If you have a larger aquarium and you’re looking for an easy-to-care fish that is still very entertaining, consider the Tiger Oscar Cichlid. They are a very hardy fish with amazing coloration and a noticeable personality.

About Tiger Oscar Cichlid

The standard Tiger Oscar Cichlid has a black body with bright orange stripes and the Albino Tiger Oscar Cichlid has a white body with vibrant orange striping. Each fish has a very unique stripe pattern; yes, like snowflakes!



  • Scientific Name: Astronotus ocellatus
  • Maximum Size: 12″
  • Lifespan: 10 -13 years

Oscar Cichlid’s dorsal, anal, and caudal fins all have a round shape that flows in line with their bodies, making them look even more massive. The pelvic fins are very elegantly flowing, much like the pelvic fins on angel fish.

In addition to the Tiger Oscars, there are Red Oscars (pictured below). They are very similar to the Tiger Oscar Cichlid in coloration, they just lack the stripe pattern. Aside from the lack of stripes, they are the same fish.


When they are juveniles, all of the color looks very smooth, as if they were painted, but as they grow, you will begin to see the color in individual scales. I seriously LOVE the look of these fish when they get to this point. This is when you will begin to feel like they are getting bigger by the day. After they grow out of their awkward teenager bodies, into mature adult ocellatus, they will have beefy, football shaped bodies. (When full grown, they’re about the size of a football, too!).

Tiger Oscar Cichlid housing and caring

If you are purchasing a Tiger Oscar Cichlid from a pet store, it will probably be about the size of a half dollar coin. Roughly 2 inches in length. Make sure you have at least a 55 gallon aquarium for a single Oscar; 75 gallons will be enough to house 2.

Water conditions:

  • Minimum tank size: 50 gallons for a single Oscar and 75 gallons for two.
  • Temperature: 72 – 80°F (80 – 85°F for breeding)
  • pH: 6 – 8
  • dH: 5 – 20

It’s good to have some rocks and drift wood in the tank but keeping a lot of space open for swimming is most important. You will have difficulty keeping a planted aquarium, as the Tiger Oscar Cichlid is a fish that loves to dig and uproot plants. (Seems to be a trait shared by most Cichlids.) If you do decide you want to have plants in the tank, I’d make sure that they were potted well and maybe have some rocks over the roots.

Best fish foods and feeding

The fact that these Oscars are carnivores does NOT mean that you will need to be preparing meaty meals every night. Most often, my Oscars are fed Cichlid Sticks; two or three times a week you should give them something meatier. After a good rainfall, go outside and find some earthworms for them, otherwise, cut up some precooked shrimp or buy feeder fish for them.

TetraCichlid Floating Cichlid SticksTetraCichlid Floating Cichlid Sticks Hikari 8.8-Ounce Cichlid Gold Floating PelletsHikari 8.8-Ounce Cichlid Gold Floating Pellets Omega One Freeze Dried Brine Shrimp 1.28 OzOmega One Freeze Dried Brine Shrimp 1.28 Oz

They can eat almost types of fish foods from pellet foods, live foods to freeze dried fish foods (brine shrimp, blood worm, earth worm…) Besides, they can eat vegetables such as romaine lettuce, cucumbers and zucchini. The Tiger Oscar Cichlid is really not a difficult fish to please in terms of feeding. As long as you don’t make them a salad, Oscars will eat until food is spilling out of their mouths and gills… Literally!!

Tiger Oscar Cichlid tank mates

These fish really are not that bad in terms of aggression. Considering the size of the fish, as well as the fact that they are carnivores, you might assume that they are terrifying aggressors. This just isn’t the case. They have massive mouths and one hell of an appetite, so they will eat any fish in the tank that will fit in their mouths. What is the lesson here?.. Don’t keep your Tiger Oscar Cichlid with a school of neon tetras!

If you’re considering tank mates for a Tiger Oscar Cichlid, avoid little fish (for their safety) and avoid aggressive fish that may nip at the oscars dangling pelvic fins. Oscars will do very well with other Cichlids from South America and Central America. These Cichlids will be large enough to not be eaten and they are typically not as “nippy” as the African Cichlids that I’ve kept.

Some specific options that will make good roommates for them are, Jack Dempsey Cichlids, Fire Mouth Cichlids, Convict Cichlids, Parrot Cichlids… The list could go on for quite a while and these are just a few Cichlids that I would recommend. Just keep in mind the size of your aquarium and the size that the tank mates will grow to as well as the Tiger Oscar Cichlid, it is way too easy to over stock a fish tank!

Are Tiger Oscars a good fish for you?

If you have a large enough tank that either doesn’t have any fish yet or has fish that are compatible, then I’d say these fish are a good fit for your aquarium.

They are one of the few fish that I feel like I can identify as a pet. Every time you approach the glass, they will be there to greet you! They will follow you along the glass waiting to be fed, and, with some patience and persistence, they will even eat right out of your fingers!

One last thing to keep in mind. They can be rather messy eaters and it’s pretty likely that there will be uneaten food in the tank. This just means that you might need to do your water changes a little more often than once per month (this depends on your filtration as well).

Generally speaking, it’s always best not to overfeed fish, but sometimes it’s unavoidable with Oscars. I may drop a piece of shrimp in the tank and they just don’t see it, so it ends up on the bottom of the tank, rotting away.

All in all, a Tiger Oscar Cichlid is going to make a great pet that will look great in your aquarium. If you want one, I say get one. You won’t regret it!

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