What Do Oscar Fish Eat? (A Complete Guide)

What do Oscar Fish eat? This is the question many beginners ask when they want to keep Oscar Fish in their tank.

And in this article, I am going to tell you everything you need to know about Oscar Fish food,  feeding Oscar Fish and much more.

So let’s get started.

Oscar Fish eat live, frozen or dried food like Bloodworms, Brine shrimp, etc.

It can also eat vegetables such as boiled Peas, blanched Spinach, Lettuce, etc.

You can also feed it flakes and pellets.

What Do Oscar Fish Eat? (A Complete Guide) image

Best food for Oscar Fish

Oscar Fish are omnivorous and in the wild, they mostly feed on Crustaceans, Insects and plant matter.

You should try to match this diet when to feed Oscar in your aquarium.

Providing a balanced diet is very important for healthy Oscar Fish.

If your Oscar Fish doesn’t get a properly balanced diet then it can lead to diseases.

Oscar Fish’s diet mostly consists of meaty foods.

But as they are omnivorous, so you should occasionally feed them plant-based food like different types of vegetables like Spinach, Cucumber, Lettuce, etc.

Flakes and pellets

In your aquarium, you should mostly feed high-quality cichlids flakes and pellets to your Oscar Fish.

High-quality cichlids flakes and pellets contain all the essential nutrients that a fish require for their proper development.

The flakes and pellets should constitute about 70 to 80% of their weekly diet.

You should keep in mind a couple of things while choosing flakes and pellets for your Oscar Fish.

  1. The flakes and pellets should be of high quality and contain a good amount of protein. You should go for cichlids flakes and palate as it contains a high amount of protein.
  2. Flakes and pellets come in different sizes so you should choose it according to the size of your Oscar Fish. 

Usually, it comes in three sizes 

  1. Small
  2. Medium
  3. Large 

So if you have baby Oscar Fish below 4 inches long then you should go for small pellets. If your Oscar Fish is about 5 to 10 inches then you should go for medium size pellets. 

And if your Oscar Fish is more than 10 inches then you should go for large pellets.

Basically, the size of the pellets should not be too large to fit into the mouth of your Oscar Fish.

Because then it will be difficult for your Oscar Fish to swallow it and that can lead to complications.

While choosing this size of the pellets, you have to be careful especially if you have baby Oscar Fish.

Baby Oscar fish are voracious eaters.

They try to eat whatever you put in the tank no matter if they can swallow it or not.

So, as mentioned earlier, for baby Oscar Fish you should choose small size pellets.

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Live food

In the wild, Oscar fish feeds on live food such as Crustaceans, small fish, and insects.

There is a lot of variety of live food you can feed to your Oscar fish in your aquarium.

Below is the list of the live food you can feed to your Oscar Fish.

  • Blood worms
  • Earthworms
  • Mealworms
  • Black worms
  • Waxworms
  • Shrimp
  • Crickets
  • Grasshoppers

You can also feed feeder fish to your Oscar fish.

Some popular types of feeder fish are Guppies, Rosy red minnows, and Goldfish.

But you should avoid feeding Goldfish to your Oscar Fish.

The problem with Goldfish is that Goldfish are more susceptible to diseases and they are at high risk of transferring harmful bacteria, viruses in your tank.

Besides, there are a few things that you should keep in mind while feeding live food to your Oscar Fish

  • Live food is the most nutritious food you can feed to your Oscar Fish. But it also carries a risk of transferring harmful bacteria or viruses in your tank. So you should only get live food from a reputed shop. 
  • If you don’t find any reputed shop then you can breed feeder fish on your own. If you are planning to breed feeder fish on your own then Guppies are a very good choice because they are prolific breeders and they breed very often.
  • As mentioned earlier, you should avoid feeding Goldfish to your Oscar Fish because they are very susceptible to diseases and they can easily transfer harmful bacteria and viruses in your tank and make your Oscar Fish ill.
  • Live food has a very short shelf life so you should feed the live food within 2 to 3 days after getting it.
  • You should not feed live food very frequently to your Oscar fish. If you do so, you may spoil your pet and now your Oscar fish just want to eat live food and nothing else.

So you should feed live food occasionally maximum 3 to 4 times per week.

Frozen or dried food

Frozen or dried food may not be as nutritious as live food but they are still very nutritious.

And most importantly they don’t carry any risk of transferring harmful bacteria and viruses in your tank.

Besides, frozen or dried food is very convenient to feed to your Oscar Fish and they have a longer shelf life.

You can feed a lot of different types of frozen and dried food to your Oscar fish like frozen or dried Bloodworms, brine shrimp, etc.

Plant-based foods

Oscar Fish are omnivorous so you should also occasionally feed them plant-based food.

The most convenient food you can feed to your Oscar fish is vegetables.

