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TOPIC: Hole in the head.....

Hole in the head..... 8 months 2 weeks ago #71844

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Looking for input re my Oscar with hth disease. So, I kept Oscars when I was young and they all seemed to get hth. Of course that was before the Internet, and the facts I thought I knew were all wrong.... so, a couple years ago I came back to Oscars and thought I’d do it right. (I’ve kept fish for 35 years, just not Oscars...). So I came to this forum and learned a ton. I know my setup is not optimal. I’m willing to make whatever investment or changes are necessary to cure her before this gets bad. Right now she has three small holes and some pitting in the usual places. No question what she’s got. I’ve stepped up water changes over the last month since I noticed them. They don’t seem to be improving. So, here’s the details....

2 year old Oscar, solo in a 60 gallon tank. She’s grown quickly and is about 12 inches lip to tip.... I’m running two aquaclear 70, with mechanical filtration and 3 packs of bio media in each. (I chose to stay away from canisters because I hate screwing with them). I keep the temp at 78. Ph is about 7. Ammonia and nitrite 0, nitrate never gets to 40 (red). I would say typically 20 or below. Until the last month I did water changes twice a week, right down to fin level. I use a python to refill with temp matched water and add seachem prime every time. Even though nitrates are in the right range I’ve started doing a double change twice a week. So, down to fin level, refill, backmdown to fin level, refill.

I feed her once a day typically and skip a day occasionally. Most of the time she gets pellets. I keep 3 orm4 bags of various pelllers going to mix it up, but mostly she gets northfin jumbo, northfin carnivore, or hilarity cichlid bio gold. Once or twice a week I thaw a couple frozen shrimp and cut into bite sized pieces. I also give her dried mealworms soaked in Boyd’s vitachem along with the shrimp.

So, have I missed something obvious? I know stress brings this out and I also know a 60 is the bare minimum for an Oscar. At her size could the size tank alone be a significant factor? If so i’ll get her a 6 foot tank. Although the water tests ok could filtration be a factor? I gave up trying to feed her veggies... could her diet be a problem? Thanks for reading and thanks for any input.....
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Hole in the head..... 8 months 2 weeks ago #71845

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It sounds like you have most of the obvious issues covered.

Can you post a pic of the affected area? Sometimes I think people read into what the sensory pits are as HITH. Erosion can be difficult to identify especially in the early stages. Also, sometimes HITH erosion leaves scars and doesn't really heal so even though you might be doing all you can, you won't actually see physical improvement.

Is there carbon in those aqua clear cartridges at all? Carbon dust has been a prime suspect in some cases.

For now I would continue with your beefed up regimen to see if he just needs more time to recover.
"My Country is the World, and my Religion is to do good." -Thomas Paine
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Hole in the head..... 8 months 2 weeks ago #71846

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Thanks for the reply. No carbon in the filters. She’s white, so photos not coming out to well. I think you can see on this one the 3 spots on her head. The middle one was originally an injury and looks like maybe it just scarred over, but the 2 on the outside are my concern. Now that I look closely I also see pits in a ring around her eyes, but tough to get a picture of them. The lip is a new injury from hitting the lid while feeding.

Link to photo....
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Hole in the head..... 8 months 2 weeks ago #71847

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I'm not able to see the picture. The ring around her eyes that you describe is a typical formation of sensory pits. Nothing to worry about there unless they begin to expand into lesions.

Like I said earlier if you are concerned I would keep up your regiment of upped water changes.
"My Country is the World, and my Religion is to do good." -Thomas Paine
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Hole in the head..... 8 months 2 weeks ago #71849

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I've never personally dealt with HITH. Nevertheless, I believe a protein rich diet is thought to be a contributing factor to contracting HITH. A year or so ago, there was a junior high teacher who wandered onto this forum after rescuing an Oscar that was suffering from HITH and was just in dire straights in general. The folks here helped her nurse it back to health. The primary thing that was suggested was giant water changes every day or two.

My suggestion to you is to focus on the following two things:
1. Perform as many giant water changes as you're willing and able to perform. When battling HITH, two weekly water changes in an already undersized tank just isn't enough.

2. Cut back on the protein and add more plant based foods into her diet.

Regarding #2....I thought I remembered reading somewhere that your fish won't accept plant based foods? Assuming that's accurate, since you know she accepts pellets, you should try giving her plant based pellets. NLS makes a good plant based pellet...it's called Algaemax. Since you're open to feeding Northfin pellets, they also make a plant based wafer/pellet. If you're interested in scaling back on the protein and adding more plants into her diet, I have 1/8-1/4 bag of the Northfin pellets I won't use. You're welcomed to have them if you're willing to pay for the shipping.

