Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Oscar Aquarium

It's very sad but fish don't seem to command the respect that other pets like dogs, cats and even horses do. Nobody would go out and buy a horse if all they had was a small garden. So why get a fish that can often exceed 1 foot if all you have got is a small community tank?

Many people agree that 55 UK gallons is the absolute minimum to house one Oscar. Like I said, this is contentious and not everybody agrees. I am one of those that recommends a larger tank than 55 gallons. My personal opinion is that for one Oscar, you should be considering a tank of around 75 UK gallons (350 L). If you are looking to keep two Oscars, seriously consider going for a tank that is over 100 gallons. 6 x 2 x 2 aquariums are readily available. These normally hold around 125 gallons of water and are perfect for two Oscars and a few tankmates.

At a push, you could probably keep three Oscars in a tank of this size. However, if you intend on keeping more Oscars, or lots of tank mates, you're probably going to have to go down the road of commissioning a custom-made tank.

What you have got to remember is that you need plenty of water to cope with what we call the bio-load. Basically this means the amount of waste the fish produces. A good way of describing how this works is if we create a scenario where we let a stink bomb off in a telephone box, one of the old ones with a door. You know for sure that within a a few seconds, it is going to be absolutely unbearable inside that small amount of space. Now imagine letting that same stink bomb in a very large room. Okay, you are still going to smell it, but the smell won't be half as pungent because there is that much more space. That's how it works in a fish tank.

If you house an Oscar in a very small tank, you will find that the water will become contaminated that much quicker than if you have a lot of water. As the fish gets bigger, it produces more waste and that's when you have problems with water quality. Not only will your nitrate levels build up a lot quicker, you could also start having ammonia and nitrite present which is really bad news.

Just remember that if you go for the minimum tank size, you can only have an Oscar, you can't start adding tankmates to the aquarium, I'm afraid you're stuck with one Oscar. That is why I always think it's a good idea to think this through properly. Once you have got your tank set up with fish, it's a huge convenience having to start again with a larger tank because you realise that you wished you'd had done it in the first place.