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FAQs on Oscar Disease/Health 4

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Related FAQs: Oscar Disease 1, Oscar Disease 2, Oscar Disease 3, Oscar Disease 5, Oscar Disease 6, Oscar Disease 7, Oscar Disease 8, Oscar Disease 9, Oscar Disease 10, Oscar Disease 11, Oscar Disease 12, Oscar Disease 13, Oscar Disease 14, Oscar Disease 15, Oscar Disease 16,

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

One of my Oscars is ill... terr.   - 02/21/07 We have a albino Oscar and two red tiger Oscars in a 75 gallon tank together. The 2 red tiger Oscars we have had for about 2 years now. They were bought together, and are always hanging out together. I believe they have been trying to mate for some time, but never lay eggs. <Mmm, might be that they're both male...> Recently though, the female red Oscar's skin on her head has been peeling off and leaving a pinkish, fleshy look to it. Also she lays on the bottom of the tank a lot, and has not had the greatest appetite. Just about every time one of the other Oscars gets near her she shakes her back fin at them (almost looks like it's vibrating). <This is a good clue... these fish are engaged in fighting... the one is losing...> She will do this even when she is laying almost sideways on the bottom of the tank. She does venture to the top sometimes, and will eat sometimes also. Do you have any suggestions as to what might be causing this? <Territoriality in a word> And any treatments you suggest. I am afraid she is going to die is this continues. Thank you for your time, Kelley Murry <Mmm, well, you're faced with basically two choices... to separate these two fish or to try "something else" to "take their minds off each other".... Like adding "ditherfish"... I would at least put a separator twixt them... Now. You can read re ditherfish on WWM, elsewhere. Bob Fenner>

Oscar Being Eaten Alive, env. dis.    2/20/07 Hi, I have searched the site for any reference to the problems our Oscar has been experiencing and found some answers that might be relevant (re lying on his side, eye problem etc) but nothing referring to the biggest issue that we are worried about - his flesh on his gill seems to be rotting away on the outside. We live in England (just telling you this in case it's relevant for water purposes - our water isn't chlorinated in our area).  We have an Oscar we got about 4 months ago from a really good fish specialist locally.  He was about 4 inches long when we got him and is now about 7.5 inches long, which is about right based on the 1 inch growth per month ratio. Anyway, he is currently in a holding tank whilst we cycle the purpose built tank we have had made for him - the new tank is 6ft length x 2.5 ft high x 2ft wide. So lots of space for Brian (as he is known) to swim. We regularly change the water, have two filters and an air ball in the tank he is currently holding in (about 55/60 UK gal.). He has a varied diet (never feeder fish - Oscar pellets, krill, shrimp), a couple of toys & we try to interact with him as much as possible.  He has always been lively, coming to the tank for my boyfriend and I - he recognizes us that's for sure - doing his happy dance thing (e.g. begging for food!) and pottering about around the high part of the tank. He did develop a problem with his eye - it got swollen and covered in a white film.  We tried to treat lots of ways - with medication, and adding aquarium salt to the water, which seems to have finally cleared it up and it is now getting better.  However, a few weeks back he got a hole in one of his outer gills and that has just grown in the last few days so now you can see the gill bits inside clearly - this has got to be affecting him surely e.g. his ability to 'breathe', it's like it is rotting away but we can't stop it.  The people in the fish tank said to keep trying different medications/methods with big water changes which we have been doing.  So, last week was the aquarium salt method, which has worked on the eye and we did a 50% water change following that treatment on Friday.  Then we fed him and he seemed totally normal - snatching food from the top of the tank and swimming around for us,  We went out of the room for a while then when I went in to turn off the tank lights for the night (as we always do) he was lying at the bottom of the tank, looking like he was dying.  Since then he has been very immobile, he seems like he can't move the fin on the side of the rotting gill very well and he's been lying at the bottom of the tank only moving briefly and facing into the glass, seeming to struggle to move around. He seems very sensitive to light all of a sudden so we have mostly kept the tank lights off over the weekend. We have really thought he was dying and were all ready to find a way to euthanize him as painlessly as possible because we don't want him to suffer but he's such a brilliant fish we want to keep trying as long as possible, so long as he isn't in pain or suffering.  However, having watched him struggle about on the bottom of the tank for 2 days, I went into the room he is currently in last night late and without thinking switched the overhead light on only to see him swimming around at the top of the tank, promptly dropping to the bottom when I went in.... so now I think we have a combination of a fish hat is poorly (because of the gill situation) and a drama queen who is having a tantrum about something (as Oscars do!) - possibly both things are connected. This morning I looked in on him before I went to work without putting the lights on and he was up and about again, albeit in the dark.   For info, he fed on Friday, we didn't feed him on Saturday because he looked so poorly but tried a bit of food yesterday and he made some effort to get it but I don't know that he ate much at all.  I know they can survive a while without feed, just the current combination of problems is worrying me and my partner.  There are two silver dollars in with him awaiting transfer into the new tank too - they are about 2.5" diameter each - and a small Corydoras cat fish that cleans the bottom of the tank.  Yesterday I checked the water and the PH/nitrites were normal the nitrate was quite high so we did another water change of 20%.  I want to do another 30% tonight or tomorrow.   If anyway can help with this gill rot situation we'd really appreciate it, because we are not sure what to try next but don't want to lose this fish unless we absolutely cannot do anything to help him. Thanks, Giovanna Giovanna Ashcroft < The problem is the high nitrates. Check the well water. Wells that draw from shallow aquifers often have high nitrates due to agricultural run off. These high nitrates stress the fish and feed the bacteria that cause the flesh to be eaten away. This is a common problem in agricultural areas. To remove the nitrates is not that easy. Reverse osmosis, deionization and distillation will reduce or remove nitrates. Plants are very effective at doing this too. Get the nitrates to under 20 ppm and treat with Nitrofurazone. This will stop the bacteria and the areas affected may grow back.-Chuck>

Oscar Not Happy After Being Medicated    1/21/07 Ok guys, bubba started doing better, but then took a turn for the worst. He did stop freaking out in the tank but he did not start eating. We went to pets mart and they told us our water was fine and that they thought he had some kind bacteria. They gave us 10 packs of the green powder to help him. We used as directed and then did a 25% water change after 72 hours as directed. Now he has this fuzzy white stuff on his eyes and he is sitting at the bottom of the tank. It has now been 5 days since the initial application. The other Oscar (Small one) is also very timid now and will not eat. Both are at the bottom of the tank. The water still has a slight green tint to it from the bacteria medicine. What do I do now? I have a feeling pets mart gave us some bad advice, seeing the situation has only gotten worse. Please help! Also if you need, I can take pictures and send them in. Semper Beatus Jon M Carroll < Do a 50% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. Raise the water temp to 82 F. Do not feed until he starts to move around and get better. The medication was probably Nitrofurazone. It is a very effective antibiotic and it probably affected the biological filtration. You may be experiencing an ammonia or nitrite spike and that is why your fish are now sick. Add carbon to remove the rest of the medication and see if he gets better. If things are getting worse then check the water quality. You could add Bio-Spira to get the biological filtration up and going again, but if the Oscar gets sicker you will need to medicate with erythromycin type of antibiotic and that will effect the filtration once again.-Chuck>

Oscar Help, dis.     1/14/07 Hi crew, I have a pair of Oscars out of which, one has developed a cloudy eye ,loss of appetite and its fins are disintegrating, so can you please give me a remedy for the above and can you please tell me whether an antibiotic can be used in the tank and what temperature should I maintain for the Oscar. I would be  really thankful for your help.   thanking  you. < Do a 50% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. Maintain the water at 80 F. If things don't get better in a couple of days treat with Nitrofurazone  as per the directions on the package. -Chuck>        

Sick Tiger Oscar  1/5/07 Hi there guys, <Sophie> Please help'¦...For the last few days my tiger Oscar has been off his food {very rare}. Today we noticed that he was on his side at the top of the tank. On closer inspection, and a water change, we noticed he is very bloated, and is not really moving at all. He is still on his side and not eating. We are very concerned!! What could this be? Thanks Sophie   <Mmm... I would check, re-check your water quality measures... are there other organisms in there? Are they fine? I would administer Nitrofuranace or other Furan compound per your reading here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/oscardisfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Oscar brawl, Neotrop. Cichlid growth/beh.   12/28/06 Chuck (or whoever else might receive this): <Chuck's unfortunately "out" presently> Thank you for your response. I have cooled the temperature down to 74 degrees and, while there is still more belligerence and intimidation going on than is normal, I would not describe it as a brawl anymore. <Heeeeee! Just a minor street scuffle?> You do bring up a couple of interesting questions. First, as you believe overfeeding by an inexperienced aquarist may have contributed to the brawl, what would you consider a proper amount of food for these two four-year old Oscars? Each morning and each evening, they are fed four Tetra Cichlid Jumbo Sticks - an average of two each. Is this too much food? <Mmm, no, not IMO... but I would supplement this fine staple food with some live/fresh material... Earthworms, insect larvae ("meal worms" and such)... are some faves> Plus, how long does one remain an inexperienced aquarist? <Heeeeee! Good question... I am guessing that this entails a subjective evaluation mostly... And is likely till one feels experienced... "enough"> I have been at this for five years now and some day I hope to be considered experienced, even if not expert. <Good> Now, onto the green terror question: <Sounds like a TSA rating... When are the powers that be going to start examining at air-freight? Scam! Doh!> At about the same time that I got the Oscars, I got a green terror.   When they were babies, I had them all in the 90 gallon tank, but as he rapidly grew, the green terror lived up to his name and rained hell down upon the Oscars, whipping the whole tank. I soon bought him a 55 gallon tank of his own and moved him into it. I put a Pleco in there that I figured was big enough and armored enough to hold his own, but the terror never bothered the Pleco. I had a couple of adult clown loaches and decided to see how they would do with the terror and they did just fine. The terror did not bother them. <Lucky> He grew into a beautiful fish, with an abundance of personality.   Everybody loved him. Then, one day, I found him in a state of mysterious shock and he died within 24 hours. I suspected that he had swallowed a stone but I could not bear the thought of cutting him open to find out, so that is just a theory. <A plausible one> I then got another green terror, a baby, along with a Firemouth and I put them both in the 55 gallon tank with the Pleco and the two clown loaches. I have another 55 gallon tank that includes two Firemouths among its population and I figured that, if this terror proved as ferocious towards other cichlids as did the original, I would move the Firemouth into that tank once it became necessary to him. But an odd thing happened. The terror grew very slowly. I think it has been about two years now and this terror is only about 3.5 inches long. The Firemouth, however, grew into a true beauty, much more beautiful than his cohorts in the other 55 gallon tank. He can, and does, whomp the smaller terror at will. Although no real damage has been done, this is very humiliating for the terror, as it has a "tough guy" aura and just does not like to submit to the rule of a Firemouth. <This may be a real factor in the limitation of the Terror's growth... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/GrwLmtChems.htm and the linked files above> Why is the green terror staying so small? I feed the tank two jumbo sticks in the morning, two in the evening, plus a small pinch of flakes both times. Thanks again, Bill <As stated, likely behavioral components at play here... as well as metabolites... Bob Fenner>

