Oscar Cichlid
(Astronotus Ocellatus)
Alternate Names:
Tiger Oscar
Velvet Cichlid
Marble Cichlid
Red Oscar
Lutino Oscar
Golden Oscar
Albino Oscar

Oscar Cichlid

(Astronotus Ocellatus)

Size: Can grow to 16 Inches

Temp Range: 75°F to 86°F

pH Level: 6.2 to 7.5

Lifespan: 6 to 12 years

Tank Size: 85 gallons

Diet: Pellet, Live, Frozen

Difficulty: Moderate to Hard

Geographic History

Oscars come from Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, and French Guiana. They live in the Amazon River Basin. This not so little friend can be found in slow moving white water under submerged branches and rocks.


A large, well filtered aquarium will be needed for this fish. Your decor must be heavy and centered away from the side of your aquarium. Oscars love to move things around and are a very strong fish. Your plants will need to be well anchored or potted. A deep gravel substrate will help with this and provides the Oscar room to dig. You will also need a heavy, tight fitting hood because Oscars often roll and jump out of the water when feeding.


Oscars should only be kept with other fish their size. They will eat anything that they can fit into their mouths. Convict Cichlids, plecos, and schools of barbs that are to big to eat make good tank mates for this often aggressive fish.


There are no readily observable external sexual differences with Oscars. They will spawn at around four inches and breeding pairs can be selected at this size.


Oscar Cichlids can be a peaceful fish, but with the wrong aquarium neighbors they are very aggressive. They will ambush smaller fish from a fair distance and suck them in their mouth. Anything small enough to get past their lips will be eaten.

At an early age, Oscars will dig beds in the substrate and claim territory. The area claimed is generally relative to the size of the fish. Large Oscar can easily defend an entire aquarium.

Each Oscar seems to have its own personality. Some are more aggressive than others. They will often watch what is going on in the room through the front glass of your aquarium.

These intelligent, not so little buddies will learn who feeds them most often. They are sight hunters and can become tame enough to be hand fed.


Oscar Cichlids form lifelong spawing pairs. Males and females take turns guarding eggs and fry. The female will lay adhesive eggs on flat surfaces numbering in the thousands. After the eggs are laid, Oscar parents become extremely aggressive toward other fish. They will protect their young well into the juvenile stage. Only attempt to breed Oscars in very large aquariums void of other fish, and be prepared to care for hundreds of juveniles.

For more information, visit Wikipedia's Oscar Cichlid page.

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PetSmart - Fish