New Oscars (2) and Placo (1)

IceOscar

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Hi, I recently found my old 30 gallon tank stuffed away in the basement so I figured I'd set it up since it's been awhile since I had fish. I bought some rocks, setup the old decorations, setup the filter (Penguin 160) and filled it up. I waited a couple days until I tested the PH, I brought it down to about 7.0-7.5 . The temperature seems to be at a steady 75 F, I'm not sure if my heater works I haven't tried it yet I think it may be broken however because I used to remember it light up and I'd turn it on and it didn't when I tried for a couple seconds. Anyway after a couple days of just letting the water sit and testing the PH I decided to go to the store and get some fish!

I found a tank at the store that had some smaller red/black oscars so I took 2 as well as taking a very nice sized placo, I figured if they were all already together they should get together nicely and not fight with one another. I may have rushed into adding them into the tank but I dumped them all in with little bit of store water. The placo seems to be doing great swimming around sucking on everything, I need to go buy him some more algae flakes. The 2 oscars seems to be doing well also, however it appears they may be fighting or possibly trying to breed because they like to rub into each other and run one another every now and then, could they just be playing? All 3 of the fish seem to become scared when I turn the light on and go towards the bottom of the tank, is this normal are they just scared and will eventually adapt?

If you've read all this I thank you! It's been quite some time since I had fish, I had a Jack Demspey live for about 5-6 years in a 10 gallon tank over 10 years ago when I was very much into fish. I love them I don't know how I went so long without them, any tips would be appreciated, anything else I should pickup at the store to help these guys adapt and have happy lives? Thanks again!
 
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IceOscar

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Ahh no don't say that I wanna be optimistic! I let the tank sit for about 5-6 days, I added some chlorine out the first day and have let the filter run since filling the tank up, it's an old filter and I was actually quite scared because it looked so grungy inside and wouldn't clean up very wel, I also tested it out by dumping some flakey foods in and making sure it was working properlyl. I've got about 1.5 inches of pebbles on the bottom of the tank, I didn't even bother to look up anything about fish on the internet until after buying them. They seem to all look great so far crud I hope I don't jinx myself .
 

smillermom

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I hate to say it and am surprised no one else has mentioned it but your tank is way, way too small for the fish you have. Oscars need a minimum of 55 gallons, each!!!! A pleco will get very big also. The inch of fish to a gallon does not apply here. Figure your Oscar will get to be almost 18 inches long. Times it by 3. Basically it is 3 times the gallon to adult fish size for an oscar. They get big very fast. You should be able to house 2 oscars but in a 75 gallon. I would take them back, along with the pleco, cycle your tank properly or add "Bio-Spira", and start again. Get a dwarf pleco variety, such as a clown or several ottos instead. Sorry !!!!! I know this is not what you wanted to hear, but believe me, I know from experience!
 
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IceOscar

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About how long will it take them to get "that" big? My friend has an extra 55 gallon aquarium and also another one larger than that which he said I could have once my fish become large enough. My tank is also a 40 gallon not 30 gallon like I had previously thought. It's been 24 hours and the fish seem to be doing great, swimming around more than ever. I figure they would have died or have been floating awkwardly by now if that were the case no?
 

Isabella

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Simllermom is ABSOLUTELY correct.

First off, welcome to the forum IceOscar.

Now, you need to read the beginners' articles, which can be found on the top of this board. Please DO read them, especially about the Nitrogen Cycle. Just because your fish have been fine for 24 hours doesn't mean all will be well because it takes anywhere between 4 - 6 weeks for the tank to cycle. Your tank is either cycling now or about to begin cycling. And you cannot add any fish to your tank UNTIL your tank is cycled. Which is why you need to read about the cycle, in order to understand why you can't add any fish to your tank until the cycle is done.

Two Oscars and one Pleco ... I am sorry to say this, but they are way too many and will grow way too large for even a 40 gallon tank. If I were you, I'd either take them ALL back to the store, OR get a 150 gallon tank for all of them -  yes, a 150 gallon tank. Each one of the fish you have needs AT LEAST 50 gallons of water. I wonder how you have managed to keep a Jack Dempsey in a 10 gallon tank for so many years!? Unbelievable ??? This fish also needs at least a 50 gallon tank (per one fish).

Please, once again, read the beginners' articles. This is for your own good.
 
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IceOscar

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Thank you very much. I am not sure how large my friends old tanks are he has a couple but I will try and get them and set them up as soon as possible. If anyone lives in the Northern/Central New Jersey area and would like to adopt them feel free to message me I would much rather give them to someone rather than bring them back to the store.

The Jack Dempsey I had was awesome, he lived for about 4 years, maybe a little more. He never grew larger than I'd say about 6-7 inches, and if I recall it was a 20 Gallon tank I had. I changed the water every 6 or so months simply because it would stink up the room the tank was in. I was much younger than and simply just tested the pH levels which is all I remembered since back then. I'm new to this nitrate cycling, a friend of mine said she had an Oscar in about the same sized tank for over a year now and didn't recall cycling her tank which is why I didn't realize any of this until afterwards when I was looking at some things on the web.

