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The Ornery Oscar

My boyfriend and I just got a 29 gallon tank, he's had the tank running before but is rusty to how to run everything, my ?? is What temp does the water have to be? We have an Oscar and a columbine shark will they get along? thanks so much. - beginner fisher

Oscars are cichlid from South America so tropical temperature are best (75-85). Secondly, Oscars will outgrow your 29 gallon tank. They really should be kept, imho, in a 50 gallon tank minimum. The 29 gallon is really too small. I guess you can worry about what you're going to do with him when he outgrows the tank later. Besides size, one big concern is that Oscars are messy fish. They are predatory eaters and make a lot of waste. You'll be constantly cleaning the 29 gallon unless you have a really, really efficient filter. However, it can be done. I've seen happy little Oscars in small tanks. Don't expect them to be happy for long though.

Colombian Sharks will be about the same size as an Oscar. They are also predatory fish, however they are very docile and sometimes get pushed around by fish like Oscars. They are fairly delicate fish and if you don't keep the tank ammonia levels down and water quality in check, they'll die. This is going to be hard to do with an Oscar in a 29 gallon tank.

Adding tankmates really depends on the temperament & size of your Oscar. Some Oscars are very territorial and will attack other tankmates, especially if they've been living in the aquarium for a while and especially in a tank your size. I've known Oscars that would try to kill *any* fish and I've known Oscars that could get along with anyone. These fish really have personalities (which seems weird because most fish just kind of swim around. Oscars really are individuals). It's best to add the other tankmates and then add the Oscar (too late now :-). They normally aren't really fighters so they shouldn't be paired with aggressive or territorial fish. The Colombian Sharks should be ok if they are getting along. Just keep and eye out and be sure you don't add anything smaller than the Oscar's mouth or he'll have an expensive lunch.

Here are some more articles which might help you out:
The Amazing Oscar | Cichlid Fish

was recently given an oscar that is about 2 inches long, still a baby :) . . . In the 25 gallon I have a 4 inch long gold fish some goramies and some other basic fish, the oscar seems to be getting along great with them. I was wondering if I put the gold fish in with the oscar in the 70 gallon aquarium as they grow will they still get along.

There's a few problems with keeping these guys together. Oscars are tropical (about 78 degrees) and goldfish are "cold water" (70-74) fish so they probably wouldn't like each other's tanks. Also, oscars eat goldfish. If you do want to try, make sure the goldfish is bigger than the Oscar (a lot bigger, big enough not to fit in his mouth). Goldfish are given as "treats" by many oscar owners. Personally, I wouldn't risk it. However, I have seen people keep large goldfish with Oscars so it can be done.

Most people recommend tankmates that are roughly the same size as the oscar. If you get him used to them when he's a baby, he might not bother them when he grows up and he'll grow up quickly. Some suggestions are Firemouths, larger Gouramis or Barbs, Severums, Jack Dempseys, Green Terrors and Plecostomus.

Q and A

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Please note that due to the volume of requests I receive and the time it takes to answer some of the more complicated questions, I cannot answer every question received and I will not answer duplicate questions. However, I will try my best to get to all of them in a timely manner.

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