While Oscars are generally seen to be an aggressive species, this description isn’t entirely fair. Oscars aren’t so much bullies as they are greedy, and will eat anything they can fit in their mouths. This means that picking your tankmates is absolutely imperative as small fish will end up becoming dinner.
While Oscars are a low maintenance fish in terms of water parameters, their sheer size means you will have to keep a regular and thorough cleaning schedule. Not only will the subsequent bigger tank require more work, but Oscars produce a lot of waste. They are also fairly sensitive to dirty water and may become ill if you are not cleaning your aquarium often or well enough. While there is not a dramatic amount of variation in body shape or size in Oscar species, they do come in varying colours and markings, all of which are absolutely gorgeous. Our most popular species include the Albino Oscar, Albino Red Oscar, the Red Tiger Oscar, the original Wild Oscar variety is also a very pretty fish and the newer varieties like the Yellow Lemon Oscar.
In the wild, Oscars can be found throughout South America, particularly the Amazon, Içá, Negro, Solimões, and Ucayali River. Feral populations have also sprung up in parts of Australia and China. They prefer slow-moving waters and will often be found in river basins.
Behavior/Compatibility for Oscars
Oscars are a highly interactive fish that tend to form a special bond with their carer. Often described as the closest a fish can get to a dog, you may find Oscars excitedly greet you when you enter the room. This excitement however will mean you will need to be sure your tank has a sturdy lid as they have been known to jump out of the tank in elation. It is recommended to keep Oscars in pairs or groups of four or more as we find that Oscars adhere to the old adage of ‘three’s a crowd’ and will often shun one of the fish in a trio.
As previously mentioned, Oscars are a very greedy fish that will eat anything that moves as long as it fits in its mouth, so be sure to keep only similarly sized fish in your community tank. Smaller crustaceans should also be avoided as they are Oscar’s absolute favourite meal. Some of the better fish with which to keep with Oscars include Silver Dollars, Clown Loaches and other large cichlids such as the Vieja Hartwegi or Talibar Cichlids, Red Devil, Jack Dempsey, even suitably sized Silver Arowana and Platinum Arowana. Keep in mind that slower-growing fish such as the Clown Loach should still only be introduced once they grow to a size larger than a fully grown Oscar’s mouth.
Housing Oscars and Aquarium Fish Tank Set-up Tips
Unfortunately, Oscars are one of the most mistreated species in the aquarist hobby. Many beginners underestimate just how large they will eventually become and house them in tanks that are far too small for them. As a large and exceptionally fast-growing species, Oscars will require a tank of no less than 285 litres (75 gallons), though you may house them temporarily (two to three months) in smaller tanks as juveniles. Oscars should ideally be kept in pairs at a minimum so we will begin the below table at two, though even one Oscar will require a 285 litre (75 gallon) aquarium at the least. Any more than two Oscars will require a much larger aquarium. Long aquariums are a must for Oscars.
Recommended Max Fish Count Tank Volume 2 Oscars 285 Litres (75 gallons) 4 Oscars 851 Litres (225 gallons) 5 Oscars 985 Litres (260 gallons) 6 Oscars 1060 Litres (280 gallons)
Oscars are known for their playful nature and enjoy picking up and spitting out substrate just because. For this reason, fine gravel is preferred over soft sand substrates and Oscars spitting sand in and round filters may damage your filter over time. Larger pebbles aren’t ideal as you’ll be denying your oscar of a favourite pastime and they may injure themselves while attempting to dig through the substrate.
Another favourite pastime of oscars is rearranging all your carefully placed decorations and foliage in your aquarium. It is also important to keep in mind that a heavily decorated aquarium will deny your oscars room to move and grow. For aquariums housing oscars a more sparsely decorated landscape is recommended, ideally with heavier pieces that won’t be so easily disturbed. A few high-quality plastic plants, a couple of errant rocks and a central piece of driftwood would be ideal.
Oscars are more than capable of handling a variety of water parameters and temperatures, but the most important thing is your water is clean and consistent. Ideally, your water will be temperatures of 23 to 27 degrees C (71 – 81 F). Depending on your local climate, you may need to install a water heater to ensure the temperature stays within this range.
Aim for a Ph of 6.4-8.5 and a hardness of 1-15 DGH. To ensure your pH and hardness are suitable you should invest in a testing kit.
Always ensure your water is properly filtered, and regularly change the water (20% weekly or 40% every other week). You should also filter the substrate regularly and adjust the chemistry of any tap water you use to top your tank. You may do this with one of our many water conditioning products.
Feeding and Care
Although Oscars can and will eat any small fish in a tank, this is not their usual diet. An omnivorous fish, In the wild they subsist primarily on insects and crustaceans, supplemented with plant matter and fruits and nuts shed from riverside trees. Try to replicate this diet in your aquarium while ensuring you provide a range of meals for your oscars. High-quality pellets, tablets and wafers are a fine base, but you should also offer the occasional frozen or live freshwater shrimp, insects such as crickets and worms and veggies like frozen peas and cucumber.
Great reasons to keep Oscars in your tropical fish tank
- • Their intelligence and personality make them great fish for pets that will offer years of entertainment and companionship.
- • They are a great introduction to keeping larger fish as a hobby.
- • These cool fishes play well with the right species and look absolutely gorgeous.
Check out our range of oscars to find the most pet-like fish pets you will ever have. Just be sure to invest in a suitable tank, then enjoy years of companionship with some entertaining fish, will you go for Wild Oscars, Yellow Lemon Oscars or another variety.