Tiger Red Oscar Fish Species Profile – How to Care Tiger Red Oscar Fish

Tiger Oscar Fish are actually known as tiger reds, but there are many other varieties of oscars available on the market today. Since they were first introduced in the 1940’s, we have seen a number of different breeds and morphs come out and become more and more popular with hobbyists who want to add some color to their aquarium.
Regardless of what you call them, they are very popular and you will see them in most every aquarium shop.

Tiger Red Oscar Fish Characteristics

Red Tiger Oscar 1 1

Scientific Name: Astronotus ocellatus

Common Names: Tiger Oscar, Red Oscar, Velvet Cichlid Species Description The Tiger Oscar is an oval shaped fish with a dark brown to black body covered in orange or red blotches. It has a jet-black stripe running vertically through the eye. Their coloring will vary depending on their environment and mood. The white or orange spots along the lower half of the body are either retained for life, or possibly age related changes. Females are smaller than males but have a similar color pattern.

Β Tiger Red Oscar Fish Origin

The Tiger Oscar is a hybrid between the Midas Cichlid (Amphilophus citrinellus) and the Jeweled Cichlid (Hemichromis bimaculatus). These fish were first found in Lake Apoyo, Nicaragua during an expedition to Central America led by Dr. Robert Rush Miller in 1960.

Tiger Red Oscar Fish Size

Tiger Oscars Fish can grow to 10 inches (25 cm) long, though 5-8 inches (12-20 cm) is more usual in home aquariums. They should be kept in a tank of at least 30 gallons.

Tiger Red Oscar Fish PH

The ideal water pH for the aquarium is between 7.0 and 7.5, which can be maintained with marine (pH) buffers or crushed coral as substrate. Oscars will do well in slightly acidic to slightly basic water conditions (~6 – 8 dGH), but these fish are very adaptable.

Tiger Red Oscar Fish Colors and Markings

As juveniles, the Tiger Oscar Fish is a dark brown to black color with orange or red spots all over its body. These spots are present throughout life in some specimens, however most of the colors will fade as this fish ages. As adults they can appear a solid dark grey-black color, with only the orange spots visible. There have been some rare cases of Oscars developing a more golden appearance.

Tiger Red Oscar Fish Aquarium

These fish like to eat and will often out compete tankmates for food. Oscars are often the first to eat and usually get more than their share of food, which can cause aggressive behavior and stunted growth in smaller fish. They should be kept with at least 4 others, or alone if you have a large tank (55+ gallons).

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Tiger Red Oscar Fish Tankmates

Tiger Oscars Fish are usually unsuitable for community tanks because of their aggressive nature. However, it is possible to keep them with large peaceful fish such as Silver Dollars, Arowana and Pacu if they have been raised together from a young age. Remember that no matter how big the tank is, if they are not kept with large enough fish they will out compete them for food.

Tiger Red Oscar Fish Care

They can be cared for in a standard community aquarium and will accept a wide variety of foods. Use a good quality flake food, sinking pellets and occasional feedings of bloodworms or brine shrimp.

Tiger Red Oscar Fish Lifespan

If cared for properly, the average life span of an Oscar is 15-20 years in captivity.

Tiger Red Oscar Fish Diet and Feeding

Feed your Tiger Oscar sinking pellets, flakes and brine shrimp/bloodworms as a treat. Oscars are large messy fish that will quickly pollute the tank with excess food, so it is important to only feed them as much as they will eat in 1 minute. If you see food falling to the bottom of the tank, take up any uneaten food after an hour as this can cause water quality problems.

Tiger Red Oscar Fish Differences

Juvenile Tiger Oscars Fish start off as black with light orange spots and gradually turn completely grey or black as they mature. The exact hue of color can vary depending on the fish’s age and location. Some specimens will only have a few small spots, while others may be almost completely covered in them. Remember that the colors will fade as your fish ages.

Tiger Red Oscar Fish Breeding

If the aquarium water is soft (below 7 dGH), slightly acidic (pH 6.5-7) and has a temperature of around 80Β°F, your Tiger Oscars may attempt to breed. You will need to separately sex your Tiger Oscars when they are still young, as their dorsal fins of males grow larger than the females’ and are pointed at the tip.


The Tiger Oscar Fish is a popular aquarium fish because of its size and bright orange/red spots. In the right conditions, Tiger Oscars can make a good addition to most community aquariums.