Aquarium fish: Oscar (Astronotus ocellatus)
Size: 25 – 35 cm
Origin: America
Water temperature: 21-28 ° C
Aquarium volume: 400 l

Oscar (Astronotus ocellatus ) – quite large, freshwater aquarium fish from the cichlid family.

Occurrence

South America. Fish inhabit the Amazon basin in Brazil, Peru and Colombia, possibly also in French Guiana. Most often found in shallow, stagnant waters in wooded areas. They stay hidden between the roots of trees and among marginal vegetation.

Characteristics and disposition

Usually it reaches about 25 cm in total length, the largest individual recorded was 45.7 cm. Stocky, tall body with a large mouth and thick lips. Dark coloration with characteristic peacock eyes, depending on age and place of origin. There are many breeding color varieties such as Red Oscar, Red Tiger, Albinos, long-fin. They reach sexual maturity around 1 year of age.

The sex of the fish is difficult to distinguish. During the spawning period, females have a clearly rounded genital wart. Territorial and especially aggressive fish during the spawning season. It is a carnivore by nature and will treat smaller fish as food. It digs through the ground, which can destroy more delicate plants.

Nutrition and feeding

We feed peacock-eyed cichlids with large live food, meat granules and dry food in sticks. They should not be fed with mammalian meat, such as beef heart or chicken. The fat in such meat is not absorbed by the fish and leads to excessive fatness and organ degradation.

Aquarium

The peacock cichlid requires an aquarium of about 400 liters. If we want to keep a pair, it must be correspondingly larger than 500-600l.

When kept in the company of other fish, they require tanks from 1000 liters. Cichlids like sandy soil and decorations made of stones and roots. The decorations in the aquarium should be firmly attached, and the plants – only with strong leaves – should be planted in containers. Fish should be provided with efficient filtration and weekly water changes, preferably 50%. They can be kept in the company of large fish such as catfish, goldfish, loaches and other cichlids.

Breeding

The species is quite easy to breed, provided that we have a sufficiently large reservoir and choose a pair. It’s best to buy 6 or more young fish and let them pair naturally. When properly fed, peacock cichlids will grow relatively quickly. They reach sexual maturity when they exceed 12 cm in length. We leave one pair and catch the rest.

The breeding tank should be at least 150x60x60cm. We put several flat stones in it. The Oscars, like many cichlids, spawn on hard ground. It’s a good idea to place the decorations directly on the bottom of the aquarium. Fish are eager to dig the ground and can thus be dispersed.

The easiest way to encourage fish to spawn is to raise the water temperature by a few degrees. First, the couple choose a place to lay their eggs and clean them. The female can lay about 2,000 eggs. This means that we will need additional tanks for fry rearing.

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