Again anyone that lives in my area who would want to adopt these 3 fish please let me know!
 
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IceOscar

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BTW if I do bring these fish back which I'm leaning towards, is there any type of fish I could put right into the tank that could help cycle the tank, can any fish substain the process? I figure if I bring them back I won't get refunded however they might let me take something else home.
 

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My good friend bought some Serpae tetras to help cycle her tank after letting it sit for 6 days. They were fine and have been living happily for 4 months. You could consider those.
 
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IceOscar

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I went back to the store today and got a nitrite & ammonia test kit. The people said not to be too worried and that yes the tank will cycle with the fish inside it and just to be careful not to over feed them. They said for now and the next couple weeks possibly months the tank will be a fine size for them but I should definetly get larger tank(s). Worst comes to worst they die I suppose, I just really hope not they're pretty cool
 

Isabella

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After you take the oscars and the pleco back, do NOT get any fish. Wait until your tank is cycled, meaning until ammonia = 0 and nitrite = 0. Once it's cycled, then get the fish. AND ... (this is very important) get only FEW fish at a time, because if you get too many fish at once, you may get an ammonia or nitrite spike EVEN THOUGH your tank is cycled. It's best to stock a tank GRADUALLY, adding only few fish at a time.

Once the oscars and the pleco are given away, as I've said, wait for the tank to cycle. Once it's cycled, nice and hardy (as well as small) fish that should survive even if you have an ammonia or nitrite spike are zebra danios and white cloud mountain minnows. These are schooling fish, so you should have each species in a group of at least 6. There are probably many other hardy species, which you'd have to research. And most importantly: DO research any next fish species you'll want to buy. Read up on them BEFORE you buy them, to make sure they won't grow too large for your tank, and to make sure that any species you'll want to mix will be compatible with each other. For a 40 gallon tank, I'd personally not get any fish that grows larger than 5 - 6 inches (when adult). ALWAYS consider fish's ADULT size when buying fish, NOT their size when you buy them. Most fish are sold as babies or adolescents and have not yet reached their final size.

Please consider this advice, it's for your own good.
 

Gunnie

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Welcome to FishLore! It's great to have you with us! I have 2 oscars and a large pleco in a 100 gal. tank, and sometimes I think they need a bigger tank. Plecos are big waste producers along with your pleco. They get more aggressive as they get older, so expect the fighting to continue. You definately need a larger tank, as your oscars will grow about an inch a month for their first year of life. After that, they will continue to grow, but much more slowly. Mine are probably around 10 inches each, and they are about 2 and a half years old. Oscars can live 10 years.

You definately need to be testing your water. Your ammonia level will rise very quickly with those fish you have, and you will be doing a lot of water changes until your tank is cycled. If you do decide to return the fish, please cycle the tank first, and then add more fish. There are some excellent choices out there for the current tank you already have. Cichlids are very popular. This link has some cookie cutter set ups you might find interesting:
 
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IceOscar

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Thank you for the link I appreciate it. I had a friend who had his Oscars (2) live for about 4-5 years in what I think was about a 90-100 gallon tank (the one I will be hopefully getting) and they seemed just fine and happy in it. They did grow very large and loved to eat all the time, unfortunatly they became too much of a hassle come college and he gave them away. I love the 30 gallon tank it fits perfectly in my room and I'd love to get the Oscars into the larger tank so that I can fit some smaller fish into this one that won't become a hassle.
 

LarryDavid

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First of all Oscas are very aggresive fish, these are a breed of fish I know a good amount about as I grew up with having them.
They will become very aggresive to one another as my old Oscars used to fight alot, chunks bit off, tails ribboned.
Be very careful as in my experience if you manage to lose 1 Oscar the other will shut down completely, more or less losing the will to live...

Great fish though try an feed them by hand if your using pellets.
 
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IceOscar

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Actually they've seemed to be very friendly with one another since the first day, they follow each other around most of the time swimming almost identical it's funny! As for the placo they barely notice him and he just does his own thing
 
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IceOscar

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Well it's been quite sometime since I setup my tank, and unfortunatly 1 of the 2 Oscars is not alive anymore, however the 1 remaining seems happy and energetic. The pleco is also doing very well, althought it is hard to get him the algae pellets because the Oscar seeks them out and gets them very quickly. The tank's nitrites are at a steady 0, and hopefully sometime in the new year I will setup a bigger tank for the fish!
 

smillermom

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I'm sorry about the oscar but it sounds like the other is doing well. I had an oscar as a kid and just thought he was the greatest! If you can get at least a 55, you will be in for many years of enjoyment as your fish will be very happy in bigger quarters! Good luck and have fun!
 
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