Can You Eat Oscar Fish? All You Need To Know

The oscar fish species is from the cichlid family. It is native to tropical South America and has been introduced to other countries such as Australia, China, and India. It is commonly kept as a pet in Europe and the USA.

Let’s dig in to learn more about oscar fish in detail, habitat, and traits. We’ll investigate whether the fish is edible, and if so, how to prepare it fresh from the water to your plate at the dining table.

Can you eat an Oscar fish? Certainly, yes. It is a delicacy around its native habitat, but in countries such as the US, where the species is kept as a pet, most people shiver with the thought of having it for lunch or dinner.

This fish can be found notably everywhere in the Amazon river basin. They like slow-moving waters, preferably with fallen leaves that provide a perfect hiding spot from their predators.

Oscar fish’s growth rate is very high. When the environment is conducive enough, they can grow at the pace of an inch a month; that’s pretty fast! They grow to a size of about 18 inches. Adult Oscars have a dark color with yellow rings on their fins, and the younger ones have orange and white wavy stripes. They are aggressive in character during their breeding period. This is because they tend to become more territorial during this season.

They are usually kept as pets, but they are predatory fish and feed on generally anything smaller than their mouth in the wild. Their diet majorly consists of smaller catfish, aquatic insect larvae, and crustaceans.

Oscar Fish

Classification Of Oscar Fish

SpeciesAstronotus ocellatus
NicheRiver Predator
LengthUp to 18 in (45 cm)
WeightUp to 3.5 lbs (1,600 g)
LifespanUp to 10 years
Social StructureTerritorial, solitary, or in pairs
Conservation StatusLeast Concern
Preferred HabitatWarmer Rivers
Average Clutch Size1,000 – 3,000 eggs
Main Prey SpeciesSmaller fish, crustaceans, insects, sometimes fruit or nuts
PredatorsHumans, wolves, wolverines, tigers, birds of prey

If you are thinking of adopting the species as a pet, it is advisable to keep them as a pair. When more than two, say three in total, they tend to have a bad habit of growing a bond as two, leaving the other out of the picture.

Oscar fish feed through the suction process. To capture prey, they expand their mouth and suck the targeted prey. Once in a while, they feed on fallen fruits for vitamin C.

Types Of Oscar Fish

Types Of Oscar Fish

There are three types of Oscar fish: albino Oscars, tiger Oscars, and red Oscars.

Tiger Oscars

They are generally seen as the ‘original’ Oscar fish; we mark them as the common breed. Tiger Oscars are regarded as the pure breed, and you will spot them with a dark base, red and orange pattern markings. They can grow up to 15 inches in the wild.

Red Oscars

Do you need a pet fish? A red Oscar is the best option for you. Red Oscars are available in various tones of beautiful colors ranging from orange, crimson to copper. They lack the visible markings and traits of the common tiger breed.

Albino Oscars

This fish is another perfect option for a pet. Just like the name suggests, they are purely albino. You will identify them by their white appearance, with shiny, velvety skin and red eyes. Although they differ significantly in appearance from red Oscars and tiger Oscars, they possess similar traits and behavior.

Fun Facts About Oscar Fish

There are some unusual but interesting facts about the oscar fish. It’s rare to notice these traits, and you need to be intentional with the species observation to pick up the details.


You’ll be surprised to note that Oscar fish is sexually monomorphic. There are substantial biological differences between the male oscar and the female oscar. Males grow quicker than females, and in some instances, they have notable dark blotches on the base of their dorsal species. Oscar fish matures in a year and reproduces up to 10 years.

Smaller females lay about 500 eggs while the larger females lay a whooping 2,500-3000 eggs. Amazing right?

Protective Parents

Though the Oscar fish is generally known to be aggressive predator, they are protective parents. They make sure the eggs are not sucked while feeding. They tend to protect the young ones till they are old enough to leave their territory

How To Roast Oscar Fish In The Oven. Step By Step Guide

Now that you know you can eat Oscar fish let me take you through a step-by-step guide on preparing the yummiest fish.

The first and most crucial step is to buy fresh oscar fish. A tiger oscar retails to about $16.99 on average. Below are simple steps on how to prepare it.

1. Make sure you buy an oscar fish from the market.

2. Check if the fish is fresh. Its eyes should not be cloudy, the flesh should be bouncy when touched, and gills should be bright.

3. The fish should not be very stinky.

4. Request the fish to be prepared for cooking by removing the scales, gutting it, and giving it a good rinse.

You will now need simple ingredients, and they are; your fish, olive oil, garlic, lemon, rosemary, salt, and pepper. 

With the ingredients, let the process begin.

1. Rinse the fish again, then dry it with a clean towel.

2. Slit the fish on both sides and ensure they are about an inch apart.

3. Brush the whole fish with olive oil; you should be very generous with this process, make sure the slits have a plentiful amount of oil.

4. Create a marinade with your ingredients by mixing oil with crushed garlic, rosemary, and lemon. (leave a piece of lemon to be used later)

5. Using your hands, rub your fish with the marinade, make sure both parts of the fish are generously covered with the marinade

6. Season it with enough salt and pepper.

Now we are ready for the oven.

1. Roast your fish at the temperature of 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes. Then remove the fish from the oven.

2. Add lemon juice from the remainder of the lemon.

3. The fish is now ready for serving.


Oscar fish species are edible and are a local delicacy in their native origin, but most people prefer petting them, especially in England and the US. You can go ahead and cook an Oscar fish for the most delicious fish.

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