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FAQs on Oscar Disease/Health 3

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 Disease 2, 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,
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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,

Oscars With Hole-In-The-Head  12/30/2005 Greetings Bob, < Chuck this time.> We have 2 Red Tiger Oscars that both developed the HLLE. We keep a good tank ( check to make sure that all the levels are good) for them. However, is there something you can recommend that we do to help out our fish? We would like to have them around for a while. Thanks, Robert and JoAnna < This is usually caused by stress. Check the water chemistry. If that is OK then try a more nutritious food or change the diet to a better grade of food. Maybe add some live food too. Metronidazole will work to treat it but the causes of the stress must be addressed and corrected for a long term solution.-Chuck>
Oscars With Hole-In-The-Head  1/1/06
Thanks Chuck for your reply. We have them in a 72 gallon tank with 1 canister filter and one Bio wheel filter. We change the water weekly (25% change). We also have an old Pleco in the tank as well. He just hangs out on the back of the tank .We are currently feeding them Tetra Cichlid sticks and the pellets and occasionally krill. We quit feeding them live food when one of the people in the Tropical Fish hobbyist said that live fish is not good. What would you consider a good quality food? Should we be adding broccoli to the tank also? We would like to keep Felix and Oscar (yes they do act like the odd couple too!) around for a long time. Your help is greatly appreciated!!!!Thanks, Robert & JoAnna < Clean the filter and vacuum the gravel on alternate weeks. I know canister filters are a pain to service but the should be cleaned at least once every two weeks. On the weeks that you do not clean the filters you should vacuum the gravel. There is quite a bit of waste that accumulates there that needs to be removed. This should keep you water quality at its best. Forget the broccoli. I would try some Spectrum pellets and Spirulina flakes. These have lots of vitamins and minerals and should help with a deficiencies in their diet.-Chuck

Oscars Gone Wild   12/28/05 I have two Tiger Oscars. Both are about 3 inches long and in a 30 gal aquarium. I have two other fish and some snails in the tank with them. They have been swimming frantically across the tank slamming into the sides and everything else in the tank. When they are not doing that they float almost as if they are dead. They have been doing this for two - three days. I called the local fish store and they said change 50% of my water, add salt and double the dechlorinated  drops which I did. The Oscars started swimming some but are still floating on their sides on the top and also swimming into the sides of the tank. They also don't seem to be eating. This all started after I was having problems with my filter, I changed the filter to a new one and done two water changes a couple of days apart. The local fish store told me I was over feeding my Oscars so I cut down on how much I was feeding them. That is when they started the hitting the tank and swimming as if dead. Any help would be appreciated. < Check the ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. When replacing a filter with a new one you may have remove all the good bacteria needed to break down the toxic fish waste. So you may be experiencing higher waste levels like in a new tank. Add carbon to the filter to remove any unwanted organics in the water. Remove any uneaten food after 2 minutes.-Chuck>

Oscar with Fin Rot  12/24/05 I noticed another thing on my Oscar. At the end of its tail its white and the edges look like they're torn. Is it Bacterial Fin Rot? What should I do? < Could be fin rot. Do a 30% water change, vacuum the gravel and change the filter. If it looks like it is getting worse then treat with Nitrofuranace.-Chuck>

Oscar with Hole-In-The-Head  12/16/05 Hi Chuck, I have still been trying to cure my Oscar, but to no avail.  I put him in a bare 30 gallon and treated just as you described for quite some time but he did not seem to be recovering at all...getting worse in fact.  He didn't like the medication at all, but I did it 3 days on one day off for two weeks.  After that I just kept the water pristine and kept the lights out for the whole day.  I did turn the lights on, wait 30 minutes, and try to feed him.  He seemed hungry.....he gets all excited and swims back and forth waiting for the food, but when the he gets the food in his mouth he just opens it back up and the food comes out.  I have tried med. pellets, small pellets (Hikari Gold), flakes, brine shrimp, frozen brine.....pretty much everything, same result.  He just spits the food back out over and over. The one visible change in him after the treatment was the dimples in his head, which cover a decent area from behind his left eye all the way back near his fin, turned black.  Well, I should say rather that they are now outlined in black, but very prominently.  At first I thought it was a good thing, like it was healing, but the dimples seemed to be worsening still and he still can't eat.  It's been several months now. I am to the point where I am considering euthanasia, but would like to get your feedback first.  I have really done so much and tried very hard to cure him.  I don't like to think about him being so uncomfortable, and if he is just going to keep getting worse the I will have to do it sometime anyway. He isn't eating....what do you think?  Do you know anything about the blackening around the dimples/holes? Thanks, Tim < The black is a good sign that things may be healing up, at least around the edges. Try to get him to eat live black worms. He should. Give him a couple of feedings over a couple of days. One the third day place some worms in a small plastic cup with some water. Add a tablet of Metronidazole. It should kill the worms instantly. The worms now have the medication in them. Now quickly feed them to your Oscar. Getting the medication inside the fish should really help. Continue to do this until the spots turn black.-Chuck>

Oscar Can't Swim - 12/11/2005 I have a 55 gallon tank and last night I noticed one of my Oscars was having trouble submerging himself and tonight I noticed that he is trying to dive but he floats right back up I think he is dying can you help. < Your Oscar has an internal bacterial infection or a blockage. The bacteria in the gut are multiplying and creating a gas that is building up inside and affecting you Oscar's buoyancy. Do a 50% water change, clean the filter and vacuum the gravel. Treat with Metronidazole and Nitrofuranace. Follow the directions on the packages. When he starts to eat again he is getting better. The key to a complete cure is early treatment.-Chuck>

Oscar's Dying  12/9/05 Hello, <Hi, Catherine here.> My husband and I recently inherited an Oscar about 12 inches from his mother. My husband in order to transport the fish from her house had to empty the large fish tank (not sure how big but a really good size) and he put the fish in a smaller tank with the water it was residing in the big tank. <Sounds like a good start. I hope you took the big tank with you and put him back at home with the water which you brought in plastic jugs.> Here is where the problem came, when we got the tank home he cleaned it spotless along with the gravel which I questioned but I'm no fish expert. <Why?> Then he filled it with tap water and let it sit for a day with the pump hooked up without adding the fish (he did not de-chlorinate the water:-<). <Depends on where you live. Well water has no chlorine. Some cities add chlorine which will evaporate over a few days (dechlorinator works). Other cities add chloramine (you MUST add dechlorinator).> We added the fish last night and I believe the fish is in shock right now. He was hanging near the bottom of the tank sometimes swimming to the top where he was when I left the house this morning. He was swimming around but favoring is side which I think was caused by him trying to get oxygen from the surface.  <All sounds like shock/stress...> He developed a cloudy film on his eyes. <Bacterial infection due to stress. I wouldn't treat it because treatment is likely to destroy whatever good bacteria you have left and delay cycling. You just have to make his environment better.> I also noticed that his color (normally dark) has some orange areas in it now. <Stress....> This is a beautiful fish and I would really like to save it but I'm not fish savvy so is there anyway I can help him out of this shock? Please help:-< <Okay, step one, remove husband from tank. Possibly from house. When your husband cleaned the tank, did he use soap? If he did, the stuff sticks to glass and is really deadly on fish. If it has soap, you need to do lots of water changes and possibly get a new tank. Regardless, buy some dechlorinator and add it (package directions work well). Speaking of tanks, this fish needs a tank that is 70-100 gallons.  He may have been fine in a smaller one before, but now he's in shock and getting over it is not going to be terribly easy. He may have also been pH shocked. If he was, there isn't a lot you can do about it now, except to try to keep his pH as constant as possible (by doing many smaller water changes). You can also buy a test kit for pH. Anything between 6.0 and 8.0 is great. If your pH is outside those ranges, let me know and we'll discuss how to slowly change it. Constant and "wrong" is better than "right" but varying. His water should be heated to about 80F and he should have a filter that turns over all the water in the tank about 5x per hour. Your husband has also killed all the beneficial bacteria in the tank. This means the tank is going to have to cycle. Basically fish poop. Poop contains toxic ammonia. Bacteria can convert ammonia into nitrite. Nitrite is toxic. Other bacteria convert nitrite into relatively safe nitrate. Good news is the bacteria are in the air and will colonize the tank. Bad news is this takes about 6 weeks. You need to get a test kit for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Their values should be at 0, 0, and less than 20. For the next few months, you will need to do checks daily and anytime ANY of the readings are over 0.5, 1, and 20, do a 30% water change. This is going to be a lot of work. You can try to add BioSpira from Marineland (refrigerated) or Cycle (variable results). These products have bacteria in them and will help kick start your cycle. That may mean a LOT less water changes and a less stressed fish more quickly.>  Natalie <Good luck with him and let us know how it goes. www.liveaquaria.com has good information. I suggest not feeding "feeder goldfish" because they can carry disease Read WetWebMedia and the chat forum for more ideas and information. Catherine> 
Oscar's Dying..?  Follow-up  12/9/05
Catherine, Thanks so much for the reply. I will be taking over caring for the fish now. I will let you know how it goes; hopefully he is still alive when I get home. <Glad you got the reply. I forgot to mention two specific WWM (WetWebMedia) links. They are: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwset-up.htm. I'm on the west coast and have to give lab meeting tomorrow. I'll be up for a while and looking for procrastination tools. Let me know how he's doing. Catherine> 
Re: I think my fish (Oscar) is dying
 12/13/05 Hi Catherine, Good news my fish is doing great. <That's wonderful!  I was worried about him!> When I got home last Thursday he was still in shock but I followed all your directions (de-chlorinator and Cycle) and surprisingly when I tested the water the only thing out of range was the ammonia level which was at 1.0. I did the 30% water change and it was at 1 for a while but now it is down to .5. He is swimming around and is very lively now. He is eating well and everything. Thanks so much for the help. I will send along a picture of him when I get a chance. <Keep an eye on the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels.  They may still spike, but with the Cycle and a few water changes, hopefully they'll stabilize soon.> Natalie <Catherine>
Re: I think my fish (Oscar) is dying
 12/30/2005 Hi Catherine, I have been doing water checks and the water has been pretty much stable but yesterday I did a check and the ammonia and nitrite levels were so high now 4 and 5. I did a percent water change and treated the water with cycle. Is there a reason why these levels would peak so rapidly? Should I do a larger water change (I don't really want to put him into anymore shock)? Please help? Natalie <Sorry for the extremely delayed response.  I've been away from email due to the holidays.  You're just seeing the ammonia and nitrite spikes at the beginning of the cycle.  Keep doing water changes to keep the numbers under control.  Also, reduce feeding a bit.  30-50% water changes are fine to do on a daily basis, if you are keeping temperature constant. Good luck, Catherine>

