I thought this would be a good idea to post here. Here is a list of things to offer your Oscars to give them a very well balanced diet that best approximates their natural diet. Feeding these things can greatly enhance the health and coloration of your Oscar.
Feeder fish: This is a highly debated issue, however in the wild Oscars will on occasion feed on small fish. The risk of diseases can be reduced simply by breeding and raising your own guppies as feeders. Feeder fish should never be offered to your Oscar as the only food option for them. Too many Oscar keepers fall into this trap.
Frozen or Live foods: Also available to the hobbyist is a large variety of frozen foods such as brine shrimp, beef heart, and blood worms. In addition to the frozen foods that can be offered there are also live cultures available. One of the great places to go shopping for food for your Oscar is in the Seafood section of your local grocery store. Shrimp, Scallops, and Squid make great offerings for your Oscar as well. Now granted, these are not things they will eat naturally in the wild, but they do provide good nutrition for them and they will help to contribute to an overall balanced diet.
Insects: Insects are a wonderful option for your Oscar. During the rainy season the rivers overflow their banks and the Oscars can be found through out the flooded portions of the forest where they happily forage for all sorts of bugs. You local petstore should have a supply of things like Wax Worms, Meal Worms, Crickets, Black Worms and even Earth Worms. All of these will be accepted by your Oscar. Try to avoid using wild caught insects as these can introduce unwanted things like poisons and other such harmful substances.
Commercial Foods: There is a large variety of pellets, flakes and wafers available on the market today and many of them claim to have the most balanced diet available for your fish, however the biggest problem that can be encountered with feeding Oscars exclusively on commercial pellets, flakes or wafers is that they can dissolve way too easily and contribute to the overall messiness of the tank. Brian Scott, author of the "Top of the Food Chain" column in Tropical Fish Hobbyist magazine recommends providing Oscars with a pellet food high in vegetable matter. This aspect of the diet will help maintain the sharp coloration even as Oscars age. The fading of an Oscar's colors does not have to happen as they age, they can be maintained.
Others: I'll simply call this last area "others" because it is comprised of vegetables, fruits, and nuts. You may be surprised to see nuts included, however Oscars will happily accept some of the softer varieties of tropical nuts, if those are not available, peanuts may also be offered. Be sure they are dried, shelled, and unsalted. There is a large variety of fruits and veggies that can be offered and as mentioned earlier, these will help maintain the colors of your Oscar. Another recommendation from Brian Scott was to offer your Oscar frozen peas, do not thaw them before offering them, simply remove them from the freezer, rinse them and offer them one at a time.
While it is nearly impossible to give Oscars exact species that they will consume in the wild, it is very possible to closely approximate these things and keep your Oscars vibrant and healthy and allow them to live to their fullest potential in almost every aspect.
Credit: Much of the information was gleaned from the "Top of the Food Chain" column in the June 2007 edition of Tropical Fish Hobbyist by Brian Scott. For more details on feeding Oscars at different stages, consult that article. It is an eye opening read an well worth your time.
Thats my way of doing things, thank you! Excellent work dude
Very nice!!! Variety is the key I believe.
Also another little tip thrown in... feed your feeder fish spirinula flakes 30 minutes before feeding it to the Oscar that way they also get green goodness full of vitamins at the same time.
Great write up.. thank you for sharing
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Good read, Brad. Thanks for posting it.
Very good, my friend :). Will help users correctly feed their fish, thank you.
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Amen, good diets IMO are the key to keeping healthy oscars. It also all but removes the risk of HITH, IMO. Nourish by seachem is a good thing to sporatically soak some fresh foods/pellets in for them just to give them that extra boost :)
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thanks gold barb
One thing not mentioned was the size of the pellets. Ideally they are just small enough to be swallowed whole. This greatly helps reduce the amount of waste because the fish can swallow it immediately, they don't have to wait for it to soften (which also removes some water-soluble nutrients).
In addition, the texture of the pellets can also have a huge effect on how dirty the food is. Some hold together much better than others. NLS and Hikari both tend to hold their shape pretty well even after floating for a little while and being discharged from the gills. I have found that others are very bad about this. When I was using Tetra pellets they tended to fall apart very easily and relatively quickly. They would make a massive mess as the oscars ate them, seems like most of it came right out of the gills just to feed the filters.
I have found that a high quality pellet should be most of the diet.
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