Fun Red Oscar Facts For Kids

Ritwik Bhuyan
Oct 20, 2022 By Ritwik Bhuyan
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Fact-checked by Deeti Gupta
Red Oscar facts that these species of fish is a popular aquarium fish and are known by different names like - velvet cichlid and marble cichlid.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 8.9 Min

The red oscar, Astronotus ocellatus, is also known by many different names - velvet cichlid, marble cichlid, and the common name red oscar. The oscars are a species of fish from the cichlid family which also includes the tiger oscars.

Red oscars are also known by the name of tiger oscars. The red oscar is a very popular tropical freshwater fish known mostly for its intelligence and unmatched beauty.

It is also considered to be a very popular aquarium fish in the US and Europe.

The scientific name of the red oscar, Astronotus ocellatus, is common for all forms of oscar fish. These species have a lot of personalities and are very hardy.

This inclusive of their beautiful body, the tiger oscar or the red oscar has the potential to be a centerpiece fish in the aquarium tank. The tiger oscar is usually found in the South American continent.

It is widely found in the Amazon river and is native to Brazil, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, and French Guiana in South America. These are the most bio-diverse environments in the world.

This fish, the oscar species as a whole, is very common in these waters in the wild, but are commonly found nowadays in most homes in the US. This species, the oscars, also has another variant in them called the albino oscar.

The albino oscar is calmer than most oscar fish and looks different as it has a near-white body with pink mottling. They have similarities with the lemon oscar who has almost the same color quotient in them.

They are also found in South America.

A population of the tiger oscar or the red oscar is also found in North America and China but has only spread to those places through fish farming practices. This South American freshwater fish is a very famous aquarium fish species but people need to think twice before buying them for their tank.

They are very territorial and their temperament is aggressive to most other fishes in the aquarium tank. So, all these need to be kept in mind while choosing the best fish for your tank.

There are various aquarium fishes available in the world and you may like to read up on the gar and spiny dogfish too for some interesting facts about these fishes.

Red Oscar Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a red oscar?

The red oscar (Astronotus ocellatus) or the tiger oscar is a type of freshwater fish found mostly in their natural habitat in South America and is bred in aquarium tanks a lot nowadays.

What class of animal does a red oscar belong to?

The red oscar (Astronotus ocellatus) belongs to the class of Actinopterygii in the family of Cichlidae in fish.

How many red oscars are there in the world?

There is no census of the population of the oscar (Astronotus ocellatus) species living in the world. Although there will be millions of this fish as the oscar (Astronotus ocellatus), basically the tiger oscar, is a very famous centerpiece fish for most aquarium tanks in many houses.

Where does a red oscar live?

The red oscar/tiger oscar is mostly native to the South American continent. They are found in the Amazon River that flows through Brazil, Peru, Columbia, Ecuador, and French Guiana. The breeding of this freshwater fish is also done extensively and is found in a tank all over the world.

What is a red oscar's habitat?

Apart from the freshwater wild where the tiger oscar fish needs caves and stones near their environment, they have specific needs to be put in their aquarium tank too. Replicating those freshwater conditions is very necessary while building the perfect home in the tank for the cichlids.

Like the living conditions of the South American river, the water in the tank needs to be temperature controlled, warm with a neutral pH. Oscars cannot handle extreme acidic and alkaline water.

Strong water flow like the Amazon is needed. Due to the green nature of the water, it can be replicated to be like the Amazon river.

The green water also would help lose the intensity of the sunlight as the light penetrates the water. The tank conditions need to be similar to the natural habitat conditions of the tiger oscar fish.

At the bottom of the water body, a sand-like soft substrate with rocks, debris, and vegetation scattered around is needed. The oscar fish likes to dig.

The water needs to be of temperature 74-81°F, 6-8 pH, and 5-20 KH. Regular cleaning of the tank is very necessary as the oscars have a tendency to pollute the water very easily.

Who do red oscars live with?

Oscars are very territorial and these aquatic animals need a lot of space for themselves. Their huge size means that they don't have much space for other fish in the tank.

But in the Amazon, they are used to staying with a diverse species of aquatic animals around them. An oscars-only tank is preferable if you want to go for these cichlids.

Or there is an option where you can pair them up with bigger fish so that they can maintain their territory along with defending themselves against the aggressive oscars. For one oscar, a 55 gallon should be the minimum tank size.

Tankmates in that minimum tank size are not preferable. For every new oscar fish added, 20-30 gallon more should be increased.

How long does a red oscar live?

The life span of the oscars ranges from 10-20 years depending on the care level of the species.

How do they reproduce?

Breeding of the cichlids is not an easy task, as they do not respond to mating in the tank. Oscars are very picky while choosing a mate for themselves.

An already established breeding pair would work. Or buying juveniles and making them grow together as tank mates to form a connection can be an option to help the oscars reproduce.

The oscars normally have their breeding rituals in the rainy season. When the oscars are ready to spawn, they will flare their gill and use their fins to indicate this to their partners.

Tail wiggling and fin vibrations are common. A rock is cleaned with the help of the tail of the fish, and the female lays 700-1000 opaque white eggs depending on the size of the cichlids.

The eggs hatch in two to three days and till then the parents guard the eggs.

