Arguably the most popular Cichlid on the planet, the Oscar is the puppy dog of fish. They make great wet pets and have a voracious appetite which makes them especially popular. They come in a wide variety of color patterns and grow to a very robust size. They are fairly easy to care for and will tolerate a wide array of tank mates as well. Just be sure you are ready with a large tank, the Oscar can grow to very large sizes.
Here is a picture showing the growth rate of our Oscar. (Click for larger)
- Scientific Name – Astronotus Occelatus
- Common Name – Oscar, Oscar Fish, Oscar Cichlid, Tiger Oscar, Albino Tiger Oscar, Red Oscar, Marble Cichlid, Velvet Cichlid, Red Tiger Oscar
- Potential Size – 12″, up to 16″+ in rare cases. Tall and bulky, heavy bodied fish weighing up to 3lbs
- Diet – Smaller fish, invertebrates. In captivity a quality staple pellet diet can be used.
- Temperament – Some can be bullies, but mostly they are pretty timid given how large they are. You can house them with smaller Cichlid species without much problem, unless they are not well fed in which case they may dine on smaller tank mates. Breeding pairs will defend territory and it is possible to breed in home Aquaria.
- Tank Requirements – Heavy filtration, weekly water changes, sturdy decorations. They will uproot any plants you try to keep and move smaller rocks. They are good in the 77-81 degree water temperature range, standard South American Cichlid requirements. As for tank size, the biggest you can provide. A 4’x 2′ footprint or larger is ideal, meaning a 120 gallon or larger.
- Tank Terror Notes – The Oscar is selectively bred in the Aquarium Hobby. This is how you find the long fin and Albino variants so easily. There are also some rare but sought after wild versions such as the Orinoco Oscar, Venezuelan Oscar, and the Sao Paulo Bumble Bee Oscar (not the dyed blueberry Oscar, those are man made and not natural at all). The Blueberry Oscar is dyed and the color will wear off eventually, not to mention it is a terrible practice and cruel to the fish.
Here is our Albino Tiger Oscar sizing up a piece of krill.
And here is the aftermath of an Oscar strike. Notice, no more krill.