3 Things Beginners Need To Know About the Oscar Fish

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oscar fish
Photo by: Anrique Grisales from Pixel

3 Things Beginners Need To Know About the Oscar Fish

Oscar fish are a popular fish among aquarists. They are beautiful, personable, expressive and relatively low maintenance, but beginners beware. When choosing an oscar for your first tank fish, think twice. Below are reasons why the oscar is not great for beginners.

#1. They will get bigger, fast

When you first get a baby oscar fish, it will only be a few inches long and relatively small, which is great for a beginner, 25-gallon tank. However, oscar fish can grow up to 10 inches in a year under the right conditions. It is fun watching a fish grow day-to-day until you need a new tank to keep up with how big the fish will get. That is not very cost-effective for a beginner aquarist. Furthermore, since oscar fish are territorial, getting more than one means you will need, at minimum, a 50-gallon tank, which can be overwhelming for first-time aquarists. It is recommended an additional 30-gallons for every oscar you add after that.

#2. They are territorial

Oscar fish in a tank

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Oscar fish like to hide in rocky areas, under log decorations and above else, they like their own space. Oscars will chase and push other fish around when they get too close, so they are not the best tank mates. Knowing what other fish pair well with Oscar fish in the tank is better left to more advanced aquarists.

Growing other small fish alongside the oscar is also a bad idea. Oscars are known to eat their smaller tank mates. It is not a question of if—but when.

#3. They like to decorate

Part of the fun of having a tank is being able to personalize it, but that is not the case when you own an oscar fish. They like their space and they like to make it their own. Meaning if you want your tank to reflect your style and taste, you might think twice about getting an oscar fish. If there are any decorations in the tank that can be moved, they will move them. And this includes the substrate; they like to dig into the substrate looking for food. Oscar fish will also move plants or unroot them all together. So if you do get an Oscar fish, choose decorations that are heavy enough that they can’t move them.


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For your first tank, it is important to think about what fish you want to start with. If you are a new aquarist, an oscar is probably not the right fish. They might eat the other fish in the tank; they will rearrange the decorations and they will outgrow a beginner tank almost immediately. A gourami or tetras might be a better fit for your first tank.

About the Author
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Elmer Acevedo Garcia

Animals of any kind are a passion, especially dogs! My adopted children Luna is a mixed 12 lbs sassy mutt and Nova, is a petite Australian Cattle Dog. When we’re not napping, you can catch us out in the mountains getting lost on a hike.... Learn More

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