This post may contain affiliate links.
If you’re a fan of Oscar fish, you know how mesmerizing these fish can be with their vibrant colors and playful personalities.
However, keeping Oscar alone in a tank can be quite dull. So what can you do? Well, introducing tank mates for Oscar fish can help.
In this article, we’ll look at the best Oscar tank mates for ensuring a harmonious and dynamic aquarium environment.
21 Best Suitable Tank Mates For Oscar Fish
1. Jewel Cichlid
As the name suggests, the Jewel Cichlid is a true gem among aquarium fish. With their striking colors and distinctive patterns, they are sure to catch the eye of any fish enthusiast. These cichlids are native to Africa and can grow up to 6 inches.
Jewel Cichlids are known for their territorial behavior, which is an advantage when considering them as tank mates for Oscars.
Their territorial and aggressive nature allows them to stand their ground and prevent Oscars from bullying them.
However, it’s essential to monitor them during the breeding season, as their protective instincts can sometimes lead to aggression.
Lastly, provide ample hiding spots and territories to ensure a harmonious community.
2. Convict Cichlid
The Convict Cichlid is a hardy and adaptable species that originates from Central America, can grow up to 5 inches, have a temperament similar to the Oscars, which can work in their favor as tank mates.
They tend to find their own space to defend, reducing the chances of conflicts.
These little fish bring a lot of character to the aquarium with their bold patterns and lively behavior.
Ensure that your tank is spacious enough and has enough hiding spaces to accommodate their feisty personalities.
3. Green Terror Cichlid
The Green Terror Cichlid is a captivating fish known for its dazzling colors and majestic appearance. Originating from Ecuador and Peru, these fishes can grow up to 10 to 12 inches easily, making them, if not bigger, as equally big as Oscar fish.
Despite their intimidating name, Green Terrors can actually make compatible tank mates for Oscars under the right conditions.
As both fishes are large, territorial, and aggressive, providing enough space and hiding spots is crucial to prevent conflicts.
They might occasionally assert themselves with their territorial behavior. Still, if your aquarium is adequately sized, these magnificent fish can thrive alongside Oscars.
Observing their vibrant hues and watching them explore their surroundings with curiosity is a joy.
4. Jack Dempsey
Jack Dempsey Cichlid is a true beauty in the aquarium world. Originating from Central America, they can be found in tropical regions in Mexico and Honduras.
These cichlids boast a striking appearance, with their blue and gold scales complementing their robust build.
Jack Dempseys are relatively large, growing up to 12 inches, and can be kept as tank mates for Oscars. Moreover, the fish likes the same water conditions as Oscar, making them more compatible.
Due to its big size and aggressive nature, there is no possibility of it being eaten or bullied by Oscar. You must always monitor the tank as both have strong personalities and may show aggression.
Moreover, it’s essential to keep more fish in the tank other than Oscar and Jack Dempsey to disperse any potential aggression between the two.
Providing hiding places and territories will also help avoid confrontations. With their bold personalities and attractive colors, these cichlids add a touch of elegance to any Oscar community tank.
5. Firemouth Cichlid
The Firemouth Cichlid is a Central American native and is aptly named for the bright red coloring displayed on their throats, which they use to display aggression or courtship. The fish can grow up to 7 inches and have similar water requirements as Oscar.
Their distinctive coloration adds a captivating element to the aquarium, especially when paired with Oscars’ vibrant hues.
Despite their fiery name, Firemouth Cichlids are relatively peaceful, making them suitable tank mates for Oscars. It is only during spawning time that they can get a bit aggressive.
Just ensure that your tank provides enough space for each fish to establish their territories. With their charming personality and stunning appearance, Firemouth Cichlids are a delightful addition to any Oscar community tank.
6. Blood Parrot
If you’re looking for unique and captivating tank mates for your Oscars, Blood Parrots are an excellent choice. These hybrid fish result from selective breeding and can grow up to 12 inches.
They are known for their distinct appearance, which includes a rounded body, a beak-like mouth, and vibrant colors ranging from orange to red.
What makes Blood Parrots interesting is their lack of aggression toward other fish. They can coexist peacefully with Oscar fish and can defend themselves against any bullying from Oscar fish.
Just make sure your tank is big enough for both the fish and keep an eye on them, especially when introducing them to each other.
