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TOPIC: Sick Tiger Oscar

Sick Tiger Oscar 3 months 3 weeks ago #70782

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This is my 125G with two Oscars (Albino + Tiger). They've been with me for about 5 years now. They are my "dwarf" Oscars.

The sick one is the Tiger Oscar. He has been lethargic and breathing heavily. He has been laying on the bottom of the tank for a couple days. I thought maybe he was constipated, so I stopped feeding for a day and then fed him a few Epsom salt soaked pellets last night. I don't see any signs of illness other then the labored breathing, the lack of movement and a less vibrant colour. He is still very interested in food though, and only moves around when he sees food. The Albino that he shares a tank with is appears healthy, and is acting normal. The two fish are divided, so I don't think an injury from aggression is likely. The tiger oscar has been like this for a few days now. I'll be doing a water change after work today, hoping it will help.

I usually change 75% weekly. Water parameters are normal, except nitrAtes are higher then the acceptable range, but it comes out of my tap like this and always has.. There is no ammonia/nitrite. pH is steady at around 8.2.

Is there anything you can suggest that might help him?
125G - Two Oscars, X2 Emperor 400W, X2 Ehiem Jager Heater 200W, DIY LED Light.
55G - One Oscar, Ehiem Jager Heater 200W, Emperor 400, Fluval 305, DIY LED Light.
10G- Otocinclus Catfish, Neon Tetras, Aquaclear 30, Aqueon Incandescent Strip Light,
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Sick Tiger Oscar 3 months 3 weeks ago #70783

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There may be nothing you can do. The behavior is classic signs of long term exposure to high nitrate. The heavy breathing and general laziness is the fish's natural response, its trying to conserve energy, nutrients and overall strength. The other Oscar is just a bit stronger at this point, but a similar outcome may well befall it as well. Not good news, but in a high nitrate tank, meds would be rendered useless as well. Wish I had something positive to offer, but it is what it is
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Sick Tiger Oscar 3 months 3 weeks ago #70784

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Maybe try feeding some shelled peas? It can't hurt? :( I hate that our tap water nitrates have crept upwards too.

Jessica
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Sick Tiger Oscar 3 months 3 weeks ago #70786

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If Nitrat is an poroblem and you don't want to go with RO or other complicated water treatment just use an exchanger resin like Dennerle Nitrat Stop Supra.




For regular tanks two of this resin bags are enough to reduce or eliminate nitrate for some time till you have to recharge the resin with 10% salt bleach but for long time use on an big cichlid tank i would recommend an selective filter behind your canister of at least 5 Liters.



Put an Y connector on your Canister output with an ball valve and try to adjust an very low flow rate of this resin canister. 1 to 1.5 tank volumes per day, that means let say your tank keeps real 100 gallons of water or a bit less so 4 Gallons per hours are enough.
Depending on your tapwater and fish nitrate output this should give you at least 2 to 3 weeks till you have to recharge. The resin works depending on quality and use between 2 to 4 years in my exp. The only thing is you jede to buy mostly salt from an Restaurant wholeseller in 50 pound bags than to clean and recharge you need a couple of pounds.

Prices here in germany for the second alternative is between 120 to 200 bucks for a 5 Liter Version, if you go bigger like 10, 15 or even 20 Liters they become a bit cheaper, this Media bags or 1/4 pound are like 12 to 15 bucks.
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Sick Tiger Oscar 3 months 3 weeks ago #70788

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Thanks for the suggestions, and the honesty.

If he is dying, how much longer do you estimate he may have? I understand it can be pretty much impossible to put an exact number to this question. But a rough estimate would be appreciated..

If he continues to get worse, should I leave him be until he passes on his own..?
125G - Two Oscars, X2 Emperor 400W, X2 Ehiem Jager Heater 200W, DIY LED Light.
55G - One Oscar, Ehiem Jager Heater 200W, Emperor 400, Fluval 305, DIY LED Light.
10G- Otocinclus Catfish, Neon Tetras, Aquaclear 30, Aqueon Incandescent Strip Light,
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Sick Tiger Oscar 3 months 3 weeks ago #70789

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The fact that he is eating says he has some fight left. Estimating how long a sick fish has is virtually impossible. I've had fish hang on many weeks when I thought they were day to day. Conversely, I've had fish pass quickly when I thought they had a very minor ailment. I would say though, that if he quits eating, keeps up the heavy breathing and wont get off bottom, then quality of life is completely gone and putting him down would be the humane thing to do. If you wish to continue in the hobby, have some modicum of success, then Toom's recommendation of a denitrator would be a good path forward. Question though, and I may have asked this before, but are you not concerned that your high nitrate source water is a big negative for you and your family?
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Sick Tiger Oscar 3 months 3 weeks ago #70790

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MarshyMellowFluff wrote:
Thanks for the suggestions, and the honesty.

If he is dying, how much longer do you estimate he may have? I understand it can be pretty much impossible to put an exact number to this question. But a rough estimate would be appreciated..

If he continues to get worse, should I leave him be until he passes on his own..?


