Cichlid-Oscar 60-80mm

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Size: Albino Tiger
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The Oscar Fish (or Oscar Cichlid) is an incredibly popular tropical freshwater fish that hails from the Amazon basin of South America. Their popularity is largely due to their intelligence levels, their playful behavior, and their beautiful colourings.

Oscar Fish (also known as Velvet Cichlids) are not the easiest fish to care for, so we only recommend them to aquarists who have a bit of experience under their belts. Knowing how to care for Oscar Fish properly will open up a new world of opportunities for you to keep other Cichlids in the future. They really are one of the most beautiful fish to keep if you know-how.

Some Cichlids can become aggressive and the Oscar Fish is no exception so it’s recommended that they are kept in a tank of their own.

With that being said, aggression is not an Oscars default behavior and outbursts are rare so feel free to take that recommendation with a pinch of salt.

How Fast Do Oscars Grow?

Oscars grow astonishingly fast, so it’s important that you understand what you are getting yourself into when you pick them up. It’s said that Oscar fish can grow at a rate of 2.5cm per month until they reach adulthood. If you don’t have an ideal Oscar fish tank size (208L) then your fish’s health will be compromised and they will be at higher risk of disease and premature death.

Oscar Fish Lifespan

An Oscar fish is a hardy fish and will live for a very long time if you maintain good quality water in your aquarium. In ideal conditions, an Oscar fish can live for up to 20 years. On average, Oscars will live between 10 and 20 years.

Oscar Fish Care 101: Tank Requirements

Due to their sheer size, it’s important that you have more than enough tank for the Oscar fish to grow into and thrive in. An Oscar Fish tank size should be no smaller than 208L per fish to prevent putting any unnecessary stress on the fish.

Oscars are notoriously messy fish and require a lot more maintenance than most other species. Oscars produce a lot of waste so frequent water changes are a given necessity, but the smaller the tank that you house them in, the more frequently you will have to clean them and check the water parameters.

Oscar Fish enjoy living in pairs or small groups. We would recommend keeping at least 2, or even 5 if you have the space.

Keeping three isn’t always a good idea as two of the fish could bond and dismiss the other one.

 

Oscar Fish Water Parameters (Temperature and pH):

The perfect temperature for Oscar Fish is between 23°C – 27°C and they prefer a pH balance of between 6 and 8.

Oscars can tolerate a wide range of water hardness levels but we would recommend keeping it around 12dH – 15dH.

Oscars are very sensitive to changes in water temperature as well as increases in ammonia levels. Because of this, we would recommend a good quality water filtration system as well as an aquarium heater with a built-in thermometer.

Not knowing the precise temperature and letting the ammonia levels spike is a surefire way to cause stress in the fish, leading to a loss of colour, a lack of appetite, and general unhappiness and poor quality of life.

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

What Do Oscar Fish Eat? (Oscar Fish Diet)

Now that you know what the ideal tank should look like for your Oscar Fish, it’s time to look at what you should be feeding them.

Oscars are very liberal when it comes to their diet. They will eat almost anything that you put inside their tank.

Because of this and also because of their size, it’s crucial that you understand their nutritional needs fully and it’s up to you to make sure that they are met. A balanced diet is always recommended.

What’s an Oscar Fish’s Diet In It’s Natural Environment?

In their natural habitat, Oscars will feed on a lot of small insects and crustaceans. Occasionally you can offer your Oscars live foods as well as feeder fish such as Goldfish or Rosy Red Minnows.

It’s worth noting however that feeder fish are not nutritionally adequate and usually contain too much fat if fed in large quantities.

To be on the safe side and to make sure that your Oscars are getting fed everything that they need, we would recommend feeding an equal amount of processed flake or pellet foods and live foods such as insects, shrimps and worms.

The base food that we recommend for Oscar fish are the floating cichlid sticks. 

Oscars also require a higher level of Vitamin C and plant matter which they would usually get offhand from the prey that they would eat in the wild.

Algae supplements are a great way to add this fibrous plant matter into their diet without causing any bloating problems.

Just like their owners, Oscars love variety in their diets and will appreciate a consistent circulation of different types of foods. Here is a “shopping list” of suitable foods that we would recommend…

  • Brine Shrimp
  • Bloodworm
  • Krill
  • Cichlid Pellets/Flakes/Wafers
  • Frozen Peas

Suitable Tank Mates For Oscar Fish?

If you have got the space for an Oscar-only tank, that is what we would recommend. Oscars do better in pairs, or small groups but due to their size, they do need a huge amount of water per fish in order to thrive.

When you start adding more fish to their space, it’s easy for the tank to get overcrowded and because Oscars are a territorial fish, that doesn’t usually bond well.

Oscar Fish are not the friendliest of fish, even in their native environment, so you can imagine how they can be in a smaller aquarium with limited space. Oscars can get defensive and territorial, so it’s often advised to keep Oscars and only Oscars in your aquarium.

However, if you do want to keep other fish with your Oscars, make sure they are on the larger side and that they are passive/non-aggressive. A few Oscar fish tank mates that I have kept successfully include:

  • Large Plecos
  • Arowanas
  • Convict Cichlids (or Firemouth Cichlids)
  • Jack Dempseys

If the fish is small enough to fit in the Oscars mouth, chances are it will end up their. The same goes for invertebrates such as shrimps and snails. I wasn’t joking when I said they are notorious feeders. They certainly have an appetite!

Are Oscar Fish Intelligent?

You have probably heard from your aquarist friends, YouTube videos or other Oscar fish articles online that they are highly intelligent fish who can interact and “play” with their owners, but is it true?

Absolutely. They wouldn’t have earned themselves the nickname “water dogs” if that wasn’t the case. The way that Oscar Fish will waggle their heads and fins when they see their owner walk into a room is heartwarming.

Depending on how comfortable your Oscars are with you, they may even let you feed them with your hands.

Oscar Fish are a fascinating fish that are not only intelligent and fun to interact with but also beautiful to look at. If you are ready for the challenge of keeping this popular tropical fish, we hope this guide has given you some nuggets of information to make your job a little bit easier.

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