When the juveniles are born, the size of the cichlids is too small, and needs to have food two to three times a day in their diet. They grow an inch each month, so growth is pretty quick.

What is their conservation status?

The Oscars, Astronotus ocellatus, have the Least Concern status at the moment.

Red Oscar Fun Facts

What do red oscars look like?

This big-size fish classically are covered in irregular dark black and orange splotches but colors change over time when the size grows. Red and Lemon oscars are complete solid dark red or bright yellow in color.

The fins of these species of fish are either of black or white coloration. Lemon oscar fish also resemble albino oscar fish in terms of coloration. The albino oscar fish has a bold white color in its body.

This color combination draws most people to the albino fish. They also have yellow in their body.

Each oscar species has a different pattern to identify them. The red oscar is of orange-red coloration with a dark gray pattern and an eyespot on the dorsal fin.

The pattern in the bodies of the male and female are exactly the same and are hard to differentiate. The mouth of the fish is also of the same color. The mouth also has dark gray spots.

The tail is also of dark gray color with a hint of orange. Due to the beautiful strokes of color in the red oscar, it stands out among its tank mates and makes for a beautiful aquarium fish.

Red Oscars are a part of the family of cichlids.

How cute are they?

The Astronotus ocellatus fish are very beautiful and cute and swim gracefully in a tank. But their aggressive nature cannot be deduced just by looking at them. The behavior of the fish changes when they sense a threat in the tank.

How do they communicate?

They communicate by vibrating their tail and their behavior changes when in contact with their partners. They recognize their owners quite well too.

How big is a red oscar?

The red oscar fish grows to a minimum of 10 in and up to a maximum of 14 in.

How fast can a red oscar swim?

The exact speed of the fish is unknown at the moment. But they are very graceful swimmers and only acts in aggressive behavior when in threat or needing food.

How much does a red oscar weigh?

The weight of an adult red oscar ranges from 2.2-3 lb (1-1.4 kg). They get pretty big.

What are their male and female names of the species?

It is no different names for the male and female species of the oscar fish.

What would you call a baby red oscar?

They are usually called juveniles.

What do they eat?

They need a healthy diet and feed on pretty much any food you give them. They are omnivores and eat both vegetables and meat to a level.

In the wild, their feeding habits include a diet of small fish, larvae, and small pieces of plant debris. They also have small insects and crustaceans as their food and constitute a large part of their diet.

In a tank, they can be fed flake and pellet foods and live/frozen foods with a lot of protein. They can also eat chopped green vegetables. They like to nibble on those leaves.

Are they dangerous?

These fishes are not dangerous and are calm and peaceful most of the time.

Would they make a good pet?

They make a very good pet and are very calm in demeanor. They need extensive good care and the care affects the longevity of their lives.

Did you know...

Lemon oscars are types of the same species, which have a bright yellow body, unlike the red body of the red oscar.

The red oscars are only aggressive when they are threatened.

They are pretty smart and intelligent. They can communicate with their partners well and also recognize their owners easily.

It is normally found that they can grow one to two inches in a month and it takes just 8-10 months to reach the full growth of the fish in inches.

The 55-gallon tank will become smaller for a full-grown fish and needs to either be shifted to a different tank or increase the capacity of the previous tank by 20-30 gallons for each fish.

Can oscar fish live with other fish?

They can live with other fish but the red oscar fish is very territorial and aggressive when it comes to their space. So it is better if the tank is full of oscar fishes only.

Why do oscars vibrate their tails?

The oscars vibrate their tail and body as a courting procedure, and it is also accompanied by lip-locking. It normally happens during the rainy season.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fishes including peacock cichlid or Spanish mackerel.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our angler fish coloring pages.

Red Oscar Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Vegetables and meat

What Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?


How Much Did They Weigh?

2.2-3 lb (1-1.4 kg)

What habitat Do they Live In?

freshwater fish who lives near rocks

Where Do They Live?

south america

How Long Were They?

10-14 in (25.4-35.5 cm)

How Tall Were They?








Scientific Name

Astronotus ocellatus

What Do They Look Like?

Fiery red with black rims

Skin Type

Wet, slimy scales

What Are Their Main Threats?


What is their Conservation Status?

Not Extinct

south america

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Written by Ritwik Bhuyan

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English

Ritwik Bhuyan picture

Ritwik BhuyanBachelor of Arts specializing in English

A skilled content writer, Ritwik holds a Bachelor's degree in English from Delhi University. He has refined his writing abilities through his past experience at PenVelope and his current role at Kidadl. In addition to his proficiency in writing, Ritwik has pursued his passion for flying by achieving CPL training and becoming a licensed commercial pilot. This diverse skill set highlights his commitment to exploring multiple fields. Ritwik's experience in the aviation industry has provided him with a unique perspective and attention to detail, which he brings to his writing.

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Fact-checked by Deeti Gupta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

Deeti Gupta picture

Deeti GuptaBachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

A detail-oriented fact-checker with a research-oriented approach. Devika has a passion for creative writing, she has been published on multiple digital publishing platforms and editorials before joining the Kidadl team. Currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from St.Xavier's College, Deeti has won several accolades and writing competitions throughout her academic career.

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