problem and in that time we also had the end of a snail plague which the clown loaches were sorting out. Ok so the tank got quite gross for a while and the filter was continually getting blocked (I have a canister filter Eheim-oh and a 200litre tank which the Eheim is quite capable of cleaning.) So I know I ramble but the problem is that the Oscar lost his red during this time. I had a very high gH during that time (we are in a new estate and the water is high), the water is beautiful now and the levels seem ok but he still hasn't regained his red.....he is a perfectly black fish with a green colour where the vibrant red used to be (except for a small red spot near his tail) he is quite happy and a pig of an eater, very personable and we love him but as I said its more aesthetic than anything. I have a very dull dark fish when I had a vibrant one before. I am hoping that he isn't unhappy. He got beat up the first day he was in the tank but since then no one has gone near him in an aggressive way and they all always let him feed first (the jack Dempsey stays close to him during feeding but swims away if it gets too crazy). Any help or advice would be much appreciated.( I also cant separate him for at least another 2 months ( I have another 200 litre tank with 2 salmon catfish over 15inches long and a huge red Severum and a rainbow shark and they will not let anyone else in the tank with them-but in January I will buy a 6 foot tank for Gimli-the Oscar and possibly the Dempsey to go with him). Many thanks Kirstie < Most of the time the color is the result of diet and lighting. With all other things being OK I would feed foods high in Krill or brine shrimp. For pellet foods I would recommend Spectrum by New Life, Marineland food or Hikari cichlid pellets. If your florescent light hasn't been changed in a while you might try a new light bulb and get a color range that has a heat range of 5000 to 5500 K.-Chuck.>

Sick Oscar I was wondering if anyone had any different ideas on how to save my albino Oscar.  In the beginning I had a tiger Oscar and an albino Oscar in a 55 gallon tank together.  They are almost a year old now.  About one month ago, the tiger Oscar grew rapidly while the other Oscar didn't. <Albino fish are generally genetically weaker and do not do as well as their wild or normally colored tankmates>   The albino also began to show signs of being beat up, scrapes on the sides of his body, etc.  So I separated them into two 55 gallon tanks until I purchase some larger tanks.  The problem is the albino has not recovered.  I left him in the original tank since he was the smaller one, thinking that I didn't want to shock him by changing his environment.  The other Oscar moved and has done fine.  The albino was treated with Melafix and all the visible wounds have healed nicely.  The problem is he won't eat or even socialize with me now.  He hasn't really eaten in 5-7 days and just lays at the bottom of the tank.  He doesn't look good at all.  Prior to me moving the tiger, he was swimming around and eating with no problems.  The tiger did not eat the first few days of the move, but has recovered nicely.  Are fish capable of mourning?  It's almost like that is what he is doing but I know he can't go back into that tank.  HELP!!!!!!!! < Cichlids like Oscars are somewhat social. When not interacting with other fish they usually interact with their owners. Try earthworms or some other form of live food to get the albino moving. A large water change may also get him kick started again. Try placing a mirror next to the tank for a short time to see if he reacts to his own image in the mirror. Don't leave it there for too long. Just long enough to see if his reluctance to move is mental or physical. If none of the above work then there may have been some internal injuries that may not be apparent. -Chuck>

