My Oscar Is Mentally Challenged

BettasAndAnOscar
  • #1
This isn't a joke, I actually have a oscar.

ImageUploadedByFish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum1426600988.743982.jpg
Mr. Wiggles is scared of everything. He's currently hiding from the marimo ball I bought him.

My 8-inch rescue oscar is truly mentally challenged. It's been decided that it's because at his previous home, he was crammed into a 30 gallon tank, and his growth was stunted at 5 inches. When I got him and put him in a 75, he started to grow like crazy.

After talking to several people, we've come to a general consensus that the stunting majorly affected his brain. Also, when anyone with a beard approaches the tank, he'll swim away and hide/ play dead. His previous owner who abused him had a beard. Wiggles is scared of loud noises, rocks, wiffle balls, and now apparently his marimo. He loves me, though, and really loves when I pet him.

He has lots of weird quirks. He HATES thermometers with a burning passion. He also spits sand when anyone he doesn't know reaches in the tank. I know it sounds like that might make him intelligent, but he's really messed up. Any time I turn his tank light on, he instantly plays dead.

I read on oscarfishlover or something that people buy oscars because they're tough and fierce. Not Wiggles! He turns light colored and hides whenever he gets scared (which is like every 5 minutes). My big idiot jumps, and then the noise of him splashing back into the tank scares him.

I almost feel like I should just take his marimo out...Nah, he needs to get used to it. Seriously, when I go on vacation I have to hire a fish sitter to make sure he doesn't scare himself to death while I'm gone.

I love my big, oscar!

ImageUploadedByFish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum1426601634.932938.jpg

ImageUploadedByFish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum1426601682.116157.jpg
I feel bad for the guy.

Anyone else have any fish stories?



 
hollie1505
  • #2
I wonder if being called Wiggled has anything to do with it. Perhaps if he was called Brutus he would love up to his name?!

I spent £50 on a glorious half moon Betta with the most stunning fins. Turns out he's a tail biter, and has practically no fins now. If they grow, he bites them off again. £50 well spent

 
mell312
  • #3
Poor guy. No fish sitters with beards I hope?


 
2Dogs
  • #4
Wow! How long have you had him? I wonder if fish can be re-hab'd....?
 
Ethan
  • #5
Wow! How long have you had him? I wonder if fish can be re-hab'd....?

Fishhab *tm*
 
tameone
  • #6
paging deuce bigalow.
 
aliray
  • #7
He actually sounds like quite the character. Poor baby......Alison
 
Dadio
  • #8
Here's my opinion in regard to intelligence. We as humans can not really determine what is intelligence in other species unless we are them. Human intelligence of course is not the same, but then again we don't live in water, or an aquarium for that fact. When you see them in their natural habitat they use more of their intelligence then when shoved in an aquarium. Just like humans they get lazy and why not. They get to look pretty and be fed without effort. I've had Koi for many years and believe me they are quite intelligent and crafty as well. As a fly fisherman once again the intelligence of that crafty old man trout is quite amusing as he tests how good we are at dropping an artificial fly. So question is, just what truly is intelligence?

Your Oscar shows intelligence in that of memories where someone abused him, just like any child or person that suffers the same. In time he has shown he trusts you little by little, but his memories of abuse have given the poor guy anxiety and in time he may shake this off. I give you great credit for rescuing this little creature and am most certain in time he will reward you more with his confidence as it rebuilds.
 
Vyvid
  • #9
His previous owner threw stuff at him? Whyyyy. Why even have something if you're going to abuse it??


 
Dadio
  • #10
Shessh, some people are far less intelligent then many of nature's creatures that's for sure. Someone ought take him and put em up against a wall and toss things at them, few bricks wouldn't hurt much would they. Some people are just pure morons.

Bright side of things is from the Oscar's viewpoint he now has the best of two worlds, a beautiful caring woman and a safe haven. Can't really go wrong there.
 
lbonini1
  • #11
He's soooo cute. Oh my gosh.
 
2Dogs
  • #12
This is probably what Mr. Wiggles see when he looks at a moss ball -
 

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BettasAndAnOscar
  • Thread Starter
  • #13
2Dogs Oh my gosh I'm dying! XD that is amazing...


 
laxdude
  • #14
In my earlier days, I kept a cobalt blue crayfish names Fazzo. when she got too aggressive for my 40B, I had to put her in a tall 10 gallon hex tank until I could get her the 20L I found she needed.
so I had a few red-eye tetras and 3 black skirts. so I got her a cave and she minded her own business. all was well.
2 days later, 2 of the black skirts were missing. sure enough, I look down and Fazzo is eating one of the black skirts.
as I had no home for the red eyes (they were fin nippers. I hoped with them being top dwellers, they're hide up to and rest in the massive, bushy fake plant.
next day the last skirt was gone and half the red eyes were too. with 4 left over a few days only 2 were left.
against what I knew was right, I put them in my 40. one died of stress but one was left.
he was never the same as he is always super jumpy. he isn't aggressive, but will always be super timid. I feel bad for it, but I couldn't help it. he is far less timid now, 3 years later
 
Chunk101
  • #15
Wow, I had no idea the level of intelligence in Oscars. I know a person who had really loved his oscar and now I understand why.

