FAQs on Oscar
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7 year old Oscar - forgot this!!! &
bacterial dis. f' 10/4/08
The part where the fins connect to his body (the end of the fins
- but closest to the body) is actually really red. And there are
white pimple looking things that have come & gone through
this whole thing. Some big, some small, sometimes some, sometimes
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE help me save my fish!!!! No one knows what
<Jill, it's difficult to be 100% sure, but this sounds a
lot like Finrot or some related bacterial infection such as Mouth
Fungus (Columnaris). These cause clots to develop on the fins,
and as the tissue dies, you see red and then white patches as
tissue inflames and then dies. Often the fins become ragged as
well, with the fin membrane retreating from the distal end of the
fin, leaving behind the bony rays. A photo would help. In any
case, for now, do two things. Firstly, treat with a suitable
antibacterial or antibiotic medication; in the US, Maracyn seems
to be the drug of choice for this. Make sure you remove carbon
while treating (if you use carbon) and do take care to follow the
instructions correctly. Secondly, review water chemistry and
quality: cichlids are very sensitive to poor conditions, and
react negatively to them quite speedily. In particular, ensure
that the pH is stable (Oscars don't much care what the pH is,
but do insist that the pH is stable) and also review water
quality, obviously making sure ammonia/nitrite are zero but also
checking nitrate is comparatively low (ideally < 20 mg/l).
Just to be sure, also check the temperature; cichlids get sick
very quickly if exposed to chilly conditions. Cheers,
Re: 7 year old Oscar - forgot this!!! --
Thank you for your response but please read part one to better
understand! I will copy & paste it incase you can't
readily find it! Thank you!!! :) Please help me save my
I am at my wits end!!! I have had an albino Oscar named Oscy for
7 years. He started out in a 55 gallon and was moved 3.5 years
ago to a 120 gallon. He is about 16+ inches and is in there by
himself. He shared the 55 with a Plec but he didn't make it
to the new tank. :(
He has two power filters - an Aquaclear 500 & a Tetra Whisper
3. The water was checked by the local aquarium store & is
perfect. A few months ago, one of his fins became very red along
the "veins" and two of the "veins" were
puffed up. He still ate & behaved normally.
<Classic Finrot symptom. The "veins" you refer to
are presumably the fin rays, the bony supports that hold open the
For years (definitely the 3.5 since he's been in the 120
gallon) he's been eating 10 tetra cichlid sticks with 6 drops
of VitaChem at about 7AM. He had gotten hole in the head years
back when the power was out from hurricanes and the vitamins
cured it - also taking out the carbon (I never put carbon in
again) - & he never had a problem with that again. He
always come to the top at about the same time to eat.
The fin started looking better in Aug, & so I did nothing. In
Sept however, he stopped eating and stayed at the bottom. I went
to the store & the owner told me to try Melafix.
I put the Melafix in for 7 days as per the directions and then
changed the water. His fin was getting noticeably better and he
was swimming around more normally but still not eating.
<No surprise; Melafix is at best a preventative with value in
reducing the likelihood of infections following, for example,
shipping. But it is far too inconsistent to be useful once a fish
gets sick. You really need to use something that has been
medically tested across a range of situations and species.
Maracyn is popular in the US, here in the UK I happen to favour
I still put 5 sticks with vitamins in almost everyday and he must
nibble because he couldn't have survived this long without
<Do, please, review environmental conditions. Finrot comes
from two main sources: physical damage (e.g., clumsy netting) or
poor water quality. What happens is the mucus layer on the fish
is diminished and the immune response of the fish is weakened.
Bacteria that otherwise do no harm can now enter the fish and
cause inflammation and ultimately tissue death. Left untreated
there is a very real risk of Septicaemia.>
I then did a water change - I normally do a water change of a
third to a half once a week and sometimes more frequently. (4 or
5 days) I then did a second treatment of the Melafix. His fins
look basically 100%, but he seemed sluggish again after the
second treatment. Still not eating but I continue to put food
<As I say, Melafix is useless here.>
I waited a week or so to let him recuperate, but even though his
fins look ok, he is more & more sluggish, just sitting at the
bottom. I put a dose of Clout in.
<Why? Clout is a treatment for a subset of parasites. Not the
problem here, is it? Do resist blindly adding random medications
-- how scary would it be if your doctor did this!>
For a while he seemed to be swimming more normally! But now he
seems like he's not able to swim very well at all. And the
whole time since he started not eating he seemed to be breathing
heavy at times.
It's gotten to the point where he looks fine - maybe a little
red near the edge of the fins near the body? - fins look normal,
but he just sits at the bottom. Doesn't eat. Breathes heavy.
Spurts of seeming like he's ok, then... And the recent
addition of seeming like it's hard for him to swim. He has
his bottom fins clamped while he's sitting there - but that
might be normal? They're resting on the gravel.
I love this fish but have absolutely no idea what to do. I only
hope he's not suffering.
<He is; it's the fish equivalent of gangrene. Not nice, so
run to the pet store and get some Maracyn (or whatever).>
Please help!!! If you need any more info please ask. I really
don't know what to do!!!