Oscar breathing hard - All water levels are fine  - 12/12/06 Hello, <<Hi, Amber. Tom with you this afternoon.>> I apologize if this question has been asked before, but I searched for a while on the site and couldn't find anything like what I am experiencing. <<Even if yours has been asked, it doesn't hurt to revisit a question now and then.>> Background info: I have a very small albino Oscar in a 15 gallon tank (by himself.) This is his first 78 hours in his new home. I know he's going to outgrow this quickly, so a bigger 55 is on the way. Anyways, the 15 gallon is completely cycled with a heater set to about 78-80 F and a "waterfall" type filter that gives pretty good surface agitation. I just checked the water levels today (again) and all (ammonia, nitrate, nitrite) are at zero, pH is a little high, perhaps 7.6...I also took a sample to PetSmart and they confirmed the water quality was fine. <<Check the actual water temperature, Amber. Heaters are notorious for being off by a few degrees plus or minus. 78 degrees F. would be a very good temperature for your pet.>> But what worries me is that the baby Oscar is displaying strange symptoms for such good water levels. He's swimming very slowly and cautiously around the tank, often resting on the bottom behind his plant. He's also breathing VERY hard (his gill movement seems like he's gasping, but his breathing is not fast like he's panting - the breaths are very slow and steady.) I've been worried sick about this little guy and have done two 10-20% water changes (spaced out by 12+ hours) despite the fact that the tests say everything is fine. StressCoat and aquarium salt were added in small doses but have probably been diluted by the water changes. (I am using a regular water conditioner to treat the water used for the water changes.) <<Increase the salt ratio to about 1 tablespoon per five gallons. If the water is low on electrolytes, gill function is going to be diminished. The salt will help this dramatically. Also, to reiterate my suggestion about the tank temperature, higher temperatures will reduce the amount of oxygen in the water. You might try slowly lowering the actual temperature (and I do mean s-l-o-w-l-y) to the mid-70's. You might also consider an airstone or two for even more 'agitation'. HOB filters will move the surface water pretty well but if you keep your tank level relatively full, this might not be enough. In fact, when we recommend higher temperatures for the treatment of certain conditions, we also suggest lowering the water level so that the 'waterfall' effect is increased.>> Sometimes his breathing slows to normal, and he seems fine. But more often than not, when I watch him, he's breathing hard. He's also refused to eat and shows no interest in pellets or small mealworms. He'll follow objects with his eyes, so I know he's alert. <<Your Oscar is stressed right now, Amber. Food is probably the last thing on his mind. Let's get those O2 levels up and see if we can't get him more 'settled in'.>> He shows no outward symptoms of any of the common afflictions (HITH, Ick, velvet, etc.) <<Not yet and I hope we keep it that way. :) >> So, I guess my question is: what's wrong with the Oscar and/or system? <<The Oscar is stressed, based on his behavior. I'm hopeful that it's due to inadequate oxygen levels because that's a pretty quick fix. Otherwise, I see nothing wrong with the system. Easy to say from my end, but I don't think it's time to worry unnecessarily. Little guys like yours can go through an awful lot of transportation and handling issues in a short span of time and it can be very hard on them. Keep the lighting low as an additional measure to calm him down.>> Thank you for your time, Amber <<Not a problem at all, Amber. I'm sure all will work out well with a little more time. My best to you and your new pet. Tom>> Re: Oscar breathing hard - All water levels are fine   12/14/06 Dear Tom, <<Hi, Amber.>> You're amazing. I did everything you mentioned (cool off the water, add more salt, and lower the water level) and little "Oscar" is breathing normally! I don't even have words for how I'm feeling! I thought for sure Oscar was a goner. Thank you so much for your help! <<You're more than welcome, Amber, but I only supplied some advice. You supplied the caring and the work. Well done and thanks for the feedback. You made my day!>> -Amber <<Tom>>

Oscar Fish... health, comp.?   12/2/06 Hi, my name is Lindsy. <<Hello, Lindsy. Tom here.>> My husband and I have a Jack Dempsey, Albino Oscar and Plecostomus. My question is about our Albino Oscar. He is still a baby about 4-6 inches long. Well, his fins are shredded and one of his front fins is disintegrating. Also his scales are coming off, now large chucks of scales. I was watching him earlier and a large piece about an inch long was floating half on him and half off and I watching him rub himself against the gravel to remove it. At first we thought the splits in his fins were because he likes to hide in the plants and was at first thought our Jack Dempsey was getting territorial and going after him now that the Oscar is catching up in size. <<Plastic plants may cause this type of damage in fish with long, flowing fins like Bettas but doubtful, to me, that this is the root cause in the case of the Oscar. I would, however, concur with your thoughts on the Jack Dempsey and the Albino Oscar getting into territorial squabbles, particularly if the tank isn't really large and 'broken up' to provide them with specific areas to lay claim to.>> I do believe the two have gotten into it before but for a few days our Oscar wasn't eating. Today is the first time he's actually moved around and gotten his food. I am starting to think it's not the Jack that's hurting him and that something is wrong with him. I've tried to find answers online but haven't found anything useful. I just wanted to know if you might know what could be wrong. Thank you so much for your time and I hope my email isn't too confusing. <<Lindsy, the possible (probable?) order of events is that the Dempsey went after the Oscar, presumably over territory issues. The fins on the Oscar were damaged likely leading to a possible fungal infection which further led to a bacterial infection affecting the scales on this fish including their subsequent 'peeling away'. Whether, or not, the intermediate fungal infection has occurred, the real concern is the bacterial infection. Treatment is best accomplished in a separate hospital, or quarantine, tank. The reason for this is three-fold. First, we don't want to medicate the other fish, if it can be avoided, as this can be stressful and lead to problems we didn't have to start with. Second, antibiotics aren't discriminate about what they 'control' where bacteria are concerned. The 'good' nitrifying bacteria in the tank and filter are going to be killed, or inhibited, along with the 'bad' bacteria, leading to potential ammonia/nitrite spikes. (Don't buy into any 'garbage' about a particular antibiotic being harmless to your beneficial bacteria. By pure definition, this is total bunk!) Finally, there are antibiotics that shouldn't be used on 'scaleless' fish like your Pleco. Additionally (like you really wanted to hear more!), there are medications in this group (antibiotics) that are rendered 'inactive' in certain water conditions. The Tetracycline's, for instance, bind with calcium and magnesium -- found in 'hard water' conditions that many Cichlids are kept in -- making them ineffective. All that said, I'm going to recommend that you perform a water change in the range of 30%. Make sure to vacuum the substrate, if any. Clean your filter and remove any carbon media. If possible, isolate the Oscar from the Jack Dempsey even if it means purchasing a divider of some sort for the display tank. Treat with Nitrofurazone (Furanace) exactly according to the manufacturer's instructions. Watch the Oscar's condition closely. Not uncommon for bacterial infections to migrate to the internal organs which could entail treating with Metronidazole as well. Above all, monitor the water parameters and be prepared for spikes in both ammonia and nitrites. Increase aeration in the tank to keep oxygen levels up. (Be aware that Nitrofurazone is photo-sensitive and will decompose in the presence of light. Keep the tank darkened with a cover, if necessary, while treating your fish. The decomposed medication will not only be worthless as a treatment but can turn the water toxic.)>> Thanks, Lindsy <<Sorry for the whole 'song and dance', Lindsy, but otherwise well-meaning retailers might attempt to "steer" you. For example, Maracyn (erythromycin) is most effective against gram-positive bacteria which are the least probable statistically, by far, to be the source of the problem. Best that you go into this with as much information as possible. Best of luck to you. Tom>>

Mysterious skin ailment, Oscar   11/26/07 I have a 13 inch Oscar.  It is the only  resident in a 55 gallon tank.   Filtration is at 660 gph, water changes and  gravel vacuuming twice a week (80% water change each time).   <Mmm... too much percentage at one time> Parameters:  Ammonia and Nitrites are 0, Nitrates always below 10ppm,  usually closer to 5ppm.  Ph is 8.4 and super stable.  Temp is 76 to 78  degrees. When this fish was about 4 inches long (August 05  or so), he ran into the driftwood that was in the tank.  In doing so, he  tore a chunk of himself off (scales, skin and some meat) in an area between his  right Pectoral and Pelvic fins.  I treated with Melafix and Pimafix. <Am not a fan of these AP "tea" "remedies">   Area healed over nicely, though did leave a very noticeable white  scar. Problem is that this area has continued to grow  larger.  It is now about twice the size it was originally.  Looks like  very small cottage cheese in texture.  Bumpy, white, recessed.  No  slimy discharges or bleeding.  A few other small areas on his body are  showing signs of scales "withering" and losing color.   <Likely decomposing organisms, populations at work here... gaining on their host> The Oscar is fed a diet of high quality cichlid  pellets, fruit, vegetables, krill, crickets, worms. <Good> I try to mimic the  diet of a wild Oscar.  I do not feed feeders due to the risk of introducing  disease or infestations. <You are wise here> Does the description of the ailment ring any  bells? <Mmm, yes... though a possible "cure" may not be easily effected> I have looked high and low, asked lots and lots of fish keepers,  and have not found any clue as to the cause or cure for this  condition. Thanks Tim <At the most likely possibil-probabil-ity is a course of actual scraping of this wound site (with or w/o anesthetizing the Oscar), and applying a poultice of sorts of a spreader/sticker (like Zinc Oxide) and gram-negative antibiotic paste (mixed together)... Barring the scraping, you might try successive applications of various antimicrobials (e.g. Furan compounds)... Even simple salt "baths", periodic applications of moderate strength (every sixth water change let's say) of about a level tsp. per five gallons of system water (of rock/aquarium salt) may arrest development (for a time) here. Bob Fenner>

Wounded & Listless Oscar   11/25/06 I need your help. I have a 95 gal tank with 3-4 inch O's. A total of now 5. <?, Five individuals presently> What the aggressors did to a prior they are now doing to this one. Sherbert (an albino) was being attacked by these torpedo's of an Oscar. They would nip at him to the point that I saw scales hanging off- like skin peeling. I separated him, although in the same tank & water flow, he cannot be attacked. I do have a hospital tank but not sure what to add to it. <See WWM re> I 1st tried the hosp tank with the same temp as original tank, and I added 1 tablet of Jungle Fungus clear (I assumed the white fuzz on scar was fungus). I also add 1tsp of Melafix to help heal wound. The hosp tank is 10 gal. I then noticed the sideways laying & hanging out at the bottom. Just listless. <To be expected> The fuzz from wound is sometimes so "sticky" that the fin would be stuck. I was scared that laying sideways was a bladder issue so I added Epsom salt. 2 TBS for 10 gal. Sherbert started to look worse - looks like the wounds are burning- due to the maroon / dark red coloration. So  he is back in the original tank with a separator, alone, at the bottom & sideways. I do not want to lose another O to the aggressors. Help me!   Also all readings are fine, Nitrate, Nitrite, ammonia, pH, alkalinity, & hardness. I do all 6 tests on a regular. <I would have done as you have... and would leave this Albino separated, but the water untreated for now... It may well be that this new Oscar, and much of anything else, will have to be left out of the main tank ultimately... even one more of the Oscars removed in time. Bob Fenner>

Re: Oscar Gone Wild   11/23/06 Hello again, I'm sorry to bother you again however I need your  help.  I have a 75 gallon tank that house a 10 inch tiger Oscar, 7  inch jack Dempsey, 6 inch jaguar cichlid, 4 inch Pictus catfish, and  two 4 inch Plecos. The problems began about a week ago.  My Oscar  was not eating, he would just lie on the bottom of the tank breathing  heavily.  The water levels of the tank were normal and there were  no signs of internal disease.  I treated the Oscar with  Metronidazole and after the second day of treatment he was back to its  normal behavior. <This is a great medication to use when no external signs of disease are apparent yet you know something is wrong.> <<Is toxic however... should not be used casually... will kill fish (and human) kidneys with over-exposure. RMF>> The next day I did a 30% water change and moved  the rocks and drift wood in the tank around because my Jaguar cichlid  was moving the gravel and making a mess.       After the change to the tank my Oscar  started  to act unusual.  It is chasing the other fish all over the tank  without mercy.  I assume he is doing this to establish his new  territory since I moved the objects in the tank and that this behavior  should pass soon.  However this morning when I opened the tank  light I noticed that the Oscar had a white cloudy spot on one of his  side fins.  Both side fins have a cloudy color to them instead of  the clear look which the usually have. But it is his behavior today is  what concerns me.  He is still chasing the other fish.  He is  also swimming up and down the tank on his side with his mouth open very  frantically.  By doing this he has injured himself by hitting  rocks in the tank.  The water levels of the tank this as of this  morning are fine.  The temp is 81 degrees and I last did a water  change two days ago, 30%.  Any help you can lend would much  appreciated.  Thank you. Jim < As you pointed out that cichlids are territorial and now that everybody is feeling good they are going at each other to determine a pecking order. Lowering the temp to 77 F will help slow things down. The whitish patches are damage from fighting and scrapping against objects. Rearrange the tank tonight and then turn off the lights and lower the temp. In the morning they will still be picking on each other but things will be at a much slower pace and might reduce some of the damage until they can work things out.-Chuck>

Sick Oscar   11/15/06 Hello, I have a 10 inch Tiger Oscar who has been acting unusual  lately.  The Oscar the past two days has been laying on the bottom  of the tank, no appetite, with heavy breathing. <Something very wrong...> Beside his behavior  there are no other signs of sickness.  He is in a 75 gallon tank  with a 6 inch Jack Dempsey, 5 inch Jaguar Cichlid, a 4 inch Pictus  catfish and two five inch Plecos. <Mmm, might be getting bullied by the other cichlids, gotten poked by the Pictus...> The tank filtration is (2) 70  AquaClear hang on filters, and an undergravel filter with a Hagen 802  power head attached to it.  I did a 30% water change today and the water levels are fine.  What can be causing my Oscar to act this way?  I should tell you that my brother feed my fish feeders two  weeks ago without my consent.  Can this be the problem? <Could be, yes> Or  may it be that I fixed one of the filters the other day with AGA  silicone and it may be toxic to the fish? <Mmm, if allowed to cure for a day, should be okay> The packaging states  that it is ok for freshwater fish.  Anyway, any advice you can  lend will be appreciated.  Thank you for your time.     Jim <I'd move the Oscar to another system if you have one... Otherwise, closely observe its interaction with the other fishes. Bob Fenner>

