Four Oscars 20 Gallon Tank

Discussion in 'Oscars' started by kuopan, Dec 23, 2009.

  1. kuopanValued MemberMember

    Hi everyone,

    I am a total newb so I have a few questions that I am hoping you experts can help me with. I just got a 20gallon tank and bought four oscars (two Tiger and two Albino oscars). I totally understand that the 20 gallon tank is wayy too small to grow even only one oscar but I was wondering what the ramifications are to growing them in such a confined space.

    Will it stun their growth potential or will they continue to grow and potentially break my tank!? Ideally, I don't want them too large anyways...

    Another question, I have is re: designing the tank. Any suggestions with Oscars? Is it a good idea to put more objects or just limit the amount of objects?

    Thanks everyone!! Cheers!
  2. Gouramiguy17

    Gouramiguy17Well Known MemberMember

  3. Amanda

    AmandaFishlore VIPMember

    It will stunt their growth which is very painful for them & shortens their lifespan considerably.
    There is no way to keep up with water changes for 4 OScars in a 20. I have 2 Oscars in a 150 & it's touchy.
    Please, please consider taking these fish back to where you got them from. They need so much more than a 20 gal. tank, and they are such wonderful fish to be killed in a small tank.

  4. Shawnie

    ShawnieFishlore LegendMember

    welcome to fishlore!!!!
    dont blame yourself totally...if the fish store that sold them to you didnt ask the proper tank size, they should have allot of that blame....

    at this point the ONLY thing that would work for these guys is a MUCH larger tank (as you already know) or return them for some proper fish for a 20g..and id also give that store a piece of your mind (in a polite way of course) that selling such fish for a tank of 20g is not only cruel, but very unprofessional....otherwise, I cant see them lasting long as they grow their most in the first year or year in a half..they could be stunted internally as well as not make it at all from too much waste and ammonia issues that would be just about impossible to control ....good luck !
  5. harpua2002

    harpua2002Fishlore VIPMember

    If the oscars are kept in a 20 gallon tank for too long, their growth will be stunted and this leads to health problems. Also, oscars produce a lot of waste relative to their size, so it's going to be next to impossible to keep good water quality for them.

    4 oscars will need a very large tank at adult size... I'd suggest a 210 gallon or more.

    Welcome to FL!

  6. SonfishValued MemberMember

    2 Oscars in a 55 gallon is really cramped, I agree with Harpau up there 200 at least for them....
  7. DigglyWell Known MemberMember

    Its cruel to keep them much longer in a 20g tank. Imagine growing up in a closet with just a bucket to go to the toilet in.
  8. OP

    kuopanValued MemberMember

    thanks everyone for the great feedback! I had no idea on the health problems that could arise from stunning the growth. I decided to move the oscars to a friends' tank which is much larger in size.

    what type of fish are more appropriate for a 20 gallon tank?
  9. DigglyWell Known MemberMember

    It depends on the sort of fish that you like :). I am not very good at stocking lists but I think dwarf cichlids can work, guppies, dwarf pufferfish.
    It depends on what you like and how much work you want to put into the tank.
  10. Amanda

    AmandaFishlore VIPMember

    A pair of Convicts or Jewels would be nice
  11. OP

    kuopanValued MemberMember

    i really love how oscars look like and the way they usually swim all over the tank and not just in one specific region. I just wish there were such fish as mini oscars.. haha...

    so I guess anything that sorta looks like oscars but a smaller version? I am not a fan of guppies. I like puffer fish though... so maybe I'll see if i can find any of those...
  12. Amanda

    AmandaFishlore VIPMember

    The cichlids I mentioned have similar attitudes to Oscars
  13. harpua2002

    harpua2002Fishlore VIPMember

    I see that you have a very new setup and don't know about the nitrogen cycle. There are articles on this site that will help you understand this process that is vital to fish health. While you're deciding what fish you want, I'd suggest looking around in the articles section and find out about cycling your tank before you add fish. It's really easy to do and will save you a lot of work in daily water changes. A raw shrimp from the grocery store will cycle your tank for you, and if you can pick up a liquid test kit from your LFS you can monitor your water parameters to get an idea of where you are in the cycling process.
  14. OP

    kuopanValued MemberMember

    thanks harpua! I should have really read the nitrogen cycle section. I didn't know that so much was involved to raising fish...

