The Firemouth Cichlid

September 2, 2013 by  
Filed under Aquariums, Catch All, Featured Pets, Freshwater fish

Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Firemouth Cichlid!

Are you a cichlid person? Some people like these fish so much that all they keep are cichlids. They may even keep several “cichlid tanks” around their home! Given that cichlids are so diverse in color, size, and temperament, this is completely understandable. The Firemouth Cichlid, in particular, is a popular one. Many people like them because of their beautiful colors and how easy they are to keep.

The Firemouth Cichlid Thorichthys meeki, is a great beginner cichlid. It is one of the easiest cichlids to care for and anyone can start out keeping them. A big reason these guys are easy to keep is because they readily adapting to most environments. Their major draw is the bright red coloring, which occurs on their underside and up through their throat area. Other attributes of these attractive fish are being small (for cichlids) and having relatively fun personalities. They often do well in community aquariums as long as they are kept with other Firemouth Cichlids and fish of the same size and temperament as themselves. You only have to worry about them becoming more aggressive than usual during breeding times.

The Firemouth Cichlid

About the Firemouth Cichlid

Central America is the native country of these cichlids. More specifically, they inhabit the countries of Mexico, Honduras, Belize, Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and El Salvador. In the wild, the Firemouth Cichlid thrives in slow moving rivers and ponds. They usually stay closer to the bottom of the water where it is muddy and vegetation is easily accessible.

Feeding these cichlids is easy. They will eat almost any type of food offered to them! This includes, flakes, pellets, live foods, and fresh foods. Offering a variety of foods weekly is a good way to make sure they are receiving optimum nutrition. You will want to give them pellets or flakes every day and then add in some fresh cucumber and spinach as well. Live blood worms and brine shrimp are excellent treats but should be offered more sparingly.

Aquarium Care for the Firemouth Cichlid

Caring for the aquarium is no more difficult than for a typical tropical aquarium. As I mentioned earlier, Firemouth Cichlids are hardy fish and can adapt to wide range of aquarium conditions. However, regular maintenance is still needed to ensure their health! Most importantly, regular water changes are needed. About 20% of the water should be replaced every week. The gravel should also be siphoned out. These two cleaning activities get rid of decomposing organic matter and help limit the build-up of nitrates and phosphates.

A 30 gallon tank is the minimum recommended size for two Firemouth Cichlids. If you want a community cichlid tank though, you will need a much larger aquarium. A general rule is one inch of fish for every gallon of water. Equip the aquarium with a good filter and water movement. Cichlids appreciate plenty of rocks, plants and wood to hide amongst. Fine sand is a good substrate for the bottom because these fish love to burrow! They don’t need any special lighting requirements and the temperature can range from 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Diseases to Watch Out for With the Firemouth Cichlid

A common problem among tropical fish, including the Firemouth Cichlid, is ich. Many fish become infected with ich, usually when feeling stressed. The good thing is that ich can’t tolerate higher temperatures, but these cichlids can! So it can be easier to treat the Firemouth Cichlid for ich by simply increasing the aquarium temperature up to around 86 degrees for a few days. Other tropical fish diseases can also plague these cichlids. These include fungal infections, bacterial infections, and parasitic infections. If your cichlid has a disease check this Aquarium Fish Diseases and Treatments guide for a thorough description of most illnesses and their cures!

Do you keep a community cichlid tank? What is your favorite thing about keeping cichlids?

Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Animal-World’s Featured Pet of the Week: The Chinese Algae Eater!

The Green-cheeked Conure

Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Chinese Algae Eater!

The Chinese Algae Eater may not be at the top of the “perfect” pet list, but they serve a very important function in many people’s home aquariums! Most people at some point in time run into an algae problem with their tanks. And their first thought is usually to go buy a sucker fish! The pet store I worked at had Chinese Algae Eaters being ordered in and departing with customers on a weekly basis. They are one of the most popular fish because of their useful function and therefore one of the most wanted!