Egg Bound Oscar Is Probably Sick  - 10/25/06 I have a female Oscar who is VERY full of eggs. She is acting very strangely and differently than the times before. She is almost just floating and hardly moving on her own at all. She looks like she's about to explode but only in her bottom. No swelling is apparent in the head or dorsal fin area. She's been nose-first in the tank almost all day. We don't want to raise any newborn Oscars, we just don't want to lose her. Will it hurt her worse if a small amount of pressure is applied to her abdomen just to get the eggs moving out? I'm at a loss here and scared of my fish dying. Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. < She probably has an internal infection and is not egg bound. Do a 50% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. Treat with Metronidazole and Nitrofuranace or Clout. This is best done in a hospital tank. Do not squeeze the fish as this may force pressure on the internal organs and cause problems. The key to a successful treatment is to treat early. You may already be too late.-Chuck>

Fish Jumped Out of Tank  10/28/06 <Hi Shana, Pufferpunk here> My boyfriend and I have had an Oscar fish for less than a year. About a week and a half now he had ick. <Have you introduced any tankmates without quarantining 1st?  Or feeding the Oscar live fish?  That's usually how they get it.> At first I wasn't sure about it because I had never seen fins look eaten. But the internet and the pet store said it was. <Usually starts by "flashing" against objects (looks like the fish is trying to itch itself).  Then you see white spots, like salt on it's body.  The eaten fins are the last result.> So I started looking for information on how to get rid of it. We have other fish, 3 Tinfoils, 4 rainbow sharks and 2 Danios in the tank, so I quarantined (sp) the Oscar so the others won't get it, so far so good. <Those other fish will eventually get eaten by an Oscar, starting with the Danios.> I did water changes every 3 days and I did salt baths (it was a 10 gal tank so I only used half a tbsp). Adding salt to the water at 1tbsp/5gal , raising the temp to 86 & large daily/every other day water changes are best.  The Ich will be living in your main tank, so it's usually best to treat the whole tank.> And the last time I checked, Ick can only be killed once it starts getting off of the body, gills and fins of the fish, so I waited until then to do the Ick treatment. <Bad idea.  Raising the temp & adding salt will help speed up this process & then the water changes will remove the free-swimming parasite.> I had done everything that online info and the pet store has said. "Oscar" was getting better, he never lost his appetite throughout all this, like the pet store and online said he would.  We fed him last night and we woke up this morning and he had committed suicide. I am going to bring in a sample of the water to see if it was that. But I was wondering why he would commit suicide if he was getting better? <I assume you mean, he jumped?  Any fish can be a jumper & your tank should always have a snug-fitting cover.  Especially for strong-bodied fish.> I feel like a failure. I did everything by the book. I kind of feel that when we fed him, he hadn't finished totally and we turned off the light and he was trying to get the food but couldn't judge the distance and he just leaped too far. I know that sounds like wishful thinking but I need to know why!!!!! <It's really hard to tell.  Fish jump for a number of reasons.  Bad water parameters--if the fish is being poisoned by ammonia or nitrites, it could jump out looking for better water.  It could also jump because the tank is too small & it's looking for more room.  I had a big fish jump out of my 125g tank & it had a heavy glass cover on it & I do 75% weekly water changes on it (perfect water), so you just can't tell for sure why a fish does that.  Just be sure to keep your tank covered for now on, even if it's a QT tank.> Help me!!!!! <As far as the Ich--next time, QT any tank mates (most aren't good for Oscars anyway, unless they are equal, or larger in size--they WILL get eaten!).  Tinfoils are good but are schooling fish, like lots of vertical swimming room & grow quite large.  For a school of them & an Oscar, I'd recommend at least a 125g tank. Do NOT feed your Oscar any live food.  ~PP> -Shana

Oscar Doesn't Like The Move  - 10/21/06 Hello everyone, I just moved my 5" Oscar to a new larger tank.  When catching him he went pretty wild however, and now has areas of missing scales on his right side. There was never any bleeding but the entire process was obviously stressful. He just lay on the bottom of the new tank for several hours as if he was going to die but is now up and swimming around.  He has now been in his new tank for about 24 hours. My question is should I offer some type of preventative treatment to help speed the healing of the wounds? < Melafix and PimaFix sometimes work well on new open wounds.> I have read that Melafix is not the greatest for a full blown infection but works OK as a preventative and it will also not harm the bio-cycle.  Should I consider this or just allow him to heal on his own if no other issues present themselves? < For fresh wounds aquarists have had some success. If it has already gotten infected then skip these and go straight to an antibiotic such as Nitrofurazone.> The new tank is very clean and the water parameters are good as well but with the stress from the move and the new environment I am worried he is weakened.   Thanks for the help, your site is a fantastic resource. Aaron < Oscars are actually pretty tough guys and a few scales off the side should not have down for long.-Chuck>

Albino Oscar that appears to be blind 10/17/2006 I have an albino Oscar that shares 90 gallon tank with two other Oscars. <<A nominal 90 is just too small for 3 adult Oscars to live out their lives.>> While the bigger Oscars can be aggressive sometimes, they have lived together in relative peace for awhile. The problem is that the albino Oscar has started acting like it is blind and maybe has some neurological problems. It swims over and under the other fish or it allows the two Plecostomus to swim over it. <<Two large Plecos and 3 large Oscars are too much for your tank.>> When it is feeding time, the two larger fish are aggressive and come to the top to feed, but the albino Oscar does not rush to the top to feed like it has in the past. Because the other two are eager to feed, it is hard to get food to the albino. <<He is the low man on the totem pole I fear, and this will not likely change.>> It also acts as if it does not smell the food. <<More likely a stress-induced hunger strike. Not uncommon.>> Yesterday I was able to get a couple of pellets to drop to the bottom and the albino actually sat on one of them! The albino Oscar also swims with an oscillating sideward movement. I need to solve the problem, but I also need to get some food into the albino before he dies! <<For long term success, the albino should get his own 60 gallon aquarium, where he will be easier to feed and will not be bullied by the others.>> Thanks <<Glad to help. Lisa.>>

Injured Oscar 10/17/2006 I have an Oscar that is about 3 months old.  He is in a 55 gallon tank, alone.  There are plants, etc, but no other fish.  About a month ago, I noticed a small "cut" above his eye.  I watched him closely and it seemed to heal well by itself.  However, today, he has a large scrape, with skin hanging from it, on the top of his head. <<Ouch!!>> I think he's jumping for food at the top and hitting his head on the top of the tank....but I'm not sure.  Is there anything I can do to help him? <<If you're not sure how it happens, it is hard to fix the problem.  As for the wound, keep the water quality high and keep a close eye on it, and it will likely heal on its own.>> I read several emails that you had responded to and couldn't really find one on injuries...just the Hole in the Head Dis.  Also, how can I stop this from happening? <<Stop what from happening?  Finding out how it's happening is the first step.>> He has done this two times now and seems to get hurt worse each time.  Would lowering the water level help? <<If you can lower it to a level that he can't reach the lid, if that is indeed what's happening.>> We also have a "hollow log" (from the fish store) in the tank for him to hide in...He seems to like it...but could that be the culprit?   I'm at a loss on this. <<It could be.  I can't say from here.>>   Thank you very much,    Tamela <<Glad to help. Lisa.>>

Oscar Stressed By Over Feeding   10/5/06 Hi, I hope you can help. I have a tiger Oscar only a few months old in a 55 gallon tank. Lately I have noticed quite a few things go wrong pretty quickly and I'm on info overload after reading everything. < Thanks for looking first.> First, there are pink bits of his poo with white almost fur like things on it all the time. I do 30% water changes at least every week cleaning the gravel as I go but it just doesn't seem to go. Then I noticed some white spots on him which have gone now without any treatment, however with the life cycle of Ich I think I may need to treat! Which I will start tomorrow. Today I noticed his poo was yellow/light green and he is really worrying me. I think he has hole in the head but I'm not sure. He has two small (about 1mm diameter) holes between his mouth and his eyes. Please help, I've become really close to him and I want to make him well again! I feed him on 'cichlid gold' regularly a pellet at a time until he stops eating about twice a day. I do pH checks which are normal, but no nitrate checks. I have a Fluval 3 filter in the tank that I clean in the tank water every week (I remove some water and clean it in that then throw the water away!) hope you can help Rachel < Feed you Oscar once a day and only enough food so that all of it is gone in two minutes. Remove all leftover food. The stress of him being overfed is taking a toll on his digestive tract. Do a 50% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. Add some variety to his diet by adding some chopped earthworms, brine shrimp or Spectrum Pellets.-Chuck>

Oscar Problem.... No Idea What It Is    10/3/06 My Oscar is 12cm and has a hole like thing just behind his head. <I see it... Ow!> He is in a 5" tank with a Polleni, Flowerhorn, two trimacs, a silver dollar, and two gibbiceps. <Wowzah... I hope this tank is huge> He has had this hole for about a month now and it looks like it's very slowly getting better. Can you please give me some further information on what it is and what i could do? Thanks. <To me this looks like a too-neat cut/gouge... likely from the fish jumping, running/swimming into something sharp... If it were me/mine, I'd do "nothing" in the way of actually adding chemicals to the water here... Simply keep up with water quality... Do keep an eye out for overt aggression with this mix... Bob Fenner>

Oscar With Hole-In-The-Head  9/12/06 Hi crew. I have an Oscar which appears to have a hole in the head. I am not sure whether it is HITH disease. It appears to be very dull. Can you help me out with the cure and other things to cure it. Thanking you <Do a 50% water change, clean the filter and vacuum the gravel. Upgrade the diet top include more live and frozen foods. Treat with Metronidazole and keep the lights off.-Chuck.> Oscar With Skin Damage  9/9/06 I have two 4-5 inch Oscars I brought home together. They are in a 50 gallon tank -One is very active alert and looks great. The slightly smaller one came to me with a large spot where it looked like it cut itself on a sharp corner. The spot was about .... that far across and eventually fell off and started to heal over. Fish ate very little in the two weeks. But the fish seems to be shedding in spots - kind of pale and flaky looking.  It has started eating aggressively though -I am wondering if I am missing something serious or if it was just stressed. Thanks Tim < The larger Oscar may be chasing a nipping at the smaller Oscar. As the smaller Oscar tries to get away it may be injuring itself on objects in the tank. See if the smaller Oscar needs more hiding places.-Chuck>

White Film On Fish... from "feeder fish"  9/8/06 Hello. I've read and found that your site is very informative. I currently have a 29 gallon aquarium with a Fluval 304 standard (un-customized). I used to give them feeder fish now since you've said it is extremely bad and dangerous I stick to Spirulina. The tank has a 3 in Oscar, a 2 in green terror and a algae eater. Sadly the algae eater and the green terror died but I wasn't very sure on how they died. There wasn't Ich or any boating just white film like material that would protrude from their eyes sometimes even bubble like over the eye. I quarantined  the green terror in a 5 gallon tank but there was no saving him as for the algae eater he looked fine till the morning he died to make a long story short I used a fungus cure made by API the Oscar seems to be doing well but he still has a smaller film (which is more translucent ) on his eye. I wanted to know if you have any suggestions to help my tank so I don't have another outbreak. Also what are some suggestions on how to keep my tank in optimized living conditions. Thank you very much, Michael < Sounds like a bacterial infection. Do a 50% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. Treat the tank with Kanamycin. This will affect the good nitrifying bacteria so watch out for ammonia spikes.-Chuck

Oscar With Damaged Mouth  9/6/06 To whom it may concern, Thank you for taking the time to read and respond to this question.  Please know that I have read and reviewed your site extensively to find an answer before contacting you about this.  Unfortunately, I have been unsuccessful in my attempts. I have two tiger Oscars that are 9 months old.  We have never had any problems with them.  Great fish! Recently, we moved from S.C. to KY.  We did not want to give them up to a pet store so we bought a small 5 gallon tank to transport them.  Along the way to KY we came into some vehicle troubles with our moving truck, and were delayed a day and night.  So we ran to Wal-mart to purchase a battery operated filter, and heater for the trip, and brought the Oscar tank up to the hotel room with us.  The entire trip they were coddled, and stayed right by me the whole way being sheltered from air, and too much sunlight.  Upon arrival to KY they did suffer some minor problems (i.e. cloudy eyes, stress, and tail rot) that were quickly corrected with treatment. However, It has been four weeks since we have been here in KY, and by all accounts our Tiger Oscars are doing great; although, one of them looks like the gangster "Mugsy."  He has a more pronounced under-bite now.  Is this something that can be corrected with some type of treatment?  Or is this a permanent deformity from all the unavoidable stress, and sickness from the move here?  Will we have to permanently rename him "Mugsy?" Thank you in advance for your response.  I appreciate your website offering free advice from knowledgeable experts to learn as much as people can, allowing their Oscars to live a long and happy life. Sincerely, Gangster Fish Owner < Next time use a Styrofoam box lined with a plastic trash bag. If a fish does hit the box there is less trauma to the fish. I have seen tin foil barbs killed by moving fish in an aquarium. They just panic and hit the glass and knock themselves out. The trauma to your Oscar's mouth may be permanent. It depends on if the bones were broken or damaged. There is no treatment but he is still fairly young and may grow out of it and be less noticeable as he grows.-Chuck>

