How Long Do Oscars Live? (In Captivity & Wild)

Thinking about keeping a pet Oscar in your home aquarium? Here’s all you need to know about their life span. 

The Oscar fish is part of the cichlid family and are known by many other names – Marble Cichlid, Red Tiger Oscar, Velvet Cichlid, etc. These fish have a typical life span of 10 to 20 years in the wild. However, if you are thinking about keeping them in a tank, there are a couple of things to know. 

Read on to find the answer to “how long do Oscars live?”

How Long Do Oscars Live In Captivity?

Those thinking about keeping Oscars in captivity may be wondering how long they can live in a tank. Given the right environment, food habits, care, and tank conditions, these fish can live for 8 to 12 years in captivity.

That being said, some Oscars are known to live for up to 15 years in captivity if they are cared for properly. Those who want to introduce Oscars to their home aquarium must provide the right conditions and diet for them to thrive for over a decade.

If you plan on introducing Oscars to your current tank, there are a few things to be careful of. As such, you should research thoroughly to find suitable tank mates that Oscars can live with.

How Long Do Oscars Live In The Wild?

Although Oscars live for about 8 to 12 years in captivity, these beautiful, lively fish can live up to 10 to 20 years in the wild. Moreover, they can grow to be very large fish, growing up to 11 to 12 inches. Some Oscars, however, can grow even larger, measuring up to 16 inches!

Keep in mind that Oscar fish are quite aggressive and territorial. In addition, they are known for killing other fish, so some Oscars may die prematurely due to aggressive behavior.

How Long Can Oscar Fish Live Without Food?

When you think of getting a new pet, one of the first things you need to consider is a consistent feeding schedule. That said, it may be surprising to know that Oscars can live without food for up to two to four weeks!

Keep in mind that this depends largely on their age, temperament, and size. While baby Oscars can live for about two weeks without food, adult Oscars are able to survive for up to four weeks without food.

That being said, we do not recommend testing their limits if you plan on introducing them to your tank. Instead, ensure that you maintain a consistent feeding schedule and give them high-quality food such as pellets, flakes, and occasionally live food. Again, it is best to speak to an expert or research well about the right foodstuff to feed your Oscars.

How To Increase Oscar Fish Lifespan

It’s obvious – when you get a new Oscar as a pet, you would want it to live for as long as possible. However, to make that happen, you need to maintain a rigorous schedule, so they are happy and thriving. Without this, they may start to turn white. However, do not confuse them with Albino Oscars, which are naturally white due to their lack of color. 

Buy A Healthy Oscar

Most pet owners try to find good breeders so they can adopt or buy healthy pets. This is essential, as unhealthy animals or fish can have a host of diseases and health problems later in life. Treating them may be an option, but it is always best to get healthy baby animals.

Ensure that you buy a healthy Oscar from a reputable breeder or pet shop. This will ensure that your pet has a happy, healthy, and long life in your home.

Keep Them In A Big Tank

Oscar fish can grow to be at least 11 to 12 inches long. Moreover, some Oscars can grow even larger, so you need to ensure that you have an adequately large tank for them. 

As such, you will require a 75-gallon tank for your adult Oscar. If you have more than one Oscar in the tank, it may be best to increase the tank size to up to 100 gallons. Furthermore, ensure that you maintain good tank hygiene and set up the tank appropriately.

Have A Filter

It is imperative to have a good filter system in the Oscars’ tank to ensure that they are healthy. Make sure that you research thoroughly and purchase the right filter for the tank size. Furthermore, you need to clean and maintain it regularly to keep the water from becoming toxic. This will help your Oscars grow and thrive.

Keep The Tank Clean

It is crucial to keep the Oscars’ tank clean; otherwise, they are prone to catching infections and diseases. Make sure that you clean the tank, filter, and other decorative items in the tank regularly.

Getting A Balanced Diet

The most important thing to take care of is your Oscars’ diet. It is essential to feed them high-quality fish food and live food. Ensure that the live food is contaminant-free so it doesn’t adversely affect the Oscars’ health.

Furthermore, maintain a proper feeding schedule and create a healthy habitat. Doing the bare minimum can help increase your Oscars’ lifespan, letting them live happily for up to 8 to 15 years in your tank.


How Long Can Oscars Live In Cold Water?

As such, Oscars can tolerate low temperatures of up to 55° Fahrenheit. That said, it is best to maintain proper tank temperature; otherwise, they may perish within a few weeks or months.

How Long Can Oscars Live Without A Filter?

Oscars can survive for about three days in a tank without a filter.


Now that you know everything about Oscars and their lifespan (and how to increase it), you are ready to be a pet parent.

As with any animal or fish, ensure that you maintain a healthy living condition for your Oscars to thrive. Moreover, research adequately to find the right diet and tank conditions for them. 

That’s all for now; we hope you enjoyed reading this guide. If you have any more questions, feel free to leave a comment below.

Until next time, pet parent! 

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