Hole-in-the-Head Syndrome

Hole-in-the-Head Syndrome
in Oscars
by Chelle & Dr. Barb

Hole-in-the-Head Syndrome (HITH), also known as Freshwater Head and Lateral Line Erosion (FHLLE), is an important syndrome which affects primarily gouramis, angelfish, discus, oscars and large South American cichlids. HITH can also occur in saltwater fish and is known as Marine Hole-in-the-Head Syndrome and also as Marine Head and Lateral Line Erosion (MHLLE). HITH lesions are most prevalent on the fish’s head, though they may appear on the fish’s flanks, following the lateral lines down the body. Fish with lesions can behave normally for quite a long time, but eventually they will become sluggish, lose their appetite and become hollow bellied.
An oscar has spots on its’ head called sensory pits, which are a series of fluid filled sacs with tiny hairs that sense vibrations and convert them to electrical impulses. Both the sensory pits and the lateral lines are responsible for a fish’s positional sense in the water. The sensory pits look like little pin holes, generally arranged in a cluster. Continue reading

What is a Canister Filter?

A canister filter is a large, powerful aquarium filter used for mechanical, biological and optionally, chemical filtration. Canister filters sit below the tank, usually inside of the aquarium stand. They are closed cylinders that stand about 15″ (38 cm) high, with locking lids. The lids have intake and outtake valves that connect to tubing, which feeds up into the tank. The intake tube draws water into the filter where it follows a circuitous path through various filter mediums before being expelled at the outtake valve to return to the tank.
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How to Care for Your Oscar Fish

Oscar Fish (Astronotus ocellatus) are a freshwater cichlid from South America and are also known as Peacock Cichlid, Walnut Cichlid or Velvet Cichlid. Oscars are a relatively large fish that grow up to sixteen inches long and can live for up to eight to twelve years if proper care is given. Read on to learn the steps for ideal Oscar fish care.

Setting up a Freshwater Tank

This is an important step, as this will be your Oscar’s home. The first step is to gather all the equipment you will need:

  • Freshwater testing kits
  • Cichlid Food and other cichlid care products (Water conditioners, buffers, substrates, trace element supplements)
  • Aquarium vacuum or siphon
  • Tank of proper size for your Oscar fish
  • Aquarium gravel (there are gravel blends especially for cichlids)
  • Aquarium heater
  • Filter
  • Fish net
  • Bucket for water changes
  • Ornaments or plants(either real or fake) for hiding places
  • Thermometer


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