Re: 7 year old Oscar - forgot this!!! --
Thank you for trying to help me - no one else seems to be able to
<Oh? Well, glad we can help.>
I put the Clout because it listed being for symptoms of heavy
breathing, lying on the bottom... And the guy in the fish store
said they use that.
The thing that makes me confused into not thinking it's fin
rot is because his fins look fine! The redness & swelling are
<Well, that's a good thing.>
What he has is the redness at the end of the fins near the body.
And he breathes kind of heavy & doesn't swim much. And
when he does it seems difficult.
<Bacterial infections weaken the fish, and eventually the
bacteria get into the body itself, not just the skin, causing
serious harm, potentially organ failure and death.>
And he doesn't eat - though like I said I assume he
<Oscars can go weeks without food. Not an issue. Concentrate
on treating the disease. Once healthy, he will eat again.>
And the water has always been tested & good quality.
<Meaning what...? Please, give us numbers: pH, nitrite,
nitrate at minimum.>
And the only damage he could've had is from digging holes in
So I don't see how it's fin rot.
<Well, without a photo can't be 100% sure, but it is by
far the most common reason fish get "red fins".>
But as soon as the store opens I will get Maracyn.
I hope this works!!!
<So do I.>
I will keep you posted and if you have any other ideas please
Oh! One more thing! With the second treatment of Melafix they
told me to put in aquarium salt. They told me to do half the
dose. Is this useless too?
I can't find much on Septicemia - but this* is what I found
He has no sores but the rest sounds close...
Should I get Oxytetracycline Hydrochloride Powder? I don't
even know what it is?
Should I try the Maracyn first?
*Septicemia: A fairly rare to common in all tropical and
coldwater fish. It is caused by bad tank conditions and is very
hard to cure if not impossible. Bacterial Hemorrhagic Septicemia
can be diagnosed by red streaking of the fins and body and once
this disease progresses, ulcerations and body sores start to
appear. There is significant loss of appetite, lethargy, loss of
motor functions in the later stages of the disease.
Treatment: I recommend using Oxytetracycline Hydrochloride Powder
obtained from a vet to cure this disease.
<Septicaemia is simply a bacterial infection of the blood.
Nothing more, nothing less. It's what in humans is often
called "blood poisoning". The classic situation is
where an external wound or burn becomes infected with
opportunistic bacteria, i.e., Finrot, and these are able to
breech the fish's natural defenses and travel around its body
via the blood. With fish at least, septicaemia is very difficult
to treat reliably, which is why treating external bacterial
infections promptly is so critical. Messing about with salt,
Melafix and other half-baked solutions may be cheap and
appealing, but because they don't work reliably (if at all)
all you're doing is swapping an easy to treat infection like
Finrot for a difficult/impossible to cure case of septicaemia.
Re: 7 year old Oscar - forgot this!!!
Hi there! I put the Maracyn 2 in. He is moving around a bit more
but still mostly sitting on the bottom & breathing kind of
heavy. He seems to not be able to swim very easily when he does
get a burst of energy to move.
<If the bacterial infection is severe, it will take time for
him to get better.>
I have 2 more doses to put in. I am wondering what to do
Do I change the water & do another 5 day treatment?
<Yes; at the end of each course, I'd do at least 25% water
change, even 50% if you are able to keep water chemistry
relatively stable. Then start a new course of treatment.>
Do I try something else?
Do I wait?
For how long?
<Impossible to know. May well take a month or more for him to
get to full health.>
The fins look fine, and even the redness on the edges near the
body are getting less red.
Will he get better?
Does it just take time?
<As does everything in life.>
I'm very worried & want him to get better!
Thank you for your help & advice!!! :)
<Good luck, Neale.>
Re: 7 year old Oscar - forgot this!!! 10/8/08
Ok just to make sure - the last dose is Thurs. So do a water
change Fri & then put the next dose right in?
Thank you soooooo much btw!!!! I don't know who you are but I
hope everything good comes to you!!! :D
<That's very kind! Good luck to you and your fish,
Re: 7 year old Oscar - forgot this!!! -- 10/10/08 One
more question - sorry! :o The very first dose of Maracyn 2 is
double what you put for the next 4 doses. So since this is the
second treatment, should I just do the single dose for 5 days or
start fresh with the double dose? (That's the one I was
assuming...?) <With antibiotics, you MUST always do precisely
what the prescription or instructions say; unless you're an
MD or a vet (and I'm neither) coming up with your own doses
is a very bad idea, and how things like antibiotic resistance get
bred into bacteria.> And then how long should I continue this?
I mean, once I give a second treatment for 5 days, do I keep on
until he's totally 100% better or is there a point where
that's enough/too much meds?! <You can stop after the
second set of treatments, wait a couple weeks, and see if things
are improving or not.> Like what's the maximum number of 5
day treatments I should do? (& should it always be the double
dose for the first of the 5 days?) <I do not know the maximum
number of doses. Antibiotics are not available over the counter
here in the UK and I have no experience of using them with fish.
Consult with a vet or the manufacturer; I suspect any answers
from non-medically trained fishkeepers will be nothing more than
guesses.> Hopefully he'll be well after this second
treatment :D but in case not... I suppose I can judge his
wellness by when he actually starts swimming to the top to eat
again! I put 5 tetra cichlid sticks with the vitamins in every
day & it floats to the bottom. He must be eating it cause he
would've starved by now! He used to eat 10 of those every
morning - always swimming to the top to get them... Thank you!!!
