South American Cichlids • oscar tank mate?

Discussion regarding only South American Cichlid species. (Oscars, Geophagines, Discus, Apistogramma, Green Terrors, Angels, Severums, Pikes, etc.)

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oscar tank mate?

Postby grnorton8 » Tue Jun 21, 2011 5:13 am

my local fish store told me i could house a butis butis with my oscar, is this true?
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Postby mccluggen » Tue Jun 21, 2011 12:06 pm

A torpedo shaped fish that tops out at less than six inches is likely to be viewed as a snack. A lot of LFS's will tell you what you want to hear to make a sale.
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Postby grnorton8 » Tue Jun 21, 2011 12:51 pm

could i put 1 silver dollar with him?
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Postby mccluggen » Tue Jun 21, 2011 12:55 pm

Silver dollars usually make great tank mates (as long as there isn't a big enough size difference when you add them) but they do best in a group of at least three or four. A single silver dollar will stay stressed when housed with an oscar as they can be pretty timid and he won't have anyone to share the burden of the oscar's attention.
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Postby grnorton8 » Tue Jun 21, 2011 1:14 pm

is there any tank mate that i can get just one of?
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Postby mccluggen » Tue Jun 21, 2011 1:35 pm

How big is your tank? If it is a 55 (about the minimum I would use to house an oscar) I would say probably not. 75 or bigger, maybe. Once you get to the 6' tank sizes it's pretty easy to house an oscar with a tank mate.

Some of the more mild-tempered medium-large south american cichlids can sometimes be housed with an oscar, but it ultimately depends on a lot of factors. Individual temperament of the fish, sexual maturity of the oscar, size of the tank, and what sort of structure you have in the tank all play a roll. For their size oscars are not really super aggressive, they will just make a meal of anything small enough to fit into their mouths and can top out at larger than a foot. Keeping them with other tankmates becomes a balancing act of making sure their partners are large enough to avoid being eaten, but not aggressive enough to try and put the beat down on an oscar.

I have had success keeping individual severums, convicts, and fire-mouths with oscars in the past, but I have also had oscars that were very aggressive and would not accept any tank mates. Your best bet is to add the fish when they are juveniles and similarly sized. As they grow up together they are more likely to tolerate each other and establish a pecking order with less dangerous confrontations. You may hit a bumpy patch as the fish reach maturity, but with adequate cover for the retreating fish things usually won't be pushed to the point of death. That being said it is good to have a backup plan if you have to remove one.
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Postby grnorton8 » Tue Jun 21, 2011 1:38 pm

thanks so much for your time. that was a great answer! :thumb: im going to go with a single oscar then for now, and maybe later on down the road get a bigger tank and somve juvies. thanks again!
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Postby grnorton8 » Tue Jun 21, 2011 4:05 pm

hey i know i said no tankmates haha but what about a convict cichlid..they dont need very much space and they are very hardy fish
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Postby mccluggen » Tue Jun 21, 2011 4:26 pm

How big is your tank?

E: Actually looking at your other posts looks like you have a standard 55g. My suggestion would be no. Oscars get pretty large. If you fish tops out at a good size for an oscar you will already be looking at a good bit of maintenance keeping ahead of nitrates, and a 55g is pretty much the minimum size for a single oscar.

Oscars are one of my favorite fish. I started out keeping one when I was in junior high in a 29 gallon (before I knew better). Somehow I managed not to kill it, and as I got older, learned more, and sized up he turned into a beautiful specimen and lived almost 14 years. Had I not lost him during the hurricane evacuation I think he'd still be around.

Oscars have a lot of personality and though things may seem empty now while he (she) is small, you will get more out of him in the long run if he is healthy and alone in the 55. Keep an eye out for something in the neighborhood of 90 gallons or larger if you want to house a couple of large cichlids.

120 gallon tanks are pretty popular, and I know around here if I watch cragslist and the classifieds someone is trying to get rid of one every other month or so for under $300. a six foot tank could easily house a pair of oscars and a school of silver dollars or several other combinations of fish and will really be better in the long run.

Good luck and welcome to the hobby. :D
Last edited by mccluggen on Tue Jun 21, 2011 4:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby grnorton8 » Tue Jun 21, 2011 4:27 pm

55 lol but i will be getting a 75....and hes still small so i was hoping to introduce them now while he is younger
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Postby mccluggen » Tue Jun 21, 2011 4:40 pm

grnorton8 wrote:55 lol but i will be getting a 75....and hes still small so i was hoping to introduce them now while he is younger


I'd say be patient and get the tank first. Also, if you can swing it, go for a 90 over the 75. They have the same footprint and the extra water volume is always good when keeping big fish.
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Postby grnorton8 » Tue Jun 21, 2011 4:41 pm

90 just taller? i think thats good advice. i guess i can always find a large fish somebody is giving up....my lfs also suggested geophagus datnoids? (SP for sure lol) what do you know about them?
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Postby grnorton8 » Tue Jun 21, 2011 4:45 pm

altifron. *** not datnoid. lol thats what she called it but i looked up pictures and that is the species
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Postby mccluggen » Tue Jun 21, 2011 4:50 pm

grnorton8 wrote:90 just taller? i think thats good advice. i guess i can always find a large fish somebody is giving up....my lfs also suggested geophagus datnoids? (SP for sure lol) what do you know about them?


Yes, a standard 90 is just a few inches taller and it gets you 20% more volume (which means better water quality with the same amount of maintenance). I have never kept geophagus, but I am sure there are folks on here that can comment.

I would take the word of your average LFS folks with a grain of salt. Be it ignorance, or the pressure to make some money, they can sometimes be full of it. Don't get me wrong, there are great folks in the fish business, but in my experience they seem to be pretty few and far between. Usually you can tell if you are at a good LFS because the guy running it seems like a hobbiest whose collection has expanded to the point of being self-sustaining. :lol:

Unfortunately for every really great LFS there seem to be 5 who will tell you that it's perfectly fine to put that green terror into your 20 gallon with your puffer fish, pleco, and 3 tinfoil barbs. The best aquarium advice usually come from folks who aren't trying to sell you something.
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Postby grnorton8 » Tue Jun 21, 2011 4:53 pm

agreed...the only reason i somewhat believed them is that they housed them together at the store and the oscar was there for about a week before i got him and all seemed to go fine.
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