Oscar and environmental disease my Oscar is fairly good size, he has been swimming frantically across the tank slamming into the sides and everything else in the tank. When he is not doing that he floats almost as if he is dead. I have him in a 55 gal tank. he has a yellow coloring along his belly and gills. There is also marks on his face from slamming into the rocks on the bottom and turning in circles. He acts as if he is going crazy.. >>Hello. Sorry to hear about your fish. We need to ask you some questions to help us help you. How many inches long is your Oscar? Are there any other fish in with him? Can you please give us some water test results. what are your ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels? Please be precise. This is important. Also, how often to you do partial water changes? What exactly do you feed him, and how often do you vacuum the gravel?  -Gwen he is approx. 10-11 inches long, 6-8 inches tall, there are other fish in the tank and they all seem to be doing fine. I had my water tested at the nitrate level was off the chart within a few seconds. So will the changing of say 50% of the water for the next 4 days be sufficient? < Change enough of the water to bring the nitrates down to 25 ppm> Will he beat this problem, or is he to far gone already? < Cichlids , like Oscars are pretty tough customers. Get the nitrates down, service your filter and add some salt to the water to increase the slime coat on the fish. If he is still having problems then he may be suffering from a bacterial attack on his skin and gills. Look at a Furanace type of medication for treatment but watch out. It will probably kill the good bacteria in your filter too.> I usually change 25% of the water once a month, and the same goes with gravel vacuuming. <Obviously this is not enough because your nitrate readings are off the chart. Get a good nitrate test kit and change enough water to keep the nitrates around 25 ppm. Don't let them get any higher than 50 ppm. This will help you determine how much water to change and how often. Don't forget to service your filter or your nitrates will come right back. -Chuck>

OSCAR PROBLEMS Two years ago we purchased a house that came with a fish tank, I'm not sure of the gallon size of the tank but it is 5ft long, 16in wide and 20in deep.  I have a 15in. Koi, 11in Oscar, 8in Catfish and two 4in Plecostomus', which have lived nicely for 13 years together with exception of the Plecostomus'.  Trying to keep the ammonia down to an acceptable level I took all the gravel out of the tank and replaced it with large rocks.  I have done many water changes since and the local fish store tested my water 3 times and said it was excellent every time.  The problem is now my Koi has turned on the Oscar and is trying to slam him into the tank and rocks.  I made a tunnel out of rocks so the Oscar can get away and hide but he has been in the same position for days, lays on his side and hasn't eaten for about a week.  They have both lived on Hikari cichlid pellets their whole life and I've even tried other kinds of pellets to get the Oscar to eat.  Nothing seems to appeal to him.  The Oscar also has some cuts on his side from trying to avoid the Koi, but he seemed to be in bad shape before that.  The Koi still has normal behavior toward the Catfish. My Koi used to suck on the gravel most of the day and I was told that he might just be bored now.  Is this true? < Your Koi should be in a tank or pond of its own since it likes cooler unheated water. Check your heater. The Oscar should be at 80 degrees. This is much too warm for your Koi. I suspect your heater is broken or can't keep the water warm enough for the Oscar. Heat the water up to 80 degrees and offer them some washed earthworms. This should do the trick. If your Oscar still does not respond then I would place him in a separate tank with clean treated water and try feeding the worms to him. >: Is my Oscar at the peek of his life span? < Oscars can live for many years in the aquarium. Yours at 15 years is very remarkable and may indeed be close to the end. The Koi on the other hand can probably live up to 25 years or more and get 3 feet long.> Or could he have a disease or sickness? < An Oscar that old could have suffered some internal injuries for its altercations with the Koi.>   We plan to get another tank and separate the two, but I'm afraid he's not going to make it by the time I get it set up for him.  Can you please give me some advice on what I can do with my problem, < Heat the water and see if the Oscar comes around. If the water is already heated then I would get a tank divider and try and separate them.> and is my Oscar really dying, or just scared of the Koi? <Only time will tell> Sometimes I think about grabbing him like a bass and dropping some food in his mouth, but I think that would make matters worse. < So do I> I was also told I could not try salt because of the Plecostomus, is this true? <Salt added to a freshwater aquarium will aid in creating a slime on the fish. This would help to fight infections of fish that may have encountered wounds. South American fish really don't like salt.> The conditions of the water in the tank and it's surroundings are much better now than they ever have been. < Your fish have lived a very long time. Keep up the good work-Chuck>

