Oscar scooping gravel

eligri

Member
Hey!

I see my Oscar quite frequently plowing his opened mouth across my tank's bottom, gathering a bunch of gravel, then spitting it out and/or shooting it out his gills. Is this normal?

Heard it might be diet related, but not sure if that's the case since he doesn't appear to swallow the gravel.

He mainly eats; Hikari Cichlid Red, cichlid granule, small amount of flakes (tetra, brown lid), and small amount of bloodworms every few days. He also eats a few algae wafers, that he steals from my pleco's.

Thanks
 

Redshark1

Member
Although I don't keep Oscars yet, I have been reading about them and it seems they do like to rearrange their tanks themselves!

It's an intelligent fish and needs something to do. If it has no other fish to hunt and kill and no mate to breed with it will invent its own games.

If they are really bored they will eat the eyes out of Plecos. Interaction with its owner is important.
 

Dawn Michele

Member
Hello. I have an Oscar named Big Boy and he is ALWAYS rearranging his tank. LOL. He LOVES to get a mouthful of gravel and spit it out. They are alot of fun.
 

MacZ

Member
Cichlids in general like to do this. From small shell dwellers and apistos to geophagus and mbuna up to Dovii and oscars. The number of cichlid species that won't do that is smaller than the number that do this regularly.

It is diet related but totally harmless, they sift substrates for leftovers and edible stuff. It does not mean they get too little food.
But when they start building a ramp or digging a bigger hole, that can be breeding related. But what you describe is simply normal behaviour.
 
  • Thread Starter

eligri

Member
Thanks guys!
Then I can relax. Worried he was trying to eat gravel to clear indigestion or something. Heard they do that, but rearranging sounds reasonable. He tends to ruin all my plants by biting them/pulling them, so he certainly has those tendencies.
He has been moving gravel a lot more the last 2-3 days. Maybe due to him killing all the plants already ;)
 

MoshJosh

Member
Yeah this sounds pretty common place when it comes to oscars. I don’t have one myself, but my firemouth cichlid likes to do this. . . For some reason he thinks the plants look better covered in sand and gravel. :mad:
 

goporcupine

Member
This is totally normal! My oscars dig holes and build hills and then get VERY VERY angry when I destroy all their architecture by cleaning the gravel. You can get your fish little glass marbles so they can play basketball too!
 

!poogs!

Member
Very normal for most all South American cichlids to do this with a few exceptions. I call it nesting. Dig right down to the glass and hover in the hole.

You may want to try diversify his diet. I feed once a day. I feed cichlid pellets every other day, frozen krill everyday, and on the alternating days I don’t feed pellets, I switch between frozen blood worm, frozen brine shrimp, freeze dried tubifex worms, and frozen large mysis shrimp.
 

Dawn Michele

Member
goporcupine said:
This is totally normal! My oscars dig holes and build hills and then get VERY VERY angry when I destroy all their architecture by cleaning the gravel. You can get your fish little glass marbles so they can play basketball too!
Mine has a fit when I clean his gravel. LOL!!!
 
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