You can feed them various different kinds of vegetables and fruits.

While feeding the vegetables just make sure to boil or blanched it and cut it down into small pieces if you have baby Oscar Fish.

The list of the vegetables you can feed to your Oscar Fish is as follows

  • Green peas
  • Carrot
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Cucumber

The list of fruits you can feed to your Oscar fish is as follows

  • Apple
  • Banana

While feed fruits, make sure to cut it down into small pieces and remove the seeds from it.

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What human food can Oscar Fish eat?

 Oscar Fish can eat a variety of human food.

Seafood

You can feed Oscars various types of seafood.

You can feed them small pieces of tuna and Salman.

They also enjoy eating mussels and cockles.

You can also feed them prawns and shrimp. It will provide them a lot of fiber which is good for their digestive system.

Vegetables and fruits

As mentioned earlier, you can feed a variety of vegetables and fruits to your Oscar Fish.

Some good examples include Spinach, Lettuce, Green peas, Carrots, Apples, Banana, etc.

Animal meat

Occasionally, you can also feed different types of animal meat such as Beef, Chicken and other types of animal meat to your Oscar fish.

You should not feed the animal meat to your Oscar fish frequently.

Animal meat contains a lot of saturated fats and fish liver is not very good at processing saturated fats.

If you overfeed animal meat to Oscar fish then most likely it is going to cause fatty liver disease in the fish.

So either you can completely avoid feeding animal meat to your Oscar Fish.

Or you can feed animal meat very occasionally and it will not be a problem.

Beef heart is one of the best animal meat you can feed to your Oscar fish because it does not contain a lot of saturated fats.

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How often to feed your Oscar Fish?

oscar fish

To an adult Oscar fish, you should feed once or twice a day.

To a juvenile Oscar fish, you should feed 2 to 3 times for a day.

If you have baby Oscar Fish i.e. the size of the fish is less than 4 inches then they require more food for their fast growth.

So ideally, you should feed them 3 times a day.

To the Oscar fish which is more than 4 inches and under 10 inches, you should feed it twice a day.

And to the Oscar fish which is more than 10 inches long, you can feed it once a day.

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How much to feed to your Oscar Fish?

oscar fish

A good rule of thumb to follow is to feed the amount of food for Oscar Fish can eat within 2 to 3 minutes.

Overfeeding Oscar Fish can be risky. It can cause digestive problems in the fish.

So you should avoid overfeeding your Oscar fish at any cost.

Live food

If you are feeding feeder fish to your Oscar Fish then you should feed a maximum of 2-3 fish at a time.

And you should not feed more than a few fish a week to your Oscar Fish.

There are actually a few drawbacks of feeding a lot of live food to your Oscar Fish

  • First of all, if you feed a lot of live food to your Oscar Fish then you may be spoiling your fish and your fish may reject to eat any other type of fish food.
  • Live food is a very nutritious food but they don’t provide all the nutrients that a fish require for their proper growth.
  • Feeding a lot of feeder fish to your Oscar fish can also lead to obesity because fish contain a lot of fat.
  • Also, when you introduce a lot of feeder fish in your tank, it can also cause a sudden spike in the ammonia levels which is harmful to Oscar Fish.
  • And if you observe sudden spikes in the ammonia levels very frequently then you will also have to do water changes very frequently.
  • Live food doesn’t have a long shelf life so it is very inconvenient for you to go to the pet store frequently to get live food.
  • Besides, live food also carries the risk of transferring harmful bacteria and viruses in your tank.

Flakes and pellets

When it comes to feeding flakes and pellets to your Oscar fish, first of all, you should choose the size of the flakes and pellets according to the size of the mouth of your Oscar fish.

Pallets come in three sizes (small, medium, and large).

If you have baby Oscar fish i.e. the size of the Oscar fish is less than 4 inches then you should go for small size pellets.

If the size of your Oscar fish is anywhere between 5 to 10 inches then you should go for medium size pellets.

And if the size of your Oscar fish is more than 10 inches then you can go for large flakes and pellets.

You have to be very careful while choosing the size of the pellets especially if you have baby Oscar fish.

Because baby Oscar fish are voracious eaters and they will try to eat anything you put in their tank no matter they can swallow it or not.

So if you put large pellets in the tank then they will not be able to swallow it and it can cause complications.

While feeding flakes and pellets, you should put 2-3 flakes or pellets in the tank and then let the fish finish it.

And then you should put a few more flakes and pellets and let the fish finish it.

You should do this process for a maximum of 3 minutes.

Vegetables

Oscar fish are omnivorous so once in a while you should also feed vegetables to your Oscar fish.

Though Oscar fish are omnivorous, their diet mostly consists of meaty food so they don’t require a lot of plant-based food.

Feeding Oscar fish vegetables once ina week is sufficient.