Oscar Still Has Hole In The Head 11/3/05 Hi all, I have read through the forums and have done what is recommended (mostly Chuck's recommendations).  <<Chuck knows his cichlid stuff!>> I have a large (12-14 inch) red Oscar in a 75 gallon tank by himself. I had him with a Tiger Oscar until they outgrew the tank and he became aggressive with the Tiger. I plan on getting him in a 125+ but I have to move to a new place first. He developed pitting on the left side of his head, fairly high up. At first I thought he just lost a scale from bumping into the top of the tank (he gets very excited when I feed him), but it has progressed. I use RO water and treat it lightly with Cichlid Essentials. I feed him Hikari pellets. I do have frozen brine cubes which I am going to start supplementing in to his diet. I normally feed him a small amount in the morning and at night. I bought a bottle of the Hole-In-The-Head Guard with Metronidazole and have followed the directions on the bottle. They say to use it every other day for three treatments with 25% water changes between treatments. I have followed the directions exactly. It has been a week since the last treatment and I see no improvement.  How long should I wait before I treat him again? Is there anything else I can do?  My nitrates are low, ammonia and nitrites 0. My water temp is 80ish. This is a large beautiful fish and I really don't want to lose him.  Thanks for any help you can provide. Tim < Go to Cichlid-Forum.com and check out the 22 page article on the causes and treatment of hole in the head disease. Metronidazole reacts to everything, light, heat, organics etc... In a best case scenario you treat the fish in a bare tank. Treat with Metronidazole and Nitrofuranace every 8 hours with a 33% water change in between treatments for three days. Lots of work and lots of money too. After reading this article you will best be able to determine the cause and be able to treat appropriately.-Chuck> 
Hole In The Head Help For Cichlids Follow-up 11/4/05
Thanks so much for the help. I really appreciate it. I did read the article and will follow suit. It is really fantastic to have an actual scientific paper on the subject. One thing that I did wonder about after reading the article was that the author really stressed the existence of what he called the "jelly poo". < Sometimes in advanced cases there will be a white jelly like material in the pores themselves.> My fish doesn't have that at all. In fact, he is eating very very well, no loss of appetite at all. He is not displaying any abnormal behavior at all, he just has the dimpled head. Hopefully that means that it is early in the process and won't be too hard on him to cure it. You suggested a bare tank, which makes sense to me. Would you suggest that I put him in a smaller tank while I treat him? If so, what size? < A smaller tank means less water for water changes and less medication required which translates to less money. Use a reasonable tank size.> I have an extra 10 gallon tank, but I am afraid that the small size would stress him out. Thanks for your help Chuck. Tim < I am glad you found the article helpful. It was just too much info to transfer in this forum.-Chuck> 

Hospital Tank For A Large Oscar 11/4/05 Thanks again Chuck, I appreciate it. Would a 20 gallon be reasonable as a hospital tank or is that still too small? < It would work but I would put it in an out of the way place to keep him calm and relaxed during treatment. Good luck.-Chuck> 

Fasting Oscar, Unstable Temp. 10/30/05 I've had my tiger Oscar for about 6 months now. Since they only allow a maximum of a 10 gallon tank in my college dorm, I left him with my parents and gave them instructions on feeding him while I am away.  <Okay.>  Every time I have gone home (I go home every 2 weeks or so) He has been doing well, but I got an email from my father today saying that he hasn't eaten in 3 days and has been laying on his side at the bottom of the tank behind the tank ornament (which resembles the roots of a tree, and he used to hide in there when I first got him).  They told me that they have been doing partial water changes, but it hasn't affected his behavior.  <Do they know the water parameters, his behavior sounds environmentally induced...as in something is wrong, i.e. not enough aeration or to many nutrients.>  I don't know what the water temp is, but I think that it may have gone down since it is getting colder out, and my mother mentioned it being cold in the house even though they turned on the heat. Could the change in temperature be affecting his appetite or make him sick?  <Improper temperatures can cause lethargic reactions and are fatal long-term.>  I know it will be hard to give advice based on the limited information I have, but I'd appreciate any suggestions. <If you do no have a heater I suggest getting one to stabilize the temp, as for the eating offer many varieties of food to entice him. Perhaps even some frozen squid or blood worms.> Thanks. <Welcome, Adam J.>  

Albino Oscar Getting Dark Patches - 10/24/05 I have an albino tiger Oscar that is 13 inches long and recently started getting dark gray splotches on her. She eats normally and is very active , do I have a problem cropping up or is it just pigmentation changes?  She is in her own 55 gallon tan with two AquaClear 70 filters on the system and things look good but a fish that looks dirty.  < Could be caused by food or old scars. Change the diet and see if they go away. Does not sound like a disease.-Chuck> 

Re: Hole in the Head on Oscar  10/20/05 Hi Chuck: My Oscar had or still has hole in the head. It just seems to stay on his gill covers and one cheek. I got the med you said to get and things started to look good. But after the Metronidazole and Furanace the pits are getting worse. And on one side the wound looks red. in some spots. he still eats. I give him freshwater Zoa« he eats every thing but feeders. What can I do to help him get better? His diet is good I think worms ,crickets, beef heart, moths, pellets, some algae wafers, krill, fish from the super market. <The disease can be controlled with the medications and Nitrofuranace I recommended, but the cause needs to be addressed to get a complete cure. Start by not feeding beef heart and checking the nitrates. They should be under 25 ppm. The lower the better. Increase the water changes to 50% per week with aged treated water. This condition may take awhile to turn around so stay at it.-Chuck>

Sick Oscar/pictures attached... another feeder disaster 10/18/05 I saw your web page, but could not email you directly from there. <Okay> My husband and I just got an Oscar and an African Sichlet <Cichlid> from a friend about 5 days ago.  They are about 6 years  old.  The Oscar was fine for the first day, but now he has a round red growth coming from his vent. <Yes, a prolapsed colon> He will not eat pellets or feeder fish.  At first he started swimming head down at the bottom of the tank, but for the past 2 days he has just been floating on his side at the top of the tank.  At first we thought maybe he was just in shock.  I feel terrible for him.  We have never had fish before so I have been doing some research on the Internet.  I know the fish has hole in the head disease as well.  But I can not figure out what this "growth" is.  What could it be?  Is there anything I can do?  Do I need to remove the other fish?  I have attached pictures if you would like to look at them.  Thanks for your help. <Likely there is some real trouble from "the feeders"... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/goldfshfd.htm  and the linked file above... You might be able to save this fish treating it with Metronidazole, salt... these are covered on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Oscar gill 10/16/05 Hey crew, <Stone> I have a Tiger Oscar- 7"- that I believe may have gotten into a fight. This is because one of his/her gills looks out of place. I don't know how to help my Oscar... What should I do? <Mmm, keep water quality optimized, stable, provide good nutrition... in short, just good upkeep... not much can be done with such injuries... they either heal on their own or leave the fish with a deformity. Bob Fenner>

Oscars and a Lack of Input - 10/14/2005 My Oscars started getting a whitish build up on their bodies and then developed eye cloud. I've never dealt with this before.  <Clouded eyes are usually related to poor environmental conditions.... Be testing your water quality, changing water....> 4 of my favorites have died. I've been treating them by increasing the aquatic salt level to 150%, <150% of....?> using MelaFix for 6 days, <Unlikely to be of help - and certainly not of help if the root cause is environmental.> and gave them their 2nd dose of Binox.  <Learn what you are treating before you treat.... Throwing medications at systems without knowing what they are or what you are medicating for is quite dangerous. Binox is sodium chloride (salt) and Nitrofurazone (an antibiotic). Do you have reason to believe there is a bacterial infection that can be treated by this? If not, why are you medicating? Have you tested your water?> My two large Oscars' eyes don't seem to be getting any better, but they're swimming around more and color has gotten better. However, no appetite. Do you have any suggestions?  <Yes, test your water for pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate.... Maintain ammonia and nitrite at ZERO, nitrate less than 20ppm, with water changes.... Look for the root cause of the problem (likely water quality) and begin rectifying it.> I don't want to lose them or have them go blind. Thank-you <All the best, -Sabrina>

Oscars Don't Like Hair  9/28/05 Hi guys I hope you are all well and thank you for all the great information you post. I have a problem with hair, human hair getting into my tanks. I have a 800 gallon and a 200 gallon both freshwater. I had 4 now I have 3 Oscars in the 800 and 1 Oscar in the 200. On the 800 I have 2 Magnum 350's and 2 glass corner skimmers with filtering around the intake tube these run down to a 60 gallon sump filter and then the clean water is pumped back to the tank. The Oscar that had died was because he swallowed a human hair. I had noticed it coming out his mouth and the other end coming out of his rear end. I called my vet and she came to the house and tried to pull the hair out but could not "Big Red" the Oscar died that night. I have since then shaved my head. I have since put filters on the fans in the hood and I still get hair in the tank. It really worries me, can you suggest anything that I can do other than making the room like a hospital room. <Cover the tanks and the sump with saran wrap type plastic so that there are no openings for hair to get into the tank. Get a good sized air pump with an airstone. Place the airstone in the tank with the pump underneath the tank. The airstone will provide a "positive " air pressure and force air out of the tank. Hair cannot get into the pump and so cannot get to your Oscars.-Chuck>

Oscar Needs Medication  9/22/05 My Oscar has hole-in-the-head. I went to my local fish store to try and get Nitrofuranace and they said that company is no longer in business.  I can't get that med. for him. Now what? <Go to DrsFosterSmith.com. You can order 100 tablets of Furanace (#PC-210282) for $12.99 plus shipping. They carry the Metronidazole too, (#PC-18879). You get 100 tablets for $19.99 plus shipping.-Chuck>

