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(Astronotus ocellatus)

The Oscar fish is one of the largest aquarium fish. Despite its impressive size, it is a nice giant, particularly intelligent. In addition to its ease of maintenance, it is very endearing because it recognizes the person who takes care of it and welcomes it eagerly. You will love it!

Scientific name

Astronotus ocellatus
Lobotes ocellatus

Common name

Marble cichlid
Tiger oscar
Velvet cichlid


what are its countries of origin?

Origin: Perou, Colombia, Brasil, Guyana, Argentina
Biotope: American


what are the physical differences between males and females?

Quite difficult. In their natural colour, males have 3 dark spots at the base of the dorsal fin.





what is the minimum volume for this species?

1000 L / 220 imp gal / 264 US gal

Water parameters

what are the water parameters for the maintenance of this fish?

T°: 24 to 28°C or 75 to 82°F
pH: 6 to 7
Hardness: 5 to 10°dGH





what is the maximum size of this fish?

35 cm (14")

Life expectancy

what is the average life expectancy of this fish?

10 to 25 years

Living zone

in which area of the aquarium does this fish live?



sociability of the species

5 to 6


How to feed the Oscar?


How to feed the Oscar?

The least we can say is that the Oscar fish is not difficult. And for good reason, everything that is smaller than its mouth is good to eat, and it is huge! It is not an exaggeration to describe this fish as voracious. If you decide to adopt it, know that the amount of food for 5 or 6 individuals is really huge, which represents a certain budget.

The Oscar is mainly carnivorous. You can give it Tubifex, earthworms, chironomid larvae, mussels, shrimp, fish meat or red meat, dry foods (pellets or flakes)...

To be healthy, the Oscar needs to feed live prey regularly. You can supplement from time to time with plants such as oranges, watermelon, bananas, cucumbers and peas.

Make sure that the Oscar feeds on the surface or in the water, but never at the bottom of the aquarium because it may swallow gravel: it makes it swell and die (this is unfortunately a common ailment).

Do not give red fish or chicken to your fish.


What kind of behavior does the Oscar have?


What kind of behavior does the Oscar have?

Quiet enough but do not be fooled, the Oscar remains a keen predator and capable of impressive acceleration.

He is very curious and will observe you during the maintenance work with a lot of attention.

Despite its impressive size, the Oscar fish can be dominated by smaller but more tainted and aggressive species.

The generalities stop there, because the fish can show very different behaviors according to the individuals: some will be shy, even apathetic, while others can be turbulent. Similarly, some will be easy to tame and others savage.


Who can live with the Oscar?


Who can live with the Oscar?

It is a gregarious fish that will absolutely need the company of its congeners. As with all gregarious Cichlids, there will be some intraspecific aggression that will need to be spread over several individuals. Small games and many parries occur in the group, until a hierarchy is well established (they might hurt themselves more seriously). Note that there is a better understanding among the fish growing together. If you want to introduce new individuals into a group already installed, opt for young fish that will have a better chance of integrating.

Beware, because of its voracity, the Oscar leaves very little opportunity for its roommates to take only a few crumbs.

Of course, we will avoid cohabitation with smaller fish so they do not end up as snacks.

You can associate your Oscars with Meeki, big Catfish or with the Pleco.


How to breed the Oscar?


How to breed the Oscar?

Sexual maturity is reached when the fish is about 12 cm (5 inches). During the spawning season (warm season), individuals who have formed a couple change colour to a gray and black tiger. Males are then more aggressive. During this time increase the temperature to 26/28°C (78-82°F).

It is the fish that choose their breeding partner by affinity. They then form a very stable couple. The chances that fry will grow in community aquariums are nil. It will therefore be necessary to isolate a couple who have already laid several times in an aquarium dedicated to breeding.

Before spawning, the couple digs into the substrate a large hole where they plan to put the younglings. They also clean the laying surface (usually a flat stone). The spawning is quite impressive and noisy: do not intervene and do not disturb them, it is normal behavior.

The laying can comprise between 500 and 2500 eggs. Note that under good conditions, you can expect several layings in a single season, sometimes reaching a total of 3000 fry in the season. The fry are born 3-4 days later. The parents are very good guardians and will take turns to guard their children. This period is particularly delicate in the overall aquarium because the parents will not hesitate to attack violently all other fish passing near the territory, without exception.

After 6 to 7 days, the fry start to swim freely but staying fairly grouped. They stay close to their parents and they accompany the group everywhere. At the slightest concern but also in the evening, all the fry return to the hole. The fry grow very quickly up to 4 cm, then their growth is slowed down.

Fry food: infusoria, young Daphnia, dry foods.

Its aquarium

Which aquarium for the Oscar?

Its aquarium

Which aquarium for the Oscar;?

The minimum should be a 1000 liters (265 gal) aquarium. In fact, if it is cramped, it will hardly grow (20 cm at most), which is not its normal state, it then suffers from dwarfism.

For the water parameters, this fish is not very difficult. It should be offered a pH between 6 and 8 and a total hardness less than 15.

You must know before purchasing and setting up your decoration that the Oscar is at home! it will arrange its aquarium to its taste, moving the roots, rocks and tearing the plants according to its desires. To limit the damage, install rocks and fairly heavy roots (without protruding angles). Avoid stacks, so as not to risk crushing your boarders in case of a fall (or sticking stones between them).

For plants, you will need beefy plants! They must be deeply rooted and cover the substrate with large round pebbles (avoid sharp substrates because the Oscar sometimes moves the bottom of the tray). One solution to prevent the uprooting of your plants may be to use floating species! In general, plants do not really belong in Oscar’s aquarium!

Set up hiding places in order to shield the dominated from the aggressiveness of the dominant.

The decoration can be quite minimalist because the Oscar needs free space to swim.

Good to know

Good to know

Find all additional information!

It can change colour quickly, which serves it to communicate with its fellow creatures. Moreover, its coloration also changes according to its age.

Like most large Cichlids, the Oscar is susceptible to the holes disease. This is preventable by good water quality and a suitable diet.

At the base of the tail, the Oscar has a circular task (black surrounded by red in its natural form). This task is called ocellus, and is a characteristic of the species.

The Oscar is considered one of the most intelligent and environmentally conscious tropical species in the world. For example, it is perfectly capable of recognizing its human as soon as it enters the room. It then shows signs of excitement (to claim its pittance!).

Sometimes jumping to the surface.

There are several selected forms: normal, tabby, red tiger, copper and albino:

  • Astronotus Ocellatus Albino
    Astronotus Ocellatus Albino

  • Astronotus Ocellatus Tiger
    Astronotus Ocellatus Tiger

  • Astronotus Ocellatus Tiger Red
    Astronotus Ocellatus Tiger Red

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