Can You Keep Oscars with African Cichlids

Can You Keep Oscars with African Cichlids

If you have a freshwater aquarium, you may be attracted to the colorful and tropical cichlids for your tank. Oscars are a distinctive species of South American cichlids, so can you combine both Oscars and African Cichlids in the same aquarium?

Here is what you need to know:

Can you keep Oscars with African Cichlids?

Thinking about combining African Cichlids and Oscar fish in the same tank? Know that these two species require very different things when it comes to habitat- and additionally, their temperaments simply don’t pair well.

The first reason why you should not pair the two species is the difference in their water needs. African Cichlids need a freshwater tank with hardwater that is high in calcium, and that has a higher pH level. As for Oscars, they do best in soft water and are not very resilient to changes in their environment.

Oscars do better in milder conditions- and their docile temperament makes them a sitting-duck for the more aggressive African Cichlids.  

Oscar Cichlid Assorted

Another reason why you cannot keep Oscars with African cichlids is that they are from two entirely different regions. Oscars are from the acidic waters of the Amazon, while African Cichlids require more alkaline water. Do you know what happens when you put fish in water that has an improper pH level? It is not good- fish will be uncomfortable with low quality of life, eventually becoming vulnerable to disease and death. When Oscars are in water that is too alkaline, it actually burns them and causes infections.

Same situation for an African Cichlid in a tank that is too acidic- it damages the fish’s eyes and causes a condition called hyperplasia, which impacts their skin and gills. Do not be fooled by the size of an Oscar- they are gentle giants. Even though they may seem like an assertive species, the African Cichlids are faster and more aggressive- attacking the Oscars with no warning.

Can African Cichlids be kept with South American Cichlids?

Again, it is not a great marriage to pair African with South American Cichlids. These two species- despite their name- require entirely different habitats. African Cichlids need harder, more alkaline water to thrive, but South American Cichlids prefer softer water that is more acidic than alkaline.

As for merely getting along, these two different Cichlids have very different temperaments; the African Cichlids will be combative and tend to beat-up on the more friendly and social South American Cichlids. Do yourself- and your aquarium- a favor: African Cichlids like to isolate and live a reclusive life in hard water habitats, while South American Cichlids simply enjoy being with other fish and get along with many other species. They need water that is softer and more acidic in their ideal environment. Don’t try to mix the two in one tank- it is that simple.

Jack Dempsey

Be careful not to combine Oscars and African Cichlids, as they both have very different and distinct needs when it comes to environment. Also, they simply have temperaments that could be a recipe for disaster. Consider this when pairing your Cichlids for a harmonious tank. You have a lot of other options for pairing your Oscars and your South American Cichlids- avoid combining them in the same habitat as your African Cichlids for best results and the most peaceful habitat possible.

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