What Do Oscars Eat?

Oscars’ diet is a significant contribution to their growth and development. So, I understand why you may be concerned about what Oscars eat.

What Do Oscars Eat? Oscars are carnivores that eat a variety of meats, ranging from live foods to small fish. Whereas wild Oscars often eat catfish.

Apart from what Oscars eat, there are various things you also need to know when it comes to Oscars feeding. These include, how often to feed your Oscar, commercial and homemade foods, how much to feed your Oscar, and other related information.


Many fish keepers feed their Oscars with unhealthy and unstable diet. Often, lack of knowledge is the primary cause of this, while in other cases, it occurs as a result of financial instability. However, you don’t need to rob to feed your Oscars. With a little amount of money, you can appealingly prepare your Oscar diet. As you read further, you will discover a simple method you can improvise in feeding your fish.

To ensure that your Oscar gets the best opportunity in life, provide a healthy diet and appropriate supplements, as an unhealthy meal will cause your Oscar life to be at risk. Moreover, it can lead to various diseases and illnesses. Whereas, the most common disorder associated with Oscar is a hole in the head disease. Although a poor water condition also contributes to the cause of Oscars’ illnesses, the effect of poor nutrition is severe.

For maximum growth, Oscar’s diet should contain a large amount of Cichlids pellets. Also, you can get a good quality pellet from many manufacturers. To confirm this, make sure the package contains essential vitamins and nutrients that your Oscar needs daily. Moreover, to improve the quality of your Oscar diet, you can supplement it with natural food sources related to wild Oscar’s food options. Such as grasshoppers, crickets, mealworms, and locust. However, to improve their diet diversity, you can include seafood like mussels, squid, and cockles.

Moreover, shrimps and prawns are great food options. As they contain fibers that aids the digestion of food Oscars eat. Also, make sure you cut fish such as salmon and tuna, into beautiful pieces before serving.

How Much Do I Feed My Oscar?

Age and fish size determines the amount of food suitable for your fish. For example, an underdeveloped fish with a small mouth will probably not consume a large quantity of food.  Nevertheless, make sure you don’t overfeed your fish. Overfeeding them will cause them to be less active, due to heavy body weight. Moreover, it may cause stress to you as a fish keeper. Because plenty leftovers pollute fish tanks. Also, Oscars are voracious eaters that can consume almost everything you offer them. But make sure you don’t make them obese.

How Often Do I Feed My Oscar?   

The developmental stage of your fish determines the number of times to feed your Oscars daily, or weekly. For adult Oscars (Oscars at the age of one, are considered adults), you should feed them once daily. You can set a time routine for this. However, you need to feed a juvenile Oscar, that is, not up to four inches, more food daily. As they grow at a fast pace, so your little fish will need food more often.

We recommend that you feed your juvenile fish that is not up to four inches in length, three times daily. Moreover, you should include 3-4 pellets in their diet at once. However, this does not give room for overfeeding. Before you add more pellets, make sure they have finished eating the previous ones. Whereas, you can feed a juvenile fish that is longer than 5 inches, twice daily. At this stage, you can introduce some live foods into their diet.

Food Options for Oscar Fish

There are various food options for Oscars, including live and frozen foods. However, you can either get their meals from retail stores or prepare them as homemade. Moreover, certain foods help enhance the color of Oscar fish. Such as krill shrimp and peas. Also, krill shrimp contains astaxanthin, which adds to their red tones.

Live Foods

Live foods can be classified under natural food sources. Although Oscars eat many live foods, not all live foods are appropriate for them. Also, avoid feeding them with insects exposed to a congested area, as such insects may have been infected by the parasite, which will also harm your Oscar fish. Examples of live foods include locusts, crickets, wax worms, shrimp, plankton, grasshopper, black soldier fly, prawns, mussels, and mealworms and small fish (such as guppies and minnows).

