Oscars are one of the most popular Cichlids sold to aquarium hobbyists today. This is in part due to their high intelligence and activeness in the tank. Although these fish are popular, they do require live food to live healthy lives. This means adding other fish into the tank. Creating a “community tank” that consists of many species is not an easy task without simply adding to the oscar’s diet. However, with good tank preparation and by picking the right fish, a community tank is possible.
Fast Growing Fish
According to Aquarium Fish.net, oscars are compatible with bigger pacus, white tip sharks and large plecostomus due to the fact that these fish grow to larger sizes at a faster pace. This allows them to keep up with the fast growth of oscars, thus minimizing their chances of becoming prey.
Per WorldCichlids.com, bottom feeders like pictus catfish and clown loache are compatible with oscars because they stay on the bottom of a tank whereas oscars stay in the middle and top of the tank due to their larger size. Oscars also tend to hunt fish who swim in the middle and top instead of going "head down" to hunt.
Large Habitats with Hiding Places
The more room your give oscars, the more likely you are to have a successful community habitat. Oscars are often kept in pairs, which requires a minimum tank size of 70 gallons. This is also a good rule of thumb when adding non-oscar fish to the tank. With this in mind, providing your community tank with plenty of hiding spaces will also allow smaller fish places to hide when your oscar gets hungry.
Red Oscar image by Mike Price from Fotolia.com