It sounds like the oscar is traumatized and I would say all his quirky behaviors are the result of being abused/neglected.
 
BettasAndAnOscar
  • Thread Starter
  • #16
I didn't name him Wiggles. There was another not very nice person who owned him in between me and the guy who abused him. That person bought him from the guy who abused him, and planned to kill Wiggles so he could keep the tank he came with. He wanted to kill him by freezing him to death in MY goldfish ponds. Long story short, he's mine. The jerk in the middle named him Wiggles.




Shessh, some people are far less intelligent then many of nature's creatures that's for sure. Someone ought take him and put em up against a wall and toss things at them, few bricks wouldn't hurt much would they. Some people are just pure morons.

Bright side of things is from the Oscar's viewpoint he now has the best of two worlds, a beautiful caring woman and a safe haven. Can't really go wrong there.

Haha, that's all correct, except got the woman part. I'm far from a woman. A 13 year old girl, actually.


 
Dadio
  • #17
Even if so, your on route to being a wonderful lady. Shows you care and yes, got some guts were it counts so to speak,
 
hollie1505
  • #18
Wow! What a story he has! I'm so pleased he met you.

 
FEEESH
  • #19
This is just all around a cool read haha


 
Beeker
  • #20
He's a handsome fish.
I'm glad you have him and I hope he recovers from the difficult life he had.
His personality sounds wonderful. I'm sorry that he is so scared of everything, but it is great that he adores you.

That moss ball may remind him of the bearded man. Maybe that is why he is afraid of it, it's fuzzy. Maybe he wants a wide open tank to enjoy, since he was crammed in that 30 gal for so long, and doesn't need other stuff in there just now. Really, all he needs is you.

Giving him a new name isn't a bad idea.
Animals don't see a name as humans do, as their identity. They see it as the word their person calls them. They relate the "names", with the different people that use them. If you rename him, he will know that you are a different person, this is a different situation, and things will be different going forward.

Please keep us posted on his progress.
 
Cacret
  • #21
Wow, mever noticed it. Stunting may have affected his brain. You said whoever has a beard he will hide. By any chance is the marimo ball bushy? My oscar was like that but if you feed him live food, I bet he'll become the oscar he is supposed to be! At least that's what happened to my Oscar.


"Loving a pet is not enough, you have to discipline it, feed it and treat them when they are sick."
-Cacret
 
waterlilykari
  • #22
Does he have the same reaction to nano Marimos? (Marble size or smaller?) Maybe you could try tearing a piece off if you want to find out, roll it gently around in your hands to make it round like a ball of clay and see if he reacts differently to the marble sized version than the larger one. If he sees you doing it, and in general sees you just handling/playing with the Marimo regularly anyway that also may change his perception of it because someone he trusts (you!) is demonstrating it's completely harmless.

One of my dojos was starved for a long time and while not abused, he was definitely being picked on by tank mates before I bought him. He was just skin and bones when I brought him home and we had to do the same with everything. He and I now play a game like soccer with marble sized Marimos rolling around the tank floor during tank cleaning time. He is still the timid one of the two we have currently. My other one (a female) will come to the surface to greet us with a tickle to our fingers with their "whiskers" or at least swim up near the top to investigate in the case of someone new, she will let my son hold her in his hand but the poor little male is still too leery of most people to do so. He will play with the Marimos with me though and is still making progress every day. Since it worked for us, so maybe the same will work for your Oscar.

Good luck!
 
Mims
  • #23
Can I just say, you are a wonderful person for saving Mr. Wiggles. He is so lucky to have found his way to you. I think if you give him time, he'll start coming around. It sounds like you've made huge progress with him already. Poor guy has had a super rough start in life.




 
Taylor Jenson
  • #24
My grandmother had a crayfish that my uncle scared so badly that it would only come out of hiding for her. I believe it was caught from some river. There was also a catfish that they had in a 75 gallon tank in the kitchen. To make it more at home my grandmother wrapped black paper around most of the tank. Every time someone walked in the kitchen it would peek out of his little viewing area. It ended up living about 15 years, not sure what killed it but I think it was a filter malfunction. Anyway, in the case of this Oscar the best thing to do would probably be to just make his environment as stress free and calm as possible.
 
