Veil tail Oscar – A Complete Guide

Deciding on the type of Oscar to keep can be somewhat exhausting. However, most Oscars are the right choice for your home aquarium, including veil tail Oscar.

Veil tail Oscars exist in various colors. They are ranging from black to red. However, they are distinguished due to their long and threadlike tail. Hence, the derivation of the name, veil tail Oscar.

This contains all you need to know about veil tail Oscar to be an expert fish keeper. This information includes their tank requirement, food types, breeding process, and other useful information.


Veil tail Oscars add to a tank beauty when captivated and kept in a home aquarium. However, fish keepers love to raise them due to their attractive appearance. But it takes a lot of care and patience to keep them thriving. Also, they are highly intelligent and friendly. They tend to relate well and familiarize themselves with their owners after a stipulated time.

We recommend that experience aquarists keep them instead. However, a beginner can keep them after going through thorough research.

Feeding veil tail Oscars is easy. You can quickly get their food around, or purchase a commercial package. Also, you will find many of Oscar’s commercial foods in most fish stores.

Here is a raw chart of the necessary information about veil tail Oscar;

Family – Cichlidae

Care Level – Moderate

Behavior – Semi Aggressive/ Territorial

Color – Red/Orange/Black

Lifespan – About 15 years

Diet – Carnivores/Sometimes omnivores

Body Size – Reach up to 35cm.

Tank size – Minimum of 75 gallons

Aquarium Tank Set-up – Freshwater habitat

Compatible Tank Mates – Fish of Similar Behavior

Veil Tail Oscar Appearance

Veil tails are easily recognized in most fish stores, with the unique bright orange spots on their tail and extending to the head. However, some may have orange lines running along their dorsal fin instead of the big dots. One of the Interesting things about veil tail Oscar is the beautiful display of tails they exhibit when excited.

Veil Tail Oscar Color

Veil-tail Oscar exists in various colors, but most of them live in orange, reddish, and black. However, they are distinguished by the patches that appear on their tail.

Veil Tank Oscar Behavior

Oscars are very protective of what belongs to them. So, they are territorial. Oscars fight off species that can be a threat to them. However, they can be more aggressive when feeding or during the mating period.

They often play at the bottom of their tank. In most cases, they search for leftovers that hangs around the tank substrate. Although they sometimes disarrange tank items while searching for food. Generally, if you provide your fish with all it wants, it will be an overly friendly fish.

Geographical Location

Veil ail Oscars are freshwater habitats, that love to live in warm waters. They are native to South and North America. Also, they can be found in places like Amazon and Orinoco rivers. Although, you will hardly find veil tail Oscars in the wild, compare to some type of Oscar fish like red Oscar. Usually, you will often see them in fish stores.

Moreover, other places where veil tail Oscars exist are; Brazil, Peru, Columbia, Uruguay, and Argentina. Although in recent years. Many aquarists capture veil tail Oscars. Thus, spreading its location. You can find them in Central America, Africa, and Asia. Historically, Oscars are common aquarium fish in Florida, which were used as game fish.

Veil Tail Oscar Lifespan

Oscars are recorded to live for long years. Usually, they can live up to 20 years if properly care for, but in most cases, they live for 10-14 years.

Veil Tail Oscar Size

The average body length of the veil tail Oscar is within 30-40 cm. Therefore, adult veil tail Oscars have an average weight of 1.58kg.

Veil Tail Oscar Foods

Veil tail Oscars are majorly carnivores. But like many cichlids, they also feed on plant matter. Hence, they are sometimes called omnivores. You should bear in time that your veil tail Oscar requires food rich in vitamin C, mineral, and vitamin for growth and healthy life.

Veil Tail Oscar’s diet is classified into various food sources. This includes their primary diet, plant and animal origin, and others.

  • Primary Diet: mollusks such as snails, insects, eggs, small invertebrates (shrimp), and plant matters (vegetables and fruits like cucumber)
  • Plant Source: Algae
  • Animal Source: Insects, Fish, Mollusk, and plankton
  • Others: Detritus

The Right Diet for Your Veil Tail Oscar

Oscars need to be fed various food sources weekly. As stated earlier, you should feed them enough mineral and vitamin sources like fish pellets. An example of a commercial pellet you can serve your fish is the Hikari Cichlid Gold. Also, they can eat earthworms, grasshoppers, beef heart, bloodworms, frozen brine shrimp, mealworms, night crawlers, and freeze-dried crickets. However, you shouldn’t feed your fish excess beef heart and bloodworms, as they are highly rich in fat. We recommend you serve them beef heart or bloodworms 1-2 times per week.

