Oscar cichlid (Astronotus Ocellatus)
Oscar cichlids are freshwater aquarium fish from South America. Their natural habitat is the Amazon River basin. Oscar cichlids are large cichlids with a stocky, oval shaped body, large eyes and large mouth. Oscar cichlids are intelligent and their interactions with humans makes them a fun pet fish to have at home. They are very personable, they get excited when they see humans approaching the aquarium. Their excitability and large round features makes them very endearing as pet fish. They are commonly called oscar, velvet cichlid, red oscar, tiger oscar, and marble cichlid. They can grow up to 14 inches and can live as long as 10-20 years! Below you will find tips and advice on how to set up the aquarium for your oscar, what to feed your oscar and how to breed oscar cichlids.
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Aquarium Set Up for Oscar Cichlids
Oscar cichlids are large, fast growing cichlids so they need a large aquarium. You need to set up an aquarium with a minimum of 55 gallons for one oscar cichlid to be comfortable. If you have a pair of oscar cichlids, they you will need at least 75 gallons for two oscar cichlids. Oscar cichlids likes slow moving water so make sure you have good water flow in the fish tank. The best way to achieve this is to have an external filter and one submersible internal filter in the aquarium for your oscar cichilds. The aquarium for your oscar cichlids should have water temperature of 72-82°F and PH 6-8. They also like to rest on the sand. It’s best to use aragonite sand for your oscar cichlids.
What to Feed Your Oscar Cichild
Oscar cichlids are omnivorous. They have a really healthy appetite and are a lot of fun to feed because they will “beg” for food. Feed them a diet consisting of bloodworms, brine shrimp and krill shrimp. Cichlid pellets and good quality flake food are ideal food for your cichlids.
How to Breed Oscar Cichlids
Oscar cichlids can be bred at home. Get a pair of oscars in your aquarium, make your aquarium ideal for breeding, keep the water clean and raise the temperature to 82°F. You need to do a 25% daily water change and prompt removal of all food residues in order to keep the water clean. You should also have a flat rock in the aquarium for the oscar cichlid to lay her eggs on. The eggs are adhesive and are laid on a flat surface. The female will lay about 1000 eggs and the male oscar will fertilize the eggs. The eggs will turn from opaque colored eggs to transparent eggs in 24 hours and the eggs will hatch after 2 to 3 days. It’s a lot of fun to watch the oscar cichlids, they will both work together to prepare their breeding site. There will be a lot of chasing around between the two oscars when they are mating. Oscar cichlids are good parents, they will take care of their young. Once the fry are present, you will still need to continue maintaining the daily water change and aquarium clean up to keep the water clean. Feed the free swimming fry newly hatched brine shrimp 2-3 times a day.
Common Diseases for Oscar Cichlids
Oscar cichlids are susceptible to “hole in the head” disease caused by the protozoan Hexamita. This is due to poor water quality and poor diet.
Oscar Cichlid Facts
Origin: Amazon River Basin in South America
Max. Size: Up to 14 inches
Minimum Tank Size: 50 gallons
Water Temperature: 72-82°F
Water Conditions: PH 6.0–8.0
Color: Olive Green, Gray, Brown, Orange
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