:) <You're welcome, Neale.>
Re: 7 year old Oscar - forgot this!!! 8/18/08 I was just
reading on your sire & it hit me that I forgot to mention
eating & "going"... <Going where...? For a walk?
To the post office...?> I never see him eat - but I put sticks
with vitamins in everyday & assume he has to be eating,
though when I change the water there's a lot there... I just
assume he must be eating some! <Mostly Oscars are overfed.
Anyway, they like variety, and tend to become "hooked"
on one brand or type of food if used too often. Alternate between
sticks one day, mussels the next, snails the next, unshelled
shrimp after that, and so on.> Have no idea if he's
"going or not... I was also reading about Epsom salt. Should
I try this? <Does your fish look constipated? If your fish has
a clean anus and a gently rounded by not swollen belly, then
constipation is unlikely a key issue. If a fish is sick, it
shouldn't be fed much if at all. Oscars can go a long time
without food. Offer him something tasty like an earthworm every
few days. If he's up for that, then try one or two more that
day, but then let him fast for another 2-3 days afterwards.> I
don't know what to do for the poor thing!!! <Indeed.> I
don't want him to die - and most of all I don't want him
to suffer!!!!!! <Agreed.> He's moved a bit around the
tank but still lying on his side... His body looks fine, fins are
better... <Good.> One other thing is that once in a while
it'll look like he's "burping"...? <Well,
obviously fish don't burp. But they sometimes seem to
"cough" when masticating food as they move it around
their front jaws and the pharyngeal teeth in their throats. In
itself nothing to worry about.> There is some medicine
I've seen mentioned that starts with an M... <Not Melafix,
I hope. It's rubbish.> And Methylene Blue I know of.
Should I add salt? <Why? It's not a brackish water
fish.> Medicate more? <I'd perhaps do a nice big water
change (say, 25-50%) and not treat for a week. See how things
progress. Do take care water quality is good and there's lots
of circulation.> What do I do???? :( Thank you for your
help!!! Maybe you can ask the others there to see if they have
heard of this either? So many different people say so many
different things! I'm trying to find a fish dry with not much
luck... I found two places I'm going to try to call - not
sure if I can get them on the weekend... <Cheers, Neale.>
Re: 7 year old Oscar - forgot this!!! 8/18/08 Hi there!
I really need some more advice - the last dose was Thurs. I
changed the water Fri. All day Fri & Sat (today) he was in
the corner (which isn't unusual - they pick their spots in
the tank :) - but he was leaning to one side - his left, which is
the side his fin was bad on. <I shouldn't read too much
into which side he was leaning on.> Now Oscars do lean to the
side like that, but he just stayed like that. Well now he's
out in front, but still leaning that way. He's not breathing
really heavy, maybe a bit more than normal - can't really
tell. <Do check the filter, and perhaps add additional
aeration.> It's just the leaning to that side. He's
not like lying down, just tilted that way. What does this mean?
<Without a photo, impossible to say. He may be weak or just
plain tired. Does he look swollen or constipated? If he does,
then treating with Epsom Salt might help. Otherwise I'd
review water quality and water chemistry just to make sure
everything was fine, and then let things be. If he's getting
better -- and it sounds as if he is -- then best to keep doing
what you're doing and let him heal.> I don't know what
to do!!! It seems there's nothing I CAN do... Is there?
<Remember, much medicine comes down to nixing the source of
the disease and then giving time for the body to heal itself.
There's no magic alternative to "time the great
healer" for either fish or humans. Please advise! Thank
you!!! <Cheers, Neale.>
Re: 7 year old Oscar - forgot this!!!
10/19/08 Ok - still leaning, but now he has a small
bubble (looks like the kind you blow with gum or the kids stuff
with the wand) coming out of his anus. It's small - about the
size of your pinky nail area. But I just saw this today. Maybe
that is from gas since I did notice that "burping"
motion? What is that? What can I do??? Please help!!! <Could
be a slight prolapse, which can be improved with time and Epsom
salt treatment. It's really difficult to make a diagnosis
without a photo. Would heartily recommend getting a sharp photo
(not too big, <500 kb). Failing that, take the fish to a vet.
I FORGOT THIS!!! Re: 7 year old Oscar - forgot this!!! I
forgot to mention that he's almost completely on his side now
& his breathing is slow! <Well this isn't good.> If
he is on his way, what can I do to make it easier for him? <On
his way where? Dying? In that case do see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/euthanasia.htm
> How long would it take? Is there anything I can do to
try to save him??? <If all else fails: the vet! There's
only so much I can do without a photo.> :( :( :(
|PICTURES!!! Re: I FORGOT THIS!!! Re: 7 year old Oscar -
forgot this!!! <Right. The anus is prolapsed, and all
else being equal this can be undone over time. But the fish is
quite clearly very, very sick. The eyes are popping out, and if
both eyes are like this, it's a pretty good sign of a systemic
bacterial infection. Almost always this follows on from chronic
water quality/water chemistry issues. The colour is very pale, and
I'm assuming this is some sort of albino. That being the case,
albino fish are invariably weaker than the regular sort, and that
gives you little margin of error. My gut feeling is that euthanasia
is the only option here. Otherwise this fish will need to see a
vet, stat. There's nothing over the counter I can think of that
will take this fish back to good health if it's half dead
already. Cheers, Neale.> Re: PICTURES!!! Re: I FORGOT
THIS!!! Re: 7 year old Oscar - forgot this!!! His eyes
aren't popping out...? <Look up "exophthalmia" in
your fish health book, or in Google images.> He is an albino.
