Oscars are from the family of Cichlidae and are also a species of cichlid. They are mostly found in the Amazon river surrounding areas. This area is one of the most biodiverse environments in the world. They are the best type and popularly found fish in home aquariums. However, they are badly known for their territorial and aggressive behavior, which makes the keepers have a second thought on purchasing it.
Their body is characterized by a long oval body, with the anal and dorsal fins extending along the body to the caudal fin, which creates a fan-like at the rear. Both sexes of this species have a similar appearance and it takes a close look at the genitals to tell the difference whenever you want to mate them together.
Having the aggressive nature of Oscar fish, how do you nurture them? There are people who have successfully done this, and you can also do it too. When choosing Oscar fish for grooming, you should bear in mind that they are very aggressive and quick to attack other fishes, especially when they are feeding or mating. Also, you should bear in mind that these fishes are used to their natural living condition, this, there is a need to have proper and adequate knowledge as regards keeping them in a habitat. You are used to your Oscar, and you will like to keep other variety of fish in the same tank with it? There are basic techniques that can be followed to achieve a positive result.
In this article, we will delve into various species of fishes that are compatible as Oscar tank mates, and also species of fishes that are not compatible while answering some questions you might have been pondering on.
Table of Contents
Oscar fish tank condition
Before we look into appropriate species that are best suitable for Oscar in a community tank, it is best you understand the basic requirements that you need to keep their tank alive.
Anything smaller than 55gallon size will be stressful for your Oscar and a burden to its owner.
The appropriate temperature for Oscar fish is between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit or 23 and 27 Celsius. With a PH balance between 6-8. Oscars are well known to tolerate a wide gap of water hardness level, but it is better to keep them safe at 12dH-15dH.
How many Oscar fish can stay together?
Despite Oscar’s aggressive behavior, they enjoy staying together or living as pairs. You can keep 2 Oscars together, or even 5, depending on how large your tank is. However, you may not enjoy keeping 3 together, as two of the fish may bond, leaving the remaining one in loneliness.
Can Oscar have a tank mate?
The first thing you should know is if your Oscar can have a tank mate or not? Oscars are not usually friendly, and they are mostly tagged as threats to other fishes. When they still live naturally in ponds they are quite familiar with a lot of fish varieties. But, having them in ponds is not the same. Because the space is limited and tension rises. If you are looking towards keeping your Oscar with some other type of fish, it’s always better to go for the passive and large ones, who will stay on their lane and not collide with the Oscar fish. Moreover, putting small fishes in the same tank as Oscar will make them disappear quickly, as well as, small invertebrates such as snails and shrimp.
Oscars can be put in the same tank together, but ensure their space is large enough for free movement. Also, make sure you follow the appropriate guidelines, which will be discussed further. However, it is mostly safe when you keep the other fish in the same tank with a species of cichlids since they can resist and fight back an Oscar attack.
Can Oscar live with Tilapia?
You have Oscar species that you’ve bred together, and you kept thinking of introducing Tilapia fish into the tank? but you are not sure if these are compatible with each other. We have the perfect answer for you.
Tilapia buttakoferi are the popular Tilapia species that you can see in most shops. Breeding Tilapia with Oscar will cause no chaos for the first 2-3 months. But after this period of time, you need to watch out. Although they are of different personalities, they are known for being aggressive. Having a large gallon size is the most suitable method if you consider breeding these together. But as soon as they keep growing and developing, they will want their separate space.
Basic requirements that you need to consider in breeding Oscar and Tilapia species
A small Tilapia fish will require a gallon size of at least 150 L/ 40 gallons. While a big Tilapia will require a gallon size of at least 250L/70 gallons. They survive mostly in the water of high basic condition, although, they most likely will still survive in water with a PH level of 6-8/5.
Also, ensure that you decorate the tank with plants and rock. You should also cover the bottom with some flat rocks and fine gravel.
Luckily, feeding these two requires no extra effort. You can simply find them with pellets, but it is best when you include a variety of vegetables in their diet.
Some Tilapia fish are aggressive while others are somewhat friendly. It is best you keep them with fish of similar aggressive nature and size. Oscar, large catfish, Anubias, Crinum, garpikes, and most Pelco are suitable tank mates for Tilapia.