FishandFun
  • #25
This is probably what Mr. Wiggles see when he looks at a moss ball -
LOL
 
Kent H
  • #26
Oscars are funny fish. I had one that demanded attention. His tatics came in stages. First he would spit rocks at the glass, and then he would start pulling up all the plants. If that didnt do it then he would pull up his undergravel system. All that just to get petted. When I would go to put the tank back together he would swim into my hand and lay on top of whatever it was I was trying to put back, just like a cat.
 
Briggs
  • #27
I'd argue that he isn't showing any signs of mental disability, he's showing signs of trauma. The intelligence of an animal can only really be judged by how good they are at, well, being the kind of animal they are. He doesn't sounds like he's bad at being an Oscar fish, just that he's learned there are lots of things in the world that will hurt him without provocation.

The sad fact is that the more capacity for remembering and learning from experiences, the longer it can take something to move on from the horrible ones.

I don't have any experience with traumatized fish, but I've had lots of experience with shelter rescued cats and dogs. You have to know going into it that you're adopting an animal with baggage, some worse than others. I have a husky that I got full grown from a shelter about 6 years ago, and she's by far the most mentally and emotionally scarred animal I've taken care of. The first few weeks were a serious trial, but she got better as she grew to trust us and the stability of her new home. In a lot ways she'll never be okay, though. I have no idea what she went through before I brought her home. I don't think I want to.

So keep reinforcing the fact that he's safe now and keep taking good care of him. He might always be scared of his own shadow (and tank decorations and wiffle balls and men with beards), but so long as it doesn't overly effect his quality of life it'll be okay. Good on you for adopting him. Though I guess it sounds more like you took him by force, which sounds pretty awesome actually. Just so long as the story doesn't end with the cops at your door!
 
ChuthuluFish
  • #28
I wish I had an oscar . Sad face
 
2211Nighthawk
  • #29
Dude, you were 13 and had a 75g?!?! Lucky kid... only reason I have a 75 in my living room is because I told parents/landlords that it was a 60g. I don't fill it all the way, my goldfish likes to jump but still.

That is awesome that you have him. I'm one of those people that want the tank but not the fish (8" pleco with a 10g????) but I would *never* kill a fish just for the tank. And throwing him in with the goldfish is the worst. It might not even kill him.

Just so long as the story doesn't end with the cops at your door!
ClaI'm animal abuse!!
Man I'd love a day when you can claim that for fish...
 
Paul McCarthy
  • #30
This isn't a joke, I actually have a oscar.
View attachment 162380
Mr. Wiggles is scared of everything. He's currently hiding from the marimo ball I bought him.

My 8-inch rescue oscar is truly mentally challenged. It's been decided that it's because at his previous home, he was crammed into a 30 gallon tank, and his growth was stunted at 5 inches. When I got him and put him in a 75, he started to grow like crazy.

After talking to several people, we've come to a general consensus that the stunting majorly affected his brain. Also, when anyone with a beard approaches the tank, he'll swim away and hide/ play dead. His previous owner who abused him had a beard. Wiggles is scared of loud noises, rocks, wiffle balls, and now apparently his marimo. He loves me, though, and really loves when I pet him.

He has lots of weird quirks. He HATES thermometers with a burning passion. He also spits sand when anyone he doesn't know reaches in the tank. I know it sounds like that might make him intelligent, but he's really messed up. Any time I turn his tank light on, he instantly plays dead.

I read on oscarfishlover or something that people buy oscars because they're tough and fierce. Not Wiggles! He turns light colored and hides whenever he gets scared (which is like every 5 minutes). My big idiot jumps, and then the noise of him splashing back into the tank scares him.

I almost feel like I should just take his marimo out...Nah, he needs to get used to it. Seriously, when I go on vacation I have to hire a fish sitter to make sure he doesn't scare himself to death while I'm gone.

I love my big, oscar!
View attachment 162381
View attachment 162382
I feel bad for the guy.

Anyone else have any fish stories?
You know to be honest I think the best thing you can do is leave him alone. Hes not going to live to his full potential in a constant state of stress. Hes probably actually afraid of you and not the moss ball. Not because you did anything but it will take time and trust to get him out of his shell but if you just got him try giving him some days alone that you don't approach the tank other than maybe to feed. Oscars are tough so he mustve been through a lot to be so withdrawn
 
SuperK
  • #31
I agree with above, he is definitely experiencing trauma. It will take a long time for him to start to get over it. But not only that, it's a very slow process that takes time. You have to slowly introduce him to things and not just force things on him. If he doesn't like something, take it away. Come back later or another day and try again. Maybe have a hierarchy of fears to determine what scares him the most to what scares him the least. From there, start introducing him to the things that scare him the least and work up from there.
 
