Can Oscar Fish Get Depressed? 6 Reasons Why They Do

Can Oscar Fish get Depressed?  why they do

Oscar fish are one of the most aggressive freshwater aquarium fish, they are quite big and could be very hardy. Due to their mode or behaviors sometimes, many aquarists do believe that they could get depressed sometimes. The question is, can they? You will find out in this article and also the reasons why they could.

Can Oscar fish get depressed? Yes, it has been scientifically proven that fish could get depressed.

Now you know that Oscar fish and every other fish could sometimes get sad, but your question now might be, why, and what reasons could they get sad or depressed. You will learn about that in a minute.

Although Oscars are very aggressive and very lively fish too, they could also be sad for some reasons, despite being very active, and when they do, their attitude will automatically change, and they will begin to swim frantically, hitting themselves on the tank bottom or wall, gravel or rock, and even locking their fins at their sides.

Some of the factors that could depress Oscar fish

1. Aggression: Although Oscars are very aggressive fish, in fact, they are agents of aggression themselves because they could nip at anything that trespasses on their territory, but sometimes they could be victims of aggression too.

Generally, fish don’t like getting stressed, so, when there are other aggressive fish or another male Oscar in the tank, they will end up fighting over territories and food, etc, thereby stressing each other, which could lead to depression for both of them.

No fish loves to be stressed, because
stress triggers their depression.

2. Another factor that could easily lead to depression in Oscar fish and other fish is poor water quality.

Water is the primary source of life for an aquatic animal, which fish is among, so, when the water is of poor quality, maybe because it is dirty, it contains dangerous toxins, etc, then the water will become dangerous for any living thing in it, including fish.

Once the water quality is poor, it will become unsafe for any fish in it and will frustrate them, and the fish will become very sad and less active and lively.

3. Wrong water parameters is will frustrate any aquatic animal and even Oscar fish, and they will become depressed and even sick.

Every aquatic animal has its specific water type and water requirements that match its nature.

A fish-like Oscar thrives in a water parameter of – The ideal temperature for Oscar Fish is between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit (23 – 27 Celcius) and they prefer a pH balance of between 6 and 8. Oscars can tolerate a wide range of water hardness levels but we would recommend keeping it around 12dH – 15dH.

So, when the ideal water parameters of this fish, as described above do not match with the water they are in, then, they will be sad and might get sick, and even die if nothing is done to correct the wrong water parameters.

4. Tank size could also contribute to aggression and depression in fish.

A big and aggressive fish like the Oscars need up to a 75gallons tank per fish, but many people tend to keep them in a smaller tank, where they won’t have the full potential to swim freely and thrive, so, the result will be lots of aggression and also depression.

I mean, when a big and aggressive fish like that is placed in a small tank, it won’t be free nor will it be healthy, so the result will be depression and aggression.

5. Sickness: Apart from water quality and unsuitable water parameters, another commonest reason why you Oscar fish might be depressed is that it is sick.

Although they are very hardy fish that could tolerate many conditions, they are also prone to sickness, just like other fish.

Many diseases could infect them, and cause them to be sick, and the majority of those diseases are because of lack of proper care, and some of the diseases could be a result of aggression, which involves fin and tail nipping, which could result in fin rot, etc.

6. Poor feeding: Food is very important in the lives of every living thing, and when there is no food or the food is of poor quality, that particular animal will neither be lively nor healthy.

Although Oscar fish could endure hunger for weeks, when they do it consistently, or the food they are being fed is of poor quality, then they will become depressed and even sick.

So, give your fish good quality foods and feed them twice a day.

Do Oscar Fish Get Lonely?

Oscar fish are not social fish, so, they don’t need other fish of their kind to live, because they are alright being kept alone.

They don’t get lonely because they even prefer to live on their own. Even if they are kept in groups, they won’t still corporate with each other, as each fish will define its territory and will fight any other fish that trespasses.

So they are not social fish and normally do fine on their own than when kept with other Oscars.

Do Oscar Fish Get Bored?

Yes, Oscar fish could get bored if there are no interesting things in the tank that could keep them busy.

They are not social fish and does not corporate with each other, so they need things of interest in their tank to keep them busy.

So, things like caves, live plants, pipes, gravels, etc, are very important in your fish tank, as these will help to keep your Oscars busy and prevent them from. getting bored.

One fascinating thing about these fish is, that once they get bored or depressed, other fish in that tank are in trouble, especially smaller fish, because they will be chased, and their fins and tails ripped off, etc.


As you have learned above, Oscar fish could get depressed, and preventing this is very easy, just practice a good fish-keeping habit and keep your Oscar alone, or with non aggressive bottom dwelling fish.