No aquarium is complete without the googly-eyed Oscar fish!
After all, their variety of vivid colors and patterns are too good to resist. From the patterned Tiger Oscar fish to the milky white Albino Oscar fish- there’s an “Oscar” for everyone!
However, like any other fish or pet animal, Oscar fish also require a proper diet to maintain a healthy and long life. So, you must be wondering: what do Oscars eat? Well, these good-looking guys are hardcore meat lovers!
But, there’s a lot more to their diet, and this guide will help you understand what’s best and what’s not for Oscars. So, without further delay, let’s dive right in!
Best Food For Oscar Fish
Oscar fish have a very varied diet in the wild, so it is best to recreate it for healthy growth and development. This is possible by investing in a combination of high-quality and high-protein prepared foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, and tiny pieces of meat.
You can top it off with live food once in a while. However, most hobbyists recommend staying away from using store-bought live organisms.
Pellet and Flakes
Readymade food is hands down the most convenient option for feeding any species of fish. They are easily accessible, require no preparation, and fulfill the nutritional needs of aquarium fishes. Depending on your preference, you can opt for pellets or flakes.
Prepared food like pellets and tablets are an excellent option for Oscars since they create no mess and do not cause cloudiness in the tank. Or, you can split wafers into three equal parts and feed the Oscars one by one. These food items are easy to swallow whole, even for juvenile Oscars.
Flakes, on the other hand, can get messy and settle down at the bottom of the tank. This can, in turn, degrade the quality of water.
Opt for well-known brands like New Life Spectrum and Hikari for fast growth and vibrant coloration.
Frozen food for fish mainly consists of seafood. You do not have to worry about which type of seafood would work best because anything from shrimps to squids is suitable for feeding Oscars. However, ensure that you alternate between different varieties of seafood and never overfeed just one type.
Small seafood formulas like bloodworms and brine shrimps can be fed to tinier species of Oscars. More oversized food items will only cause a mess!
Wild Oscars are mostly found in the tropical and subtropical regions of South America, wherein they consume live insects, larvae, and smaller fishes. However, if you maintain a tank of Oscar fish or have some in an aquarium, live feeder fishes should be fed in moderation.
While live food sounds like a nutritional option for Oscars, it is quite the opposite. For instance, feeder fish are mass-bred in the worst conditions. Since these feeder fish are given the cheapest and lowest quality filler foods, they offer no nutritional value to Oscars.
Additionally, this option is more expensive and inconvenient as live food does not have a long shelf life. However, if you want to treat Oscars once a week, we suggest crickets and worms from your backyard or farm.
Or, if you purchase live fish food in bulk, make sure to quarantine the lot to prevent disease transmission and water contamination.
Can Oscar Fish Eat Human Food?
Besides the food items mentioned above, Oscar fish can enjoy other human food like fruits, vegetables, and some nuts. These food items provide high protein internally and rich saturation externally.
Good ol’ green vegetables are not just recommended for you, but for Oscar fish too! Peas, lettuce, green beans, cucumbers and carrots are incredibly nutritious choices for the fish.
However, make sure you cut the veggies small enough for them to eat. For this reason, peas are your best bet as most fishes can swallow them like pellets.
Fruits like bananas, apples, mangoes, and sweet melons make great treats for Oscar fish. But, as mentioned before, cut them into bite-sized pieces and feed them in moderation.
As you see, Oscar fish will never say “No” to good food! This will lead to digestion problems which can worsen their health. So, avoid overfeeding your Oscars at any cost.
How Often To Feed My Oscar Fish?
In continuation to the previous point, seeing your Oscars eat anything you throw at them isn’t a sign of healthy eating. If need be, they can gobble up their tankmates too!
The amount of food and the frequency of feeding depends on the age and size of your Oscar fish. For your reference, we’ve broken down some pointers according to the age and size of the fish, but note that these are merely estimates, and not fool-proof methods. Let’s take a look…
Juvenile Oscar Fish
Young Oscars are usually 1.5 to 3 inches in size, so feeding them twice a day is sufficient for fast growth. Most fish tank owners prefer feeding baby Oscars just until their stomachs are slightly bloated.
