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Oscar Fish vs. Flowerhorn (Which Fish Is Best for Your Tank?)

Oscar Fish vs. Flowerhorn (Which Fish Is Best for Your Tank?)

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This post is written to the author's best knowledge and is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. In addition, this post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Some people are very interested in buying large cichlids for their fish tanks. Cichlids are popular types of fish and there are many different kinds that you can choose from.

Two popular types of large cichlids are Oscar fish and flowerhorn cichlids. If you don’t know a lot about these fish yet, you might be wondering what some of the differences between them are.

Is it better to buy Oscar fish or flowerhorn cichlids? Which type of fish will be the best option for a beginner?

Keep reading to learn more about both of these fish. Once you’ve learned a lot about them, it’ll be easier to make the best decision for your home aquarium.

Both Are Considered Great Pets

Both of these fish are considered to be great pets. If you’re looking for fish that will be fun to own, either a flowerhorn cichlid or an Oscar fish are both good options to buy.

Why are these two options considered to be such great pet fish? Simply put, they have interesting personalities.

Many people compare Oscar fish to dogs. They’re sort of like the pet fish version of owning a dog because of how interactive they are.

Flowerhorn cichlids are comparable to Oscars in certain ways. However, they’re quite a bit different once you start to dig into the details and compare the two.

Below, you’ll learn about various aspects of these fish. It should help you to get a better idea of which fish will be better for you.

Depending on what you want in a pet fish, it might be better to go with one option over the other. It’s up to you to decide which fish appeals to you the most.

Oscars and Flowerhorn Cichlids Look Much Different

Flowerhorn Fish

Both of these fish are large and you could say that they both look neat in different ways. They’re quite distinct from each other, though.

Oscars are large fish that have upturned mouths. They have a very recognizable body shape and overall look.

You’ll find that Oscar fish have rounded bodies. Flowerhorn cichlids are completely different because they have angular bodies.

Also, flowerhorn cichlids have a distinct “bump” on their foreheads. They have bumpy foreheads that almost look strange.

It sort of looks like these fish have swollen foreheads. There aren’t too many other fish that look this way and that gives them a unique charm.

The Behavior of the Fish

The behavior of these two fish is similar in certain ways. They’re both large types of cichlids who tend to be a bit aggressive.

Flowerhorn cichlids are substantially more aggressive than Oscars, though. It can be a bit of an annoyance how aggressive flowerhorn cichlids are.

Both of these fish like to “charge” toward you when you walk near the aquarium. It makes them quite fun to observe because they aren’t as timid as many other fish.

Oscars have a much broader range of behaviors, though. They sulk after water changes and they can also be quite calm at times.

If you’re looking for a more relaxed fish, Oscars will be the better option. This doesn’t mean that you won’t have to look out for issues with aggression, but it won’t be as troublesome as dealing with flowerhorn cichlids.

Flowerhorn Cichlids Can’t Be Community Fish

Flowerhorn on Its Own

Under no circumstances should you put flowerhorn cichlids in a community fish tank. It’s not going to go well if you make these mistakes.

Flowerhorn cichlids are so aggressive and mean that they will attack the fish that you put in the tank. They make terrible community aquarium fish overall.

That means that you’ll just have to keep flowerhorn cichlids in their own tank. You won’t be able to mix and match with other types of fish to enjoy a diverse aquarium.

Things are much different with Oscars. Oscars are a lot easier to find tank mates for.

Oscar fish can be aggressive, but there are many fish that they will get along with. You can find compatible tank mates for these fish and have a good experience.

Many types of catfish are known to be compatible with Oscars. There are several good options to look into that will allow you to create a satisfying community fish tank environment.

If having a community fish tank is important to you, it’ll be best to go with Oscars. You still need to be careful which fish you choose for the tank, but at least it’s possible to put Oscars in a community tank setting.

Dietary Needs

Flowerhorn cichlids and Oscars eat the same types of food. They’re both omnivores that will be fed nutritional pellets as well as meaty foods.

It’s common to give these fish bloodworms, freeze-dried shrimp, and other types of meaty treats. You just have to remember to thaw frozen food before feeding it to the fish.

You should feed these fish two or three times per day. It’s better to do this than to feed the fish one very large meal per day.

Feeding the fish too much at once can lead to constipation issues. You want to avoid this since it can cause the swim bladder to malfunction.

There are some differences to note about these fish that you should know about. Flowerhorns are often fed special types of food to help them look as red as possible.

So you might need to buy recommended foods that will help flowerhorn cichlids to be more colorful. Also, there are special foods that are designed to make the “humps” on their foreheads as large as possible.

Feeding flowerhorn cichlids will be a bit different if you choose to feed them the special types of food. It isn’t truly necessary to do this just to care for the fish, though.

You can also feed Oscars food that will enhance the red or orange coloration of their bodies as well. It’s just not as common for people to do this because Oscars naturally look really neat.

When you don’t feed flowerhorn cichlids the special foods that enhance color they tend to look dull. Thus, it might not be ideal if you don’t go with the special diet.

Oscars Are Far Healthier Fish

Two Oscar Fish

Oscars are far healthier fish compared to flowerhorn cichlids. You’ll find that Oscars are some of the hardiest fish that you can purchase.