Oscar Headstander  9/21/05 I have a single Oscar (about 8-10 inches) in a 55 gallon tank.  He also has an infestation (in the tank, not him) of Ostracods. They are harmless, but they keep coming, and I can't seem to get rid of them.  At any rate, normally, a water change keeps them under control.  Lately, though, my Oscar has been lethargic.  He doesn't seem interested in food, he keeps running himself along the gravel and the other tank mixtures, but has no external spots, or anything that would suggest he is unhealthy.  I typically get him a few feeder fish monthly, and he has a lot of fun catching them, but this time around he's all but ignored them.  This morning, I found him tail-up, and he seemed asleep - it took a lot to see that he was actually alive.  I'm just not at all sure why my normal Oscar who begs for food and patrols the tank regularly is acting like he is dying.  Do you have any suggestions? < Do a 50% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. Water tamp should be around 82 F and increase the aeration. Add a tablespoon of rock salt per 5 gallons of water. See if he responds or at least wakes up. It could be anything from nitrate poisoning to knocking himself out on the tank lid. Watch him closely for signs of stress that can help pin point an exact cause.-Chuck>

Oscar Eye Problems  9/19.5/05 I would appreciate it if you could help me.  My parents have an adult Oscar that is about 8 inches long. So far, he has been healthy but has just recently developed a white film over both eyes. Is this ick? If so how do we treat it, if not then what is it and how do we treat it? Please help! <It's not Ich, which we see as tiny salt-like spots on the fins and body. Most, if not all, eye problems are directly linked to water quality. Start with several large water changes using a gravel vac to remove as much organic matter as possible. If the eyes start to swell add one tablespoon of Epsom salt for each 5 gallons of water. If you do not see improvement in a week or two you may need to treat with Furan-2. Please do not treat until you get his conditions pristine and give him a little time to heal. Don>   
Oscar With Eye Problems  9/21/05
Hello, My Oscar is still sick.  The first eye that was hurt seems to be healing, but there is some blood collecting in the eye, now I have noticed the other one (right eye) has a large white collection forming.  It is not forming on the outside, but rather under the skin of the eye, and it is pushing the eye out and forward.  I have cleaned the tank and added some Epsom salt like the website says, but I am still unclear as to how long I am supposed to continue this treatment and whether there should be some other medicine accompanying it.  Why is it switching from one eye to the other?  I read on the site that if the problem is only in one eye, then it is probably and injury of some sort, but now that it is switching, does it sound like Popeye? Will I be able to save him with just water changes and salt?  Please help me, I do not want to lose this fish, he has been through and come through a lot.  HELP! Still Desperate In Texas < The anaerobic bacteria that is causing the problem can be treated with a combination of Nitrofuranace and Metronidazole. Keeping the tank and the water clean is essential to get the medication to work. This will probably harm the good bacteria that breaks down the ammonia so check the ammonia often and watch for ammonia spikes.-Chuck> Oscar problem  9/17/05 I'd like to first start off by saying how much help your website has been to me as well as all of my aquarist friends.   <I'm glad you find it useful; thank you for these kind words.> Am having a problem with one of my Oscars.  I have a pair that I've had for about 6 months now and Klaus always loses his color when I turn the light out.   <Mm, this is probably normal....  Many fish "wash out" or "fade" at night.> I know this is usually a sign of stress, but the Olaf has no problem like this.  I've noticed recently that when Klaus loses his color it is going much lighter than the pale green to almost a yellow.   <I don't think I'd worry about this, as long as water quality is excellent.> He recently had an internal parasite from feeding him feeder goldfish, which I don't do anymore, <Ah, good - very dangerous to use unquarantined fish as food; besides, goldfish are of very poor nutritional content.> and I treated him with Metronidazole and he regained his health.   <Good.> When he was sick he lost his color just the same as now, but he never turned as light as he did.  Actually right now as I'm typing this, I turned the light on as a test and he has turned back to a healthy green color after the light was off for about an hour.   <This does sound normal.> I have no idea why he does this and any help would be great.   Again like I said the other Oscar never does this.   <Possibly he has better (or worse) control of his Chromatophores....  I wouldn't worry, if both are acting well and healthy, and if water quality is excellent.  For now, just observe them, and keep a close eye on Klaus.> Thanks again, keep up the good work. <And thank you, also.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>  

Oscars and Exophthalmus - 09/16/2005 Hello, <Hi.> I have a question I hope someone can help me with.   <Okay.> I have a Tiger Oscar about 5-6 inches long, and it's left eye is pretty messed up.  It started last week with a white mass of some sort collecting right behind the left eye and ever since then it has gotten worse.  The white mass got larger and began pushing the left eye out.  Now, there is still a large collection of sort behind the eye and it is also red, like I can see flesh or muscle coming out.   <Exophthalmus....  "pop-eye".  Can find more here:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/popeyefaqs.htm > I have been doing water changes, testing the parameter and treating with Melafix, I thought it may have been Popeye.   <Melafix will not help/affect this ailment.> I used this medicine before when my fish were acting very sickly and breathing very rapidly and it worked and brought it back around.  He is still pretty active although he is swimming a little on it's right side.  Does this sound like Popeye or could something else be wrong?  What else can be done?  Please help me!  I cringe every time I look at him.   <Check your water quality.  Maintain ammonia and nitrite at ZERO, nitrate less than 20ppm, and add Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) to the water at a rate of 1 tablespoon per 5 gallons.  This should help with the swelling.  You can re-dose this in a few days after a large water change.> Desperate in Texas <Please do take a look at those FAQs.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Oscar with Hole-In-The-Head  9/13/05 My Oscar has hole-in-the-head. I treated him before and he looked ok. I put him into my 125 gallon tank about two weeks later the holes are back, mucus is back. The holes are in his cheeks and he has a puffy eye. On my second 9.5oz bottle of hole-n-head guard by Jungle. Won't eat the medicated food after 2 days but will eat other food. I change the water every other day with RO water. What can I do to help him. He is six inches long if that makes any difference. <First of all, if you want your questions answered you need to include some punctuation with your sentences. I know this takes a little time but it helps us understand exactly what the situation is so we can give you the best advice possible. Secondly, we only have so much time per day to answer questions and we much rather be answering questions and helping people than correcting grammar or trying to figure out what is being said. Put you Oscar in a hospital tank with clean water. Treat with Metronidazole and Nitrofuranace for three to four days as per the directions on the packages. Change the diet to include some live or frozen food. Keep up on your water change and clean the filter often.-Chuck>

Oscar with Cloudy Eyes  9/5/05 Hello! I have had my Oscar  for almost 2 years now. He lives in a 25 gallon tank and over the last 5 days he has developed a white color over his eyes. It doesn't look like a film. It looks like somebody painted his eyes white and now he's not eating either? Know what it is? ~Amie < Your Oscar has a bacterial infection that has covered his eyes and probably the rest of his body. You just cannot see it as well on the body. Do a 30% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. Check the water temperature and make sure it is around 80 F. Erythromycin works really well on this disease. If you cannot find any try Nitrofurazone. These medications may harm the good bacteria that breaks down fish waste so check for ammonia spikes after the fish has been cured.-Chuck>

Oscar Floating  9/5/05 Hello, I have emailed you as I am not too good at the computer and I am very worried about my Tiger Oscar. He has been with us a good few years now and shares a tank with two  extremely large goldfish. I know this is unusual but they seem to live a harmonious life. The goldfish  have grown to the same length as the Oscar, about 7" , The problem is that Oscar has been lying on his side at the top of the tank for about four days now and has struggled very hard to get himself upright. He is not eating at all ,whereas before he was very friendly and always came forward for his food. He doesn't appear to be able to stay on the bottom of the tank at all and only rarely manages to swim to the other end of the tank. We have roughly 40 gallons of water and we keep doing partial water changes but still no improvement. He is prone to having massive sulks if we change his routine at all so we know it's not that. I would appreciate any help at all. Many thanks, Patricia. < My guess is an internal bacterial infection. Do a 30% water change while vacuuming the gravel and clean the filter. Treat with Metronidazole. If you can't find it then try Clout or a double dose of Nitrofurazone. Watch for ammonia spikes because these medications may affect the good bacteria that break down the fish waste.-Chuck>

Oscar With Hole-In-The-Head  8/30/05 Hey WWC! I have an Oscar that I'm afraid that has HITH.  What are the symptoms of this disease and how can I treat it if it is  HITH? < Look for pitting around the head, behind the eyes. Change 30% of the water, vacuum the gravel, clean the filter. Treat with Metronidazole as per the directions on the package. Feed a high quality food.-Chuck>

Oscar eyes... 8/28/05 Hey,  I just got 2 Oscars about a week ago, and all seemed to be going well until one of them seemed really sluggish and didn't really fight for his food when I put it in the tank.  Then today he was just laying in the corner and his spots went very dark black, and his eyes, well actually more like his eye lids (the circle around his eyes) went all black as well. <Not good> I couldn't figure out what was going on and he didn't come out of it so I put him into a quarantine tank just in case. <Whoa... what about your main tank? What size, how set-up, its history? Other livestock? How are they behaving? Water quality tests?>    He has been there for a few hours and he will come out of his slump, his eyes will go back to yellow and he will be fine.  Then every 5-10 minutes he'll go "back to black" and lay there on his side like he is afraid.  I can't figure out what is going on, please help!!!!! Thanks so much! Your website is awesome, and so far very helpful, sorry if someone already posted about this.  I'm a little frantic over my new babies. Thanks again! <Please (re)read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/oscars.htm and the linked files above... and respond to the questions above. Thank you, Bob Fenner>

