It is not rare to see your Oscars attacking their companion angelfish. Quite a few times, I had to see my angels lose their fins and fail to survive due to the ongoing attacks. That got me wondering whether or not angelfish and Oscars can live together at all. Over the years, I’ve gained a few insights regarding that annoying phenomenon.
Yes, angelfish and Oscars can live together, although their size differences may pose an issue. Since Oscars are typically more massive, they tend to be aggressive towards angelfish. To increase the chances of coexistence, provide them with a large tank and a sufficient amount of vegetation for hiding spots.
To get the best out of your situation, I recommend that you get familiar with both angelfish’ and Oscars’ characteristics. Later on, I’ll elaborate on that particular topic, and show you a few more tricks to make their coexistence more likely.
Do Angelfish And Oscars Get Along?
There is no obvious answer to this question; some people say ‘Yes,’ while others say ‘No.’ What we know for sure is that both species are cichlids. This tells you that they both have an aggressive streak.
It is also worth noting that fish, like people, have individual personalities. Some are friendlier than others. So you can’t make any blanket statements about their ability to live together in harmony. Though, if you don’t have angelfish or Oscars and you merely try to determine whether you should buy one or both, the personality factor cannot apply.
Some people prefer to experiment. They will happily throw angelfish and Oscars together in a tank and then wait and see if they get along. However, if you are among those that rather know ahead whether or not these creatures can live peacefully together, you have to take their individual attributes into account.
Why Angelfish And Oscars May Live Together in Peace
As you will see later on, angelfish and Oscars share similar characteristics. These are among the reasons why people believe that they can live together:
- First of all, there are plenty of angelfish and Oscars that are docile. Don’t expect every angel or Oscar you get to be hostile. If you can find docile fish from both species, you can trust them to live peacefully in one another’s company.
- Oscars and angelfish have similar requirements as far as temperature and pH are concerned. As such, you don’t have to worry about changing the quality of the water. You are less likely to agitate one species in your attempts to make the other one happy.
- Their diets are also similar. Though, the pellets that Oscars eat are larger and more filling. Pellets designed for angelfish are smaller and softer because they are supposed to be consumed by smaller mouths.
However, this shouldn’t concern you. Many of the angelfish pellets you find on the market float. Once you sprinkle them in the tank, the angels will rush upward to eat them.
On the other hand, Oscars have slow sinking pellets. So you don’t have to worry about the creatures eating one another’s meals, primarily if you feed them from opposite ends of the tank.
If your Oscars seem aggressive during meal times, don’t let their behavior worry you. As was mentioned above, they are voracious eaters. You can control their aggression by feeding them first. Once the Oscar is busy eating, you can turn your attention to the angelfish.
It isn’t that unheard of for conflicts to manifest during mealtimes. This is because aggressive Oscars tend to eat all the food they encounter. They won’t hesitate to eat your angel’s meal. This is another reason to feed your Oscars first.
Regardless of the challenges, there are ways to feed both species without causing conflict. What I usually do is waiting until a group of Oscars swims up high in clusters.
At this point, I pour in the flakes and wait until they are entirely busing eating. During that period, I pour another portion of smaller pellets to the other side of the tank for the angelfish.
- Because both species are territorial, the size of the tank matters. Nevertheless, in large tanks, they are likely to establish territories in different areas and leave side by side. Give them as much space as possible.
I also recommend that you insert plants in the tank to ensure that the angels have hiding spaces. Buy vegetation that is large and heavy. Otherwise, the Oscars will uproot them.
If you don’t have either fish, buy the angel first and add it to the tank. Give it the time to establish its territory before adding an Oscar. The Oscar will have a harder time establishing its dominance. This will prevent unnecessary conflicts from manifesting.
Why Angelfish and Oscars May Fail to Live Together
While there are plenty of people who believe that Oscars and angelfish can live together, the majority of experts are not optimistic for a variety of reasons, including:
- Their personalities are a problem. Yes, you can find docile angels and Oscars. But both species have a reputation for being aggressive. So the chances that they will antagonize one another are quite high.
- The difference in size is a significant issue. It can take angelfish eight or nine months to grow to six inches. Oscars, on the other hand, can reach 8 inches in just two months. They grow at such a rapid rate.
If you introduce both species to your tank at a young age, Oscars will grow big enough to fit angelfish in their mouths before the angelfish have even reached half their adult size.
Also, if you introduce them to the tank as adults, the Oscars can overpower your angelfish. Angelfish don’t have much of a defense to raise against Oscars. In fact, they are quite delicate in comparison.
- Oscars eat a lot, and they won’t hesitate to eat all your angel’s food if you try to feed them at the same time. You can blame this on their territorial nature.
