In this post Ill give you full guide on keeping oscar fish and easy guide on Oscar Fish Care . They are one of the most famous fish among aquarists. Oscar fish belong to Family cichlid and belong to genus Astronotus . There are two species in genus Astronotus, and they are Astronotus crassipinnis (Heckel, 1840) Astronotus ocellatus (Agassiz, 1831).
The common or aquarium verity is A. ocellatus. Oscar fish also know as marble cichlid, velvet cichlid and tiger Oscar. A. ocellatus had discovered by Louis Agassiz in 1831 first named as Lobotes ocellatus by mistaking it as a marine fish.
But after a lot of work, the species was put under genus Astronotus as A. ocellatus
Native Distribution and Habitat of Oscar fish
ocellatus or Oscar fish is native to Peru, Colombia, Brazil and amazon region. In native environments, Oscar fish prefer slow-moving pale muddy water habitats. This fish cannot live lower than ~12.9 0 C habitats.
Oscar Fish Life Span
Different fish have different lifetimes. For Oscar fish, it is generally 10-13 year.
Oscar Fish Identification
These fish grow up to 12 inches, and they reach their maximum body length quicker than other fish species. They are long and oval. Their dorsal fin extended from head to the caudal fin.
In their native habitats, adult Oscar is dark colored with yellow ringed spots in end of the body and around the dorsal fin. Juvenile Oscar fish is striped with white and orange wavy bands and have spotted heads.
There are few Oscar varieties created using selective breeding
- Red lemon Oscar fish- their body can be either red or orange, and their fins are black or white in colour.
- Albinos – This variety is without colour pigments in their body.
Preparing Oscar fish Aquarium And Care
Oscar fish is one of the most popular species in the freshwater aquarium trade. They have unique characters which made this fish popular. Those characters are,
- Their high intelligence
- Beautiful colouring
- Playful behaviour
- Fast-growing rate
Tank preparation for Oscar fish
Oscar is larger than other freshwater fish. They usually grow around 12 inches long. They need a big tank to swim in. Otherwise, the fish can be stressed. You should provide them with a comfortable environment. There are few things to remember before choosing a tank for Oscar fish
- For two fish you at least need 130-gallon aquarium—this space enough for two Oscar fish to swim easily.
- Waste production is another problem for Oscar. They produce more waste than other fish. So keeping them in the smaller or crowded tank again made them stress and causes diseases.
- The tank should be big and bigger mean lot of weight or pressure into the tank stand. Keep that mind in when building your tank stand.
Oscar rearing tanks need high-quality filter system to maintain water quality. Oscars are messy fish in nature. They produce a lot of waste during the day. To keep up the water quality, the big filter is needed. It is preferable to use a strong current generating filter to keep the tank in a more natural condition.
Moreover, the filter should be able to do
- Remove ammonium like chemical agent generated due to fish waste
- Maintain an excellent physical environment in the tank by removing physical particles (remaining food ) from the tank
- Maintain oxygen level in the water
It is essential to keep in mind to buy a filter which you can afford and follow all the instruction when you are installing it. Apart from that always turned on your filter after introducing fish to the tank.
Tank hood and lighting
Oscar is a very active fish. There are many reports which tell us Oscar are really good jumpers and they can jump out of the tank if there is no hood in your tank. Therefore when preparing the tank, to be sure to attach a good and affordable hood. The tank hood should not be too heavy and too light.
In the native environment, when dead leaves and dust particles gathered in the surface of the water that attracts smaller fish. That same effect created by moistened tank hood. Water drops built in the wet tank hood mimic small fish, and tank hood can drop out when Oscar tries to attack them. Therefore it is good to keep the underside of your tank hood clean without water droplets.
Tank Accessories for Oscar Fish
To resemble their native habitat, it is wise to fill the bottom with soft sand. Oscar fish like to dig holes in the bottom in search of food. If you put coarse sand, that will damage their soft tissues.
As a next step, you can decorate them as you like. But there are few things to keep in mind.
- As mentioned earlier, these fish are messy and like to dig. Therefore securely attached all decoration to the bottom. Oscar is a big fish, and they can easily lift small rocks and plants.
- When talking about plant decoration, it is wise to use floating plants over rooted plants. A good example is Hornwort. Another option is adding plastic plants.
- Place few hiding places in the corners. These are territorial species. So they need some hiding places inside their territory.
- Securely place any other decorations to the bottom.
Water quality in the tank for Oscar Fish care
Oscars are from tropical waters. Therefore they prefer warm water environment. Preferred water temperature for Oscar varies between 22- 25 Celsius (72-77 Fahrenheit).
