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Oscar Fish Care - The Basics

oscar fishOscar fish are large beautiful fish which can have a life span of up to 12 years, and are from South America. The scientific name for them is Astonotus ocellatus. These fish can reach a length of about 16 inches, so before you decide to buy one and place it in your tank with all your other fish, be warned. There are some definite things you need to know first.

The main thing that these fish need is plenty of space to move around in, not only to swim, but they tend to be messy fish and so keeping the tank clean is a real priority. You must plan on having a tank of at least 30 gallons per fish, not including space for other fish which may go in the tank. A 40 gallon aquarium tank is probably a good start.

Water temperature is a consideration and should be kept between 74 and 81 degrees Fahrenheit. A heater and thermometer should be part of your aquarium setup. Water which is too cold or too warm can cause all sorts of health problems, so be very vigilant on the water temperature.

Since Oscar fish are messy, a really good aquarium filtration system is needed. Your filter system must also be maintained constantly; otherwise the water will become toxic. There are many people who prefer several smaller filter systems working together rather than one large one. The advantage to this is that you can change them at different times, allowing for more flexibility. If you change all the filters at the same time you might have to worry about cycling the tank.
When keeping Oscars, remember that they eat smaller fish as well as being scavengers. For this reason, they are best kept by themselves; otherwise they may make a fine meal out of some of your other aquatic pets. They can be fed a variety of things such as frozen fish food or high quality processed fish food. Only feed them once a day, and do not feed them live goldfish. These can spread disease to your fish and it is not worth the risk.

In order for your Oscar fish to be more comfortable in their tank, you should make sure that your fish tank decorations allow plenty of hiding places. These fish feel more comfortable with these places so you should make sure that 40 to 50% of the tank space is set up for that. A funny little thing about Oscars is that they like to redecorate, so make sure your aquarium ornaments are not too light or they will be relocated in a heartbeat.

Oscar fish are amazing pets to have, but as stated earlier, are better off living the bachelors single life. Keep them alone and remember that they take a lot of extra care so be responsible before choosing to keep one.


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