Oscar Fish Care Guide | Tank Mates, Food, Breeding

Last updated on December 24th, 2022 at 11:05 am

The Oscar fish is an incredibly popular tropical freshwater fish native to the South American basin of the Amazon. Its popularity is mainly due to its intelligence, its playful demeanor, and its beautiful colors.                  

Oscar fish (also known as velvet cichlids) are not the easiest fish to care for. We, therefore, recommend them only to aquarists who have little experience.     

Some cichlids can become aggressive and the fish Oscar does is no exception. Therefore, it is recommended to keep them in their own tank.             

Simply put, aggression is not Oscar’s default behavior, and plagues are rarely free, which recommends taking a pinch of salt.                                                 

Oscar Fish Care Guide

Oscars grow incredibly quickly, so it’s important that you understand what you’re getting yourself into when purchasing them from the pet store or Oscar cichlid care breeder.

Oscar babies are as small as any other tropical fish when they are young (1 to 2 inches), but under the right conditions they can grow to an adult size of around 10 to 12 inches at a rate of 1 inch per month. . .              

Oscar Fish Care 101 Tank Requirements

Due to their size, it is important that you have enough tanks for Oscar fish to grow and thrive. Anything less than 55 gallons per fish will be a struggle and unnecessarily stress the fish.     

Oscars are notoriously messy fish and require a lot more maintenance than most other species. The Oscars produce a lot of trash, so frequent water changes are a cinch. The smaller tank you put them in, the more often you need to clean them and check the water settings.               

An Oscar fish likes to live in pairs or in small groups. We recommend that you keep at least 2 or even 5 if you have enough space. This is the main factor in Oscar’s fish care.

Keeping three is not always a good idea as two of the fish could tie up and release the other. Oscars are sensitive to changes in water parameters and are also prone to common tropical fish diseases such as Ich, Dropsy, Oscar Fin Rot, and Tail Rot.        

Oscar Fish Care 101

We will discuss the most common Oscar fish diseases later in this guide. For the moment, however, remember – that only clean water is essential to the health of your Oscar.               

The ideal temperature for Oscar fish is between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit (23-27 degrees Celsius ), and they prefer a pH balance between 6 and 8.                                                       

Oscars can tolerate a variety of water hardnesses, but we recommend keeping them between 12dH and 15dH.

The Oscars are very sensitive to changes in water temperature and increased levels of ammonia. For this reason, we recommend a high-quality water filter system and aquarium heater with a built-in thermometer. 

Do not know the exact temperature and increased levels of ammonia is a surefire way to stress your fish resulting in a loss of color, a loss of appetite, and general dissatisfaction.

Make sure – that you have on hand a good water test kit that regularly tests the parameters of the water. The one that we use religiously and that has never let us down is the API Freshwater Test Kit.

As for the configuration and decoration of the tank, I wouldn’t mind. Oscar loves his environment again to develop, the same. Just add extra plants, stones, and ornaments and let them work as an interior designer.

Suitable Tank Mates For Oscar Fish           

If you have space for a tank reserved for the Oscars, we recommend it. Oscars are best in pairs or in small groups, but due to their size, they require a large amount of water per fish to thrive.               

Adding more fish to your space can easily overload the tank, and since the Oscars are territorial fish, this is usually not a good sign.

If you want to keep other fish with your Oscars, make sure they’re bigger and passive / non-aggressive. Plecos, Jack Dempsey’s, and Arowanas are a few examples of fish we would recommend for the Oscars.                

What Do Oscar Fish Eat? Feeding

Now that you know what the perfect tank for your Oscar fish should be, it’s time to figure out how to feed them. The Oscars are very liberal when it comes to their food. They will eat almost anything you put in your tank.      

For this reason, and also because of its size, it is important that you fully understand the nutritional needs and it is up to you to ensure that they are met. A balanced diet is always recommended. Oscar fish’s lifespan is 10-20 years and a proper diet will help them to live a healthy life.

Oscar fish food

In their natural habitat, Oscars feed on many small insects and crustaceans. Every now and then, you can feed your Oscars live food, as well as fish like goldfish or pink minnows.      

It should be noted, however, that broilers are inadequate for nutrition and generally contain too much fat when fed in large amounts.

To make sure you have everything Oscar needs, recommend us, an equal amount of processed foods that are chipped or g, to bring zero and live foods such as insects, shrimp, and worms.                                          

The staple food we recommend for Oscar fish is Tetra Swimming cichlids. They are a perfect size and meet basic nutritional needs.              