    I have another question for everyone that hopefully someone can help with. I won't be able to move the four oscars in a while because my friend is currently out of town and I have a situation.

    I just got my tank onSunday and it's been empty until yesterday when I bought my Oscars. I definitely did not cycle my tank enough and I think it has caused some problems with one of my Oscars.

    1. The water is appears a bit white cloudy (bacteria bloom?). I read on the site that "This situation will correct itself when a sufficient amount of bacteria establishes on your biological filter". Is there anything I can do to speed up this process? The website
  15. harpua2002

    harpua2002Fishlore VIPMember

    There are only 2 things you can do at this point to speed up the process. You can either get a piece of filter media (nasty and gunky is what you're looking for, lol) and add it to your filter, or float it in the tank if it won't fit. Or, you can buy a product called Tetra Safe Start. Other members can advise you better about its use than I could (Shawnie or Meenu could help I'm sure). Tetra Safe Start is the only bacterial additive that has any chance of cycling the tank properly. Other products don't work despite their claims.
  16. OP

    kuopanValued MemberMember

    Thanks Harpua!! I just read the nitrogen cycle and I should have come to this site much earlier before I started buying fish. I didn't know that so much would be involved in preparing the tank.

    Unfortunately, I'll have to keep the fish for under four months or so before I can transfer them to a friend's tank. In the meanwhile, I have encountered some problems that I hope someone can help me with.

    I purchased the tank on Sunday and purchased the Oscars on Tuesday. Therefore, there has definitely not been enough cycle time. One of the Oscars appears mildly sick and I don't know what to do.

    1. The water has become cloudy white (bacterial bloom) and according to the website, "This situation will correct itself when a sufficient amount of bacteria establishes on your biological filter". Is there any way I can speed up this process? I am getting mixed answers. The website suggests changing 25% water daily and feeding them less. The people where I purchased the tank from suggested not to change the water but instead, I purchased the Nutrafin Waste Control & "Cycle" which creates good bacteria for the Nitrogen cycle?

    2. The Oscar is swimming at the bottom of the tank and appears extremely tired but when I tap it, it moves around still. What should additional things can I do? Should I quarantine the sick Oscar so it doesn't contaminate the other fish??

    I apologize in advance if I have incorrectly used any terminology!


    PS - Sorry my internet died on the previous post and wasn't sure if the post went through
  17. crazedACD

    crazedACDValued MemberMember

    Is there anyway you can return the oscars to the fish store? That seems like the best option for both you and the fish right now. I agree about a pair of convicts or jewel cichlids, they should do fine in a 20g. Maybe you can trade them in for store credit, cycle the tank properly, and use the credit to purchase fish more appropriate for you tank? Quarantining probably won't work at this point, as it probably isn't an illness that is affecting him, but the quality of the water.

    I would definitely purchase either Tetra Safe Start or "Prime" conditioner to help neutralize the ammonia levels. I'm afraid to tell you 4 oscars probably won't last 4 months in a might be able to get away with one or two but it will be very hard on the fish. The only other option (depending on your financial situation) is finding a used tank on craigslist or ebay, 75g is considered the minimum for one full grown might be able to keep 4 juvenile oscars in a 55g with a good filter until your friend can take them, though.
  18. harpua2002

    harpua2002Fishlore VIPMember

    I agree totally with Jessica. If it is possible, please return your oscars to the fish store. Then, you can do a fishless cycle with little stress to you or your future fish. A raw grocery store shrimp may look nasty when you chuck it into your tank, but it will cycle that way and then you have lots of options for a beautiful community tank. You can even keep cichlids- just as long as they are dwarf cichlids- throughout their lifespan. :)
  19. CamachoValued MemberMember

    you could also go and buy something called " eco complete for cichlids" its a substrate and it has all the bacteria and everthing that cichlids need. i read the back of it when i bought it and it says that it helps the cycle go by fast/eliminate the cycle process. this stuff is awsome also it hold the ph level to 7.5 also if the oscar is sitting on the bottom its normal o's are very lazy fish but you def need a biger tank i have 2 o's and 2 JD in my 55 gal and i need to upgrade soon.... hopeful i get a lot of christams money lol
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2009
  20. harpua2002

    harpua2002Fishlore VIPMember

    Same gimmick as CaribSea's "Arag-alive" for reef tanks. Unnecessary, overpriced, and doesn't help much. ;)

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