Poor Oscar Needs Help  8/27/05 Hello, Jonathan here =- A customer brought me her Oscar today, she was very teary eyed and emotional.  Not surprising the animal is sick, Oscars are usually kept in substandard conditions and from what I heard from her, it's no surprise hers is ill.  Probably housed in a 55 gallon with another Oscar and large Pleco.   55's are too small in my opinion to allow the animal to turn around and having another Oscar of such a large size and Pleco means it was overloaded. Her water change routine was probably poor too.  Some exposure to feeder fish as a food source. It is a 12 inch fish.  Some signs of stunting, both eyes stick out more than I would like, so not extreme Popeye, but some buildup of internal fluid in cavity is more likely.  Some hole in the head likely, pits are too big, not craters, but too noticeable.  What's interesting is what she told me before she brought it in, that it had something bulging out of its anus... which I was immediately thinking of Camallanus, but upon arrival and further talking to her it appears to be something else.  Looking at the animal it appears to have a distended intestine.  She said that when she transferred it that it was incased in a sac, which by handling was ruptured.  She also thought it was a female because [here is the interesting part] on the distended 'organ' there are white spheres, which she thought were fish eggs.  They look more like the spheres associated with fish Tb. On a post in WetWebMedia, someone advised that a Severum with a similar anus problem was an internal bacterial problem that expelled some of the intestine.  keyword: Oscar anus. I've seen 'ropey' intestine uncoiled from other fish, usually from external damage.  This isn't that, it's more like a fat pudge sticking out 2 inches, red tissue, looks like some large cysts near the base, and having white sphere like objects on it.... not round spheres, more like warped, bent ones. On a positive note there's no fin rot, external parasites, or real damage to the outside of the fish. Sorry to be so long winded.  I'll try and take a digital photo to provide to an internet site dealing with aquarium fish disease.  [or to you] Oscar is now housed singly in 80 gallon establish dealer tank.  May have to move to 20 gallon partition tank.  Daily water changes will be needed to support that size animal in a smaller tank.  I don't want to move, but it may be out of my hands.  Daily water changes, some MelaFix in water to discourage any external bacteria (probably won't do much), I have some Medi-gold triple antibiotic food pellets I purchased from a goldfish connection, which I plan to start administering shortly.  I may soak them in some vita-Chem freshwater to help. > my eyes its looks like a distended part of the intestine caused by an internal bacterial infection, covered in white cysts possibly fish tb.   Possibly of recovery.. unknown 40 % Please share your opinion and / experience with me p.s.  working in a retail fish store, such a good way to see these horrible things, I have the manual of fish health & handbook of fish disease, and endless hours on the net, but still experience rules regards, Jonathan < The prolapsed anus may be distended due to disease or poor diet. Smaller regular feedings will be less stressful on the system. Treat with Metronidazole for internal bacterial infections. Fish will definitely benefit from the treatment.-Chuck>

Red Oscar HITH 8/25/05 I lost one 3 years ago to HITH disease although "Rocco" is still hanging on. I just treated him with Metronidazole. Forget about it that stuff made all my fish ill and killed 3 silver dollars immediately. <Is toxic... and many folks don't treat it, realize how much so> please let people know that liquid Baytril is what helped "Rocco" in his earlier days! <You have done so here> That was 5 years ago. Now he's worse than ever and I am unclear if he's just ready to go. Is this Old age or just the disease. <Perhaps a bit of both... how about nutritional inputs?> He is 6 years old. Is he still young? <Mmm, no... more like "middle-aged"> His hole is increasing in size, he didn't want to eat, his eyes are starting to get cloudier by the day, he lays at the bottom of his 55 gallon tank and vibrates his tail, what is that? <Bummed> Should I go get the Baytril again? An will it harm my other 2 cichlids, Pleco, and silver dollars?-Thanks! <I would try improving nutrition, water quality... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs.htm and the linked files above... Oh, and yes, the marine references also apply. Bob Fenner>
Re: Red Oscar HITH  8/26/05
Thank you for your input! My tank is eating Spirulina cubes and plankton cubes, brine shrimp, blood worms, etc. Should I get something different or continue and then add vitamins and perhaps Baytril as well. I appreciate any information you can give me. Thank you. <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs.htm and the linked files above. The root of your problem is likely nutritional primarily, environmental secondarily. Bob Fenner>

Oscar With a Tumor? 8/23/05 Hi Bob, < Chuck this time> I have found your site nothing but helpful and one of the BEST places to do research and learn all you can (I'm sure you've heard that a million times...still true)! I recently help moderate a forum (I'm no expert, just have to keep down the vulgarity), recently there has been an issue of an Oscar with a huge growth that is rapidly increasing in size...now to the size of a baseball. I was wondering if you might take a look at the following link: http://www.chataquariums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=656(includes pictures) and clear up this mystery. We would all appreciate it greatly. Thanks for your time. Sincerely, Missy < Cichlids sometimes developed internal bacterial infections from stress. This is similar to dropsy and is commonly referred to a bloat by longtime cichlid keepers. I would recommend a 30% water change while vacuuming the gravel and clean the filter. Isolate the fish in a hospital tank if possible and treat with Metronidazole. Some aquarists have had some success with Clout or using a double dose of Nitrofuranace.-Chuck>

Oscar 8/22/05 My Oscar has not been eating for a week.  I have changed water & treated him with Metro. for 4 days.  He seems to be improving & seems active, but not 100%.  I noticed that his left eye is swollen and cloudy.  I think my Oscar is blind.  Any comments is greatly appreciated. <Hi Alycia.  First off, where is this Oscar living, and with whom? How large of a tank, what are his tankmates, what are the water parameters (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, temp. at a minimum)? How old is the fish / how long have you had it? Here's a great introduction to all-things-Oscar: http://www.aquariacentral.com/articles/oscar1.shtml With regards to the eye, sounds as if the fish could have a bacterial infection - look here: http://www.fishyfarmacy.com/fish_diseases/eyes.html He should be in a quarantine / isolation tank...hopefully you haven't been medicating your main tank, as that is never a good idea.  Take a look at the attached link to make a diagnosis and treat accordingly.  Be sure, however, to do enough water changes to completely remove the current medication if you plan on changing to a different one - you don't ever want to mix meds. Hope I've given you a good start.  Do as much research as you can to properly identify your fish's symptoms, and definitely check out the water conditions, as the cause could be purely environmental, as many fish "diseases" are. Good luck, Jorie> Alycia

Oscars and "Feeders" - 08/17/2005 I have 2 large Oscars (one red and one tiger) in a 55 gallon tank with no other fish except a Plecostomus. <Too small for these animals....> I recently did a full water change/tank cleaning and gave them some feeders (I only do this every couple of months). <The full water change is rarely a good approach - on your tank, I would recommend weekly water changes of about 30%, or more/more frequently, depending upon your nitrate levels and how quickly they build up.  Err, and NEVER feed your fish unquarantined live "feeder" fish!!  This is almost a 100% guarantee that you will introduce parasites, bacteria, or other disease to your animals.> Now my red has developed a bulge on his left side (there is a slight protrusion on the right but not as prominent) and he is mouthing like he is having a hard time breathing. <A number of possibilities....  if he is not defecating, I would suspect he may be constipated.  I would add Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) to the water at a rate of 1 tablespoon per 5 gallons.> He is also not eating his usual pellets which he is usually very excited to get. The tiger is showing none of these symptoms. I have had these two for almost six years, since they were babies, and have never seen anything like this. I did a lot of reading and searching for fish with these symptoms and from everything that you have said (in answer to others questions) this could be an internal infection?? The people at the fish store don't seem to informed about Oscars and their behavior and told me that he is possibly is having a hard time digesting the feeders?? That just doesn't seem right? <Mm, possibly right, to an extent....  Feeder goldfish are a horrible nutrition for an Oscar (or most other fish, for that fact).  I would not be surprised if the Oscar has a gut blockage from this sort of a meal.  Be pleased if that's the only problem from it....  and be on the lookout for parasitic infestation, bacterial illness....> Please help. Any information would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks,  -Trouble in Jersey <Please read here:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/goldfshfd.htm  and the links, in blue, at the top of that page, for more information.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Small white worms in my tank 8/18/05 Hi, <Hello>      I have an Oscar.  He is in a very small tank right now and has been for about 9 months.  He is really growing fast.  I never feed him feeder fish.  Just fish food from the fish store.        One day we saw these whitish balls floating around in the tank.  Very small.  Now there are these white, worms on my Oscar and on the sides of the tank and when you look into the tank you can see them floating around and wiggling on the sides of the tank.  They are about 1/8 - 1/4 inch long.  They seem to be making sores on Oscars head.  It looks like he has indentions on his head in several small places.  What is going on?  Please help me!  I am afraid to get the worm things on me or put them into the sink or dump the water on the ground for fear of what these are.  The tank is full of them...but they are so very tiny that until now I had only noticed a few of them....now the tank if full of them. <The small white worms and the indentations on the Oscar's head are actually two different symptoms of the same problem.  The worms are called Planaria --do a search on WWM with the keyword 'Planaria' -- and thrive in tanks with excess food sitting in the gravel.  Very common in tanks with large predators, especially when the tank is on the small side.  They are harmless for the most part and can be eradicated by a really good gravel washing and a dose of aquarium salt at about 1 tsp/10 gallons.  The indentation in the head could be the start of HLLE, or "hole in the head" disease -- search WWM for this as well for more info --.  In any case, both of these are symptoms of declining water quality, most likely due to excess feeding so your options really are three: 1) reduce feedings to the amount that the fish will eat in a couple of minutes (watch for how much is coming out through the gills and just sitting on the gravel) one or two times per day 2) more frequent/larger water changes or 3) move the Oscar to a larger tank with heavy filtration (probably the best option if financially feasible).  An Oscar really needs a 50-60 gallon tank or larger with serious biological and mechanical filtration if one wants to avoid some of these water quality issues that are so often associated with these messy feeders.> Thanks <Thank you> <Glenn>

