The Oscar or Astronotus ocellatus is a large and territorial South American cichlid that is commonly found in the Amazon River Basin, the Rio Paraguay, the Rio Negro, and the Parana. These cichlids have an average lifespan of 10 years and can grow to be up to 14" in length.
The most common Oscar, commonly known as the Tiger Oscar, features a darkly colored body with some orange on the sides, around the gill area, as well as an orange and black eye-like spot at the base of their caudal fin. Other popular color morphs include an albino Oscar, and a red Oscar.
Oscar cichlids are territorial and aggressive and should only be kept with other large fish that can hold their own. Smaller and more timid species will get bullied and killed. The best option is to keep these fish in a species tank with only an individual Oscar or a mated pair.
Tank Requirements and Feeding:
Oscars grow quickly and get get over 12" long. A full grown Oscar should be kept in a minimum of a 75 gallon tank. A 90 gallon tank or larger is recommended for a pair. Any live plants in the aquarium should be potted or they could be dug up. The water should be soft with a temperature between 72-77°F.
Oscars may be feed a wide range of commercially prepared foods. a mix of cichlid pellets and freeze dried or frozen foods will promote good health with these fish. They also may be feed live foods, but feeder goldfish and minnows should be avoided.
Here is a video of a beautiful looking young Tiger Oscar. Notice the striking colors of this fish. The colors are one of the reasons they are so popular.
The Oscar cichlid is considered to be a sexually monomorphic fish, with little to no difference in appearance between the male and female Oscar. However, in some strains, males may display a black spot at the base of their dorsal fins. With most Oscars, The only way to identify a male vs. a female is to vent the fish or the female's oviduct will be visible when she is ready to spawn.
Oscar fish are biparental fish that pair up as they mature. A male and a female will select and clear a chosen flat surface inside of the aquarium. There the female will lay 1,000 to 3,000 eggs and both parents will guard the eggs and fry.