The Oscar is a fish with remarkable personality. Very intelligent, the fish can be taught to enjoy being petted or roll over for food. Sometimes they act sensitive and prideful or moody, spoiled, and demanding.
This popular fish has been held in very high esteem and has been in demand for numerous years. Oscars are striking fish, quickly grow large - reaching up to a foot in length, and definitely command a lot of attention. Though not usually depicted as beautiful they are quite attentive and personable. Oscars have a rounded appearance and their innate coloration is a red, green, and black. There is usually a red ringed black spot on the tail, referred to as an 'eye spot' and sometimes red spots on the dorsal fin. The Oscar coloration in combination with very small scales gives the Oscar a velvety look. In earlier times they were sometimes referred to as the 'Velvet Cichlid'.
Wild captured Oscars are still very popular and widely available but because Oscars are easily bred, there are many varied color forms available on the market. The most attractive and popular breed of these is the Red Oscar, which has a solid red body and fewer blotchings than the wild fish caught. Other popular tank bred varieties of Oscars include the Tiger Oscar which is very similar in look to the wild form but with more red coloring; the rarer Albino Oscar is a more recent variety of the fish as is the Speckled Red Oscar, showcasing black fins; lastly there are lutinos and long finned varieties of Oscars.
The only disease they are vulnerable to is HLLE, Head and Lateral Line Erosion, which is commonly referred to as "hole-in-the-head" disease. It appears as pits or cavities on the head and face. It is commonly reported this may be a nutritional deficiency of one or more of the following vitamins: Vitamin C, Vitamin D, phosphorous and calcium.
* Kingdom: Animalia
* Phylum: Actiniform
* Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
* Order: Perciformes
* Family: Cichlidae
Because the Oscar is carnivorous it prefers a variety of meaty foods. Oscars will eat all types of drive, live, and frozen foods. The fish gets large so it should be fed a very high quality pelleted food and large chun type foods such as sliced up beef heart and earthworms. The Oscar particularly enjoys fish and worms and it is a very hearty eater. Live guppies and then ultimately goldfish will also suffice as the Oscar gets bigger.
Though you can start younger oscars in a smaller aquarium, they grow quickly and will soon need a large home. A 30 gallon aquarium with very good maintaince and filtration is okay, but a 50 gallon aquarium or larger is better. They will need frequent water changes. Oscars do splash water in their enthusiam for eating, so it is good to have the aquarium covered.
These are curious fish that love to play, they will have definite ideas about the interior arrangement and will move things around. Rocks securely placed on the bottom work well while plants will be uprooted. Some suggestions are to put plants in pots with the roots covered with rocks, use plastic plants and securely anchor them on the bottom with silicone cement, or floating plants can work well. Because they like to explore, you can occasionally offer them a 'toy' such as a plastic ornament. Get several and rotate a new one in every so often.
Oscars are found in South America; the Amazon, Parana, Rio Paraguay, and Rio Negro.
These fish get up to inches 12" (33 cm). They grow very rapidly and will quickly outgrow a small aquarium.
They are not a community fish. Though they are not belligerent to tankmates, they are predatory. If you start your aquarium with an assortment of fish, eventually you will have only one type of fish left, the Oscar. They will generally burrow and they will dig up plants.
They are difficult to sex. The easiest method is to obtain six to eight juveniles and let them pair off on their own as they reach sexual maturity.
These fish will swim in all areas of the aquarium.
Hardness: 10Â° dGH
Temp: 72-77Â° F 22-25Â° C
Oscars are egg layers and open spawners. They forms pairs and will attach their eggs to rocks or the glass. They are excellent parents and both will tend the young, even chewing up food for the fry to eat.
The Oscar is readily available, either as a wild caught fish or in tank bred color varieties.
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