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Old 10-26-2020, 11:20 PM   #1
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Oscar ALWAYS hiding. Moody or something wrong?!

Hello again,

I have an adult (we believe female) Oscar, 12” long. We got her when we adopted a used 60gal tank and its inhabitants 2 months ago. It was soon apparent that we needed a bigger tank, so 3 weeks ago we bought a brand new 90gal.

Current fish:
-12” Oscar
-10” Jack Dempsey
-8” common pleco
-a few tetras (I was hoping to use them as “dither fish” to hopefully coax the Oscar out of hiding).

The JD and the Oscar seem to me to be friends. They’re always together; Oscar seems to be the leader and of she’s out swimming, jack is too. If she goes and hides he does too. I have never seen any aggressive behavior like chasing, mouth flaring, etc.

Water parameters are excellent and I change water pretty often (when nitrates get about 40 or so), usually 40-50% twice a week. I don’t think water is my problem.

This Oscar (and due to his following behaviors, the JD too) is hiding behind decorations in the back corner ALL THE TIME. Seriously over 23 hours a day. She may poke her head out and swim across the tank and immediately go back into hiding. She’s often laying on her side on the gravel back there. For hours.

We can usually get her to eat a few crickets or pellets daily, but I don’t think it’s anywhere near the amount she should eat. I’ve seen her poop exactly twice in two months. She doesn’t seem thin and also not bloated. JD never eats in front of us but I do see him picking stuff up off the bottom. He never seems to poop either.

They’ve been here two months and they still scramble every time they see us. Is this normal?!? How long do these fish take to get comfortable?!? Or is it something else?

I have done endless research on diseases and parasites and water conditions and lighting etc. I can’t get these fish to come around!!!!

Again, it’s the Oscar I need help with. The pleco and tetras are great. And the JD just does whatever the Oscar is doing, so if she comes out of hiding he will too.

Anyone?

JS
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Old 10-26-2020, 11:29 PM   #2
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That is peculiar for an Oscar, not the jd tho. Jd's hide alot. Oscars are generally very gregarious. Did you ever get to observe her at the other home? How was she in the 60g tank?
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Old 10-26-2020, 11:39 PM   #3
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I was reading some other info on this new tank. Have you used the ro/di water yet? How often was the old owner maintaining the 60g? I have several theories without knowing any answers. Ime, cichlids will "pout" about being moved to a new home. Sometimes for a month or 2. Your ph might be way different than what they were used too, they may be suffering from old tank syndrome, and need to slowly acclimate to better water conditions. Or they may just not relate ya'll to food yet, and still wait for the previous owner to show up. Some studies have shown that oscars recognize faces
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Old 10-26-2020, 11:39 PM   #4
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What was in there that you rehomed?
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Old 10-27-2020, 12:50 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by charliebankston View Post
I was reading some other info on this new tank. Have you used the ro/di water yet? How often was the old owner maintaining the 60g? I have several theories without knowing any answers. Ime, cichlids will "pout" about being moved to a new home. Sometimes for a month or 2. Your ph might be way different than what they were used too, they may be suffering from old tank syndrome, and need to slowly acclimate to better water conditions. Or they may just not relate ya'll to food yet, and still wait for the previous owner to show up. Some studies have shown that oscars recognize faces
Hi Charlie, thank you for your attention.

Ok- RO water: I’ve used it as half the water of my last three 50% water changes. The tank PH has not changed (it’s still 8) but the water hardness has gone down somewhat, which was a goal. I plan to keep doing it this way. I have not seen a behavioral difference in the fish though. (And, I do not have DI, only RO. This unit has an optional DI cartridge which I do not have).

Old owner: I have no idea how often or how they were cared for. I didn’t even meet her. She was suddenly hospitalized and the husband who knows nothing about fish sold us the tank. He told me on the phone that the included fish were tetras! (Because the food they were feeding was tetra brand!) I do think the old tank was under-filtered and it was pretty dirty, and lots of algae. The pellets that the Oscar does eat willingly came with the fish, so she’s used to these. She also LOVES live crickets from the pet store. She’s dabbled with some other foods, including one of my tetras. Lol

You also asked what was in here that we rehomed: there was a 6” Convict Cichlid (Oscar ignored him but JD was tearing his fins up) and a HUGE 13” pleco. The pleco and the Oscar fought daily. He would try to suck on her sides and she would aggressively fight him off. Those two fish have gone to live with other aquarists.

I do not know if this is pertinent... when we got the fish, this Oscar, the Convict, and the big pleco were in the 60. This JD and the smaller 8” pleco were in a FILTHY 20gal. Seriously. I have no idea why... I’m guessing it was temporary because the JD picks on the convict. The man didn’t know why they were there specifically but I got the impression they were there temporarily.

Again, I see only companionship with the Oscar and the JD here. They always hang out together and the JD seems super timid and insecure unless Oscar is out. She will swim out of hiding and a few seconds later JD will timidly follow along. But if she gets spooked and hides he immediately hides out too. They hang out in the same corner but in different alcoves of the big plastic stump I have back there.

Thanks for your help.

JS
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Old 10-27-2020, 02:31 AM   #6
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OK cool, thanks for the info. I think, (and it's just a guess from my limited knowledge and experience) that she wasn't prob able to keep up maintenance. That's a lot of fish in that size tank. A buildup over time, of poop etc in the water, will cause the ph to slowly drop (not to mention nitrates). Most likely the oscar is suffering more from the change from the old bad water parameters to the good ones now. Recently my wife changed her betta over from an old 5 gal to a brand new 8g. She used the 5 gallons of tank water in the new 8. Then added 3g of new treated water. I thought the betta was surely gonna die. He laid on the bottom, wouldn't eat, hid under a decoration and was listless. After a week or so he slowly came around. Come to find out, she was only adding water to the 5g to replace evaporation, not taking old water out. Even just 3g of new water was like a sudden 30% water change and it was hard on him.
To make a long story short, the behavior of the jd is perfectly normal in every way. I say give the oscar some time to adjust to the new water parameters, new tank new mates, owners, etc. She's prob old, guessing again from her size, and it may just take her longest to come around
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Old 10-27-2020, 02:39 AM   #7
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On a side note, if you know the new owner of the convict, you might reach out and see if they're having same issues as you. Convicts are more timid and wary than an Oscar, but they normally come out quickly for food. He may be laying around tho in his new home too
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