Oscar Varieties, A Photographic Record of Different Types of Oscar Fish (Astronotus Ocellatus)

Posted in About Oscars

Two Oscars

Oscars are all the same species (Astronotus ocellatus), however, there are several color varieties and forms available.


There are no differences in care for any species, with the exception of Albino Oscars, which may require decreased lighting due to a potential sensitivity to bright lights common in albinos of any species.

The most common varities are those Oscars we normally see at most fish stores. They include Tiger Oscars, Red Oscars, and Common Oscars.

Tiger Oscar

(Dark base color with orange/red stripes).

It is believed that Tiger Oscars are the result of selective breeding of Red Oscars back to Common Oscars and "fixing" the resulting strain.

Tiger Oscars

Red Oscar

(Dark base color with solid or mostly solid orange/red that does not form bold stripes.)

Red Oscars are a strain originally developed by Charoen Pattabonge, a Thai businessman, who noticed some oscars with abnormally high red coloration in a recent shipment and was subsequently able to fix a strain we know today as the "Red Oscar". This strain starting becoming prevelent in the hobby in 1969. One of the distinquishing characteristics of the Red Oscar is that it does not have an eyespot on the tail.

Red Oscars

Common Oscar (aka Wildtype Oscar)

(Dark base color with lighter stripes, generally yellow, grey, or pale green, and very little to no orange. This is the color of wild oscars) Common Oscars 

Albino Oscars

True albinos are mostly white with potentially very vivid orange/red coloration. Most people call any oscar with a light base color and no dark pigment “albinos” even though they are not true ablinos. The key indicator as to if your Oscar is an Albino Oscar is the eyes and fins. If the eyes are pink (or possibly orange) and there is no dark coloration on the fins, it is an Albino. Otherwise, it is a lutino.

“Albino” oscars come in red & tiger patterns.

Albino Tiger Oscar 

(White/light base color with red/orange stripes)

Albino Tiger Oscar 

Albino Red Oscar

(White/light base color with solid red/orange) Albino Red Oscars

Lutino Oscars

These look like “albino” oscars, but have some darker coloration, generally on the fins or the eye spot. They also come in red & tiger patterns. If you have an Oscar displaying any black coloration, in the eyes or fins, but otherwise looks like an Albino, it is a Lutino. Albino's cannot produce black, brown, or green pigments.

Lutino tiger

(White/light base color with orange stripes and some brown/grey on the fins and/or body)

Lutino Tiger Oscars 

Lutino red

(White/light base color with solid orange and some brown/grey on the fins.)

Lutino Red Oscar 

Rare Oscar Varities

Sunshine Lemon Oscar

Lemon Oscar

Golden Oscar 

(similar to a red oscar, but has more of a yellow/golden color instead of red/orange)

Golden Oscars 

Bloody/Super Red Oscar 

(an extreme red oscar which is a very vibrant, solid red)

Bloody Red Oscars 

Dyed Oscars

Oscars have also fallen victim to the process of dyeing.This is a horrible process which weakens the fish making it much more susceptibe to illnesses and shortens its lifespan. Plus the color eventually fades so you're left with an expensive, sickly, “albino”/lutino. Please do not buy dyed fish.

Blueberry Oscar 

(“albino” or lutino red/tiger oscars dyed blue)

Blueberry Oscar - Just wrong 

Strawberry Oscar

(“albino” or lutino red/tiger oscars dyed red/pink) These aren't as common as “blueberry” oscars. Also, some albino/lutino oscars naturally have a pink/peach base color, but on a dyed oscar, it won't look as solid or evenly distributed.)

Strawberry Oscar - Just wrong 

Oscar Oddities

Along with the different color varieties, oscars have also been selectively bred for different body/fin shapes.

Veiltail Oscar 

(Have longer than normal fins & tails. Come in all common color varieties)

Veiltail Oscars 

Short bodied/Balloon Oscar

(Have a shorter, more compact body than normal) Come in all color varieties. These are relatively rare and in many cases, oscars with shorter than normal bodies are actually stunted and horribly deformed from being kept in poor conditions rather than selectively bred to be that way so be leary about buying short bodied oscars.

Shortbodied Oscar

Other Species

There are also 2 other species belonging to the genus Astronotus. These are not oscars, but they are closely related and look somewhat similar. They are also pretty rare to find in LFS's. There is some debate as to if these are two different species or one.

Astronotus orbicularis


Astronotus crassipinnis