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Oscar Fish Breeding

The Oscar fish is well-known for its strong personality. They learn to recognize their owners and accept fish food directly from their hands. If you have an Oscar fish in your aquarium, and want to know more about Oscar fish breeding, then just read ahead.
Belonging to the Amazon, the Oscar fish or the Astronatus Ocellatus is a fairly easy fish to breed when it has a pair. Otherwise, Oscar fish breeding becomes a difficult process. Below are certain steps which you can follow for an easy, hassle free process of breeding.

Preparations

Step 1
Careful attention needs to be out into Oscar fish care. Prepare a large ish tank before you get the fish. Oscar fish require a large tank due to their large size. Put in clean and clear water, and make a deep sand bottom. You can also place a few large rocks or stones at the bottom of the tank. You may also put in some plants, as it is believed that Oscar fish love to pull out plants planted in the aquarium. You can also put in toys, so as not to let the fish get bored. In fact, since the Oscar fish, which belong to the Cichlids class, are smart, you can actually teach them certain tricks, such as digging up the plant and so on. Oscar fish love to eat smaller fish, hence make sure that the rest of the fish put along with the Oscars are of the same size as the Oscars. The temperature of the water in the aquarium should be around 79 to 86 degrees F. Oscar fish food is not an issue as they take in any food you give them, be it prawns, pellets, earthworms or kitchen scraps, anything. If you meet these conditions, then you will have no problem in breeding Oscar fish.

Step 2
Now comes the part to find a mate for your Oscar fish, which a difficult thing. This has to be done through trial and error method, if your Oscar fish is adult in size. But once they form a pair, they stay together forever. Their life span is a long one. The average Oscar fish lives for nearly 10 to 12 years. One of the most effective way of finding mating pairs for your fish is to buy 6 or 8 young specimen, and allow them to grow up together. While choosing a pair, make sure that you choose from healthy broods. Aggressive behavior towards each other, lip locking, tail slapping are the signs you will notice, when the Oscar fish choose their pair. However, if you find that one of the fish is overly active or that the aggression is one sided, then you should separate the pair, or else you will end up losing one of your fish. Once the pair has been formed, remove them, because as per the breeding habit, they are highly territorial and thus can hurt the other fish whom they see as intruders. Sometimes, the courtship behavior can be violent, in fact it might even result in the death of one of the mates. The kind of water to keep the fish in is important. Preferably you should breed Oscar fish in soft acidic water or maybe harder alkaline water. Avoid going to extremes. Try to keep the condition of the tank as similar to the conditions of the native home of the fish, Central America. It is important that you change the water quite frequently, as it ensures suitable water chemistry and low levels of soluble waste. But do keep in mind not to change more than 20 - 25% of the water at once.

Breeding Habits

This fish has different habits of breeding from other aquarium fish. During the spawning process, the fish clean up a flat rock, which is kept at the bottom of the tank. This is for the female Oscar to lay her eggs on. Not all eggs are laid at one go. When the female takes a break from laying the eggs, the male Oscar fertilizes them (the eggs). An Oscar fish usually lays 1000 - 2000 eggs. Both parents watch over the eggs by wafting them with their fins and guarding them against any predators. One strange habit is that they take these eggs in their mouth to keep them clean and separate the bad eggs. If the temperature of the tank is maintained, then the eggs hatch in the 36 hours. The small fries do not start swimming till the next 4 days have passed. Till then they live off the egg sac. Unlike the breeds, the baby Oscars are usually larger in size, hence it is easier to feed them. Just crush the regular food, turn off your tank's filter and feed the baby Oscar fish. When it comes to the behavior of the parent Oscars towards their offspring, it depends entirely on the former's personality. They may either never bother about their spawns or they may even make them a part of their own diet. Therefore, it is best that you separate the fry from the parents. But, it is advisable that you don't do this until the parent Oscars have had a few unsuccessful spawning.

Now that you know about how an Oscar fish breeds, and what are the necessary steps that are required to keep in mind before and after the breeding process, you can have your own school of Oscar fish.
By Ratnashri Dutta
Last Updated: 9/27/2011
Bouquets and Brickbats
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