Plecostomus is a popular bottom dweller that does well with the Oscars. These fish are well-known for their ability to scavenge and clean up uneaten food and control certain types of algae growth. They can grow from 12 inches all the way up to 24 inches.
In an Oscar tank, Plecostomus can serve as beneficial tank mates, helping to maintain water quality and cleanliness. They have sharp spines on their back that help protect them, forcing Oscar to think twice before even trying to bully.
However, it’s important to select a Plecostomus species that can tolerate the same water parameters as Oscars and ensure that the tank is large enough to accommodate their size.
Providing hiding spots and plenty of vegetable matter to graze on will contribute to their well-being.
8. Silver Dollars
Silver Dollars are schooling fish native to South America and named for their silver disc-shaped bodies. These peaceful fish can be excellent tank mates for Oscars when kept in a large group of 5 or more.
Silver Dollars can grow up to 6 inches in length and mostly eat plants, making them less likely to compete with Oscars for food.
As top-dwelling fish, they will spend most of their time swimming at the top of the tank and will not interfere with Oscar.
It’s important to note that Silver Dollars require a spacious tank and should be kept in a group to reduce stress and promote natural behavior.
9. Tinfoil barbs
Tinfoil barbs are popular freshwater aquarium fish known for their shiny, silver bodies with a red or orange tint and a black patch on their elongated fin. They are native to Southeast Asia and can grow up to 14 inches long.
Just like Silver dollars, Tinfoil barbs are schooling fish and should be kept in groups of 5 or more fish. These fish are generally peaceful, and because they get so big, they make good tank mates for Oscar.
Just ensure you have a large tank of at least 125 gallons when you pair them with Oscar fish.
Arowanas are magnificent, highly aggressive, and sought-after fish known for their elongated bodies and unique behaviors. They are native to South America, particularly the Amazon Basin, and come in several species, including the Silver Arowana.
Silver Arowanas and Oscars make a special combination in the right-sized tank. While Oscars are active and attention-seeking, Arowanas patrol the top of the tank, creating a dynamic and visually appealing display.
It’s important to note that Arowanas can grow quite large (up to 3 feet) and require spacious tanks with proper filtration systems. Silver Arowana is a larger fish, so there is no chance of your Oscar bullying it.
Stingrays are fascinating fish that evoke a sense of wonder and awe in any aquarium. With their unique disk shape and mesmerizing movements, these flat-bodied fish can create a stunning centerpiece in an Oscar tank.
Furthermore, they have tails that are armed for defense, so there is no chance of it being eaten by Oscar.
However, it’s essential to understand that keeping Stingrays requires specific tank conditions and advanced knowledge of the nitrogen cycle.
Stingrays are sensitive to water quality and need soft, well-filtered water. They also require ample space to swim and explore. Due to these requirements, Stingrays are not recommended for beginners or those with limited experience in maintaining specialized aquarium setups.
If you are an experienced fish keeper and can provide the necessary conditions, introducing Stingrays can result in a breathtaking and harmonious tank environment.
12. Blue Acaras
Acaras, also known as Andinoacara pulcher, are vibrant and visually striking cichlids that can make suitable tank mates for the Oscars.
These fish are native to Central and South America. They are known for their peaceful temperament and territorial nature, making them compatible with Oscars.
Compared to the Oscar, these fish grow 5 to 7 inches, yet they do not lose ground in a tank with an Oscar.
They appreciate a spacious tank with plenty of hiding spots and areas to establish territories.
Blue Acaras can coexist peacefully with Oscars with proper care and monitoring of aggression levels.
Severums, also known as Banded Cichlids, are South American cichlid species that can make excellent tank mates for Oscars.
These fish have compressed and slender bodies and are available in different color variations, including gold and green, adding visual variety to the aquarium.
A Severum is omnivorous, can grow up to 12 inches, is relatively peaceful, and can coexist with Oscars if provided with enough hiding spots and space.
With their calm demeanor and compatibility with Oscars, Severums are popular for community setups.
14. Clown Loach
Clown Loaches are adorable and playful fish that can bring an element of fun to an Oscar tank.
These lively and social fish are known for their vibrant colors, unique body shape, and playful antics.
Clown Loaches can grow up to a foot in length and compete with Oscar for their share of food, making them a suitable tank mate for Oscar.