Tiger Oscar problem! 8/25/06 Hi there.... <<Hi back, Cindy. Tom here.>> First I want to say what an amazingly informative site you have! <<Thanks from all of us for the compliment. Very much appreciated, I assure you.>> My Tiger Oscar is currently in a 72 gallon tank. He's approximately 2 years old! The last little while (approximately 5 days)  I have noticed some strange things happening with my fish....first....it seems that he doesn't close his mouth or that he is having a harder time breathing (should I take him out and check down his throat for anything?) <<Almost always the case, Cindy. Cichlids love to rearrange everything that they can, gravel/substrate included. Any time you see a fish swimming around with its mouth open, chances are very good that something's caught in its throat.>> .....so I of course checked the water and all levels are NORMAL! I also noticed that his poop is not normal....it is white and stringy and with the research I had done on your site, it is usually an indication that he may have an internal parasite. <<Usually, but not always. A fish that goes "off its feed" can produce feces as you've described without necessarily being infected internally from a pathogenic source. Whatever the problem is, your fish is certain to be stressed, which is a contributing factor.>> He is swimming around fairly normal but his appetite is not what it usually is....he just doesn't seem to be hungry--once every 2 days he comes to the top for 1 pellet.. Also every once in awhile his color seems to fade. <<Not uncommon where stress is related...>> He was also thrashing around in his tank quite a bit. It has gotten much better.....but I am still pretty darn worried about him. <<As any of us would be.>> I will also let you know that I had NO idea that giving them feeder fish was a chance for disease with my Oscar....and it was about 6 weeks or so since I last gave him some feeders.... <<Ahh, the dilemma. Oscars, among many others, want these but what we give them are not always "wholesome". Feeder fish, unless coming from a very reputable supplier, are prone to Heaven-knows-what in the way of disease. They're, generally, not as nutritionally beneficial as other foods - by a long shot in some cases - but our fish can't wait to munch down on them. Better to find substitute foods than risk inheriting a sick fish just because they'll "gobble" another fish up.>> So, yesterday I went to a million places and finally found some Metronidazole and placed the recommended dosage in his tank. How long does it take to see effects of the medicine working if he does have an internal parasite? <<In case of an internal parasite, I'd say it's a matter of 3-4 days before you'll see some improvement. However, this presupposes that this is what's wrong. I'm not convinced of that, frankly.>> Tomorrow will be day 2 of the medicine and I will be doing a 30% water change and will add another treatment of Metronidazole. <<If I were a betting man, I'd go back to your original premise. Your Oscar got something caught in its throat, which, by now, may have passed. It became stressed - along with you :) - leading to the screwy behavior. (Not yours, the Oscar's.) Continue with the Metronidazole but don't get carried away with it. I'm not sure that medicating your fish is going to change what I think will be a positive outcome anyway.>> Thanks so much for all your help, Cindy <<I hope all works out well for both of you. Tom>>
Re: Tiger Oscar problem!
 - 08/26/06 Hi Tom, <<Hi, Cindy.>> Thanks so much for the reply. <<You're more than welcome.>> I checked down Chopper's throat and I do not see anything....though I'm not sure if it's normal, but it does look a bit reddish right at the very back of his throat. He is still swimming while opening and closing his mouth continuously. Because I don't see anything, do you believe that this will pass soon? <<Cindy, what's going to tell the tale here is how quickly Chopper begins to eat normally. If the obstruction, if any, caused irritation and swelling in his throat, he may still think something's there much like we do if we get something in our eye. Gone but not forgotten, so to speak. Additionally, if he swallowed it rather than coughing it out, it could be giving him a bit of a tummy ache, which could also account for the off-color feces. If you can, try to entice Chopper to eat with something soft and small. Beef heart, for instance, comes in frozen cubes and, when thawed, is plenty small enough that Chopper may "risk" eating some. You will want to be more attentive to cleaning up after him if he continues to be reluctant, though. Easy to become more focused on our pets than their water conditions especially if we keep tossing in one type of food after another trying to find something they'll like.>> Also, is it normal for a Tiger Oscar to love to chase his tail? He's done it since he was a baby...he'll be swimming and then he'll suddenly catch a glimpse of his tail and he'll start chasing it. <<It's probably not "normal", per se, but fish, like other animals, can become creatures of habit. If he got a kick out of doing this as a youngster, chances are that he'll continue until he gets bored with it. In some instances, what seems to be puppy-like behavior is actually a symptom of poor water conditions. Fish with long, flowing fins like Bettas can easily develop fin rot in less than optimal water and this might lead them to chew on the affected areas. Not the best situation to have going on.>> Thank you so very much for your input! Lord knows what I'd do without you guys!!! Cindy <<It frequently helps to get a second opinion, Cindy. Sounds to me like you have a pretty good handle on what's going on with your pet, though. Happy to lend a little hand any time. Tom>>

Oscar fdg., health,   8/8/06 Hello, <<Hello, Paige. Tom with you this morning.>> I have had an Oscar for 2+years and he has fought a fungus quite often.  Which I am thinking might be because of the feeder fish.   <<One of the several problems with using feeder fish, unfortunately.>> But the Jungle fungus eliminator seems to work great.  For the last two days he has started swimming around with his mouth wide open.  I treated him last night with Binox and also Ich treatment.   <<More than "fungus" going on with your Oscar? The open mouth isn't related to a fungal infection, Paige.>> What would cause the gaping mouth?   <<Smart money? A stone/foreign object caught in the animal's mouth or throat. Not uncommon with Cichlids and Goldfish since both almost constantly pull gravel into their mouths. Once in a while, a piece gets stuck.>> Is there a better course of treatment?   <<No real treatment here, Paige. I don't know if your Oscar will sit by and let you pick around in his mouth (no fingers, please!). Typically, the blockage will move in one direction or the other of its own accord.>> I have put salt into the tank but I don't want to hurt the catfish. <<Won't help or harm in this case.>>   I also have a south American Redtail cat that is about 1+ year and he is the reason I feed the feeder fish because he loves them.   <<And given the enormous size these fish can reach, I suppose it's prudent to give him whatever he wants. :) Seriously, you do realize these fish can reach up to four feet in length! Gorgeous animals but better left to very, very large aquariums that can provide the room they need. I'd also keep an eye on your Oscar. A hungry Red-Tailed Catfish isn't likely to be "sentimental" about a tank mate.>> Is there an alternate food source I could get for him?  I have tried sinking carnivore tablets but he doesn't even bother with them. <<Not hungry enough, perhaps. These fish are fairly indiscriminate about what they'll chow down on. You do need to get some variety into him though. Prawns and crabs are generally taken well. Bloodworms and earthworms are also good choices at the juvenile stage but your fish should be in the 16"-20" range by now and will need more than an earthworm or two to feed on. Probably best if you can find some meaty foods other than the feeders such as frozen foods. The feeder fish may be his favorite but it's not good to continually medicate your tank because of what they're bringing along with them.>> Thank you for your time and insight, Paige <<You're welcome, Paige. Tom>>

Lump on Oscar's head, no useful data   8/4/06 Hi, I have a 10 yr. old Oscar that is in a 55 gal. tank with one Pleco.  For the last month or so, she has developed a very large lump on her head and it is right above the lips, so it looks like a nose.  What is this? <Mmm, most likely a "build up" of repair/connective tissue resultant from an injury or a tumorous growth> I haven't been able to find any info about it online and I'm really worried about it.  Also in the past few months she has laid eggs twice.  She has never laid eggs before, is that normal? <Does, can happen... something may be "too stressful" in this fish's environment... What re nutrition, water quality? Is there more than 10-20 percent nitrate present? Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/oscars.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Sick Oscars, env.   7/31/06 Hi Team, I hope you can help my parents' sick Oscars. To give you a little history, the oldest Oscar was purchased a year and a half ago and is 12 inches in length with the name of Oscar. <Good name> The younger Oscar, Bud, was purchased in February of this year. The older Oscar is albino and Bud is a tiger Oscar. I have searched your site with no help. Recently this past week both fish have become sick. Oscar has red open sores on his face and head. <Environmental...> Bud has a white line on each of his sides and white pits on his face. Oscar is scaleless and Bud has scales. <Actually, both are scaled> They live in a 75 gallon tank with the following readings as of tonight. Ammonia 0 Nitrites 0 Nitrates 20ppm <A bit high... I would shoot for keeping NO3 under ten ppm... See here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwnitrates.htm and the linked files above> Ph 8.4 Filtration system 2 filters: 1 Aqua tech series 132 and a TopFin 60, both are charcoal filter systems. Tank size 75 gallons Water temp 80-82 degrees Hardness 75 Alkalinity 180-300 The Oscars are fed Tetra cichlid sticks and krill. <Might want to increase the menu... to include worms, insect larvae, cut meats...> The community in the 75 gallon tank are 2 tin foil barbs, 2 angel fish, <Not compatible> 1 spotted cat fish, 1 sucker fish, and the two Oscars. None of the other fish are sick. Oscar has not ate for about four days now. The other fish including Bud are eating. My dad treated the tank this week with stress coat made by API and Melafix made by API following the directions on the bottles. He took the charcoal filters out and did a 25% water change. <Good> He cleans the tank weekly by vacuuming the rocks, changing 25% water, and changing filters. Could you please help us with ideas of what is wrong with these fish? <Something is amiss... could be just whatever is indicated by the high nitrate... Reading, formulating a plan to reduce this measure will likely effect a cure here> One final note: Oscar was originally my fish which had hard water and since February has been with my parents using soft water. <Ahh! This is definitely a factor here. The Oscars do enjoy hard, alkaline water (as do the Tinfoil Barbs)... but not the other fish species listed... It might be time to separate these...> Could this be a problem? <Yes, at least an influence> Does my dad need to use the hard water or the soft water? <The hard on some, softer with the others> Thank you in advance for any help you can give us. Stacy Bainter <Happy to proffer my input. Bob Fenner>

Young Oscar fin disease   7/27/06 hi , < Howdy! > I have a 4 1/2 inch albino Oscar in a 60 g tank by himself , fully cycled ( o ammonia, o nitrates , ph 7.6 , gH 9, kh3, powerful filtration with regular water changes etc. < It is great to see the fish is not overcrowded for a change! >   he seems very healthy and happy, eats like a horse (quality pellets and the odd moth !) the end of his tail and dorsal fin just seem to be a bit transparent and a tiny bit raggerty , not too bad but the whiteness of his fins seem to be receding a bit at the ends . any ideas, < The only thing that comes to mind is the possibility of the temperature being too high. Elevated temperatures can lead to lower dissolved oxygen content. That leads to fin deterioration. > many thanks, Laurent.   ps salt is added with water changes < You are welcome! RichardB >

Frightened Fish, Oscars   7/11/06 <<Hello, Krista. Tom with you.>> I currently have two Oscars and a Pleco in a 55 gal tank.  I have had them for about two months.  At first they were extremely friendly.  They would swim to the front of the tank when I came home from work and were friendly towards each other.   <<Okay.>> Recently they seem to be extremely frightened by any movement at all.  They will come out when I feed them but hide immediately after.  I am thinking of taking their favorite hiding place out of the tank and rearranging some things.  Is this a good idea or is there anything else I can do?   <<Like taking a sick child's temperature, the first thing I would recommend is looking to your water conditions/parameters. Cichlids certainly like their hiding places and retreat there when feeling stressed. Since Oscars can be pretty outgoing animals, particularly when they recognize the person who provides the "yummies", I'd be looking for the reason that they now seem fearful of movement outside the tank. Sounds like there's more than meets the eye here, Krista.>> I don't want to stress them out but I don't want them to hide all day either? <<As a rule, I try to bear in mind that the tanks are my "displays" but they're my fishes' homes. Your pets have nowhere to "run" so taking away their "sanctuaries" will likely make matters worse. Again, I'd look at what's going on inside your tank before rearranging things. Specifically, I'd look to see if there are parameters that are in serious fluctuation like hardness, pH and temperature. Is there a possibility of an ammonia, or nitrite, spike that you might not be aware of? Even nitrate levels are something to be considered with these fish. Unlikely that this would manifest itself after only two months but do you feed them a varied diet? This is a misunderstood and very underestimated source of problems with fish. Even high quality foods, when there's no variety, can lead to health/stress problems. Usually these don't show up for quite some time but let's look at all possibilities here.>> Thank you Krista <<You're welcome, Krista. Tom>>

