In this article, I am going to tell you some interesting and fun facts about Oscar fish.
We will start with some basic facts and then we will move towards more interesting and fun facts.
1. Oscar Fish belongs to cichlids family
Oscar Fish is a member of the Cichlid family.
The Cichlid family is one of the largest vertebrate families and it contains diverse fish.
This family contains a lot of species.
It contains about 1650 scientifically described species and more and more species are discovered every year.
It also contains a lot of undescribed species and the total number of species ranges between 2000 to 3000.
Cichlids family contains a lot of freshwater aquarium fish besides Oscar Fish like Angelfish, Discus, etc.
2. The scientific name of Oscar Fish is Astronotus Ocellatus
The scientific name of Oscar Fish is Astronotus Ocellatus.
It was first discovered by Louis Agassiz in 1831.
He named it Lobotes Ocellatus because he mistakenly considered Oscar Fish as a Marine species.
But later Oscar fish was put into genus Astronautus.
Oscar Fish also has other synonyms such as Astronotus orbiculatis, Astronotus Ocellatus zebra, Acara hyposticta and Acura compresses.
3. Oscar Fish comes from Amazon basin
Oscar Fish is native to Brazil, Columbia, Ecuador, Guinea, and Peru.
And it mostly found in the Amazon river basin.
In its natural habitat, Oscar Fish usually stay in slow-moving water where there is a lot of plant matter.
Due to the ornamental fish trade Oscar Fish now also occur in China, Florida, and northern Australia.
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4. Oscar Fish is one of the smartest fish
Oscar Fish has a very unique behavior. If you watch them even for a few minutes you will notice that they don’t just mindlessly move in the aquarium but they move intentionally.
They are also very intelligent fish and they can even recognize their owner by their hand.
They can even redesign their tank according to their liking.
You can also teach tricks to your Oscar Fish.
5. Oscar Fish have teeth (But do they bite?)
Oscar Fish have teeth but they are not very sharp. And Oscar Fish bite doesn’t harm you besides a simple scraping.
Actually, Oscar Fish has two sets of teeth one in the back of their mouth, and the second set is located in their throat.
Oscar Fish are suction feeders which basically means that their teeth are not meant to tear down their prey instead they are there just for grasping their prey.
But Oscar Fish do tear down their prey with the set of teeth that are located in their throat but it cannot reach you.
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6. Oscar fish grows pretty fast and large
Oscar fish grow fast at a rate of 1 inch per month. In the wild, Oscar fish grow up to 18 inches. In captivity, they grow up to 12 to 13 inches.
But if you take good care of Oscar fish and provide an ideal environment then it can even grow up to 15 inches in a fish tank.
7. Oscar fish can eat humans foods
Oscar fish can eat a variety of human foods.
You can feed them seafood like Tuna, and Salmon.
They also enjoy eating mussels and cockles.
As Oscar fish are omnivorous, you can also feed them fruits and vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, banana, apple, carrots, green peas, etc.
But before feeding the vegetables it is a good idea to boil and cut it down into small pieces so that Oscar fish can easily consume it.
Besides, you can also feed them meat products such as small pieces of chicken, beef, etc.
8. It is very difficult to differentiate between male and female Oscar fish
Oscar Fish are monomorphic fish means that the male and female fish looks exactly the same.
So, from the appearance i.e. size, shape, and color, you just can’t differentiate male and female Oscar Fish.
Besides, you can not differentiate male and female Oscar Fish when they are babies.
You will only be able to differentiate male and female Oscar when they are at least 1 year old.
Once they get 1 year old then you can observe their reproductive areas where both male and female Oscar fish have two holes.
The male has one hole which is the anus and the second is a reproductive organ with a small spike.
Whereas the female has a wider and flatten hole and it is a tube-like structure to release eggs.
9. Female Oscar Fish can lay up to 3000 eggs
Oscar Fish is egg layer fish. Female Oscar Fish lay eggs after 2-3 days of mating ritual.
A small Oscar Fish can lay up to 500 eggs but a large Oscar Fish can lay up to 3000 eggs within few days.
Unfortunately, not all eggs will hatch but the hatching rate in captivity is higher than the usual hatching rate in the wild.
10. Oscar Fish are good parents
Oscar Fish belongs to the Cichlid family and one of the features of this family is that they are generally good parents.
And Oscar Fish is no exception and they take very good care of their eggs.
Mostly, the female Oscar takes care of the eggs. The female mouths the eggs and coat them with antibacterial mucus.
It also eats the infertile eggs.
On the other hand, the male Oscar protects the eggs from other species of fish.
During the mating period, Oscar fish get very aggressive. That’s why you should only breed Oscar Fish in a separate tank.
