Oscar Fish Care – Food, Facts & Behavior (Updated Feb 2019)


Oscar fish is one of the popular freshwater fish among aquarium Hobby.

They come in different variations like Tiger Oscar, Albino Tiger Oscar, Red Oscar fish, Albino Oscar, Veil Tail Oscar, Wilde Oscar etc.

Oscar fish are one of the best pets you could have as they are Intelligent, have their own personality and beautiful creatures.

Oscars are called “Water Dogs” because they can recognize their owners, they can be trained, hand feed and many more. Usually, when the owner approaches the aquarium they shake their head and body to welcome their owners.

There are certain parameters in which oscar fish should be kept to keep them happy and healthy, below are some points which you should look before buying an Oscar fish.

Tank Requirement

Best Filter for Aquarium


Oscar fish is one of the largest fish in freshwater aquarium fishes. They grow fast and big, it’s the common thing for an Oscar fish to grow up to 12 inches long in 1 or 2 years time.

When you go to buy a fish in the shop you will see the Oscar Fish which are very young, don’t get deceived by their looks like small cute fishes and buy an appropriate smaller aquarium. This is the common mistakes many of us do.

Oscars are big fish they will overgrow your aquarium and you will have to change the aquarium or let go of your beloved fish. Both of these options will increase your budget and you will have to spend more. So if you are buying an Oscar fish buy a bigger aquarium so in future you don’t have to invest more in the aquarium and waste your money.

Standard water requirement for an Oscar fish would be 45 to 55 gallon per fish, anything less than this will be a struggle and stress to your fish.

Oscar Fish are notoriously messy fish and requires regular maintenance to keep them healthy. They produce a lot of waste as they are big fishes with a huge appetite and when they eat they live out any excess food through their gills which pollute the water too. Now if you have a small aquarium the water condition will go bad in no time and you will have to change the water more frequently than a bigger tank.

Oscar fish are from South America and like warm water, so you should maintain a typical temperature in your aquarium i.e. 23 to 27 Celsius (75 to 80 Fahrenheit) and the PH level should be 6 to 7. Oscar fish can handle a various range of hardness of water but preferably it should be 13 to 15dh.

Oscar fish tank requires proper filtration as they are messy fish and sensitive towards change in water parameters. We would suggest you get a good quality of filters preferably Canister Filter, HOB or Powerhead filters along with Bubble stones. (PLEASE CLICK ON THE LINK TO KNOW ABOUT FILTERS)

Features to look at a good filtration system – it should remove solid waste from the water, control biological/chemical agents and ammonia build up in water, last but not the least oxygenate the water. The baseline is you would require more than one filter as you have a large aquarium.

Oscar fish should be kept in an aquarium which has its top covered, as these fishes are good jumpers and there are cases where we have heard they have jumped off the aquarium which is unfortunate.

If the water quality worsens you would see a change or loss in color, lack of appetite, they will look unhappy and increase in stress level will lead to diseases and it might be fetal.

Decoration can be bare minimal in as Oscar fish tank. You can use gravel for the base as it will keep the waste trapped in the bottom of the tank and will not let it float around. If you have sand it will not keep the waste trap.

Oscar fish likes to move things around, they are strong and well-built fish they will rip apart anything they don’t like and uproot the plants. Oscar Fish have their own personality and likings, so they will decorate or move things to their likings. So don’t bother about the decoration too much. If in case you want to keep decorations you can keep a heavy thing like rocks or pots etc.

What would you require for your Oscar fish Tank?

  • Big tank
  • Thermometer to measure temperature
  • Heater to keep the temperature stable
  • Good filtration system
  • Gravels


Oscar fish food


Oscar fish is primarily carnivorous so provide them with high quality, high protein diet.

Oscar fish accept whatever you put in the tank, the main diet in their natural habitat is mainly Insects and crustaceans.

In wild oscar fish feeds on a variety of food like small fish, aquatic invertebrates, insects and insect larva and consumes a small number of plants.

Oscars are not fussy eaters, so you have to understand their natural food habits and try to replicate their nutritional needs and feed them accordingly. It’s up to the owner to meet the nutritional needs of the fish, which will keep them healthy and happy.