They’re very easy to care for and it doesn’t take much to keep them alive. You need to give them the right water parameters and keep the tank clean, but they’re not fussy fish.

Flowerhorn cichlids are not very robust fish. These fish are a lot more fragile and they will die if you don’t care for them properly.

Buying Oscars as a beginner will be a fairly good experience. Aside from being a bit on the big side, they’re not difficult to care for in any way.

Flowerhorn cichlids shouldn’t be purchased by beginners. They’re too fragile and will likely die if you make minor errors too often.

This is partially because flowerhorns are a type of hybrid fish. Flowerhorns were created by selectively breeding certain fish.

The selective breeding process has made these fish far less robust than many other cichlids. Flowerhorns don’t necessarily get sick all the time, but they are more susceptible to various issues.

If you want to buy a fish that will be easy to keep healthy, Oscars will be a far better choice. Flowerhorns are trickier fish to care for that are best left to people who have enough experience to handle them.

Which Fish Lives Longer?

It probably won’t surprise you to hear that Oscars live longer than flowerhorn cichlids on average. The average lifespan of an Oscar fish is between ten and twenty years.

Since these fish can live for quite a long time, they’re going to make great pet fish. You have the potential to enjoy caring for your Oscar fish for well over a decade.

Of course, you still have to care for the fish properly to keep it alive for that long. The Oscar fish will need to be fed properly and you’ll need to keep the fish tank’s water clean.

Flowerhorn cichlids live for much shorter periods of time. It’s common for these fish to die after just a few years in captivity.

However, they can live for as long as fifteen years. Someone who is skilled enough to meet the care needs of these fish might be able to keep them alive for quite a while.

This just drives home the point that flowerhorn cichlids are only good options for experienced aquarium enthusiasts. If you’re just starting out, it’s better to go with a hardy fish such as an Oscar fish.

The Cost of the Fish

Looking at a Flowerhorn in a Fish Tank

It costs quite a bit more to buy flowerhorn cichlids. You’re often going to pay close to $100 to get a flowerhorn cichlid from a respectable pet store.

These fish are typically imported and that makes the cost go up a bit. If you’re not prepared to spend that amount of money on a fish, it might not be good to go after flowerhorn cichlids.

Oscars can usually be found at much lower prices. You can often find juvenile Oscar fish being sold for under $10, but larger mature Oscars will cost a lot more.

Some Oscars might cost you $50, if they’re large and have really nice coloration. You’re pretty much always going to be able to get Oscars at a lower price than flowerhorn cichlids, though.

It is worth noting that you’ll need a powerful filter for your fish tank if you buy Oscars. These fish can be a bit messy and you’ll need a strong filter to keep the water clean.

Therefore, there might be some extra costs to consider when buying Oscars. Despite this, flowerhorns will still be more expensive overall due to their special dietary needs.

Since you’ll likely want to purchase color-enhancing food for the fish, it’ll wind up being even more expensive. If you’re on a budget, it’s better to stick with Oscars.

Oscars Are More Readily Available

You should note that it’s easier to find Oscar fish at pet stores in North America. It’s unlikely that you’ll walk into a pet store and find flowerhorn cichlids for sale.

This might happen every so often, but they’re far less common than Oscars. Oscars are generally available to purchase from the big North American pet store chains all the time.

Most stores that sell fish will have Oscars regularly. This makes it far simpler to buy them if you’re interested.

If you decide you want to purchase flowerhorn cichlids, you’ll likely have to order them from someplace overseas. You could more easily impulse buy Oscar fish at a pet store.

Can Oscars and Flowerhorn Cichlids Live Together?

As mentioned earlier, flowerhorn cichlids are very aggressive fish. They aren’t suitable for community fish tanks.

Trying to put Oscars in the same tank as flowerhorn cichlids would be bad. The most likely scenario would involve the flowerhorn cichlid bullying the Oscar fish.

Since you don’t want any of your fish to come to harm, it’s best to avoid such problems. Flowerhorns need to be kept in tanks by themselves.

You can own both Oscars and flowerhorn cichlids if you want to. Just keep them in separate tanks for safety purposes.

Final Thoughts

You’ve learned all about Oscar fish and flowerhorn cichlids now. These two fish are similar in some ways due to their size and the fact that they’re both cichlids.

Other than that, they don’t have too much in common. These fish are very different when it comes to how they look.

Oscar fish have rounded bodies while flowerhorns have angular bodies. Both can be aggressive fish, but flowerhorns are far more aggressive.

Flowerhorn cichlids are so aggressive that they can’t be placed in community fish tanks. Oscars can be community tank members when you place them with compatible tank mates.

You’ll also find that Oscars are hardier fish that are much easier to care for. Flowerhorn cichlids are best left to people who have experience because they’re more fragile.

Both fish are cool to look at and they have interesting personalities. Oscars have more to offer as pet fish because they’re just more fun overall.

Pick the fish that will be the best option for your fish tank. It’s likely that Oscars will be the more appealing option, but flowerhorn cichlids are interesting fish that you might also want to consider.

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