11. Oscar Fish play dead
Believe it or not Oscar Fish play dead.
Oscar Fish has a unique personality and when they don’t like any change in their tank or any change in the surrounding they sulk.
12. Oscar Fish can recognize their owner
Oscar Fish can recognize its owner. And this is one of the signs of their smartness.
Because of their this behavior, they are also named as river dog or water dog.
13. Oscar Fish lifespan
Generally, under good conditions, Oscar Fish can live up to 12 years in captivity.
But if you take good care of i.e if you provide it a larger tank and keep it clean and clear then it can even live up to 15 years.
14. Oscar Fish do lip-locking
Oscar Fish does lip-lock with each other. Actually, this is one of the ways they fight with each other.
15. There are several types of Oscar fish
There are several types of Oscar fish available.
Some of these types are natural and the others are artificially made by painting them.
The different types of Oscar Fish are as follows:
- Lemon Oscar
- Tiger Oscar
- Albino Oscar
- Blue Oscar
- Blueberry Oscar
- Black Oscar
- Golden Oscar
- Green Oscar
- Black and white Oscar
- Fire red oscar
- Lutino Oscar
- Florida Oscar
- Veil tail Oscar
I have written a detailed article giving more information about all these types of Oscar Fish with images and videos.
16. Oscar Fish fight with each other
Oscar Fish belongs to cichlids family and aggression is one of the features of this family.
Besides, Oscar Fish is very territorial and aggression is very common among them.
The most common way they fight with each other is by lip-locking.
This is when they face each other head to head and try to get hold of each other’s mouths.
Besides, they also chase each other.
17. Oscar Fish can go more than 1 month without eating
Yes, you heard it right. Oscar Fish can go up to 4 weeks i.e. 1 month or even more without food.
But not all Oscar Fish can survive one month without eating anything.
Juvenile Oscar Fish can survive up to 2 weeks. Whereas, a large Oscar Fish can survive up to 1 month and even more without food.
18. You can keep other fish with Oscar Fish
Though Oscar Fish are infamous for their aggressive behavior, there are some species of fish you can keep with your Oscar Fish.
Basically, you can keep other fish that grow large enough to not fit into the mouth of your Oscar Fish.
And the fish that are semi-aggressive so that they can hold their own against Oscar Fish.
Usually, other cichlids are a good choice as tank mates for Oscar Fish.
Some examples of good tank mates for Oscar Fish include Firemouth cichlid, Jaguar cichlid, Severum cichlid, Convict cichlid, Blue acara, Jack Dempsey, Pleco, Silver Arowana, etc.
I have written a detailed article covering all these tankmates here.
19. Oscar Fish is not easy to keep
Oscar Fish are very aggressive fish and they can grow pretty large. So they require special care and attention.
That’s why it is recommended to keep Oscar Fish if you have some experience with fish keeping.
20. Oscar Fish can eat their tank mates
Oscar Fish are predator fish and in the wild, they feed on small insects, fish, crustaceans, plant matter, etc.
That’s why you have to be very careful while choosing tankmates for Oscar Fish. Because if you keep other species of fish that are small enough to fit into the mouth of your Oscar Fish then they are most likely going to get eaten by the Oscar.
21. Oscar Fish can live alone
Some people think that it is necessary to keep Oscar Fish in pairs.
But it is not absolutely necessary to keep Oscar Fish in pair or keep other species of fish with your Oscar Fish.
But keeping other oscar fish or other species of fish oscar is a good thing. Because in the wild, they usually live with other fish and it is always a good idea to emulate their natural habitat in the aquarium.
Again, it is not absolutely necessary to keep other tank mates with Oscar Fish. It can happily live alone if you just provide it with an ideal environment.
22. Oscar Fish cannot survive in cold water
Oscar fish mostly found in the Amazon river basin especially in the parts where the water is slightly warmer anywhere between 74 to 81° Fahrenheit.
Oscar Fish are cold-blooded fish and they cannot regulate their body temperature.
So they are intolerant to cooler water and they cannot survive in cooler water.
Actually, this is the reason their distribution is limited in the wild.
Ideally, in your tank, you should try to keep the temperature within 74 to 81° Fahrenheit.
Keeping Oscar Fish in cold water for a long time can also affect their immune system which makes them susceptible to diseases and infections.
Besides, if you keep Oscar Fish in cold water then it will not survive for a long time.
Usually, after a few weeks it will die in cold water.
The lowest temperature and Oscar Fish can tolerate is 55° Fahrenheit.
If the temperature of the water in your aquarium is low then the easiest way to raise the temperature and keep it constant is to install a heater in your tank and set it to the ideal temperature. You can check out my recommended heater here.