When introducing Clown Loaches to an Oscar tank, it’s essential to ensure they are not small enough to be considered food by the Oscars.
Ideally, keeping multiple Clown Loaches is recommended, as they are a schooling species that thrive in groups. Providing hiding spots like caves and driftwood will create a secure environment for Clown Loaches to explore and interact with their tank mates.
Bichirs, also known as Polypterus, is a fascinating fish found in freshwater habitats across Africa. These primitive fish have elongated bodies, fleshy pectoral fins, and slit-like spiracles on their heads.
On average, bichir fish can grow between 1-2.5 feet in length, which means it will get eaten or bullied by Oscar fish.
These bottom-dwelling fish are hardy and can adapt well to various water conditions.
They are relatively peaceful and can coexist with Oscars if provided with enough space and suitable hiding spots.
16. Bala Shark
Bala Sharks, native to Southeast Asia, are visually appealing, energetic, and graceful fish that can make interesting tank mates for the Oscars.
These fish are known for their sleek silver body with black margins on their dorsal and prominent fins, resembling miniature sharks.
Bala Sharks are generally peaceful and make good companions with most fish, including Oscar.
Moreover, Bala Sharks can grow up to 12 inches in length, meaning Oscars would not even think about bullying them.
You must provide a spacious tank with ample swimming space if you want to keep it as a tank mate with Oscar fish.
Reedfish, also known as Ropefish or Snakefish, are unique and visually intriguing fish that can coexist with Oscars under the right conditions.
These elongated fish have a snake-like appearance and are known for their peaceful temperament. These fish can grow up to 35 inches in size.
Reedfish are really good at getting away from trouble because they’re peaceful. So, even if Oscar tries to pick on it (which probably won’t happen since the reedfish is bigger), it will get away.
Since both Reedfish and Oscar are large, you will need a bigger tank to accommodate both.
18. Red Tail Shark
Red Tail Sharks are vibrant and territorial fish that can be suitable tank mates for Oscars when given enough space and proper territorial boundaries.
These fish are known for their striking black bodies and vibrant red tails, which add a pop of color to the aquarium.
Red Tail Sharks can reach a length of about 6 inches and are best kept in larger tanks with enough swimming space and territories like caves etc.
They can be aggressive if your tank is too small or when they are defending their territory, so it’s important to monitor their interactions with the Oscars.
As they are territorial fish, it is recommended to provide them with a cave to claim, which they can then defend.
19. Black Ghost Knifefish
Black Ghost Knifefish are fascinating and enigmatic fish that can be tank mates with Oscar.
Originating from South America, these semi-aggressive, nocturnal fish have elongated, sleek body and lacks scales, and are known for their black coloration.
The Black Ghost Knife Fish can reach an impressive length of 18-20 inches, making them too big for Oscars to bully.
As both fishes can grow quite large, a sizable tank is necessary to accommodate their size and swimming habits.
20. Giant Gouramis
Giant Gouramis are native to Southeast Asia and can be potential tank mates for Oscars if provided with a massive tank to accommodate their size.
These impressive fish can reach up to 20 or more inches in length when fully matured and have a robust and muscular build. Due to their sheer size, Oscar fish won’t think about bothering them.
Giant Gouramis are known for their peaceful temperament, vibrant coloration, and unique patterns, making them visually appealing additions to an aquarium.
However, since Giant Gouramis are bigger, they will inevitably generate a greater amount of waste. Hence, good filtration and regular water changes are necessary to maintain optimal water quality in a tank.
Oscar Tank Mates: Tips for Selecting the Right One
Here are some valuable tips to help you make the perfect choices for your scaly friends:
- Size Compatibility: Oscars can grow quite large, reaching 12 to 14 inches when fully mature. So, it’s crucial to choose tank mates that are at least 12 inches in length or can hold their own. Opting for smaller fish might lead to them becoming snacks for your Oscars.
- Temperament Considerations: Oscars can be testy when it comes to their personal space. They appreciate their privacy and don’t take kindly to intrusions. To avoid conflicts, you should select tank mates that are peaceful enough to coexist without stirring up trouble but bold enough to defend themselves if needed. It’s best to choose fish with the same temperament as Oscar’ such as Convict Cichlids.
- Food Compatibility: Oscars are notorious food enthusiasts. They can devour everything in sight, including the meals of their tank mates. To prevent food-related conflicts, choose fish that can compete for their own food and thrive alongside Oscar’s feeding habits.
