Do Oscar Fish Have Teeth? | 10 Must Know Facts

Won’t you be afraid if a foot-long fish suddenly get your finger inside their mouth and injure you? I know you will. Oscar fish is a fast-growing fish that can grow at a rate of 1 inch per month. This fish species from the cichlid family grows up to 18 inches long and is a popular fish for large aquariums. Although they are beautiful, it’s fearsome when you imagine biting your hand with their big mouth.  There are cases that Oscars biting their owners’ hands and bleed but do Oscar fish have teeth? Are they ferocious fish species like Sharks and Piranhas?

Do Oscars Have Teeth?

Yes. Oscars have teeth, but they are not very sharp. Though Oscar fish bite may scrape your skin until you bleed a bit, they can’t harm you like other ferocious fishes.

Oscar fish have two sets of teeth. One set exists in the back of their mouth, and the other one is in their throat. The teeth are located deep inside Oscar’s mouth, so they cannot reach you.

Oscar Fish are suction feeders. They use their teeth to cut the prey and process it before ingesting it, and they are doing it inside the mouth after closing their mouth. The teeth are not powerful like piranhas and sharks but powerful enough to chop their food.

Oscar Fish Teeth Type – What sort of teeth do Oscars have?

Although Oscar fish have teeth in their mouth, they don’t have teeth in their jaws.  Oscar fish teeth are also not sharp enough to harm the human hand.

However, the two sets of Oscar’s teeth explained above are powerful enough to grasp and tear down their prey. So, if they catch your finger, it may hurt a little.

The teeth that exist in Oscars’ throat are called pharyngeal teeth. The two sets of Oscars’ teeth stay inside their mouth, so they usually cannot hurt you.

Do Oscar Fish Bite You?

Oscar fish do bite you. But that definitely depends on each individual fish’s temperament level.

If the Oscar you are trying to touch is usually friendly with humans, it will not bite you.

If it is not, it may feel threatened and, in defense, will use its teeth to bite you. In fact, most fish will likely bite as they are not used to human touch.

However, you don’t have to worry much about Oscar fish bite as Oscar fish teeth cannot do any severe damage to your hand.

Oscar fish teeth are strong enough to break through the skin but biting through the bone is less likely for sure.

Is Oscar Fish a Suction Feeder?

Yes. Oscar fish are suction feeders. They use their jaws to suck their food into their mouth. They don’t chew or tear off their prey like sharks or piranhas while catching. Instead, they suck the prey into the mouth, close their jaws and use pharyngeal teeth to chew their food.

Because of this mechanism, Oscars usually have no power to harm humans even though they bite seriously. As their teeth are small, they cannot break your fingers’ bones.

READ MORE The Complete Oscar Fish Care Guide

Are Oscar Fish Aggressive?

Oscar fish belongs to the cichlid family. As aggression is typical behavior of cichlids, Oscars also have aggressive behavior.

They are very territorial; hence they need a large tank enough to mark their territory.

If they happen to live in a small tank, they will be disappointed and will attack other fishes, even their own kind.

Sometimes Oscars even kill other fish to establish their territory. They need at least a 55-gallon water tank for Oscars to live happily.

If you put more than one Oscars, you should increase the tank size by 20 extra gallons per fish.

However, Oscar fish tend to love their human owners. Many Oscar fish owners say that Oscars love to be stroked.

They often seek the comfort of their owners. If they don’t get the interaction with their human companion, they become depressed and unhappy.

When they are sad and uncomfortable, they usually open their mouth widely and enlarge their gills.

It will make their head look bigger than usual, and in this situation, you should be careful while putting your hands into the tank.

Do Oscar Fish Eat Other Fish?

Oscar fish is an omnivore specie. They can eat almost any food, including live fish and plants. Oscar fish will eat anything that fits into its jaws.

If the fish is small enough to suck into the mouth, they will definitely be prey for Oscar fish. Because of this reason, Oscar fish owners usually don’t put any smaller fish into their Aquarium.

What Sort of Food Do Oscar Fish Eat With Their Teeth?

As Oscars are omnivorous, they can eat both plants and animals.

However, they have a favor of having a carnivorous diet. They tend to eat alive food more and happily eat crayfish, worms, insects (such as flies, crickets, and grasshoppers), small chopped fruits, and vegetables like peas in an aquarium.

Oscar fish teeth help cut their food and process it before ingesting.

Are Oscar teeth Sharp Enough to Cause Harm?

Oscar fish mouth is large enough to bite your finger but not hard enough to cause you any harm.

It means that their teeth are sharp enough only to suck and chop their food, and they can’t possibly tear off their prey while catching.

However, Oscar fish teeth are sharp enough to harm human skin to an extent.

What Are Other Things Oscars Do with Their Mouth?

Oscar fish use their mouth mainly for feeding. But there are other uses of Oscar fish mouth, such as reproduction. They are known as mouth breeders.

Oscars naturally carry young fish in their mouth until they are old enough to fend themselves.

Oscar fish are very good at protecting their eggs, and they are known as good parents.

The teeth in the back of their mouth keep the fry from falling out, and the teeth inside the throat keep the fry from being ingested.

They also coat their fry with antibacterial mucus to protect the babies from bacterial infections.

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Conclusion

Oscar fish are a fun type of fish you can keep in your tank. They will do fine with other fish if they are large enough not to get eaten in a tank large enough to swim freely.

They are intelligent fish species that can recognize their owner and pet with their owner.

One of their funny behavior is that they play dead when they don’t like something.

It is a unique personality of Oscars, which makes them an exciting fish species. Oscar fish have teeth, but they are not sharp enough to harm the human hand beyond a simple abrasion.

But, if your hand bleeds after an Oscar bite, that can be dangerous because aquarium water has bacteria that can infect your hand.

About Dr.Chamika

Hello, I'm Dr. Chamika. I am Researcher in water and environmental chemistry. I am passionate fish keeper, with years of experience. My mission is to help other aquarists experience the joy of fish keeping.