Oscar problem

Discussion in 'Freshwater Fish Disease' started by kmarsh79, Mar 31, 2012.

  1. kmarsh79New MemberMember


    I recently noticed that my oscar may have hole in the head disease. He lives in a 35 gallon tank and is fed almost every day. He is normally a happy guy. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
  2. soltarianknight

    soltarianknightFishlore VIPMember

    An upgrade? Oscars need the bare minimum 75gallons to grow properly. I can only imagine the water quality, do you have a test kit?
  3. OP

    kmarsh79New MemberMember

    unfortunately I don't have the funds to support a larger system nor this "test kit". He seems as if he has enough space. I assume that the quality of water is similar to that of our cities which is quite good. :;google

  4. soltarianknight

    soltarianknightFishlore VIPMember

    Yeah.....no. He doesnt, trust me. He may seem small, thats because hes incapable of growing any bigger on the outside, he will die a very painful death unless moved up. Water quality depends on how often you clean the water, the bioload and if the tanks cycled. You should be doing 2-3 50% water changes a week for an oscar in a tank that size. I will not be googling your cities water either. If you dont have the funds to properly care for the animal i suggest finding it an appropriate home where it can live properly.

  5. Wendy Lubianetsky

    Wendy LubianetskyWell Known MemberMember

    :-*I don't know how old your Oscar is, but eventually, he will need a bigger home. I have mine in a 60 right now, and it is clear to me that I have to upgrade to a 100 + to keep him and his 3 buddies happy. What you have to remember is hole in the head disease is caused by bad water quality. If you don't have a test kit, then you will never know how bad the water quality is. I have to change 30 gallons of a 60 gallon aquarium every other day to keep the ammonia from waste and nitrites down. I have to vaccuum every other day AT LEAST. Everytime I let up his fins shred and he looks happy but his body is taking a beating, and that is from not doing large enough water changes or skipping a couple days. With Oscars you really have to stay on top of it or they will get sick from your lack of understanding what their needs are. The water quality has nothing to do with your city water, it has to do with what rate he is excreting waste into the water and how fast that is turning into poisonous nitrite and if it is being changed to nitrate.
  6. AlyeskaGirlFishlore VIPMember

    A common cause of the disease is poor water quality. Fish may be stressed. These fish need clean water and a nutritious diet.

    Treatment is feed balanced nutritious diet.
    Lots of water changes.
    Raise temp to 80-82.

    Do you use activated carbon?

    I hope he gets better soon.
  7. OP

    kmarsh79New MemberMember

    I appreciate all the suggestions, but I don't necessarily agree. Every couple of days, when I do get to attend to him, he seems quite energetic. Other than several holes in the head, I feel his habitat is adequate. Regarding re-homing, this is not an option as he is my companion.
  8. Shine

    ShineWell Known MemberMember

    Why are you asking for advise if you already know he is fine?

    I seriously doubt a 36 gallon tank is big enough for a fish that can get to be 12-16 inches long on average. Even if he is small now, he needs space to grow properly. Large fish POOP a lot, and that makes the water he lives in toxic. Necessitating in large, frequent water changes to insure the water doesn't actively poison your fish.
  9. sirdarksol

    sirdarksolFishlore LegendMember

    Hole in the head disease is generally caused by two things: Poor water quality and poor nutrition. Most often, it is found in fish who are fed feeder fish. Feeders are the equivalent of a hamburger and fries from a fast-food place. Low-quality flakes can also be problematic. Poor water quality can occur due to too-small tank and/or not enough water changes.
    Oscars do not belong in small tanks. They need tanks closer to the 100g mark. You can disagree with this, but it's a simple fact that an oscar's life expectancy in a 35g is much lower than in an appropriate-sized tank.

    To everyone else, please remember to keep things civil. While we can give kmarsh information, in the end we can't actually decide what is done with the oscar. That is up to kmarsh alone.
  10. Butterfly

    ButterflyModeratorModerator Member

    Welcome to fishLore!
    That medicine you need is a larger tank and more water changes. Hole in

    the head disease (HTH) is as has been said caused from the water quality.

