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TOPIC: Need help with SAFE hiding spots for big fish

Need help with SAFE hiding spots for big fish 7 months 12 hours ago #71318

  • Jessie
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Hey all!

I've got two tanks I'm looking for some guidance upgrading hiding spots in. I've got a 125 with a breeding pair of oscars who are each about 10-12" and a large plecco, and my 55 (soon to be 75) that's low on fish now after the recent loss of our dempsey, but there's another large plecco in that one that's starting to get cramped in the pet store bought "caves" that are in there now.

My oscars used to have some plastic flower pots in their tank that they liked when they were little but I started to get paranoid, not finding much solid info one way or the other, about whether they might leech anything into the water (plus they got to the point where no amount of scrubbing kept them from looking gross). I can't seem to find anything made for aquariums that's of a size I feel would really be useful for the pleccos - the pleccos are my primary concern as I recently thought one had gotten stuck in a cave (though found she was just thrashing around to rearrange things and wasn't stuck).

I've seen suggestions for (and would get any of these new, not used to avoid possible contaminants):
-terracotta pots
-clay drainage pipes
-plastic pots
-PVC pipes
-non-painted glass pieces like vases
-anything dishwasher safe

Anyone have experience with any of those or have suggestions on how to make sure something's safe before putting it in the tank? I lost a beautiful cichlid we'd had for a long time a few years back after putting in what I thought was a safe piece of stone that I guess carried something in with it, so I'm a bit wary and want to see what other people have had success with before I try anything not specifically for aquariums.

Ideally I'd love to try using some of the clay pipes since they're open on both ends so my pleccos could get in and out of them more easily, or maybe PVC piping and that I could probably make look less "trash-like" with some aquarium safe silicone and gravel to cover the surface.

I appreciate anybody's thoughts!
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Need help with SAFE hiding spots for big fish 7 months 2 hours ago #71324

  • Northstar5
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You want to be careful not to over-deco. I find the natural look works best for an Oscar tank. A few rocks, a piece or two of driftwood. Your tank is heavily stocked, and swimspace is at a premium. Plecos also do well with a rocky cave, and the wood is very good for their digestion.
1600gals of South and Central American cichlids. Some with just a "wee" bit of attitude!
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Need help with SAFE hiding spots for big fish 6 months 4 weeks ago #71326

  • toom
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Oscars are very active swimmers but that don't mean you can't decorate your tank propperly. They love to cruise around, above and under driftwood. Possibillitys are limitless.
For the Pleco it will be enough if you give him a space where he can get a rest of the cichlids, a crack or rigjtly placed piece of driftwood is enough.

Flower post and caves are more something for central american cichlids or crenicichla.
We need to stop talking about the people as if they were the crown of creation.
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Need help with SAFE hiding spots for big fish 6 months 4 weeks ago #71328

  • Jessie
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Northstar, What size tank would you recommend for two oscars and a plecco? Based on the research I'd done on here I thought a 125 was plenty for the three of them, but I can always upgrade that tank and move the 125 somewhere else if that's too small a space - I keep their water parameters pretty perfect though going overboard with filtration and biweekly sizeable water changes, so we haven't had any problems with the bio-load from that standpoint.

And yeah, I realize rereading that my post isn't super clear - I know the oscars don't NEED hiding places anymore though one of the pair does like retreating and hiding when he's made his lady mad at him but so really I'm only worried about the plecco in each of my larger tanks as they're both about 12" and getting tight in the spaces they have, but there's nothing that I've found commercially available (including driftwood) that comes in any kind of size that'd give them the amount of cover I'm looking for - everything I've found thus far at pet stores they'd be in danger of getting stuck in, but I may luck out if I keep looking...still seems like $70+ for a piece dubbed "large decor" at some stores is a bit much if it'd be safe for me to add something else like PVC or clay pots instead.

I know pleccos are shy and get stressed out if they don't have full cover available, so I don't want to go the route of just leaning driftwood or something so they can hang out underneath it - both actually already have basically that, one with a large piece of driftwood he could be using and the other with a fake big "coral" decor piece I've got at an angle to create a good cover spot, but in both tanks neither spot gets used as the pleccos still are preferring to wedge themselves into the small but full cover plastic caves they have.

Does anybody have experience with any of the materials I mentioned? Or have suggestions on good articles you've found or personal projects you've done for DIY caves - I've seen some here and there of people using like foam board they sculpt, covering that in instant concrete and then sealing it with something - maybe that'd be the best way to get the sizing I want and still have it look pretty?
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Need help with SAFE hiding spots for big fish 6 months 4 weeks ago #71330

  • Northstar5
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Hi Jessie.. I base my recommendations on many decades and many Oscars over that time. I currently have 6 Oscars. If your 125 is the 72x18 footprint, I call that bare minimum for 2 adult Oscars. So much better is a standard 180g with a 24in width. I also keep big plecos, and realize very well that bioload multiplies greatly with these beasts. I would wager that your foot long pleco matches or even exceeds the combined bioload of the two Oscars. Its a lot for 125g. You are keeping water clean with 2x weekly water changes, but I would also wager its not as clean as you might think. You have the possibility of a nitrate creep that may approach 10ppm per day. Its easily over 5. If you can offer a bigger tank, you want to keep Oscars and plecos together, I would look at 7-8ft tanks with volume in the 250-300gal range. That's not extreme for big cichlids and big plecos.
1600gals of South and Central American cichlids. Some with just a "wee" bit of attitude!
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Need help with SAFE hiding spots for big fish 6 months 4 weeks ago #71332

  • FreshyFesh
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All I keep in my oscar / sev tank is a few plastic plants. I prefer the type with ceramic type weighted bases. I just mail-order cheap ones. No matter how deeply I bury the bases, they still uproot and shove them around. I don't want to eat up space in this tank with large solid decor.
75g a tiger oscar and a green severum
55g community tank with plants
55g goldfish tank
29g community tank with plants
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Need help with SAFE hiding spots for big fish 6 months 3 weeks ago #71338

  • tom
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I gave up on plants altogether fake or real.
My Oscars have simply trashed them.all.
I use large rocks and wood on a pool filter sand bottom.
:)
6 ft 220g - Tiger O, Rotkeil Severum 10 Silver Dollars
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Need help with SAFE hiding spots for big fish 6 months 2 weeks ago #71380

  • Jessie
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I'm curious - where have you had luck finding tanks that big? Do you just custom order them through a local pet store? I ask as I find that none of the ones within driving distance of me ever list anything over a 150 gallon. Based on recommendations from some other folks on here I usually do about a 40-50% water change (keeping filter water and with a good 2" deep gravel bed, where the oscars don't rearrange it that is, and my filters all have a good load of ceramics to keep the bacteria healthy) every other week and I test, especially the nitrate levels weekly. Sadly I just saw a 180 gallon on Craigslist, but didn't have the cash to grab it at the time and the condition was a bit questionable, but other than that one I haven't recently come across anything bigger than a 125. Any suggestions of where to look or resources if I need to build that kind of size myself would be awesome!

Thanks for pointing that out!
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Need help with SAFE hiding spots for big fish 6 months 2 weeks ago #71384

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I found mine on Craigslist.
Marineland makes large tanks that you can order from most pet stores.
:)
6 ft 220g - Tiger O, Rotkeil Severum 10 Silver Dollars
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