Sick Tiger Oscar  6/23/06 Robert, <<Hi, Scott. Tom with you this time.>> I have read through many of the other articles on this page of Oscars Disease. I am really impressed with your knowledge about this fish. <<We try, Scott, and thanks.>> I have 3 Red tiger Oscars that live in a 125 gallon tank. <<Is my "envy" showing"? :)>> I do my regular water changes and tank maintenance. I have had these 3 for the last 3 years. My girlfriend noticed today that one of the three was laying at the bottom of the tank. The other two were excited to see her for their lunch feeding. This Oscar was laying at the bottom of the tank and apparently breathing extremely heavy. These Oscars for sure do not have Ich. <<Scott, Ich wouldn't cause your Oscar to lay at the bottom of the tank. Likely the opposite. Flashing (scratching itself on just about anything) would be more "appropriate" behavior. Lethargy would certainly settle in but, by and large, you'd simply notice the "salt-like" appearance on the body.>> What is your diagnosis of what could be potentially wrong with this fish? <<You've given us absolutely nothing to go on here, Scott. Having read the articles/FAQ's, you know how important detailed information is. What are the water parameters? What do you feed your pets? What do you mean by "regular" water changes and tank maintenance? We'd love to help but we need some "clues".>> What would you recommend to treat this fish? I have grown very attached to these guys and I will have to email you a picture to show you how big they have become. <<Pictures may give us more help here, Scott.>> I also was curious about treating 'hole in the head'. What is the best way to treat and then keep HITH away? <<HITH is usually caused by a nutrition deficiency. High nitrates have been attributed but these are probably unlikely in your case. Water conditions and possible vitamin loss/deficiency are the culprits to look for. Feed your Oscars a varied diet and stay away from "feeder fish". These can/will introduce "garbage" into your tank.>> I really appreciate your help! Thanks, Scott <<You're welcome, Scott. Tom>> PS. Do you have any recommendations about getting Oscars to mate. <<A candlelight dinner? I'm kidding, of course. Check this site out for more info: http://www.geocities.com/cichlidiot_2000/breeding.html>>

Oscar Unhappiness - 06/22/2006 Hi--hope you guys can help me help my poor nephew's Oscar.  My little nephew's Oscar has been bouncing around the sides & bottom of his 50g tank for no apparent reason. <The reason will become apparent with water tests and observation....> The Oscar was okay until just recently. The Oscar's roommates are a Pleco, another Oscar <Ultimately, this will be too small a tank for these animals.  Oscars will easily exceed a foot in length as they grow.> and a strange Goldfish. <This cool water animal is incompatible with the other (tropical) fish in the tank.> He has also lost his appetite. <Not a good sign....> Sorry I don't have more details. What could it be?   <We'll really need to know more to be able to help....  We'll need to know test results for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate (a local fish store can test a sample of your water for you - write down the numbers from the tests and let us know).  We'll also need to know the history of the tank - when was the most recent fish added?  What kind of filter is being used?  How often is the tank cleaned, and what is done to clean it?  Any other bits of information will help, too.> Thanks <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Oscar fish eye split open  - 06/22/2006 <<Hi. Tom here.>> I have two Oscar fish in my tank, but only one developed pop eye disease. <<"Pop eye" is not really a disease. It's a symptom, generally, of a bacterial infection that causes fluid to build up behind the eye. It can be caused by a variety of situations including poor water conditions or injury. Unfortunately, an internal infection is usually pretty advanced by the time the outward symptom - the swollen eyes - are discovered. (If it affects only one eye, I would be suspicious of an injury. Do your pets get along okay?)>> I went to my local fish store and was told to buy Melafix and follow the instructions on the bottle. <<Melafix is moderately effective on open sores/ulcers. Metronidazole, for example, would be more effective for bacterial infections as would Oxytetracycline, among others.>> At first it looked as if it was working, but the last 2-3 days I've noticed that his eye looks to be split opened. <<Yipes! Sorry to hear about that!>> I was wondering if that was the medicine working or, is my fish's eye going to fall off? <<No, that was a case of the medicine "not" working. Your fish may not "lose" its eye but will certainly be blind in it.>> And if so, is it possible for my fish to live with only one eye? <<Absolutely, your fish can live a long life with sight in only one eye. Do a Google search on Blind Cave Tetras. These fish are born with normal eyes but flesh grows over these early on and they spend their entire lives totally blind. I don't pretend to know what "Evolution" had in mind but these fish get along very well this way. Tom>>

Oscar hole in the head... actually worms and need for action, grammar checker  6/18/06 hello again I have written before about the rescued Oscar that had skin problems, begs algae eater to suck on him, anyway i have found that the problem is hole in the head, <"A", not "the"> I am treating it with the proper med.s but there are little white worms that are on his skin and they are crawling into the holes in his head, is that ok, <No> also he seems to have white pimple like (not Ick) spots on his fins the start out lumps and then get a white dot and then they seem to burst open and the area looks frayed.   he is thrashing around the tank and twitching ,  the twitching seems to start when the worms get into the holes in his head please help. i almost have him healthy again, but these worms are bothering him and me. thank you Raegan and Otch <... Please read on WWM re Fenbendazole/Panacur, Praziquantel... Use the Google search tool on the homepage or indices... Bob Fenner>
Re: Oscar with Hole-In-The Head, not reading  6/20/06
Hello again, I wrote earlier today about the worms crawling into my Oscars hole in the head, how can I help him? < Clean water good food and treating with Metronidazole and Nitrofurazone should help.> I think that the filthy tank that I rescued him from is finally taking  its toll. Along with the hole in the head (along with its infestation of worms) he is getting these round like grey areas around his head and face, I thought that they were bruises from thrashing around the tank, by the way he graduated to a 75 gallon today, not to change the subject,  I noticed that the lesions were actually raised from his skin and the seem to grow bigger then go away, I am starting to believe that the itching problem along with begging the CAE to suck on him may be a fungus of some sort.  In a way it looks like a form of ringworm if a fish could get that. Also the CAE dorsal fin has almost completely disintegrated to nothing. He has the red lines in the fins. I believe that he may have to go the fishy freezer before he gives the poor Oscar something else.  Help please < The recommended treatments should help all the problems in the tank. Read the directions on the medications.-Chuck>

Hurt Oscar   6/13/06 Hello, I wondering if you could help me with a problem that I have with  my Oscar.  This morning when I opened the tank light I noticed  that my Tiger Oscar had hurt one of his eyes.  I think he may have  gotten startled during the night and hit it against a rock in the  tank. <Common> Anyway his is currently blind in that eye.  Do you  think this damage is permanent or will it heal.   <Impossible to tell from here> Is their anything  that I can do to help with the healing process and possible avoid his  eye getting infected. <Good maintenance, nutrition...>   He is in a 75 gallon tank with a Jack  Dempsey, Jaguar Cichlid, a Pictus Cat <This fish may be consumed... trouble if it gets stuck in the mouth...> and a Pleco.  The Oscar is  by far the largest and most dominant fish in the tank.  My levels  are fine except my ammonia is a tiny bit above normal. <Should be non-existent... You may have inadequate filtration, insufficient water changes> I plan on  doing a water change after I send this email to you.  Any advice  that you can lend will be appreciated.  Thank you     JK <No medication suggested... Bob Fenner>

Beat Up Oscar Needs Help  - 05/29/06 Hi, my name is Jaime Parquette, and my roommate and I bought 3 Oscar fish about 3 or 4 weeks ago. Everything was fine, so he decided to add another Albino Oscar (which would make it 2 Albino's out of the 4 total). Almost immediately, the 3 other Oscars started "bullying" the new one. Over the next couple of days, we started noticing pieces of his skin or scales, hanging off of him. He had no energy and always cowered at the bottom of the tank away from the other 3. When we noticed the 3 Oscars viciously biting the newer one, we moved him into a separate tank. But he still doesn't do anything. He won't eat at all, and just stays in one spot on the floor of the tank. The only movement he makes is little flutters of his fins. You can tell by looking at him that he does not look healthy, especially compared to the other 3. I have a big heart when it comes to all animals, and it kills me to see him dying. I don't know if it's because of the other 3 Oscars, or if he was sick already when we bought him, which was only 5 days ago. My roommate said that when he picked him out at the pet store, he looked perfectly healthy and happy. Is it too late to save him? < He can probably be saved.> What are some things we can do to try to help him along? <Keep the water clean and feed him a variety of foods.> I really don't want to see him die, and I know he will because when I poured fish food in his tank, he didn't even budge. < Try live foods like washed earthworms or brine shrimp. If he has wounds then treat then with Melafix. This is the only thing that Melafix seems to help.> There's still a flake of fish food on his head because he hasn't moved! Please help us!! Thank you! < Remove any food after two minutes if he hasn't ate it. Add about a teaspoon or rock salt per 5 gallons of water to help create a slime over the body.-Chuck>

Fat Oscar Probably Sick   5/27/06 Hello,  5/26/06, I have a 11 inch tiger Oscar.  It is thought to be a she.  After a recent 50% water change in its 75 gal tank, It seemed to get very fat.  It is by itself in this tank.  Now its "external genitalia?" where its vent is very swollen, even blister like.  It is not eating like it should though I did see it  eat aggressively about 5 days ago.  It is eating pellets.  It has been "fat" for about 3 days now.  We did observe a bowel movement about that same time, 3 days ago.  Its venting region is swollen about 1 inch in diameter, and bubbly looking.  The fish does not seem to be "gasping" or have any skin problems and its color is good..  We are very worried.  Today I put a flat rock in the water just incase it is trying to lay eggs.  But it concerns me because in all my searches, I have not found anyone describing such unusual vent morphology.  Can you help?? Thanks, Jeff < Your Oscar probably has an internal protozoan infection. Do a 50% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. Treat with a combination of Nitrofuranace and Metronidazole or Clout. Add some salt to the water too. About a cup per 20 gallons.-Chuck>

Nuts aprox. 6" Oscar   5/23/06 Over the last couple of days I have been watching my Oscar going  nuts.  It is banging into the glass slamming itself into the cover what is  he doing? <Reacting to some negative stimulus> He usually swims around all the time then all of a sudden he  hides when you come into the room, a couple of days to a couples of weeks go by  and he starts swimming all over again and now he is back to hiding when I come  into the room.  He slams into the glass so hard you think he is going to  break it.  I have had him for several months now.  I bought 2 of them  who were always together.  Then one day the other was hiding and not  getting any bigger till I figured out what was going on and I put a divider in  the tank till I was able to get another tank.  Now he has passed the  other in size an never been happier.   This Oscar is not acting like this.  This Oscar seems to be more docile than the other.  Could you please tell  me why he is doing all this aggressive swimming or is he just ticked at the  world and this is normal. Thank You, Barbara Wells <Likely some aspect of water quality is lacking... most commonly "nitrate build-up"... Do execute a series of twenty some percent changes every few days, consider adding "aquarium salt" as a cathartic... Just in case this is due to an "electrical leak", make sure there is no stray voltage at play here... Best by wiring all circuits through a GFI: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/FWGFIUseArt.htm Do these now! Bob Fenner>

Bully Pleco Or Sick Oscar  - 05/22/2006 Hi guys, just looking on some answers for why my Oscar is letting the Pleco bully him. The Oscar doesn't seem to know he is the alpha male and cowers around the Pleco. The Pleco is far more aggressive than the Oscar. What can I do, my Oscar has stopped eating now.? Thanks for your help. Margo <You Oscar may have an internal protozoan infection and your Pleco is now taking advantage of the situation and dominating the Oscar. Do a 50% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. Treat with Metronidazole as per the directions on the package. separate the Pleco to prevent him from harassing the Oscar any more while he is recovering.-Chuck>

Strange Oscar Behaviour  5/11/06 Hello, I recently bought an Oscar fish.  I have had it for about five  days now.  It has acted fine ever since I brought it home, until  tonight.  I typed in a search and found your email  address.  The fish "sits" at the lowest part of the tank most of  the time, but has these moments where it swims around frantically.  I  have read that Oscars are excellent actors by tricking the goldfish so it  can eat them.  Tonight, I notice it "sitting" at the bottom, leaning toward  one side and breathing out of the gill facing upward.  Should I be   concerned or is it just another act?  I would appreciate you getting back  to me with your answer as soon as possible.  Thank you for your help  (ahead of time)! Caroline < Your Oscar may be coming down with an internal bacterial infection. Do a 50% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. Treat with Metronidazole as per the directions on the package.-Chuck>   

