Okay. You want to buy an Oscar fish and you have set your sights on a fish tank for that purpose. But wait! You will also have to consider finding a suitable filtration equipment for the fish tank to house the Oscar. Without proper filtration, chances are your Oscars would not live long enough to keep you in good company.
Before choosing which type of filtration you should use for an aquarium tank containing this cichlids, you must understand the Oscar's feeding habits. Now, unfortunately, the Oscars are not cultured diners. They are messy and they love their food. Feed them and they will chomp on their food (whether it be live feed or pellets) and some of these food will come out where their gills are. Bits and pieces of food would then be lying over the floor of the aquarium and over time, will decompose and become toxic if not efficiently removed by the filtration system.
An efficient water filtration system for the Oscar fish tank would be one containing mechanical filtration, chemical filtration and bio-filtration - usually in that order of filtration. Put simply, the mechanical filtration which are usually made up of sponge or suitable wool material helps to trap larger particles - sediments and food. The chemical filtration part which is usually activated charcoal (not your average charcoal for barbeques) are designed to and would help remove odour or medication. Finally, the bio-filter which houses friendly bacteria in sponges or ceramic balls will act on processing and changing feed waste (ammonia) into harmless nitrate. In an ideal world, the water becomes clean and need not be changed. However, the opposite is true. You should, as a matter of practice, continue to change about 20 to 25% of the aquarium water weekly so that fresh water is introduced and the level of toxic waste is reduced.
What kind of filter would be suitable? I would say filters which reside outside the tank. Filters such as vibrator-type air pumps are useless for this kind of fish and their waste produce. It is also usually noisy. Undergravel filters are also not suitable for the Oscar fish as the Oscars like to shift the gravel around and this disrupts the efficiency of the undergravel filter system. A canister filter or overflow system which uses a power head would be most suitable for the Oscar tank.
Both the canister filter or overflow system allows for cleaning of the filtration media without disrupting the tank occupants. It is also less messy for the owner in a way. In the next post, I will teach you how to change the water in the tank and how to clean the filtration media.