Why Is My Oscar Not Moving: Reasons & Treatment

An Oscar fish is a type of tropical fish that is often kept in an aquarium. They are popular because they are colorful and have a personality that some people find entertaining.

There are many reasons why an Oscar might not be moving, but the most common reasons are that the fish is stuck or they prefer to be on the bottom of the tank. If you see that your Oscar is not moving and you suspect that it might be stuck, it is best to take the fish to a qualified fish care professional.

oscar tiger cichlid with mostly solid grey color and a few orange spots, popular pet in aquaculture

Why Is My Oscar Staying on the Bottom of the Tank?

Many people are curious as to why their Oscar fish is not swimming or moving around like it usually does. There could be a few reasons why your Oscar fish may not be acting like itself.


The most common reason for an Oscar fish to not move around is because it is sick or injured. If you notice that your Oscar fish is not swimming or eating as it usually does, then it is probably time to take it to the vet to have it checked out. If you have other fish in your tank and they are all behaving normally, then there is a good chance that your Oscar fish is just sick.

Sudden Water Changes

Another common cause of an Oscar fish not moving or behaving normally is when there is an abrupt water change. This can affect both the pH level in your tank as well as the quantity and quality of the water flowing into it. If you notice that your Oscar fish is not swimming or eating normally, but has been doing so since before a recent water change, then it may be safe to assume that this was what caused its behavior to change. Sometimes, a water change will just upset your Oscar fish’s equilibrium and make it indisposed for a while. If this is the case, you may need to wait until your Oscar fish has had a chance to recover before trying to handle it again.

Unsuitable Water Parameters

If you have a fish tank and are noticing that your Oscars are not moving around as much as they used to, it may be because of the wrong water parameters. The water temperature, pH levels, and hardness should all be within the appropriate ranges for your fish tank. If any of these values are off, your fish may not be able to thrive and may even die.

Not Enough Aquarium Space

Oscar Fish is not moving because of a small tank. The fish is not able to swim because of the size of the tank. Fish need at least about a 55-gallon tank to feel comfortable and have enough room to swim around. This is especially true if the tank has lots and rocks as a part of it.

Incorrect Temperature

A fish tank should be kept at a temperature between 74 to 81 degrees Fahrenheit (23 to 27 degrees Celsius). If the water in your tank is not within these ranges, then your fish may not be able to adjust and will just choose to stay on the bottom of the fish tank. If the temperature continues to go unfavorable, your Oscar fish may eventually die.

Aggressive Tankmates

Aquarium fish may get aggressive when they feel threatened by another unfriendly neutral, a territorial dispute between two or more members of the species. In some cases, there will be so much stress and fighting on top of all other problems that it can lead to death. The best way out is to ensure you have your correct amount of water added as necessary and make sure nothing else comes into contacts with each other, such as neighboring plants or furniture.

Astronotus ocellatus is a popular aquarium fish in the cichlid family.

How to Treat Oscars That Lay at the Bottom?

If your Oscar fish has been laid down at the bottom of the tank, there are a few things you can do to try and get it moving again. One option is to try and give it some small fish to eat. Another option is to add some plants to the tank to provide some cover for the Oscar fish. If these methods do not work, you may need to take the Oscar fish to a fish store or aquarium specialist to be fixed.

Providing Sufficient Space

Oscars need a lot of space to survive. A 55-gallon tank is a minimum size that they should have, but they will do better in tanks that are at least 75 gallons. If your Oscar fish doesn’t have enough room to swim around, it will not be able to eat or live healthily.

Changing the Water Parameters

One of the most common problems that Oscar fish are victim to is water parameters being out of balance. If your Oscars tank’s pH, temperature, and dissolved oxygen levels are all off, then it may be difficult for your Oscar to survive. To adjust these settings in your tank, you can use a salt or freshwater mix kit or purchase an aquatic buffer.

Changing Aquarium Water

Water changes for Oscars can be quite simple or quite complex, depending on the size and type of fish. In general, however, water changes for Oscars should consist of a 50 percent water change every two to three days, with a larger water change (75 percent or more) on days when the Oscars appear to be stressed. When making water changes, always use fresh, cool water and change the entire tank rather than just adding new water to an already full tank.

Adjusting the Lighting

The Oscar fish is used to adjust the lighting in a tank to give the fish a better environment to live in. The fish need light to be able to see and swim around, so the Oscar fish adjust the lighting in the tank to make it more comfortable for them.

Adding Hiding Spots

Oscars are estuary fish and will spend a lot of time hiding out in dark crevices. They camouflage themselves so that they can stay hidden, making them difficult for small predators to catch. If the Oscar goes into hibernation when the light begins to grow dim at night, then you may want to install some type of cover or rocks over his or her tank lights (but do not completely block out all light).

Providing Enough Food

Oscars require a high-quality diet, made up of feeding items such as bloodworms, hermits, flakes, or tablets. Generally speaking, Oscars should be fed every day.


There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best way to deal with diseases in Oscars will vary depending on their specific situation. However, some general recommendations include keeping a close eye on the fish’s health and making sure they are getting the right amount of food and water. If you notice anything wrong with your Oscar fish, be sure to take it to a qualified pet store or aquarium specialist for help.

Is My Oscar Dying Because It’s Not Moving?

If you have an Oscar fish that is not moving, the first thing that may come to your mind is if it’s still alive, therefore, there are a few things you should be looking out for. First, make sure that the water is clean and that the fish has enough food. Second, watch for any changes in behavior or appearance. If your Oscar fish is not moving or seems to be in pain, it may be time to take it to a vet. But here are some of the signs that your Oscar fish might already be in the final stages of its life:

  • Loss of Appetite: Fish that are not eating is one of the most common signs of disease in fish tanks. Make sure to check the water quality and make sure your Oscar has enough food. If your Oscar is not eating, it may be time to take it to a vet.
  • Change in Appearance: If your Oscar fish is not eating or is acting differently, be sure to check its appearance. Changes in color, size, and shape may indicate that something is wrong. If you think your Oscar fish may be sick, take it to a vet.
  • No Awareness: If your Oscar fish is not responding to light or sounds, it may be in pain. If you have any questions about Oscar’s health, take it to a vet for an examination.
  • Distress in Breathing: If your Oscar fish is gasping for air or has a pinkish color to its scales, it may be experiencing respiratory distress. If you have any questions about the health of your Oscar, take it to a vet for an examination.