Tiger Oscar Care Sheet (Size, Behavior, Food, Tank Mates)

Tiger Oscars are aggressive cichlids that are elegant yet highly aggressive. Don’t let their attractive appearance fool you, and they have ruthless aggression.

These cichlids are native to South America, where they inhabit Amazon and its tributaries. Through trading and fishkeeping businesses, their wild geographical distribution has also reached many countries worldwide.

They are also regarded as popular aquarium fish, but let us warn you if you plan to house them, think twice and thoroughly go through all the aquarium store’s instructions before acquiring them.

Tiger Oscar Size

12 inches is the average length considered for the Oscar varieties. However, in the wild, they can grow even longer than that. 18 inches of length could be the maximum limit for this fish in the wild.

The tiger oscars are distinguished among other Oscars by their coloration and marking patterns. Their size range usually sits at 12 to 15 inches. The vivid orange-red colors over black bodies make them look like the black rock on fire.

This spectacular coloration is not the only noticeable thing on this fish. Their dorsal and anal fins align towards the caudal fin to make a hand fan appearance at the rear.

Tiger Oscar Fish Behavior & Aggression

All the Oscars’ morphs are aggressive, just like their wild live ancestor, and so is the tiger oscar fish. They are highly territorial and curious fish.

Tiger Oscar

Tiger Oscars are usually mid-level swimmers, but they tend to turn everything inside of the tank upside down out of curiosity and search for food.

They can’t endure any other fish in their territory and fight with them no matter what size the opponent is. Their territorial aggression is at its peak during spawning and breeding times.

You can gauge this fish’s anger by the fact that sometimes even breeding pairs can get irritated with each other and tend to fight. However, this fight is not much intense. Instead, it is just a symbolic collision that they need some space.

It Sounds ridiculous but it is a reality. The Oscars are even known to kill each other. So they will hunt down any smaller or timid fish. Their overall behavior depends on how correctly the tank has been set and what tankmates are provided to them in the tank.

Tiger Oscar Growing up

Tiger Oscars display a wonderful growth phenomenon. They are such fish that they can add an inch to their length every month. This elongation rate continues until it reaches its potential size.

This is not as simple as that. Your way of housing this cichlid also matters. If you have a big tank that you must have to keep this species, you can expect your tiger oscar to grow at the pace mentioned above.

With all this said, if you have a tank that offers a fair amount of space to your curious baby tiger oscar fish, provide conditions for it to explore without the feeling of being crowded by compatible tank mates.

Then it can attain its maximum size within a year. With the optimal tank conditions and tank size, you can expect your tiger oscar to grow up to 12 inches long.

Tiger Oscar Care

Caring for tiger oscar comes with a lot of things to be taken care of. Since we know already how aggressive they are and how long they can get. Therefore accurate and optimal caring might not be an easy job, so be ready mentally prepared for it.

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The first and foremost motive of caring for any fish is to provide it with such a suitable environment that would mirror the fish’s natural habitat. Tiger oscar fish is no exception to this. In fact, it takes much courage and a smart approach to care for a badass fish like this.

It is a tropical fish, and they thrive in a temperature ranging narrowly from 22.2 to 25 degrees Celsius.

Aquarium heaters and thermostats can be used to maintain this range. Before making water changes, the water to be replaced must be put with the aquarium under the same roof for 2 to 3 hours to avoid any sudden temperature mess in the tank.

The required pH for Oscars is 7.2 or slightly more than that. The pH test kits are available in the market to serve the purpose.

The Aquarium setup, decorative accessories, and feeding, which we will talk about in detail further down in this article, is also of great importance in caring for this fish.

In fact, they are of prime importance keeping in mind the curiosity and anxiousness of the tiger oscar. The tight-fitting lid is also necessary for housing them in a community tank.

Because the evaporated water drops returning to the tank water tiger oscars, get fooled lead to make think of them as the food coming and tend to invade it, sometimes resulting in Oscar jumping out of the tank.

Tiger Oscar Food & Diet

Tiger Oscars feed on a wide range of diets in the wild, including bloodworms, small insects, crustaceans, plant debris known as detritus, and other small fishes.

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However, when it comes to a home aquarium that cannot substitute the natural habitat in many ways as you desire.

