Do Oscar Fish Have Teeth? (And Do They Bite?)

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Are you an aquarium enthusiast thinking about introducing Oscar fish to your tank? Here’s all you need to know about their teeth. 

When you hear the words “fish with teeth,” you immediately think of deadly sharks and piranhas. However, are Oscar fish as dangerous as these deadly creatures, or can you keep them in a tank with other fish? Don’t worry; we’re here to help you. 

Do Oscar fish have teeth or do they bite? Take a look at our short but informative guide to know all about it. 

Do Oscar Fish Have Teeth?

Getting right to the point – yes, Oscars have teeth. However, whether you need to worry about keeping them in your tank with other fish depends on several factors. Although Oscars have teeth and can nip or bite down on flesh, it’s not too dangerous if they are well trained. Moreover, these fish do not have vicious bites like their cousins – Piranhas and Sharks. 

That said, Oscars’ teeth are sharp enough to bite through and chew on the flesh of other fish and animals. If you plan on introducing Oscars to your aquarium, consider getting baby Oscar fish. You can train them not to bite too hard to draw blood, which can be helpful as they grow into beautiful adult Oscars.

How Many And What Kind Of Teeth Do Oscar Fish Have?

Oscar fish have two sets of teeth. However, they do not have any teeth on their jaws, unlike humans and other animals. The pharyngeal teeth, as the name suggests, lie at the back of their throat.

The other set of teeth are located at the back of their mouths. These teeth are not sharp enough to cause significant injury to human flesh, but their bites and nips can surprise you or hurt slightly.

Furthermore, Oscar fish are primarily suction feeders. This means that they suck their food into their mouths and then chew it at the back of their mouth and throat, before ingesting it. They do this with their mouth closed, so it’s unlikely that you will be able to see the process.

Will My Oscar Fish Bite Me?

Whether the Oscar fish will bite you or not depends entirely on their temperament and how you have raised them. As such, even vicious dogs and other animals can be trained by their owners not to bite. The same theory applies to Oscar fish. 

It helps to get your Oscar fish at an early stage in their lives as it is easier to train them. Although species like Tiger Oscar fish are known to get quite large and even bite other fish, their behavior is mostly territorial. 

So, although your baby Oscar fish may tend to bite or nip your fingers, they can effectively be trained not to bite too hard. 

Can You Hand Feed Oscars?

Hand-feeding Oscar fish is a great way to teach them not to bite aggressively. However, this works best if you practice it with baby Oscar fish rather than full-grown adult Oscars.

You can attempt to hand-feed your adult Oscars as well. That being said, keep in mind that they may try to bite your fingers sometimes.

Although the bite may come as a shock, it is generally not hard enough to injure you critically. However, keep in mind that aggressive bites may draw blood, so be careful when hand-feeding Oscars.

Are Oscar Fish Aggressive And Dangerous?

Yes and no. Oscar fish are generally friendly with humans and will not bite unless they feel threatened. However, these fish are extremely territorial and are known to kill other fish for space in the tank. Although these fish can exhibit dangerous and aggressive behavior, you can keep them as pets as long as you provide them with proper training.

Since Oscar fish belong to the cichlid family, they exhibit typical behavior and characteristics shared by other fish of this family. So, your Oscar fish may be territorial, may bite, but will typically not show aggression towards their owners.


Any aquarium enthusiast knows the immense joy and pleasure of introducing new fish into their tanks.

While Oscars can make excellent pets, it is advisable to train them from an early stage. Furthermore, ensure that you provide your Oscars with a healthy, balanced diet. This should slightly reduce their tendency to nip and bite, as many Oscars (and other animals) will exhibit this behavior due to hunger.

Make sure that you contact a professional, qualified breeder when bringing your Oscar fish home. Also, you will need to provide a tank that is large enough to accommodate adult-sized Oscars.

Best of luck with your new pets!

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Jeff Colt

Jeff Colt

Hello, I'm Jeff- an aquarium enthusiast with over 25 years of experience caring for a wide array of tropical fish, including koi, goldfish bettas, cichlids and more! For me: Aquariums are like jello - there's always room for more!

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