Oscars come from Brazil, Columbia, Ecuador, French Guiana and Peru. They can be found along the Amazon River and its surrounding areas, which is one of the most bio diverse environments in the world.
This is a species full of personality. A few different varieties have been bred which offer some different colours and patterns.
Oscars are territorial, so adding them to your tank can be risky.
They aren’t afraid to attack other fish and will do so if a fish encroaches on their territory. Mating and feeding times can also fuel their aggression.
Most of their time will be spent swimming in the mid-levels of the tank, though they’ll often head down to the substrate in search of food. You might see them uproot plants and decorations during this search, so everything in the aquarium should be secured down.
The good news is that if the tank is setup correctly and you choose the right tank mates, their aggression can be controlled.
Most Oscar varieties grow to be large, reaching up to 30cm. They reach this size quite quickly in their lifetime.
Oscars can be kept together, and this is usually the safest option. Their need for territory can cause them to attack tank mates. Make sure they have lots of space as this reduces territory disputes.
Whilst it can be difficult to find suitable tank mates for Oscars, providing a healthy diet is not. They’re omnivores and will eat pretty much anything you give them. In the wild, they would eat small fish, larvae and small pieces of plant debris. Small insects and crustaceans would make up the largest part of their diet. In an aquarium, the simplest option is to use flake/pellet foods. These have been designed to contain all the nutrition your fish need, you can even buy some specifically for cichlids.
Other options include live/frozen foods (which are full of protein). These include bloodworms, brine shrimp and daphnia. Live foods encourage Oscars to catch their food which brings out their natural hunting instincts.
Though they might nibble at plants, this won’t be a large part of their diet if you’re feeding them enough of other foods.
Oscars require more care than most other species. Their size and large appetite means that they produce a lot of mess. This makes regular cleaning very important, or conditions will deteriorate quickly. Perform 20-25% water changes at least once a week, ideally twice.
These cichlids are hardier than most fish, so they don’t get sick often, but they can get ill like all species.
- Species – Astronotus ocellatus
- Common Name – Red Tiger Oscar Cichlid
- Origin – South America; Brazil, Columbia, Ecuador, French Guiana and Peru.
- Diet – Omnivore
- PH Range – Prefer Neutral but can be 6.5 – 7.5
- Temperature – Tropical 26–28°c
- Breed Type – Egg layer
- Current Size – approximately 3-5cm (Grows to approximately 30cm)
- Sex – Un-sexed