Astronotus ocellatus: the Oscar

Astronotus ocellatus

Astronotus ocellatus. Photo by Jón Helgi Jónsson. CC BY-SA 3.0

Most new cichlid hobbyists have probably started on the wrong foot when it came time to stock their first tank. I know, because I’ve made my fair share of mistakes. One of those mistakes was picking up a young Astronotus ocellatus for tank that would be inadequate within a few months. The Oscar, as it is commonly known, is a mainstay of pet store tanks. Their energy, large eyes and fearless attitude toward people make them very attractive to first-time cichlid keepers.

While Astronotus ocellatus can make a great addition to your tank, they aren’t the best fish for beginners who don’t know what they are in for. Oscars get large, and they do it quickly. Most of the time first tanks are on the small side and not suited for a fast growing Oscar. First tanks also tend to go through some water quality issues that are unhealthy and stressful for fish. Stress and poor water quality are a recipe for disaster with Oscars. If you are new to the hobby or Oscars in general, make sure you read up on the library article by Brett Harrington and the Oscars 101 forum post by TheFishGuy.

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