If you are feeding your Oscar with live fish, you shouldn’t rush them. Preferably, it’s best you include at most two feeder fish at a time. However, guppies are good choices of feeder fish. Also, you can easily breed them. As they are prolific breeders, that will release a large number of fry at once. On the contrary, avoid feeding them goldfish. They are very vulnerable to diseases, which may infect your Oscar if consumed.

Feeding your fish too often, especially with feeder fish, may cause some adverse effects. It involves;

  • Your fish getting so used to a particular diet, thereby restricting diet diversity.
  • Reduces the quality of diet, which will be unbalanced.
  • The Oscar fish may become obese as a result of excessive consumption of small fish since they contain a large amount of fat.

Apart from its adverse effect on the fish’s health, it also causes stress for the fish keeper. These include;

  • Requiring frequent tank maintenance and water changing, because of messed up leftovers in the tank.
  • Extra expenses on foods or medication.

Commercial foods

While shopping for food for your Oscars, you will find a comprehensive option of pellet foods, freeze-dried, frozen, or canned foods. Make sure to look out for pellets sizes that are smaller than your Oscar’s mouth. It will enable them to swallow with no difficulty. Moreover, be observant when shopping for Oscar’s food. By checking the food label to confirm if it’s explicitly designed for cichlids.

The most common commercial foods include;

  • Frozen brine shrimps and bloodworms – This is the best commercial food for baby Oscars.
  • Canned Crickets – The advantage of canned crickets over live ones is the increase in its shelf life. As you can store them for a more extended period.
  • Canned mealworms – Canned mealworms are the best alternative for live worms. Also, you may want to consider canned mealworms, if you can’t get live worms in fish stores or cannot access it.
  • Beef – Sometimes, you can feed your Oscars with beef heart. However, we recommend you serve it as an occasional treat as beef heart contains a high amount of fat, which may endanger your fish’s health if consumed in excess.
  • Cichlid Gold – These are specially designed pellets for cichlids. Moreover, they contain essential vitamin C that is needed for optimum growth.
  • Krill – This food choice also helps to enhance the vibrant color of your Oscar fish.
  • Tropical Wafers – Tropical wafers are mostly composed of algae. It contributes to the plant matter your fish may require.

You can also purchase Frozen and dried insects such as grasshoppers, crickets, bloodworms, and mealworms from fish stores.

Preparation of Homemade Food

Sometimes, you may not have enough money to purchase commercial food for your Oscar. Regardless, your fish don’t have to starve to death. So, this led to the development of an easy recipe that will help provide an adequate diet. Although Oscars are carnivores, they also feed on plant matter. Especially wild Oscars. Whereas, their surrounding contributes to their food choice in the wild. Examples of plant sources Oscars eat include tropical shelled nuts, frozen peas, some fruits, such as watermelon, cantaloupe, bananas, and oranges. However, make sure to remove the seeds in the fruit before serving them, as seeds may affect their digestion rate.

Factors to Consider When Feeding Your Oscar Fish

However, Oscars may get some foods in their natural environment, including plant debris, crustaceans, algae, and insects. Although, there are things you should bear in mind when preparing their diet:

  • When combining food sources for your Oscar, make sure you include a lot of protein sources. As protein is essential for optimum growth. Especially for juvenile fish. Because it helps them grow at a fast rate.
  • Ensure your fish diet is highly diversified. Add varieties to prevent your fish from getting attached to a particular food as they may get addicted when you feed them the same type of food for several weeks.
  • Maintain food hygiene by cleaning up messy foods almost immediately when your fish finish eating. Also, make sure you select the highest quality of food available.
  • Make sure you combine both commercial and live foods in their diet. Moreover, you can include 75% of pellets and 25% of live foods in their diet.
  • Sometimes, your fish may not accept the food you provide, if you are serving it the wrong combo. So, you need to check this out.

In conclusion, feeding Oscar fish is not a hardy. You just need to bear in mind that your fish is a carnivore that will require a diet rich in protein.