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Can Oscar Fish And Blood Parrot Cichlids Live Together?

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The Oscar fish and Blood Parrot cichlid are both stunning and intriguing aquatic creatures. But is it possible to house them together in one tank?

I’ve decided to tackle this commonly asked question in a dedicated article.

In the following sections, I’ll explore their behaviors, tank needs, and whether it’s feasible to keep them together. Let’s dive right in.

Can I Keep Oscar Fish And Blood Parrot Cichlids Together In The Same Tank?

No, it’s not recommended to keep Oscar fish and Blood Parrot Cichlids together in the same tank. However, it might be feasible with meticulous care and attention.

Here are the reasons:

  • Size and Growth Rate: Oscar fish can reach 12-14 inches while Blood Parrot Cichlids max out at 8 inches, creating size disparities.
  • Aggressive Behavior: Oscar fish are territorial and may show aggression, potentially causing harm to the less assertive Blood Parrot Cichlids.
  • Dietary Needs: Oscar fish prefer meaty foods, including smaller fish, whereas Blood Parrot Cichlids have a more varied diet, leading to feeding conflicts.
  • Habitat Requirements: Oscar fish desire open swimming areas, whereas Blood Parrot Cichlids seek hiding spots, causing habitat clashes.
  • Compatibility Concerns: Blood Parrot Cichlids, with their unique mouths, are especially at risk from the nippy and dominant behavior of the Oscar fish.

Also Read: 19 Great Oscar Fish Tank Mates

Oscar Fish vs. Blood Parrot Cichlids: Behavior

When looking at the behaviors of Oscars and Blood Parrot Cichlids, a few things stand out:

Oscar Fish: Natural Behavior

Oscars are smart and can sometimes be pretty aggressive. They’re territorial by nature and display a wide range of feelings, from curiosity to sheer excitement.

Important things to remember:

  • Territorial Habits: Oscars have their “own space” in the tank and don’t like others encroaching on it.
  • Smarts: Impressively, they can recognize the people who feed them and can even be taught a trick or two.
  • Pushy Side: Oscars might nip or even go full force against other fish they see as rivals or threats.
  • Always on the Move: Oscars are quite the active swimmers and need plenty of room to roam in their tank.
  • Social Order: Even with their aggressive streak, Oscars have a way of setting up pecking orders when they’re with their own kind.

Blood Parrot Cichlid: Natural Behavior

On the flip side, Blood Parrot Cichlids are usually calmer and less pushy than Oscars. They’re also playful and love a good hiding spot.

Here’s the lowdown:

  • Easygoing: Blood Parrot Cichlids mostly keep to themselves and try to steer clear of any tank drama.
  • Play Time: These fish have a curious side, often seen playing around with tank toys and decorations.
  • Safe Spaces: They love tucked-away spots, so a tank with caves or similar features is ideal for them.
  • Getting Along: Unlike the assertive Oscars, Blood Parrot Cichlids tend to mesh well with other chill fish.
  • Not So Pushy: While they do have their own territories, they’re generally less intense about it compared to Oscars.

Ideal Parameters For Oscar Fish And Blood Parrot Cichlids

To keep Oscar fish and Blood Parrot Cichlids thriving, understanding and implementing their ideal water parameters is essential.

Below is a table comparing the ideal conditions for each species and recommendations for a tank housing both.

ParameterOscar FishBlood Parrot CichlidsBoth Types
Temperature74°F (23°C) – 81°F (27°C)76°F (24°C) – 80°F (27°C)76°F (24°C) – 80°F (27°C)
pH Level6.0 – 8.06.5 – 7.56.5 – 7.5
Water Hardness5 – 20 dH6 – 15 dH6 – 20 dH

Oscar Fish: Ideal Parameters

Oscar fish originate from tropical freshwater habitats and have specific water conditions for optimal health.

Proper maintenance of these parameters can help ensure their longevity and well-being. Here are their ideal parameters:

  • Temperature: Oscar fish thrive in warmer waters, with the ideal temperature range being between 74°F (23°C) and 81°F (27°C).
  • pH Level: Oscars prefer slightly acidic to neutral water conditions. Thus, a pH level of 6.0 to 8.0 is considered ideal for them.
  • Water Hardness: Oscar fish are adaptable but prefer soft to moderately hard water, generally between 5 and 20 dH.

Blood Parrot Cichlid: Ideal Parameters

Blood Parrot Cichlids, being hybrid fish, have their specific set of ideal water parameters derived from their parent species.

Ensuring these conditions can promote their health and vitality. Here’s what they need:

  • Temperature: Blood Parrot Cichlids prefer a similar temperature range as Oscar fish, ideally between 76°F (24°C) and 80°F (27°C).
  • pH Level: These cichlids thrive in near neutral water conditions, with a pH range of 6.5 to 7.5 being most beneficial.
  • Water Hardness: Blood Parrot Cichlids enjoy moderately hard water, and a range between 6 and 15 dH is considered optimal for them.

