Oscars are among the most popular types of cichlids. This is because they are so large and they have great personalities.
Many have noted that these fish are similar to dogs in certain ways. They can be satisfying pet fish to own, but the fact that they’re so big can be impractical for some.
If you don’t have room for a 100-gallon aquarium in your home, you might be wondering if you could keep Oscars outside. Can Oscar fish live in a pond?
Read on to learn about whether it’s practical for Oscars to live in a pond. This will help you to decide how to move forward.
There’s a lot to consider before you get started with this idea. For the sake of the fish, you’ll want to read all of the information below so that you can approach things with the proper knowledge.
Putting Oscars in a Pond is Likely Not a Good Idea
Putting Oscars in a pond is likely not going to be a good idea. This is because Oscars are tropical fish.
These fish require warm water to be able to survive. In a fish tank, you’ll need to use a heater to keep the water warm enough for these fish.
Oscars need the water to stay between 75 degrees Fahrenheit and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It might be hot enough in your area during the spring and summer to keep the fish alive in a pond, but that’s going to change during the autumn and winter months.
When the temperature dips too low, it’ll severely stress the fish. Eventually, the Oscars in the pond will die.
There is a caveat to consider, though. You could use some type of artificial pond that has a heater.
Essentially, you’d be putting the Oscars into a temperature-controlled environment that’s just outdoors. Some people have done this successfully and it can work out if you treat the pond sort of like a fish tank.
You’ll need to monitor the condition of the water and check the temperature regularly to ensure that the fish will be okay. If you’re not willing to do this, you should nix the idea of putting Oscars in a pond right now.
Protect the Pond From the Elements
If you choose to move forward, it’s important to protect the pond from the elements. Rain, snow, and other such things can be bad for the fish.
You’re also going to want to protect the pond from debris. Leaves and other things might get in the tank and this could make the habitat unhealthy for your Oscars.
Mitigate such issues by providing the pond with some type of cover. It’s common for people to cover ponds with structures so nothing will fall into them.
Using a roof or some type of overhang to protect the pond is a great idea. This should keep leaves and other debris from falling into the pond too often as well.
If something does happen to get in, you can always clean the pond up a bit. You’ll still need to maintain the pond even if you choose to protect it with a roof.
Why is Rain and Snow Bad for the Pond?
You might be wondering why rain and snow is bad for the pond. If the heater keeps the water hot enough, would rain really cause issues for the Oscars?
Rain and snow can cause many problems in the pond that could wind up killing your fish. One thing to consider is that too much rain and snow will raise the water level in the pond.
This could cause issues with overflowing and some of the fish might even get pushed out of the water. You could go to look at your pond one day and notice that several of your fish have died due to the pond overflowing.
Another problem involves the water parameters. You need to keep the water in the right condition for the Oscar fish.
Too much rain, snow, hail and other such things will throw everything off. It can make the pH balance of the water different and it can change the temperature of the water.
This could either stress the Oscar fish or kill them outright depending on how bad things get. You can see why protecting the pond from the elements is crucial.
Snow can be troublesome because it might block light out completely. Fish need to have periods of light and dark to maintain a normal rhythm.
There are so many ways that the elements can harm your fish when you’re keeping them in an artificial pond outside. You must protect them by using a structure such as a roof.
The placement of the pond is something you should pay close attention to. Even if you utilize a roof or an overhang, putting the pond in the wrong spot can make things problematic.
For example, putting it too close to bushes or trees will make it easy for plant debris and leaves to get blown into the pond on windy days. You also want to protect the pond from sunlight.
Direct sunlight has the potential to make algae grow in the pond. Too much algae will make for an unhealthy environment for the Oscars.
Algae issues can get out of control faster than you might realize. For this reason, you should put your pond in a spot where direct sunlight won’t be a huge issue.
Using a roof can help to mitigate such concerns, but the sun can still hit the pond at an angle if it’s placed in a certain spot. Be mindful of this and try to choose an appropriate location for the pond where direct sunlight won’t be problematic.
The Pond Can Also Get Too Hot
Earlier, you learned that Oscars need the water temperature to stay between 75 degrees Fahrenheit and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. What happens when the water gets too hot?
A heater can keep the water warm enough, but it isn’t going to cool things down during the hottest summer days. There’s a good chance that you live in an area where certain days during the summer will be in the 90s or even 100s on the Fahrenheit temperature scale.
This will cause the water to be way too hot for the fish. Oscars can likely tolerate temperatures that are a bit too high, but the hotter the water gets the less likely it is that the Oscars will remain okay.
Cooling the water is something that can be done by throwing a bit of ice into the water on hot days. Enthusiasts often treat the water with conditioner to try to get it to stay in the right range as well.
Shading the pond with a roof can help the water to remain cooler as well. You just have to do what you can to regulate the temperature so it won’t get too hot for the Oscars.
Feed the Oscars Normally
Feed the Oscars as you normally would if they were in a fish tank. You’ll have to give them enough food to keep them healthy.
Oscars are omnivores that will eat meaty foods as well as veggies. In the wild, they eat a lot of insects, crustaceans, and plants.
You’ll likely be feeding the Oscars tropical fish flakes and nutritional pellets most of the time. It can also be beneficial to give them meaty foods such as freeze-dried shrimp and bloodworms from time to time.
How often to feed the fish depends on the age of the fish. Juvenile Oscars need to eat three times per day, but adults should be fed twice per day.
Should You Put Oscars in a Pond?
Whether you should put Oscars in a pond is up to you. Honestly, it won’t be as easy as taking care of Oscars in a fish tank.
There’s so much more that you have to worry about when keeping fish in a pond. These are tropical fish that can die if the water temperature gets too cold.
It’s easier for the fish to become stressed when they’re being kept in a pond. You might have a tougher time keeping the water parameters in the right range.
The fish might also be attacked by predators in the area. Certain birds and other types of wildlife could attempt to get the fish and snack on them.
Oscars are big fish, but some predators will be able to get them. You can take steps to protect the fish, but coming up with a foolproof option might not be possible.
You’ll also need to protect the fish from direct sunlight, plant debris, and many other things. With so much to consider, it’s easy to see why keeping the fish in a home aquarium is simpler.
If you have enough room for a large fish tank in your home, it’d be better to keep Oscar fish there. Other fish are more suited to living in a pond.
For example, koi fish are very popular fish that people put in ponds. Getting some of these fish for an outdoor pond might be a better option.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t find success with keeping Oscars in a pond. It simply might require more effort than some are willing to put in.
Jeff has always enjoyed having pets, but as a child, he was drawn to his family’s fish tank. Being able to maintain a small ecosystem and observe the behaviors and interactions in the underwater world peaked his interest early on and has kept him hooked until this day. On Avid Aquarist, Jeff shares everything he’s learned about helping aquatic life survive and thrive in a home aquarium.