On the other hand, if you keep Oscar Fish in very warm water then as warm water cannot hold as much oxygen as cold water it can cause oxygen deprivation which can lead to health issues in Oscar Fish.
It can also affect their immune system.
If you are struggling with keeping the temperature of your aquarium low then check out this article where I have showed various ways to lower the temperature of the aquarium.
23. You can keep live plants with Oscar fish
You may have heard that Oscar Fish hate plants. And if you keep live plants in the tank then they will definitely destroy it.
Well, it is not true always.
There are some plants like Java Moss, Java fern, Banana plant that you can keep in your Oscar fish tank.
Besides, you can easily keep plants that don’t need substrate in your Oscar fish tank.
I have written a detailed article on this topic here.
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24. Oscar Fish can jump out of the tank
Oscar Fish are omnivorous and in the wild, they feed on the insects that are roaming over the water.
They catch the insects by jumping through the water. So jumping out of the water is their common behavior.
In your tank, Oscar Fish usually jumps when it sees something eatable above the tank.
It will also jump out of the tank if your tank contains a very concentrated amount of ammonia.
In case of high ammonia, you can use these ways to reduce ammonia.
Also, your Oscar Fish can jump out of the tank if it is not getting ideal water parameters especially the temperature.
The ideal temperature for Oscar Fish is between 74 to 81° Fahrenheit.
If the temperature of the water of your tank is more than 81° Fahrenheit then you can use these ways to lower the temperature.
If your tank has cooler water then you should install a water heater to raise the temperature.
Besides, you should always put a lid on the top of your Oscar fish tank so that it will not jump out of the tank.
Now, if your fish jumped out of the tank and if it is not out of the tank for a long time then you can simply just put inside and it will be fine within a couple of hours.
But if you found your Oscar Fish out of the tank and it was out of the tank for a long time then you will need to treat it.
To do that, first of all, put the Oscar fish in a separate tank and treat it with antibiotics and change the water of the tank on a daily basis.
Hopefully, after a few days your Oscar Fish will revive and get healthy.
25. Oscar Fish need a large tank
Oscar Fish can grow pretty fast and it can grow pretty large.
It can even grow up to 15 inches if you take good care of it.
Besides, Oscar Fish produces a lot of waste.
That’s why you need a large tank for your Oscar fish.
Ideally, for a single Oscar Fish, you will require a 55-gallon tank.
If you want to keep multiple Oscars together in the same tank then you will require a larger tank.
While keeping multiple Oscars together, a good rule of thumb to follow is to get a 55-gallon tank for your first Oscar Fish and add extra 20-30 gallons for every new Oscar Fish.
For example, if you want to keep two Oscar Fish in a tank then you will require a 75 to 85-gallon tank.
You can keep Oscar Fish in the smaller tank when they are small.
But Oscar Fish grows at a very fast rate. It can grow up to 1 inch per month so eventually, you will have to keep them in a larger tank.
Besides, you can keep multiple Oscars in a relatively small tank but then you will have to do water changes very frequently.
By following the rule I have mentioned above, doing water change once in a week is sufficient.
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26. Oscar Fish are infamous for their aggressive behavior
Oscar Fish belongs to the Cichlid family. This family mostly contains aggressive species of fish.
Oscar Fish is no exception and it is very aggressive fish.
But Oscar Fish doesn’t just get mad at other fish without any reason.
The thing is, Oscar Fish is a predator and territorial fish.
In the wild, it feeds on small insects and small fish so if you keep other small fish that are small enough to fit into the mouth of your Oscar Fish then such fish are just prey for your Oscar Fish. So your Oscar will chase these small fish and eat them.
Besides, Oscar Fish are territorial and they form their territory in your tank.
So, if other fish invade in their territory then they will get aggressive and chase them out.
27. Oscar Fish is also called as river dog or water dog
Baby Oscar Fish looks similar to puppies.
Besides, Oscar Fish is one of the smartest fish in the aquarium hobby and they can recognize their owner.
Whenever they see their owner around the tank they will react just like dogs do.
That’s why they are also called river dogs or water dogs.
28. Oscar Fish can re-decorate their tank
As mentioned earlier, Oscar Fish is one of the smartest fish in the aquarium hobby.
And they are smart enough to re-decorate their tank.
If you keep Oscar in your tank then don’t get surprised if you found your Oscar Fish moving around the rocks and gravel.
They can even uproot the plants if they don’t like them in their tank.
29 Some people like to taxidermy there Oscar fish
Oscar Fish are very affectionate and they have a very unique personality.
And some people like to taxidermy their beloved Oscar.
Though it is not very common.
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So, these are some interesting and fun facts about Oscar Fish.
I hope you enjoyed this article.
If you do, please share it.
As always, happy fishkeeping!