The Chinese Algae Eater Gyrinocheilus aymonieri usually does an outstanding job at clearing algae from an aquarium while it is young. This is the primary reason people purchase them. However as they age, they can no longer sustain themselves on algae and plants alone and begin needing additional food sources to keep them healthy. This includes more meat sources. You will want to acquire algae eaters when they are young and small (less than 2 inches) to maximize the benefit you reap from their algae eating capabilities. Do realize that they can reach over 5 inches in length when full grown so make sure to take that into account when purchasing one. They should not be kept in an aquarium smaller than 30 gallons. These algae eaters can come in a variety of colors and have a stripe along their length from the nose to the tail. One of the most popular varieties is the Golden Chinese Algae Eater (check the video for a beautiful example of one). Belonging to the Carp (Cyprinidae) family, their mouth is in the shape of a disk which is used to suck and stick to surfaces. This is perfect for sticking to the sides of an aquarium.

Chinese Algae Eaters are found naturally in lakes and rivers in Southeast Asia and southern China. They usually stay in more shallow areas where there is plenty of sun and rocks where biofilm grows. They were first described in 1883 by Tirant. In it’s native countries, these fish are actually part of people’s diets! In 1956 people started exporting these fish to Germany specifically for use in the aquarium trade. They are on the IUCN Red List with their state being marked as Least Concern. This is because the populations have diminished in some areas (especially Thailand), but they have not declined enough in general to warrant mass concern.

As I mentioned earlier, you won’t want to keep one of these algae eaters in anything less than a 30 gallon tank to begin with. Because they grow rather large, you will want to eventually provide them with at least a 55 gallon aquarium. In general, they are easy to care for. The main concerns are to keep their environments clean with well-oxygenated water. Plan on performing regular water changes once or twice a month which replace a quarter to half of the aquariums water. Another fact to keep in mind is that as Chinese Algae Eaters grow into adults, they often become territorial. To keep them from picking on other fish, try to make sure there are at least 5 tank-mates. These tank-mates should ideally be fast swimmers who can hold their own.

Feeding these fish while they are young is generally quite simple. They are herbivorous as youngsters and can thrive off of the plant growth around the tank. You should still provide them with supplemented flake food and algae wafers. As they grow older they become omnivorous and should be fed a variety of flake, frozen, and live foods. These can include blood worms and brine shrimp.

If you are having problems keeping your algae down, or if you just think this happens to be an interesting fish, you should have no problem finding one at a pet store or online. They are very popular and readily available. Read more about the Chinese Algae Eater on Animal-World; including more details on breeding them and common ailments!

Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Animal-World’s Featured Pet of the Week: The Siamese Fighting Fish!

March 10, 2013 by  
Filed under Aquariums, Catch All, Featured Pets, Freshwater fish

The Siamese Fighting Fish

Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Siamese Fighting Fish!

Did you ever have a fish as a child? If so what kind did you start out with? My guess is either a Goldfish or a Siamese Fighting Fish! These two types of fish are very popular, mostly because their care requirements are not highly specialized. We had many Siamese Fighting Fish when I was a child. My dad even bred them on a few occasions. We had several little tanks set up in a row! My favorite memory of these guys was when my brother and I would argue over who’s fish was prettier; my blue fish or his red one! Of course they were both beautiful!

The Siamese Fighting Fish Betta splendens, commonly called just the Betta, is a popular fish for several reasons. First, Bettas do not require a lot of space. They can be kept in relatively small aquariums and do not grow very large. Second, they are very hardy fish and don’t require specific water conditions. Third, they do not require a lot of time or maintenance. Because of these reasons, they make great pet fish for children and beginners! In captivity the males have been selectively bred to have long beautiful fins. In the wild the males do have longer fins than the females, but they are not as long as in captive bred fish.

