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What To Feed Oscar Fish In Aquariums?

Oscar fish are truly a delight for aquarium enthusiasts. Their vibrant colors and unique personalities make them a popular choice among fish keepers.

But when it comes to their diet, most people don’t know what to feed Oscar fish to keep them happy and healthy.

In this article, we’ll look at the various food options available to help you create a nutritious and fulfilling diet for your beloved Oscars.

What to Feed Oscar Fish (Check These Options)

To ensure your Oscar fish get the proper nutrition, providing them with a diverse and balanced diet is important.

Below are the foods you can feed your Oscar fish:

Prepared Foods

what to feed Oscar fish
When it comes to feeding Oscars, prepared foods are treated as a staple diet and should make up the majority of their diet, around 80%. They offer convenience and a balanced nutritional profile. Here are some options to consider:

  • Cichlid Pellets: Cichlid pellets are specifically formulated to meet the dietary needs of cichlids, including Oscars. These are designed to provide a balanced diet, ensuring your Oscars receive all the necessary nutrients for optimal health. Look for high-quality options from reputable brands that are specifically labeled for cichlids, such as Hikari Cichlid Gold. Pellets come in different sizes, so choose the appropriate size based on the size of your Oscars.
  • Flakes: Flakes are also another common option for feeding Oscars. Make sure to choose high-quality flakes like Tetra TetraMin Tropical Flakes for your Oscar cichlid. Monitoring their feeding behavior is important to ensure they consume the flakes before they disintegrate and pollute the water.

Fresh/Frozen Foods

what to feed Oscar fish
Incorporating fresh or frozen foods into your Oscar’s diet adds variety and important nutrients. Aim to include 10-20% of these foods in their overall diet. Here are some suitable options:

  • Frozen Shrimp: Frozen shrimp, such as brine shrimp or mysis shrimp, can be a delicious treat for your Oscars. Shrimp are a good source of protein and contain essential amino acids. You can find them at your local aquarium stores or online. Thaw the shrimp before feeding them to your Oscars, and ensure they are an appropriate size for your fish to consume easily.
  • Bloodworms: Bloodworms are a popular choice for many aquarium fish, including the Oscars. These freeze-dried or frozen larvae of non-biting midges are rich in protein and highly nutritious. Bloodworms can be fed to Oscars as occasional treats.
  • Mussels: Mussels can be a nutritious addition to your Oscar’s diet. Mussels are a good source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and minerals. You can chop the mussels into smaller pieces to make them easier for your Oscars to consume.
  • Krill: Krill are small shrimp-like crustaceans that are rich in protein. Krill is also a natural source of Astaxanthin, which enhances the color of Oscar fish.

Homemade Food

what to feed Oscar fish

Frozen Peas

Occasionally supplementing your Oscar’s diet with homemade foods can add even more variety to your Oscar’s overall health. Here are some homemade options suitable for the Oscars:

  • Veggies: Oscar fish can benefit from the inclusion of vegetables in their diet. Chop vegetables like cucumbers and zucchini into small pieces and offer them to your Oscars as treats. You can also offer them frozen peas every once in a while.
  • Fruits: Certain fruits can be a delightful addition to your Oscar’s diet. Offer small amounts of fruits like bananas, cantaloupe, oranges, or watermelon as occasional treats. Remove any seeds or pits before feeding the fruits to your Oscars to avoid any hazards.
  • Nuts: Tropical nuts, such as peanuts, can be included in your Oscar’s diet on a seasonal basis and in moderation. Crush the nuts into small pieces to make them easier for your Oscars to consume.

Wait! What About Live Foods?

Whether to offer live food to your Oscars is a matter of debate. While it’s true that Oscars would eagerly devour feeder fish like red minnows or guppies, it’s essential to consider the potential risks.

Feeder fish often carry the risk of disease transmission, which can infect your Oscars. Some people argue that if you source the live feeders from reputable suppliers or breed them yourself, there may be no risk of parasites.

However, we respectfully disagree with this viewpoint. Regardless of the precautions you take, there’s always a potential risk associated with feeding live feeders to Oscars.

Moreover, live feeding can influence the hunting instinct of Oscars, making them more aggressive in general. And let’s be honest, that’s not what we want for our fish, right?

Instead, we recommend opting for frozen or freeze-dried alternatives, such as Mealworms, which are safer and better for your fish’s overall health.

These options provide similar nutritional benefits without the risks associated with live feeding. By choosing frozen or freeze-dried foods, you can ensure the well-being of your Oscars and maintain a peaceful aquarium environment.

6 Tips for Feeding Oscar Fish

what to feed Oscar fish
To ensure the best feeding experience for your Oscar fish, consider the following tips:

1. Moderation is key

Avoid overfeeding your Oscars. Feed them an appropriate amount that they can consume within a few minutes. Overfeeding can lead to health issues and poor water quality.

2. Feed according to size

Adjust the portion sizes based on the size of your Oscars. Juvenile Oscars should be fed smaller, Protein-rich, more frequent meals, while adult Oscars can be fed larger portions once or twice a day.

3. Observe their behavior

Pay attention to how your Oscars respond to the food you offer. If they show signs of disinterest or refuse to eat certain foods, it may indicate a preference or a need for a different diet. Experiment with different options to find what works best for your Oscars.