If you are from a tropical country, you can use water with a heater. But if you are from the temperate country you need a heater to your Oscar tank. Glass heaters are not suitable for Oscar tanks. These messy fish known to broke them. Shatterproof tank heaters are ideal for this kind of situations.
pH is another critical water quality parameter when maintaining a fish tank. For Oscar, they prefer to live in slightly alkaline waters. The water should be in pH 7.2 for the best condition.more on tank pH
A clichéd fish lover you should use clichéd buffer or a water conditioner to maintain water quality. You should measure water temperature and pH of the tank using proper test kits.
Feeding Oscar Fish
The next important factor, when rearing Oscar is how and what to feed them. Oscar is not a selective eater. They eat whatever you feed them. But it is your responsibility to keep a balanced diet.
As you already know, Oscar is a big fish, and they need more food than smaller fish. So if you treat them as other small fish Oscars will stave. If you feed them more than needed tank water quality will change very easily. And it is not only the amount of food quality of the food should be considered.
In the wild Oscar feed on small live insects or small crustaceans. That means their diet should contain protein (from the small animal), plant materials (from the animals they eat). You can feed them with live food. But it is safe to feed processed fish food with occasional live food addition. Oscar also needs vitamin C.
In wild they get this vitamin C from the plant material they ingested with an animal they eat. You need to provide that missing part of their diet as algae supplement.
Rotate their menu now and then and feed them with various food such as blood worm, frozen peas or brine shrimps. They will love that.
Breeding Oscar Fish?
If you do not wish to breed Oscar, you may skip this part. But it is interesting to know how you can breed them just in case. But keep in mind Oscar is one of the hardest fish to breed in aquariums.
They do not pair easily. You cannot introduce any male and female into the tank and expect them to pair. They are very picky when choosing mates. There two established methods to breeding Oscar in tanks
- Buy already paired Oscar fish directly from an aquarium.
- Buy a group of juvenile fish and let them choose their mate with time.
These two methods have their ups and downs. The first method is expensive. You already know pairing Oscar fish is hard and you have to play nicely for the already paired couple.
The second method is less expensive, but you have to wait until they grow into adults. It will take approximately 1 -2 years. If you can wait that long, that is the best option.
Like most of the other fish, Oscar stimulates their breeding ability in the rainy season. In the natural world, they have natural rain. But in your tank, you have to create a raining environment. Here are some simple thing you can do to mimic the rainy season in your tank
- Lower the temperature by few degrees.
- Sprinkle water in the surface of the tank each day.
- Change the tank water every third or fourth day.
When they are ready to mate, you can see the fish burst their operculum and wager their fins. This movement is to signal their mate to indicate that they are prepared to mate. Then pair will clean a rock surface to lay the eggs. Female Oscar can lay up to 3000 eggs.
Oscar is good and protective parents. Mother Oscar usually fan the egg with her fins to keep egg surface clean while father guides the territory. The parents keep this behaviour until the egg hatch. That will take 2-3 days.
After the egg hatch, remove juveniles to a small tank and feed them at least four times a day to boost their growth. Do not let tank to be cloudy with excess food particles. You can move them to a bigger tank after they grow a little bit.
Oscar Fish care Diseases
Oscar is normally a hardy fish. They did not get sick easily. If you keep your tank clean, your Oscar fish will be fine. But there is a one disease common among Oscars, and that is “Hole in the head disease”. Another name for this disease is Freshwater head and lateral line erosion (FHLLE). You can easily identify this disease by its appearance.
If your Oscar gets this disease, there will be hole-type lesions mostly in the head or body of the fish. If not treated in the primary stage, this disease can be lethal to your fish. In the secondary stages, the holes become bigger, and bacteria or fungal infections can occur. In severe cases, fish become ill and stop eating. There are several reasons for the disease, such as lack of proper nutrient or poor water quality.
FHLLE is a treatable disease, and if you keep your tank clean and feed your fish properly with the right nutrients, you can easily eliminate the disease. If you missed the first stage of the disease do not be panicked, you can still save your fish by treating them with antibiotic metronidazole. But it is not enough to add chemicals into the tank you should maintain your tank water quality very closely and treat the fish with good care.
How to Oscar Fish Care
Oscar fish know as intelligent aquarium fish. According to Oscar fish owners, they can recognize their owners. We do not know exactly they can face recognize or not, but somehow they know their owners are coming and waggle their fins and head when they come. It is nice to see your fish is happy to see you.
Your Oscar fish do not need hard and laborious caring. They only need clean water, good space, nutritional diet and caring owner. It is not hard to maintain an Oscar tank, but it is challenging to set up one.
We hope you got everything you need from this guide. Enjoy your beautiful Oscar tank.
Also see Guppy Care Guide