15 Best Oscar Fish Tank Mates – Full List of Compatible Fish

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Oscar fish have a special appeal to them. They might not be the friendliest species in the world or the easiest to care for by any means, but they are certainly one of the most attractive and beautiful fish species out there.

The Oscar fish can be a handful to manage once you have them in your tank, but if you provide them with the right conditions and tank mates, then it can be much easier to handle them.

Oscar fish are known for their quite aggressive behavior towards other fish. They are perhaps one of the most beautiful fish and they swim so gracefully that it would be hard to imagine them being an aggressive fish.

Due to their temperament and potentially aggressive behavior towards other fish, the Oscar fish should only be kept by the most avid and experienced fish tank keepers.

They are not particularly complicated to care for or even fussy eaters, but their aggressiveness can become a problem over time. For this reason, you need to pick the tank mates for the Oscar fish carefully.

You want to have some passive fish in there that will not get in the way of the Oscar fish. Ideally, those fish should also be quite large so that they do not get consumed.

Also be mindful of putting small invertebrates and shrimp together with the Oscar fish, as they too might be under threat. With all this information in mind, let us take a look at some of the best fish species to keep with the Oscar fish.

1. Convict Cichlid

Convict Cichlid

Convict Cichlid

The convict cichlid would make a good choice for a tank mate for the Oscar fish. Firstly, they are very beautiful; they are also called zebra cichlid due to the patterns of colors that extend over their bodies.

It is a freshwater fish that is native to warm rivers of South America, especially to larger streams where they will find shelter in and between the rocks and branches.

We can say that the convict cichlids are quite similar to the Oscar fish in terms of behavior. They can also become quite aggressive and territorial if their space is threatened.

They are also quite large – they grow to up to 6 inches, which is also similar to the Oscar fish. All these traits make the convict cichlid a good partner for the Oscar fish. They would be able to stay away from each other and just defend their own spaces.

In terms of diet, they prefer to eat small insects and larvae, but they are not fussy eaters at all. This means that this species is not hard to care for at all, and it will eat a variety of different foods. All these things make the convict cichlids a good choice for tank mates of Oscar fish.

2. Jewel Cichlid

Jewel Cichlid

Jewel Cichlid

The jewel cichlid originates from Africa – the muddy rivers in central Africa. There are more subspecies of the jewel cichlids – blue jewel, green jewel, jewelfish and more. They differ in color and appearance. They prefer slightly acidic water, and they can adapt to a number of different water settings, but they are more orientated towards warm waters.

In essence, the jewel cichlid is not an aggressive fish. However, when they are mating, they start to be very aggressive towards other fish.

This particular trait makes them not so great as tank companions, but you should keep them away when they are mating. If this is the case, then you should get a tank divider or a separate tank altogether.

But above all, this is a very beautiful fish. You can see why it is so popular with tank keepers, but there are some considerations for you if you want to keep them with the Oscar fish – don’t keep them in the tank if they are mating or have just one fish of the species in the tank.

3. Jack Dempsey

Jack Dempsey

Jack Dempsey

The Jack Dempsey fish is not an easy fish to keep in your tank. That is because they can get aggressive towards other fish and they might get territorial, too.

But this doesn’t mean that they cannot coexist with other tank species like the Oscar fish, but it simply means that they should be kept by experienced tank keepers and people who know what they are doing.

Jack Dempsey can grow up to 15 inches. They are quite big fish, which makes them appropriate for larger tanks – tanks of 80 gallons at least. Jack Dempseys are carnivores, which means that they prefer frozen foods as well as live foods.

They can appear quite shy when they are around other fish. If you keep fish in groups, then the Jack Dempsey fish will not get aggressive.

These fish are beautiful, but they can also be very aggressive towards other fish. This means that this fish is for intermediate to advanced fish tank owners.

4. Green Terror Cichlid

Green Terror Cichlid

Green Terror Cichlid

The green terror cichlid is another aggressive fish on this list. While it is not aggressive in community tanks, it can be aggressive towards stray fish in your tank. They can be green and blue, and they can grow to up to 12 inches in size.