Oscar With Growth on His Lip  8/16/05 Dear Crew, I have a 7" Oscar  in a  55 gallon tank along with some buddies (6" mute Striped Raphael,  6" Pleco, 3" Red Devil, 5" Jack Dempsey, and a 6" Jaguar). I have a power filter  with an underground filter. I know it was a bad choice to put it in, but when I  only had the Oscar and Jack they did not dig, and still don't, but the Jaguar  does... Well, on with the question. My Oscar has some sort of thing on his lower  lip, almost like a zit... I looked around your site and could not find anything  very close to what it looks like. Otherwise my Oscar is in perfect health  and so are all of his buddies. (Could you believe that the little Red Devil tries  his best to annoy my Oscar?) Thanks very much! Christine < Probably a scar from a fight. Oscar could be fighting an infection but I am not sure if fish have white blood cells like we do. <Yes, they do. RMF> Probably have something similar. If the zit pops then watch for secondary infection and may have to treat with Nitrofuranace if the infection spreads.-Chuck>

Oscars Didn't Like the Move  08/08/2005 Hello guys. I am very concern about my two common Oscars. They were in a 30 gallon tank, but a week ago I put them in a 55 gallon tank. At first they were ok, but all of a sudden they are not eating and the biggest one is with his head down in the corner of the tank. The other one also do the same thing but lately is just laying in the bottom of the tank. I did a 25 percent water change and raised the temperature to 82 degrees, please help! Carmelo  Soto < Big Central and South American cichlids don't like to be moved around too much. After a move they are likely to sulk around the tank for awhile until they get use to their new home.  Place some hiding places in the tank, leave it dark for a week or so until they start to act more normal. Feed them once a day. Remove all the uneaten food after two minutes. If it looks like they are starting to bloat or don't resume eating after a while the I would assume that they may have come down with an internal bacterial infection and treat them with Metronidazole.-Chuck>

Sick Oscar Not Eating 8/4/05 Hi Chuck Thank you for the advise given recently about my dying baby Oscars. I have not fed the new ones any ox heart and they seem to be doing fine. Great all is well with the babies . Just when one problem is sorted out another arises. In my 4 foot tank with my big Oscars (4 large and one small one) my biggest and favourite Oscar who is the biggest (He is about 6 inches) because he has always been so aggressive when it comes to feeding has just stopped eating. The water seems okay and all the other Oscars behaviour and eating habits have remained unchanged. I really am concerned because it is almost a week now since he has eaten and I am really worried he is going to die. There are no external signs of sickness what so ever and he is a bit off colour and swims slowly around the tank completely ignoring all forms of food. I got some earthworms which he has always gone crazy for and he just ignores them even when I give the to him with tongs and wave them in front of his mouth. I am really worried about him. I have treated the water for internal parasites only and out of desperation have moved him into the 3 foot baby tank hoping for a change in the condition , but so far no change. The strange thing is that the rest of the fish in the 4 foot are 100% and in the 3 foot but he has just stopped eating completely. Any advise would be most appreciated , I really don't want to loose him Thank you for all your help Regards Trevor < To me, when a cichlid quits eating it is the first sign of an internal bacterial infection. Make sure that the tank is clean with no ammonia, nitrites and very low nitrates. You can treat with clout, Nitrofuranace or Metronidazole. I find that the latter is the best. The quicker you treat the better the chances of recovery.-Chuck>

Oscar with Hole in the Head Disease 8/4/05 My husband and I have a 11 1/2 inch Oscar in a 55 gallon tank by his self. About 2 months ago, he developed hole in the head. We started treating him with Melafix. We treated him with that medicine for about 2 weeks. No improvement. We went to the local pet store and they recommended Pimafix for fungal infections as well as start including aquarium salt with every water change and to remove activated carbon filters. They told us to use a teaspoon of Pimafix  for every 10 gallons. We treated for about 4 weeks, problem got worse. Our fish is now not eating and hasn't eaten for about 3 weeks at the time of the Pimafix. We went to another petstore and they recommended Maroxy-2 for fungal infections. The problem has still gotten worse. He does not eat and has slow labored breathing and lies at the bottom of the tank on his side. We are VERY worried about our dear fish. Can you please help us. We are desperate! George and Lisa < Check the water quality. Ammonia and nitrites should be zero. Nitrates should be under 25 ppm with the lower the better. Clean the filters and do a 30% water change while vacuuming the gravel. Now that the tank is clean you should treat with Metronidazole as per the directions on the package.-Chuck>
Re: Sick Oscar 8/5/05
Where do I find the Metronidazole? < Drsfostersmith.com.> We are both novices when it comes to fish. How do I check the levels of ammonia and nitrate? < Buy a FW test kit to check levels.> I cleaned the filters and the gravel and did a water change last night and he does not seem to be doing any better. Lisa < Improving your fish's living conditions will improve his immune response. Organic matter  in the water and filter will absorb some of the medication making it less effective. So removing this waste will make the medication more effective. While you are waiting for the metro, you can add a teaspoon or rock salt per ten gallons of water and treat with a double dose of Nitrofurazone or a single dose of Clout. These medications may cure your fish and the metro may not be needed. I think metro is still the best choice.-Chuck>

One Oscar with a Potential Problem 8/3/05 I have a 55 gallon with two 4" Oscars in it which I've enjoyed for a month now.  Don't worry...I'm getting a 125 gallon for them this Christmas.  These Oscars (Black Gold and Lava) have acted like best friends from the start swimming all over together and rubbing against each other.  Last night I noticed that Lava was hiding in the big castle.  I've seen it swim through the castle, but it never stays inside of it.  This morning was the same thing.  When I feed them I tap on the tank and they come rushing to me eager to eat.  Black Gold still did that.  Lava ignored me.  I lifted the castle a bit to get Lava out.  I noticed spots on Lava's gills that look like it may be shedding scales.  They're clear and one is loose.  Lava also swims vertical with its head to the top.  When Lava does decide to come out of hiding, Black Gold seems to chase it and sometimes kind of head butt Lava in the side.  I sure don't know what to think of this...unless Black Gold is excited to see its best friend.  LOL  Lava only stays out for a minute and hides again.  Could there be a problem?  Thanks, Karen < Looks like one of your Oscars is dominating the other for territory, food, etc.... This could be serious. BG (Big Gold), probably bit the side of Lava and loosened some scales. If might be a scrape from hitting an ornament or a rock from trying to get away from BG. If the water is kept clean then they should heal up. If it looks like the area is starting to fungus then it needs to be treated with Nitrofuranace. The strange swimming position is a sign of internal damage to the swim bladder from the ramming or an internal bacterial infection from the stress of being dominated by the other fish. Place Lava in a hospital tank and treat for bloat with Metronidazole. When lava is cured you need to re-arrange all of the ornaments and rocks when you put lava back in so they can establish new territories. While Oscars are very intelligent for fish they are not "friends". They simply acknowledge each other and will always be in competition with each other. BG is taking advantage of the fact that lava may be sick.-Chuck>

Sick Tiger Oscar 8/2/05 Thank you Chuck.  I am also anxious to see if he pulls through.  I will let you know.  I changed about 30% of the water last night and added the second treatment of Melafix.  I will do another water change and treatment tomorrow.  So far s/he is still breathing funny, but still hanging in there.  How much longer should I wait to try and feed him? < When he starts acting normal and chases you all over the front of the tank.> What should I feed and how? <Start with a few flakes. If they are not eaten then remove them after two minutes .> Should I just put it in the water, or try and take him out with the net? < If the flakes are not eaten then just net them out.-Chuck>  I have never done this before.  Thanks for being patient.  You have been a great help.  Sharon

Upside Down Oscar 8/2/05 Hello, I have three Oscars, one female, and two males....the males are sometimes aggressive with each other. one is a tiger , the other, albino.  I have never had any problems until now with the chemical imbalances before, but was curious, as to what would cause my male to turn upside down, like his equilibrium is off. Use to, when I would clean the tank, they would all be fine...the last time, as soon as I started the vacuum process, which has now been four days ago, one of the male Oscars, turned upside down...Could it have been the change in the water, or just getting old.  He is now two years old.. and about twelve inches long.  They live in a 75 gallon tank.  I read through some of the other questions on your forum, and saw that you said to add Epsom salt. Is this correct, and will it help him, and how much should I try....His belly is also bloated.  Help!!      I don't want to lose any of them.. < These internal bacterial infections are almost always caused by stress. Clean the tank and filter and treat with Metronidazole as per the directions on the package.-Chuck>

Sick Oscar Getting Better 8/2/05 Chuck, From what I can see, the Melafix has worked. < To be honest I am somewhat surprised.> Tiger's breathing has slowed considerably...looks about normal now, and to my surprise, I dropped in one pellet of Cichlid food and he ate it.  I did see him spit some of it out, but he gobbled it up as soon as I put it in.  He is swimming around more, but not as excited as he used to be.  His color doesn't seem as bold as it used to be, is there something I can feed him to help that? < IF he is eating then food from Spectrum and Marineland will help bring back his color.> Also, if and when I decided to give him a treat of worms, should I just break off a small piece...about the size of the pellets, and wash off all the gunk, and then just feed it to him? < Wash the worm and cut off a small piece no longer than one quarter the length of his body.> Should I do anything special to it? < Just make sure it is clean.> What should I have done differently with the shrimp.  Don't worry, I am going to steer clear of them for quite a while, at least until it gets bigger.  I actually think there is hope now.  Thanks for all of your help and patience. < A very few small pieces over a long time.-Chuck>

