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TOPIC: Oscar has blister like bubbles on its head.

Oscar has blister like bubbles on its head. 6 months 1 week ago #71593

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My Oscar has all of a sudden had blister like bubbles show up on the top of his head. They almost look like they shed a white film off of them every couple days or so. The patch also shows pinkish. He also has eye cloud. I realize that this is partially my fault due to an illness in my family that distracted me from doing specific water changes. I have just bought a 150 gallon tank for him and was in the process getting it setup for him but right now he is in a 30 gallon to try to deal with medicating. I have been doing 25% water changes almost everyday for the last week, added aquarium salt and turned up his heater to 80 degrees.

First, are the blisters maybe a precurser to John Satisfaction Syndrome, Aeromonas Bacterial Pitting? I started giving him malachite green to deal with the eye cloud and thought that the blistering was fungus but of course I did not see any improvement over 3 days. I changed the medication to Triple Sulfa and I am on the 3rd day with it and the eye cloud has not got worse but it doesn't look like it is getting significantly better either. The blisters don't seem unchanged. Sometimes he seems lithargic and other times active. I know he is having difficulty seeing but still is able to eat.

Should I be giving the oscar Baytril? I have been searching for days to find a disease that matches this particular symptom but I am really not finding an exact match.

I bought him Feb 2017. And as I said I am running behind in getting him to proper sized tank but was able to keep up with water changes until my family member got significantly worse (better now though). This is my first oscar and really would like to save him/her.

Pictures below. Thanks for your help and suggestions.





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Oscar has blister like bubbles on its head. 6 months 1 week ago #71595

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Looks like ammonia burn, what are your water parameters?
150 gallon 2x Tiger Oscars
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Oscar has blister like bubbles on its head. 6 months 1 week ago #71599

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Hi. Thank you for responding. I am pretty sure you are right with your suggestion. we have been doing quite a few water changes since Sunday when we noticed the issue, plus I did a 50% change again this morning. then I took the below test.


Nitrate 20 - 40
Nitrite .5
Hardness 300
Chlorine 0
Alkalinity 180
Ph 7.2 - 7.3

Temp is 80

I also bought a separate Ammonia test strip and it said .5 as well.

Also with doing the water change I added a second filter to the tank that I had. So in total the filters should be circulating 450 g/h in a 30 gallon tank. Is this to much? I took most of his decorations out to give him more room....except his tube which he really likes.

If these numbers are acceptable now, how do I deal with the scale and eye issue. Should I not put medication in the tank because it can be harmful to the good bacteria and setup a separate medicine tank (for bathing and ingesting for a couple hours a day) or would the stress of moving him back and forth be to much now.

Should I add a few bubblers as well to get the water to move more as well?

Last night I had noticed the red striping in his pectoral fins but today that seems to have improved and there is only a little bit. He is still eating (which I have cut back on) but has trouble zeroing in on his food due to some of the fogginess of his eyes.

I am racing to setup this 150 gallon tank now but realize it will tank 2 - 8 weeks of cycling. I can take some stone from my healthy fish tanks in the house to help speed up the process. I was looking at a canister filters, would 525 GPH be sufficient with an over the back filter that runs at 300 gph or should I be looking for a canister that runs at around 700 gph?

Thanks for all your help.
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Oscar has blister like bubbles on its head. 6 months 1 week ago #71600

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Has the fish been in 30g since you got it? If so, there is likely a stress factor, due to inadequate living space. Most of what I see and read in your posts lead directly to water quality. Medicating in water with over 20 nitrate and some level of ammonia and nitrite is basically a waste. Meds don't work in suspect water.Also, I take it you are using test strips? Likely getting false readings with that. If you already have seeded filters, I suggest going ahead and getting the 150 up and running. 5x current volume will dilute any possible toxins to a less harmful degree. Big space will put the fish in a better mood as well. As for filters, do not just rely on gph. Its always over rated, and its really the efficiency of the filter that counts, not the flow. Media capacity in canisters is more important than gph. A big canister like a Fluval FX6, that holds 9lbs of bio media, accompanied by a pair of Aquaclear 110 hobs will leave a 150 well filtered for life. There are other options, Eheim Classic series 2217 is a superior canister, but you may want 2 of those. Fluval FX4 is a smaller version of the FX6, but best bang for the buck is the 6.
1600gals of South and Central American cichlids. Some with just a "wee" bit of attitude!
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Oscar has blister like bubbles on its head. 6 months 1 week ago #71601

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Unfortunately he has been in the 30 since I got him. I had full intentions to get him into bigger tank by late spring early summer last year and then crap hit the fan. I was trying to keep up with water changes.....anyways crap led to crap and now I am trying to make up for it. Hopefully I don't loose the fish we have gotten rather attached to him and his personality.

