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Oscar Fish: The Water Dog

Oscar Fish, or Astronotus Ocellatus is a species of fish which usually inhabits South American waters. It is a Cichlid, and is sometimes called a marble or velvet cichlid. It is commonly a ‘food fish’, although in the US it is a popular aquarium fish due to its vibrant patterns.

Oscar fish are prevalent naturally in South America because they prefer warmer temperatures. They are not built to withstand temperatures lower than around 13 Celsius, it would be lethal for them to stay in such cold waters. Therefore when they are kept in an aquarium the temperature must be maintained above this.

There are populations of Oscar fish in China, the US and Australia, but this is more due to people having them as pets, and then letting them go – rather than natural populations.

In the wild, Oscar fish can grow to be 14-18 inches in length and weigh over 3lbs, although are notably smaller in captivity. Sexual maturity is reached at 1 year old, but they can live for as many as 15 years. Oscar fish are deceptively small at birth, and many people buy them thinking they would be cute pets, only to be surprised by their rapid rate of growth – which can reach up to 1 inch a month.
When breeding, Oscar fish can lay 1-3,000 eggs at one time. They usually lay their eggs on a flattened cleaned surface in the water.

It is nicknamed the ‘Water Dog’ because of a behavioral abnormality in which they shake their head and tail fins like dogs do.

There are numerous different types of Oscar fish that come in many different colorings which is another reason that makes them such good aquarium fish.

Learn more about keeping Oscars at: http://fishlaboratory.com/fish/oscar-fish

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