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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My boyfriend and I just replaced the gravel in our oscar tank (55 gallon) with sand. We have an under gravel filter right now that doesn't seem to work with the sand because their waste is sitting on top of the sand. Any suggestions? :confused
 

· Resident Aquarium Nerd
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The waste that's just sitting there can be siphoned out with a gravel vacuum. Honestly, undergravel filters don't really filter waste exactly...they just provide an area for beneficial bacteria to grow that will convert ammonia into nitrite (and then nitrite into nitrate...nitrate being a less toxic product that can be removed through water changes). So the waste was never being filtered out, it's just more visible on the sand and isn't getting packed down like into gravel.

That being said, I agree that a filter upgrade is necessary for your Oscar tank. Oscars are pretty messy fish and your tank is a bit on the small side depending on the age of your fish. I would look into a good canister filter. They're admittedly a bit pricey but sometimes you can luck out and get them cheap used or on sale. I like the Eheims but have heard good things about Fluval filters as well. Canisters are strong and have space to store different types of filter media. They're also easily hidden behind the tank or in a cabinet.

If a canister is out of your current price range I would get an over-sized (rated for a much larger aquarium) hang-on-back filter. I don't have a good recommendation for one right now. I used to love the AquaClear filters but my last couple were faulty. Sadly, I haven't found a good alternative yet and am still using a few (as well as a few modified Whisper filters).
 

· Resident Zoologist
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Canisters, canisters, canisters. The Eheims are great, as are Cascades...I like the Fluval FX5, but none of the other models....go the biggest that you can, bearing in mind that oscars are messy, and that 55 gallons is really too small for a full-grown oscar (they should have 90 gallons per oscar, as a non-stunted oscar should be between 14"-18" at full size)...and it makes sense to buy the filter you will eventually need right now versus buying a second filter in a year or so.
 
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