The Betta is quite possibly one of the oldest fish kept in captivity. They were first described in 1910 by Regan. They hail from Thailand and the Malayan Peninsula. Their natural habitat there is in slow moving waters with lots of vegetation. They are listed on the IUCN Red List as Vulnerable. This is because their natural habitat is being degraded, which could lead to an endangered status. Siamese Fighting Fish received their name for a reason. The “fighting” part came from the fact that these fish fight! Males will not tolerate each other and will fight to the death if they are kept in the same tank. For this reason, only one male can be kept in a tank. Usually more than one female can be kept peacefully together though.

Siamese Fighting Fish only live 2 to 3 years and are therefore not a long-term commitment. As I stated before, they require minimal care and maintenance. They only reach up to 2.5 inches and do not need a large aquarium space. Belonging to the Labyrinth Fish family, they have a special “labyrinth organ.” This organ allows them to live in waters with less oxygen for short periods of time. Another Labyrinth Fish is the Dwarf Gourami which I recently wrote about in December. Because of this Bettas can live in as small as a 3 gallon tank, but would appreciate more room if you can spare it! Also, if you plan to keep more than one fish you should provide a larger aquarium. They don’t need any special lighting or water movement and can be kept in comfortable room temperature water. Bettas are carnivores and should be fed a typical fish flake or pellet. Feel free to give them small amounts of food several times a day.

The Siamese Fighting Fish is a good social fish under most circumstances. You will only want to keep one male per tank, but can keep several females together if you wish and the tank is large enough. They generally get along well with most other community type fish, although you will want to make sure nobody is getting picked on and that everybody has plenty of hiding places.

Breeding Siamese Fighting Fish is both simple and difficult. By putting a male and a female together, you will almost certainly have mating going on. They male builds a “bubble nest” like most other Labyrinth Fish. The eggs are spawned in the bubble nest and the fry will hatch there. Once the eggs are hatched, keeping them alive becomes much more difficult. Males will often attack the young and infection in the babies is high. For more information on how to breed successfully, read here on Breeding Labyrinth Fish.

Most of you have probably owned a Betta or two in your lifetime. If not, and you are interested in an easy fish to keep, definitely think about keeping the Siamese Fighting Fish!

Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

A New Arrival on Animal-World: The Daffodil Cichlid

March 6, 2013 by  
Filed under Aquariums, Catch All, Freshwater fish

Daffodil CichlidDaffodil Cichlid
“So you need a reliable algae cleaner? Look no further than me! I can get the job done!”

The Daffodil Cichlid is a hardy and awesome looking Tanganyika Cichlids!

The Daffodil Cichlid Neolamprologus pulcher (previously Lamprologus pulcher) has many good qualities that people look for when keeping fish. They are African Cichlids from Lake Tanganyika and are very hardy fish. They are beautiful and graceful looking. Their coloring includes a light tan body and a yellowish fins with blue tips. The tail is lyre shaped and all the fins extend into flowing long filaments. They have blue eyes with two crescent shapes right behind them. Other names this cichlid are known by are the Daffodil Princess, the Daffodil II, and the Princess of Zambia.

The Daffodil Cichlid looks extremely similar to the Fairy Cichlid Neolamprologus brichardi, which is a close relative. The main difference is that the Fairy Cichlid has a black stripe running between its eye and gill with a yellow spot above it. The Fairy Cichlid fins are also more gray than the Daffodil Cichlid. The Daffodil Cichlid has more yellowish fins and has the crescent shapes mentioned above.

These cichlids often swim in schools and it is quite beautiful when you see a school moving through the water. Aside from it’s beautiful appearance, these are great cichlids for both beginners and advanced keepers. They adapt readily to new environments and are somewhat easy to care for. The most important consideration is to make sure they have a large enough aquarium and have appropriate companions. Daffodil cichlids eat many different kinds of foods and aren’t too picky about their water conditions. They do like to hide and so providing plenty of rocks with a sand substrate is a good idea… Read More

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A New Fish On Animal-World: The Bristlenose Catfish

February 13, 2013 by  
Filed under Aquariums, Catch All, Freshwater fish

Bristlenose CatfishBristlenose Catfish
“So you need a reliable algae cleaner? Look no further than me! I can get the job done!”