Can Oscar live with Snail?
As it may appear, snails are often snacks that Oscars can easily crush. When you put them in the same tank as Oscar. However, those who find their way to the bottom of the tank, fortunately, escape being eaten by an Oscar fish.
Can Oscar live with Shark?
If you are probably thinking of breeding Oscar and Shark together, getting a large gallon size is of utmost importance. Because of the very large size of these species, putting them in a small tank will not make it easy for you to maintain the water. Which may likely cause disease to both fish. Having discussed the problem associated with having an aggressive fish, there is more the owners’ maintenance duty and observation can contribute to their survival. You breeding these two fishes in a small tank will make your task more difficult. Moreover, the suitable gallon is usually 300L in size. It is usually preferable to get a big tank for a start. Besides, Changing a tank by setting up a new one can be sometimes stressful a d time-consuming.
You should also bear in mind that Oscars can reach 14inches or more, and Sharks can reach up to afoot. So, it is preferable you also make provisions in preparation for when they become adults and will require more space. At this period, the width of the tank should be wide enough, at least 18 inches. However, this will make it easier for them to turn around in the tank. Also, the space that you will provide, should be large enough, such that Sharks can hide in dark spots when they are being chased by Oscar.
Aside from the gallon size, you can possibly put these two fish together. The good thing is, they will not trouble each other if you keep feeding them as you ought to. Also, the age at which you are introducing them matters. Because older one will probably dominate a younger type if the age difference is much.
Can Oscar live with Goldfish?
Oscars are known to reach a bigger size compared to Goldfish. Even when you breed these two together at a younger age, there is a probability the Oscar will grow past the Goldfish in size. At this point, the Goldfish will need a separate habitat, as the Oscar may continue to feed on it. However, with the right living conditions; a clean environment and adequate feeding, a Goldfish can outgrow an Oscar.
Oscars are better kept in an optimum water condition. If you are introducing Goldfish into your Oscar tank, the amount of waste that will be produced will increase. And this may lead to a high nitrate level, which results in a head disease called HITH.
Can Oscar live with betta fish?
Oscars can live with bettas, but there is a high probability Oscar may likely feed on their fins. You should put lots of plants in the tank, rather than rocks. With a tank of at least 5-gallon size, you are good to go with the fish. Moreover, you can also get some extras you will like to include in the tank, such as a micro worm culture, culture brine shrimp and some vinegar eels. But then, try not to place both male and female betta in the same tank with Oscar. This situation alone can cause aggressive behavior among these three.
Can Oscar live with Arowana?
Just like most types of fish, gallon size is a major contributor to survival in a community tank. It is best when you don’t mix Arowana with an Oscar, until they are 10-11 inches long, or it’s twice the size of the Oscar. Arowana grows very quickly in size and can be sometimes faster than an Oscar. Reasons why you shouldn’t confuse their strength with the size of these two fish, as Arowana tend to grow faster, especially when you feed them properly.
Your tank size can also determine how these two fish can get big when you place them in the same habitat. Because a small tank will only contain a small amount of water, which is easy to pollute. The fish then releases some metabolic waste that accumulates and stresses them out. In this situation, the outside body of the fish stops growing, while the inside continues to develop. In most cases, this always ends up killing the fish, as the organs compress together after a long time.
Can Oscar live with Blood Parrot Cichlids?
You can definitely keep these two species together, as long as you keep feeding them regularly. These fish are territorial, so one thing to need to note is providing enough space that will not allow them to trespass each other’s way.
Can Black Convict Cichlid live with Oscar?
These species usually stay under six inches, but they are still a great fish to put in the same tank with Oscar. Black Convict is hardy, fierce and tough enough to stand against Oscar. However, it is important you select the appropriate size for each type of fish to match them together.
If your Oscar is 8 inches long, keeping it with a Convict of 2.5 inches in length is not the best idea to ensure the survival of the Convict fish. When comparing both sides, ensure there is a minimum difference in both sizes. The appropriate temperature you should set the tank at is 74-82 F. Compatibility level on a scale of 10, is ranked 10/10.
