Genus name: Astronotus Ocellatus
Also known as: Velvet Cichlid, Marbled Cichlid, or by its colour/pattern ie Tiger Oscar, Red Oscar, Albino Oscar etc
Distribution: South America, Orinoco to Rio Paraguay
Length: up to 14″ (35cm)
Minimum Tank Length: 48″ (120cm)
Water Temperature: 72-79F (22-26C)
Diet: Worms, crustaceans, insects, dried food, chopped meat
Water: not critical
Breeding: Egg Layers
Oscars are popular as pets, due to the fact that they live for ten years, and have very distinct personalities. Oscars are extremely intelligent, and can be trained to do little tricks. They quickly learn to recognise those that feed them, and react accordingly. Each Oscar is unique, making them a joy to own.
Oscars come in a variety of colours and patterns, such as Tiger, Albino, Red, Zebra, and Red Fire.
Oscars have a reputation for being aggressive, but this is not the case. This rumour is mainly because they will often try to eat anything which they think will fit in their mouth. In reality Oscars are pretty mellow in comparison to other Cichlids, and are many times bullied by other, more aggressive, Cichlids. However, they are territorial and a breeding pair may become aggressive when spawning. You may also have problems if the aquarium is not large enough.
It is recommended to put Oscars only with larger fish, as they will eat any small fish they can get in their mouth.
In the aquarium, rooted plants are not advised since Oscars are great diggers, and will constantly move the gravel around and disturb the bottom. Plants in pots could be used if anchored down well.
When spawning, both the Oscars will carefully clean a suitable spawning site – often a flat rock. The eggs adhere to this rock and are guarded by both parents. After 3 or 4 days, when the fry hatch, the Oscars will move them to a shallow pit of sand where they will stay for the next six or seven days.