What Is The Best Fish Food For Oscar Fish To Eat?

Oscar fish eat a wide variety of foods in the wild, even some you really wouldn’t expect. 

It’s our job as aquarists to provide them with the best diet we possibly can.

In this guide, I’ll teach you about what Oscar fish eat in the wild and how using this information, you can pick the best oscar fish food to provide your fish with the varied diet it needs.

Oscars Feeding in the Wild

Oscars (Astronotus ocellatus) are large cichlids native to South America, including the Amazon River basin.

They are an omnivorous species that live mostly off of live prey, like small fish, shrimp, insects and insect larvae.

During the rainy season, when parts of the forest floor become flooded, Oscar fish often leave their usual territory to exploit any extra food they can find among the trees.

Oscars have been known to even eat nuts that they find in the flooded forest as well as any small fruits they come across.

So basically, they’ll eat just about anything that they can fit in their mouths. 

Best Food For Oscar Fish

As you can see, Oscars eat an extremely varied diet in the wild and it’s best to recreate this as much as possible in the home aquarium.

Feeding your Oscars a variety of foods will ensure they get all the nutrients they need to be healthy and colorful.

Prepared Foods

I really think that a good carnivore pellet should be the staple diet that you feed your Oscar fish.

This species will gladly munch on flake food, but they are such messy eaters, they usually leave behind tons of little pieces that end up rotting in the tank.

They’re more likely to swallow pellets whole and hopefully spare you all the mess.

Foods I recommend:

  • Fluval Bug Bites Cichlid Formula – made from black soldier fly larvae, this high protein food mimics the insects Oscars would naturally eat
  • Omega One Super Color Cichlid Pellets – salmon is the main ingredient in this food and it has added ingredients like whole shrimp and marigold extract that can help bring out your Oscar’s red color
  • Northfin Cichlid Pellets – this food features whole Antarctic krill as the first ingredient, another food that yields high protein and brings out red coloration
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Pro Tip: Always check the ingredients of fish food. Unfortunately, many contain fillers and low quality ingredients. Please, check out this article for more information.

Fresh/Frozen Foods

Fresh and frozen foods are a great way to provide tasty protein to your fish. Your Oscars will be more than happy to gobble up these treats. 

Foods I recommend:

  • Shrimp
  • Mussels 
  • Tilapia filets (cut to size)
  • Clams 
  • Earthworms 

Pro Tip: Bloodworms and brine shrimp are great foods, but are too small for adult Oscars.

Veggies 

Oscars do benefit from a bit of vegetable matter in their diets.

This might sound weird, but the best way to accomplish this is to give them some frozen peas occasionally. 

Yep, I know it sounds crazy at first, but pea protein is actually a major ingredient in a lot of fish foods. It’s a great thing to add to their diets.

I feed them to my big cichlids and they go crazy for them. I just grab a few out of the bag and put them in a cup of tank water to thaw them out. The fish gulp them up like they would pellets.

Don’t Use Feeder Fish

I know that some people will want to take me to task about this topic.

Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.

I really think that the risks involved with using feeder fish far outweigh the benefits. 

First of all, it’s totally unnecessary to use feeder fish. There are so many different options out there for protein rich food sources for your fish.

Second, feeder fish are notorious for carrying pests and diseases that can infect your Oscar fish. 

I’ve seen it countless times on forums where someone’s fish ends up with a parasite and the only possible explanation for it was that it came from feeder fish.

Feeder fish are bred, raised, transported and housed under what I consider to be the worst possible conditions. It’s no surprise that they’re often sick.

Third, feeder fish are often not that nutritious because they’ve been fed nothing but the cheapest possible filler food.

Feeder fish are only as nutritious as the food they’ve been fed. So you’re basically going the long way around to feed your Oscar crap food.

Why do all this if it isn’t even that good for your fish?

So, the long and the short of it is I don’t recommend feeder fish and don’t think they’re a good option for your Oscar’s diet.

Final Thoughts On The Best Fish Food For Oscar Fish

Oscar fish eat a wide variety of foods in the wild, even some you really wouldn’t expect. 

It’s our job as aquarists to provide them with the best diet we possibly can. 

I recommend picking up a few kinds of high quality pellets that you can rotate around to add variety to their everyday diet.

Then add on things like fresh/frozen foods as treats a few times a week and occasionally give them some peas.

It might take a little more effort to feed this way, but your reward will be a happy and healthy Oscar fish with great color.

I hope you find this article helpful.

I wish you and your fish the best of luck!

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Katherine Morgan
Hey, there! I'm Katherine from Northwest Florida. A nunchuck specialist, I've kept aquariums for over two decades, enjoy experimenting with low-tech planted setups and an avid South American cichlid enthusiast. If You'd like to see more of my tanks, check out my Instagram

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