Oscar in distress - need help

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Oscar in distress - need help

Postby jjm » Wed Dec 25, 2002 5:57 pm

My oscar is swimming in circles. He often opens up his mouth and gills, sometimes shudders a bit. He'll flail around, then rest. He's not at all interested in me when I approach the tank (extremely unusual) and has no interest in food (also extremely unusual).

He was fine yesterday. I have been gone for about 24 hrs, so I don't know how long this has been going on. No spots, no fungus, etc. Fins are all intact and look good. Green color looks a tad pale, like if he's frightened or startled.

A few days ago after cleaning his tank, he was very busy rearranging. Moving plants, moving rocks, moving driftwood. This is normal behavior for him. Is it possible that he has a rock lodged in his gut?

The only thing I can compare this to was when he once swallowed a large algae pellet and was frantic until it softened up enough for him to actually eat it.

Advice is appreciated!
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Postby Gupper » Thu Dec 26, 2002 12:55 am

Whenever you're concerned about the health/behavior of your fish, the best/first thing you should do is test your water. It's easy to test and makes a great step at ruling out other possibilities. If you can, please test ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate - pH can be helpful if you have it too. In addition, any info you can give on tank size, filtration, what fish you have in the tank (including size), what their diet is like, and what your maintenance is can help us determine what's going on.

Wish I could offer you some advice as the first reply, but more info is really needed. Till then, keep an eye on him. LOL, depending on size/age, he may really be a she getting ready to lay eggs ;).
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Postby Barb » Thu Dec 26, 2002 1:37 am

Yeah, you mentioned the shuddering behavior, which usually is associated with mating, defending territory, or standing up to another fish. Are there any other fish in the tank? How old is your O? What is tank size in proportion to the O?
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Postby jjm » Sat Jan 04, 2003 3:50 pm

1 oscar (6"). I've had him (her?) for about a year and a half. 55 Gallon tank. And the only tankmate is a sailfin pleco (5"). They generally ignore each other.

Water is fine. I have it regularly tested at the lfs (great store, no charge!) and everything is perfect, even now with the behavior change. Emperor 400 filter, hangs on side, with two carbon filters and two biowheels. I change 5+ gallons two times a week and vaccuum at the same time, and I change the filter once a month.

The oscar is fed ciclid pellets and frozen food, and a bit of shrimp on occasion; no live food.

I cut back how much he was being fed, added aquarium salt and melafix.
The behavior is closer to normal now, but he's still less interested in seeing me or in being fed. Any ideas?
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Postby Gupper » Sat Jan 04, 2003 11:58 pm

You say you lfs does the tests (that's nice and all) but do they tell you the EXACT results (how many ppm of this or that) or just say "you're fine"? Reason I ask is because one persons idea of what is fine for your tank may be different than anothers. Also, what should happen if you're having probs and your lfs is closed? I highly suggest you get some tests yourself so you don't have to rely on thier opinions solely, or have to wait till they open if you're in trouble.

Another part of the reason I say this, is with 2 decent sized fish in the tank and with such small volume changes being done, my experience would tell me you probably have been building nitrates over time. I could be wrong, but that's what I'd be concerned about. The fact that reduced feedings is making him feel better supports that (since less waste is being produced there is less ammonia, nitrite and nitrate being produced). I have to take your word for it on waterquality, but I'm still curious what the ACTUAL readings for those (ammonia, nitrite and nitrate) are.

Other than that, I can't think of anything else to offer. :( Good luck.
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Postby Barb » Sun Jan 05, 2003 2:48 pm

Yeah further to what Gupper says, my ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites went up after I did a really thorough cleaning and vacuuming - I stirred up crud and didn't take out enough water. I had to do several large water changes to get them back down. It might be good to take the plunge and buy a testing kit.

Is he still rearranging after cleanings, or sitting at the bottom, or swimming and flailing, but less often?
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same problem here.

Postby syxxpak69er » Sat Jan 11, 2003 9:40 pm

I been having the same problem lately except the non-appetite part.Everytime i go near the tank my O runs for cover anf sticks his head completely under the gravel.It's a riot to see a fish his size hide his head.When i walk away he comes back out to roam.He does however still goes crazy when im ready to feed him.Im thinking maybe it's just Os are realy big cowards when it comes to there masters...lol. It all started when i yelled at him for picking on the blood parrot cichlid i just put in with him.My numbers are 55 gal tank with a Penguin BIO-Wheel 330 Power Filter,150 watt heater 2 air stones.PH is at 7.4, Ammonia 0, nitrites .25, nitrates 10 ppm with a true rating of 8 ppm, water is at a constant 80 degrees.I clean once a week with about a 25% water change and gravel vaccuming.This is why im thinking it might just be that your fish is shy.
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