A Closer Look at Oscar Fish: 7 Types and Their Unique Features

Written by Angie Menjivar
Updated: April 24, 2023
Share on:

Advertisement


Oscar fish are intelligent and have voracious appetites. They are not always fans of other tankmates, particularly if they can overpower them. But they may do well with other Oscars or specific varieties like the silver dollar. Oscars are fiercely territorial and unafraid of displaying aggression but if they don’t perceive a tankmate as a meal or threat, they may just be able to share space. Despite being a bit moody, Oscar fish are affectionate, often referred to as “river dogs,” because they’re so expectant around you, even taking food directly from your hands! Learn more about the different types of Oscar fish and their unique features!

Oscar Fish Overview

Oscar fish are territorial fish from the Cichlidae family. These fish enjoy freshwater in aquariums and have a varied appearance. They are native to South America but have made their rounds in different parts of the globe. These fish are known for their incredible suction power — it’s how they eat surrounding fish in their vicinity (usually by surprise!).

Though often solitary, ravenous predators, Oscar fish also make caring parents when they pair. If an approaching fish is small enough, it gets eaten. If it’s too large to make for a meal, they get protective, chasing away any other fish that comes too close to their territory and their fish babies. Aside from their often-aggressive natural instincts, these fish are beautiful, and watching them in an aquarium could put you into a trance-like state as you marvel at their behaviors.

85,335 People Couldn't Ace This Quiz

Think You Can?

What Do Oscar Fish Eat?

Brine Shrimp

For a more varied diet, you could provide live or frozen food options like brine shrimp and bloodworms.

©Dan Olsen/Shutterstock.com

When out in their wild environments, Oscar fish eat other fish, crustaceans, and small insects. They may even snack on some plant debris. When kept in an aquarium, there are various options to ensure a healthy diet. One of the easiest choices is flake foods — these contain the nutrition Oscar fish need and you can also look for an option that is specifically formulated for Oscars. However, for a more varied diet, you could provide live or frozen food options like brine shrimp and bloodworms. These are much more appealing to Oscars because it encourages them to exercise their natural instincts of hunting for their food.

7 Types of Oscar Fish

1. Wild Oscar

Wild Oscars retain their wild look with dark-colored markings throughout their bodies. Their colorations include black and charcoal and as they age, their appearance shifts a bit. These dark colors help them camouflage in the water and remain safe when in the face of predators. Although they are mostly dark-colored, wild Oscars have some distinctive reddish-brown spots that kind of look like eyes.

2. Red Oscar

Red Oscar

Their base color is neutral, but they have bright orange-red markings that blend beautifully on their bodies.

©Lexa_1112/Shutterstock.com

Red Oscars are vibrant with a two-toned appearance. Their base color is neutral, but they have bright orange-red markings that blend beautifully on their bodies. Their personalities are unique and like other Oscars, when kept in an aquarium, they learn to distinguish their owners from others.

3. Albino Oscar

Albino Oscar

These fish, like other Oscars, may turn into interior designers in their tanks, rearranging the rocks and décor you place inside to their liking.

©Santhosh Varghese/Shutterstock.com

While some Oscars have a dark-toned body, albino Oscars are light and bright with interactive personalities. Their colorations include pink and orange but in more of a muted tone. These fish, like other Oscars, may turn into interior designers in their tanks, rearranging the rocks and décor you place inside to their liking (really, they’re just searching for food and making a mess in the process!).

4. Longfin (Veilfin) Oscar

©C.C. Mac/Shutterstock.com

Longfin Oscars are some of the most revered types of Oscar fish that have been bred to display long, gorgeous fins that flow like a gown would on the way to a soiree. These beautiful fish have hearty appetites and may abandon their elegant appearance to literally beg you for more snacks. Their colorations vary, ranging from albino to yellow. They tend to steal the show in aquariums!

5. Blue Oscar

Oscar Fish

Despite being a bit moody, Oscar fish are affectionate, often referred to as “river dogs.”

©weter 777/Shutterstock.com

Blue Oscars are distinguished by the marbled markings on their bodies. They are different shades of blue and have some orange highlights. Although sought-after, these fish are selectively bred, which means they’re not available for purchase just anywhere. They are certainly eye-catching, growing to be about a foot long.  

6. Copper Oscar

Copper Oscar Fish

They love to eat and, like other Oscars, don’t play well with most other types of fish.

©Pixels Dot/Shutterstock.com

Copper Oscars have vibrant orangish bodies contrasted by dark-colored heads. The orange/copper colors on their bodies extend out to their fins. Like other Oscars, this variety is territorial and unless you have secured any plants to the bottom of the tank, they may just uproot them. They love to eat and, like other Oscars, don’t play well with most other types of fish.

7. Tiger Oscar

Tiger Oscar

This variety is perhaps the most common of the Oscars.

©letspicsit/Shutterstock.com

Tiger Oscars require large tanks (125 gallons) to be content. Anything smaller would be a detriment to this fish, potentially causing deformities or shortening its lifespan altogether. This variety is perhaps the most common of the Oscars and you can probably guess based on its name that it has tiger-like markings throughout its body. Each fish is a bit different, but they are distinguished by their bright orange tones.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/Andrei310


Share on:
About the Author

Angie Menjivar is a writer at A-Z-Animals primarily covering pets, wildlife, and the human spirit. She has 14 years of experience, holds a Bachelor's degree in psychology, and continues her studies into human behavior, working as a copywriter in the mental health space. She resides in North Carolina, where she's fallen in love with thunderstorms and uses them as an excuse to get extra cuddles from her three cats.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.