Besides, if you have some live plants in your tank then Oscar fish may nibble on them occasionally and you don’t even need to feed vegetables to your Oscar fish.

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Best Oscar Fish food for color

oscar fish

There are a few foods that can help enhance the color of your Oscar fish.

So if you want to enhance the color of your Oscar fish then you should look for the food that contains Astaxanthin.

River shrimp and skrill contain Astaxanthin. 

Green peas can also help to enhance the color of your Oscar fish.

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How to make fish food for your Oscars at home?

Making fish food for Oscar Fish is a pretty simple task but it will take some time.

Also, if you make fish food in a bulk then it will be a bit cheaper.

To make fish food for Oscars, first of all, you will have to choose ingredients.

Oscar Fish are omnivorous but their diet mostly consists of meaty foods.

So to make fish food for your Oscar Fish you should choose only meaty food.

And to fulfill their vegetarian diet you can feed them vegetables separately.

You can choose ingredients such as Shrimp, Bloodworms, Whitefish meat, etc.

Then you will have to cut it down into small pieces.

You should cut it down according to the size of the mouth of your Oscar Fish so that it can easily fit into the mouth of your Oscar fish.

Then put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix them well.

At this point, you can also add liquid vitamin boosters to provide essential vitamins to your Oscars.

Many brands make liquid vitamin boosters and you can easily find them at your local pet store.

After mixing everything well just let it soak for about an hour.

After an hour, now it’s time for the packaging.

For the packaging, just take a little amount of the mixture and put it in in freezer bag.

Then close the bag and press the bag with your hands and make it flat.

Once that done, just put the bags into the freezer for about 24 hours and now your fish food is ready.

While feeding it to your Oscars you can directly take a piece out of the bag and put it in the tank. Or you can soak it in the water from your tank and then feed it to your Oscar Fish.

How you should feed really comes down to the feeding habits of your Oscar fish.

Now one thing you should be careful about feeding the homemade food to your Oscar fish is that you should not feed only the homemade food for Oscar fish.

Because if you do so then the fish will get used to the homemade fish food and if you want to feed it other food such as Flakes and Pellets then it will not eat it.

So you should keep feeding other foods as well along with your homemade food.

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What to do if Oscar Fish is not eating food?

oscar fish

There could be several reasons your Oscar fish is not eating food or spitting it out.

Water quality

Before doing anything else, first, you should check the water quality of your tank.

You should check for Ammonia levels, Oxygen levels, Temperature, pH and hardness of your water.

The ideal water parameters for Oscar fish are as follows:

  • Temperature- 74 to 81° Fahrenheit
  • pH- 6-8
  • Hardness- 5 -20 KH

So you should make sure the water parameters of your tank are within the ideal range.

Talking about Ammonia levels, ideally, your tank should not contain any Ammonia.

If you noticed high ammonia levels in your tank then you can use these ways to reduce the ammonia levels and get rid of it.

There are a few signs that suggest low oxygen levels in your tank.

  • If you notice rapid gills moment of your Oscar fish then it is a sign of low oxygen levels.
  • If you notice your fish is coming to the surface of the tank gasping for air very frequently then it is a sign that your tank has low oxygen.
  • If you notice that your fish is not moving as much and as quickly as it used to then this could be the sign that your fish tank doesn’t have optimum oxygen levels.

So if you notice any of the above signs then you can introduce some oxygenating plants in the tank or use these ways to increase oxygen in your tank.

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Change the food

Oscar fish prefers a varied diet. So if you are feeding only one type of food to your Oscar fish then this could be the reason your Oscar fish is not eating the food.

In this case, you should try to feed other types of food for Oscar fish.

Also, when you get Oscar fish for the first time and introduce it into your tank or if you have moved your Oscar Fish to a new tank.

Oscar Fish usually gets very fussy and refuses to eat the food.

It is their normal behavior and after some time they will start eating the food.

Oscar fish are very picky when it comes to dry food.

So you should get at least two to three types of dry food and feed them one by one.

Then most likely you will know what type of dry food your Oscar fish prefers and then you should continue feeding it.

Oscar fish is going to eat other types of remaining dry food over time.

Disease

When Oscar fish is sick or ill, it tends to refuse to eat.

So you should see if your Oscar fish is showing any signs of any disease and do medications accordingly.

Get him a female Oscar

It normal for a male Oscar Fish not to eat during the breeding period.

You will also notice that your male Oscar fish has lost some weight during this period.

So to cope with this problem, you can get a female Oscar fish for him and hopefully he will start eating again.

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FAQ

What do baby Oscar Fish eat?

Baby Oscar fish can eat flakes and pellets.

You can also feed it live food such as Bloodworms.

As Oscar Fish is omnivorous, you should also feed it vegetables occasionally.