Feeding them the same diet that they would eat in the wild may not only be tiring and exhausting, as you always have to buy these live wild foods from the store but can also be a threat to them, as these live foods are likely to transfer infection in your fish.

Therefore balancing the diet for your tiger oscar fish in such a way that is not harmful and can fulfill all of its nutritional requirements is of great importance.

There are many commercially prepared foods available out there in the markets, and they are contained with all the important nutritional elements.

There you can also find foods specifically made for cichlids. Giving them live foods a few times a week would bring out your fish’s natural predatory instinct, which is fascinating to watch.

Frozen foods such as shrimps, mainly brine shrimp, and bloodworms would offer a good source of protein. They are more convenient and safer than live foods.

Finely chopped leafy vegetables and fruits wouldn’t be denied by the fish and must be a part of the occasional tiger oscar diet.

Best Foods for Tiger Oscars

  • Frozen bloodworms and brine shrimp (best for baby tiger oscar)
  • Canned mealworms
  • Canned crickets
  • Algae wafers(time to time)
  • Pellets
  • Flakes
  • Homemade Gel
  • Live foods (time to time)

Tiger Oscar Tank Size

The minimum suitable tank size for a fully grown tiger oscar specimen is 55 gallons. The need for a large-sized tank with plenty of swimming space is inevitable for them.

Since they swim all across the tank and explore every corner and every piece of the tank accessories.

Moreover, being large-sized fish, they produce more bio-load, which quickly turns toxic and proliferate in no time in a small-sized tank, which results in stress and thus instability in the behavior of tiger oscar fish.

Tank Setup

As far as the tank setup is concerned, it is pretty much simple and follows the same pattern of setting up the tank for any other freshwater species. 

  • A tank size of 55-70 gallons with all the ornaments and equipment must be washed properly.
  • The substrate is pivotal and needs to be set correctly. A mixture of sand and gravel would make up the best substrate for them.
  • The substrate must be 3 to 5 inches thick, as it has to hold the ornaments firmly. If you are setting up an under gravel filter, it is necessary to cover it with a pre-filter, which blocks sand entry into the filter.
  • The next step after setting the gravel is the anchorage of decorative accessories and plants. They are not known to eat live plants. However, they can uproot them in quest of the food at the bottom. Therefore, it is better to use ornamental plants glued firmly deep down the substratum.
  • A strong filtration system is an ultimate need for tiger oscar’s tank. Canister filter along with Hang on the back filter would be great inefficient filtration.
  • They need warm water from a tropical environment, so thermostats and heaters are also required to keep the tank’s temperature in the required range. It is best to have an inline heater and combine it with the canister filter to heat the water as it returns to the tank.

Tiger Oscar Tank Mates

For keeping a tiger oscar fish in a community tank, you need to follow a few simple steps to make your aquarium work out.

As you are already familiar with their behavior and aggression, you need to provide them an ample amount of space, which is possible only with a large aquarium. Enough swimming room will be a controller over their aggression and frustration.

Don’t think of keeping any smaller and peaceful fish, or if you do so, you won’t be able to find your tiny acquisition again.

Only those fishes have survival in your tiger oscar tank, which is large, passive, and aggressive enough to avoid tiger oscar’s aggression while being able to defend themselves. 

Some of the best tank mates that you can add with your tiger oscar fish include Bichirs, Arowanas, Convict Cichlids, Firemouth Cichlids, Green Terrors, Silver Dollars, Severum Cichlids, Jaguar Cichlids, and Jack Dempseys.


How do you take care of a Tiger Oscar?

Tiger oscar does not require any special care when it is compared to any other freshwater fish. You need to maintain the inside environment of the tank and providing the food regularly. But you have to think sensible while putting it into a community tank as it is an aggressive fish.

How often should I feed my Tiger Oscar?

You need to be more sensitive when it comes to feeding the tiger oscar. They should not be overfed nor less because they may get aggressive as they are aggressive by their nature. Feed 2 to 3 times a day to your tiger oscar.

How big of a tank Does a Tiger Oscar need?

The minimum suitable tank size for a fully grown tiger Oscar specimen is 55 gallons. The need for a large-sized tank with plenty of swimming space is inevitable for them.

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