If you want an interesting looking catfish, the Bristlenose Catfish is the way to go!

Being very good tank cleaners, Bristlenose Catfish Ancistrus cirrhosus are very good at disguising themselves in the aquarium. They often blend in completely and can sit still without moving for hours at a time. It has often led fish owners to wondering if their catfish is even still alive! It can be very difficult to find and see them. Bristlenose Catfish are unique in their appearance, with bristles on their noses (hence their name), which is part of their fish appeal for fish enthusiasts. Other names they are called include the Bristlenose Pleco, the Jumbie teta, and the Bushynose Catfish.

The Bristlenose Catfish is also a great addition to an aquarium because of their great ability to help keep the algae down. They suck along glass, cleaning any algae that has grown there. They have a good reputation of actually getting the job done! They are herbivores and algae is a good food for them. They also like eating off of wood, such as driftwood, bogwood, and mopani. This is because these are the types of surfaces they eat off of in the wild and are more natural for them. So keep some type of wood in their environment for their happiness and well-being as well as for decorative purposes! Algae will continue to replenish on the wood surfaces and will be a good source of on-going food for them.

The Bristlenose Catfish Ancistrus cirrhosus is one of the two most readily available catfish within the Ancistrini tribe of catfish. The other commonly available one is the Temminck’s Bristlenose A. temminckii. These catfish are good for smaller aquariums because they are much smaller than the popular Pleco or Plecostomus Hypostomus plecostomusRead More

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Animal-World’s Featured Pet of the Week: The Dwarf Gourami!

The Dwarf Gourami

Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Dwarf Gourami!

You will often see Dwarf Gourami fish displayed at pet stores! They have brilliant colored bodies and stand out from many other fish. They are extremely popular among freshwater fish enthusiasts. The Dwarf Gourami Trichogaster lalius is also known as the Dwarf Banded Gourami because of their stripes or ‘bands’. Males are especially pretty – having very vibrant colors as well as a pointed dorsal fin.

There are several reasons why it is appealing to keep Dwarf Gouramis. Other than their beautiful neon colors, they also stay small once full-grown. They reach a maximum size of 2 inches and can be kept in smaller aquariums. They are quite hardy fish as well as a peaceful fish. They are good for beginner aquarists. They can be an ideal community fish and are more shy than aggressive. Many hybrid types of Dwarf Gourami’s have been developed as well. They come in many colors and varieties and are generally readily available. You can choose from any one of these types! A couple of these are the Powder Blue Dwarf Gourami and the Flame Dwarf Gourami.

Here is a cool fact about these guys! They are one of several labyrinth fish. The labyrinth fish have an organ which allows them to absorb oxygen directly into their bloodstreams They also create “bubble” nests during breeding. Dwarf Gouramis will go al out with their nests. They bring in plants, fibers, twigs, and other debris to help fill out their nests. Their eggs and fry are both lighter than water and the whole nest will float up to the surface of the water!

The Dwarf Gourami was first characterized in 1822 by a man named Hamilton. It has gone through several names. It was first described as Colisa lalia. In 1999 it was treated as part of the Polyacanthus genus. In 2009 it was changed to the current Trichogaster lalius. It’s homelands include the Far East, Assam, Bangladesh, west Bengal, and India. They tend to live in tropical areas with lots of vegetation. Some of the common rivers it inhabits are the Ganges River and the Baram River in Borneo.

Caring for Dwarf Gouramis is easy. They can be fed any number of flake foods, pellets foods, live foods, and fresh foods. Provide a flake or pellet food as the bulk of their nutrients and then offer small amounts of live bloodworms or brine shrimp. This will keep them healthy, happy, and thriving!

