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TOPIC: Setting up New 56 Gallon Tank for Oscar.

Setting up New 56 Gallon Tank for Oscar. 1 month 1 week ago #70329

  • viraj.patel
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Hello Everyone,

I am setting up new 56.7 gallon tank for Oscar.

I wanted to know few things here.
  • What Kind for Gravels should I use?
  • What kind of filtration shall I install? (as of now I have HW603)
  • What type of decoration shall I keep in?
  • What food shall I feed in the begining?
  • I do have an empty fish tank so how to setup water and other things in that?


Please help me with these points. It will be great to know more about it.

Thanks & Regards
Viraj Patel
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Setting up New 56 Gallon Tank for Oscar. 1 month 1 week ago #70330

  • blackcougar
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First welcome to the boards

A 55 gallon is bare minimum for an one Oscar only no tank mates. As he gets older it will be more difficult to keep the nitrates down in the tank. At some point when he gets older, you will have to perform 2 fifty percent water changes due to the bioload. This is why most members upgrade to a 75 minimum.

•What Kind for Gravels should I use? regular size gravel is fine. Oscars are known for redecorating their tanks if they don't like it. It's best to keep the regular sized gravel vs large rocks they can pick up. You run the risk of the Oscar accidentally damaging the glass.
•What kind of filtration shall I install? (as of now I have HW603) anything that can turn the water over 7 times an hour minimum. I have the AquaClear 110 on the back of my tank and it turns the water 7 times an hour at 500 GPH. It's a 65 gallon tank. That canister you have isn't good enough and barely turns the water over 2 times an hour.
•What type of decoration shall I keep in? some drift wood and nothing more else as Oscars are super clumsy fish. Anything with sharp corners have the potential of harming the fish. Sometimes Oscars are easily spooked and have hurt themselves. Drifter managed to hurt himself on the gravel just to give you a good idea that most decorations in an Oscar tank is a bad idea.
•What food shall I feed in the begining? Hikari gold, size of pellet depends on the size of the fish. The smaller the Oscar the smaller the pellet, the larger the Oscar the larger the pellet. They will also accept frozen blood worms, krill, brine shrimp.
•I do have an empty fish tank so how to setup water and other things in that?

wash out the gravel first to remove dust and any loose particles. gently dump it into the tank and spread it evenly on the bottom. Place your driftwood in on how you want it. Fill tank with water. hook up the canister and turn it on. Find an ammonia source to get the nitrogen cycle started. I do suggest cycling with the filter from the beginning to prevent a new cycle from starting over again.

You will want to invest into an API Master fresh water test kit. It tests for the four main things. Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and PH

Ammonia turns into nitrite, both are toxic to fish
nitrite turns into nitrate Which is safer for fish.
Its better to cycle the filter a head of time. If you can find a pure ammonia source in the hardware store with nothing added to it, that would be good. No fragrance added. Or I heard adding in a decaying shrimp is a good way to kick things off. It can take up to two months to properly cycle an aquarium. This is why it's better to get a better filter and cycle that and save yourself the headache in the long run.


When you have an ammonia reading of 2 ppm don't let it go any higher and you will have to stabilize the PH (keep it above 7 other wise it won't cycle.)
You should start getting a nitrite reading within a few days. Once the nitrite starts, nitrate readings will start and the ammonia will begin to drop. Once it drops down to near 0, you have to continue to feed the cycle with an ammonia source.
Eventually the nitrites will start to drop and the nitrate will rise. When the nitrites drop to 0 and the ammonia is 0, do a quick partial water change and your aquarium is ready for fish.

Or you could do a fish cycle. Danios and feeders is good for that. You have to keep a close eye on water parameters and when both ammonia and nitrite reaches 0.5 ppm then it's time for a water change.

any other questions please feel free to ask
65 gallon
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Setting up New 56 Gallon Tank for Oscar. 1 month 1 week ago #70331

  • toom
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Most is allready said. Still i also say 55G is way to small for an Oscar. I recommend to upgrade or change stock.

You will don't have fun on such an big fish for this small tank size and heavy maximum maintaince like the fish will have also not an good home i that tank size.

Do yourself and the animal the favour and take something smaller and may save a bit and start in a year or two with an propper setup that is more suited for Astronotus between 120/150/180/240G.
We need to stop talking about the people as if they were the crown of creation.
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Setting up New 56 Gallon Tank for Oscar. 1 month 1 week ago #70334

  • Northstar5
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Good advice above. Cycling first is of major importance. Oscar does indeed need a bigger tank. Look for a fish that stays around 8ins, 20cm. Tons of options, google is your friend on that.
1600gals of South and Central American cichlids. Some with just a "wee" bit of attitude!
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Setting up New 56 Gallon Tank for Oscar. 1 month 1 week ago #70335

  • beretta96
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:welcome:

Viraj,
The reason you're getting the advice from everyone that your current tank is too small boils down to two things:
1. Water volume for the long term health of your Oscar
2. Tank size

Let me share my thoughts on both below....

Water Volume
Clean water is THE most important variable, over which you have control, to give your Oscar the best chance for them to live a long, healthy life. Through the natural course of events in any aquarium that houses fish, the end byproduct of the Nitrogen Cycle is nitrate. Nitrate, although not immediately deadly fish like ammonia and nitrite are, if continuously exposed to high levels of nitrate, your fish's health will suffer.

What is too high of nitrate levels and for how long is too long?
As you know, there is a great deal of variance in tolerance levels between living things. There was an academic study performed where a type of fish much hardier than an Oscar was observed to begin experiencing physiological changes after being exposed to nitrate at 21ppm for a few weeks (going from memory). That tells me (and most all of the regular posters on this board) that if the long term health of our Oscar is a priority, we should do our best to keep nitrate levels below 20ppm.

The more water volume you have, the more diluted the nitrate in your tank will be. Oscar generate relatively lots of waste. As a result, nitrate levels increase much quicker when compared to many other fish species. My experience has been that I was unable to keep nitrate levels below 20ppm with a 6-8" Oscar in a 75g tank by performing an 80+% water change every 4 days . My city's water report indicates a 3ppm max nitrate level in my tap water. As a rule in the fishkeeping hobby, the primary way to remove nitrate from the water is via water changes. There are exceptions to that rule we can discuss if you'd like.

The more clean, fresh water you can provide your Oscar the better. This is the most important thing in keeping your fish healthy. The second most important thing is clean, fresh water and is the third most important thing. You can feed your Oscar trash and it will still doing really well if you are consistently giving it clean, fresh water.

Tank Size
Average size for an adult, mature Oscar is 12-13". Some get bigger, Some are smaller. I bet your aquarium is ~12 inches front to back and ~48 inches wide. Oscars enjoy swim space. Your tank is OK for swim space but bad for "turn around" space. Providing your Oscar with a tank that has more depth would be a good thing - primarily for the added water volume but also to allow your big Oscar to turn around comfortably.
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