For the past year, I've been feeding my Oscar a plant based "pellet" that I've developed. I'll send you the recipe if you're interested.

Since your Oscar is 2 years old and the majority of her growth is behind her, her protein needs aren't as great as they were when she was growing by the day. You couple that with the predominate thought that diets high in protein contribute to HITH, I'd suggest scaling back on the protein and finding ways to add in plant based foods. Oranges are also good for Oscars....I'd offer them on his fasting days. If she learns to accept them, then all the better.
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Hole in the head..... 8 months 1 week ago #71850

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Other dietary supplements that will aid in overall fish health.... spirulina powder. Available at any health store. Sprinkle on the shrimp. Makes a green mess but very good for omnivorous cichlids that are otherwise difficult to get veg into. Potassium iodide, which is vegetable iodine. Derived from kelp and seaweed, will aid in fish thyroid health. A few drops in food, apply the same way that the Boyd's is used. Yes to a bigger tank, asap. At a foot long your Oscar has long outgrown a 60g tank. Water quality aside, stress from confined space is a very real issue for large adult Oscars. While the basic recommendation is a 75g minimum with a 48x18 footprint, my experience is that big Oscars do far better in at least a 5ft tank of over 100gals. I have Oscars that make 6ft tanks look not so large. It is NOT ridiculous nor a waste of space to keep a big Oscar solo in a 6x2x2 180gal tank. Go as big as you can manage, there is nothing but benefit for your fish to have as much room as possible
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Hole in the head..... 8 months 1 week ago #71851

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Wow-thanks to everyone for the great input..... no matter how much I think I know, always more out there. So, digesting all this into my plan.... short term I am changing my water change routine. Was was doing a double change twice a week. Just doing it that way so I didn’t have to take out the hose more often, but I think I’m going to switch to a single 90% change every other day. Relative to diet I will find a way to get some plants into her. I have to place a northfin order anyway so I’ll get some plant based pellets. But thanks beretta96 for the offer. I’ll also try the spiralina. Also, one more interesting thing and you guys can tell me if you think it’s real or not. I read somewhere n the internet (not here) that stay electric currents can cause a problem. So, being a good EE I measure the voltage from my water to ground and fount it at 6-7 volts. I discovered one of my heaters was causing most of that, so I swapped it out. Still had a volt or 2, so I added a ground wire into the tank and now I’m at 0.... the funny thing is I went to my 30 galling goldfish tank to use as a control test and that one was at 35 volts.... one of the powerheads was defective and when I pulled it out it went right down to 0. The goldfish don’t seem to care, but then again they are just, well.... goldfish... and finally I’m going to upgrade the tank in the next month or so. Haven’t decided on a 5 foot 120 or 6 foot 125. Need to make some measurements. A recommendation for our moderator if you have the ability to update the article describing minimum requirements. This was my source for setup, and wish I had gone bigger. It indicates a 55 is the bare minimum and after reading many posts here it seems like most people would recommend a 75 as minimum for a full grown Oscar. But regardless thanks to everyone for the input and i’ll Keep you posted on her progress.....
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Hole in the head..... 8 months 1 week ago #71852

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If you have the room, go for the 6ft 125. The extra 5g over the 120 is meaningless, but the extra foot of length is a good difference. 5ft 120g is a good long term Oscar house. I have several of both size tanks, both work well for a single large cichlid. I have to doubt the negative effects of voltage. I have zero proof to back up my doubt, but I have lots of experience with hith, and the cause is almost always water quality, tankspace, and poor mineral and vitamin content in the diet. It is an interesting speculation though. Re the veg pellets.. Northfin veg pellets are at 3mm for the biggest. I find that some bigger fish aren't interested in small pellets. I have better luck with the 14mm kelp wafers. Big Oscar gets them in and down no probs. If your fish isn't fussy on small feed, the kelp would be the way to go.
1600gals of South and Central American cichlids. Some with just a "wee" bit of attitude!
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Hole in the head..... 8 months 1 week ago #71853

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Northstar5 wrote:
.....I have better luck with the 14mm kelp wafers. Big Oscar gets them in and down no probs...

Thanks for clarifying.....those are the ones to which I was referring.
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Hole in the head..... 8 months 1 week ago #71854

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Thanks everyone. We're in the process of moving and I have a spot picked out in the living room for the new tank. I know I can fit a 5 footer, and if a 6 will fit i'll go with that. I'll be there this weekend to measure. I've got both northfn veg and northfin kelp wafers on order. How often do you recommend she get the veg? I'm thinking 2-3 days a week and then the northfin jumbo or cichlid on the other days except occasional treats like shrimp or earthworms. Does this sound like a reasonable approach and ratio of veg/normal?
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