    You asked for help and the advise that has been courteously given is right

    on the spot. You can dose him with every medicine you can find but until he

    is housed differently and more water changes done it will continue to get


    I'm sorry if this is not what you want to hear.
  11. OP

    kmarsh79New MemberMember

    finally some good advice. I will ensure that I feed him hamburg and feeder fish to alleviate the problems. Thanks!!!!
  12. soltarianknight

    soltarianknightFishlore VIPMember

    I apologize for my behavior. Its much the same way with my dog, jersey. She chews things up CONSTANTLY so we started crating her. Since im gone for 12 hours a day she normally stays crated. Then Ill let her out for an hour or so when i get home. Unfortunetly lately shes been having weight problems, according to the vet they are common in labs who dont get proper exercise and nutrition. He said we need to fence in the yard so she can run during the day, we really dont have the money for that and i dont want to get rid of her. He wrong anyways, she does fine in the crate all day. Always energetic when she gets let out. Sometimes we just know whats best for our own animals and we have to leave it at that. Once again, i apologize for my previous behavior.
  13. I keep fish

    I keep fishWell Known MemberMember

    I think he meant dont feed him that.Thats one of the causes of it.
  14. buzz4520

    buzz4520Valued MemberMember

    Here's some info that will help with you oscar. I have oscars myself.

    If your fish does develop Hole in the Head Disease then act quickly by first carrying out a water test. If your fish has got this disease then the chances are it is your water conditions that are causing the problem, it is extremely uncommon for fish to develop this disease for no reason. If you discover that you have indeed got poor water conditions then you must act accordingly by carrying out a large water change to remove as much of the toxin as possible. You may also be wise to get a product called "Prime". This product not only removes chlorine, but also detoxifies ammonia and nitrite. Cap you will still get a reading of ammonia and nitrite when you carry out a water test, but it will not be a toxic form. Carry out water changes until your ammonia and/or nitrite are back to zero and stay like that.

    Early stages of Hole in the Head Disease can be cured by simply increasing your tank maintenance and water changes, making sure that there are no toxins present, and your nitrate is always low. Severe cases of hole in the head disease may need intervention from medication. One of the most recognized treatments for Hole in the Head is a medication called Metronidazole. Metronidazole comes in tablets and powder form, and is also part of the ingredients of some medication.

    Unfortunately, due to the fact that many people do not keep Oscars in the correct environment, hole in the head disease is all too common and we often get people seeking help on the forums. Oscar Fish can get quite big, they produce lots of waste and create large amounts of ammonia. If you do not provide them with the correct living conditions, i.e. a large aquarium, a healthy diet and plenty of filtration, it is inevitable that you will be putting your fish at great risk from developing not only hole in the head disease, but many other disease and illnesses as well.

    info from:
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2012
  15. AlyeskaGirlFishlore VIPMember

  16. Shine

    ShineWell Known MemberMember

    You misread what sirdarksol wrote kmarsh: HITH is often found in fish that are fed feeder fish. Feeders DO NOT have the proper nutrients, and should not be fed as a staple of an oscar's diet.
  17. Akari_32

    Akari_32Fishlore LegendMember

    Side note on Feeder Fish:

    Home bred and raised feeders that are fed on a good, high quality diet are actually very beneficial to any omnivorous/carnivorous fish ;)

    Store bought, not so much.
  18. CichlidnutFishlore VIPMember

    I think he read the post correctly.
  19. OP

    kmarsh79New MemberMember

    Thanks for the apology! It was very kind of you. I also have a dog that I too "crate" as I am a very busy man. At times he can be left alone up to 15 hours. But as you stated, when we see each other, he is extermely exited. Similar to yours, he has a weight problem. As parents to these wonderful animals we can only do our best to provide them what they need. Regarding my oscar, I think I may go back to petco and ask for advice as well as A 6.99 credit as this is what I invested in him. They told me the 30 gallon was plenty big for him.
    Thanks again!:;juan
  20. Akari_32

    Akari_32Fishlore LegendMember

    PetCo just wants your money :p They tell you what you want to hear just to make the sale, and its usually very wrong, but they just seem so nice, and that makes you come back and spend more money when things go wrong, or think they are going well. Gotta love it :rolleyes:
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2012

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