let's talk oscars!

Discussion in 'ScottsTanks' started by ScottsTanks, Sep 21, 2011.

  1. ScottsTanks

    ScottsTanksWell Known MemberMember

    Far too often, almost daily, do I hear someone in a pet store or online talk about getting fish that are far too big for their tank or about how they own fish that are going to outgrow their tanks in a short period. I already discussed the most common offender of this, the common pleco owner in my post http://scottstanks.blogspot.com/2011/08/l75-angst.html but now I want to talk about my very favorite fish of all time, the Tiger Oscar!

    The tiger oscar (Astronotus ocellatus), and its albino colormorph, is likely the third most popular freshwater fish in the hobby behind the angelfish and the goldfish. However, the majority of hobbyist have become accustom to housing their oscars improperally. Oscars get to be between 18" and 20" in length and they can weight around 5 lbs when fully grown. More impressively, oscars will grow at a rate of 1" per month and eat anything and everything in sight, including but limited to, plastic plants and poker chips. As such an oscar needs a tank that is between 18" to 24" inches front to back so that it turn around in the tank without having to bend itself in half; also the tank should allow the fish to swim 3 or 4 lengths before having to turn around. As such, an oscar should never be housed in a tank smaller than 90 gallons. The sad truth, however, is that I have seen owners keep them in tanks as small as 10g and the majority live in 55g tank. Even in a 55g tank, which most new hobbyist will think of as a very large tank, an oscar will become stunted and die within the first 2 to 3 years from internal complications or head and lateral line erosion (HLLE). A properly housed and fed oscar can live 15 to 20 years.

    There seems to be an horrible rumor going around that pet stores will gladly accept your fish that has gotten too big for aquarium and thus hobbyist can buy fish that they know full well will outgrow their tank and just return them when they tire of the fish and start over again with a juvinile. Most stores, including chain stores are getting away from this practice and for good reason. I know if I'm working and you try to turn over an over grown fish, I'm gonna tell you tough luck. You bought it so you have to watch it die a slow death.

    There is a strange dichotomy between pet owners, most, according to serval online polls, would not hessitate to spend upwards of $3000 to save the life of a dog or cat yet they are loath to spend the money to properly take care of fish. Somewhere along the lines hobbyist have gotten it into their heads that fish are disposable pets and its is societly acceptable to place fish in inhuman conditions; after all the average oscar costs only $8 so who cares, right?

    Please, a pray that if you do not have the ability to purchase and properly equip an aquarium large enough to house large fish such as tiger oscars or silver dollars (125g+) or common plecos (125g+) arowanas (300g+) or peacock bass (200g+) or jaguar cichlids (200g+) or umbee cichlids (300g+) or pacu (400g+) do not buy these fish and leave them to real aquarists to care for. Stick to mollies and platies.
  2. Amanda

    AmandaFishlore VIPMember

    I agree with most of this post - but I would never tell someone to watch their fish die a slow death. That's not punishing the human - that's punishing the fish. And honestly, why are we punishing a fish for something beyond its control? My LFS (before they closed) would take large specimens in because they could sell them for a very good profit.

    Also, I think it's a bit extreme to "stick to mollies & platies". Personally, I cannot keep either alive if my OWN life depended on it. There are plenty of smaller cichlids that one can keep in a 20 - 55 gal. tank. LFS should be providing this education & steering new clients away from large cichlids. The stores are as much to blame as the owners - they just want to make money & do not care about the welfare of the stock. Also, LFS should limit the large fish they stock. If they only get 1 or 2 Oscars in at a time, they can monitor who is buying them & ask them about tank size, etc. Just my opinion.

    I also see that you keep JD's in a 55 - to me that is too cramped for such an outgoing fish. It's really all based on personal opinion, experience & beliefs. Some people believe in providing the bare minimum for a species, while other believe in going above & beyond the minimum tank requirement.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2011
  3. OP

    ScottsTanksWell Known MemberMember

    You are 100% correct that its not fair to the fish and while I can say mean things in a rant online the chances of me doing it in real life is slim to none. I just get fed up with oscar owners at times and LFS dont help matters. At any given time the store I work at has 8 tigers and 4 albinos in stock and they list its max size at 1 foot.

    I do keep JDs but its only 1 and he has the tank to himself and he's actually an EBJD which have been shown to have a max size that's 2-3 inches shorter than the standard JDs.
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2011
  4. psalm18.2

    psalm18.2Fishlore LegendMember

    I dislike seeing oscars at pet stores in full stock. Very misleading. I was in my favorite lfs when a sick oscar was being housed due to a return. One of the customers couldn't believe that the baby oscar in the next tank was the same fish! It was nice for people to see the comparison. Some people treat fish as diposable because they are also in the food chain.
  5. konstargirl

    konstargirlWell Known MemberMember

    I know. >< I would like to have an oscar one day, but I don't have the space for one. :(