Oscar fish should be fed a balance of food i.e. flakes, algae supplement, shrimps, pellets etc.

Oscar fish needs a high level of Vitamin C and plant matters, so you can feed them on greens/fruits occasionally. Feeding life fish or feeder fish is not a good idea, usually, these feeder fish are bred and raised in a very bad condition and they carry parasites/disease which might be passed on to your pet and make your fish sick. If you want to feed feeder fish after getting them quarantine and treat them with medicine and then feed it to you Oscar fish.

Oscar fish are fed only once a day, if you feed them many times a day it increases waste in the water thereby diminishing the quality of water and increase the risk of overfeeding the fish which is not good for your Oscar fish’s health.

Feed Oscar fish with various different diets so that they are healthy and live long, below are the list of food which can be fed to oscar fish:



Brain Shrimps

Prawn feed

Frozen Peas

Chiclet pellets (high quality)

Avoid flakes as they might sometimes mess up their digestive system. Now how much should you feed the fish? Typical thumb rule for Oscar fish is to feed them once a day as I have mentioned above and feed them quantity of food they can consume for 2 min and whatever is leftover remove it immediately, benefits of removing the feed after 2 minutes is you will avoid overfeeding your fish and if the food is left over it will pollute the water which is bad for the fish.

Breeding Oscar fish – is it possible?

Oscar fish breeding


Breeding of Oscar fish is possible but it’s not easy as compared to the other freshwater fishes and its one of the hardest to achieve.

The Oscar fish are very picky about their mate and it takes a long time for an Oscar fish to mature usually 16 months to 2 years. It’s time-consuming and success rates are very minimal.

There are different types of Oscar fish which can be found naturally and consider breeding Red Oscar, Tiger Oscar, Albino Oscar and White Oscar.

Differentiating between male and female Oscars are extremely difficult an expert advice is required to know the difference. Basically female has retracting tube which holds the eggs and they are inside her body when they are not breeding. Male Oscar fish has a spike which will be used to fertilize the eggs.

Oscar fish enter the breeding season when they sense its rainy season. In our indoor aquarium, we maintain the same temperature and condition so there is no effect of the season in our aquariums.

To initiate the breeding season the first thing to do would be to do a large amount of water change 20 to 30 % every alternate day. The drastically reduce the temperature by 2 to 3 degrees so they sense its rainy season.

Another main factor would be we have to give a rain effect in your aquarium, so what you have to do is everyday sprinkle water on the aquarium for 5 to 10 min. Another alternative is to install a spray bar which will give a rain effect and its easy to do. Usually, our Canister filter comes with spray bars which can be fixed and given an effect of rainy season.


Oscar Fish Common disease

Like all the living creatures Oscar Fish also gets sick, the main disease which Oscar Fishs gets is Hole in the head, which creates a cavity in the head and face of the fish. This disease is caused by poor quality of water or Vitamin D/ Phosphorus or Calcium deficiency.

Oscar fish is a hardy fish and usually if we maintain good quality water condition and proper nutritional food the fish will stay healthy.

If you are introducing any type of decoration or live fish food etc quarantine and treated them and then introduce to the Oscar fish tank as they might introduce parasite or other disease-carrying infections.

Suitable Tankmates

Oscar Fish tank mate


We would recommend species only tank for the Oscar fish as they are territorial and aggressive.

If you want to add other species add the fish which are a similar size or if you add small fish they will take it as a feed. As Oscar fish are large fish if you add the fishes its ease to overcrowd the tank and the water quality in the tank will go down.

If you have species only tank add 2 or more fishes in the tank and the size and quantity of the fish should be kept in mind.



Oscar fish Care


Oscar fish are intelligent species, that’s the reason they have earned the name as “water dogs”.

You would have seen on youtube or your friends who own Oscar telling this also as they waggel their head and fins when they see their owners as dogs who invite their owners which excitement.

Oscar fish are fun to interact with and they are very friendly with their owners, they can be trained to be hand fed or basic tricks if you are patient with them.

Oscar fish is a fantastic fish as they are friendly, good looking and intelligent. It rewards with happiness and fun to keep these fish as your pet.

Hope this article has helped you with the information you are looking for an Oscar fish. If you have any questions or clarification please let us know in comments.

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