Also Read: Can Oscar Fish And Discus Fish Live Together?

Oscar Fish vs. Blood Parrot Cichlids: Tank Setup

Both Oscar fish and Blood Parrot Cichlids have specific requirements for their tank setups. 

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of each species’ tank needs, and recommendations for a tank housing both.

Tank RequirementOscar FishBlood Parrot CichlidsBoth Types
Ammonia/Nitrate0 ppm/ < 20 ppm0 ppm/ < 20 ppm0 ppm/ < 20 ppm
Tank SizeMin 55 gallonsMin 30 gallonsAt least 100 gallons
FoliageHardy/artificial plantsLive/artificial plantsCombination of both types
DecorationsSecure rocks/driftwoodCaves/hideoutsSecure rocks and hideouts
FilterHigh-quality, 3-4x tank vol.3x tank volumeHigh-quality, 3-4x tank vol.
SubstrateSand/fine gravelFine sand/gravelFine sand/gravel
PumpRobust for oxygenationReliable for circulationRobust for good circulation
LightingModerateModerate to subduedModerate

Oscar Fish: Tank Setup

For Oscar fish, originating from the Amazon basin, replicating a natural, tropical freshwater environment is crucial for their well-being.

As larger and active fish, Oscars require specific tank setups to thrive. Here are the key factors for their ideal tank setup:

  • Ammonia Nitrite Nitrate: Oscars need clean water; ammonia and nitrite levels should be kept at 0 ppm, while nitrates below 20 ppm.
  • Tank Size: Due to their size, Oscar fish require spacious tanks; a minimum of 55 gallons for one Oscar, though larger is better.
  • Foliage: Oscar fish aren’t particular about plants but can uproot them. Use hardy plants or opt for artificial ones.
  • Decorations: Rocks and driftwood can be added but ensure they’re secure; Oscars are known to rearrange their environment.
  • Filter: Oscars produce a lot of waste. High-quality filters with a flow rate 3-4 times the tank volume per hour are essential.
  • Heater: A heater is necessary to maintain the warm temperatures Oscars prefer, usually between 74°F and 81°F.
  • Substrate: Sand or fine gravel works best for Oscar fish as it mimics their natural habitat.
  • Pump: A robust water pump helps ensure adequate water movement, aiding in oxygenation.
  • Lighting: Moderate lighting is ideal; too intense lighting can stress the Oscar fish.

Blood Parrot Cichlid: Tank Setup

Blood Parrot Cichlids, as hybrid fish, need a well-thought-out environment to ensure their comfort and health.

Being less aggressive than Oscars, their setup might differ in some aspects. Here are their requirements:

  • Ammonia Nitrite Nitrate: Like Oscar fish, Blood Parrot Cichlids need ammonia and nitrite at 0 ppm and nitrates below 20 ppm.
  • Tank Size: For these medium-sized fish, a 30-gallon tank is a starting point, but more space is always better.
  • Foliage: They enjoy plants which also provide hiding spots. Both live and artificial plants are suitable.
  • Decorations: Caves and hideouts are essential for Blood Parrot Cichlids; they love to have secure spots in their environment.
  • Filter: Good filtration is essential. A filter that circulates the tank water 3 times per hour is a good benchmark.
  • Heater: Blood Parrot Cichlids also enjoy warmer waters, aiming for temperatures between 76°F and 80°F.
  • Substrate: Fine sand or gravel is preferred, allowing them to dig and explore as they would in the wild.
  • Pump: Adequate water movement is crucial, so a reliable water pump is needed to ensure proper circulation.
  • Lighting: Moderate to subdued lighting suits Blood Parrot Cichlids, creating a calm atmosphere.

Also Read: Can Oscar Fish And Jack Dempsey Fish Live Together?

The Dietary Requirements Of Oscar Fish And Blood Parrot Cichlids

The dietary needs of Oscar fish and Blood Parrot Cichlids reflect their distinct behaviors and habitats.

Here’s a comparison of their dietary requirements, and suggestions for a tank containing both.

Diet AspectOscar FishBlood Parrot CichlidsBoth Types
Food TypesLive/frozen foods, pellets, flakesPellets, flakes, brine shrimp, blanched vegetablesVariety of all mentioned foods
Quantity2-3% body weight daily (juveniles)Consumed within 2-3 minutesAdjusted based on individual fish sizes
Feeding ScheduleTwice daily (juveniles), once daily (adults)Once in the morning and eveningRegular, balanced feeding times for both

Oscar Fish: Ideal Dietary Requirements

Oscar fish are carnivorous by nature, possessing a strong appetite and a preference for meaty foods.

