Oscars are a South American cichlid, a commonly kept species in captivity. Most are purchased at pet shops while they are young and small. What most consumers don't realize is that the small little Oscar can grow 12-18" (30-40cm) and with proper care, live 8-12 years! While Oscars need a large aquarium and regular fish tank maintenance, they can be rewarding pets!
Oscars require clean, fresh (no salt) water at 77° F although the range can be from 74 to 78° F. So make sure you buy an aquarium heater and thermometer. Oscars can be very messy fish, so an aquarium filter is necessary as well as weekly 10-15% water changes.
In the wild, Oscars consumer small fish, plant matter, aquatic invertebrates, insects and insect larvae. In captivity, you can offer a high quality, high protein diet through processed, frozen, and freeze dried foods labeled for Oscars at your local aquarium store. Never feed goldfish! They can spread disease to your Oscars. Oscars require a lot of space and a few hiding places. Plants, heavy branches, or rocks they can't move around make great hiding places. A 75 to 125 gallon aquarium is needed for adequate space. Oscars prefer to be alone, however Pacus can make good companions for them. Get them both when they are little so there is no territorial disputes when introduced at a larger size.
Oscars can make great interactive pets as they learn to recognize their owners and will even eat from their hands. Take good care of your Oscar and they can give you years of enjoyment!
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