Oscar with bacterial and/or fungal infection Hello- I searched through the FW disease and infection sections and FAQ's but I still am having troubles finding a good solution to my Oscar's problems.  First, my tank set up is the following: 125 gallon with wet/dry filtration with about 5x per hour turnover.  It is a CA/SA cichlid tank with 2 Oscars, 2 Firemouths, a convict, a jack Dempsey and 2 pike cichlids (Crenicichla lucius and C. strigata Venezuela sp.).  Also, there are some pieces of driftwood and some broken clay pots.  The two Oscars tend to have little spars from week to week, I'm not sure if they are trying to size each other up for breeding or in territorial spats.   I usually try to do water changes of about 33% every other week, but sometimes I get a little behind.   Anyway, about a week ago, one of the Oscars started looking sub-par.  His dorsal, caudal and pectoral fins looked a little ragged.  I figured it was just due to fighting with the other Oscar.  But he has been getting worse; he's to the point now of sitting at the top of the tank, not swimming and not eating.   His fins have large chunks missing and his body has some kind of infection, I'm assuming fungal.  There are large sheets of white hanging off his skin and much of the scales are gone, exposing the flesh underneath. None of the other fish are affected and all are eating fine.  I have removed the sick fish into a quarantine tank and added some FW aquarium salt.  I want to go and get medications today, but I am unsure of what to get.  Because of the fin rot and what I'm assuming to be a fungal infection, I would think Maracyn would be the best choice. Sorry about the length, I just wanted to be as descriptive as possible.  I greatly appreciate any help, < Your Oscar may have suffered some brutal attacks by the other fish. Open wounds can be serious. The problem is probably bacterial and not fungal. Fungus attacks damaged tissue and usually not live healthy flesh. Probably the bacteria are attacking your fish and the fungal infection is secondary but the most easily observed. In your quarantine tank I would treat with Maracyn or a Furanace type of drug as per the dosages on the bottle. Change some water everyday-Chuck> Ryan Day

I think my Oscar is dying I have a tiger Oscar in a 55 gallon tank right now with 2 tin foil barbs and a Bala shark (all are fairly young and eventually we will get a bigger tank). I am running 2 emperor 280s on the 55 gallon tank which I think is plenty.  A while ago my Oscar started swimming funny and acting like a recluse. He was twirling and rolling over and swimming horizontal (like laying on his side) and then he'd just lay at the bottom away from everything else behind a rock. I took in a water sample to my local pet shop and was told my nitrate levels were way too high. I started doing 30% water changes every 3 days for 9 days.  He seemed a little better and was even swimming normally for about 3 days and now he's started floating at the top of the water completely horizontal. Yesterday he swam completely vertical (nose to the ground) all day.  He appears to be sunken in or to have lost some weight in his belly which might be due to the fact that he's  not eating.  His gills are also swollen.  My fiancé© thinks he's a goner, and I just can't accept that. There has to be something I can do. Right?   I've done a bazillion searches on things like whirling, twirling, rolling over, vertical swimming, horizontal swimming, and can't find anything to help me out accept a lot of suggestions to keep doing frequent (every 2 or 3 days) water changes.  Will that really solve this problem?  I really hope you can help me, as I've grown really attached to the little guy. <High nitrates over a long time can induce stress and disease. Unfortunately not all the diseases are on the surface of the fish and indeed are internal. Internal infections are hard to diagnose and very difficult to treat. If the fish is still eating I would try some washed earthworms to build up his strength. If he is eating I would increase the water temperature to 80 degrees. Ask your local fish store for some medicated fish food with Metronidazole in it. Look online too. If he is still eating then feed the medicated food to him as per the directions on the package. This may be a lot of work to save a fish with the chances of a full recovery pretty slim. Good luck.-Chuck> -Kelli
Re: I think my Oscar is dying
Thank you for your reply.  I wish it was more promising. I treated the tank today with some aquarium salt (1 tbsp/ 5 gallons). <The salt will help create a slime on the surface of the fish but may not help with internal conditions.>  I also noticed a bump or bulge on one side, the side that's floating above the water. He's been on his side all day and seems to struggle in intervals to be in any other position.  He hasn't eaten today and I don't believe he ate yesterday.  I read some things that said to stay away from pellets...should I? < Overall pellets are not too bad. If in doubt you can soak them first so they swell up before you feed them. Try not to over feed. It is easy to do with pellets> I also measured the nitrates today before a water change and they were between 25 and 40. < Service the filter to help keep the nitrate load from building up> I could only do a 10% water change today because I ran out of dechlorinator. I'll have to run and get some tonight.  The tank has always been at 80 degrees, so unfortunately I can't do anything there. Any additional help would be greatly appreciated. < I think you are doing everything possible, but at least try on earthworm to try and get him to start eating.-Chuck> Thanks, Kelli

