Splitting Up The Oscars (a story)

LBDave

Peacock Bass
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Nov 27, 2018
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For those that appreciate the behavior of oscars:
As I have posted before I have 4 oscars. They grew up together since they were about 1.5". Now they are about 7" and I have moved them to a larger tank. The tank was not what I ordered. It's smaller than expected. (Which is a whole other story. For now this tank has to due.)
2 reds and 2 tigers. Teddy is the feisty red. Little Dave is sort of a loner to a degree. He does his own thing but will swim with the group at times.
Now the 2 tigers were the largest at the beginning. "One" was considered the dominant and "Two" (that's their names, One and Two) second dominate.
Everything was fine in oscar land. Some squabbles but all swimming together periodically. Sure some gill flaring and even a little lip locking (rare so far).
"One" seemed to lose dominance a bit. Two tried to be the top dog for a while but he never really got there. The 2 reds would not back down from him.

If I had a larger tank this "harem" would probably work out. But the tank is crowded. I recently removed a pbass but had to put her back in. She couldn't handle not being with Luther.
For now he is not giving her a hard time. They are always together.

Lately the 2 tigers and sometimes Dave the other red have been fighting with Teddy. Teddy holds his own well but is tired of all this ganging up on him. At times he rests in the corner behind some plants. Just keeping out of sight because he is tired of fighting. The pbass are also a little sick of this as it seems they have to break up the fighting. Just think all the gill flaring and such pisses them off.
One is almost always the instigator. Dave doesn't seem to want to start things but he will jump in and flare gills and charge. Two will join in when One starts something. Teddy pretty much pushes all of them back but he gets tired of this "gang" stuff.

As the 2 tigers have not fought at all for months with each other,
it appears that Two has now accepted One as the boss and they are almost always swimming together. As all the oscars are less than a year old this is not necessarily a male/ female thing. To me it is pecking order and perhaps a little red vs. tiger mixed in. Who knows.

So tomorrow the 2 tigers will go back in the old tank. We will see how it goes. Hopefully the 2 reds will get along.

As I have read and studied on oscars this doesn't mean anything is all worked out. They still have a lot of growing up. Just sort of bummed the tank isn't big enough to keep the harem going. For now just trying to reduce the stress on the fish. No fights have resulted in any damage or wounds.
 

LBDave

Peacock Bass
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Nov 27, 2018
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I made the move today. With the recent quakes and this it's surprising the stress I feel. Which is pretty stupid because I am really blessed.
Anyway I will post the overall outcome in a few days.
Anything before then would be premature. So far so good.
And just a big shout out to oscar lovers and likers everywhere. Since I got back on n the hobby I see the disrespect of the oscar.
Cheap and common.
So what.
To me it is the original monster fish.
 

beau1990

Aimara
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Sep 28, 2018
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Stanford Kentucky
I made the move today. With the recent quakes and this it's surprising the stress I feel. Which is pretty stupid because I am really blessed.
Anyway I will post the overall outcome in a few days.
Anything before then would be premature. So far so good.
And just a big shout out to oscar lovers and likers everywhere. Since I got back on n the hobby I see the disrespect of the oscar.
Cheap and common.
So what.
To me it is the original monster fish.
That’s because it is

And it’s got miles of personality
 

Ulu

Redtail Catfish
MFK Member
Dec 13, 2018
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The Sunny San Joaquin
If there's a better pet fish than the Oscar I have not met it.

I had the family over for a birthday today, and there were 13 of us going in and out all day. It's amazing how much interest the Oscar takes in all the people around his tank. You might think it would be stressful for the fish, but I think he had as much fun as anyone.
 

DonnyB

Candiru
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Nov 18, 2018
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Yep, we need to take a step back and ask ourselves 'common to whom?'. Common to us 'Fish Nerds'? maybe, to anyone else there is nothing common about having a 12-14 inch fish in a 100+ gallon tank in your home. :) Out of my three tanks (Jag/Midas/Oscar) my Oscar gets the most attention from guests in my home.

I hear these stories about Dovii being way more interactive than any other big Cichlid and someday I want to check that out but I have a hard time imagining a fish more interactive and fun than my Oscar.
 

