The 4 Best Foods For Oscar Fish

Written by Sarah Psaradelis
Updated: August 30, 2022

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Oscars are a popular species of freshwater fish from the cichlid family and originate from South America. These fish should have a similar diet to the one they will have in the wild if you want to provide them with the optimal nutrition to keep them healthy. Without a proper diet, your Oscar fish will not be able to grow and thrive properly.

The Oscar fish is a carnivore and preys on catfish, fallen fruit, shrimp, and crawfish in the wild. The majority of these foods can be replicated in captivity where you can find either freeze-dried, frozen, or live foods to feed your Oscar. If you are looking for a staple pellet food for your Oscar, then you want to look for ones that have been specifically formulated with an Oscar fish’s dietary needs in mind.

Product reviews

1. Best Overall: Tetra JumboMin Large Sticks

The best overall food for Oscar fish in this review is the Tetra JumboMin large sticks. This food consists of large sticks with a similar texture to pellets that can easily be eaten by large fish such as the Oscar.

It is a high-protein-based and balanced fish food that is a great alternative to live foods as it is formulated with shrimp and krill. We have found that this food can be fed to Oscars without the need for supplements because it contains a blend of vitamins, minerals, and high-quality ingredients to support an Oscar fish’s immune system to help keep them healthy.

These large sticks are suitable for medium to fully grown Oscars and the sticks do not cloud the aquarium’s water when fed in appropriate portions to the fish.

Best Overall
Tetra JumboMin Large Sticks
  • High-protein-based and balanced fish food
  • No need for supplements due to its balanced nutritional profile
  • Sticks don't cloud the aquarium's water
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2. Best for Affordability: Aqueon Cichlid Food

The Aqueon cichlid fish food is the best for affordability because you get a large bag of high-quality fish food for an affordable price, so if you are on a budget, this is a great food to check out. This food comes in a granule form, which is quite small for Oscars, however, you can feed slightly more to make up for the food’s small size.

It contains protein-based ingredients such as shrimp and squid meal as the first few ingredients and these foods can help support your Oscars immune system while providing them with essential vitamins and minerals to support their coloration and growth. We have found that this food does not cloud the water easily like many other types of fish foods, which can help keep the water quality good.

Best for Affordability
Aqueon Medium Cichlid Pellet Fish Food
  • Protein-based ingredients such as shrimp and squid meal
  • Food comes in a granule form
  • Doesn't cloud the water
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3. Best for Color Enhancement: Aqueon Cichlid Food Color-Enhancing Pellets

This is a protein-rich cichlid fish food that has ingredients that not only encourage your Oscar to eat the pellets but are also formulated to support your fish’s immune system and bring out their true colors which can be dulled by the wrong foods and stress. This fish food has color-boosting ingredients that help enhance a fish’s bright coloration and help them maintain its vibrant coloration.

These pellets are small in size and will not water easily if it is fed correctly. The pellets are high in protein from fish and shrimp meal, along with a variety of vitamins and minerals that help Oscar fish to grow to their full size while enhancing their colors.

Best for Color Enhancement
Aqueon Cichlid Food Color-Enhancing Pellets
  • Color-boosting ingredients that help enhance a fish’s bright coloration
  • Boosts your fish's immune system
  • Help Oscar fish to grow to their full size
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4. Best Protein-based Food: Omega One Freeze Dried Shrimp

The Omega One freeze-dried shrimp food is made from high-quality white shrimp that are not only high in protein at 60%, but also contain a variety of vitamins and minerals. This is a safer alternative to live foods because the freeze-dried shrimp have undergone a process that helps prevent the risk of carrying diseases and parasites that could affect your Oscar fish.

This is not considered to be a staple fish food, so it should be fed alongside a pelleted food that contains a range of different ingredients as this is only freeze-dried shrimp. The food does not shrink and can be broken up into pieces if you are wanting to feed young Oscar fish. The shrimp do not easily cloud the water or dissolve and can easily be gulped up by adult Oscar fish.