Yes I was using strips since that is all our local store had in stock this morning. I used to keep the other test kits on hand and tested my tanks regularly but after years of doing it and never having an issue with any of my tanks I fell off the testing band wagon. When I run into the other town this weekend I will get the better test kit and post those results.

Thank you for the advice on the canister filters. I was looking at the Fluval Fx6 as one of the options before. I was also looking at one that was similar and had a UV light in it as well. Would this be recommended?

Do you feel it is alright just to empty the 30 gallon water and substrate into the 150 and this will be sufficient enough to get that tanked cycled right away?
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Oscar has blister like bubbles on its head. 6 months 1 week ago #71603

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Its filter media that makes for a successful cycle. Substrate does hold some bacteria, but maybe a fine line between actual dirt/debris and any beneficial bacteria. Nothing of any value is the 30g water. Your nitrifying bacteria is not free swimming in the water column. To get your fish up to speed with clean water, I would do daily 80% for 2-3 days. Then 100% fresh fill on the 150. Hook up filters, make sure temps are in the area of what the fish is used to. Transfer the Oscar. Get the FX, or whatever you decide on asap, get that going.
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Oscar has blister like bubbles on its head. 6 months 6 days ago #71604

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i would put him in new tank and trash the old water.
if you get a large canister filter i would also get a large HOB- aquaclear 110
advice already given to throw away the strips.
if you dont own a python to change water...lol.. get one... changing 50% of a 30 to a bucket wont work over 100..

when you said " turned up to 80 degrees" what heat is normal?

nice to see you clearly care here and are attacking this quickly
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Oscar has blister like bubbles on its head. 6 months 6 days ago #71615

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I normally have the water about 77 -78 degrees. I read the range was 74 -81 so I was keeping it in the middle. Do you suggest it should be at 80?

I do own a cleaning system. We have 8 tanks running the house right now with a range of fish - axolotls and it goes so much faster with cleaning.

I was going to take the large HOB that was on there already and add another HOB as well as a back up.

We were looking at adding another oscar to 150g tank later. Or would you suggest against this since he is already used to being alone.

We care greatly about our animals. I am glad I joined this forum when I did, everyone has been quick with answers.. Some you post questions and never get answers.

I welcome any suggestions on how other people have set up their tanks for their oscars. We want to display him nicely. I have searched and seen some nice ones but we always liked seeing how others have set up their tanks.
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Oscar has blister like bubbles on its head. 6 months 6 days ago #71616

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I would keep the temp on the lower side for now. A big threat when Ammonia and Nitrite are present is ammonia burns of the soft tissues like gill tissue. This can lead to insufficient oxygen exchange (fish will 'gasp'). So adding a bubble wand or air stone would be a good idea and keeping the water temp a tad on the lower side will help keep the o2 saturation up.

150g sounds big but when your oscar hits full size 12-14 inches on average, it won't seem all that big anymore. I personally would stick with just the one which would allow you to do a lot more with other cichlids or non-cichlids for tank mates. Having two oscars in a 150g really limits other options IMO - assuming the two get along.
"My Country is the World, and my Religion is to do good." -Thomas Paine
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Oscar has blister like bubbles on its head. 6 months 6 days ago #71618

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I think chances of adding another Oscar later are slim. As stated, 150g isn't a big space for a pair anyways. Not inadequate by any means, but not huge either. I keep Oscars with a wide variety of cichlids, but Oscar is always the big fish, tank boss. In the wild Oscars are found in a wide temperature range, low 70's to low 90's. On average, my South American tanks sit around 82. That's not a set in stone, must have temp, its just where my tanks settle out. In summer with high heat and humidity they go to the higher 80's. Just a few weeks, no issue at all.
1600gals of South and Central American cichlids. Some with just a "wee" bit of attitude!
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