LBDave

Peacock Bass
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Nov 27, 2018
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Story Part 2.
Ok here is the update and it's a little strange.
First of all the 2 tigers are in the old tank and apparently loving it. Just them, the silver dollars 1 geo and a pleco. #2 apparently likes to eat the eggs when the SD's are breeding which is quite often. Nothing strange here. Everything fine.
Now in the larger tank the 2 reds, Dave and Teddy fought the first night. A bit of lip locking. Dave is tough but really I don't think he likes to fight. Like I say a bit of a loner. Teddy is fiesty. Anyway they seem to have found their balance and often swim together. Teddy sometimes shakes his tail fin but then they will lay fins on each other right after. Sometimes they even go to one another and touch their faces.
Almost like "I am here!".
The tank has sand on one side (about 75%} and the other side is 3/4" river rock. The sandy side has lots of plants. My wife even got more since the oscars liked them and gave them a chance to get away from the pbass. Days ago Dave had dug sand out at the end of the tank. Mostly by using his fins as the sand is light. Now Teddy completely dug out an area down to the glass (this pit is shielded by plants) and both oscars like to stay there a lot.

Now this is the strange part. The 2 bass (Theo and Luther) stole this "nest". Theo will sometimes pick on the oscars (not a lot but sometimes). She is just being a bit territorial, but the oscars swim all over and are usually indifferent.
Luther is also usually pretty indifferent to the oscars. But he decided he wanted to lay down in this nest. Last night Teddy was really frustrated with this and he went and layed near Luther and shook his tail fin and flaied his gills. Luther wouldn't move but he didn't fight. He did shake his tail a bit to make the oscar leave.
I put my hand on the glass to try and get Luther to move. He finally did and both oscars claimed the "nest" again.
This time Theo chased them out and Luther went back in and layed in the nest with Theo. Theo stayed for a bit then went to mid level.

Teddy was really frustrated with all of this. He went over and flaired gills at Dave and then both Dave and Teddy again tried to get Luther out of the nest. Teddy would swim in and Luther would shake his tail (sort of fighting the glass).

I got tired of all this drama so I shoveled sand back into this nest area last night. Today everything is normal. Oscars swimming together, Luther looking out the window and also begging for food and Theo by his side.

I know that all these fish are too young to breed. I think the oscars have settled into their pecking order and are glad they at least have each other in this pbass tank. They appear to be happy. Sometimes swimming together sometimes not.

I think Luther was just doing his dominance thing as far as being king of the tank. Theo likes to mimic him and I think obviously was concerned when he wanted this "nest". It is the strangest behavior I have seen yet. Especially when both bass layed in the "nest" together for about 5 minutes.
 
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Ulu

Redtail Catfish
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Dec 13, 2018
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The Sunny San Joaquin
My MO is always to break out the gravel vac, and move all their rocks etc around.
I had this issue with Buttercup, the Master of the tank, once he found there was a female around. He couldn't stand Cromwell, the sub dominant. Always chasing.

They hate the gravel vac more than each other and will school together and flare at me in turn.
 

LBDave

Peacock Bass
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Nov 27, 2018
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Long Beach
Update:
So I raised 4 oscars together and had to split them up July. The 2 tigers now in the the 110 gal get along great. The 2 red oscars stayed together in a 130 gal and then moved to 230 gal.
It was always sort of a truce between the 2 reds. Sometimes swimming along together sometimes flaring gills and at times some pretty serious fights. Teddy always has flared his gills at moments notice and has always been the center of the fights. When in the 110 when growing up it appeared the tiger oscars were picking on him. When in the 130 gal and now at 6-7" long things were better but eventually the tigers and even the other red would gang on him. So that's when I split them up.
The other red, little Dave grew up sort of a loaner but a generally peaceful fish. When paired with Teddy they generally got along but Teddy would still flair his gills a lot. They had some pretty serious fights and generally Teddy would finally back off.
Something about that fish. Always flaring gills and always getting in a fight. He had to go. Really feel sorry about it.

It's been interesting....
 
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