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Oscar Fish Species:

The Oscar is a fish that is largely a freshwater fish but can survive a certain amount of brackishness if necessary.

The main domain of the Oscar is the South American Amazon river system. The species comes in a few varieties but can be recognized by its orange markings and the presence of orange spots over its fins. It is believed that these orange markings are a way of confusing the odd piranha and ensuring that its fins are not nipped.

The species is a favorite on the South American dinner table and in aquariums as well. However, because it is not too fast in reaching its full size, it is rather difficult to cultivate on a commercial scale.

The fish comes in a few forms and subtypes.

At its most mature size, the fish is about a foot and a half long weighing in at a kilo. In the wild, the typical coloration of the fish is much darker with the characteristic orange spots. The fish is also known to change its colors when required. This is mostly a trait that is used to show a level of aggression during territorial displays. Though it is a native of South America and the Amazon basin, there are some populations that can be found in China and Australia as well – possibly as a result of introduction artificially. The fish is not as easy to maintain as one can imagine. One of the weaknesses of the fish is that it requires a steady supply of vitamin C that needs to be added to the water of the fish to ensure its good health. The fish is also capable of demonstrating some level of sexual dimorphism though this is quite rare in most cases. Sexual dimorphism is an ability of a fish to suddenly change its sex in the absence of an adequate number of mates.

The diet of the fish includes small crustaceans like crayfish. Apart from this, the fish can also be fed worms and other smaller fish like feeder goldfish. It can also be fed insects as this is probably the most natural form of its natural diet in the Amazon. There are a few variants to the original that have developed in the aquariums and these include the varieties that are albino fish. These fish being members of the cichlid family will also use mouth brooding as a method of protecting young.

  Submitted on February 5, 2010