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How many oscars?


Mongo_like_fish
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Alright, this one is for all the oscar pros. I recently got a 220g (6x2x2.5) and I decided to go with oscar/oscars. I've had other South/Central American cichlids before but no Oscars. 

The plan is to try and get away with a few plants with some large rocks around them to discourage them being dug up, nice big ball of hornwort and some duckweed. These will mainly be to help with water quality. I'll  probably be filtering with 2 or 3 large sponge filters. Also plan on a pleco of some sort (whatever I can find that's already to big for a full grown oscar to bother trying to eat). Originally I was going to only get a single oscar, but my girlfriend and I can't agree on color morph so I'm thinking about multiple. My goal is to keep water changes to once a week and not more than 25%.

So first question is, given the info above is the WC schedule doable with 2-3 oscars and with no plants if they end up getting destroyed? I know feeding also plays into this, but let's assume I'm feeding enough to keep them healthy, as opposed to power feeding them, or starving them.

Next question would be, as far as aggression (I know this is speculative with cichlids of any kind) do oscars "typically" get along together, and would I be better off with 2 or with 3?

Lastly, how easy do these guys pair up? I Do Not want to make more oscars. There's already enough out there and that would definitely complicate the aggression issue.

Sorry for the long post, and thanks in advance for your advice.

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I have some experience with oscars but not a ton, so I’m far from an expert. I can say that if you want more than 1, then I would go with 3. Rule of thumb is either 1, or 3 or more. Secondly I had an Oscar that would beat the hell out of a sponge filter. Not only does this cause the water to get really dirty whenever they feel like “playing” or “killing” the large spongey thing, but it could eventually get destroyed. Almost any other method of filtration will be better than sponges in this specific scenario. Having plants in the aquarium is purely trial and error. Can it work? Maybe. Can it fail miserably? Maybe. Basically depends on the temperament of the fish. As far as water changes, I’ve never dealt with an aquarium as large as a 220, but I can tell you that oscars are messy fish. Their bioload is high, there’s no way around it. When adults, their poop is large and by adding a pleco (another high bioload fish) you’re only increasing the likelihood of having to do water changes. 
If doing only a 25% water change once a week using sponge filters, then I’d seriously research another fish, possibly something much smaller. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but what happens if they destroy your sponge filters and plants? Also it will be pretty difficult to feed a pleco with oscars that aren’t full. They will constantly eat whatever you feed the pleco, leaving the pleco hungry. Most plecos that get fairly large eat meat, not algae, so the likelihood of their food being stolen is pretty high.

You can always get 1 Oscar and 1 pleco to limit all of this, but in my opinion, you could also house an adult Oscar in a 75 and not waste a 220 on a single fish and pleco. Good luck

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No worries on being bad news. I'd rather know what people think instead of hearing what they think I want to hear. I know the questions are all really speculative. I'm just trying to get a feel of probability based on yays vs nays. I've seen plenty of videos with similar scenarios that seemed like it would be OK, but videos are just a quick snap shot in time and don't represent long term. For all I know, half those tanks turned into war zones the day after they were shot.

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On 11/4/2021 at 2:40 PM, Manny said:

Your approach is mature and very exceptional, I applaud the effort.

Appreciate the compliment. I've been in and out of the hobby for about 20 years, depending on available time, money, space,  etc. Now I'm finally settled down and can make it stick. This is the first time I've been able to have a tank big enough for even 1 oscar and I want to make sure to do it right. I'm really excited about it so I definitely will be sharing the experience here.

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Sponge filters are fine, but only suitable for relatively light stocking. Oscars create a lot of waste, so I would guess canister or sump filtration would be needed, especially as the oscars get larger. I was not aware of their propensity to destroy sponge filters, but that would be another reason to go with non-sponge filtration.

 

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On 11/4/2021 at 4:16 PM, HH Morant said:

I was not aware of their propensity to destroy sponge filters, but that would be another reason to go with non-sponge filtration

Yeah I had not heard that either, but I guess it really wouldn't surprise me, given they like to redecorate.  I'll probably change that part of the plan with a couple of large HOBs. The tank isn't drilled for a sump, better at mechanical than sponges, and the HOBs will be easier and quicker to maintain than canister, I'll just have to do it more often, which isn't a big deal.

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