Best Protein-based Food
Omega One Freeze Dried Shrimp
  • Made of freeze-dried shrimp
  • Should be fed alongside a pelleted food that contains a range of different ingredients
  • Shrimp do not easily cloud the water or dissolve and can easily be gulped up by adult Oscar fish
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How To Choose The Right Food For Oscar Fish

Before choosing a food for your Oscar fish, it is important to consider these three factors:


Oscar fish are obligated carnivores which means that they will eat a variety of live foods in the wild that they prey upon. In the wild and in captivity, Oscars will eat freshwater fish, shrimp, and other crustaceans that they come across. When it comes to choosing a suitable food for your Oscar, you need to look for one that has a high protein content ideally over 40%. The food should contain animal-based proteins as one of the main ingredients, which usually include fish meal and shrimp. Vitamins and minerals are also necessary when choosing a staple food for your Oscar.


The price of the food is important if you plan to feed your Oscar that specific food for a while. Most Oscar fish foods are fairly priced, and the price of the food will vary depending on where you purchase it from. The volume of food in the bag and the quality of the food will affect the price. It is better to purchase a medium or large-size bag of fish food with good quality ingredients that will last you a long time for a slightly higher price than it is to purchase lower-quality foods.

Food Size

The size of the food you are feeding to your Oscar fish should be considered because Oscars grow quite large and have big mouths that enables them to eat other fish. Small foods such as mini pellets and granules may be difficult for your Oscar to eat, and you may need to feed them for small-sized foods to ensure they are eating enough in comparison to foods that are large and designed for big fish like Oscars.

How To Feed Oscar Fish

Like all fish, Oscars should be fed a teaspoon of pellets, granules, or large-dried or frozen foods at least twice a day. Ideally during the morning and evening. The amount of food you feed your Oscar will depend on their size, age, and the type of food you are feeding them.

Some Oscar fish owners prefer to feed their fish a staple food such as a pellet in the morning, and then feed them live or freeze-dried worms or shrimp during the next feeding to ensure that their Oscar is getting enough protein. Oscars are not too picky about whether their food floats or sinks, so you can just place their food at the top of the aquarium and let them swim up to eat it.

The Different Types Of Oscar Fish Foods: Pros and Cons Compared

  • Pellets: This is the most common and high-recommended staple food to feed Oscars. All the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals your fish needs in compacted into a uniform pellet.
  • Granules: This is a very small version of pelleted foods and has a round appearance with varying colors. It is better suited for small Oscars that have not grown to their full size yet.
  • Flakes: Arguably the most accessible and cheapest option of fish food, flakes come in different shapes and sizes. The only issue with flake foods is that they can be considered low-quality, and the flakes easily dissolve in the water before your fish has a chance to eat it.
  • Live foods: Live foods such as baby brine shrimp, worms, shrimp, or even small feeder fish can be purchased to encourage your Oscar to prey on live food like they would in the wild. It can be bought from a pet store, but the live foods need to be stored in the appropriate environment.
  • Freeze-dried foods: This includes freeze-dried shrimp, tubifex worms, and bloodworms that have no moisture content and can be stored for long periods of time because they are fully dry.
  • Frozen foods: Similar to live foods, frozen foods are deceased and stored in a freezer. These foods can include small feeder fish, shrimp, and worms, and the moisture and meaty parts of these foods are retained.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each type of Oscar fish food:


AffordableCan be low in protein
Rich in nutrients, vitamins, and minerals for Oscar fish 
Easy to store and feed to your fish 


Contains a blend of nutrientsToo small for large Oscar fish
Easy to store 
Ideal for Oscar fry (young fish) 


Easily accessibleDissolves quickly in water which can cause cloudiness
AffordableSome nutrients may be lost once the flake starts to dissolve in the water
Easy to store 

Live Foods

A natural way of feedingNeed to be kept alive in suitable conditions for the next feeding or they will die off
Resembles how the fish would eat in the wildIt May contain parasites and bacteria that can affect your fish
High in protein 

Freeze-dried Foods

Easy to storeShould not be fed as a staple food
High in protein, vitamins, and minerals 
Easily accessible 

Frozen Foods

Easier to store than live foods with the same nutritional valueIt will need to be stored in a freezer
High in protein 
A safer alternative to live foods 
About the Author

I am a big animal lover that not only enjoys owning and getting to care for them, but also to write about them! I own many fish, along with shrimp, hamsters and a docile tarantula. Writing has become my passion and I am grateful to be able to write about the animals I love so dearly so that I can share my knowledge and expertise in the articles I write.