This means that if you intend to keep a single green terror cichlid, then they are suitable for tanks of 35 gallons or more. If you want to keep two of them, then a 75-gallon tank would be better.

Female fish are often more aggressive than males. But they only turn aggressive if they are running low on space or if they are threatened; also, when there are smaller fish in the tank that they can prey on.

With Oscar fish, however, they should get along just fine provided that you give them both enough space to live so that they will not clash and fight with each other. The green terror cichlid is an omnivore, which means that it is not that hard to take care of. It can live for up to 10 years.

5. Firemouth Cichlid

Firemouth Cichlid

Firemouth Cichlid

The firemouth cichlid is another species that would make a good tank mate for the Oscar fish. They are brightly-colored fish that can be used in your tank to add some color.

Although they can be somewhat aggressive when they are spawning, they are generally not aggressive towards other fish. Be careful when they are spawning, though.

That is when they can turn aggressive and it might be a good idea to keep them separate from other fish.

They are great fish even for beginners, though. Firemouth Cichlids are not that demanding and are ideal for community tanks. They are very attractive fish and they can grow to up to 7 inches in size. They can live for 15 years or even more.

The ideal tank size would be 30 gallons or more. The size and the temperament can make them a great tank mate for the Oscar fish.

6. Jaguar Cichlid

Jaguar Cichlid

Jaguar Cichlid

The jaguar cichlid is a very attractive fish. Its body patterns do look a bit like a jaguar. They can make a good companion for the Oscar fish. But be warned that this fish is only a good companion if you have experience in keeping aggressive fish together.

The jaguar cichlid is not an aggressive fish but rather it is rather a semi-aggressive fish. When they are young, they have bars instead of jaguar patterns; these only come when they grow up.

Be aware that these fish are predator fish that tend to eat small invertebrates and smaller fish; so keeping them together with larger fish like the Oscar fish is actually good because that way they will not get into each other’s way.

They also become more aggressive when they are breeding, so during that time, it might be a good idea to keep them separate.

7. Cichlasoma



The cichlasoma genus of fish is a genus of fish species that incorporates a large number of subspecies. The most widely-spread cichlasoma are the cichlasoma amazonarum, cichlasoma bimaculatum, and the cichlasoma trimaculatum. All these fish are quite large and thus they make good companions for the Oscar fish.

Some are more aggressive than others; they tend to be aggressive if their space is threatened or when they are breeding. Most of these species are found in South America and its regions.

Most of them are predators towards smaller fish and other small creatures in the tank, and that is the only consideration you need to keep in mind with the cichlasoma.

In general, they tend not to be very complicated to care for and should not cause too many problems if they get enough space and are treated well.

8. Blood Parrot Fish

Blood Parrot Fish

Blood Parrot Fish

Blood parrot cichlids are a popular choice because they are usually non-aggressive and are easy to care for. These fish can grow up to 12 inches and require at least 30-gallon tank, but bigger tanks are much better.

Blood parrots have similar requirements as Oscars, they prefer temperatures between 75-80 °F and pH levels between 6.5-7.5.

These cichlids are very active and like to explore the tank, constantly searching for food and digging up the substrate. Adding rocks, plants and caves in their tank, make them more comfortable in their environment.

Thanks to their behavior, blood parrot cichlids are compatible with many other cichlids, including Oscars. Although blood parrots are non-aggressive, they will defend themselves if get bullied, so it is ok to keep them with Oscars.

9. Red-Tailed Shark

Red-Tailed Shark

Red-Tailed Shark

Now don’t be fooled by the name – these fish are not sharks. In fact, they are a type of carp. When they are young, they are not aggressive at all. But when they grow up, they might turn aggressive to stray fish and smaller fish in the tank.

They are black with red tails. They tend to get aggressive when they don’t have enough space in the tank. But they should be fine if they have enough space with the Oscar fish.

They tend to spend most of their time near the bottom of the tank. The red-tailed sharks can grow to up to 6 inches. They would make a great choice for tanks of 55 gallons or more.

Make sure that you also provide plenty of caves and plants for these fish.

