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Do Oscar Fish Recognize Their Owners? Certainly !

Do oscar fish recognize their owners? Yes, Oscar fish can recognize their owners. They are considered one of the clever and smart fish species among many aquarists. 

They are smart enough to identify their owners or feeders and therefore known as water dogs. Oscars can recognize their feeders and keepers by both sight and sound. 

Actually, they cannot recognize the sound, but they can recognize the vibration of the footfalls of their owners.

When the owner of the Oscar comes near the aquarium, the fish swim faster to the water surface and show excitement.

Do Oscar Fish Recognize Their Owners

Oscar fish’s behavior and intelligence


Oscars are considered very social fish, but occasionally they can be quite territorial too. 

According to many aquarists, Oscars do not swim around the tank as much ornamental fish do without a reason. 

Scientists predict that Oscars have several behaviors and signals for several occasions in their lives. 

They can understand and respond accordingly to a certain extent like humans. This may be the reason that they are very famous among aquarists. 

They can be aggressive

Although they are not very aggressive, some factors can change their behavior. The most important factor to reduce their aggressiveness is to provide them with substantial space

You may not experience it if you introduce a large Oscar to a large tank with compatible tank mates. 

This is because the Oscars are territorial fish and they mark their territory sometimes after you put the fish into the tank. 

You may not see any aggressive behavior just after you put the Oscar into the tank. But with time it marks its territory and every fish who passes through it arises their anger.

The second main factor is the meals. If your oscar does not get the amount of food it needs, it gets stressed and the ultimate result is an aggressive fish.

Even the water conditions such as pH, ammonia level, and temperature of the water contribute to the behavior of the fish. 

Smaller fish will increase their aggressiveness. They may start to bully or even kill the smaller fish. Therefore, keep in mind to add only the fish compatible with the Oscars.

Apart from the above reasons, breeding season, and ailment can also increase the aggressiveness of the Oscars.

Oscars are fish with a great personality and expect the dominance of the aquarium. They might fight with other fish in order to save their dominance. 

They redesign your aquarium! 

Sometimes you may notice that the rocks and pebbles you have put are not in the place previously they are. 

That is because the Oscars move them to the locations they need. Simply, they change your decorations according to their taste.

Many cases prove that Oscars uproot aquatic plants. This is because of their digging behavior.

They dig the substrate for many reasons and sometimes they dig the substrate for no reason during their daily routine. 

Two common reasons that they are digging are looking for food and trying to make a nest for their eggs. However, if you really need to put root plants in your aquarium secure them in a pot.

They can be moody!!

As they are intelligent fish they can respond to external factors such as changes in the water parameters in a different way

Sometimes you can see your fish stand still for a long time without moving. They stay such for a long time maybe for 2 hours. 

This is an indication that they are not happy because of water conditions, tank setup, or food. 


As mentioned before, the Oscar fish is known to be one of the most intelligent fish in the aquarium hobby. 

Oscars do not even swim without any reason. Every time when fish moves that have a reason to do it !! 

They are very affectionate and emotional. They can form an emotional bond with you. The easiest way to form a bond with them is by feeding them because they mostly associate their owners with food. 

Try to call their names during feeding them and interact with them. You can even put your hand to the aquarium to interact with them. 

However, make sure that your hand is clean and does not have any soap residue. Also, keep in mind not to touch them as it may harm their protective membrane. They can be good pets for you!!

Their qualities such as identifying their owners, response to external factors, and emotional bonds show their intelligence.

Do Oscar Fish Recognize Their Owners

Do Oscars like to be pets?

Many aquarists claim that juvenile Oscars are the same as puppies. That is the reason people call them river dogs or water dogs. 

They show their affection to the person who feeds them. You can feed them with your hands. However, before feeding them take these factors into account 

  1. Before feeding, your Oscar wash your hands thoroughly  and make sure no chemicals or soap residuals on your hand 
  2. Fold your hands and make a fist then slowly unfold your hand. Do not put your hand directly as the Oscars may misunderstand your fingers for worms and try to eat them!!
  3. You may not succeed the first time. They will slowly learn to get their meals from your hand directly. During this time show your affection.

How do I make my Oscar fish happy?

Oscars are intelligent fish species and can show their feelings in different ways. The first thing to make the Oscars happy is to give them enough space. 

The recommended tank size for one Oscar is 55 US gal (210 L) while you should increase it at least to 120 US gal (450 L) if you are planning for a couple. 

According to the records, Oscars grow up by one inch for a month and you need a large tank from the beginning. 

Then the water parameters should be in the recommended range. Oscars are happiest when the water is around 77 °F (25 °C) while they can tolerate a range of 74–81 °F (23–27 °C). 

Monitor the water temperature continuously, especially when you change the water. Make sure not to put a thermometer inside the aquarium as it may harm it. 

Consider a water heater that is  200W-500W if you are in a cold area. Coldwater suppresses your Oscar’s immune system. 

This may lead your Oscar vulnerable to illness. on the other hand, too warm water contains less oxygen and leads to nerve and heart damage. 

Many aquarists suggest a high-capacity filter for Oscars as they generate more waste.

Make sure the pH, ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite levels are in recommended range by checking them from time to time. You may find your fish sulk if your water parameters are not in their preferred range.

Oscars are not shy fish, but like many other aquarium fish, they need a place to hide.

Better to put flat rocks, driftwoods, and plants to make them happy. However, your decorations may dislocate by them!

Another way to make them happy is to provide them with good quality food. They are not picky in foods and eat whatever you feed. Feed them a healthy diet but not overfeed them.  

It is good not to do anything which provokes their aggressiveness. If you plan to add another Oscar, do it when they are young or move both to another tank.

Do oscar fish get lonely

The Oscars can do well on their own. They do not feel lonely if you keep them in a solitary tank. Make sure you provide it with the ideal environment to keep it happy and healthy in your tank. 

Credit to : #Oscar love
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About Dr.Chamika

Hello, I'm Dr. Chamika. I am a Researcher in Water quality, Aquatic organisms, and Environmental chemistry. I am a passionate fish keeper, with10 years of experience. My mission is to help other aquarists experience the joy of fish keeping.