Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Basic Information about Oscar Fish

Scientifically referred as Astronotus ocellatus, Oscar fish belong to the cichlid family. They are also referred as Velvet Cichlid, Marbled Cichlid or by their colour and pattern variations such as Tiger Oscar, Red Oscar, etc. These freshwater animals are commonly found in Amazon and Orinoco River Basins of South America along with few other countries such as China, Australia and United States. These are often available for sale as food fish in South American local markets.

Originally described as Lobotes ocellatus by Louis Agassiz in the year 1831, they are considered as one of the popular breeds of fish to be used at home aquariums. Some of the physical traits of these aquarium species are as follow –
  • They have standard length of around 12 to 16 inches and weight of up to 3.5 pounds. 
  • They can grow more than an inch every month at young age. Thus, they need a big tank at the time of purchase for better space while they grow. 
  • These species are usually dark in colour with some stripes or spots on their body. They come in number of colours and different patterns.
  • These species are sexually monomorphic as the males grow more quickly compared to the females. Also, they are considered to possess dark blotches on the dorsal fin’s base in some cases. 
  • They become sexually mature at approximately one year of age. They can continue reproduction for around 9 to 10 years.
The water temperature of about 72ᵒF to 78ᵒF is suitable for these species to grow. The frequent fluctuation in the water temperature can sometimes turn into detrimental or fatal to the fish. They are normally found in shallow and slow moving water having bottoms of sand and mud.

Oscar fish can live for more than a decade. They can be offered food items like crayfish and worms, crustaceans, insects and insect larvae, fish and various other plant matters. However, they tend to overeat due to their opportunistic nature. Thus, it is essential to feed them only when necessary. Taking care of their food habits can really make them healthy allowing them to live for years.

In terms of temperament, these species are slightly aggressive and territorial as well. During spawning, the pair of Oscar fish may become extremely aggressive towards the other tankmates.  However, they are quite mellow in comparison to other cichlids. Highly intelligent, they can perform little tricks if conditioned to do so.
In all, these species are great as pets and easily recognises those who feed them. They can form a long term bond with you due to their long live and compel you to love them for their attitude, intelligence and beauty.

Some Beautiful Oscar Fish Pictures

Oscar Fish
 Oscar Fish
Oscar Fish Pictures



  2. General tips on Oscar Fish Care

    After setting up the aquarium, it is best to wait a couple weeks to make sure everything is in order.
    Add only one or two fish at a time. Biological filters need time to accommodate new inhabitants and changes in the water.
    Before adding an Oscar fish to a community, keep it quarantined in a separate tank for a few weeks to make sure it is healthy. A diseased fish could contaminate an entire population.
    Oscar fish prefer hiding places. To keep them relaxed and happy, provide them with plenty of decorations and plants. Oscars prefer about half or more of the tank to be covered, so keep lots of hiding places for him.
    Oscars prefer to live alone. If you must, choose other Oscars as companions with even temperaments. A passive Oscar is quickly bullied while an aggressive Oscar will attack other fish.
    Do not neglect regular partial water changes.
    Air pumps and air stones are necessary to oxygenate the water and release harmful chemicals by agitating the surface of the water.
    Oscar fish and many cichlids do not like bright lighting. Use low intensity fluorescent bulbs in your hood or a fluorescent fixture - a 10,000K rating will provide the best viewing - or actinic lighting to avoid stressing them. Make sure to turn them off at night or supply a lunar light.
    To avoid electrical shock, make a "drip loop" on all your cords. Hang a small weight in the middle of the cord so water will not travel down the cord and into the outlet.
    Choose gravel that is free of dye and will not be swallowed. Cichlid gravels are your best bet.