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Astronotus ocellatus 'albino' (Albino Oscar)

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An albino variety of the common oscar. Although the ground colour is pinkish-white, the orange to coppery markings are still present. As is typical with albino varieties, this fish tends to be a bit smaller and less hardy than the normal type.

Fish information (behaviour and breeding):

Big, relatively peaceful and full of character oscars are among the most popular of all the cichlids. They make excellent pets, being easy to tame and highly intelligent. They also tend to get along well with other fish of similar size, including large loricariid catfish, clown loaches, and stingrays.

In the wild oscars feed principally on shelled invertebrates, particularly crayfish and snails, together with small fishes. They also eat some plant material, particularly fruit. In the aquarium they are adaptable omnivores and do well on good quality cichlid pellets augmented with treats of various sorts such as bloodworm, unshelled shrimp, chopped seafood, algae wafers, and tinned peas.

Maintenance is relatively easy, but they do need a big aquarium. A single adult specimen will require not less than 400 litres. Filtration must be superb, as these fish are both extremely messy and highly sensitive to poor water quality. Under poor conditions they are very prone to hole-in-the-head.

Oscars are not aggressive, and do not like being kept with more aggressive cichlids. But they are territorial, and shouldn't be overcrowded either. They are, of course, predatory, and tankmates should be big enough not to be viewed as food.

Breeding is relatively easy and these fish prolific spawners and excellent parents. But they are difficult to sex. Realistically, you will need to raise a group together (six specimens is usual for this) and then remove matched pairs as they form. They are substrate spawners, depositing up to 1000 eggs into a cleaned spawning pit. The eggs will hatch in three to four days and both parents will help to care for the young. The fry are quite easy to rear on Artemia nauplii, liquid fry food, and eventually powdered flake food.

Family Group: South and Central American Cichlids
Distribution South America: Amazon River basin
Temperature 24-28 C
Size Up to 40 cm, though typically quite a bit smaller
Water Parameters Prefers soft/acid conditions, but somewhat adaptable
Water PH 5.0-7.5
Diet Adaptable
Sociability Aggressive
Care Level Easy
Water Chemistry less than pH 7 - acidic
Schooling Fish No