Oscars Scratching - 05/10/2006 Hello - It has been awhile but I need help again. Right now, I have two, three-year old + Oscars in a 90 gallon tank with a Pleco. The Oscars look okay, but seem to be itching, doing a lot of scratching, sometimes violent, on rocks and ornaments. Sometimes, they slam violently into things. I need to treat them, but for what, with what?   <Mm, they may not need to be "treated" at all....  These actions may be indicators that the water quality has gotten poor.  Please be testing your water quality - ammonia and nitrite must be ZERO, nitrate less than 20ppm.  If it is not, you must do water changes to fix these.  Secondly, the scratching may be related to a toxin of some sort in the water, so do some hefty water changes anyway.  If your water quality is perfect and water changes don't help, then you'll need to be watching for more symptoms.> Thanks,  -Bill <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>
Re: Oscars Scratching - 05/10/2006
Thank you, Sabrina - as I was waiting, I did do a water change and I also did a "Quick Cure" treatment <As this and many other medications are toxic, please only medicate if you KNOW there is a parasite, bacterial complaint, etc., that requires medication.> and I haven't seen anybody trying to scratch their itch lately. I will do another water change tonight. <Probably the best thing to do.> Bill <All the best to you,  -Sabrina>

Oscars with pimple on lip    5/2/06 Hello, I wonder if you could help please. I have a breeding pair of Oscars the male is 10inchs and the female 7, they have developed this reddish white pimple on their lip first the female had it and now the male. Could you please tell me what it is and how to treat. <Mmm, maybe> I do a 30% water change every fortnight my ammonia levels are 0 and the ph is 7.0 they also have like a slight cloudy film on them I was advised to up the temp do a 30% water change and put in this stuff called Bactonex I did the initial dose and I have just repeated it as directions said after five days. any advise would be most grateful Kind Regards, Zeela West Australia <I would change a bit less water (like a quarter maximum), and do this weekly... The symptoms you mention are likely environmental in cause/origin here... I would not avail myself of chemical treatments per se. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/oscardisfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Abused Oscar Help  4/29/06 I wrote earlier this month and thank you for the information it was very helpful. I hope that I have not hurt the Oscar from trying to medicate and clean the rocks from the tank since he seems to be getting worse.  At first I believed that the Oscar had gill flukes and I still believe that there is some sort of parasitic problem in the tank,  The Oscar has gotten extremely lethargic and all he does is dig holes in the back of the tank and then he stays on the bottom of the tank for most of the time. He just sits there and twitches then he flares his gills to the point that they look like they are inside out, throws his head violently from side to side ant then swims along the bottom rubbing his gills while they are flared.  Is this normal behavior? < He may be feeling better and beginning to defend his territory against all comers. Even you.> He also is now attacking me if I put my face up to the tank and he is constantly attacking himself in the glass, He is far more aggressive than he used to be. Now that he is out of the murky tank that he was in he seems to be constantly flipping up on to his head and then he thrashes about the gravel. This usually follows the twitch and gill flare.  He also is drastically changing colors he goes from totally black even his face and belly, then he gets so pale that he is a light green and you can see all of these lighter blotches intermingled with the black of his fins.  They are all over his entire body,  this just continuously happens throughout the day it does not stop, he is very dark most often.  He also seems to have no energy. He swims very slow and almost seems to want to go over on his side. He is still eating crickets but not as many as before.  Could it be the shock of going from such a dirty tank to a clean one that is shocking him? <Cleaner water probably has him feeling better but his energy reserves are probably not up to par. Lower the water temp to the mid 70's. This will help him build up some fat reserves.> I now have all of the levels of the tank at o ppm and the pH is at 7.0 .    Fortunately this only took less than a month to do. It has only been at this level for about a week.  The twitching is getting worse by the day and his gills are getting  a strange texture along the bottom ridge. He is also breathing like it is hard or very fast and he gulps air quite often.  The algae eater is not sucking on him anymore even though the Oscar is still begging to be sucked.  Please help I am afraid he does not have much time left. The twitching is breaking my heart, to me it seems like he is in pain or extreme agitation thank you Mike Raegan and OTCH < Your Oscar is probably defending his turf against his own reflection in the glass. He gets tired out and rests. Turn off the lights and give him a "time out" until he settles down.-Chuck>

Oscar With Swim Bladder Problem  4/29/06 Hello! To start off, I hope this question isn't already addressed somewhere on your site. I've been searching around for a couple of hours, but I am afraid my "Google fu" is less than stellar. I have found some relevant and helpful information, but I'm in such a panic that I felt compelled to email you. I am the owner of a young Oscar by the name of Mr. Angry. He's currently at right around four inches, housed as a sole occupant in a thirty gallon tank (to be upgraded to a fifty-five within the next couple of weeks... that is, if he's not very sick, and I hope he isn't). I ran tests on the water about two days ago and found everything to be just around optimum, although I don't have exact numbers on me any more. Maybe I should keep a notebook. He receives a varied diet, mostly of Cichlid staple pellets, punctuated by brine shrimp, bloodworms, and the occasional flake. He has had exactly three live fish at the time that I write this: very, very small rosy reds. I was encouraged to feed him the live food by a local fish dealer because we were discussing the fact that he is very active and although he eats voraciously, he will only eat food that is moving--so I have to stand over the tank and drop the pellets in hard enough that they sink. Hopefully that's enough background on Mr. Angry and his lifestyle, so on to my problem: when I came home from work this morning, I switched on the light to feed him, and he was sitting on the bottom of the tank and did not swim up to greet me (and his food) like he normally does, although he did swim out into the open and seemed very active. I was slightly worried, so I dropped some food into the tank to see if he was just being asocial, and he did something very pathetic: sitting on the gravel, he looked up at the food, and, obviously struggling to gain some altitude, opened his mouth to bite even though he wasn't anywhere near the floating pellet. I watched him for around fifteen minutes, waiting for a change, and although he seems very active and isn't showing any outward signs of illness, he obviously has problems swimming upwards. This leads me to believe that he has some sort of swim bladder problem. He is not bloated (I checked for that first), but I fed him a couple of shelled peas just to be on the safe side (I had to reach down into the tank and give them to him out of my fingers, but he ate them very readily). Also, he is swimming on the horizontal like normal, not angling any unusual way, and he is definitely not curving or turning over at all. Every few minutes, after a long pause on the gravel, he manages to swim up to the surface, although it is clearly a struggle and he immediately swims/sinks back down to the gravel. After looking around your site, I wasn't sure if it would be safest to medicate him for a parasite problem or if I should go with some aquarium salt, or if there is some other solution I am not seeing that could help Mr. Angry get through this. This is a very lengthy email, for which I apologize. I know you are busy people. Thanks for taking the time to read this, and also for your wonderful site. I feel like a better and more responsible fish owner for having found it a while back, and I take the time to read over articles when I have time, and I know Mr. Angry has benefited from a healthier environment because of it. Thanks! Nicole. < You Oscar has an internal bacterial infection that has resulted in a deflated swim bladder. Do a 50% water change, vacuum the gravel, clean the filter and treat with Metronidazole. Get the water temp up around 80 F.-Chuck>
Oscar With Swim Bladder Problem II   4/30/06
Wow. What an amazingly concise and prompt reply that was! You guys are amazing, thanks! < I have seen/had this problem before but unfortunately the cure does not always work if the problem has progressed too far. Hopefully your fish will recover.-Chuck>

Oscar illness   4/26/06 Dear Crew, <Hi!> I have just stumbled onto you website and I am searching for answers to a problem with my Oscar.  I have attached 2 photos which unfortunately aren't of great quality but hope they help to illustrate the problem.   <Enough to show that this animal may have a bit of Hole-In-The-Head, or Head and Lateral Line Erosion, or Hexamita.  Hard to tell, but it does look like it from what I can see.> He is one of 2 Oscars in an 80 gallon tank which they share with a Chinese catfish and a Plecostomus.  We have had the Oscars for about 2 years.  Both Oscars are about 12 inches although this Oscar is male and slightly smaller than the female.   <This is a little bit of tight quarters for these very large fish....  I wouldn't be surprised if your nitrates are astronomical and responsible for the fish's erosion/pitting....  But again, a bit tough to see.> She is fit and healthy and shows no sign of the problem.  The male has a strange white stringy growth hanging from his lower left jaw.  Yesterday at the end of the growth there was a small opaque tear shape bubble.  Today it appears to have burst.   <This could possibly be a bit of skin that got scraped or injured somehow, or perhaps even some artifact of the erosion apparent on the fish.> Both Oscars have had no health problems up till now although male does have a cloudy eye which appears to be clearing up after a couple of water changes.   <Almost definitely a result of poor or at least not ideal water quality....  Please do be testing for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate; keep ammonia and nitrite at ZERO, nitrate less than 20ppm, with water changes.> Also of interest is that, although purchased as a mating pair and despite regular spawnings, no live young have hatched.  The male seems to be sterile.   <This is possible, but it's also a possibility that there is a water quality issue that is preventing the eggs from hatching.  A pH of 7.0-ish or less may help here, in addition to pristine water quality.> Do you have any idea what this strange growth could be and what can be done about it?   <It's really too tough to tell from the image, but I'm still thinking it's something from an injury.  Also please look up "Lernaea" or "Anchorworm" or "anchor worm" pictures on Google and see if that looks similar to what you've seen on him.> He has been a bit battered a bruised by the female over time and has a few missing scales and a chunk out of the bony casing on the left side of his face in front of the gill (if that makes sense) <The operculum, yes.  Are you positive these are all from injuries from the female?  Such things can and do happen (the missing bits of flesh) with poor water quality - Oscars are particularly susceptible to HLLE.> I don't know all the anatomical terms for fish parts!! <That bony casing gill front part is the operculum.  You got your point across so I could understand what you meant - that's what matters!> I would appreciate any information you could offer on cause and how to treat this.  Regards.   <I would first like you to check your water quality - that may be the only issue here.  Also, please do look up Lernaea/Anchorworm images.  I also would not at all be surprised if it really is just a little piece of dead flesh, either from squabbling with the female or some other injury.  Hopefully this will heal easily and quickly with time and pristine water quality.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Bringing Back Neglected Oscar  - 04/24/2006 I rescued a neglected Red Oscar from a yard sale yesterday. Included with this fish were its 20 gal. tank and all related items.  The water was filthy, the heater didn't work, and the filter was too small and missing parts. When I got it all home I added fresh dechlorinated water, a new heater, and a better filter (penguin 170).  I also added 2 tbls. of aquarium salt, diluted. The temperature is between 76-78 degrees F.  I tested the water after adding new water.  Ammonia 1.0, nitrites 0, pH 6.8.  I do not have nitrate test kit yet. The Oscar spends most of its time in the corner, under the heater. It is lying almost curled-up on its side, barely moving.  Gill on right side not moving, right pectoral fin clamped.. There is also a white cloudy spot on its right eye and what looks like a hole on top of its head between the eyes.  It is also not eating.  I realize this poor fish is incredibly stressed with its prior living conditions and moving to a new home.  What do you suggest I do to help it survive and heal? < Crank the water temp up to 82 F. Add Bio-Spira to get the biological filtration going. This will reduce the ammonia and nitrite problem. In the meantime do water changes to reduce the waste content and clean the filter often. Offer live washed earthworms as food to get him to eat.-Chuck>

Older Oscar Not Defending Himself Hello, my name is Liv. I have had a 215 gal. Oscar tank for about 2 years. I have 2 lrg. filters w/ bio wheels, 1 300 canister filter, do 25% water changes weekly and keep the temp. @ 80. I had 7 Oscars, 2 Bala sharks, and 2 lrg. Plecos but started having trouble with hole in the head. I tried medications and vitamins in their food but it only seemed to make it worse. They are fed pellets, blood worms, brine shrimp, krill, sliver sides, and algae wafers every 2-3 days. I now have sold all but 2 lrg. Oscars (15 inches), 1 med (9 inches.), 1 sm. (6 inches), 2 Bala sharks, and 1 lrg. Pleco in the hopes that this would improve their condition but now I seem to have a different problem. I biggest fish in the tank (the red tiger) was always the dominant fish but now he being attacked by all the other fish (in particular the 8inch white tiger). I thought it may be a breeding thing so I moved a few things around and decreased the temp. to 76. This has helped some but has not fully corrected the problem. I can only turn the light on, on one side of the tank or they will start fighting again, they act lethargic, and only eat about 1/4 of what they normally did. What is going on? Any information would be helpful! Thanks Liv   < The larger fish may be ill and not up to defending himself against the younger healthier smaller fish. Try treating with Metronidazole for the hole in the head. It would be less expensive in a smaller hospital tank.-Chuck>

