Oscar Fish: Guide to Care, Breeding, Diet, Profile & Behavior

If you are an aquarium hobbyist, you need to be aware of the fact that Oscars are the most intelligent aquarium fish. Oscar fishes have a distinct memory and are one among those pets that can be trained to perform tricks and take care of their feeder.

Oscars come in different colors but the most common color is black ok with a combination of bright red skills running through the center of its body. A few other combinations that are less common are shades of light blue and banana yellow with translucent red eyes.

Oscar Fish: Care, Size, Tanks, Lifespan & Profile

Oscar Fish Image

Oscars are not community fish with an exception of being kept along with other big fishes in a huge tank.  Once you visit a store to purchase these cute little fish, you need to be aware of the fact that they grow up very fast. When you buy them they are just a few inches or even less than that but within your, they grow up to 8 inches long. During this state, it can fill up the size of a small dinner plate.

Oscar fishes are extremely messy eaters as they constantly keep pooping around the whole aquarium as soon as they digest their food. This is one of their main habits because of their large appetites and typically carnivorous nature.

If you don’t want to contaminate your water with the feces of Oscar fishes, they need to be maintained just as other fishes in the fish tank. It is advisable that you change the water of the aquarium twice a week to make sure the waste is eliminated at regular intervals.

Stats of Oscar Fish

Scientific NameAstronotus ocellatus
Common Name(s)Oscar Fish, Oscar Cichlid, Tiger Oscar, Marbled Cichlid, Velvet Cichlid, Water Dog.
OriginSouth America
Care LevelModerate
LifespanUp to 20 years
SizeUp to 12 inches
DietOmnivore (pellet food, freeze-dried shrimp, live worms, peas, etc.).
Tank Size55 gallons or more
Tank Set-UpFreshwater, with hiding places.
CompatibilityLarge, passive fish
Temperature74 to 80 F.
pH6 – 8
Tank MatesFiremouth, Jack Dempsey, common pleco and clown loaches.

Tiger Oscar Fish Photo

Origin and habitat of Oscar Fish

Oscar fish is a species of cichlid from South America and they have found an ideal habitat in this region due to their survival along the Amazon River Basin. You can also find this fish in other countries like Brazil, Columbia, Ecuador, Venezuela, and many others.

The wild waters contain numerous rocks and are slow-moving, they have foliage and debris, and submerged branches that make up the best spots for the fish to hide from its predators.

How soon do Oscars grow?

You will be rather surprised to find out the fact that the Oscars grow rapidly. So when you are planning to get an Oscar Fish for your tank, keep in mind that it will soon turn into a big fish. fish exports are of the opinion that Oscar fishes grow at the rate of 1 inch per month still they reached their adult years.

The ideal tank size for keeping Oscar fish is more than 55 gallons. If you can a perfect size tank for your fish will make sure that the health of the Oscar is not compromised. Keeping Oscars in a smaller tank can increase their risk of diseases and height and chances of premature death.

Oscars can grow up to a size of 14 inches but on average,  their length is around 10 to 12 inches. The babies of Oscar Fish are extremely small just like any other tropical fish and they have a length of a maximum of 1 inch. However, if they get the ideal conditions,  they can grow at 1 inch per month leading up to 10 to 12 inches by the time they reach adulthood.

Oscar Fish Picture

The lifespan of an Oscar Fish

An Oscar Fish is a pretty Hardy fish that can live for quite a long time if it is kept under the best water conditions in the aquarium.  When kept in ideal water conditions, Oscar Fish can live up to 20 years. However, on average, the Oscars live between 10 and 20 years.

What are the tank requirements of an Oscar Fish?

Due to its big size, it is vital for the tank owner to have adequate space for the fish to grow and swim around.  This is why the fish tank of an Oscar Fish should not be less than 55 gallons, especially if you don’t want to unnecessarily pressurize the fish for lack of space.

Oscar fishes are extremely messy ones and they require a different level of maintenance than several other species. They usually produce a lot of waste which makes it imperative to change the water frequently.  The smaller the tank in which you keep an Oscar Fish, the more often you will have to clean the water and keep a tab on the parameters of the tank.

These fishes love to live in small groups or in pairs.  it is recommended that you keep at least two or five Oscar fishes together if you have the space to do so. Keeping three of them together is not a smart idea as among them could bond very well and kill the third one.

Oscar fishes are extremely sensitive and emotional to changes in parameters of water and they are vulnerable to tropical fish diseases like Dropsy, Ich, Tail Rot, and Fin Rot.

Water Parameters for Oscar Fish – pH level and temperature level

The perfect temperature for keeping an Oscar Fish is between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit which mean 23-27 degree Celsius and these Oscar fishes love to stay in a pH balance of between 6 and 8.

Oscar fishes can thrive within a range of water hardness levels but it is better than keeping it around 12dH and 15dH. Oscars are sensitive to alterations in water temperature and increase in ammonia levels. Due to this experts recommend a proper water filtration system along with an aquarium heater that has an inbuilt thermometer.

When you are not aware of the appropriate temperature and you make the mistake of spiking the ammonia levels,  this can lead to causing stress in a fish,  discoloration of the fish, loss of appetite, and happiness, and a very poor quality of life.  Ensure having a good quality test kit so that you can regularly test the water parameters.

Do Oscar fishes necessarily need plants to survive?

As long as setting up a tank and The decorations are concerned, you need not worry too much about them.  Oscar fishes can easily rearrange their surroundings themselves. Hence,  all you need to do is add a few rocks, plants, and ornaments and allow them to play the role of an interior designer.

Oscars are moody fishes and they have an unpredictable nature. If they love the plants inside the tank at this moment, the very next minute, they could feel the plants are unpleasing and feel like uprooting them around the aquarium.

This is why it is vital to select plants that are solid and they won’t die whenever they’re touched. You can also try putting in floating plants as they’re a great way of maintaining a green-looking aquarium.

A few of the plants that you may include inside the aquarium for Oscar fishes are:

  • Salvinia Natans.
  • Java Ferns.
  • Java Moss.

You have to keep in mind one thing you should choose Oscar fish plants that have similar water requirements. There’s no use keeping a plant that needs hard water and needs high temperature. You have to first think of fish and then of plants.

There are several plant species that can survive in the tank with Oscar and hence you have plenty of options to select from.

Diet of an Oscar Fish

Now that you are sure about what the ideal tank should look like for an Oscar Fish,  you should know what kind of food to give them. As long as the diet is concerned, Oscars are extremely liberal and versatile. they can eat almost anything that you give inside the tank.

Due to their size as well as there was style nature, you have to be very careful about meeting their nutritional needs through the foods that you offer them. This is why fish experts recommend offering a balanced diet to Oscar Fish.

When kept in natural habitat, Oscars usually feed on crustaceans and insects. Occasionally, you can offer the Oscars live foods like Goldfish or red minnows. However, it is important to note that only feeding them with live food might not attain their nutritional requirements and the food may contain too much fat.

If you want to be on the safe side and ensure that your Oscar Fish is being fat and everything it requires, you should feed an equal amount of valid foods or processed flake, or make it live on live food like shrimp insects, and worms. Oscars are hungry fish that can eat up anything that you offer it. Hence try to make their diet as diverse as you can.

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