Oscar Fish as Pets
Oscar fish are native to the slow-moving freshwater rivers and creeks of South America. They are a very popular aquarium fish and come in many beautiful colors. Oscar fish are strong, and can accidentally jump out of the fish tank if they spot something above that looks like food, so be sure to use a tight-fitting aquarium lid with a latch for your fish. They can also pull up plants and even move rocks and gravel, but their antics will give you plenty to do cleaning up after them!
Oscar Fish Aquariums
Like many aquarium fish, Oscar fish need a large aquarium tank. According to Oscar Fish Lover, one Oscar needs a 75-gallon fish tank with a good filtration system. Two Oscars may need a 125-gallon or larger tank. Oscar fish can grow up to a foot long, and need a large tank in order to swim about freely.
Oscar Feeding Habits
Oscars are carnivorous. In the wild, they eat smaller fish, insects, and pretty much anything that swims or flashes before their eyes. In captivity, feed your Oscar fish a prepared mix made for them and supplement their diet with crickets or mealworms. Be careful about other fish in the tank; if they are smaller than the Oscar, the Oscar may try to eat them.
The common Oscar fish is a direct descendent of wild Oscar fish living in the fresh waters of South America. These are the ones you'll find most frequently at the pet store. You can identify them by their dark brown-gray base color with stripes of yellow, gray, or pale green. The common Oscar does not have orange or has very little orange on their body.
Tiger Oscar Fish
Tiger Oscars are the result of breeding red Oscars with common Oscars. The result is an attractive aquarium fish with a dark brown-black base color and red stripes. Tiger Oscars vary in the amount of red or orange on the body, so depending on your color preference, you can find ones that are darker or lighter in color.
Albino Oscar Fish
Albino Oscars may be almost entirely white or white with lots of red and orange stripes on their bodies. The eyes of a true albino Oscar fish will be red or orange. If the fish has dark eyes, they're a light type of Oscar but not a true albino.
Veil Tail Oscar Fish
The veil tail or veiltail Oscar features beautiful long fins and tail. You can find veil tail Oscar fish in all standard Oscar colors ranging from dark to albino. Be careful not to overcrowd your Oscar fish when you have a veil tail, as overcrowding can lead to nipped fins, ruining the graceful, flowing look of the veiltail Oscar.
Breeding Oscar Fish
It's hard to tell the difference between male and female Oscar just by looking at them. Experts recommend that anyone interested in breeding Oscars get a few and watch to see which pair off; these are breeding pairs. Oscar fish reproduce by laying eggs. They guard the eggs carefully until the babies hatch. However, it is common for them to lose their first group of babies.
Oscar "Eye" Spot
Most Oscar fish have a bright ring, sometimes referred to as an "eye" spot, on either side of the base of their tail. This spot resembles an eye. Its intention is to confuse predators, so they can't figure out which end of the Oscar is the head.
Red Oscar Fish
Red Oscars look similar to the tiger variety. However, they are not striped and have more of a solid red or orange appearance. Their fins and head are usually a darker color. These red Oscars are relatively rare and can be difficult to find if you're interested in acquiring one for your tank.
Oscars Can Change Color
Oscar fish are color-shifters; they can change their color for a few different reasons. When an Oscar fish becomes stressed or ill, their color can fade. Changes in color are also natural with aging. Remember, Oscar fish can live up to 20 years, so what's considered "old" for many fish species may not be the same for your Oscar.
Learn More About Oscar Fish
If you'd like to learn more about how to keep Oscar fish healthy and happy, learn about their care, feeding, tank care, and more. Oscar fish come in many beautiful colors and make fascinating pets. Just be sure to give them the habitat they require, and they'll reward you with years of enjoyment.