Rescued Oscar and CAE  - 04/15/06 Recently I rescued an Oscar that is about 10 inches long (Around 1 1/2 years old. He is a orange albino.) from a 20 gal tank that had no filter or heater or bubbler. I have no idea how long the fish was in this water but you could not see the fish through the murk. The Chinese Algae Eater (CAE) has green growing on his back. I have had the two for about three months in a 50 gal tank with a double bio wheel and another filter two bubblers and a good heater. The Oscar has started thrashing around the tank flaring his gills out and attacking everything. He flips upside down and rubs his face and gills on everything. He seems like he is fighting himself on the side of the tank, his head will start to twitch then the gills flare then the attacking starts. It seemed like he was trying to scratch himself. He has also turned very dark and sometimes he will loose his color and you can see all of these blotches all over his fins and head. I don't know if they are scars or sores. There are no lumps. I was sure that he had gill flukes <Why?> so I started treating him with clout and then parasite buddies parasite clear. This seemed to make it worse <I'll bet!> so I then gave him a salt water dip <ouch!> and changed out all of the gravel in the tank. <Why?> I know this has now killed the biological filtration <Not killed, but set back. Don't forget those two Bio Wheels> so I have been checking the levels and changing water daily. <Great!> I have also discontinued use of the parasite meds. <Greater!> I just put the filters back in <Huh? You removed the filters? The whole thing or just the carbon filled inserts?> and I am letting the tank get back to normal. Also the Oscar has a strange relationship with the CAE. He want it to suck him. He will lay on top on the CAE until it has no place to go but to suck on the Oscar. Most of the time it just runs away from the fish. I am so baffled as to what this could be. The pH has a tendency to get low so I have been putting pH 7.0 in the tank and the ammonia has gotten normal and the nitrite is almost back down but the nitrate is high. I know this is a lot of info but they all seem to coincide with each other. Please help before he dies, the only thing he will eat is crickets now and the twitching and thrashing is worse, I ALSO CHECKED THE THERMOSTAT AND HE ACTS THE SAME SO I DON'T BELIEVE HE IS BEING SHOCKED> Thank you so much Mike Raegan and OTCH <First I want to personally thank you for rescuing the Oscar. (Please note I did not mention the CAE) He has major skin problems from his time in the foul tank that are now being made worse by your water conditions. You need to do as many water changes as it takes to get ammonia and nitrite to ZERO, nitrates BELOW 20PPM. 50% at a time, twice a day, (a few hours apart) if needed. Once a day at least. Test the pH of your tap. If within a very few tenths of 7 stop using the buffer. More on this latter. The only thing you should use right now is dechlorinator. That's a must. Do not use anything like Stress Coat. Continue to test and do the water changes as needed until ammonia and nitrite stay at zero without a water change. Nitrate should be the only thing spiking. Now set a water change schedule to keep it under 20ppm. Oscars are very messy fish. I assume he will need about two 50% water changes a week after the tank is cycled. But right now you need to do them big time. Use a gravel vac to siphon out as much organic matter as possible. You want his tank pristine clean while he heals and adjusts to his new, and far better, home. About pH and the use of buffers. The best pH for almost any fish is a steady pH. And as you have noticed, pH tends to drop as the water ages. Now this poor fellow was in such poor conditions for so long that his tank's pH was probably very low. Then you quickly (I assume) brought his pH up to 7. I think this, along with the high nitrates, are his main problems right now. After the tank recycles and you have the nitrates under control you can use the buffer to keep a steady pH between water changes. But right now you'll be doing them often enough that none will be needed. If your taps pH is not close to 7, then add only enough to correct. Interesting to note the Oscar using the CAE as a cleaner fish. As a CAE ages it eats less algae and more fish skin. Not a good community fish at all. I suggest you remove it as soon as possible. Right now the chewing feels better than the itching to the Oscar, but not for long. Don>

Bigger scar on an Oscar    4/9/06 Hi. I sent in a question to one of you earlier about my Oscar, Jaguar. He ( or she ) is a tiger Oscar. Recently, the other Oscar that used to live with him died. They used to fight a lot and get a lot of scars. Now, jaguar has a big scar left in the middle of his forehead, between his eyes. One of you told me he would ne fine, as long as it did not turn red, or grow this cotton stuff. But the scar seems to be getting bigger and bigger. Is this a bad thing? If it is what can happen to Jaguar, and how can I help him? --girl with Oscar <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/oscardisfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Scarred, now tilting Oscar.    4/9/06 Hi. I'm the same person who sent you the question about the Oscar with the scar that's getting bigger. Now, My Oscar seems to be settling to the bottom of the tank, and another scar has just "appeared" on his forehead. He also tilts a lot. What could be wrong with him? <Either organically sick or "bummed"... see where you were referred to. Bob Fenner>

Oscar has me worried sick... disease... likely bacterial from env.    3/31/06 Dear WWM Crew, <Sheila> I hope you can help me.  I have a 6 year old Oscar.  About five days ago he stopped eating or at least was not eating more than a couple pellets.  Then two days ago he stopped swimming and floated to the top of the tank and is laying on his side.  His stomach looks puffed out.   <... very bad> I found your site and immediately did a 50% water change, thoroughly vacuumed the gravel, changed the filter, added one tablespoon of rock salt per 5 gallons of water and treated him with Metronidazole  He still is not eating.  His stomach appears to be almost normal.  But he is still helplessly floating.  It is hard to watch.  I didn't want to bother you with an email, since I am sure you are very busy and to be quite honest with you your site is so informative, but I am worried.  Is there anything else I should do?   <Mmm, yes... I would add Epsom Salt here as well... and likely soak the foods that this fish is taking with an antimicrobial... I'd start trying these with Nitrofuranace...> When I changed the filter I did not put carbon in the filter--since I thought I read somewhere that the carbon diminished the medicinal value.  Should I be using carbon in the filter? <Not at this point, but I would be checking your water quality for nitrogenous compounds> How long before I see any improvement in his condition?  Is there a chance that he will not get better? <Yes, always> Thank you, Sheila <Read: For Epsom Salt use: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/saltusefaqs.htm For Antibiotic pellet making: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/holedispd.htm Bob Fenner>

Hole in the Head and Eye Problems ... Oscars - 03/27/06 Hi WWM Crew, I have had Oscars since 1980 and never had any problems with them before. I believe that is because I pay such careful attention to water quality and diet. However, just recently one of my two 12" Oscars starting laying on the bottom and gasping for air. This has gone on about a week. The pH, Nitrates and Ammonia are perfect. I feed them Hikari pellets. The one in question has one boated eye and lays on the bottom of the 80 gallon tank. If I reach in and touch him he has good energy and swims strongly across the tank. He can also come up for food but lately I can tell it is getting harder for him. The only other symptom is a slight hole in the head which I treat but can never seem to make go completely away. I have tried Maracyn TC as I thought it was bacterial. Then MarOxy as the Maracyn TC did nothing so maybe it was fungal. This also did nothing. I have tried salt and several water changes but nothing seems to work. Any thoughts? Art <Most eye problems, as well as Hole in the Head, start when too much organic matter starts to build up in a tank. Please re-test the water. After a few rounds of meds you have probably lost your cycle. Also, when doing a water change always use a gravel vac to remove as much waste as possible. Hole in the Head is caused by a protozoa. Metronidazole is the drug of choice. However the wounds caused by the protozoa can become infected by bacteria or fungus. Keeping your system pristine will help greatly. This will also help with his breathing and eye problems. Should the eye begin to swell, add Epsom salt at the rate of one tbls per 5 gallons. Replace the Epsom salt in the new water when doing a change until the swelling goes down. Don>

Albino Oscar With Black Fins    3/17/06 Good Morning, I have a baby albino that is appx 2" long.  When I got him (?) about 3-4 weeks ago he was all white w/orange spots.  His fins have now turned black.  Is this normal?  Also, I'm new at "parenting" Oscars. Approximately how old would my 2" Oscar be? Thanks for all your help,  LeeAnn < If your Oscar is acting normal then the color change may be the result of diet or genetics. Some color foods high in Spirulina can cause some darkened colors in fish.-Chuck>

Food For Albino Oscar   3/18/06 Thank you for the quick reply, the food that I'm feeding him is Hikari Cichlid Gold Food.  Is this a good food, or do you recommend anything else? LeeAnn Hathaway Anderson < It is pretty good food, but it does have color enhancers they may be causing the blackened fins. Try another name brand food with out the color enhancers and see if the black goes away.-Chuck>

Oscar Not Doing Well  - 03/13/2006 MY OSCAR HAS BEEN LAYING DOWN IN THE BOTTOM OF THE TANK AND NOT EATING . HE IS A BABY OSCAR MAYBE 3 INCHES. WHENEVER HE SWIMS HE DOES 360S AND HIS EYES LOOK WEIRD. CAN YOU TELL ME WHAT IS WRONG WITH HIM? IS HE ABOUT TO DIE? PLEASE EMAIL ME BACK ASAP! THANK YOU < Start by doing a 50% water change, clean the filter and vacuum the gravel. Water should be around 80 to 82 F. Probably an internal bacterial infection that need to be treated with Metronidazole.-Chuck>

Blind Oscar    3/2/06 I have a tiger Oscar that I have had for approx. 5 years.  With in the last month I had to move his tank and in a result of that he developed Ick from the stress.  I did (and am still doing) water changes and treated him right away.  The ick is gone, but now he has developed white cloud over his eyes that look a little bubbly.  His eyes have gotten so bad that he can't see anymore.  I am not sure if this is a fungus that has developed as a secondary infection or something else.  I have looked on the web and can't seem to find anything that matches what he has.  He is not eating because he can't see the food.  Please help.  I have run out of ideas and don't want to medicate him for something that he doesn't have.  I hope you can save his eyes. Thank you Alicia < This is usually a bacterial infection that responds well to erythromycin.-Chuck>

Oscar health question ... more systems- 2/28/2006 I am new to the wonderful world of fishes. And have recently purchased an adorable little 1.5 inch black with white stripes Oscar (no idea what type tag on the tank said fancy Oscar). <All are the same species... as with domestic dogs...> My worry is that normal fish swim with there body remotely flat like - my little guy swims at an angle close to / (Sorry only way I can describe it). it's how we swam when I purchased him I want to know if he is ill with anything or if this is normal? <Small Oscars do "wag" a bit in swimming> I have tried looking online and asked at the pet store (they looked at me like i was stupid but couldn't help me). I came by your web site and found it to be the most informative and helpful site i have found. Please let me know if you think something is wrong with him what it is and what I can do. Right now he is in a 10gal tank (upgrading to a min of 75g as by the end of the year) He has 3 tank mates 2 1.25 inch Jack Dempseys and a 4.5 inch Pleco everyone gets along fine. <Do keep your eye on the Dempseys... the behavior you describe may be largely "submissive" re their presence> Will these fish have issues when they get bigger? <Yes... much more so in crowded confines> Or do you think they should be fine in a 75g tank. Thank You for taking the time to answer my questions Robert <Should be fine there for a good long while. With careful observation, you should be able to discern whether trouble is excessive. Bob Fenner>

My poor, poor Oscar  - 02/20/06 I have a nine inch tiger Oscar. He/she/it, or Oscar for short, is in real bad shape. Four days ago the lights in my house flickered and Oscar freaked out and scraped the entire side of it's body and one eye. Bubbles collected on the scrapes and that eye fogged. I was worried but scrapes have happened before, since it likes to jump up for it's food, and they heal and life goes on. The following day the bubbles were gone and that eye was fine...but Oscar got another scratch on the other eye. This is where it has spiraled down hill. The scratch turned into a white patch and grew rapidly. The next day (yesterday) I turn the on the lights and see my poor Oscar's eye was all white and bulging and he now had white spots on it's fins, and slime hanging in two places. Today I went and bought Melafix (Melaleuca), everything I see sounds like what this is supposed to cure and or help with. <Not likely... but not very dangerous either> Oscar has such a great personality ( Never did I ever, ever think I would say that about a fish until I got this Oscar!), and I do not want to lose it. Everything showing up so quickly does not seem right. I think I am missing something, or everything. I am also worried because I was told to leave in my charcoal filters by the pet store, but the med. said to take them out. I also keep reading that I should be changing the tank water every few days, but the med says different on that too. Could you please point me in right direction?   Jennifer <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/oscardisfaqs.htm and the linked files above... Bob Fenner>

Oscar May Be Overeating   2/10/06 She is an albino. We call ours a she because it's too pretty to be a he. We have 2 older Oscars one around 12-14in and the other around 9-10 in) in our tank as well but they are paired and pretty much ignore the albino although she does hang really close to them except when they are flirting with each other, they can be a little aggressive then.  Any way, my albino is around 4-5 inches and eats like a pig, true to their supposed habits of eating anything that will fit into it's mouth (even if it just barely fits).  The problem is that she is getting really fat,  she is having bowel movements though so not sure whether she is sick from overeating or full of eggs if she is actually a female at all).  She has been staring at the back wall of the tank all day today except when it's feeding time. As is the opposite of what she usually does.  The other Oscars are very active but of course they aren't eating as bountiful as this one is.  Could it just be trying to get what it can before the food is gone and therefore overdoing it?   Cindy Thrasher < Don't feed them for three days and see if their appetite returns after a little fast. If they go back to eating and acting normal then feed them once a day and only enough food so that all it is gone in two minutes. If their appearance hasn't changed then there may be an intestinal blockage they may turn into an infection. Do a 50% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. Treat the tank with Metronidazole as per the directions on the package.-Chuck>

