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TOPIC: Oscar Fish Tankmates

Oscar Fish Tankmates 3 months 1 week ago #69279

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Oscar Fish Tankmates Revisited

Oscars are great aquarium fish to keep. If you are here reading this I'm sure I don't have to tell you how hard it is to resist bringing home that 2-3 inch awkwardly cute little fish with huge bug eyes, frantically dancing at the front of the tank like a little dog greeting you after a long day at work. They can be very personable and full of character. Oscars have a renowned ability to recognize their owners, and can be taught to do tricks for food. I've kept a handful of oscars over the years and I have to say that I too enjoyed some of these quirks my fish showed. They are unique in many ways. It's easy to see how one would personify the traits of this fish, but that would be a mistake. Too often we project our own ideals, even emotions onto our pets, assuming we know what they want. So let me state a few things that may change your mind about adding another fish to your oscars home. Oscars will school together as juveniles and are found together as adults, but they do not desire tank mates. Oscars do not get lonely. They can thrive in an aquarium all by themselves and many do, infact. All the same, some of you will want to add to your oscar tank. If that is your decision, please do plenty of research on the fish you intend to add. Oscars are a large growing fish and mixing them with others can be complicated. In this small article I'll go over a few aspects of mixing cichlids and what is and isn't advisable.


Tank Size

The most important aspect of mixing any aggressive cichlid in an aquarium is the tank size. It has been said that if you have an aquarium large enough, you can mix any fish. The question is how large does your aquarium have to be to combine them. The minimum size tank that I recommended for one full grown oscar is 75 gallons (4ft). You'll find plenty of information on other sites stating that a 55g is enough for one adult Oscar but I don't agree with this. On average adult Oscars will grow to 12 - 14 inches long some even larger. I don't believe fish this large can thrive in a tank as small as a 55 gallon.

In a 75 gallon tank (4ft) a few tankmates are acceptable. One to two small cichlids (between 3-5 inches) or one medium cichlid (between 6-8 inches) is acceptable. The determining factor, of course, is will the oscar accept them. Aggressive males are not good candidates for tankmates, even in a 75g. When you mix cichlids there will always be some level of aggression. Deciding when the aggression is out of hand is up to you. In a 125 gallon tank (6ft) your options grow immensely.


Species

I've put together a tankmate key to make matching other fish with your oscar easier. The key works like this. On the left are a list of potential Oscar tank mates by species. Each species has a star-rating. The rating is based upon the premise that the two fish are to be kept in the smallest recommendable size tank together at, or until they reach adulthood. Directly behind the rating is the minimum recommended size tank the two can be kept in.

Oscar Tankmate Key
5 stars = optimal, 4 stars = good, 3 stars = neutral, 2 less than ideal, 1=poor.

Color Code- Green = Peaceful, Orange = Mildly aggressive, Red = Aggressive.


Amatitlania nigrofaschiatus (Black Convict Cichlid) *****75 gallons

The convict really is the perfect Oscar Tank Mate. They are small as compared to the large bulky oscar and will not contribute significantly to the bioload of the aquarium. The majority of convicts are also very bold, and resilient. Not only are they aggressive enough to live with a much larger tankmate, but they are tough enough to brush off the occasional chase.


Thorichthys meeki (Firemouth Cichlid) ****75 gallons

(Photo credit - Bassetmancichlids)

Firemouths are similar in size to convicts so they compliment the giants size. They are not quite as bold or as aggressive as convicts. For that reason some will shy away from confrontation and hide. Still the two are compatible.


Aequidens puncher (Blue Acara) *** 75 gallons, ***** 125 gallons

Blue acaras are a really nice looking smallish sized cichlids. Most will top out around 6 inches. I've found that most are tough enough to be kept with larger tank mates, but not so aggressive as to cause additional problems. If you must keep them together in a 75g tank I think it can be done though a 6 foot tank would be much, much better.



Aequidens metae (Yellow Acara) *** 75 gallons, ***** 125 gallons

Another awesome looking acara. A little harder to find than the Blue acara, but another potential tank mate. Behavior and aggression as per Blue acara.


Rocio octofasciatum (Jack Dempsey Cichlid) ** 75 gallons, **** 125 gallons

Dempseys can be good tankmates for oscars. They are a medium sized cichlid. Some can be extremely aggressive, and some can be very timid but most will be somewhere in the middle. Some males have also been known to reach 12 inches in length (though 8-10 is more common). Colorful and active, dempseys make great oscar tank mates in the right sized aquarium.


Rocio octofasciatum (Electric Blue Jack Dempsey) * 75 gallons, ** 125 gallons

Despite how well the regular jack dempsey potentially does with an oscar, I wouldn't consider an Electric Blue as good a match. Electric Blues tend to be much smaller and more fragile fish. They succumb to internal infections rather easily and even when they are healthy many of them seem to be very shy and easily bullied.


Aequidens sp 'Goldsaum'/'Silversaum' (Green Terror Cichlid) * 75 gallons, *** 125 gallons

I personally think of the Green terror as a Jack Dempsey on steroids. Not so much in the muscular and physical aspect that steroids has on a body, but more so the enhanced aggression. Green terrors in my experience are less docile and less fragile. They grow to be around the same size as Dempseys (10-12 inches save the anomalous gargantuan), but are more likely to cause aggression issues. Mix these guys with caution and have a backup plan if you choose to forge ahead. More about the Green Terror here -(www.oscarfish.com/fish/81-all-about-fish...ens-sp-goldsaum.html)


Parachromis managuensis (Jaguar Cichlid) * 125 gallons

(Photo credit - Bassetmancichlids)

Jaguar cichlids have a bad reputation for being overly aggressive. Many of them are very aggressive, but some are fairly laid back. All the same their ability to inflict damage in a short amount of time is infamous. I can't recommend this combination unless you have a lot of experience with the parachromis complex and know what you are doing.


Cichlasoma salvini (Salvini's cichlid) ** 75 gallons, *** 125 gallons
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Oscar Fish Tankmates 3 months 1 week ago #69288

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Salvinis have been described as a reclusive fish when they are not breeding or defending their territory. Unfortunately I've read of very few accounts of a middle ground between constantly hiding or hyper aggression. My own was a beautiful female that I rarely saw. It seems on average that their cautious nature keeps them hidden most of the time. If you get your hands on one that is not shy but is also not hyper aggressive please do us all a favor and find Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, and the Unicorn as well.
"My Country is the World, and my Religion is to do good." -Thomas Paine
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