The Oscars also need more vitamin C and herbal remedies than the prey they would eat in the wild. Seaweed supplements are a great way to include these fibrous plant compounds in your diet without causing gas issues. Absolutely the best investment for your money)              

Like their owners, Oscars love the variety in their diet and will appreciate the constant flow of different types of food. Here is a “shopping list” of suitable foods that we recommend:

  • Bloodworm
  • Artemia
  • Krill
  • Cichlid granules / flakes / waffles
  • Frozen peas                                                                                           

Oscar Fish Aquaculturing – Is It Possible?

Oscar fish farming is certainly possible, but not the easiest achievement. When it comes to the degree of difficulty compared to other freshwater fish, they undoubtedly belong to the most difficult.                      

The reason is that Oscar fish are so difficult to reproduce, they are very demanding when it comes to choosing a partner. They must also be sufficiently “ripe” to begin laying, which is usually between 16 months and 2 years.                  

You have two options: buy a pair that has had offspring in the past, or buy a pair of kittens to grow together and bond naturally.

Oscar fish aquaculture

The problem with the latter option is that it can take a long time for the fish to be ready to mate. So, if you are in a hurry, you better stick with the first choice of buying a pair that is already paired.     

What types of Oscar fish can I successfully breed?

There are many types of Oscar fish in home aquariums around the world, some natural and some less natural. Any combination of Oscar fish can be successfully bred as long as it “binds” and generates mutual compassion.

Some of the more common types of Oscar fish to consider are the Tiger Oscar, Red Oscar, Albino Oscar, Yellow Oscar, and White Oscar.

Naturally, pink and purple varieties are not found in nature. We, therefore, advise you to avoid these strains if you ever have the possibility of purchasing them.     

Crossing the different colors does not require any additional information or steps to be successful. As long as the fish connect, you’re good to go.                  

Oscar Fish Breeding Behavior

Once you have decided to test for reproduction, it is time to identify which of your fish are male and which are female. Unfortunately, identifying the sex of an Oscar fish is almost impossible if you don’t know exactly what to look for.      

Oscar fish are said to be “monomorphic,” which means that regardless of their gender, they are exactly the same in terms of appearance. The only way to identify the gender of an Oscar fish is to take a closer look at its genitals.

Female Oscar fish have an “egg tube” that fully retracts into them when not reared, while male Oscar fish have a single sharp peak that they use to fertilize the eggs.                       

Breeding Session of Oscar Fish:

The Oscars enter a breeding season when they sense the rainy season is approaching. In-home aquariums, the water parameters are the same all year round, so it is not always easy for the fish to know when it is time to breed.      

To counter this, you need to start the breeding season by creating your own “rainy season” when you want the fish to start breeding. The first step is a big water change. 20-30% every few days is enough.      

Breeding Session of Oscar Fish

One of the key indicators of the rainy season (besides the presence of rain) is a significant drop in temperature. If you can lower the temperature in your aquarium a few degrees, the fish will sense that the rainy season is beginning and begin to seek a mate.      

To simulate rain, simply spray water on the aquarium with a watering can several times a day for 5 to 10 minutes.

You can also install a spray lance directly on the water. This water jet simulates rain without doing anything manually. Most cartridge filters have a built-in spray bar.            

Common Oscar Fish Diseases

While healthy Oscars rarely get sick, it’s not uncommon for them to contract various illnesses if you don’t treat them properly.

The most common disease in Oscar fish is a disease called a hole in the head. It gets its name from the restoration of cavities and holes on the heads and bodies of developing fish.                                    

Hole in the head disease is not particularly difficult to treat, but the sooner you notice symptoms, the easier it will be.

It is usually caused by nutritional deficiencies in the diet of fish. Just follow the advice we give you in the “Diet” section of this care guide and you shouldn’t have a problem.                      

If you want to feed your fish live, you should always quarantine them before adding them to your main aquarium. The main cause of illness in tropical fish is the introduction of strange bacteria from things owners carelessly put in their aquariums.                                          

Is Oscar Fish Smart?

You’ve probably heard from your aquarist friends, YouTube videos, or other Oscar fish articles online that they are very intelligent fish that can interact and “play” with their owners. But is it true? 

Absolutely. They wouldn’t have earned the nickname “water dogs” without them. The way Oscar Fish shakes his head and fins when they see his owner walk into a room is heartwarming.            

Depending on how your Oscars treat you, you might even be able to feed them with your hands.

Oscar fish are fascinating fish that are not only smart and fun but also beautiful to watch. When you are ready to take this popular tropical fish, we hope that this guide will contain information for you to facilitate the task.

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