Keeping The Peace Between Oscars And Angelfish
Angelfish are rarely attractive tank mates because they have an aggressive streak. However, Oscars are more significant menace than angelfish. They have every attribute that makes angelfish a challenge, but they are larger, and this makes them worse bullies.
To keep the peace between aggressive angels and Oscars, you need to deploy the following tactics:
Provide a large tank. This won’t guarantee order. Oscars require ample space because they are territorial. However, if you have a particularly challenging Oscar, a larger tank will only encourage it to claim even more space, and that will compel your angel to fight back.
Nevertheless, this is still the best place to start. While a large aquarium can’t guarantee peace, a small tank will ensure conflict. If you are looking for a new one, take a look at my aquarium kits buyer’s guide. I’ve included there one of the best tanks for experts, which is on the right dimensions.
- Provide hiding places. Add plants and decorations in particular. Oscars are not like humans. They will only alienate your angelfish while they can see them. Once your angels are out of sight, the Oscars will stop their attack.
- If your angels and Oscars have refused to stop fighting, separate them. Place one of them in a different tank. If you don’t want to separate them in that sense, add a divider. This is a physical barrier that is inserted into the aquarium, forcing your fish to remain in separate sections.
While you can buy a divider, some fish owners prefer to make their own. One of the most effective home-made dividers is an egg crate. Regardless of what you choose to use, keep the divider adequately secured. Otherwise, your Oscar will knock it down. Oscars can get far more aggressive than most people realize.
About Angelfish Living With Other Fish
Freshwater angelfish are colorful creatures with compressed bodies. They have an average size of 6 inches, though they can grow to ten inches or more in some situations. They need a tank that is at least 20 gallons in capacity.
Although it depends on how many angelfish you keep together. You may read more about it here, where I explained how big of a tank you actually need, depending on the number of angelfish you possess. I also included there a unique calculator to help you get accurate results.
They prefer tall tanks because they also grow tall (as opposed to long). Their preferred temperature and pH fall within a range of 75 degrees F-84 degrees F and 6-7.5, respectively. They also like tanks with plenty of plants because they use the foliage to hide and to secure their privacy.
As omnivores, they eat both plant and animal life. While they are relatively docile at a young age, angelfish are known for their territorial nature, which drives them to act aggressively.
Their aggression is most pronounced when they are spawning. The angelfish’ desire to protect their young ones makes them a danger to their tank mates. This is why some people prefer to separate mating angelfish.
Angelfish can get along with their own kind. However, they have been known to attack smaller fish from different species. They will also eat any creatures in their tanks that can fit in their mouths. You may read more about it here, where I talked about angelfish and Tetras coexistence.
About Oscars Living With Other Fish
Like angelfish, Oscars are cichlids. They have an average size of 12 inches; though, they can just as easily reach 18 inches. Because of their large size, Oscars need tanks of at least 100 gallons. They are accustomed to living in wide and open spaces in the wild.
These conditions should be replicated in captivity. They prefer temperatures of 77 degrees F-80 degrees F and a pH of 6-7.5. Because they are messy creatures, their tanks require large filters and regular water changes.
They are also voracious eaters. You must feed them on time and in sufficient quantities, though, as with most fish, overfeeding is bad for Oscars. Finding the right balance is only possible by experimenting.
As far as their temperament is concerned, especially where it concerns potential tank mates, Oscars have an aggressive streak. This isn’t true for all of them. But you should know that aggression is common in Oscars.
For this reason, when it comes to finding tank mates for your Oscars, avoid small fish that can fit in their mouths. Your Oscars will eat them, especially if they are five inches or smaller. Even if the size isn’t an issue, avoid fish that are timid.
Oscars are not afraid to tangle with fish that are of equal size or even bigger, and some of them won’t hesitate to bully timid tank mates. Even if the Oscars don’t eat them, the stress caused by this continuous threat of violence will bring considerable harm to the other fish in your tank.
If you must add shy and timid fish, target bottom dwellers that will stay out of the Oscars’ sight. Fortunately, angelfish are not timid creatures. You can also succeed with catfish, blue acara, silver dollar fish, and the like.
Raising Oscars and angelfish in the same tank is a challenging task. It is mainly because they both belong to the Cichlids family, which is a bit aggressive. However, there are a few steps you can take to increase the chances of peace.
The most important thing is getting a broad fish tank. Also, make sure you fill your aquarium with vegetation to provide your angelfish with hiding spots. The less they will encounter each other, the more it is likely they will be able to live side by side.
If none of these methods had worked, perhaps you should make a sort of separation. You might make one in your existing aquarium, or possibly get a new tank just for the problematic species.
Either way, I’m sure you’ll be able to figure it out eventually. I wish you the best of luck in raising your angelfish and Oscars, and I surely hope my article will help you down the line.
- Featured Image: Flickr