The Oscar (Astronotus ocellatus) is a tropical freshwater fish from the cichlid family. It is also called the Tiger Oscar, the Velvet Oscar, or the Marble Oscar.
The Oscar is dark-coloured with yellow-ringed spots or orange patches. It is able to change its colour. It has bulging orange-brown eyes and thick lips.
It measures about 45 centimetres (18 inches) in length.
The Oscar is native to the tropical waters of the Amazon river basin in South America, in countries such as Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, and French Guiana. It prefers slow-moving freshwater rivers and streams.
It is territorial and will chase away other fish.
It is carnivorous, eating meat, such as other fish, as well as crabs, crayfish, worms, and insects.
The female lays 1,000-3,000 eggs on a flat horizontal or vertical surface. Other fish eat most of the eggs. The female looks after the young that survive.
[Location of photographs: Tbilisi Zoo, Georgia and Aquarium de Paris-Cinéaqua]
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM