Oscar Fish Facts

Scientific and Tank Facts

Scientific Name: Astronotus ocellatus
Family: Cichlidae
Origin: South America
Adult Size: 12-18 inches
Social: Semi-Aggresive
Lifespan: 10+ years
Tank Level: All levels
Diet: Omnivore - Eats flake initially then moves to pellets
Breeding: Egglayer - may breed in aquariums
Care: Moderate
pH: Neutral
Hardness: 15 dGH
Temperature: 74-80 F 

Facts, Observations, and Hearsay

Observation: They are very smart fish

I have found that oscars are very smart fish. They adapt quickly to their environment as well. My oscars seem to know what is going on around them. They will follow a persons finger and have no fear when a person approaches. I have heard them called the " dog" of the fish world. Observation: Interaction with other fish

There is definitely a pecking order with fish. From the first day we had the oscars they knew who was the largest of the two and who got to eat first. The larger dominant one chased the other around continuously. At this stage of the game, they definitely use their size to get their way. We found that the smaller oscar eventually became larger and then the tank was evened out and neither fights the other. They are aggressive with other fish as well and will run other fish around. However, they never actually bite a tank mate, unless it is smaller and considered a meal. They commonly chase. 

Found on the net: Origin

They can be found in Central and South America and other areas. They are now more wide spread in tropic areas because of dispersion by humans. 

Found on the net: Taxidermy difficult

Because not a high enough demand of people tend to taxidermy their oscars they are unique to taxidermists. They must be carved before the skin can be stretched over them. It is very uncommon and pricey to have them taxidermied.

Instructed: Salt is like gatorade to a fresh water fish

A Petsmart worker explained that the correct amount of salt is provides necessary electrolytes to a fish. They are able to breathe better because of the effect of the salt on the gills. Too much salt can make a fish ill and kill it. For oscars about 1 tablespoon per 5 gallons does fine. Be sure to account for evaporation. As the water evaporates the salt content rises. 

Quoted: They can become very friendly

That say the fish will eat right out of the owner's hand. It can be spooky because they are so aggressive and can actually nip at a finger. I have unintentionally held a pellet out of the water while one of the oscars ate another pellet and by surprise the second oscar comes clear out of the water after my hand. It is not healthy to handle the fish a great deal because human oils can be dangerous. Besides, oscars have spines and a wound to the hand can become greatly infected.

Experienced: Watch out for the water heater

I have heard that oscars will attack a water heater because of the light in them. I know there are special durable heaters that can be purchased. As well, some people hide the heater behind some type of decoration. 



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