The oscar has become one of the most popular “pet” fish because it will learn to recognize its owner/feeder and will become extremely tame. Interestingly enough, it has also become a major game fish in Florida, where escapees from fish farms or aquariums have become well established as part of the local fauna.
Unfortunately, when the oscar is about 1 to 2 inches long and wiggling its little nose in the tank at the local fish store, it is so cute and appealing that lots of folks buy it. If they have been told what the oscar turns into as it grows up, this has conveniently been forgotten, and they feign surprise when they wake up one morning and find they have a large oscar swimming around the entire tank and some armored catfish left cowering in the corners of the tank. If you are going to keep an oscar, please realize that it will become a big, mean cichlid.
Given that you understand its nature, the oscar makes a great fish. It now comes in many different varieties of red (on its sides), as well as in albino coloration, and even in a long-finned variation. These variations are all the same in terms of the fact that they prefer meaty foods, either frozen or pellets. The oscar does not in any way shape or form require live fish. In fact, feeding it with guppies or goldfish is a very bad idea, as you take a real chance of introducing diseases. The oscar makes a real mess in a tank, and therefore requires a very good canister filter or two. The oscar can be bred fairly easily as long as you have a pair and the male does not kill the female in typical cichlid fashion. Beware –- oscars have thousands of babies and you will never be able to get rid of them all. And, finally, forget about keeping any kind of live plants with the oscar.