White patches: Ich, velvet, both, neither? Before I start, here's the background: Two 5-6" Oscars, one 5" Pleco, 39 g tank (which I now know is wayyyy too small and am diligently saving toward obtaining a 120 g tank ASAP).  Two HOB filters (Penguin 125 w/BioWheel & a Millennium 1000).  Biweekly 25-50% water changes depending on the amount of crud. Try to keep Ph no higher than 7.0 and ammonia is at a "safe" level according to the ammonia alert card in the tank (can those be trusted?).  I put in 1 Tbls of aquarium salt for every 5 gallons of water I add during water changes. I use tap water treated with aqua safe & try to get it as close to the tank temp as possible.  1 or 2x daily feedings of Oscar pellets, dried brine shrimp &/or occasional live earthworms (rinsed).   Please see the attached pics of my Lilo's spots and tell me if this looks more like Ich or velvet or just injuries from fighting. <After reviewing the photo it looks like wounds from fighting> It doesn't look fluffy like velvet or pinpointy like Ich.  Stitch has recently started ramming Lilo's sides and I noted a scale pop off yesterday.  Obviously I need to get a much bigger tank ASAP.  In the meantime, I put a plastic screen in to separate them, which unfortunately only makes the habitat smaller for each, but at least they aren't tormenting each other at the moment. The pic has a greenish tint because I added 3 tabs of Tank Buddies Fungus Clear (Nitrofurazone, Furazolidone, potassium dichromate) and per the instructions, took out the carbon cartridges from the filters. < You should have removed the BioWheel from the penguin filter too. Medications can kill the bacteria on the wheel sometimes.>   How soon before I can put them back in?  The box says do another treatment and 25% water change in four days if it hasn't cleared up. Does that mean the cartridges stay out for that long? I don't want to poison them!  They are each quite lethargic right now & didn't swim up to greet me at feeding but did each eat a red wiggler this morning.  Thanks in advance for your assistance. < Do a partial water change and try using a conditioner with some wound control in it. The Oscars will recover from the wounds since they don't look too serious and Oscars are pretty tough customers to begin with. I would not remedicate if the fungus does not reappear. The fungus likes to live on dead tissue. Watch you ammonia levels since the bacteria may have been harmed by the medication. Add the carbon back after 24 hours to clear things up and get you tank back on track.-Chuck>