You can also feed your fish live foods such as feeder fish. But too much feeder goldfish can cause trouble to your fish, as it contains a large amount of vitamin A. Although vitamin A is vital for their growth, an excess of it can harm your fish. Also, live foods initiate hunting instincts in Oscars. It mimics their natural feeding method in the wild. Moreover, you can serve your fish chopped vegetables. Some vegetables and fruits you can feed your Oscar include cucumber, peas, shelled nuts, watermelon, cantaloupe, bananas, and oranges.

Also, avoid overfeeding your fish. It can cause bloating problems for your fish, or introduce excess ammonia, nitrates, and nitrite. Serve your fish only when they have finished the food on their plate.

In the wild, Oscars eat larvae, small fish, and plant debris, crustaceans, and small insects.

Factors to Consider in Selecting a High-Quality Food for Your Fish

To support healthy life for your fish, make sure you select a high-quality diet. Although the number of times you feed your fish is of importance, it’s of no vital effect as the quality of food you serve them. Whenever you go shopping, you should consider the following;

  • Ensure you introduce a variety of food sources in their diet. It will help improve their dietary diversity.
  • Choose a mixture of live and commercial food. We recommend you feed your fish 20% of live foods, vegetables, and plants. And serve them up to 80% pellets.
  • Include plenty of protein sources in the fish’s diet.
  • Observe your fish’s reaction when served a particular food. It will help in determining your favorite fish food.
  • If your fish keeps growing healthy with the feeding pattern, routine, and food choices, you should stay with the planned schedule.


Veil tail Oscars are not schooling fish. But they can coexist with other types of Oscars, as long as you provide a large tank that will not make them collide while swimming.

Veil Tail Oscar Reproduction

Typically, Oscars are sexually inactive until they turn 14 months of age. Moreover, they are monomorphic species. So, you can quickly determine their sex when they start forming the breeding tubes. Whereas, the females have a broad and short breeding tube, while the males have a thinner and longer breeding tube. Also, Oscars starts spawning after 48 hours of the appearance of breeding tubes of both partners.

There are signs to know when your fish is ready to spawn. It involves;

  • Sideways movement
  • Brighter body-color
  • Spread out fins and flared gills
  • Body vibration

Also, Oscars are caring for parents. They prepare for their unborn babies by cleaning flat surfaces, mostly a rock. Usually, it is in preparation for when the female is due to lay eggs.

Moreover, after carrying out this preparation process for a few days, the female Oscar walks over the rock’s surface several times before laying her eggs. Also, the male Oscar will walk over the eggs. The eggs are usually arranged in an orderly manner. Mostly, it takes up to 3 hours to finish up the legs laying process. Female Oscars continue to show off their maternal care by fanning the eggs to prevent them from fungal infection or debris. However, adult Oscars may eat any remaining unfertilized eggs. The eggs will remain unmovable, as they get attached to the rock surface due to their body secretion. The mother continues to care for them by moving the embryo and placing it in a sandy nest. After 5-7 days, the mother Oscar will move them again. Then, the fry is finally released until they can swim freely.


Oscars continue to mate often after their first breeding process. They can continue to reproduce until 9-1o years later. Also, it has been shown that Oscars can release up to 3000 eggs with one year. However, smaller females will release fewer eggs, ranging from 300-5500 eggs, while the bigger females will produce more massive amounts of eggs, ranging from 2,500-3,000 eggs.

Moreover, Oscars are more likely to spawn at a warm temperature (above 30 degrees Celsius). Also, the parental care of Oscars doesn’t stop until they are one year old. The eggs released are usually light-colored, fragile, demersal, oval, and adhesive.

Veil Tail Oscar Predation

Oscars possess a bright eyespot that is used as a disguise for predation. The eyespot is sometimes called ocelli, and it’s located at the caudal-fin base. Also, the eyespot helps Oscars in defending against fin-nipping piranhas like pristobrycon and Serrasalmus. Whereas piranhas often feed on fins. You need to be careful of exposing your fish to fin nipping, as it may introduce infection, reduce their growth and survival rate. It is because fish that are victims of fin nipping direct most of their energy on fighting piranhas.

Moreover, they lose focus on activities that will enhance their somatic growth and gonadal development. This includes activities such as eating and resting. Therefore, the eyespot help Oscars appear as dead when they go out to hunt for food. The eyespot resembling head will position the head to look like Oscar’s tail. Hence, preventing it from fin nipping.

Oscars are predators of smaller species like snails and immature mosquitoes. However, scientists deduced that Oscars could help control the spread of mosquitoes.

Tank Setup Requirements

It is popularly known that Oscars require ample space due to their large body size. However, they are easy to care for and easily thrive in an environment. There are basic tank requirements you should know to raise a healthy Oscar fish.

