Will African Cichlids Attack Oscars: How to Make It Work?

African cichlids are a popular fish in the aquarium hobby, but they can also be a menace to other fish in your tank. They are known to attack other fish so vigorously that they can even kill them. So if you have Oscars in your tank, be prepared for them to struggle with adjusting.

There is a big possibility that African cichlids could attack Oscars. African cichlids are territorial and aggressive towards other fish, and Oscars seem to threaten them. There have been cases where African cichlids have attacked other fish in their tank, but this is usually due to aggression or competition for food.

Why Are African Cichlids and Oscars Not Compatible?

It is generally safe to house African cichlids and Oscars together, provided they are kept in separate tanks. However, it’s important to remember that these fish can be territorial and aggressive when their space is infringed upon, so keep them separated if possible but aware of their requirements.

Water Parameters

African cichlids and Oscars need different water parameters in their tanks to thrive. For example, African cichlids require soft, acidic water, while Oscars prefer more alkaline water. Therefore, adjusting the tank’s pH accordingly is essential to keep these fish together. In addition, Oscars require high oxygen levels, while a lower level is needed for African cichlids. Africans and Oscars should be held separately since they tend to differ significantly.

Water Amount

Oscar fish need large amounts of water even when buried in their sand because the part of the surface area allows them to withstand pressure within the tank – which can get the house down if it’s not enough! They also appreciate root zones near sturdy live plants where they can swim around and aerate the water.

Fish Size

African cichlids and Oscars are pretty different in terms of size. For example, African cichlids typically grow to around 2 to 12 inches, while Oscars can reach up to 14 inches (36 cm). Therefore, keeping their tanks appropriately sized is essential if you want them to coexist peacefully. In addition, African cichlids and Oscars have different dietary needs. While some Oscar fish can live on vegetable matter, African Cichlid fish are omnivores that you should feed a varied diet of vegetables and meaty food items like live worms or small crustaceans.


African cichlids and Oscars both require a low bio-load in their tanks. This means they should be kept with other fish similarly common in NRPS (non-regenerative perch filtration substrate). This will keep the water clean and free of organic material, beneficial for these fish. In addition, these fish enjoy bare bottom tanks with plenty of rocks and roots, among other things. In addition, Africans require regular water changes to help keep the Tank’s pH constant.


Oscars should be kept in tanks with a temperature range of 74 to 81 degrees Fahrenheit (23 to 27 degrees Celsius). Keep the water at a consistent temperature by using an aquarium heater. At the same time, African cichlids have a temperature range of 78 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit (25 to 27 degrees Celsius).

Lighting Source

African cichlids and Oscars shouldn’t be kept in brightly lit tanks as they may become uncomfortable at such high lighting levels. Instead, try using a black background when keeping these fish together for the best result. The other option is to use aquarium hoods or fluorescent light fixtures that emit wavelengths that the fish can tolerate.


African cichlids and Oscars are aggressive fish that can get along well in a tank. However, they have different temperaments, so it is essential to match them accordingly if they want to live peacefully together. African cichlids are typically grouchy when first introduced to a new environment, while Oscars tend to be more laid-back.

Suitable Tanks Mates for African Cichlids

Oscars are generally good with other fish, but they may be more aggressive towards others of their species. They should be kept with fish that have a similar temperament and size. Some suitable tank mates for Oscars include Plecos, zebra loach, and red tail shark.

Plecos (Hypostomus plecostomus)

Credits to: @aquatwig

They are popular as fish tanks pets because they are very active and can be pretty entertaining to watch. However, plecos are excellent tankmates for African cichlids. They are peaceful fish and make good additions to any aquarium. Plecos do best in tanks with plenty of covers, as they enjoy hiding among rocks and plants.

Zebra Loach (Botia striata)

They are peaceful and slow-moving, making them a good choice for African cichlids. However, they should not be housed with predatory fish as they may become dinner. Zebra loaches do well in tanks with some hiding place, such as under rocks or plants.

Red Tail Shark (Epalzeorhynchos bicolor)

These fish are a popular choice for fish tanks because they are peaceful and can grow to be quite large. They make great tank mates for African cichlids. Red-tails can live in community tanks with other small fish but should be kept away from larger predator fish.

Paratilapia (Paratilapia polleni)

They can be aggressive and territorial when housing with other fish, but they make great tank mates for African cichlids. They should be kept in tanks with plenty of hiding places as they are very active fish.

Jewel Cichlids (Hemichromis)

These fish are excellent aquarium fish because they are hardy and can be pretty colorful. They should be housed with other cichlids. Jewel cichlids do well in tanks with plenty of hiding places, such as under rocks or plants.

Giant Danios (Devario aequipinnatus)

They make good tank mates for African cichlid, but it is essential to ensure enough space to swim around. Danios do well in tanks that have someplace to hide, such as under rocks or plants. Additionally, danios should be housed in tanks that have plenty of flow.

Rainbowfish (Melanotaeniidae)

Rainbowfish (Melanotaeniidae) is a fish for aquariums because they are colorful and easy to care for. They are compatible with most cichlid species but should be kept with similar-sized fish. They are peaceful and will not attack other fish in the tank.

Suitable Tanks Mates for Oscars

There are a few fish that can be compatible with Oscars. These fish vary in size and compatibility, so it is essential to research which type of fish would fit best in your tank. Other tank mates for the Oscars include catfish, silver dollar fish, firemouth cichlids, convict cichlids, and blue acara.