Tiger Oscar Hey, my Oscar has this white little indent right above his gill, theirs only one. I think I spotted it about half a week ago as just a white spot, but know I think I notice a little indent. I think it may be Hole In The Head Disease. I did my gravel vacuuming and also a 30% water change with water conditioner in the 30% new water and I also put in a new filter in the filtration system ( Do you think that will fix the indent?). < The improved water conditions can only help. It may slow the disease down.>   I don't have an Ammonia and Nitrate kit but I think I will go out and buy one tomorrow ( Can you give me a rough price ). < Each kit should be under $10.> Do you think you can send me some pictures of some fish with the Hole in the head disease just appearing if that is possible. Also can you, if you think it is HITH disease give me some information on treating it to get it to go away? < I just had this discussion a couple of nights ago with a few friends of mine at the local cichlid club. Unfortunately there has been no real science done on hole-in the head. Many people have done some lab work and found many things but no real "smoking gun" has been found yet. Keep the water clean and try to vary the diet to include some live food like earthworms and brine shrimp. If the holes look like they are getting bigger then you could try some Metronidazole at 250 mg per 10 gallons and follow the directions on the package. Prevention is much easier than treatment. Good Luck. Do a Google search on Hole-in-the-head disease and you will find numerous tips and theories on how this disease works and how to treat it. Some saltwater  fish get it too.-Chuck> Thank you.
Re: Tiger Oscar
Thanks for the information so quick. Right before I got to bed, quick question? Its possible to cure right? Like make the hole go away and stop it from spreading with that medication? Or is he going to die?!.... Also when you said the improvements I did can "help" ( new water, new filter ), does this mean that it may cure it or does it mean it will only slow the death down? < If you don't know the specific cause of the stress then you don't know what needs to be changed. In some fish it may be high nitrates. But I have seen the disease in fully planted aquariums with no ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate measured in the water. So then you have to start looking at other things like pH and diet. Vitamin deficiencies may be a cause too. No two aquarists keep two tanks totally alike. So the same two aquarists may have the disuse but the causes may be different depending on all the variables such as food source, initial water chemistry and other fish. There are no stone cold locks when it comes to treating Hole-in-the-head as of yet. I gave you some generalities to increase your fishes chances of survival. You may have to try some of these things and see if they are effective. But be aware no matter what you do you may never be able to cure your fish.-Chuck> Bye
Re: Tiger Oscar
Also I read up that in most cases if it is caused by stress or poor water quality it isn't contagious meaning that it isn't bacteria and it wont spread and that one particular dent will clear up on its own if you clean the tank and such. I was just curious on your statement for that if it is true or totally made up. Thanks bye. < You need three things for a disease to occur. A parasite, a host ,and an environment that at the same time weakens the fishes immunity while at the same time enhances the reproductive behavior of the parasite. If you have poor water quality in your tank then other cichlids are likely to show the same symptoms because the conditions are the same throughout the entire tank. Stress can lead to all kinds of diseases not just hole in the head. I don't just make things up. My answers are based on years of experience with cichlids as well as attending seminars all over the country on cichlids too. Of coarse I am always willing to listen to something new on treatment for the problem, unfortunately I have been lead up the golden path many times over the years by "new " treatments that have never really been panned out.-Chuck>

Damaged Fins Help!!!  Hi there just a quick one. I bought 4 red Oscars (about 3-4cms long) and put them in my Cichlid tank till morning when my new tank would be ready for them. As I found out to my horror this morning the poor little Oscars never lasted as well with them as I thought: 1 has only 1 fin intact and 2 have 1 shorter fin  they were ok when I went to bed, they had got them selves all laid together in the corner as per usual but obviously their tankmates had set upon them when I shut the door or before I got up!  Do they grow back??? < Yes the fins will grow back if they have not been fungused. Keep the water clean and they should grow back although they may not be as straight or as long as undamaged fins.-Chuck>

