Cichlids are fierce and powerful fish, and among them the Tiger Oscar is by far the most commonly known (even if people don’t recognize them as cichlids) in and out of the hobby. They are well known for their beautiful colourations and for the variety of mutations that they often come in–such as greens, albinos and golds to name a few. They are commonly found in South America, but they have also been noted to be found in China, Australia and the United States. They are sometimes even considered a delicacy.
Oscars are slow growers (though this isn’t a hard or fast rule!), but in the end they can reach massive lengths of up to 18 inches!
Tiger Oscars are sometimes described as wolves–when put together they seem to hunt in pacts. They are ferocious, veracious and aggressive hunters. They enjoy getting their tanks messy with their remains.
What makes these cichlids widely known and popular, despite their intriguing appearance, is the fact that they are relatively hardy fish able to live in cooler temperatures of waters of 55 Fahrenheit. The ideal temperature, however, like most cichlids is anywhere between 75F to 85F.
Despite popular myths, Tiger Oscars are monomorphic, this meaning the sexes cannot be distinguished by physical or apparent features. They require at least a 70 gallon tank, because they do reach great lengths, and also because of their notorious carnivorous appetite endoparasites are one of the biggest threats to this particular species of fish. Take care that if you have plants (alive or synthetic) as they often enjoy uprooting them, in this case we generally recommend using floating plants which is a good compromise.
For the fact they are well known for their hardiness as a fish species pH levels (unless they are wild caught) are rather irrelevant for this particular fish species♥ I’m not saying throw away the notion of pH altogether, what I am saying is that the levels of pH is irrelevant if you are sustaining and maintaining your pH levels. In general a pH level of 6-8 is suitable for Oscars.
Tiger Oscars are well known to live up to five years in captivity, therefore they should have a committed owner.
Tiger Oscars also have a wide range of foods that they eat, from insects to specialized geared diets such as OMEGA ONE Natural Protein Formula Cichlid Flakes. They’ve even been known to eat various leafy greens. With such a wide range of foods keeping a Tiger Oscar healthy with the appropriate temperatures, lighting and diet is relatively easy to maintain.
Oscars should have a good number of rocks, plants (plastic or real) and other similar camouflaging and hiding tools. Good examples of these are the AquaFit products. Generally speaking Tiger Oscars are interior decorators at heart, they will take these plants, rocks and tools and re-arrange them to their liking–making Tiger Oscars rather eccentric fish.
Though Tiger Oscars can and are often put into tanks with other fish, generally speaking with their seemingly unquenchable hunger and their large sizes for the beginner it’s best advised not to do so.
It’s important to understand that Tiger Oscars (like most Oscar species) are very susceptible to Hole in head. Be sure to keep a close eye on your fish as all Oscar fishes can jump (we’ve found our Oscars once in a completely different tank and had eaten all the other fish) so it’s important to keep a lid on their tank to prevent and discourage such behaviours.
Intelligent fish, Oscar fish are calculating if not sometimes cold. They are more than capable of recognising their owners, which isn’t very common among fish. We once had an Tiger Oscar who didn’t do much of anything until our fish department expert came into the building–in which the Tiger Oscar would come out of hiding and interact with our employee.
With vibrant colours and their curious, almost bold natures, they are active fish than enjoy a personal relationship with their owners; making them unique fish to own. Though health can be sometimes a tricky thing with Oscars, don’t let this discourage you–they are hardy and well maintained fish. Pick the surrounding fish carefully when adding them to the tank, and you will have yourself a beautifully filled aquarium with the Tiger Oscar easily your center piece, pride and joy.