Sick Oscars 7/26/05 Hello, After doing some more reading.. (smile) about feeding frozen food, I have another question for you.  I purchased a bag of frozen salad shrimp from the grocery store and began feeding them to my Tiger Oscars.  When they were eating they would practically jump out of the tank and bite my finger to get it.  I would normally just thaw one piece in some tap water and cut it up into small pieces and feed them...after reading an article, I saw a suggestion made on how to thaw frozen foods with water from the tank.  Has my method gotten my fish sick?  Or been a contributing factor? < Shrimp is a very rich food. Feeding it alone could cause a bacterial blockage. The bacteria in the gut may not be able to handle this rich food. Decomposing bacteria then get hold of it and the food rots in their gut causing a blockage. This could lead to bloat. If fact based on your description I think they already have it. I would treat them with Metronidazole as per the directions on the package.> Also, after looking more closely, the bubble I thought I saw while they were breathing is not a frothy bubble, but yet looks more like their teeth, or some thin sheet of something that come down from their mouth when they breath.  One of them has a couple of white spots on its fin, about the size of a pin head, doesn't really look like Ich, but cannot be sure.  They are both still breathing very heavily and have now moved to the center of the tank and keeping their mouths at the very surface of the water.  I have read about feeding them earthworms....the kind I can just purchase at Wal-Mart.  Should I get some of these and try catching one of the Oscars in a net to feed him?  They have not eaten in at least a week. < Don't feed your fish until they act normal. Check the water quality. Ammonia and nitrites should be zero. Nitrates should be under 25 ppm. the lower the better. Check these often because medication will probably affect the good bacteria that breaks down the fish waste.> Now about my filter.  I have a Whisper PF-60 HOB filter that hangs on the back of my tank.  When I do water changes, I normally change out the filter bags and clean the tubing that hangs in the water.  I have been reading and have not come across how or if I should clean the hanging unit itself.  I see some growth collecting on the portion where the water flows back into the tank, but I do not want to take anything apart and end up breaking things.  Please advise.  Thank you. < You should be able to disassemble the filter for cleaning as per the directions that came with it. I would clean the filter every two weeks and vacuum the gravel while doing the water changes on the weeks that you don't clean the filter. The reason for this is so you don't remove all the good bacteria. A total thorough cleaning usually results in losing all the good bacteria and a tank coming down with the New Tank Syndrome and very high ammonia levels.-Chuck>

New Fish Decisions 7/27/05 Chuck, I do not have another tank to use as quarantine.  I do not have the space or money to purchase one.   The only thing I have is a Betta vase that is not being used, nothing else with a heater, pump or filtration.  What should I do if I want to purchase more fish? <Every time you place a new fish into your main aquarium, you run a risk of introducing a disease. Over time, the money you will spend on replacing fish and on medication will really seem expensive compared to the cost of a plain 10 gallon tank.> How long should I wait? < If you water quality is OK then you really don't have to.> Also, will the Metronidazole harm my 2 Plecos? < No> I am little leery of purchasing this medicine.  It is a little expensive.  I would hate to buy it and then have my fish die.  For the price I pay for this med, I could get 2 more Oscars.  I will try.  Thanks. < At this point and time the replacement Oscars seem cheap compared to the price of the medication. At some point and time if you are going to stay in the cichlid hobby you will encounter this problem again but the fish may be a discus or and expensive Frontosa. Find a store that carries the medication for next time.-Chuck> How much Medicine oh yeah, sorry.  I have a 55 gallon tank, how much of this Metronidazole do you think I would need? < As I recall you will need one 250mg capsule for every 10 gallons of water. You will need to treat three times so you will need at least 16 capsules.-Chuck>

My Tiger Oscar is sick 7/22/05 Hello, my name is Sharon and this is the first time I have had Oscars.  I purchased 3 of them from my local pet store and within 12 days one of them had died. I noticed it (not sure how to tell female from male) was not acting normal, just laying around on the bottom of the tank, breathing heavily and not eating.  I have a 55 gallon tank that also houses 2 Plecos about 4 inches long.  I noticed the sick Oscar had a white frothy bubble of some sort in it's mouth when it breathed, and it was taking very deep breaths. I took it out of the tank and placed it in my beta fish vase.. I figured it was going to die, so I did not want it with the others for fear they would eat on it and get sick too.  Now, one of the others is sick with the same thing, frothy bubble, deep breathing, and a thick clear bubble surrounding it's eyes. <Mmm, they do have a clear area...>   This one is staying at the top of the tank, pretty much in one area...behind one of the tall plastic plants.  I have treated them for ICH first... which they did have.  That cleared up.  After that, that is when I noticed the other fish get sick.  It was fine before then. I have assumed it was some sort of fungus and am treating with ANTI-FUNGUS BY AQUARIUM PRODUCTS once I finished treating for the ICH. It has made my water green.   <These "medicines" are toxic...> I did a water change a couple of weeks ago, and have not been up to doing it lately as I am recovering from surgery.  Could you please give me an idea as to what is wrong with it, <Is this tank cycled? How is it filtered? There is something amiss with the environment here... do you have test kits for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate?> will the other Oscar catch it, can it be cured, should I just cut my loses and flush the sick one???????  Also, How often should I change my water, and how much? <... this is posted... on WWM>   Should I purchase separate kits that test for each nitrate, chlorine, etc?  What kinds of medicines should I have on hand?  I have also been feeding them Cichlid pellets, flakes and frozen shrimp.  Am I doing something wrong?  I want to be able to keep these Oscars for many years and allow my daughter to watch them grow, but so far, I am not having that much luck.  Please help me!!! Also, I am not sure where to look for your response, whether here or your website, so would you please send an answer to this email address just to make sure I get your help. Thank you. Desperate for help! <Then read... here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsubwebindex.htm re Set-up, Oscars... Bob Fenner>
Re: My Tiger Oscar <System> is sick 7/23/05
Bob, <Lexxus> Thanks for getting back with me.  I have looked at the site you gave and still have a lot of reading to do, but also more questions.  First, you mentioned something about filtration...I have a TopFin 55 gallon tank with a double filter that hangs over the sides, plastic plants and some fun decorations.  Right now there is no carbon in the filters because of the medicine in the water.  I am afraid my Oscars will not make it even after I have done a water change.  They have not moved from the corner of the tank in a couple of days, and not eaten at all.   <What is their water quality?> You said the medicines I was using were toxic... but this is what employees at PetSmart suggested I use.  What would be better? <... please keep reading...>   Also, what is your take on Aquarium Salt?  Should I add it or not? <I would> I have seen you mention something about Furnace.  What is this and can it be bought at PetSmart? <... don't add anything unless you know what you're doing. You don't> How many water changes should I do to take out this green medicine in my tank, and if my fish die...including the Plecos who are swimming around like crazy, how long should I wait before adding 1 or 2 more Oscars?  Please help. Thanks. <Read, don't write. Bob Fenner>

Sick Oscars 7/17/05 I have two tiger Oscars in a tank together along with a few giant Danios. After I added the Danios, I noticed some little white spots on the black tiger Oscar, which I am 99.9% sure were Ich. So, I got some medicine for Ich and began treatment, removing my charcoal filters. I have been treating for 4 days now. The white spots from the one tiger Oscar have almost all gone away, but his front fins are really ragged looking and all he does is lay on the bottom of the tank, and occasionally swim around. The other Oscar is an albino tiger. I never noticed any white spots, but that is likely because he's white himself, because he has the same ragged fins and just lays around. I've been checking the water, and I just did a 25% water change. The ammonia is low, the nitrites are low and the nitrates are low. Also, both of the Oscars have a cloudy gray film that is starting to cover their eyes. Is that related or have they contracted yet another disease? The Danios are swimming around doing fine, acting like nothing is going on. One more thing, I have a Marineland 350 gph BioWheel filter, as well as a Marineland Magnum 350 Deluxe running in the tank (which is 75 gallons), neither filter uses charcoal. The Magnum has got its micron filter in, should I turn it off, is it filtering out the medicine? <Your Oscars are responding to the disease. They are trying to fight it off by using a thick body slime. But they could have picked up another disease with the Danios. The Ich could have weakened their immune system and they now have a bacterial infection too. Remove all the carbon and place the BioWheel in a cool damp location. Make sure that it does not dry out. Treat the body slime with Nitrofurazone along with the Ich medication. When you do a water change you should vacuum out the gravel to remove the mulm that has accumulated. Do not feed while medicating. When the Ich is gone then discontinue the ic medication. Continue with the antibiotic until the fish are cured. Remove the medication with a high quality carbon. Then replace the bio-wheel and add Bio-Spira from Marineland to replace the good bacteria.-Chuck>
Sick (Dying ) Oscars II 7/17/05
I wrote you yesterday with this problem, and I had to write again because I haven't gotten a response. < We usually try an respond within 24 hrs) I'm really worried about my Oscars here, please help. < You have already received a response.-Chuck>
Oscars Didn't Make It 7/19/05
Thanks for all your help. I tried everything, but today both of my Oscars died. I never thought I'd be so emotionally attached to a mere fish, but I actually cried a little bit when I netted them out of the tank. < Sorry you fish didn't make it. I would recommend that you get a quarantine tank for next time for new fish. This really helps prevent problems in the future.-Chuck>

Oscar Problem 7/7/05 Hello, my Oscar has hole in the head disease. When I first started noticing problems I thought he just had some kind of fungus or something and treated him with Maracyn for 5 days. Now I started yesterday to treat him with the medicine for the hole in the head. Since this morning he is laying on his back. He is still breathing but I don't know what to do for him. He is not moving or eating, just laying there. His one eye is clouded. He is about 8 inches and lives in a 20 gallon tank by himself with one bottom cleaner. The   color on the belly is still strong but kind of grey on top. The holes in his head are starting to break open. The medicine says to give it to him every other day for 3 times with a 25 % water change every time. My next treatment would be tomorrow. What should I do ? I don't know a lot about fish. It is my husbands fish and he is currently deployed to Iraq ? Please give me some help. Thank you. Alexandra Sutton. < Do a 30% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filters. Do not feed the fish. Treat the tank with Metronidazole. The cloudy eye may be an external bacterial infection. Treat with Furanace (will turn the water a yellowish green color). After treatment is completed you can add some carbon to the filter to remove any left over medication. Add Bio-Spira from Marineland to re-establish new bacteria to break down the fish waste. This fish is too big for this small tank. The fish waste accumulates very quickly and this leads to the hole in the head problems. Good luck and hope you husband comes back safe and sound.-Chuck>

