I was always under the impression that juvenile tiger oscars are typically black. The local fish store owner is calling this a tiger oscar. But it doesn't look like any I've ever seen. This oscar is about 1 1/2" to 2" right now, so he's quite young.
I'm definitely not an oscar aficionado, but I think tiger oscars are the ones that are black with orange, and the zebra oscars are the ones like this black and white. If I do a google image search for zebra oscar a lot of pictures that look like this guy show up
Beautiful oscar! And severum! The oscar is my childhood fish. My mom had one after my brother won an aquarium for some ticket drawing thing. It was a good size, but probably not a 75g. Likely a little smaller. We just had him in that tank, and I loved him. Would sit by his tank for hours. My mother kept up on water changes really well, so he was extremely healthy and lived quite a long time.
I was thinking the same thing about how they change colors, which was why I was so hesitant. Every young TIGER oscar I've seen is typically black. I've never seen one this light colored.
I did a little more research and found similar questions to my own on some other forum sites. A lot of people are saying that a zebra oscar isn't a real thing. The guy that is selling them swears they are tiger oscars, but I keep looking at the picture and can't seem to grasp that. I've never seen a juvenile oscar so... blanched of color. My little O is only an inch and he's mostly black, which is what I would expect of a tiger oscar.
Compared to the young oscar I posted earlier, who is one inch bigger than mine at least, has absolutely no color. They're beautiful, but I'm wondering what the heck they look like when they are mature.
Also... this little oscar of mine is a celebrity where I got him from. I have a whole store counting on me to be a great parent, along with my mom, who raised our childhood oscar from a juvie on up to many many years. The pressure is real.. but that face. Ohhh it is just so worth.
I've had my O and Sev (pictured above) for almost 1.5yrs now. They were purchased from my LFS as tiny juveniles. My oscar is at best, 8" at this point which is pretty small. It's puzzling to me, but I'm ok with it. They've never seen even ~20ppm nitrates at this point given I do weekly fin-level water changes on their tank. I feed them a variety of pellet and freeze-dried food.
LFS owner informed me that he was "wild caught". Hence the coloration. I looked into this and it had more corroboration than the zebra oscar idea. Other information stated it was "Common Oscar" or "Wild Type". All I got from the LFS owner was that it was "wild caught". So I suppose that solves the mystery!
Yeah that's very true. I've done a lot of chatting with people around the local fish stores and what not. It was actually an employee from a Petsmart that told me she usually only has seen wild caught O's while living in Florida, and that they don't typically get caught that small. She speculated something similar to what you said.