4. Remove uneaten food

If any food remains uneaten after a few minutes, remove it from the tank to prevent water quality issues. Leftover food can foul the tank.

5. Monitor water quality

Feeding Oscars can result in increased waste production, which can impact water quality. Regularly test the water parameters and perform necessary water changes to maintain a healthy environment for your fish.

6. Feed a varied diet

Oscars benefit from a diverse diet that includes both plant-based and protein-rich foods. Aim to offer a mix of prepared foods, fresh or frozen options, and fruits.

By following these tips and providing a balanced and varied diet, you can ensure that your Oscar fish receive the nutrients they need to thrive.

Remember to observe their behavior and adjust their diet accordingly to cater to their individual preferences and requirements.

How Often to Feed Your Oscar Fish?

For Juvenile Oscars:

If you have juvenile Oscars, typically measuring between 1.5 and 3 inches, it’s important to feed them at least twice daily. These young Oscars need a protein-rich diet to support their growth and development. When feeding them, make sure to offer small amounts that they can easily swallow before adding more.

As They Grow:

As your Oscars grow into subadults, reaching sizes between 4 and 6 inches, their feeding routine should be adjusted. It’s beneficial to alternate between feeding them twice a day and only once a day. This variation provides them with the necessary nutrition while slightly reducing the overall amount of food.

Reaching Adulthood:

Once your Oscars reach adulthood, typically at a year old or when they measure 7 inches or larger, feeding them four days a week is recommended, allowing for a couple of non-feeding days.

By adjusting the feeding frequency based on the age, size, and developmental stage of your Oscars, you can ensure they receive the right amount of nutrition without overfeeding. It’s all about finding the perfect balance to promote their well-being and long-term health.

What Food Should Not Be Fed To Oscar Fish?

what to feed Oscar fish
Now let’s look at the foods that should not be fed to Oscar fish and the reasons behind it:


Goldfish may seem like a popular choice for feeding other fish, but they are definitely not the right option when it comes to Oscar fish.

You see, goldfish contain a pesky enzyme called thiaminase that can cause some severe issues for the Oscar.

Thiaminase is like a troublemaker that breaks down thiamine, an essential vitamin that Oscars need for their neurological and metabolic functions.

Without enough thiamine, Oscars can suffer from deficiencies that can really harm their overall health. In fact, it can even lead to premature death, which is definitely not what we want for our beloved Oscars.

Hamburger Meat

Oscar fish have a specialized digestive system that is best suited for small, easily digestible food items.

When it comes to hamburger meat, it’s a big no-no for the Oscars. Hamburger meat is typically high in fat and mammal proteins, which can be challenging for their delicate digestive systems.

Feeding Oscar fish hamburger meat can introduce foreign fats, proteins, and bacteria into their diet, causing disruptions in their digestion.

It’s crucial to keep their diet clean and avoid any potential risks. Hence hamburger meat, even as a treat, is highly inappropriate and should be steered clear of.

Insects Taken From Outside

While Oscars are insectivores and enjoy consuming insects, caution should be exercised when feeding them live insects, such as crickets, that are sourced even from your own backyard.

Insects collected from the outside can be exposed to pesticides or carry harmful bacteria and parasites. These contaminants can make your Oscar fish sick and lead to various health issues.

Feeder Fish

They are often bred and raised in poor conditions, making them prone to diseases and parasites. Feeding these feeder fish to Oscars can introduce these pathogens into the aquarium, endangering the health of the fish.

Additionally, feeder fish typically lack essential nutrients as they are not fed a balanced diet and may be raised on low-quality filler food.

Moreover, they are often kept in overcrowded and stressful conditions, leading to compromised health and well-being.

How long can Oscar fish go without eating?

what to feed Oscar fish
Oscar Fish can go without eating for a period of two weeks to four weeks, depending on their age and size.

Juvenile Oscar Fish can typically survive for up to two weeks without eating, while adult Oscars can go up to four weeks or even longer without consuming food. They have a higher fasting tolerance compared to many other freshwater fish species.

It’s important to note that these estimates are general guidelines, and individual fish may have different tolerances. Factors such as acclimation, water conditions, etc, influence their appetite.

If you plan to be away for an extended period, it is recommended to make appropriate arrangements for feeding your Oscars. You can use automatic feeders or ask a trusted person to feed them in your absence.

Ensuring that your Oscars receive regular meals will help maintain their overall health and vitality.

It is important to establish a regular feeding schedule for your Oscars to ensure they receive the necessary nutrients.

While Oscars can tolerate short periods without food, it is not recommended to intentionally deprive them of food for extended periods. Doing so can weaken their immune system, stunt their growth, and lead to malnutrition. Additionally, prolonged fasting can make them more susceptible to diseases and other health issues.


So that’s it for this article. We hope now you know what to feed Oscar fish.

In a nutshell, Oscar’s staple diet consists of cichlid pellets. Additionally, you can feed Oscar frozen foods and homemade foods.

Remember to feed your Oscars in moderation, maintaining a feeding schedule that suits their age and size. By offering a varied diet and ensuring proper nutrition, you can promote the overall well-being and longevity of your Oscar fish. Happy feeding!