Oscar has ICH or HITH? Hi, MikeD here> My Oscar still has his white spot O <--- about the size of that zero and the Tiger Oscar is only about 4 inches long.<Definitely not ick, which is a tiny white spot about the size of a grain of salt or smaller> The spot hasn't grown or healed and he's had it for at least 2 and a half weeks.<Where is the spot located on the fish, and is it a definite pit or hole?> I do water changes once a week and vacuum once a week.<Not too much of a water change I hope?> When do you think I should change the gravel.<Why would you want to change the gravel, unless it's because you don't like the color or stone size?> What should I treat his white spot as ICH or HITH?<From the information you gave me, it's definitely NOT ick, and maybe not HITH, at present I'd hold off on treating with anything....any chance of sending a photo?>
Re: Oscar has ICH or HITH?
<Hi, MikeD here again> Ill send you a Photo Next E-mail (About 2 days)<OK> Its just a pit, not really a hole. Also it's right above the gill. <Good. That would sound more like lateral line erosion than HITH, which can often be made to subside merely by improving water conditions and food quality. My personal suggestion is to never use live goldfish as feeders, BTW. It's also possible it MAY be just a scar, and until you're sure WHAT you're treating, there's always the chance of doing severe harm by using the wrong treatment.>
Re: Oscar has ICH or HITH?
<Hi again, MikeD here> What do you recommend as food. Right now I'm using Floating Pellets (Medium) made from Wardley.<Any good cichlid pellet or such should be fine, preferably one made for predators> Their quite old like a month. I feed him twice a day<Great idea! It's a growing baby and once a day often just keeps them alive, while more allows them enough extra energy to grow> about 7 pellets each serving. Their bags zip lock broke so I put it in a new Zip Lock Bag.<Good idea as they CAN go stale and lose food value> All I feed him is pellets. How do I know how much to feed him? I heard put in some pellets and see how much he eats in several minutes, but is several minutes 2 or 3 or 4?<Basically, you can feed it all it will eat until it quits eating, then stop. Any food left uneaten after 15 minutes should be removed> If you have any Recommendations for food I'll go out and grab some.<There are hundreds of predatory cichlid foods on the market, with most being satisfactory. find one that both of you seem to like and you should be fine. As "treats" you can offer it live ghost shrimp, even small earth worms if you so desire. some people feed live feeder fish, but with that you always stand a good chance of picking up parasites, so I'd suggest avoiding the practice to stay on the safe side.  Keep in mind that you'll need to change the size of the food pellets/treats as it grows, plus increase amounts according to its appetite>

Split fin on an Oscar, in the rain Hello, I have just recently acquired an Oscar and noticed that on his anal fin, he has a small split...my question is do they heal? If so how long does it normally take to do so?? Thanks. < Normally fishes fins will heal and grow back as long as the water is clean and no secondary infections are present. With clean water and good food the fin should heal up in a couple of weeks depending on the temp of the water and how far the tear went up the fin.-Chuck>

Itchy Oscar Hi to everyone at WWM! I hope you can help me in regards to a question I have about my Oscar which I bought about 3-4 months ago know I think. The tank parameters are: -          pH: 7.5 -          Ammonia: 0ppm -          Nitrite: 0ppm -          Nitrate: 5ppm -          Temp: 26 C -          40 gallons -          The Oscar is about 3.5 inches (he is the only one in the tank and was not put through a cycling process) -          Filtration: Eheim Liberty 200 and Eheim Professional 2028 Ok, for a while now (about a month) it seems (I say seems because I am not 100% sure if this is how he used to be) to be breathing deeply. Deeply as in I can distinguish pretty much every breath he takes from about two metres away from the tank and I'm pretty sure I haven't been able to notice this with any other fish I've kept. Also he is breathing deeply and not quickly. At first I thought it might have been just the way this fish breathes but over the last couple of weeks he has started to sway in the more powerful water return and every morning for the last five mornings, he has looked like he is trying to shake something off his head and scratches his head area/upper body along the substrate a few of times. This behaviour then stops until the next morning but he continues the sort of swaying motion throughout the day. He has no physical symptoms apart from those aforementioned - no white spots, no cuts, nothing else that is visually discernible as out of the ordinary. This is what I have done so far: -          I initially thought it may be flukes and as such dosed the tank with Praziquantel (2mg/litre) and started antibiotic feeding to reduce the chance of any secondary infections, unfortunately this doesn't seem to have had any marked impact at all and although I have kept up the feeding of the antibiotics did not bother to do a repeat dose of the Praziquantel. -          The only other thing I could match the symptoms to was some sort of protozoa infection like Costia (I had had the blinds open for a couple of weeks straight with direct sunlight on the tank and fish for most of the day - I thought this may have aggravated such a condition) and after leaving enough time for the Praziquantel to become ineffective, I dosed the tank with 0.3% salt in an attempt to flush it from the symptom, this doesn't seem to have helped matters either so now I am totally stumped (although still have the salt in the tank). I have no idea if what the fish has got could be lethal for him but it seems to be getting ever so gradually worse - any ideas you could give me would be really appreciated because it is frustrating me now to the point of giving up and seeing what symptoms eventuate as a result. I was thinking of getting a microscope but don't feel too confident in the physical scraping department - do you think it would be worth the effort? Hope this hasn't been too much of a drag for you. < No problem. Part of the problem may be you big canister filter. These big filters hold lots of media that the good bacteria live on to break downs the fishes waste products. As the water goes through the filter these bacteria need oxygen to survive. What ends up happening is that you have oxygenated water going into the filter but the water coming out of the filter has no oxygen left in it at all. Marineland compensates for this by having their BioWheel kits oxygenate the water as it flows over the wheels before going back into the tank. I would start by having the return tube above the waters surface to become oxygenated as it enters the tank or add an airstone to break the surface tension of the water. If all the environmental parameters are still good then we have to start thinking about diseases. Place the fish in a quarantine tank and treat with rid-Ich to kill all external Protozoans. Some like Ich are visible to the naked eye but there are many that are not. Give these suggestions a try before making the big time investment of a microscope.-Chuck> Thanks again, Erica