Set up an aquarium which provides a minimum of 5 gallons per gourami. That is a minimum however and they will do better with larger aquariums. They love lots of plants and hiding places, so this gives you the go-ahead to decorate as much as you want! There is a common misconception that gourami’s don’t need water changes due to their labyrinth organ. This is FALSE. They can and will develop toxin build-up and tissue degradation if they are not kept in a clean environment. You should change approximately 25% of their water on a weekly basis.

If you are a beginning fish owner, I highly recommend trying out the beautiful Dwarf Gourami! They should provide a good experience as your first fish! Not only are they beautiful and easy to care for, but there is such a wide range of hybrid dwarf gouramis to choose from! Have fun and good luck!

Read more on Animal-World’s Red Factor Canary page!

Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Animal-World’s Featured Pet of the Week: The Neon Tetra!

September 30, 2012 by  
Filed under Aquariums, Catch All, Featured Pets, Freshwater fish

The Neon Tetra

Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Neon Tetra!

Most likely, you have heard of or seen the Neon Tetra Paracheirodon innesi, even if you are not a fish person! They are extremely popular aquarium fish and many beginner aquarists start by adding a few of these little guys to their new tank. These small fish are clear with both a brilliant red stripe and a brilliant blue stripe, hence their “neon” coloring. The red stripe only goes part way along their body, though. They have been kept as aquarium fishes since the 1930′s! They are schooling fish and make quite a beautiful display when you have 6-8 of them dancing around your aquarium.

There are many advantages to keeping neon tetras. Besides just their beautiful colors, they are very small and easy to keep. They are great for beginners and can live to be over 10 years old. They are inexpensive and can be kept in a small aquarium. They are relatively hardy and need only basic, regular care. They are good community fish and can be kept with many other small community fish.

The Neon Tetra is originally from South America and is a member of the Characin fish family. They can be found in Brazil, the Paraguay River basin, the Pantanal of Mato Grosso do Sul, and the Rio Taquari. Generally they live in the middle layer of these water bodies and eat worms and tiny crustaceans. Pet neon tetras are virtually all captive bred, however. Most are bred in Europe and shipped out. Different variations of neon tetra have also been developed, including the Long Finned Neon Tetra. Make sure not to confuse the Neon Tetra with its similar colored cousin the Cardinal Tetra! The Cardinal Tetra has a red stripe which extends the length of its body. This is the most obvious distinction between it and the Neon Tetra.

Here is the nitty gritty on the care and feeding of the Neon Tetra. They are fairly hardy fish, however they will be more delicate the first week after moving them to a new aquarium. Once they adjust to the environment, though, they usually do quite well, especially with continuous maintenance. They are small and so do not need a large aquarium. The more fish you are keeping, the larger the aquarium should be. A ten gallon tank should do nicely for one school of neon tetras. They like to have plants, dark gravel, and some sort of decorations they can congregate around. Normal lighting with a temperature between 68 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit is best. Change their water bi-weekly and feed them two or three times daily. A good freshwater flake food should be sufficient. Feel free to offer them live foods (worms, shrimp) as a treat on occasion.

Neon Tetras are generally hardy and have few health problems. One condition that you should be aware of, however, is called the Neon Tetra Disease. This disease is actually a condition that affects several fish species, but it earned its name due to being first diagnosed in neon tetras. It is incurable and very contagious. It has been traced to a sporozoan in the Plistophora genus. The main symptom is a spot or blotch that begins to spread right under their dorsal fin. Most attempts to cure this disease have been unsuccessful and there is no guaranteed way to get rid of it. Other than the Neon Tetra Disease, other fish illnesses can affect these guys if they are not kept in a stable and clean aquarium. They can be susceptible to parasites, bacterial infections, and other common fish diseases.

To read more on the popular Neon Tetra, check out Animal-World’s Neon Tetra page!

Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

The Popular Plecostomus – or Pleco

September 11, 2012 by  
Filed under Aquariums, Catch All, Freshwater fish

The Plecostomus!The Plecostomus
“I’m a famous sucker! At least when it comes to sucking up algae in aquariums!”

The Plecostomus is a great sucker fish with an appetite for algae – even more so when


The Plecostomus Hypostomus plecostomus or Pleco is a common and popular fish in the freshwater fish industry. Most aquarists know about them and have tried them out in one or more of their aquariums at one point or another. The Pleco is a catfish and is an algae eater. So in aquariums they are commonly purchased as a way to control algae. They are also very hardy and durable catfish.

The Plecostomus has a tall dorsal fin, a moon-shaped tail fin and a suckermouth under it’s head. Its eyes can also roll around in the sockets. They are dark colored fish, with the base being a light brown which is heavily speckled with blotches of both stripes and spots. They can also come in an albino coloring, where they have little or no dark areas.

Most people buy plecos when they are young and only around 3 inches (8 cm) long. Once full-grown, however, they can reach 24″ (61 cm) in length! More often though, they don’t grow larger than 12-15″ in captivity. They reach their total length quickly and live an average of 10-15 years in an aquarium.

The Plecostomus is in general easy to take care of. Provide them with some wood and other decorations to provide caves for them to hide in. They are nocturnal and so do all their eating and activity at night. They feed mostly on the algae growing in the aquarium. Note that they are jumpers, so make sure to keep a cover on your aquarium. Younger plecos are easier to care for than larger ones… Read More

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Animal-World’s Featured Pet of the Week: The Convict Cichlid!

The Convict Cichlid

Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Convict Cichlid!

Of the aggressive freshwater fish people keep as pets, the Convict CichlidAmatitlania nigrofasciata is among the most popular. They are inexpensive and come in a variety of colors. They are also commonly called Zebra Cichlids. They are from Central America and are one of the smaller breeds.

Here are a few reasons Convict Cichlids are popular freshwater fish. They only reach 5 or 6 inches in length and are quite hardy. They require minimal care and are great for beginning aquarists. They can be kept in aquariums with several other “aggressive” fish as long as the other fish are not so big that they will swallow the convicts! They also have rambunctious little personalities and can hold their own against fish up to three times their size! Another plus is that they are very easy to breed for people who are looking into fish breeding!

The Convict Cichlid’s habitat in the wild is in Central America. They are found in rivers from Costa Rica to Guatemala and from Honduras to Panama. Specific rivers include the Guarumo River, the Tarcoles River, and the Aguan River. They live in shallow areas with lots of rocks and plants.

The care and feeding of the Convict Cichlid is pretty simple. They are omnivores and can be fed most vegetation (spirulina is a good choice) as well as worms and small pieces of beef heart. Feed them a few times a day with just a few small pinches. Once full grown, they should be kept in a minimum of a 50 gallon aquarium for a pair; a larger aquarium for any more than that. The temperature range is a comfortable 74 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Provide them with sand on the bottom and plenty of rocks and plants. They love to rearrange their “furniture”! Because these fish are aggressive, they should only be kept with other aggressive fish. Generally you will want these other fish to be larger than your convicts so that they don’t pick on them. You will also probably not want more than two convicts because they often will not get along with others of the same species.

If kept in a clean aquarium with a healthy diet, the Convict Cichlid will usually have minimal problems with fish diseases. One common problem among many freshwater fish is Ich. Ich looks like little white dots covering your fish. It is generally easily treated by raising the water temperature up to 86 degrees for about 3 days or by using a copper based medication purchased from a pet store. Other diseases to watch out for include parasites, fungal infections, skin flukes, and bacterial infections.

