The Tiger Oscar is a beautifully marked, large cichlid that is among the most popular, interactive, and beloved fish in the history of the aquarium hobby!
The Tiger Oscar (Astronotus ocellatus), also known as the Marble Cichlid or Velvet Cichlid, is a large South American cichlid species that needs little to no introduction. It is one of the most popular and beloved fish in the entire aquarium hobby, and with good reason. It has beautiful markings, is extremely hardy and unfussy in every way, and is easily a centerpiece fish in any large aquarium. It grows to a substantial, but manageable size and is one of the most interactive fish when it comes to paying attention to its keeper.
The Tiger Oscar will thrive in a large aquarium with a sand or gravel substrate and sturdy decor as well as plenty of open swimming space. It does consume some plant matter, so artificial plants are a better choice for decor than live plants (if plants are used at all). Like many cichlids, this species is known to sometimes rearrange decor to its liking, so it is necessary to avoid “avalanches” of decorative stones and driftwood. The Tiger Oscar is considerably less aggressive than most other medium and large cichlids, but it does have a voracious appetite and will eat any fish or invertebrate that will fit (or nearly fit) in its mouth. Territoriality is typically at its peak during spawning. Due to the eventual adult size of the Tiger Oscar, it should not be kept with ornamental invertebrates. If spawning is desired, tankmates of other species should be avoided altogether. It should also be noted that the Tiger Oscar is typically most peaceful with tankmates when it is grown up with them from juvenile age rather than introduced as an adult. Powerful filtration and regular water changes are necessarry for this large species. This fish grows to an impressive size rather quickly, so a large aquarium is necessary at an early stage, even when starting with a juvenile.
Feeding is simple for the unfussy Tiger Oscar. High-quality dry, frozen, and live meaty foods will all be readily accepted, but some vegetable matter is also necessary and can easily be provided in the form of spirulina-rich dry foods. Quality and variety are the keys to a diet that will ensure that this fish maintains optimal health and coloration. Meat from mammals (such as beefheart) or birds is extremely unhealthy for Oscars and most other fish and should never make up part of the diet.
What We Like About This Fish:
- Beautiful coloration
- Very hardy with plenty of personality
- Possible to breed in the aquarium
- Classic ornamental species
- Potential to be a “centerpiece” fish
RECOMMENDED TANK PARAMETERS:
- Temperature: 68° – 82.4° F (20° – 28° C)
- pH: 6.0 – 7.5
- KH: 5 – 20 KH
- Minimum tank size: 75+ gallons for 1 full-grown adult, 100+ gallons for multiple adults
- Diet: Omnivorous. A variety of high-quality dry, frozen, and live meaty foods is necessary for optimal health and coloration. Vegetable matter (blanched spinach, shelled peas, spirulina) is also necessary.
- Social behavior: Congregates loosely in groups as a juvenile. Both males and females can be territorial during spawning.
- Origin: Tank-bred, but indigenous throughout South America
- Average adult size: 10 – 14 inches (25 – 35 cm)
- Average purchase size: 2 – 3 inches (2.5 – 7.6 cm)