OSCARS - Who needs a dog when they can have an OSCAR! (Well, dogs are cool too.) HOME


PICTURES COMING  of 'TUBES' for SEXING your OSCARS - 7/07/2000 -just finished going through video tapes of it.


NEW Oscar Pictures - Guarding Eggs

NEW - 5/12/2000 - OSCAR Discussion Groupdscn0984.jpg (96438 bytes)

SCIENTIFIC NAME/COMMON NAME: Astronotus ocellatus (os'-sel-lay'-tus: ocellatus=spotted as with little eyes; Astronotus=Marked with star on back.)/ Red Oscar, Velvet Cichlid, Tiger Oscar, Albino Oscar, Fantail Oscar, Ruby Oscar, Blueberry Oscar(fake), Marbled cichlid, Black Oscar, Oscar's cichlid, Peacock cichlid (don't confuse with African Malawi Peacock cichlid or Peacock bass)
GENERAL DESCRIPTION/INFO: Very popular. Very smart. Fun fish!
HABITAT: Neotropical. Amazon River basin.
ADULT SIZE: In the wild upto 16". In aquarium ~12"
TANK ENVIRONMENT: Rocks, destroys plants. Likes to dig.
STRATA: All over the place. (bottom and middle)
DIET: Other fish that fit in its mouth. They like cichlid pellets also but prefer feeder fish and other live food like bloodworms.
WATER QUALITY: They're not very picky. Resistant fish. Just treat for chlorine, chloramines etc.
PH and TEMPERATURE: PH little under neutral(acidic side) 6.5. Keep temperature at around 79F.
TEMPERAMENT: Aggressive, but generally a calm fish compared to jaguars, terrors etc.
GOOD TANKMATES: Convicts that can't fit in their mouth, jaguars, others of similar size
PREFERENCES: They prefer live foods and no bright lights.
More and more everyone is posting everywhere with godlike authority that it is impossible to sex oscars short of seeing them spawn. That is NOT true! One sure way is through venting, where you analyze size and characteristics of their vents. Although hard to tell unless raised up together in same environment, females will have a more round head, also be more compressed and shorter. Males will have larger/longer fins. Males will generally have a more pointed 2nd dorsal fin(top fin next to tail). Females will have more of a rounded dorsal fin. Males are also more brightly colored. This is best noticed with cricles that surround eyespots or other areas that don't change with mood. And yes, the male will usually be more aggressive than the female. Another hint as to gender is the presence of DARK SPOTS at the base of the dorsal fin. Some males have 3 dark spots at the bottom of the dorsal fin.  You may see that some of the dark spots may become "eye" spots like the one on the tail, encircled by red color. If your Oscar has 2 or 3 dark spots you should start looking for an Oscar who's laid eggs.  Beware, that many male oscars do NOT have these 3 dark spots at base of dorsal fin.  Males will generally have more red dots on fins, some say around gill area also. Soon I will add the SECRET method used by breeders to sex oscars at a very young age.


Not hard if you have a pair. Lots info to come. So main plan is to get both sexes. Then the trick is to get them in the "mood" to tango. Usually it's recommended that you separate them and fatten them up.  Feed with a lot of live foods like bloodworms, shrimp, crayfish, live fish. After about 2 weeks of royal treatment(feeding), put them together in optimum water quality. Water should be as clean as possible. Some peat moss may help induce spawning as well as raising the temperature gradually from 79F to around 84F (even 86F). You may notice them lip-locking, quivering(head to tail), and tail-slapping. Might yawn at the same time also. If one is clearly giving the other one a "good" beating, separate them and try again. Otherwise, let them have their lip-locking as long as they don't get serious damage. The female has to test the strenght of the male. When they do the lip-lock tug-war it is a test. If they both pass the test, they may do a slap-five(tails) and start cleaning rocks off vigorously. You should have some slabs of slate rock for them to lay eggs on. Place towards back corner of aquarium, more of a secluded place. Some breeders cover their aquariums with paper and cut a hole to look through since you don't want to spook them or they might eat the eggs or not feel comfortable enough to lay the eggs.  More to come on how to induce spawning, different methods, water treatments etc....for now let's just say that a high percentage water change will many times induce spawning. Ever noticed your guppies give birth right after a water change? Heard that full moon helps also, funny but yep some people will align the stars to get their oscars to breed :) Lots more info coming, if you've got a male and female, we're going to get you some fry! webmaster@cichlidfish.com
RAISING FRY: Good size to begin with, not hard to care for. There could be upto 2000 eggs laid in one spawning! (If it's a big mature oscar) Feed fry baby brine shrimp, flakefood, etc.
INTELLIGENCE: Very Intelligent Fish, Some say the smartest of the Cichlids.
LIFESPAN: Up to 13years
POPULARITY: VERY popular fish


For now only some links since we're still under heavy construction here! Quick info off the top of my head, they grow fast! Intelligent fish, eat a LOT. Yes, poop a lot too, so needs very good filtration and frequent water changes. Grows up to 16", but usually stop at 12" in aquariums.  A 65gallon is good for two 6-10".  You should have 100gallon or better for larger than 10".  Get them young and watch them grow! I will post some very INTERESTING info about breeding and determining sex of oscars later on. I guarantee it will surprise many. Lots of info to come, on breeding, and raising healthy oscars. Please bookmark! Main page is www.cichlidfish.com.


Here's some SEXING clues for now.  If your OSCAR has about 3 dark spots at the base of the dorsal fin, it is most likely a male.  Unfortunately, conversely if it doesn't have the 3 spots it doesn't really tell you it's a female. Also, males tend to have more pointed dorsal and anal fins.  More on head shape to come.  Plus others.....and of course last of all the SECRET information on sexing oscars even when they're YOUNG/SMALL.

Watch the latest videos on YouTube.com

They like water 75-80 F (24-26C) it is said, but you can keep them at temps as high s 86F and might actually be good to raise to that temp for breeding.  Hard , pH 6.6 to 7.6 ; and will also eat nearly anything that will fit in their mouth ( and some things that won't ). Larger oscars can be fed prepared cichlid foods , but seem to like earthworms and feeder(goldfish etc) fish better. They are not very aggressive.   If well fed , your one inch baby oscar will probably be a 10 inch monster by the end of the year. They seem to grow faster than most other fish.

Now, the best way to get a pair is of course to get several fish and hope that some of them pair up.  Usually 6 to 8 small fish is recommended.  If you begin with 9 fish, you are almost guaranteed to have both sexes. It is really recommended that you do not get all the fish from the same source.  There are a couple of reasons for this. One reason is that of inbreeding. With guppies this of course is many times done on purpose to select nice colors and variations, but please be assured that inbreeding does not produce "better" fish. Another reason you should consider buying fish that you intend to pair up from different sources is that "sometimes" certain fish distributors are sold fish of the same sex. (Got this info from a fish-store owner) There are rumors that certain fish are screened such that only one sex gets out so as to control the market, it's hard for me to believe that but if you have any evidence in support of this let me know.

This weekend there will be much added, I promise.