Mouth fungus I have been treating a 4 in Oscar for mouth fungus today is the last day of the MarOxy treatment. My question is should I do a water change and do another 5 day treatment because he has only healed about half the way.-------------Thank You Fred < Water changes are never a bad idea. Watch the open wound closely. It a tank with clean water the wound should completely heal. Watch for ammonia spikes because the treatment will affect the "good" bacteria" and you may get an ammonia spike. Retreat if the wound looks like it starts to grow.-Chuck> Re: mouth fungus I had a question I have a 3 inch Oscar that has mouth fungus. I treated him over the past 2 1/2 weeks with Maroxy. It cleared up a little after the first treatment so I waited about 4 days to see if it would clear up completely. When it didn't I treated another 5 days. My question is it's not cleared up much more should I try something else or not worry about it. He is acting fine eating great jumping almost out of the tank for food when I feed him swimming normally acting like a Oscar should.----------------Thanks Fred < The fungus may be gone but it is taking awhile to heal. If it looks like it is coming back and is getting larger I would treat with Furanace as per the directions on the package. Make sure that you do a water change to it will help the medication become more effective. -Chuck>

Sick Tiger Oscar I have a Tiger Oscar approx. 6 inches in length, have had him ~ two years in a 55 gallon tank.  I have two double penguin filters and do water changes as needed.  The only tank mate is an algae eater.  I began  vacuuming the gravel in   my tank ~ 1 week ago and noticed how much material I was stirring up, so I was putting well water in with one line and vacuuming out the water with another line thinking I was doing a good thing.  My Oscar is still eating, but sits on the bottom of the tank the rest of the time gasping.  I removed all the tank decorations (plastic plants and things) to clean and have not put them back.  Could this be stress, bacterial, fungus infections from stirring everything up?   His scales look normal, he has a few patches of white coloration on his sides (it is not fuzzy, just a paler coloration), I thought I saw a fuzzy thing on his tail (but I can't tell if it is just air), nothing else to speak of regarding his appearance.  Water temp is 80, PH was 7.6 or higher (my card does not go any higher), Nitrate was 40, and Ammonia was normal.  I began treating with Paragon II, it contains Metronidazole, Furazolidone, Neomycin Sulfate, Naladixic Acid and Sodium Chloride.  This is a broad spectrum antibiotic, although I do not know what I am treating for.  I also did a ~30% water change prior to medicating.  Any advice is greatly appreciated, he is part of my family. Thank you in advance.  Susan < You have a couple of things going on. Your high nitrates probably have stunted your Oscar. Sometimes well waters from agricultural areas contain high nitrates already. They should be 25 ppm or less. Check your well water for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. The ammonia and nitrite should read zero. Record the pH too. Let the water sit in an open container for 24 hours and check the water again. If the well water has changed pH then there was some co2 gas in the water that affected the ph and stressed the fish. Any radical changes in water chemistry are stressful to the fish and weaken them to disease. I would make sure the tank is healthy first before I started to medicate. Your shotgun medication may have affected the good bacteria in your tank so now you need to watch for ammonia spike now too.-Chuck>

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