HELP!!! For my 11 inch Oscars- sick!   2/6/06 My Oscar Fish had hole in the head last year, and were saved by my hubby using "Hole in the Head Guard" with Metronidazole. The one Oscar had terrible   wounds, and they both have been well for months, with only a few scars (wounds) left on the head. The wounds were healed also with the help of Mela-fix. My  one fish started eating sluggishly a while(2 mo.s?) ago, and the last few weeks  the other stopped eating gradually also (also are turning their backs to me.)  When they were still eating a little up to a few days ago, they were spitting  out most of what went in their mouths) My hubby started treating them for  hole in the head again with the product above a few weeks ago, for about a  week. I did not think that they were improving, so he did 20 per cent water change, reinstalled charcoal filtration, ran it for a day, and then started   treating (recommended by pet shop) with Ruby Reef Rally containing Acriflavine, Aminoacridine. (pet shop did not think it was ick). They have some  white specks on the fins, and some shredding on the fins, so the guess was maybe  bacterial infection. Water temp now 79-80. They are now not eating at all,  isolating themselves more, and I am frantic to help them!!!! They are 6 years  old, 11 inches, in a 90 gallon tank (one fish has had only one side fin for many  yrs now.) What to do???? Take out meds? back to hole in the head? treat for  ick? Nitrates about 60- nitrites about 0- hardness about 120- alkalinity  about 120-am having trouble keeping ph up- is now about 6.6, was  lower. Please help!!!!!! <... You've got to stop pouring chemicals in on these fish... much of what you describe is from simple poisoning. Your nitrates should be kept below 20 ppm... by water changes/dilution, improved filtration. Your pH maintained near 7.0... improved nutrition will cure the HLLE... as you'll find by studying on WWM. Bob Fenner>
Re: HELP!!! For my 11 inch Oscars- sick!  02/12/06
We hope you can help again.  We stopped the meds the night  before your last reply (2/6), my husband keeps trying to improve water , and  over a several day period, changed over 2/3 of the water.  Nitrates are 40,  trying to get them to the 20 you mentioned.   <Good> Nitrites at 0, total hardness  50, total alkalinity 120, ph about 6.6.  Am having trouble keeping ph up,  just added crushed coral to the filtration.   <Can/could use baking soda, sodium bicarbonate...> Filters are 2 Emperor 400's  with bio wheels in a 90 gallon tank. He is concerned with changing water  too much for fear of affecting the biological filtration. <You are wise here> The fish look livelier in general, but still do not eat.  When  the Oscar with 1 fin eats a pellet, he seems to expel it out of his mouth.  Ditto the Oscar with 2 fins, who eats less even than the first Oscar.  My  husband still thinks they are gradually looking better, but I even try Prawn,  and they are barely eating (the prawn was to entice them, usually they eat  Hikari Gold dry pellets.) We seem to have done what we can- any suggestions? <Perhaps chemical filtration... activated carbon in your Emperors> They do  not seem as lethargic or quite as isolated (turn their backs to me) as a few days  ago, but they are far from eating well. (The Oscar with 1 fin has picked for  months, the other Oscar suddenly stopped eating a few weeks ago.) They look outwardly good to me I think.  Please  advise! TYVM- Diana <Keep changing your water (vacuuming the gravel), and look for long-term solutions for improving water quality (larger tank, better filtration). Bob Fenner>
Re: HELP!!! For my 11 inch Oscars- sick! Oscars Won't Eat   2/14/06
It's just me again with the third, and hopefully, last  question. We have done all that we could, with your help and suggestions 2  times.  The Oscars (at times only), seem slightly or moderately interested  finally in eating, yet when they eat a pellet or prawn, it flies back out of  their mouth.   (The pellets are in pieces, but they cannot be digesting  them).  They must be hungry- haven't eaten right in weeks, for a week or  more nothing. They seem to want to eat, why cannot they keep the food in  them?  I offer it to them 2 times a day, sometimes they are interested once  a day, sometimes two times, but never eat more than one or 2, and usually spit  it back out almost immediately in pieces.......I get very upset, they have to  eat to live- they may be 12 inches now, really good size. And other than a few old? HITH scars, they look good I  think. Thanks again in advance for your past help!- Diana  D. < The fact that they are not eating is not a good sign. They are probably infected with an intestinal bacteria. If Metronidazole alone will not work then it is time to get a little more aggressive with the treatment. Do a 50% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. Treat on day one with Metronidazole and Nitrofuranace. On day two do a 50% water change and add one tablespoon of rock salt per 5 gallons of water. Day three, treat as per day one. Day 4 treat as per day two. Day 5, treat as per day one. Day 6 treat as per day 2. After treatment to a 50% water change and offer them some food. If they are eating then start them off very slowly. You have probably removed much of the good bacteria in their gut and they need to get that going again. Add carbon to remove any remaining medication. Then add Bio-Spira to get the tank cycled quickly. Slowly increase their feeding to normal over a week.-Chuck>

Oscar Needs Help To Heal  - 2/4/2006 I hope you guys can help me. I have two Oscar fish, I got them in August when they were about 1' each. About 2 weeks ago I noticed that the bigger one, Bartholomae, was chasing the smaller one, Odysseus, around the tank. Bart is about 5" and Odie is about 4-4 & 1/2'. Normal, I've read lots about how these fish are pretty aggressive especially because there's only two of them. Anyways it looked like Bart was putting some dents in Odie, he had scales missing on one side and a ripped up side fin. Then more scales started falling off in different places all over his body, his right side fin totally disintegrated and now he has this 2" by 1" white patch that looks pretty much like his skin is dying. This patch is on the same side as the gone fin. I thought he had fin rot but its a lot worse then that and his tail fin and dorsals look almost normal. This giant white patch is starting to crack around the edges; I can see red around the sides of the white patch like his skin is going to peel off. He won't eat anything and the temperature is around 80 degrees. I haven't done any water testing, but I've been looking on the internet for anything that sounds like this disease and I have not found one single thing. I even thought it might be HITH, but he doesn't have any holes! Just white patches of what I think is dead skin. I hope anyone has some sort of information for me because I'm afraid he might die. Thanks. - Kaela < If you are going to keep big fish you need to respond to help these fish before things get this bad. Put the damaged fish in his own tank. Treat with Nitrofuranace. Keep the water clean and warm until the wounds heal. Add Bio-Coat by Marineland to help provide a protective slime to help the wounds heal.-Chuck>

Oscars With Bacterial Diseases  - 2/4/2006 Hello, Can you please help me? We bought 2 Red Tiger Oscars about 5 months ago and have already lost 1 to this disease already. It started with these small indentations in their skin which have now got larger on the remaining one. Also the remaining Oscar also has a whole in his top fin which is slowly getting bigger and I think this will soon divide his fin into 2. We do a water change every 2-3 weeks. We were given a treatment called 'Melafix' which were told would get rid of it and if that didn't nothing would. We followed the instructions, took the carbon filter out, but nothing worked and this is how we lost our first through the treatment. Our local fish shop said to take a water sample in (which we haven't done yet) to see if there was a high level of acid in the water, but only the Oscars had this disease. We have different types of Parrot Cichlids but these are all fine If you could reply to my email that would be great, Thanks Rebecca < This is a bacterial infection brought on with water high in nitrates. Do a 50% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. Treat with Nitrofuranace as per the directions on the package. Feed once a day and only enough food so that all of it is gone in two minutes. Check the nitrates weekly. They should not exceed 25 ppm. Reduce them with water changes.-Chuck> Treating a Non-Sick Oscar   2/2/06 Thank you so much for you quick response.  Shortly after I sent the first inquiry the poor Oscar went flying around the cage uncontrollably as if shot out of a gun and is now dead.  My follow up question is, do I need to be concerned with the other Oscar it shared the quarantine tank with? (They also shared a tank at the store).  I certainly do not want the remaining Oscar to meet the demise of the first.  Would you recommend using the Metronidazole as a preventative even though the remaining Oscar looks just fine? Thanks again for all the help, Aaron < Continue the observation in the quarantine tank. If no problems are seen in a couple of weeks then he should be OK. I really don't recommend the Metronidazole as a preventative unless you actually see a disease.-Chuck>

Albino Oscars Problems    1/19/06 Hello, I have 80 gallon tank and 2 albino and 2 tiger Oscars in it. I have wet/dry trickle filter and UV sterilizer. I bought these from Petco. I brought them home as I put them in aquarium one of the albino just went down, didn't eat for 3 days and stayed at bottom and finally died. Took it back got another albino it all went fine but no one of the albinos is again sick. It ate a lot of feed in the morning then it went to the bottom and kept lying almost motionless and been defecating white colored material. Now today its still not eating but is now floating at the top but still not eating. When the first albino died I had checked everything was fine and nitrates were on border but then I have changed 20 %water twice in a week. I don't think it has head in the hole as I have sterilizer which will not let any bacteria come in. These Oscars are just 304 inches in size I bought them a few weeks ago. Any  help will be appreciated. Thanks < Are the Oscars sick at the store where you purchased them? If they are not eating and don't have their faces pressed against the glass begging for food then there may be a problem. If they look OK at the store then I think they don't like the food you are feeding them. Feed only once a day and only enough food so that all of it is gone in two minutes. Sometimes it takes a fish awhile to get use to a new diet.-Chuck>

Strange stringy slime Oscar   1/17/06 Folks,           I have a large 18 month old Oscar. The fish is in a corner piece 55 gallon tank with the Magnum 350 filter. I have great aeration and all water levels are superb. The fish is very active, happy and still gets very excited about feeding time. I feed the fish defrosted brine shrimp daily. <Mmmm, I hope among other foodstuffs/types> Today I noticed an odd accumulation of what I thought were air bubbles until I inspected closer. The slimy material appeared to be hair like with small orbs attached. They are coming off of the fish and floating around the tank. I assume these are probably eggs, but I care for the fish and want to make sure that something isn't wrong. Please get back to me as soon as you can. I appreciate it. <Is strange... I would step up your regular water change regimen here (to 25% every week), and check that your pH and associated alkalinity haven't been sliding downward too much, too fast... and not feed Artemia exclusively. Bob Fenner>

Old Oscar With Bloat   1/14/06 I have a 13 year old albino Oscar that about 5 days ago started hanging on his side in the tank. Now I notice he has a large lump on the side that is pointed to the top of the aquarium. He does appear to have some hole in the head. I did a 30% water change. He is in a 60 gal tank. His tank mates are 2 Plecostomus, 3 clown loaches, and 1 Pimelodella catfish. What could be wrong? Can I use Epsom salt and other meds with his tank buddies? Thanks for any help. < Your old Oscar has an internal bacterial infection. Do another 50% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. Try treating with Metronidazole as per the directions on the package. Your Oscar has lived a very long life and may not recover from this infection, even after he has been treated.-Chuck> Oscar With Bloat II   1/14/06 I have a 13 year old albino Oscar that about 5 days ago started hanging on his side in the tank. Now I notice he has a large lump on the side that is pointed to the top of the aquarium. He does appear to have some hole in the head. I did a 30% water change. He is in a 60 gal tank. His tank mates are 2 Plecostomus, 3 clown loaches, and 1 Pimelodella catfish. What could be wrong? Can I use Epsom salt and other meds with his tank buddies? Thanks for any help. He also has some black-greyish him that isn't normally there in the are where is spots are. If is us Epsom salt because is blocked, how long do I leave it in the water before a partial change? Also his normal diet is Oscar floating pellets. < Continue with the Epsom salts until you see some improvement. Replace any salt after a water change.-Chuck.>

Little Tank + Big Messy Fish = Uh-Oh  1/8/06     Great site guys thanks.... <Thank you and your welcome.>     I've had two Oscars and 2 Plecos in a 30 gallon tank ( I know need to upgrade) <Hehe, understatement of the new year.> Oscars are still young the larger being 4inches.  Everything has been fine with them until 2 days ago no appetite, swimming erratically- vertically, on their side, the smaller seems to have scratches on the fins, and both seem to have a cloudy like film on their entire body.   <Indicative of poor water quality.> I haven't seen any Ich marks need help....Thanks <Well as you allude to above this tank is quite small for the size and type of animals you have. Plecos and Oscars are very messy critters. I'm willing to be there is some nutrient accumulation going on here, what are your test results for ammonia, nitrites and nitrates? Adam J.>

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