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So I've got this 55g that's home to Bruce, my oscar. He's the only occupant in the tank and always will be.

I was staring at his tank and decided that it needed an overhaul. It's currently kind of spartan and not all that pleasing to the eye. I'm getting a new light from BML (the original series Dutch 6300K at 48") so the tank can be planted. I'm upgrading his filtration to a big canister filter as well, since he's getting to be a big boy (all the way up to 8", he's still a baby).

So what can I potentially plant in an oscar tank and have any hope of survival? He's ignored the two swords in there to date. I'm looking at the BML light with a dimmer, so probably medium light (60 PAR max at the substrate, probably dimmed down closer to 30-40), Eco-complete substrate, weekly fert dosing. I'm really hoping to give him some more spots to hide, since he's not particularly secure when I run the vacuum by his tank or do water changes. Caves aren't really an option with a growing boy, so hoping some Vals in the back will give him a place to duck.

Feel free to also tell me this is truly an impossible mission and that I need to convert to an angel or discus tank.
 

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I'd probably put Vals in big clay pots with some nice sized rocks on top of them to keep them in place and him from digging them up. Make sure they're all really stable and secure (without putting too much weight on the bottom glass...)

You might try Anubias, Java ferns, and Bolbitus tied onto other really large rocks and driftwood (again, too heavy for him to more).

The issue with most Oscars is that they really insist on their OWN aquascaping, are pretty large and powerful fish- and have 24/7 to redo the pretty layout we just spent several hours to "give them" and make it more to THEIR tastes LOL
 

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This may help explain it somewhat. An Oscar is a South American Pearch/Brim.
The brims they have here make nest about 18" across. But they are 4"-6 or 7"long.
Are you beginning to see...
The Oscar is acting on instinct and building a nest...but it's like 3' across.
The nest is cleared of anything so they can see the eggs and if any fish etc goes into
the nest. I have no clue if this is done only by a male/female or both sexes do it.
 

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If it attaches to the wood it has a good chance.

Maybe also try things with monstrous roots....like swords, crypts, and tiger lotus. Apongetons might work as well.

It'd be an experiment for sure, and expect a good deal of uprooting, but I don't think its impossible, just challenging.
 

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I do a lot of things with cichlids and have found ways to work around what they like to do. For hiding, large wood is a handy way to go if you can take some time to find the right piece. A hollowed out section of an old tree might be ideal. Choosing wood is a whole new subject but look through some of the past threads as they are common. A flat piece leaned against the glass will work, too. Just something for him to call home?
Then watch where he is digging and put the plants somewhere else. He might be expected to dig near home and definitely on the bottom? So that leaves you much of the rest of the tank and any space you build that he doesn't perceive as "bottom". A raised are even two inches higher may not be touched if he has "his" end. Then since he doesn't bother the plants you have, try some that you like. I would say to stay away from small grasses and easy to damage stuff. Plant roots don't need light so any pot that is down between things like rocks or wood are safe. If you have some tools, slate is an easy stone to cut and shape. I use limestone because it is easy to find here. Holey rock with large holes makes a handy way to let plants stick up while the roots are safe from diggers.

Keep in mind that all this is open to being changed by your fish friend and has totally NO guarantee!
 

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I had an Oscar that grew to over a foot. He didn't do much damage at a young age, but once he got to that size, he bulldozed everything to his liking. Loved him, very personable.
 

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As I was curious to see what others used, I found some shots that might give you some inspiration. None of these pics are mine







In the last two pics I'm more surprised that there are plants with those silver dollars o_O lol

Mine eat anubias in my experience...so that was fun. I do like these tanks though, you just gotta keep it simple and low tech.
 

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I often think it is not the fish or plants that keep us from doing tanks like pictured. The real obstacle seems to be the fear raised by people who tell us we can't do it! Anybody who has kept fish for a few years have normally made some mistakes and lived to tell of it. So why do we get so afraid of trying some things we want to do but are told we can't?
I've stopped counting the mistakes and just go for enjoying the times when things DO work out.
 

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I often think it is not the fish or plants that keep us from doing tanks like pictured. The real obstacle seems to be the fear raised by people who tell us we can't do it! Anybody who has kept fish for a few years have normally made some mistakes and lived to tell of it. So why do we get so afraid of trying some things we want to do but are told we can't?
I've stopped counting the mistakes and just go for enjoying the times when things DO work out.
YES. This!
Right on!

-Stef* :)
 

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As I was curious to see what others used, I found some shots that might give you some inspiration. None of these pics are mine







Thanks for collecting the pics, ARCHER. They give us something to really get down and look at what other tanks are doing. We don't know how long these were set up this way but at least they looked good at this point. The main thing that strikes me is that none of them are the same and none of them are what I find works for me.
The first has "tough " plants and no method to protect the roots that I see. Second has tall slender plants that I would call easy to damage but does cover and protect roots. The third puts the plants up off the floor out of digging areas and yet the fourth one does all the things I would not have tried. Little tender plants in fine, easy to dig substrate and scattered around the floor.
About all I can see to suggest is go with what you feel will work, maybe take some ideas for your try and let us know what works for you? Overall it looks like you CAN do it. Sometimes the best way to learn to ride a bike is to get on it!
 

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This had me curious only because while setting up a friends 180 years back for a redtail tiger shovelnose hybrid, tiger shovelnose, Distichodus Sexfasciatus, and Jardini (mind you this was not their final home, but a place where they grew out) we placed large pieces of driftwood that was weighted down with slate in the tank. We attached Narrow Leaf Java Fern, Anubias Barteri var. Coffeefolia, Anubias Barteri var. Barteri, and Anubias Barteri var. Nana throughout each piece to give some green to a bare bottom large predator tank.

I'll have to dig through some old folders on my computer to see if I still have photo's of parts of the tank. I think it might have ended up being a more focused shot of the fish.
 
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