It is advisable that you put this species together with smaller Oscar. If otherwise, be sure that these Convicts are exposed to continuous nipping or chasing behavior.
Can Firemouth Cichlid live with Oscar?
Firemouth Cichlid has similar characteristics with Convict Cichlid, which makes them more compatible to live in the same tank with Oscar. The main difference is the less aggressive nature of Firemouth and the high growth rate (they grow up to 6 inches in length). Moreover, they are less aggressive than Convict and are great at staying away from conflict.
Although Firemouths can defend themselves when there is a need for it, they rather avoid a fight than engaging in it, it is better to place rocks that will provide adequate spots for hiding. Therefore, the appropriate temperature for the tank is 75-84 F, and their level of compatibility is on the rank 8/10.
Can Silver Dollar Fish live with Oscar?
Silver Dollars are the most popular species that live best with Oscar. This is for several reasons. Firstly, the unique body shape of Silver Dollar makes it appear large and lesser prey for the aggressive Oscars. Another reason is, when Silver Dollars are together, they behave like dither fish. Fish that swim openly often put Oscar fish at rest. Because they assist Oscar by signaling that there are no predators near the tank, this also makes Oscar be less aggressive.
If you are planning to house Silver Dollar with Oscar, ensure you put them in a number of four and above. Because them acting as a group is what makes Oscar-less aggressive. Putting Silver Dollar with Oscar is easy to maintain with compatibility rank of 9 on a scale of 10. Also, the temperature requirement is 75-82 F.
Can Plecostomus live with Oscar?
Plecostomus are well known for their appetite for algae, a lot of aquarists buy them to keep their tank clean. However, when you want to keep them as tank mates with Oscar.
Things to consider in keeping Oscar Fish with Tilapia
A type of plecostomus; Sailfin or common plecos are usually too large for Oscar to consume them. More reason why you must house them in tanks that are above 100 gallons. Also, if your tank is large enough to accommodate large fishes, Plecos are the right choice for your Oscar. But if otherwise, you shouldn’t probably see this as an option.
It is also important to bear in mind that Pelcos often have sharp spines on their fins, which could be a great threat to a hungry Oscar. Oscars will try to figure this out by moving towards the spines with the aim of consuming them. This will likely stick to their throat and causes death for both fish. Therefore, Pelcos compatibility level is 5 on a rank of 10. Also, the temperature requirement is 74-79 F.
Can Jack Dempsey Cichlid live with Oscar?
Jack Dempsey is often large and always in charge. They mostly grow up to 10 inches in size. Moreover, their personality is most likely unpredictable since some can be extremely docile, while others can be very aggressive. Jack Dempsey is relatively a good choice for Oscar tank mate. Because they are almost equal in size and aggressive in nature. If you are keeping these two species together, make sure you first observe their aggression. On a rank of 10, these two compatibility level is 7, while their temperature requirement is 78-82 F.
Can Severum Cichlid live with Oscar?
If your best choice of tankmate is a fish that is less aggressive than others that this article has mentioned earlier, then this is the right choice for you. Severums are often docile, as they mostly keep to themselves. However, on a general note, they are tough and large enough to stand up to Oscars. They are also appropriate for community tanks, as they also cope with species that are non-aggressive. Such as Plecos and Silver Dollars. However, the compatibility rank is 8, on a scale of 10. Also, temperature Requirement is, 73-77 F.
Can Bichir live with Oscar?
Bichirs are long, eel-shaped fish that are the origin of the Nile River and Africa. They are the most interesting type of fish that can be in the same tank with Oscar. However, they mostly stay at the bottom tank, but adult Bichir often moves to the surface of tanks to breathe. Bichir is long and great jumpers. Also, It is important to keep them in a large spaced tank and also get a tank lid. Bichir is a peaceful species, only observe aggressive nature from the Oscar side. Moreover, their compatibility rank is 7 on a scale of 10, and the tank temperature should be kept at 74-82 F.
Can Green Terror Cichlid live with Oscar?