<Yep.> You said this prolapse (?) can be reversed - HOW???
<Time, good water quality, basically solid health. Epsom salt
treatment will help. Use the WWM search tool for this.> There
are no fish vets. <Sure there are.> There is a pond dr - he
basically said if the fish isn't eating then there's
nothing I can do. <Not true, but certainly once fish reach the
point that they're not eating anymore it's often hard to
pull them back.> I don't know if he's eaten or not.
<Well, assume not, and don't worry about it. Starvation
isn't what's killing this fish.> But maybe if I can
reverse that thing he will get better. <A prolapse is a symptom
of a bacterial infection of the gut. When the bacteria go, the
prolapse usually reverse. It's a symptom, not a disease, so
don't focus on it too much. It's like when someone has a
runny nose, it's the cold virus that's making them sick,
not the mucous. Metronidazole can help deal with whatever is
irritating the intestine. Again, the search tool will help you
review previous comments on WWM re: Metronidazole and prolapses.
Cheers, Neale.> HELP!!! Re: PICTURES!!! Re: I FORGOT
THIS!!! Re: 7 year old Oscar - forgot this!!! He's now
standing up... <Well, that's good, it by "standing
up" you mean he's swimming normally.> What does this
mean? What do I do? <Keep up whatever you're doing. Sorry
there's no silver bullet here. Time, use of antibiotics and
perhaps Metronidazole and Epsom salts may provide some assistance.
Re: HELP!!! Re: PICTURES!!! Re: I FORGOT THIS!!! Re: 7 year
old Oscar - forgot this!!!
Thank you for all your help! We tried. At least he's not
<Sorry for your loss. As always, try to temper the situation by
learning from it: review water chemistry, water quality, diet and
other issues before you think about buying a replacement. Oscars
are lovely "pets", but the more inbred forms such as
albinos and veil-tails are much less robust than the standard
Oscar, so you might want to think about this issue as well. Cheers,
Re: 7 year old Oscar - forgot this!!!
There are no fish vets here!!!!
You keep saying that! There's no such thing!!!
<I admit not all vets will treat fish. But some do, and with a
bit of telephoning around, or asking your local retailer, you
should be able to find one locally. Treating fish generally
isn't expensive, as the vet will often prescribe stuff you can
use at home. Here in the UK there is a division of the British
Veterinary Association that maintains a network of vets who treat
fish. I'd imagine many other countries have similar
And you can't bring a 16+ inch fish to a vet anyway!!!
<Yes you can. People take Koi carp to vets, and they're MUCH
bigger than Oscars. The "trick" is to use a really big
container, like a 5-gallon bucket or a plastic picnic
Do they actually have fish vets where you are???
The only thing they have here is pond Dr.s - they're extremely
expensive - they only deal with Koi that are thousands of
<Koi are indeed expensive, and that's why people are willing
to spend money treating them. With aquarium fish prevention is
invariably better than cure, which is why, with things like Oscars,
you'll understand why we recommend big tanks, generous
filtration, regular water changes, and proper food. Live foods such
as feeder fish shouldn't be used because of the major risk of
introducing disease. I always stress my preference for "wild
type" fish over inbred albinos and the like because the less
inbred the fish is, the less likely it is to get sick. Things some
breeders find "pretty", such as albinism, rarely go along
with improvements in vigour!>
How do I do the Epsom salt treatment?
<Described elsewhere on WWM; use the Search tool.>
Re: 7 year old Oscar - forgot this!!!
I tested the water - it's fine.
He's lying more to his side.
He once in a while looks like he's burping.
The breathing seems normal - maybe a little rapid - can't
I don't know what to do for him!!!
<What? I though this fish died? Confused. Cheers,
Injured Oscar Fish: How to help it
Dear sir or madam,
I'm writing to ask for your help with my tiger Oscar cichlid
My fish is currently in a 55 gallon tank.
Two days ago it had a blood parrot cichlid for a tankmate.
The two fish got into a fight while I was at work.
Each fish was de-scaled by the other (don't know if that's the
right term for it).
Basically the top layer of scales in a small area on the Oscar's
left side is gone, and I can kind of see the flesh underneath.
The parrot was also beat up badly. I removed it to a 40 gallon.
The Oscar, now by itself in a 55, is now refusing to eat.
<Not a worry... will do so in time>
It doesn't swim around like it use to; just sits at the bottom of
the tank motionlessly.
Sometimes when I check in on it, I think its dead. I'm really
scared. I love my Oscar.
I keep the water in perfect condition, so water quality is not a
I want to ask you if this behavior was normal for a recuperating
<Very much so, yes>
I'm not familiar with fish behavior during times like this, so
I'm really worried.
Is it lethargic because it's in the process of healing from the
<And psychologically, yes>
Or is it suffering from some disease I might not know about?