Hole In the Head Disease on Oscars I have a red tiger and albino Oscar that are around 8 months old, about 7-8 inches, residing in a 75 gallon tank with a couple Plecos as well.  In the past couple weeks they've each developed a case of hole in the head disease. I'm pretty good about water changes and maintenance, but I will admit right before the HITH set in I had waited about a week longer than usual to change the water.  Right after that late water change is when I noticed the first spot appear.  A few days later when it still had not gone away and one appeared on the other Oscar, I started medicating with MelaFix.  I followed the MelaFix directions and medicated for 7 days followed by a 25% water change yesterday.  While medicating I chose not to remove the carbon from my filter (Fluval 304), because the directions said it was recommended, but not absolutely necessary.  The spots seem to be looking slightly better and I've chosen to remove the carbon and try the MelaFix for another seven days.  My pH is around 7.5 and my nitrates are still reading quite high at around 80-90 ppm.  Sorry for the long-winded description, but is there anything else you can recommend?  I've found searching for information on HITH very frustrating because there seems to be debate about the causes as well as treatment. Oh yeah, in terms of diet, I've been feeding them a couple dry foods (Hikari pellets and sticks), frozen blood worms, brine shrimp, and feeder fish from a local pet store.  I know the feeder fish are a potential cause, so I've ceased feeding them those since the HITH set in.  Once again sorry for the long description, but any advice would be greatly appreciated. < Your high nitrates may be  the cause of the problem. Clean the filter, vacuum the gravel while doing a 30% water change and treat with Metronidazole. The treatment requires lots of water change so that will get the nitrates down. They should be under 25 ppm.-Chuck>

Bloated Oscars 7/26/05 Chuck, thank you for being so detailed with me.  I do believe Bob and I got off on the wrong foot and that was not my intention.  I was and am feeling very desperate and at a horrible loss.  I have spent a lot of money on fish since we have had this tank and I feel like just when I think I know what I am doing they die.  Can you tell me if PetSmart sells Metronidazole? < Probably not. Try Drsfostersmith.com, they can ship overnight at a price.> And about how much does it cost. < Depends on the size tank you have . Larger tanks require more medication thus more cost.> I have also purchase some Nightcrawlers from Wal-Mart.  When the fish are feeling better, can this be part of their diet? < Sure , just don't give them the entire container all at once.> What should I have done differently with the shrimp...so that I will not make the same mistake. < Shrimp itself is not a bad food once they are use to it. I would have fed them their normal pellet or flake food. Give them no more than they will eat in two minutes once each day. I know these little beggars can be persistent, especially once they get their owners trained for food. I would have made up their regular diet and supplemented it with 5% shrimp. This would be a very small amount but it would get the bacteria in their gut introduced to this new food source. I would increase the amount of shrimp by 5% every day up to  maybe 50% once a week. There is very little fiber in this meal so many people use a shrimp/peas mixture. Look in "Enjoying Cichlids" by Ad Konings for the recipe for this food mixture.> They are getting more and more discolored by the day.  They skin is very pale and white looking now.  I will try and find this medicine and get back to you with what happens.  Thank you. < In the meantime you might try clout or a double dose of Nitrofuranace.-Chuck>
Bloated Oscars II 7/26/05
Since my last email about the Metronidazole, one of my Oscars has died. < Sorry> The other is still swimming around.  My question now is, if I begin to treat within the next day, #1 should I clean the tank before treating? < Organics in the water will absorb many medications. Cleaner is better.> #2 do I conduct a water change before each treatment? < Treat on day one. Then do a water change on day two. Treat again on day three . Do a water change on day four. Treat again on day 5 . Then do a water change on day 6. By then your fish should be eating and on his way to recovering.> #3 If the other fish dies, should I continue to treat the water with the medication, if so for how long? < If the fish are gone then there is no reason to treat.> #4 What else should I do to the water, and how long should I wait before adding more fish? <If both Oscars are gone then you could add fish any time after you quarantine them for at least two weeks. The bloat is an internal disease and really isn't too contagious unless the tank is pretty dirty.> Sorry for bombarding you with questions.  Any and all advice is greatly appreciated.  Thank you. < Don't worry about the questions. than is what we are here for.-Chuck>

Open mouthed Oscars Hi, I have been looking for information on what could be wrong with my Oscars. I have searched all your postings and while I did find one that related to open mouthed Oscars, it did not give me much information. I have a black Oscar and a white one. The black one's mouth has been opened continuously for about 6 weeks now. The white one for about a month. They are hungry and try to eat but cannot close their mouths to keep the food in. I have done a couple of 25% water changes in the past 2 weeks but no change in the fish. I have never tested the water as I do not know how but am looking to learn. I must admit that I have not changed filters and water at optimum rates in the past. Any ideas? < If they are gasping for air then you probably have some waste build up that needs to be addressed. Change the filter and do a 30% water change every other day for a week. Next week vacuum the gravel to get rid of all the junk accumulating in the sand. Your water should be in pretty good shape by now. If no improvement is seen then there may be an obstruction in their throats. Catch one of the fish and look down the throat with a flashlight and see if there is any visual signs of problems. If not then their mouths may have been damaged from trying to eat materials that are too hard to chew, then try and premoisten the food to soften it up and see if that helps.-Chuck>                                       Thanks, Brad
Re: Open mouthed Oscars
Chuck, thanks for the quick response. I went to my local fish & aquarium dealer today and I told him about the open mouth symptoms that my Oscars are displaying. He told me that they have developed a disease that is similar to "Lock Jaw" and that it is rare but that he himself has dealt with it. To his knowledge, there is no cure and very little info out there on it. He also said that he did not know it was contagious and could not understand why both had developed the problem. In his experience just one Oscar in a tank of several had developed the condition. He said that the Oscars would eventually starve to death. Does this make sense to you Chuck? Ever heard of "Lock Jaw" leading to starvation in an Oscar? < Never heard of "Lock Jaw" disease before in Oscars. Some cichlids with producible jaws I have seen over extend their jaws and become stuck out but they are still able to feed. This is a new one on me and my friends. Another reason may be a damaged pharyngeal bone. These bones act as a second set of jaws that may become damaged while eating hard foods like pellets. Look down their throats and see if you find anything .-Chuck>    Thanks again,    Brad PS   I am beginning the treatments you prescribed to see if that will help. 

Oscar Problems Hi to all at WWM! I'd like to say thanks for the help you've given me in the past and now I'm sorry to say I need to bother you once again with another concern of mine. I wrote to you about a month ago give or take in relation to an albino Oscar I've had for about 5-6 months now. Anyway my problem then was that the Oscar was breathing quite deeply (not rapidly) and would scratch itself a couple of times in the morning - no other symptoms, one of the crew suggested that my large canister filter (Eheim 2028) may have been choking up the supply of oxygen to the tank and told me the flow return should be above the water level (which it wasn't and funnily enough the filter was a new addition). Having made this adjustment the problem with the breathing seemed to ease up a bit but never went away completely (although I no longer see any scratching first thing in the morning just occasional sideways swaying in the water). Ok well a few weeks ago I made a water change and absentmindedly forgot to turn the heater back on (for about 5 days) and the little Oscar was freezing - he just hid behind his plant and lay on the gravel all day until early evening when he would come out to eat. I was really worried when I realized what the problem was and dosed the aquarium with some salt (after turning the heater on again of course - I tried to return the temperature to the norm of 26 from about 17 over a number of days) and fed him a little antibiotic food thinking that he may have gotten something as a result of the stress. This is where I had my second problem - I used marine salt which buffered the pH from around 7.5 (normal for my aquarium) to 7.9. I changed the water to get it down again but he would have been subjected to the high pH for a couple of days and most probably residual salt quantities until where I am at the moment. The Oscar seems to be developing faint grey silverish tinges on his body (in patches - I'll see if I can get a photo) and is still breathing with difficulty (just deeply). When I did my most recent water change he seemed to shed his entire mucous layer (there was a lot sucked up the filter intake and stuck on plants and just generally floating about). This only occurred on the day immediately following the water change and doesn't seem to have repeated (I haven't as yet done another water change though). I know I should be thankful that the little guy is still even alive after what he went through but I think he's pretty strong and will be able to pull through if I can just work out what he is suffering from. Also he has two little black dots inside the circle on his tail, only on one side and they are really small, I have no idea what they are but they've been there for weeks and I've seen no change since they appeared. I was thinking he may have Costia what do you think? < You may have gill flukes or a protozoan infection. I would treat with clout first and then if things don't get better I would use Furanace.> Also do you think it would be worth my while to purchase a dissolved oxygen test - I was thinking that it would be handy to be able to eliminate this as a cause (at least of the breathing) straight away. < Add an air stone or a box filter. If the heavy breathing stops than you solved the problem and no further purchases are needed.> And I also just bought a microscope (I'm a little scared to use it however - don't want to stress him out any more than I have to) but if it would be helpful, I suppose I could do a skin scrape. < You need a book to identify pathogens or you can try looking online to try and match things up.> Parameters: - The tank is about 140 litres - The temp is now stable at 26 C - Oscar is about 4 inches and is by himself - Two filters (the 2028 and liberty 200) - Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 8 (these quantities have remained stable) - pH 7.6 - I'm currently dosing the tank with Melafix and feeding him antibiotic food - Behavior wise he's pretty much normal (well as normal as an Oscar can be :-)) I am really worried about him so any advice you could give me would be very much appreciated. Oh and one other thing, may or may not be important, he has gill curl - I realize the condition is permanent but what generally causes it? I have been led to believe it is from mineral/nutritional deficiency but I feed my fish a really varied diet and he has never got feeders so would that mean that I should be adding mineral salts or liquid trace elements to the water? < No it is genetic and there is no cure.-Chuck> Thanks again, Erica