Green Terror is not only called “terror” for nothing. In most cases, the Oscars’ aggression is the one which is of concern to many owners. But, it is a different case with Green Terror Cichlid. As they can go head to head with Oscars. If you are planning to keep these two fishes together, ensure the Green Terror is smaller to start with, although not as small as it is a snack to Oscar. As these two species grow together, the aggression level often declines. Sometimes, Oscar and Green Terror can be great tank mates, while some other times, they can be a bad option. It is preferable if you have a backup plan if this is your choice of fish. Moreover, their compatibility is 7 out of 10, and the appropriate temperature for their tank is 72-80 F.
Can Black Banded Leporinus live with Oscar?
Black Banded Leporinus are none aggressive in nature, as they mostly keep to themselves. Although, they are docile, the growth to a large extent. Sometimes, they can reach a foot in length. Also, sudden movements outside or inside the tank may startle them, as they can be somewhat shy.
Can Chocolate Cichlid live with Oscar?
These fish are suitable tank mates to Oscar, as they are native to South America, and can be found in the same environment as Oscar. They are unusually peaceful, and they easily and rapidly grow over a foot in length. Moreover, you should bear in mind that, Chocolate Cichlid is a fabulous tank mate when the Oscar is not overly aggressive or boisterous.
Can Blue Acara live with Oscar?
Blue Acara usually grows to eight inches in length. Also, they can be fairly aggressive when given an opportunity. Moreover, It is necessary that you introduce them to the tank as adults. As it may be difficult for younger ones to compete for food with Oscar. However, they are great at standing up for themselves.
Some fish that you should avoid keeping with Oscar include
- Species that are delicate: Oscars are usually aggressive, with large body size. So, they tend to bully tank mates. However, you should avoid putting delicate species, such as Discus, that need to thrive in a peaceful environment, in the same tank with Oscar.
- Small catfish: Catfish often possess spines on their fins that can cause death to Oscar and are swallowed. However, large catfish are the better choices of tank mate for Oscars.
- Smaller species that can be easily consumed: Try to avoid anything that is as small as it entering Oscar’s mouth within a short period. Small species generally possess as a threat for Oscars. Especially, the slow-moving ones.
- Pristine water condition: Some species require pristine water conditions to thrive. Because Oscars are messy eaters, so they tend to have high nitrates levels in their tanks. However, some species are very sensitive to water conditions, and won’t survive in an environment that doesn’t best suit them.
How to Maintain Oscar Tank
With the ability of Oscars to survive in community tanks, this leads to special attention in caring for their tanks. Generally, Oscars require more care because they are usually messy than most other species, and due to their size and a large appetite. Therefore, cleaning the tank regularly with soap-less water is very important, or conditions will become worse than normal. Also, you should endeavor to change their water at least once a week, and ideally twice.
Challenges that may occur in maintaining Oscar Tank
Oscars are sometimes lively to keep in aquariums, but some difficulties may occur when you are trying to maintain their tank.
This may be because:
1. Oscars are usually messy and require much more attention and maintenance than any other species. They produce a lot of waste frequently, so it will necessitate that you clean and maintain the water regularly. But the smaller the tank, the more frequent it is for you to clean the tank.
2. Oscars are well known to be highly sensitive to changes in water temperature, and also an increase in ammonia. It is therefore advisable to install a built-in thermometer, an aquarium heater, and a good quality water interaction system. Also, you can use a water test kit, like, API freshwater test kit, to regularly test the water parameters. However, a sudden change in water temperature can cause a lack of appetite, loss of color, and stress to the fish.
Common problem that is associated with Oscar breeding
Oscars don’t get sick often because they are rougher than most fish, but they can get ill just like all species. A common problem that is mostly associated with the ethereal in the head” disease. Which results in cavities and holes development, which could be a sign that they’re not getting enough nutrients in their food.
Hole in the head disease (HITH)
After discovering the appropriate tank mate for your fish, there are some things you should bear in mind.
HITH is the most common Oscar disease, which is mostly found among Oscars that live with other species. Overcrowding is the major determinant of this disease. However, several factors which are a result of overcrowding, also contribute to this disease. Such as inadequate feeding. Poor water quality and insufficient space for breathing. Symptoms you should watch out for, include:
- Pitting lesions of the head and lateral line
- Loss of appetite
- White sores around the eyes and on top of the head
- Larger holes and sores
- Mucous trailing from the hole
This disease can be severe if left untreated.