Tank Equipment

  1. Tank: The leading equipment you will need to set up an aquarium is a fish tank. When selecting a fish tank, consider its size and shape. Oscars will not fit into a narrow container because of its large body size. Also, nitrates faster in a smaller tank. Whereas, starting your aquarium with a large tank will allow the waste from the fish to dilute quickly.
  2. Heater and Filter: The next vital equipment you should get is a heater and a filter. A heater will help regulate the water temperature of your Oscar fish. You are keeping it at a constant temperature. Also, it will ease the adjustment if there is a slight change in the tank temperature. Moreover, because you will be using a large tank, you may need to consider getting canister filters. Canister filters can help manage and offload heavy bio loads.
  3. Lightening: Generally, Oscars do not need much light in their aquarium tank. However, you should not expose them to direct sunlight. Harsh light will harm the health of your fish. You can get a LED light, but dim.
  4. Tank Decorations

Sometimes, it may be quite a challenge to decorate an Oscar tank. Oscars love to rearrange decorations to suit their taste. Moreover, they are strong enough to change the position of tiny objects and small plants in their tank. However, we recommend that you don’t add too many decorations to your aquarium tank. But you can place a large rock at the center of the tank for support. Also, when the decorations are too much, it will hinder your Oscar from swimming.

Introducing a Veil Tail Oscar into the Aquarium Tank

Before placing your fish in the home aquarium, you should know that your new fish had a previous environment condition. So, introducing it suddenly into the aquarium tank may be dangerous. Before adding the fish, allow the bag containing the fish to float on the tank water surface. It stabilizes the bag temperature with the tank’s water temperature. Then, carefully place the fish into the tank. You can use a cup for a small Oscar, or allow it to swim inside gently.

Choosing a Substrate for Your Fish Tank

Most times, Oscars use mouth to pick up pieces around the substrate, for traces of food drops. However, your fish will likely swallow a small size of gravel. Although, this is not avoidable, as large fish with the will almost eat any quantity of gravel. Oscars of 16 inches and above falls into this category. So, we recommend you get a sand substrate for your fish. Although it may eat and it won’t cause dangerous effects as gravel. But, the side effect of sand is that Oscar’s face often appears stringy and white, upon eating sand. Some fish keepers mistake this with an internal parasite infection.

When it comes to ease of use, some people opt for plain tiles. They are straightforward to clean and maintain. However this may not add to the aesthetic option when compared with gravel and plant. Also, plant substrate mimics Oscar’s natural environment. Hence, giving the aquarium tack a beautiful view. Usually, Oscars often uproot live       plants, destroying it from growing. And a fragile fake plant might also be uplifted. So, if you will be choosing plant substrates, make sure you fix them well.

Tank Size

Many people argue about the appropriate tank size for Oscar. Although, a55- the tank is manageable. But we recommend you get at least75- size for your fish. To avoid squeezing- mates. However. A125- size is a good option for large fish. Especially a selected pair for breeding purposes.

Tank Water

Oscars prefer the low water of low current.  However, make sure the tank water is of good quality. Because the quality of the tank water dramatically affects the health of Oscar fish. Sometimes, female Oscars tend to prevent themselves from getting pregnant if the environment will be unfavorable for the mother and the child’s growth. Moreover, poor water condition enhances bacterial growth.

Aquarium Water Parameters

Veil tail Oscars are hardy fish that can survive in most environments, as they adapt quickly. However, they prefer softer and more acidic water conditions.  The required pH and temperature for veil tail Oscars are 6.0-7.5, and 77-80 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively, with the alkalinity of 8-15 dGH.

You should note that much more than keeping your veil tail oscar at an ideal temperature, you should ensure you stabilize the water parameters. A sudden change in water temperature may cause shock to your fish. Also, frequent change in the water parameters may shorten the lifespan of your veil tail Oscar.

Like other Oscars, veil tail Oscars are sensitive to the presence of ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite in an aquarium tank. However, make sure you cycle your aquarium tank before introducing your veil tail Oscar into the tank. It is done to remove toxic nitrites and ammonia. Although nitrates are of great concern to many aquarists because they develop in a clean environment, you can manage this situation if your aquarium tank is cycled correctly. If you can keep the nitrate level below 40ppm, you just save your Oscar from being infected with the hole-in-the-head disease.

We recommend that you change your tank water twice-weekly, as Oscars release a massive amount of waste. Also, make sure you test the tank water quality often by using the master test kit.

