Tin Foil Barbs are a hazardous choice. If you decide to go with these guys, you'll need a large tank. I recommend a 6ft tank bare minimum. Tinfoil barbs can and do exceed 12 inches in length. They are also very active fast swimmers that, like the others, prefer to be kept in groups no less than 3. These fish grow fast, but when they are young, could easily be eaten by an adult oscar. Be wary of this choice in dither fish.
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The oscar was formally described in 1831 as Lobotes ocellatus by the famous 19th century zoologist and founder of Harvard University’s Museum of Comparative Zoology, Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz. The genus Lobotes however, is entirely marine, and fishes of this genus, known as tripletails (Lobotidae) are of no meaningful relation to cichlids. It is surmised that Agassiz chose Lobotes in describing the oscar based on the fact that he believed his specimen or specimens to have been collected in the Atlantic Ocean. Considering the similarity in appearance of the oscar to the marine tripletails and the erroneous locality information, the original placement of the oscar in Lobotes is not surprising. Current taxonomic placement of the oscar is in the South American cichlid genus Astronotus. Astronotus is derived from the Greek words "astra" = ray and "noton" = back. Ocellatus is Latin for spotted, referring to the spotted pattern on the body of this fish. Synonyms include Acara compressus Cope 1872 and Hyposticta acara Cope 1878. Astronotus has long been considered a monotypic genus, but recent studies indicate that a number of other species of "oscar" abound in South America. Astronotus ocellatus as originally described appears to be restricted to Peru and Brazil.
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Though Oscars can make for an entertaining and interesting beginner fish, it's important to not be fooled by their initial small size and seemingly social behavior. Most Oscars for sale in pet stores will be about 1" (~3 cm) long and probably kept in a small tank with a variety of other oscars and cichlids. However, don't let these little fish fool you into taking one home and trying to raise it in a ten gallon or community tank. Oscars grow quickly and will require a tank of least 100 gallons and will incur fairly expensive feeding costs once they are full grown. In addition, they are predatory and should not be kept with other fish unless as a mated pair or in a very large tank. Don't be discouraged however! If you find this is the fish for you, they are actually quite easy to take care of from a feeding/tank maintenance standpoint and are perfect for the diligent, prepared, and properly informed beginner!
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