Providing them with a varied and nutritionally balanced diet is crucial for their health and vibrancy. Here’s what their diet should encompass:

  • Food Types: Oscar fish prefer live or frozen foods such as crickets, earthworms, and feeder fish, but they can also consume high-quality pellets and flakes.
  • Quantity: As juveniles, Oscar fish eat a lot and grow quickly; providing them with 2-3% of their body weight daily is ideal, adjusting as they grow.
  • Feeding Schedule: Feeding Oscar fish twice a day when they’re young and reducing to once daily as adults ensures they get the nutrients they need without overeating.

Blood Parrot Cichlid: Ideal Dietary Requirements

Blood Parrot Cichlids are omnivores, and their dietary needs reflect a balance between plant and animal matter.

Their unique mouth structure, a result of their hybrid nature, also impacts their dietary choices. Here’s a breakdown of their requirements:

  • Food Types: Blood Parrot Cichlids benefit from a mix of high-quality pellets, flakes, brine shrimp, and occasionally blanched vegetables like spinach.
  • Quantity: Offering an amount of food they can consume within 2-3 minutes, once or twice a day, helps maintain their optimal weight and health.
  • Feeding Schedule: Daily feedings, ideally once in the morning and once in the evening, ensure they receive consistent nutrition.

Tips for Keeping Oscar Fish with Blood Parrot Cichlids

While keeping Oscar fish and Blood Parrot Cichlids together is challenging due to their differing behaviors and needs, it’s not impossible with careful planning.

Ensuring both species’ well-being requires attentiveness and commitment to specific tank conditions and management strategies.

Here are essential tips to consider:

  • Tank Size: Given Oscar fish’s size and territorial nature, opt for a tank of at least 100 gallons to provide enough space for both species.
  • Divided Territories: Using decorations, rocks, and plants, create clear territories to reduce potential conflicts between Oscar fish and Blood Parrot Cichlids.
  • Balanced Diet: While Oscar fish are carnivorous, Blood Parrots are omnivores; ensure separate feeding zones and offer species-specific foods.
  • Close Monitoring: Regularly observe interactions, especially during the initial phase, to ensure the Oscar fish isn’t bullying the Blood Parrot Cichlids.
  • Water Quality: Both species are sensitive to ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels. Regular testing and water changes are imperative.
  • Hideouts for Blood Parrots: Given their peaceful nature, ensure ample hiding spots for Blood Parrot Cichlids to retreat if threatened by Oscar fish.
  • Consider Tank Mates Carefully: If introducing other species, ensure they’re compatible with both Oscar fish and Blood Parrot Cichlids to prevent additional stress.

Best Tank Mates For Oscar Fish And Blood Parrot Cichlids

Choosing suitable tank mates for Oscar fish and Blood Parrot Cichlids requires consideration of size, temperament, and environmental needs.

While both species can be housed with various other fish, the choices should complement their unique characteristics and behaviors.

To help in the selection, here are some ideal tank mates:

  • Large Cichlids: Fish like Jack Dempseys or Green Terrors can match the Oscar fish’s size and temperament, minimizing conflicts.
  • Catfish: Species like the Plecostomus or the Synodontis can coexist peacefully, staying largely out of the Oscar fish’s way and serving as tank cleaners.
  • Giant Gourami: These fish are peaceful yet large enough not to be threatened by Oscar fish, making them suitable companions.
  • Silver Dollar Fish: For Blood Parrot Cichlids, these peaceful, schooling fish can provide a dynamic presence without provoking aggression.
  • Bichirs: Their bottom-dwelling nature and rugged exterior make them less vulnerable to Oscar fish, allowing for a peaceful coexistence.


For those of you who are just skimming through, here’s a short recap:

  • Keeping Oscar Fish and Blood Parrot Cichlids together in the same tank is generally not recommended due to size differences, aggressive behavior, dietary conflicts, habitat requirements, and the vulnerable nature of Blood Parrot Cichlids.
  • Oscars are intelligent, territorial, and aggressive, often engaging in nipping and attacks, while Blood Parrot Cichlids are more passive, playful, and prefer hiding spots.
  • Ideal water parameters for both species involve temperature ranges of 76°F to 80°F, pH levels between 6.5 and 7.5, and water hardness varying from 6 to 20 dH.
  • Tank setups should consider size, decorations, filters, heaters, substrates, and lighting preferences, with Oscars needing larger spaces and more robust filtration.
  • Dietary needs differ, with Oscar Fish requiring a meaty diet and Blood Parrot Cichlids favoring a mix of pellets, flakes, and vegetables. Monitoring and maintaining water quality are crucial for both species’ well-being.