Are Oscar Fish Carnivorous?

Oscar fish is a species of cichlids that are popular for their behavior and temper. They are often found in the amazon river basin and are known to love specific waters. But one question that people continuously ask about this fish is whether or not they are carnivorous. What do the fish feed on? Does the environment influence their preferences? Do they even have preferences at all? This article seeks to answer this question in specific details. Leaving no doubt in its wake as to what the diet o an Oscar contains, or should contain.

Are Oscar fish carnivorous?

No. Oscar fish are widely known to be omnivores. Their diet contains a wide variety of plants and animals. They can thrive on either, but they seem to prefer a carnivorous diet.

In order to understand the politics of the Oscar fish diet, we need to explore all terms clearly. The subsequent chapters of this article will discuss in clear detail the specific diet of an Oscar fish and how to feed them for optimum health.

What are carnivores?

Carnivores are simply animals who survive strictly on eating other animals. They cannot eat leaves or plants of any sort and all of their nutrients are gotten from fellow animals. Now the question is, if Oscar fish are not carnivores but omnivores, what therefore are omnivores? Especially since it has been said above that Oscar fish can ingest both plants and animals. Not only can they eat animals, but they have a noticeable preference for animals. So how can we say that they are not carnivores?

What are omnivores?

Omnivores are basically animals that can eat both plants and animals. Humans are very good examples of omnivores because we are able to eat both plants and animals. A lot of primates are also omnivorous in nature. Oscar fish can consume both plants and animals. Therefore, it is an omnivore.

Oscar fish are omnivores

In spite of their preference for animals, they will eat plants and survive if they want or have to. Oscar fish enjoy a wide variety of choices in the wild. Oscar know how to balance out their meals such that they get all that they need. They eat a lot of things like other fish, flies, worms, and other river animals. These fish also eat a wide variety of river basin plants and weeds. It is from these that they get their vitamins.

Are Oscar fish omnivores even in captivity?

Oscar fish are omnivores irrespective of where they are. The main difference in their diet that is dependent on whether or not they are free or captive. There is however a difference in the way they eat in captivity and the way they eat when they are free.

For instance, Oscar fish hunt their own food in the wild. They swim after it, chase it, pull it. Maybe they even fight it. All of this gives them a sense of a hunt. It effectively changes how they see their food.

How do Oscar fish eat in captivity?

Oscars are hunters like a lot of other fish who eat other animals. Things are different when they are in captivity. They effectively now have to depend on the human who owns them to care for all of their needs. The chief of those needs is their diet needs. Oscar fish diet in captivity often include a variety of insects and crustaceans.

Do Oscars eat live animals in captivity?

The Oscar’s human may want to give the fish a life that is as close to the one they would have in their natural habitat as possible. This doesn’t just end with living conditions but also to how their food is delivered. You could put some live animals in Oscar’s tank for him to chase and eat.

However, it is important to note that not all live foods are healthy for Oscars because they may carry diseases. You have to take note of the age and size of the Oscar in question to decide what size of food would be appropriate for them. Oscar fish feed sizes should also be appropriate to their age.

You also have to realize that they need as much vitamin C in their diet as possible. This is because they don’t produce enough in their own bodies and need a supplement.

Here are possible foods that you can feed your Oscar fish.

  • Black soldier fly larvae
  • Crickets
  • Grasshoppers
  • Locusts
  • Mealworm beetles (mature mealworms)
  • Mealworms
  • Wax worms
  • Mussels
  • Plankton
  • Prawns
  • Shrimp
  • Small fish such as rosy red minnows and guppies.
  • Whatever you do, try to avoid feeding your Oscar goldfish.

Can I give my Oscar fish some homemade food?

Like we explored in this article much earlier, Oscar fish enjoy a variety of both plants and animals. There are quite a bit of foods that you can source by yourself to give your Oscar fish. You can feed your Oscar fish chopped up vegetables. Typical vegetable that you can feed your fish includes but are not necessarily limited to cucumbers and zucchini. You can give these to your Oscar fish in small quantities. Another meal you can feed them is peas. You can feed them small quantities of frozen peas.

Nuts and fruits

Some shelled tropical nuts and some fruits can also find their ways into your Oscars diet. Some of the most common fruits that you can give to Oscars include bananas, cantaloupe, oranges and watermelon.

It is very important to feed your Oscar seedless fruits or at least ensure you remove any seeds before feeding them to your Oscar. This is because the seeds may be too big or hard for the fish to process. Bread will not add any real nutrients to your fish’s diet because it doesn’t contain any. But it will also not harm them.

Oscar fish feeding for specific results.

It was stated earlier that Oscars in the wild can usually find their own meals and maintain a healthy body. Oscars in captivity however have to rely on their humans to ensure that they get the right good in the right quantities. That said, there are some meals that you could feed your Oscar for specific body development. Just like humans may be advised to eat certain meals for growth, development, health, hair skin and nails, etc…

Humans who want their Oscars to have brighter colors like red tones could feed them foods that contain astaxanthin. This is present in krill shrimp. Peas have also been known to make their colors more noticeable.

Is there a need to balance out plants versus animal based food?

Yes. It is important to make sure that your Oscar fish is not getting too much if any specific kind of food. There are a few ways that things could get weird if you let them eat too much of one food item. Here are the possible Mishaps that could occur.

Fat fatty Oscar

Your Oscar could grow fat if you feed too much of small fish. The reason for this is that small fish contain a lot of fat. Oscars can eat as much small fish as they like in the wild. This is because they are free and can swim as much and as far as they want. They get enough exercise as they swim, play, or try to avoid getting eaten themselves.

Food bias

Your Oscar could develop a bias for the meal. Feeding your fish too much of a specific kind of food may create an aversion for any other kind of food. This means that the fish may starve if you decide to change their meal for any reason.

Vitamin deficiency

The fish may have developmental problems. Oscar fish need specific nutrients in their bodies in specific proportions. They particularly need vitamin C for their growth and development. They may start to lack this vitamin if the most common meal they receive doesn’t have enough of it and this may result in bad health or even death.


Even fish could become bored with food. This may make them eventually get tired of the meal and stop eating. Oscars fish’s refusal to eat is trouble because they could lose weight fast or fall sick and die. Things to watch out for when feeding Oscar fish

Overfeeding is an enemy

Do not overfeed them. The quantity of food should be proportional to the size and age of the fish. This is because overfeeding could make them lazy or fat. It is however also important to not underfeed them. Balance is key here.

Sick food will make them sick

Do not feed them sick live food. Or dead food. Or any food really. Lol. Sick food will make your fish sick too and that is the last thing you want to deal with.

Watch for ammonia

Avoid putting too much live food in their tank as it may cause a sudden surge of ammonia. Ammonia is bad for your fish because it could make them fall sick and die.


There’s a reason Oscar fish prefer animals instead of plants. These fish need more animal based diets in spite of their omnivorous status. Take this fact into consideration when feeding your Oscar. Their food will be a big factor in whether they thrive or barely exist. It could also determine how long they live or how healthy they are. A balanced diet isn’t just for humans. Even fish need balance in their lives.