Veil Tail Oscar Tank Mates

Appropriate tank mates for Oscars are species with similar behavior and body size. A bigger fish will bully your Oscar, and your Oscar may feed on smaller fish, as long as it fits into their mouth. Suitable tank mates for Oscars are;

Sailfin Pleco

Green Terror Cichlid

Large Cichlids

Common Pleco

Jack Dempsey Cichlid



Chocolate Cichlids

Black Convict Cichlid

Firempouth Cichlids

Blue Acara

Demon Earth Eaters

Banded Lepeorinus

Other Oscars

Unsuitable Tank Mates

There are some species you shouldn’t consider keeping with Oscar fish. They are;

Small invertebrates: Like other Oscars, veil tail Oscar can feed on Small invertebrates like crayfish, shrimp, and snails.

Small Fish: Fish below 10 inches are considered as small fish. As long as they are smaller than your Oscar fish mouth, they are a quick snack to your veil tail, Oscar.

Sexing Veil Tail Oscars

Oscar fish have significant similarities and are often difficult to differentiate. Although veil tails have a unique color, you can’t distinguish their sex from their skin color. The significant difference is seen in the shape of their genital papillae, which appears to their dorsal fin when they are almost sexually mature. Hence, it’s easier to determine your Oscar sex when it’s ripe of age. In males, the genital papillae have a fine edge, and in females, the end is blunt and broad.


Without the right guideline, it may be quite hard to breed Oscar fish. Sometimes, Oscars get picky when selecting their mate. To hasten the breeding process of your fish, you should purchase pairs that have breeding history, or keep two juveniles of the opposite sex and allow them to gro and get fond of each other. However, getting young Oscars will take a longer time. Usually, juveniles are not sexually mature until they reach 14 months of age.

Regularly, Oscars breed more in the rainy season. However, you can imitate the rainy season in your fish tank by lowering the tank temperature. You can also clean a flat and smooth surface in your tank, where the mother Oscar can lay her eggs. You can also initiate the breeding process by changing your tank water frequently.

Oscars have parental care. Both male and female will watch and protect the eggs until they hatch. Usually, the eggs will hatch after 2-3 days. The males chase off other fish, while the female fan the eggs from internal infections.

You should move the fry to a nanny tank, and install a sponge filter in the tank. As the fish grows larger, move them to another larger size or back to the species tank, if it’s big enough to accommodate them. Make sure the tank size isn’t too small for your fish to prevent stunted growth.


Can I keep My Veil Tail Oscar with Other Type of Oscar?

As mentioned earlier, you can keep veil tails with some particular species; the safest option is to keep your veil tail with another type of Oscar. So, yes. You can keep your veil tail with other types of Oscars. 

Do Veil Tail Oscar Have Teeth?

Generally, Oscars possess two sets of teeth. One is located at the jaws, while the other set is placed in the throat. The teeth at the throat are known as pharyngeal teeth. Moreover, the jaw teeth are tiny, and Oscars use it for grasping, whereas, the pharyngeal teeth are used to capture and manipulate. Besides, the systematic arrangement of the throat teeth makes it a significant study for scientists.

What to Do When Oscars Stop Eating?

Oscars are voracious eaters that would eat almost everything you offer them. So, when they stop eating, you should know something is wrong. However, they may withdraw from eating, because their stomach cannot take it, but when it persists, here are few factors that may be responsible;

Confirm if the pH level is accurate. Usually, Oscar tank water should be between a pH of 6.0-8.0.

  • Change at least 50% of the tank water.
  • Include another variety of food into their diet.
  • Check if the water is at its optimal temperature.

However, if after trying all mentioned above, you fish still refuses to eat, then you should contact a veterinarian to check if anything is wrong.

Can My Oscar Be Infected With Disease?

Yes. Like other cichlids, Oscars are also vulnerable to infections. But they hardly get infected with the disease. However, the most common condition associated with Oscar is the hole-in-the-head disease. This disease is also called Hexamita. Symptoms of Hexamita are;

  • Faded color
  • Stringy feces
  • Head and body lesions
  • Loss of appetite

Symptoms associated with this disease must be treated early, as it might lead to an Oscar death. The primary cause of the hole-in-the-head disease terrible water conditions, inadequate diet, and overcrowding. A deficient diet is often a result of vitamin C, Vitamin D, phosphorus, calcium, and minerals deficiency.

Besides, before treating your Oscar fish, confirm if it’s a bacteria, fungal, or parasitic infection.

Other diseases that can affect Oscars are; fin & tail rot, ich, popeye disease, bloating, and dropsy.


If you choose to keep veil Oscar fish in your home aquarium, you just made the right decision. Although, some aquarists exaggerate the stress of keeping Oscar fish, but don’t let it get to you. If you follow appropriate measures, you will raise your fish well. Moreover, try to get friendly with your fish. It makes it all easier.