Jayd976
  • #32
They are truly "wet pets" and have the intelligence of dogs. They like to be pet, play with toys, they recognize their owners and will come to greet them, like toys, will dig and play in the substrate.

They are Fun and interesting fish to have. Give him time he'll come out of his shell eventually.
 
grantm91
  • #33
Heres my oscar,
Had him in a 200litre hes only still young but super smart,
c50b2d3a7958f9629f331bee73fd352c.jpg he dosent get scared of anything and is the only fish in the tank that knows to stay away from my parrot fish nest as they are guarding eggs, (fertile I believe) the other fish mistakenly stray in to the perimeter and get a nasty shock. he just sits there if you peak round the corner but as soon as you walk in the room and he notices you its tail wagging and following you across the tank lol forgot to say he moved out of the 200litre and in to my 450 litre and is now in the main living room I swear he watches me play the ps4 its the only time he sits still when the tv us on haha.
 
DaFishBro
  • #34
Try Pairing HI'm up.
 
Jayd976
  • #35
Do not pair him up unless you plan on getting at least 125 gallon tank. 75 gallons is too small and a 125 will at least give them enough room to create their own territories if they don't 100% pair up and only tolerate each other.

Also if he is in fact somewhat challenge or stunted the other fish will realize this and he likely wouldn't be able to handle himself with any aggression. An easy target.
 
leighnicoll
  • #36
I loved my Oscars, Ender and Bean. They lived for 11 and 12 years, respectively. They had so much personality! Bean was the duffer (more aggressive but also a lot less... well clever). Both loved each-other and protected each-other, and both seemed to like me but not my husband so much. I definitely couldn't "pet" them, though I did have to do emergency surgery on Bean a few times when he 1) got stuck in an ornament chasing a shrimp, and 2) tried to eat the pleco who was almost as big as him... failed, and was swimming around with his mouth stretched out and the pleco (still alive) stuck in his mouth with both his side fins pierced out of the Bean's mouth. Both the pleco and Bean survived the incident, however the pleco later succumbed to it's injuries (namely that one of his fin bones broke). Both of those incidents were when the fish were barely a year old.

They loved to tear up any type of plant I put in there, so I ended up with 2 fake plants and an other-wise bare 100 gallon tank apart from the gravel. Each time I did a gravel clean/water change, Ender and Bean would work together to re-arrange things to their liking, moving around huge mouth-fulls of gravel and pulling the plants to different locations. I swear Ender was the boss, since he would undo something Bean did, and Bean wouldn't try to re-do it. They normally only moved the gravel (to no pattern I could discern) the first two days after a water change/clean, but the plants were constantly being picked up and dropped somewhere else. When I was doing the change, they hated it. Ender would go on a "barney" as my husband called it and swim fast circles around the tank splashing water everywhere. Bean would attack the hose, but when my husband did it, Bean went for blood and attacked his hand.

When we moved them from the 45 gallon tank to the 100 gallon, Bean was none too pleased and we woke up twice to the wet sound of "slap, slap, slap" as he jumped out of his new tank. Once back in with Ender, Ender would swim around him and I swear he was checking him out. They would play fight, doing a dance back and forth facing each other with their mouths open. They would never hurt each other, though. When Ender died (we do not know why), Bean hovered over him and we had a hard time removing his body. Poor Bean was never as playful after that and stopped rearranging the tank as well. Bean just recently died at 12 years old but like Ender who died a year earlier, he didn't show any signs of sickness before he died.

They were wonderful fish! They're lot more maintenance since they create a lot of waste, they have to be kept alone since they'll eventually kill even larger fish than them, and it's not a good idea to put them in with any valuable decorations or plants... but their personalities more than make up for it and it's worth it!
 
grantm91
  • #37
That's a mad story lol would love to see pics of ender and bean if you have any?
 
Jayd976
  • #38
Pretty much sums up my Oscar "Gus" experience as well such playful and interesting fish. Mine two suddenly died at 10yrs old.
 
Yves
  • #39
I don't really have anything to add, but having read his story, I hope you post some updates once in awhile.
 
Dandelion-Dream
  • #40
Poor Oscar. Too many people don't understand that fish can experience pain and trauma. I actually have 2 young feeder Comets I got (Petco really didn't treat them right.) and now live temporarily in a 10 gallon, due to lack of space for a larger tank. They'll be moved to a spacious 40-55 gal when I have a proper place to put it. For now, they seem pretty healthy, much better than the shrimpy, half-stunted feeders I had a month ago.
EDIT: Plans have changed, and they're getting a huge container pond! It'll probably be 200-300 gallons.
 

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