Can a wound like that lead to any diseases or infection?
Please help me with this. I just want to help it get better.
What can I do to help it?
and the linked files above. I'd just monitor water quality, keep
offering foods daily... Bob Fenner>
Red Hairs coming out of my Oscar's anus,
reading 08/28/08 Hello, <Hi there>
I've read through your site (awesome by the way) and found
similar problems as my Oscar, but not exactly. I have a 3"
tiger Oscar for 3 weeks now (first time owner), and he has
developed a swollen anus with little red hairs coming out of it.
What is this? <Likely Camallanus> What can I do about?
Should I be worried? Please help him! Thanks, Pino <Read here:
Needs to be treated with a Anthelminthic... Bob
Fenner>Sick Oscar - need help ASAP please, env.,
reading re HLLE 8/26/08 Hello, <Eddie>
I have had this Oscar fish for over 2 years. He lives in a 60g
<Needs more room than this> aquarium along with 3 parrot
fish, Gourami, Knifefish and a Pleco. Ever since he developed the
hole in the head disease (1.5 years ago), I've been changing
50% of the water in this tank biweekly. <... this won't
cure this> He eats dry pellets (3 different types) and blood
worms. The development of the HITH disease stopped as soon as I
started changing the water on a biweekly basis. However, 4 days
ago I noticed that my fish started developing another
"hole" but this time it was surrounded by what looked
like a bruise. Today, I saw a white film coming off the spot of
the new hole (please see attached photos). I've also started
feeding it with frozen dry krill 2 days ago, hoping that it might
help. I have already made 2 50% water changes in the past week
and have another one scheduled for tonight. Otherwise, he still
eats and swims OK. There are no signs of parasites or visible
bacteria nor there are signs of blood. Please let me know what
you think that it can possible be. Any help will be greatly
appreciated by both me and my Oscar fish. Thank you, Eddie
<See above... this world is too small... likely has
"metabolite accumulation issues", e.g. nitrate
poisoning... Need a larger system, and reading:
http://wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs3.htm and the linked files above.
Bob Fenner> Re: Sick Oscar - need help ASAP
please 8/26/08 Thank you Bob for your prompt
reply. I will certainly read the HLLE FAQ and I've been
looking into getting a bigger system. Based on the pictures, do
you think that I have another case of HLLE in him at the moment?
<Mmm, not able to discern... looks more like a mechanical
injury/trauma to me> This "injury" doesn't quite
look like a hole in the head. Also, the white spot he had on his
back seemed to disappear after a few water changes and two days
of Krill and bloodworms diet. Right now I change 25% of the water
once a day and hoping that the fish can recover on its own
without an addition of any medications. (for the next week or so)
Link to pictures:
<Improve this animal's world and you will improve its
health. Cheers, BobF>
Oscar Gill Sticking Out 8/11/08 Hi we
have an Oscar fish for almost a year and we just changed him to a
new 55 gallon tank. My question and concern is that if looking at
him his left gill seems to be coming out further than his right
when breathing. He also seems to be opening his mouth more when
he takes a breath. I'm not sure why one gill is pushed out
further than the other, our other fish/ Oscars are fine. Please
help!!! Thank you. < I think what you mean is that the one
gill cover doesn't completely close and maybe stays out a
little more than the other one. There could be a growth or
something within the gill that is preventing it from closing the
whole way. I would remove the fish and restrain him with a wet
towel from the aquarium and hold him down and gently pry back the
suspect gill cover and look quickly with a flashlight to see if
anything was in the way. Without actually seeing anything then I
might suspect gill flukes and treat with Fluke-Tabs. Flukes could
have come in with feeder fish.-Chuck>
Re: Oscar fish Oscar With Stuck Gill II 8/11/08
Thank you so much for your reply. The Oscar fish seems to be
healthy except for the fact that his left gill doesn't open
at all. The weird thing is that both gills work fine while he
eats. He seems to be eating as much as usual, but his breathing
is a bit irregular and a bit faster than usual. Do you think that
taking Oscar out of the tank and putting him on a towel to
inspect his non-working gill won't traumatizing him in some
way? < It is going to be your call. You are correct that this
will stress you Oscar in some way, but not moving water through
this gill is like you trying to breath with one lung. The only
way to find out what is going on is to inspect the area. If he
gets worse then it will become more stressful later on.> We
have already lost three of our oldest fish (when we did the
switch to the new 55 gal tank) and we would really hate to do
anything that might put his life in any kind of danger. The water
is in optimal condition, their diet doesn't include any live
fish, and the temp is an even 78Â°. We do a tank
clean-up once a month which includes a filter and a 5 gal water
change (we only use drinking water since our tap water is way to
hard). Please advise, thanks again for all your help! Santi &
Sky < Hard to believe that with a 5 gallon water change you
don't have higher nitrates. Another potential problem may be
some ammonia burn when the new tank was changes over. This is
caused by an ammonia spike and it actually eats away or burns
some of the gill filaments. These may heal over
Re: Oscar fish Changing Water In An Oscar Tank
8/13/08 Are you saying that is NOT good to change 5 gals out
of 55 gals every month while cleaning the bottom gravel? Even
though it's drinking water? Are you saying that it has to be
a bigger qty. of water that needs to be changed? Could you please
explain that to us, we keep getting different stories from
different people :(Thanks again! < Oscars are big messy
eaters. You are probably changing less than 10% of the water. It
is hard to believe that your nitrates are not a problem. Usually
I recommend at least a 25% weekly water change for such large
fish, but you say the water chemistry is fine. As long as the
fish are doing ok then that is all that really
Very Sick Oscars 7/9/08 Hi, <Hello!>
I've read over some of the questions and answers on your site, but