Oscars are hard as nails and can handle alot of abuse. It's not like in nature where a weak, hurt or sick fishs fate is mostly dealed by some predator that catch and eat him.
If he starve to death in acaptable water and oxigen conditions it can last... well between 2 to 3 months tIll he pass.


I don't know what you call an drawf Oscar but if he is really small "to small" for his species than a shortned lifespan is very likley.
It is may an generic thing or even internal Tumor stuff or what ever that can cause this. Very hard to tell.
The Nitrate filter at least will give you some more control about the Nitrate Story but if it will help our little guy can not be said for sure.


If he still eats is he also still pooping? If yes looks the poo normal?
Are his eyes normal or bloated?
Is he looking normal or has he some kind of lumps on his body?
Is he still interacting, food dance?
Do he tires to flee if you grab him?


As a kind of last resort i would treat with Nifurpirinol, its an antibiotic for aquatic use. Like in Sera Bactopur Tabs.
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Sick Tiger Oscar 3 months 3 weeks ago #70792

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I don't see any poop right now, but it could be hidden behind some decor easily. This is why I thought he might be constipated, so I fed epsom salt soaked pellets, skipped a feeding and peas today.

Eyes are normal, no bloat/bumps. The only things I can see is labored breathing and him sitting at the bottom of the tank. Did the food dance for me just now, I'm just getting off work and he greeted me. I wouldn't doubt him fleeing if I went to grab him. He is still trying, but majority of his time is spent on the bottom of the tank right now.

I'm definitely going to consider Toom's suggestion. I may also look more into an RO unit for long term, but my concern is with how much waste water it makes. I have to do more research.

@North - I just don't drink tap water, I use bottled water right now. It has been something I've discussed on here before. I know my options, I just can't afford to pay for a water test, unfortunately.

Edit: I gave him a couple peas with the shells removed. He is sitting at the top of the tank instead of the bottom, but breathing is still labored. Not really searching for more food like normal, just kinda staring at me.
125G - Two Oscars, X2 Emperor 400W, X2 Ehiem Jager Heater 200W, DIY LED Light.
55G - One Oscar, Ehiem Jager Heater 200W, Emperor 400, Fluval 305, DIY LED Light.
10G- Otocinclus Catfish, Neon Tetras, Aquaclear 30, Aqueon Incandescent Strip Light,
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Sick Tiger Oscar 3 months 3 weeks ago #70793

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The Ion exchanging one? That's a good idea. If yes we have to do te math together to calculate a propper size reactor. And we have to talk about a few good and bad things you need to know.

+ rightly sized we can eliminate NO3 for may a couple of weeks.
+ it will make your water super clear
+/- it will reduce Alga to 90%
+ it will change the conductivity a bit of the water parameters.


You know anything has his downsides :P

- Of course price
- As an Ion exchanger it will exchsnge anything, Nitrate, tannin leachings from driftwood, medication, anything.
- It will kill your plants, some ppl just do fine with it on regular sizes and non liquid fetrilized tanks but I never figured it out. So no help from me.
- as an exchanger it exchange from NO3 to sodium so it will basicly lightly salt your tank but not dramsticly or with regular 50/60% WC to an dangerous level for your fish. I tried it myself, I exchanged my resin filter on the 220 and forgot out of stress of the tank for like a 6 weeks without WC and two big Oscars and some sidestock in it. NO3 was still below 5 ppm and water did not tasted or smelled salty at all. Fish was healthy but also super hungry because they just got like 2 meals per week.
-the days of using salt in your tanks are over. Like said it's an exchanger and if it comes into contact with salt it will start to leach the suggestions it absorbed before.
-Cleaning that thing is nothing you will enjoy. First making the bleach. The rule of thumb is like 1:10 Salt to Water bleach. Sounds harmless but coming into skin contact will make you feel like any micro scratch on your skin.

The amount needed depend on the quality of resin but i just double it up. I flush it twice with beach and than two times with fresh water. 2 Liters of bleach for one Liter of resin. I have a 10 Liter Version that means i need for one cleaning 2 kg of Salt.
I get mine for free so lucky me but jod free stone salt can be found in Restaurant whole seller markets or may even in your homedepo in 50 pound bags for little money. Here 50 pounds/25kg are like 7 Euros and it will last me a year for this filter. If you can't find it just ask koi people, they regulary will know a source of fish safe salt in big bags.
-The recharge is depending on how you do it a bit messy, I do it with a canister of beach with a small pump that feeds the reactor and push it into an waste bucket. I also use quick connectors from Garden hoses and Ball valves to discount and reconnect the fliter easy to the tank. So if i clean it over night that the tank can run on.
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Sick Tiger Oscar 3 months 3 weeks ago #70807

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The fish seems to be doing better, for now. He has stopped hanging around the bottom of the tank, and breathing is better. I also seen waste from him, which was peas. So maybe he was just constipated..
125G - Two Oscars, X2 Emperor 400W, X2 Ehiem Jager Heater 200W, DIY LED Light.
55G - One Oscar, Ehiem Jager Heater 200W, Emperor 400, Fluval 305, DIY LED Light.
10G- Otocinclus Catfish, Neon Tetras, Aquaclear 30, Aqueon Incandescent Strip Light,
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