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Oscar Fish not looking great

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Hey guys, (sorry this is long)

I am new to oscar fish keeping and I think I am getting too worried about the smallest little things. But I don't think my oscar is looking happy or healthy at all. I have been asking left right and center for help and have done numerous searches with no success.

When I first got him (don't really know gender yet, but I call it a he), I kept him in a 30L established tank by himself while the larger tank had finished cycling. He is only about 4 to 5 inches long. The large tank seemed like it had finished cycling because all the readings looked good. It had been cycling for about 5 weeks before I moved him in. I also put water changes from the tank he was in into that tank to mimic the "fish cycle", which I have done in the past and it worked. But ever since he has been in this new tank, he hasn't been the same (he's only been in there for about a week and a half now. There is nothing physically wrong with him by the looks of it and his colour is extremely vibrant as well. He is not eating as much as he did and often just ignores the food, leaving me having to fish it out. I give him occasional treats like earth worms and peas, which he ignores as well from time to time now. His behaviour has completely changed to just hovering under the surface of the water in the same spot, slanted slightly, rarely swimming around at all and looks like he is having a "coughing" fit every 10 seconds or so. (It isn't a swim bladder issue, because he can still swim down and stay there for long periods of time). He also occasionally (maybe once a day that I can see), scrapes his underside along the gravel. He also seems a lot better when I do partial water changes and becomes relatively active again and eats properly (25% or so), but a day later he is back to square one again. I have also tried adding an additional above water filter for more surface water movement, which also worked at first, but again, back to square one after a day or so. I have thought of every possible thing I think of, from low oxygen, to high ammonia. I am so confused about this all and I just wish he could tell me what's up, cos I just want him to feel better 

Hopefully this is all the info needed:

Temperature: 26- 28 degrees celcius 
pH: 7.2
Ammonia: 0
Nitrates: 0
Nitrites: 0.25
Tank size: ~ 244L
Air Pump: Yes
Filter: One underwater internal filter - floss, ceramic tubes, sponge
One above water filter - sponge - for surface water movement
Decor: Plastic Plants, driftwood, cichlid rock hole
Food: Earth worms, peas, cichlid pellets, biogold pellets
Tank mates: No
Lighting: Aqua One Eco led light
Water changes: Have been doing them every 2 to 3 days - ~25%

Thank you to anyone who could possibly help me. I am hoping that I am just an over worried mamma, but I really don't think he looks well :'(


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Sounds and looks like nitrite poisoning, are his gills noticeably brown?

Anyway if I were you I would treat it as such and do the following...

1. Do a large water change say 50%

2. Add aquarium salt ( add as much as it says on the box )

3. Repeat say every 2-3 days or until he looks better

4. Increase aeration

Hope this helps but I am not an expert so hopefully someone more knowledgeable will either agree with what I have said or suggest something else.


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hi and welcome to the site or it could be chlorine from out the tap as some times when i do my water changes it hi

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His gills and physical appearance hasn't changed a bit since I've gotten him, just his attitude and obviously size. When I first got him he was sulking heaps, but it was different to what he is doing now. I have also been done 25 - 30% changes about 3 times since I moved him to the larger tank, which would help and then it's back to square one again the next morning.

I dechlorinate his water using Prime (cos it has been an absolute go to in the past and has always worked for me 100%) and I usually wait for a while before adding the new water into the tank, including making sure it is the same temp as his tank beforehand. 

I had another person suggest overfeeding. When I first got him, he would just flog down pellet after pellet. Although I did regulate feeding to 2 pellets twice a day. Now he is eating maybe one pellet if he even accepts it and one worm(which he sometimes spits out and doesn't return to again after chewing for like 3 mins. After I do water changes though he flogs them down again. So i don't know. His behaviour is at polar extremes and it confuses me so much, cos one day he's good, next day he is bad. I think I might skip a day or so maybe again and see if it changes anything. I skipped food two days ago and he seemed extremely keen for food yesterday and then a little more reserved today, but still seeming really hungry and was a lot more active and playing in the air pump bubble stream again. I'm just scared he'll go back to the other behaviour all over again and I worry a lot, cos I want him to be happy and healthy in my care. 

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