The Convict Cichlid is one of the easier fish to breed in captivity. So if you are interested in breeding fish – you may want to start with them! Having a small group of convict cichlids will result in at least one pair by about the time they are a year old. When they are ready to mate they will do a little “dance” and then make an area to spawn in (usually in the sand or near rocks). The female lays around 20-40 eggs which the male will then fertilize. The male will protect the spawning area while the female directly “fans” the eggs. The young fry will hatch in 48 to 72 hours. Within a week they can swim freely and will start to eat crushed flake food. By three weeks old they can be fed regular flake food. Removing the fry from the parent tank after a few weeks is a good idea because the female may eventually try to eat the young.

If you are interested in more facts on these cichlids, please visit Animal-World’s Convict Cichlid page!

Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Animal-World’s Featured Pet of the Week: The Oscar

Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Oscar!

When I hear the word ‘Oscar’ in regards to fish, I immediately think back to when I was 7 or 8 and my regular trips to the local pet store with my dad. I loved going to the pet store with him to look at and pick out our newest fish to bring home. I was especially fascinated by the huge black and red Oscars. I continued asking if we could get an Oscar and eventually my dad gave in and let us get one! We had several large spare aquariums at home and we set one up to put our new Oscar in!

Oscars Astronotus ocellatus belong to the cichlid family Cichlidae and are very popular in the aquarium world! They have been in high demand for years and have seemingly intelligent personalities. They are known for becoming feisty and interactive when you come up to say hi to them or feed them. These fish do become quite large, reaching 12 inches in length once full grown. They are easily bred in captivity, which makes a large variation of color patterns available. The Red Oscar is the most popular for its color patterns because it is red with black spots that are not as muddy colored as wild caught Oscars.

Other Oscar types are the Tiger Oscar and the Speckled Red Oscar. The Tiger Oscar looks more like the wild ones but with more red. The Speckled Red Oscar has black fins and has been developed more recently. There are even variations of these types including the Albino Tiger Oscar and the Albino Red Oscar, as well as lutino varieties. Long finned oscars have also been developed which gives them an interesting look. If you are an Oscar lover there are quite a few types to choose from!

Oscar history: The Oscar was first “discovered” or given a name and described in 1831 by Agassiz. They originate in South America, being found in the Amazon River Basin, the Rio Paraguay, the Rio Negro, and the Parana. They usually stick to the slower moving waters and feed on smaller fish and other small creatures. South Americans value Oscars as a food item too. Oscars have been artificially introduced into China, Florida, and Australia. They are bred in captivity in the United States and elsewhere specifically to be kept as aquarium fish.

The care and feeding of Oscars is straight forward but needs to be taken seriously to keep them healthy. They will eat almost any type of frozen, flake, or live foods because they are carnivores. Feeding them chunks of earthworms, beef heart, good quality pellets, and live guppies and/or goldfish will help them grow and stay healthy.

If you purchase juvenile Oscars it is best to start them out in a large aquarium from the beginning to accommodate their growing needs. A 100 gallon tank is ideal for an adult. Frequent water changes and good filtration is a must when keeping Oscars because of how much they consume and dirty their water. Oscars love to play around with their environment and will constantly attempt to move around and dig out any decorations! Rocks are good decorations that are hard for them to move or ruin. Plastic plants are best if you want plants in the aquarium. Try to bury them deep or cover them with rocks so they are harder to uproot.

Oscars are not community fish and because they are carnivorous, they will eventually eat any other types of fish as they grow larger. You can usually keep more than one Oscar together as long as they are of similar size and if they have grown up together. If you want to breed them it is especially helpful to start out with several Oscars and let them pair themselves (because it is difficult to determine their sexes).

The main disease you need to be on the look out for is Head and Lateral Line Erosion (HLLE). This usually looks like a hole is developing on their head and is thought to be caused by poor nutrition and/or poor maintenance of the aquarium environment. Providing proper care should prevent your Oscars from developing this disease.

Read more about Oscars in general and in more detail on Animal-World’s Oscar page!

Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

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