I'm still not positive I've found enough of an answer, so
hopefully you can help me. I have two Oscars that are about three years
old and have never had problems other than a few incidents of HITH
which cleared up in a few days. About two days ago I found one of the
Oscars laying on his side on the bottom of the tank with what looked
like a large bubble around his anus. The other Oscar seemed fine for a
few hours, but then she began swimming face down into the bottom of the
tank and just stayed there. She's since been laying on her side on
the bottom of the tank with the male Oscar. Thanks to your site, I
added some Epsom salt to the water and it seems to have helped. The
bubble on the male deflated, but partially came back the next day, but
has since disappeared. <Well, that sounds promising at least.> I
changed the water completely and washed out the tank and filter with
hot water. I removed the gravel and ornamental rocks in case they were
housing any diseases/bacteria. Water tests only showed a spike in
ammonia from 0 to 1.0 which I'm still treating for, and pH is at
7.0. Nitrate and Nitrite tests show a slight spike as well, and I'm
also treating for this. I've removed the two Plecos that share the
tank with the Oscars so I can treat the Oscars for various diseases.
Over the course of two days, the female has developed swollen gills,
but no other visible signs of illness. The male's fins have begun
rotting and eyes have become cloudy. I've started the Oscars on
Maracyn Two along with the Epsom salt. <Does sound as if these fish
are suffering from a range of general illnesses. Do review water
chemistry and quality. Ammonia at 1.0 is obviously lethal to most fish,
but cichlids are especially intolerant of all the nitrogenous wastes,
ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. Tanks with Oscars and Plecs demand major
filtration, so adding another substantial external filter could help in
the long term and will certainly do no harm. Big fish also cause pH to
fluctuate, a point often overlooked. Review the carbonate hardness of
the water and act accordingly. In tanks with big, messy fish
there's a good argument for artificially raising the carbonate
hardness to at least 5 degrees KH simply because this will neutralise
background acidification between water changes.> I've never used
feeder fish, but have given them an occasional raw, unshelled shrimp.
They usually eat Cichlid pellets, peas, and rarely some fruit. <All
sounds fine. The golden rule with raw foods is that marine organisms
are safest for freshwater fish because there aren't any parasites
that are likely to come from the sea but could infect freshwater fish.
So raw shrimp, mussels, lancefish, etc are safe.> Since they've
been sick they haven't been eating much. I have to push the peas in
front of their mouths, which they rarely take. They try to become
active when they see me near the tank, or when I turn the tank light
on. I've also added some freshwater salt, and Stress Coat, to help
with their breathing, stress, and healing. I'm wondering if you
think this could be a bacterial infection that has affected their swim
bladder since there are no visible signs (other than the fin rot which
has only recently developed) for why they are not able to swim around?
<More likely simply a systemic "under the weather"
reaction to something environmental, even poisoning, e.g., paint fumes.
Do review and act accordingly. Treating for internal bacterial
infections (e.g., with Maracyn) is not a bad idea at all. But
optimising water quality will be essential.> And I was also
wondering if you know of anything else I can do to help them? I know
they're tough fish, so I'd hate to give up on them before
it's too soon. Thanks in advance for any help you can provide,
Brittany. <Not much more I can say without a photo! Do hope this has
helped, and I suspect you are doing all the right things anyway. Some
info on the size of the tank, filter used, carbonate hardness and water
temperature would all be useful. Cheers, Neale.>
Oscar with skin problem -- 06/29/08 Hi Bob, I was
looking at your website for the first time today. I bumped into
it when looking for information about Oscar Diseases.
Congratulations, you are a great resource for the non-sabbi
aquarium people like me. I've had fish tanks since I can
remember, and I love it. I have a 4 year old Oscar, it has always
been very healthy. I've never had any problems until last
week when my fish just stopped eating. I tried feeding him but he
doesn't seem interested in eating, everything else is normal,
he seems to be in an excellent form, except he has a skin
problem. Now his skin is peeling off and I don't see signs of
any other problems just the peeling off, and that's it. He
doesn't go to the bottom of the tank or any other weird
behavior. Though, it has a big chunk of skin and flesh exposed on
the side of his head, but it seems it's all caused by the
same thing, there are no other major problems with it. I'm
including a picture. Can you tell me what's wrong with my
Oscar? <Good graphics... do you feed this fish, tank live
freshwater foods?> I couldn't find anywhere information
about these symptoms on his skin. I read in your website a
somebody who seems to have the same problem, and his local expert
says it might be a nutritional problem, am I dealing with the
same kind of problem here, or is it something else? Can you tell
by looking at the picture? Thanks, any kind of help will be
greatly appreciated. Cesar O. <I can't tell with any great
confidence... W/o any further input than the photos I would guess
this was a physical complaint... a mechanical injury... Could be
microbial... Again, please send info. along re water quality
tests, maint. procedures, foods/feeding. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: possibly dumb explanation for the sick Astronotus -
06/29/08 Hi Bob, Looking at those photos got me in mind of a
goby I kept that was attacked by Otocinclus sp. catfish. I
hadn't thought this was a problem with something as
fast-moving as Awaous sp. gobies. Anyway, I was puzzled why this
goby was developing a rash on its flanks. Finrot remedy
didn't help. Eventually I caught the Otocinclus in the act,
grazing away at the mucous and damaging the dermis. Is it
possible that this Oscar is cohabiting with a Plec or similar
that has developed this habit? Cheers, Neale <Is indeed a
possibility. Will accumulate your input here, send on.
