Oscar fish is basically a 'huge'ly popular aquarium fish. Proper care plays an important role in the average life expectancy, as they have a long average life span of 8 to 12 years. If you are looking forward to see your pet happily swimming through your fish tank for many years to come, then this guide will help you through. Before we answer your question, let us learn a little more about the fish.
Oscars are from South America and are basically freshwater cichlids. These freshwater fish are commonly known as the Walnut Cichlid, Peacock Cichlid, or Velvet Cichlid. They were given the Latin name Lobotes oscellatus in the 1800s, which was rechristened to Astronotus oscellatus. There are many types available such as the Albino, Lemon, Lutino, Red, Tiger, and Yellow Oscars. They tend to grow very large, up to 12 inches in length. They have their own sense of appeal that makes them very popular.
The fish has an oval-shaped body with large, thick lips. They are typically dark in color with an orange-colored gill area, sides, and a black spot with an orange-ring around it, at the caudal fin base. They are territorial and combative fish, that tend to change colors when in an aggressive mood. The juveniles are easily distinguished by the orange wavy bands and stripes with spots on the head. You can bring home captive bred varieties which are marbled, mottled, blotched, red and black, all red and all black. They are fast growers and quickly out-grow their aquariums.
Before you bring home your fish, make sure you get your tank ready with the appropriate equipment.
- Aquarium tank that will suit the size of the growing fish
- Aquarium heater
- Aquarium Filter
- Fish Net
- Ornamental Plants
- Tank Decorations
These are large fish that require an ample amount of space to live and swim freely. You will need an aquarium tank of minimum 40 gallons, as they require 30 gallons of space each.
These fish need clean, warm water to flourish. The water temperature should be maintained at 77º F and the ideal temperature should be maintained at 74º to 81º F. Thus, you should have a heater and a thermometer along with your tank, as too much of warm water and too much of cold water will damage the immune system of your fish, making them prone to diseases.
Oscars tends to be a little messy, therefore, maintaining the cleanliness of your tank is of utmost importance. You need to change 10 to 15% of the water weekly and remove the waste matter that is not processed by the tank filter. You should opt for a tank filter that is suitable for your 40 gallon tank size. You may also use many small filters to help you clean your tank and avoid changing all the filter media at once.
Oscars are carnivores and need a high protein diet. They eat all small fish, aquatic invertebrates, insect larvae, scavenging old carcasses, nibbling at the fins and scales of other fish in their natural habitat. You need to provide them with a variety of processed, frozen, and freeze dried foods. Feed them the amount that is consumed by the fish within 2 minutes. Never feed them more than once a day, as they tend to produce more waste, dirtying the tank. A proper diet helps to maintain the long life and immune system of your fish.
Oscars need a lot of places to hide and feel comfortable. They tend to push and move everything in the tank, thus, opt for large and heavy decorations that are hard to move. Use decorations that are smooth and without hard and sharp edges, so that your fish don't get hurt while swimming. It is seen that when half or three fourths of hiding places are provided, they tend to be more active and will come out more often. They remain stress free, and thus, have a good immune system.
These are aggressive fish and tend to eat up small fish. They will eat anything that fits their mouth size. It is better to have Cichlids as companions, and make sure they are not the larger breeds. Larger breeds tend to be aggressive and spoil the otherwise peaceful surroundings of the tank. Different fish like Pacu, Clown Loach, Catfish, Black Lancer, Synodontis, Silver Dollar, etc., can prove to be good companions. Make sure they are not large or very young. Convicts, Firemouths, Sevrums, Jack Dempseys, and Geophagus Juripari are also suitable as companions.
Make sure you have a large area to house these huge fish. Pet care is the owner's responsibility, especially when you bring home a fish that will be with you for a long time. Proper diet, clean, warm water will help them stay disease free. Before you bring home one, make sure you have the time, energy, and dedication to commit to them. Do proper research and gather all the knowledge about caring for these fish, as it is not easy to maintain them. With all the resources in hand, bring home your fish and bring home an 'Oscar'.