Aquarium Livestock Pet Care Guides



South America

Tank Temperature:




Tank Requirements:

Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrates under 20-40ppm; ample filtration is required Large, sparsely decorated tanks to avoid injury. Live plants will be uprooted.


Carnivore. Feed a varied diet of meaty foods like pellets, krill, beef heart, bloodworms, nightcrawlers and similar items. Variety is required for proper nutrition. Avoid live foods, especially goldfish.


Aggressive, territorial. Keep alone or use extreme caution with tankmates or when keeping more than one Oscar per tank.


Best kept alone. Can be kept with other Oscars or larger cichlids like the Jack Dempsey, Texas Cichlid, Jaguar Cichlid or similar fish in very large aquariums only.

Species Overview

Oscars are popular South American fish that have been aquarium favorites for decades. Their popularity stems from their size and color as well as their tendency to become "tame". Many Oscars have been developed for the hobby including albinos, reds and long-finned types. The most important thing to know about these fish is that they grow very large, very fast. How fast depends on water quality, how much you feed your Oscar, and tank size.

Oscars need a large tank to be healthy and happy. You should provide them a large home from the beginning. It is not recommended to keep a single Oscar in a tank smaller than 55-75 gallons. Keeping them in a smaller tank may stunt their growth, cause deformities, and shorten their lifespan.

Good filtration is essential when keeping Oscars. Their size, large appetites and messy eating habits result in a lot of waste. Large power filters or canisters are the best options. Partial water changes (25% every 2-4 weeks) will also help keep the tank clean and keep the nitrates low. Be sure to test the water quality once a week.

Oscar temperament can vary greatly. Some Oscars can become very aggressive and territorial and are best kept alone or with other Oscars in a very large tank. Males, in particular, can fight each other for dominance in the aquarium which may lead to injuries or fatalities. If you house multiple Oscars, observe their behavior closely and take necessary steps to protect the fish. If you prefer to try mixing them with other species, consider only other robust fish such as Texas cichlids or Jack Dempsey cichlids.

Oscars will eat almost anything that will fit in their mouth. To keep them healthy it best to feed them a variety foods. Good choices include: mysis shrimp, krill, beef heart, bloodworms, and night crawlers. We don't recommend feeding live foods as a primary food source for your Oscars. Feeder goldfish can carry parasites and are not a complete source of nutrition. You may feed ghost shrimp or mollies as a live treat occasionally.

We always suggest that you do further research before adding a new pet to your tank. What we have provided for you are guidelines and suggestions. If you have any further questions or concerns, please contact our fish room at 717-299-5691 ext. 1213 or

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