|Oscar Issues hlth. - 06/08/2007 Hi, One
of my Oscars has recurrent white circles that come and go, mainly
on his head. They typically clear up with water changes, but this
time nothing has helped. The tank is a 115 gallon. Today I added a
little aquarium salt and have made the water more alkaline, but
it's too soon to know if it will help. The pic I've
included is a little large, but it's hard to photograph the
circles. I'm guessing it's a fungus and maybe this Oscar
has a poor immune system because all the other fish in the aquarium
seem to be fine. He has had a deformed head since birth, but
he's about 10" now and hasn't had any other problems.
I am reluctant to medicate because I don't want to compromise
the biological filter. Any suggestions? Thanks, Steve <Steve,
although I'm not 100% sure (the photo is a bit blurry) my
immediate feeling is that these are bite marks. Since you have more
than one Oscar in the tank, it's likely they're fighting.
Bit marks typically consist not of a single ring, but rather a
pattern of tiny scratches (the teeth marks) arranged in a circle.
If no serious harm is done, you may as well leave them to it.
Medication shouldn't harm the biological filter if used as
directed on the packaging. In this case, an anti-Finrot remedy
might be in order, just to make sure nothing serious developed.
Salt is neither here nor there really, and won't stop a
bacterial infection though it may help against fungus. I personally
wouldn't bother with salt, and instead would use a proper
antibacterial of some kind. Given the fish is otherwise healthy,
and these wounds shouldn't have damaged the skin too badly,
even something as lightweight as Melafix might have a role. Cheers,
Oscar in need of help. - 05/31/08 Hello,
<Hi there> We have a 10+ year old Oscar that is in need of
assistance. My girlfriend and I have been treating the Oscar for a
bacteria infection. <... how? With what?> The symptoms were
scales pealing off and bleeding, redness in the gills and throat, fin
rot and body slime. We have got all of these symptoms under control
using T.C. Tetracycline by API (under direction of the local fish
store). He has responded well to the medication and these symptoms have
subsided. The side affect is that the tank is now pink (all water
levels are fine we have been keeping up with this at the local pet
store) Unfortunately it appears that there is now a white cotton ball
coming out of his colon and he is floating listlessly on his side at
the bottom of the tank. On your blog we have found the words
"Prolapsed Colon". When this started we were able to feed him
some medicated pellets about 2 days ago (Pond anti bacteria medicated
fish food) Since then he has lost his appetite and has not passed any
food through him. It is our guess that the food that he ate last is
rotting in his stomach. <Perhaps> Today we have tried to feed him
peas with no success due to his lack of appetite and our limited
knowledge on how to force feed a fish. Some of the questions that cross
my mind are: Is there anything that we can give him to help him pass
what is in his stomach? <Maybe the addition of Epsom Salt...> Is
there any remedy for a prolapsed colon? <The above and time going by
really> Or could it be fungus coming out of his colon that we need
to pull out to help extract what is in the stomach? Please send any
advice that you can as soon as you can. We will be waiting eagerly on
either email address this one or the CC. We fear he does not have that
much time left. Justin/Kelly-Ann <Do please read here:
http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/saltusefaqs.htm Bob Fenner>
Oscar On The
Decline 5/27/2008 Hi: My son
brought his 2 Oscars home from college a year ago, where they
have stayed even after he returned at the end of the summer. When
they first came home, they were both very aggressive and were fed
feeder fish. I changed their diet to Tetra Cichlid Sticks and
both fish were doing fine. They became much less aggressive.
Around March we changed their tank to a 55 gallon tank, but
didn't change anything else. By the end of April, I noticed a
big difference in the female. Her skin was rough & she
eventually developed 2 perfectly round holes in front of her
gills. She always seemed to be having difficulty breathing &
even her side fins looked feathery and had rips in them. She died
and now the male fish has the same symptoms. I've been
researching the internet and have asked for help at the pet
store. Last week we changed around 25% of the water and removed
the carbon filters and treated the tank with Metronidazole. He
seemed better afterwards and even started eating again (Another
symptom I forgot to mention was loss of appetite). By the end of
the week, however, he's worse. He has developed a perfectly
round hold beside his mouth. He also looks like he's
struggling to breath and even the insides of his mouth look white
on both sides. His side fins are ragged and feathery. The female
was white, but where he's black, I can see little white
places on his body. Even his top fin is looking white at the
tips. There is a cichlid and a catfish in the same tank that seem
perfectly find. Please help or give me some suggestions. I'm
afraid he's going to die too and it's hard for me to
watch him wasting away with each passing day. Please Help ASAP
Beth < Your Oscar sounds like it is being affected by stress
and is generally breaking down and succumbing to all kinds of
diseases. First get the tank healthy. Do a 50% water change,
clean the filters and gently vacuum the gravel. The ammonia and
nitrites should be zero and the nitrates should be under 10 ppm.
