An intelligent species with temper tantrums, Oscar fish still tend to be the favorite aquarium fish amongst most people. This article lists some of the characteristics and ways to care for this aggressive breed.
Oscar fish belong to the cichlid family and are usually found in areas of South America. They come in a wide variety of patterns and colors and are also known as Tiger, velvet, or marble cichlid. The scientific name for this species is Astronotus ocellatus and they grow up to 16″ in length (40 cm) and weigh over 3 pounds (1.5 kg).
- Oscar fish are an aggressive species. They need an aquarium that is big in size. It is always advisable to have a minimum of 6 Oscar fish in one tank. They are sometimes known to attack each other for no apparent reason.
- They are also known to grow at a fast rate. Once they grow, they require a lot of space, at least 30 gallons each. The optimum temperature should be around 26-28 degrees C.
- They are known to change colors when they begin courting. They lay about 1000 eggs at a time, and these eggs are known to hatch within 2 days.
- Be careful of the species of fish you select to have in your tank along with the Oscars. Go for large Neotropical Cichlids which are of the same size. Pink Oscars are the least aggressive, so having them in your tank would require you to see that they also receive the appropriate amount of food to survive. Although they are known to be very aggressive, the wild side of these fish may be seen when they tend to feel overcrowded in the aquarium or during the breeding period.
- Their tanks require frequent cleaning as they are known to dispose a huge amount of waste every day. For this, you need to have a strong filtration system for the aquarium.
- They are known to apply their intelligence when it comes to the way you decorate the aquarium. If they do not like the items you use in it, they are even known to pick these up and push them around. Therefore, go in for a sandy bottom and big rocks.
- Use a digital aquarium thermometer to keep a regular check on the temperature of the water. These fish are known to be easily adaptable but even then, keep a pH balance of about 7.2.
- Always ensure that you maintain the water change at regular intervals. Do this on a weekly basis. Siphon off a bit of the water and add some new water to it. Change at least 10 to 15 percent of the water to keep it healthy and safe for the fish.
- Before you bring the fish home, you need to ensure that the aquarium is washed thoroughly and all the soap or any other residues have been completely rinsed off. Every item that is to be placed inside the aquarium needs to be rinsed completely.
- These fish are a carnivorous lot. When it comes to domesticated ones, it is safer to feed them processed or frozen food. Get some specific cichlid food items that would provide them with a balanced diet. They need a protein-rich diet to maintain good health.
- Always ensure that you do not overfeed the Oscar fish. Always remove the leftover from the aquarium as their tendency to produce waste can add to the ammonia content in the water.
- Avoid usage of bright lighting in the aquarium. It should preferably have low-intensity fluorescent bulbs.
Oscar fish are an intelligent species of fish and are very popular as pets. They are also very aggressive, and you need to look after them with great care if you plan to have them in your aquarium.