While feeding food to the baby Oscar fish you should make sure that it is not too large to feet into the mouth of the baby Oscar Fish.

Baby Oscar fish are voracious eaters and they will try to eat anything you put into their tank no matter if they can swallow it or not.

Flakes and pellets come in three sizes- small, medium and large.

So you should choose small size pellets for feeding your baby Oscars.

Also, while feeding the vegetables you should cut it down into small pieces so that baby Oscar fish can swallow it easily.

You can feed it vegetables like boiled peas, blanched spinach, lettuce, small pieces of carrots, etc.

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What vegetables does Oscar fish eat?

You can feed a lot of different types of vegetables to your Oscar Fish such as Zucchini, Spinach, Cucumber, Green peas, Lettuce, etc.

While feeding the vegetables, you should boil or blanched it and cut it down into small pieces according to the size of your Oscar fish.

Can Oscar Fish eat flakes?

Yes, you can feed flakes to your Oscar fish.

While choosing flakes for your Oscar Fish, just make sure that it is high quality i.e. it contains a good amount of protein.

There are flakes that are specially made for cichlids that contain a high amount of protein so you should choose Cichlids flakes for your Oscar fish.

Flakes usually come in three different sizes so you should choose them according to the size of your Oscar fish.

For example, if you have juvenile Oscar Fish i.e. if the size of your Oscar Fish is less than 4 inches then you should go for small size flakes.

For the Oscar Fish between 5 inches 10 inches, you should go for medium size flakes.

And if you have Oscar Fish larger than 10 inches then you should go for large size flakes.

Can Oscars eat bananas?

Yes, you can feed bananas to your Oscar Fish.

While feeding banana, just make sure to cut it down into small pieces so that it will be easier for your Oscar fish to consume it.

Can I feed my Oscar earthworms?

Yes, you can feed earthworms to your Oscar fish.

Earthworms are very nutritious and they contain a good amount of protein so they are good for your Oscar fish.

Besides earthworms, you can also feed other types of worms such as Bloodworms, Mealworms, Waxworms, etc.

Can Oscar eat chicken?

Yes, you can feed Chicken to your Oscar Fish. But you should not feed Chicken very frequently.

The thing is, all animal meat like Chicken contains saturated fats and fish are not very good at processing these fats.

If you feed animal foods to your Oscar fish very often then it raises the risk of causing fatty liver disease in the Oscar fish.

Feeding chicken once in a while is not a problem.

How long can Oscars can go without food?

Oscar can go anywhere between 3 days to up to 3 weeks without food.

It really depends on the size of your Oscar Fish.

If you have a baby Oscar fish then it will not last for more than a week and even less without food.

But if you have a large Oscar fish of 15 inches then it can survive for up to 3 weeks without food.

If you are going away from your home and concerned about feeding your Oscar fish then there are a few ways you can cope with this problem.

how to feed your fish when you are on vacation

Ask your neighbor or friend

The most simple and reliable way to feed your Oscar fish when you are away is to ask your friend or neighbor to feed your Oscar fish.

You should also tell them how much quantity they should feed to the fish because it is very easy to overfeed a fish.

A simple way to cope with this problem is to get a pill organizer and put the amount of food you usually feed to your Oscar fish every mealtime.

And then tell your friend or neighbor to empty one box every time.

Use an automatic fish feeder

Using an automatic fish feeder is another way to keep your Oscar fish well-fed when you are away.

You just have to put the food in the automatic fish feeder, set the time intervals and it will automatically start dispensing the food according to the time you set.

Check out our recommended Automatic Fish Feeder

Use slow-release fish food

Using slow-releasing fish food is the cheapest option to keep your fish well-fed when you are away.

The slow-releasing fish food comes in two types

  1. Weekend feeder blocks
  2. Vacation feeder blocks

Weekend feeder blocks

As the name suggests, the weekend feeder blocks will last for three days i.e. it will slowly release the food that will last for 2 to 3 days.

Vacation feeder blocks

If you are planning a long vacation then you can use vacation feeder blocks.

You just have to toss it into your tank and it will slowly break down the food over a period of 2 weeks.

Below is the table that shows different types of slow-releasing fish food and their validity.

BRAND LASTS FOR SUITABLE FOR
TetraPond14 DaysPond fish
Tetra Weekend14 DaysTropical fish
Zoo Med14 DaysBottom feeder
Zoo Med Mini7 DaysGourami and small fry
Zoo Med Betta7 DaysBetta
Pyramid Automatic feeder3 DaysAll types of fish

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Conclusion

So, as you can see, Oscar fish can eat a variety of food.

You should provide a balanced diet to your Oscar fish and try to feed it a variety of food.

While choosing the food, just make sure that it is of high quality.

I hope you found this article helpful.

If you do, please share it.

Happy fishkeeping!

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