10. Bala Shark

Bala Shark

Bala Shark

The bala shark is quite a large freshwater fish species that can grow to up to 12 inches. In general, they are better suited to larger tanks of 150 gallons or even larger. They can live for up to 10 years.

These fish are very peaceful fish, and they tend to mind their own business in the tank. They are larger than the Oscar fish, which means that they will not be threatened by these fish.

As these fish are shoaling fish, it means that you should keep more of them together. Ideally, 4 or 5 of bala sharks together would be great. This can only be done in larger tanks.

They tend to be very active fish; however, they can be very timid and shy, especially at the beginning when they are put in the tank or when you introduce new fish to the tank.

11. Clown Loaches

Clown Loaches

Clown Loaches

The clown loach, or the tiger botia, is a very well-known fish species among the fish tank keepers. They make for a popular choice in larger community choice due to their playful behavior and attractive looks.

They are regarded as one of the most peaceful species of larger size and are appropriate for tanks of sizes of 75 gallons or more. Clown Loaches can grow to 12 inches or more.

Due to their peaceful behavior, they make a great choice for community tanks.

12. Plecostomus



The Plecostomus, or the plecos, belong to the loricariidae family and are one of the most popular catfish species out there. These fish are quite large, as they can grow to up to 24 inches in size.

But they can be kept as a single specimen, which is why a 30-gallon tank would be good enough for plecos. In short, they make a good tank mate for the Oscar fish as they are good-looking and also peaceful.

13. Reedfish (Erpetoichthys calabaricus)


Reedfish (sourceCC BY-SA 4.0)

The reedfish come from Western Africa. They are known for their long bodies and an interesting appearance. Reedfish are known to be very slippery and they are able to escape even the tightest situations.

They are very peaceful fish, and they do not get in the way of larger fish as well. They can become prey to larger fish, but they are quite good at getting away from the predator, which is why they are a good choice for tank mates for Oscar fish.

14. Black Ghost Knife Fish

Black Ghost Knife Fish

Black Ghost Knife Fish

The black ghost knife fish are semi-aggressive fish that would make good tank partners for the Oscar fish.

They can grow to about 20 inches in size and can live to up to 15 years if cared for properly. The minimum tank size of these fish is 100 gallons.

The black ghost knife fish are mainly nocturnal animals and they are mainly of black color; then the only place where they are not black is on the tail, where they have white spots.

They can be aggressive if they are kept with other knife fish and tend to be quite shy fish.

15. Silver Dollar Fish

Silver Dollar Fish

Silver Dollar Fish

The last on this list is the silver dollar fish. They would make great fish tank mates for the Oscar fish because of their peaceful demeanor and also great looks. They can grow to up to 6 inches in size.

While the Oscar fish can be aggressive towards other fish, it is mainly against smaller fish; the silver dollar fish is quite big and you don’t need to worry about that.

The silver dollar fish are omnivores and they are quite peaceful, which means that they do not require too much in terms of maintenance.

Fish to Avoid Keeping with Oscars

You might need to be careful about putting some specific fish species in the tank with the Oscar fish. You want to avoid putting smaller, peaceful fish next to the Oscar fish, as they will become prey quickly.

Also, try to avoid having other smaller animals in the tank, like the smaller invertebrates – shrimp, snails, and other similar creatures. Other species you should consider their natures and see if they are appropriate as tank mates for Oscar fish.


To conclude, the Oscar fish are stunning fish that are very popular because of their stunning appearance. Remember to keep the water clean for these fish, as they tend to produce quite a lot of mess.

Also, make sure that you put appropriate tank mates for the Oscar fish into the tank, because they can be quite aggressive towards smaller fish in the tank.

You should consider some of these fish species as tank mates for the Oscar fish in your tank.

Keep in mind that some of these require some knowledge from your part, and also you should have plenty of knowledge to keep the Oscar fish in the first place.

Author Image Fabian
I’m Fabian, aquarium fish breeder and founder of this website. I’ve been keeping fish, since I was a kid. On this blog, I share a lot of information about the aquarium hobby and various fish species that I like. Please leave a comment if you have any question.
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