- Tank Size Matters: Oscars need spacecraft to roam and establish their territories. You should provide a minimum tank size of 75 gallons for a single Oscar, and if you’re planning to introduce tank mates, upgrading to at least 100 gallons or the recommended 125 gallons is a wise move. A spacious environment reduces the chances of aggression and ensures happy fish all around.
Fish to Avoid as Oscar Fish Tank Mates
Certain fish are unsuitable to be Oscar’s tank mates, including fish that cannot stand their ground, have peaceful temperaments, and are too small.
Here are some common fish species that are not suitable as tank mates for Oscars:
1. Neon Tetras
Neon Tetras are small, peaceful fish prone to be eaten by the Oscars due to their small size and delicate nature. Pairing a small, slow-moving fish with Oscars is not a good idea.
Guppies, like Neon Tetras, are small and colorful fish that can be easily targeted and eaten by the Oscars. They are incompatible due to their size difference and Oscar’s predatory nature.
3. Tiger Barbs
It is not recommended to keep Tiger Barbs with Oscars. While temperature, water chemistry, and diet may be compatible, the size difference between the two species is a major issue.
Mollies are generally peaceful fish, but their smaller size makes them vulnerable to the Oscars. The aggressive behavior of Oscars may cause harm or even result in the mollies’ death.
5. Swordtails: Swordtails have a peaceful temperament; hence they can be potential prey for Oscars.
How to Avoid Aggression Between Tank Mates
Maintaining a peaceful and harmonious community tank with Oscars requires careful planning and implementing strategies to prevent aggression. Here are some tips to help you avoid aggression between tank mates:
- Provide Sufficient Space: Adequate space is crucial to minimize aggression among tank mates. Oscars are large, territorial fish that require sufficient swimming and hiding spaces. Provide a spacious tank with plenty of hiding spots, caves, and decorations to create territories for each fish.
- Choose Compatible Tank Mates: Select tank mates with similar temperaments and sizes to the Oscars. Avoid small, delicate, or fin-nipping fish that may provoke aggression in Oscars. Opt for species known to coexist peacefully with Oscars, such as Jewel Cichlids, Convict Cichlids, Silver Dollars, etc.
- Introduce Tank Mates Simultaneously: Adding all tank mates at the same time can prevent the establishment of territories and reduce aggression. If you introduce new fish to an established Oscar tank, it may trigger territorial behavior and aggression towards the newcomers.
- Monitor Aggressive Behavior: Regularly observe the behavior of your tank mates to identify signs of aggression. Aggressive behavior may include chasing, fin-nipping, or constant harassment. If aggression is detected, consider rearranging the tank layout or providing additional hiding spots to create a more peaceful environment.
- Feed Properly and Adequately: Ensure that all tank mates receive sufficient food to reduce competition and aggression during feeding time. Provide a varied diet and monitor the feeding process to ensure each fish gets its food.
- Maintain Water Quality: Poor water conditions can increase stress levels and trigger aggressive behavior in fish. Regularly test and maintain proper water parameters, including temperature, pH, ammonia, and nitrate levels. Perform regular water changes and provide efficient filtration to keep the tank environment clean and healthy.
- Separate Aggressive Individuals: If a specific tank mate displays persistent aggression towards others, separating the aggressive individual from the community tank may be necessary. Provide an independent tank or suitable alternative housing for the aggressive fish to prevent harm to other tank mates.
Remember, aggression is a natural behavior in cichlids like the Oscars. While it’s possible to mitigate aggression through proper planning and management, occasional aggression may still occur. Monitor the interactions between tank mates closely and be prepared to make adjustments as needed to maintain a peaceful coexistence.
In conclusion, selecting suitable tank mates for Oscars involves considering their temperament, size, and ability to defend themselves.
From the colorful Jewel Cichlids to the captivating Black Ghost Knifefish, numerous choices exist to create a vibrant and harmonious community aquarium with Oscars. Just make sure your tank is large enough to accommodate them.
Moreover, it’s crucial to monitor aggression levels, provide adequate hiding spots, and ensure proper care and feeding for all tank inhabitants. By planning carefully and paying close attention to detail, you can create a captivating and flourishing aquarium ecosystem for Oscar fish and their tank mates.