You can feed them once in the morning and then in the afternoon or early evening. However, do not rush the process. Give them time to swallow the food before you dunk in some more. If served with way too much food, Oscars tend to spit the food particles and move to the other. Talk about being greedy!
Additionally, try to add variety to their diet as that will help develop their taste, which, in turn, will help you later in feeding them as adults.
Adult Oscar Fish
If the fish are 4-6 inches in size, you can feed them daily but alternate the frequency between once a day to twice a day. This will not only ensure complete nutrition but also control their appetite.
In most cases, a fully-grown adult Oscar fish is about 7-8 inches in size unless they are stunted. This is the time when you should watch their weight and feed them accordingly. However, just because one of them looks overweight does not mean you reduce its food intake drastically. If you do, the poor tankmates will have to pay with their lives!
For best results, adult Oscar fish should be fed once a day on alternative days. If you wish to feed them more than once, limit the practice to twice a week.
Best Oscar Fish food for color?
Some foods can help to enhance the color of your Oscar fish. If you want a bright red, orange, or green appearance for your pet, one should look out for Astaxanthin-rich food such as shrimp and krill.
Frozen peas are my secret weapon when it comes to Oscar feeding. Without going on and on about all this fancy scientific stuff (too much), but I’ll keep it simple: they work! I have my own Oscar, and he is so much more colorful and energetic because of these.
All you need is some frozen peas from the grocery store, and remember to keep them frozen available at all times, right up until it is time to offer a treat! When the time comes for feeding, simply remove a few, rinse off under cold water, and offer one at a time into your tank.
Pro tip: If it's your first time to feed frozen peas to your Oscar, he may spit them out. Eventually, he will take them—and love the taste!
What do Baby Oscar Fish Eat?
Opt for small-sized pellets, flakes, frozen/ fresh veggies, fruits, or live food for baby Oscar fish. As long as the food particles are small enough to swallow, you should be good to go.
Again, keep in mind that Oscars are gluttonous beings, even as babies! So, no matter how well they eat, always check the food portions and do not overfeed.
Best Oscar Fish Feeding Rules?
By now, you know that Oscars can enjoy a variety of food items, but there are certain feeding rules you must keep in mind for their overall development.
Avoid Fatty Items
First off, there is a high risk of obesity among Oscars, thanks to their gluttony. This can result in unhealthy amounts of fats in their bodies or fatty liver issues. Hence, live feeder fish are not recommended as a staple diet. Moreover, you should avoid meaty parts of chicken or any other non-vegetarian option.
Free From Chemicals
Oscars love a good crunch, making insects the most suitable food item for them. However, ensure that the insects you pick for the fish were not exposed to chemical pesticides and fertilizers.
Astaxanthin For Better Color
There are various types of Oscars out there, with Tiger Oscar Fish and Albino Oscar Fish being the most common ones. While these fishes are blessed with attractive colors and patterns, their food plays a huge role in enhancing their coloration.
Astaxanthin is a compound found in skrill, river fish, and other red-colored aquatic organisms. So, incorporating them into the daily diet of your Oscars is a must.
Among readymade food, Tetra Tropical 16159 is rich in Vitamin C and color-enhancing nutrients, making it ideal for adult Oscar fish. Sera 411 is also popular for Tiger Oscar Fish as it provides a healthy combination of haematococcus algae and Krill, perfect for enhancing the fiery red color of this species.
If you are raising baby Oscar fish, it is best to add lots of variety to their diet at an early stage. Besides ensuring a well-rounded meal, this allows them to adapt to different food types, making it easier for you to pick food once they get older.
We hope that this guide gives you a better idea of what Oscars eat and how you should feed them.
Other than their stunning looks, Oscar fish are known for their intelligence, too. It is said that they can even recognize their owner! So, as a responsible caretaker and hobbyist, you should feed them highly nutritious food in controlled portions. In return, you get beautiful, healthy, and happy fish.
With that, we come to the end of this informative guide. Until next time…Happy feeding!