Re: electric yellow gets dark/new Oscar problem Hi Jim - Thanks for getting back to me. I seem to have a much more urgent problem now, but before I go into it, I will answer your questions as far as I can. Water - no ammonia or nitrate; I do not know the precise pH. After I started my aquariums two years ago, I was assiduously attending to ph, but the local fish store lady told me that with my well water, the same water that she uses in the store, I had no need to do so and so I haven't since. Diet - tetra cichlid sticks and jumbo min food sticks. I also throw in some Wardley's Large Tropical flakes for some of his tank mates. As to F1 and F20, I have never before encountered these terms. Nobody picks on this fish, nor does he pick on anybody, unless they seem about to intrude into his hollow log, which he dearly loves. He still seems good and healthy. Now, the more urgent problem: I have three Oscars in my 90 gallon tank, all nearing two years of age, and all rambunctious, vigorous eaters. I feed them three times a day - 9 JumboMin food sticks per feeding, at about 10:00 AM, 6:00 to 7:00 PM and about 1:00 AM. They leap for those sticks even before they hit the water, and all nine disappear in a matter of seconds. Tonight, at evening feed time, they were all in their usual place by the lid, but when I threw the food in, nothing happened. All three simply ignored it. The only time any of them have ever ignored food has been after a battle that it got the worst of,  and that hasn't lasted. Last night, I vacuumed the tank and did a 25 percent water change. I did my other four tanks at the same time, and all the other fish are eating as normal. I checked for ammonia, found none, though I did find a low level of nitrite, barely registering. I always change my filters 24 hours after I vacuum, so that whatever crud gets stirred up and not removed from the water will get caught in the old filters, and that 24 hours came after the feeding. I usually add about three tablespoons of salt after a water change, but I forgot to do so last night, although I do not believe that to be the cause of the problem. They are milling about right now and they look normal as regards color and fin, so I am perplexed. There is a Pleco with them and it is scurrying about doing its thing. Most of the pellets have now disappeared, and I think that was the work of the Pleco. The tank is well aerated. I hope I still have Oscars in the morning. If I do, and if they have not returned to their diet, what are your thoughts? < Give them a few days to settle down. I think they may have been overfed and have bloated up. If they don't eat after a couple days and their fecal matter looks long white and stringy then they have come down with an internal bacterial infection. I would recommend treating the water with Metronidazole and follow the directions on the package very carefully.-Chuck> Bill
Re: electric yellow gets dark/new Oscar problem
Thanks, Chuck - and good to hear from you again. Did you catch my earlier comment about how the green terror suddenly started eating normally last month? He is looking very good, and has even grown some more since returning to his normal eating habits. < It sounds like he may have damaged that pharyngeal bone earlier and it has healed itself by now. That's good news.> If you think the Oscars may have been bloated, does this mean 9 pellets three times a day is too many? < It could be too much of a good thing. I know that Oscars are chow hounds and it is hard to resist feeding them sometimes. Try cutting back for a few days and see if they get back to their old selves.-Chuck> It has been a bit odd since this problem first arose. At some feedings, one or two Oscars have eaten, and at others, all three. No more feedings have been altogether ignored. But the old enthusiasm and voraciousness is not there. They all look good. Bill

Oscar with bloated belly Hello! I have three Oscar fish. One is isolated on one side of the tank because he won't stop fighting. Here is my question: Just this week I have noticed he has a tennis-ball size lump on his belly. There is a hole with what looks like his male organ coming out of it (almost clear pinky-like). He (or she?) is eating and swimming okay, but seems to keep his mouth open most of the time. Can you help? I am very worried about the poor guy! Is he dying? < If he wasn't eating I would suspect bloat. But either way I suspect an internal bacterial infection and would recommend treating with Metronidazole for anaerobic bacteria. If not treated the bacteria could continue to grow and eventually kill your fish.-Chuck> Christy

Re: Oscar with bloated belly One more question: After "Bruno" is better. Should I try to put him/her with the other two Oscar's or leave him where he is? They are in the same tank, but with a glass partition between them. It's a pretty big tank, but I'm sure they would all like a little more swimming room. Before he and only one of the Oscar's fought quite a bit, so we separated them. Should I give it a try? Or leave them where they are? We had a Red Devil in the tank, but he was way to aggressive, so we bought him his own. < The best way to treat Bruno would be in his own small hospital tank away from the other fish. This way it is cheaper to medicate a small tank rather than a big one and you have better control. After he's is fully cured you could put him back in his old tank with the other fish. But I would wait under dark, rearrange all the decorations and do a 50% water change. Add Bruno back in a turn off the lights for the night. The logic behind this is to disrupt the cichlids aggressive behavior and allow Bruno a chance to get settled in and have a chance to peck his way back in to the group. -Chuck> Christy

My Tiger Oscar is Turning Black I was hoping you could help me out. My boyfriend has 2 Oscars, one is a Tiger the other a red and they live happily in a 100 gallon tank (at least, I think it might even be bigger) with the big Pleco. They have all been doing well except the large Tiger Oscar. He recently has been turning black from the back to the middle of his body. I noticed yesterday that the front part of his body is very grey looking and his coloring is dull all over. He looks like he is breathing very hard, he's very lethargic, not moving around much at all and has not eaten in about 4 days or so. I know my b/f has had these Oscars for quite a few years, at least 5 or so, and we were just wondering if the Oscar was just getting old and dying or if this might be some form of disease or something. The other 2 fish are absolutely fine, they're very active still and the color is fine. The tank is cleaned regularly and there has been no changes in the water or they way b/f has kept the tank. I have been looking everywhere for some kind of answer, but have not found anything like this. Any suggestions? Nanette < A bacteria attack has created this 1/2 black condition on your Oscars. Place in an isolation tank and treat with Furanace. If an isolation tank is not available then do a 30% water change and remove the carbon from the filters. Treat with Furanace and follow the directions on the package.-Chuck>

Oscar question Hello, I was just wondering if you could help me out with a question about my Oscar.  He has always been a very aggressive fish but has never lost any scales from bumping things before so I do not believe this to be the cause now.  He is losing scales all around his gills on one side.  Along with this he seems to have a fleshy growth coming out of his mouth.  It now pokes out when his mouth is completely closed.  I'm getting rather concerned because we live about an hour and a half from the nearest pet store and if I need some medication I will have to make plans to go get it.. My fish is about two years old and a good 8-10 inches long. I would greatly appreciate any help you could give me.  Could you please send any response to my email address of XXXX@gawab.com. < Sounds like he has been in a fight or has run into something rough and hard. Either way you need to get a water conditioner with some wound control in it to prevent infection. If the areas look like they are getting white and fuzzy then there is a fungal infection starting. Make sure the water is clean and the filter is serviced. Keep the wastes down by doing water changes. He may come down with a bacterial infection with red streaks or blotches that need to be treated with Furanace or Maracyn. A tablespoon of rock salt will help him produce a slime that will help prevent infection.-Chuck> Thanks very much, Brad Oscars, shedding scales hello wet web media!!!! my new Oscar tank(355 gallon tank is doing wonderfully thanks to you guys help but my 2 16 inch Oscars (red) are being awfully lazy I mean very lazy they just sit around I feed them some pellets and they might eat just 1 pellet then go back down to the ground I'm keeping the water temp at 78 f.     well  I want to know if this is normal there about 8 months old now and they have never acted this way before.....Pls let me what you guys think. < If they are Ok and just being fat and lazy that is one thing. If they are truly ill then that is another. Try not feeding them for a few days and then see if they perk up. If not and there are no external symptoms then I might think about treating with Metronidazole for internal anaerobic infection.-Chuck>                                             thank you                                             Sean (ps-you website is so awesome gg guys)
Re: Oscars, shedding scales
they are also shedding scale this is creeping me out < Shedding scales is not normal and definitely bacterial. Do a 30% water change and service the filter. Treat with Furanace or Maracyn. This will affect the biological filtration so watch for ammonia spikes. Try and place them in a smaller tank to save money on the medication. You have a big tank and will cost a lot of money to treat.-Chuck>

Oscar Cichlid sick? 7/28/04 Hello, I have an albino Oscar.  Last week I noticed the edges of his bottom fins were black and also a little on the edge of his tail.  I called the local pet store where I normally go to get his feeders and asked them what could be wrong and they stated that he probably had a fungus.  I went to askjeeves.com and asked a question about what could be wrong and found your site.  I have to say I am very pleased as there is lots of information but nothing that exactly pertained to my problem.  I did a 30% water change and for the last 5 days I have been adding Tetracycline tablets to the tank as the pet store advised to try to clear up the fungus they thought he probably had.  Now this evening when I came home, my Oscar is kind of floating on his side at the top of the water in the aquarium and really acting lifeless. Could you please tell me what could be wrong with my Oscar and how I can try to help him and cure whatever is wrong with him.  I don't want to lose him, as he was a birthday present to me.  I have had him for 4 months and truly have gotten attached to him.  I have watched him grow and hate the thought that he might die although I do realize that this may be an option.  Do you think you know what the problem is? < You actually had fin rot which is a bacterial infection. The tetracycline will work if the water is acidic. Unfortunately the medication has probably killed off the good bacteria that converts the deadly ammonia to nitrite and eventually nitrate. So what you have now is new tank syndrome with high ammonia levels. The red coloration of the medication has masked the cloudy appearance of the water from the ammonia. You need to do a 30% water change right now!. Service the filter and replace the carbon. When the water is clear add some Amquel plus to absorb the ammonia. Change 30% of the water every day and check the ammonia levels. They should be zero and the nitrite should also be zero. The nitrate should be under 0.25ppm.-Chuck>
Re: Sick Oscar
Chuck, thank you for responding to my email.  I called Pet Supermarket yesterday and the guy told me to get some PimaFix and said that he thought my Oscar had an internal fungus.  He told me to do a 75% water change and add that to the water.  I did this and immediately after putting Oscar (that's his name) back in the tank he was back to acting like his old self. Now, my question is, the bottle says that I am to add this PimaFix to the water for 7days to clear up the infection that he has.  I am into the second day of using the medicine.  My question is, is the water supposed to be murky looking.  I changed the filter and put in new carbon.  Although Oscar is fine and acting as his normal self (although he's not eating yet, but I figure he'll let me know when  he is hungry) the murky water concerns me. Is there something else that I need to add to the water to offset that.  I hate to be a bother, it's just that for 4 months I haven't had a problem with my Oscar and now it seems that trying to clear up this fungus is something new.  Can you help me now and tell me what to do? < The water change was good. I have never heard of an internal fungus but I guess it is possible. I have never heard of PimaFix so I cannot comment on it directly but I think I can still help you. Any time you medicate an established aquarium you run the risk of killing off all those good bacteria you waited so patiently to get going so you could add all the fish you wanted. The medication has probably killed off all the good bacteria and now you tank may be showing signs of ammonia spike. Check the ammonia levels. When you medicate it is a good idea to change some of the water. It is NOT a good idea to keep carbon in the filter since it will absorb the medication. If the ammonia levels are OK then the color is from the medication. Some medications seem to take forever to go away. use good quality carbon and frequent water changes.-Chuck>

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