Maintain these water quality parameters with water changes.
Increase the water temp to 80 F. Treat with both Nitrofuranace
and Metronidazole. Treat every other day and do 50% water changes
in between treatments until his appetite comes
Oscar In Decline Part
2 5/27/2008 So sorry - I
forgot that I bought a testing kit and ran a test on the water.
pH = 7.4; nitrate = 3.5 ppm; nitrite = 0; ammonia = .25 I know
the ammonia should be 0, but I didn't think .25 was bad. <
The medication may have wiped out the biological filtration so
this could account for the ammonia reading.> Also, I can see
little white flecks on the side of the tank near the filter, but
I read on the internet that this can be a helpful parasite that
feeds on the feces. Please help Beth < Hard to identify little
white specks as parasites. Usually parasites stay on the
|Oscar health issue parasite or fungus?
05/15/08 Hi Crew, I have attached a picture of my male
(confirmed) Oscar's problem area. I don't know if this is a
parasite or fungus or what! Overall he seems very healthy, eats
well, but has suffered the loss of his mate. Not sure if that has
anything to do with this. <Likely so> But my question is are
you able to identify this? and if so can you tell me what I need to
do to get rid of this? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Dominique <Mmm, the white "peg-gish" matter under this
fish... could be simply resultant from physical trauma. Do you feed
live material that might carry worm parasites? Bob
|Re: Oscar health issue
parasite or fungus? 5/17/08 Thank you so much for your
response, I woke up this morning and it was gone! I don't feed
Mickey live food. I haven't added any other fish to the tank in
a year but he does have two rather large rocks in the tank that I
am going to take out. I think it is possible he could have bumped
them. <Ah, yes> I did however clean out his tank with a 50
percent water change the day before it disappeared. <Mmm, best
to limit such water changes to about a quarter of the tanks volume
maximum> I am going to keep any eye out and if I see it
returning the pet store said to bring in a water sample and a bit
of what's hanging off him and they can check it out for me.
Again thank you for your response. Dominique <Welcome. Bob
My Oscar hurt bad, poisoned
4/29/08 Hello, <Hi there> I just found
your website and I'm hoping that you could help me. My Oscar
had HITH and I went to PetSmart and got some medication. <What
exactly?> His head seems to be getting better, but he is going
crazy! He's been swimming rapidly and hit himself on the
gravel, side of the tank and the log on the bottom of the tank.
He scrapped a chunk of skin off his head, his gill and some on
his side. Last night he banged himself pretty hard that he
chipped his bottom lip. He's still eating some freeze-dried
bloodworm, but he spits out the pellets. I'm very worried
about him and I don't know what to do. He keeps hurting
himself and I don't think he's going to heal if he keeps
it up. Please help, I feel so helpless with him. Thank you. Resy
<Something toxic going on... likely related to the Neuromast
destruction treatment. I'd quickly change about half the
water (treated to remove sanitizer...) and run some activated
carbon in your filter/circulation path. Bob Fenner>
Re: My Oscar hurt bad
4/29/08 I treated him with anti-parasite tablets
twice, <... Please... specifically... this term means nothing.
What active ingredients?> 48 hours in between treatments. I
changed 25% of the water after the second treatment and put back
the carbon filter. I also put the stress zyme and stress coat as
directed in the box. Should I change 50% of the water again?
<I would, yes. B>
Re: My Oscar hurt bad
4/29/08 This is what's on the box: Active
ingredients: Praziquantel; N-[[(N-Chlorophenyl) amino] carbon
1]-2,6-difluorobenzamide; Metronidazole; Acriflavine. Wont'
changing the water again stress him more? It was only two days
ago. <Better to be stressed than die from toxic reaction...
Likely the Flagyl/Metronidazole is at root here. B>
Re: My Oscar hurt
Thank you. I will change his water again. How
often should I change his water afterwards? Should I put a new
carbon filter again, also? <See WWM re water changes and yes
to the chemical filtrant. B>
|Oscar Fish Hole in the Head???
4/4/08 Good Evening I have attached a photograph of my Oscar
Fish and wondered if you could help. I'm not sure if my Oscar
has hole in the head disease. I have studied several photo's of
Oscars with this disease however the holes in my Oscar look much
bigger and deeper. I haven't seen anything like this before.
Are you able to advise?? Any thoughts greatly received. Regards
Julie <Julie, yes, that's Hole-in-the-Head disease. Options
for treatment in the UK are limited unless you contact a vet.
Metronidazole is the usual recommendation by American aquarists,
but it isn't freely sold here in the UK. One new product on the
market is eSHa Hexamita Discus Disease. Their other products are
excellent, so that'd be one product I'd recommend. Follow
the instructions carefully, in particular remembering to remove
carbon. In any case, the underlying cause of HITH is water quality
and/or diet, so review those factors. Do see here: