Can a Jack Dempsey and an Oscar Fish Live Together?

Updated on December 26, 2016
An albino tiger oscar.
An albino tiger oscar.
Jack Dempsey fish from http://www.willegal.net/tropical_fish/jack.jpg
Jack Dempsey fish from http://www.willegal.net/tropical_fish/jack.jpg

One of the banes of a any fish keeper's life (and perhaps, one of the joys too) is putting together a tank of fish that don't slaughter each other. Large cichlids, such as Jack Dempseys and Oscar fish are known for levels of aggression from mild to very aggressive. So can you keep them together? The answer is yes, providing a couple of conditions are met.

First of all, the tank must be large enough. A 55 gallon will only just cut it, and many would say that even that is not large enough, that a 90 gallon is needed. Space is important to fish, and being crowded only increases agression amongst already aggressive cichlids.

If you are going to keep aggressive cichlids together, make sure that they have plenty of room. Make sure too, that there are hiding places for both fish. If you have more cichlids in the tank, ensure that they too have hiding places. Cichlids like to be able to hide, so rock caves and other places to hide are an absolute must.

If you design your tank carefully, you can provide spaces for smaller fish to retreat when they are threatened by larger fish. As a rule of thumb, you should never put fish small enough to fit in an Oscar's mouth in the same tank as an Oscar if you are not prepared to lose them. And when I say lose them, I mean, see them killed by the Oscar. Oscar fish are carnivorous, and whilst they are happy to live eating pellets, which is their recommended diet, they will eat smaller fish if the smaller fish hangs around long enough to be eaten. Some red tail sharks can live with Oscars, because they tend to be zippy, predator aware fish who do well in amongst larger, more aggressive fish, but one day they may be cornered and consumed, so if you are particularly attached to them, remove them from the tank.

Returning to the subject of the Jack Dempsey and the Oscar Fish, JD's tend to be more retiring in general, so you can expect to see a great deal more of the Oscar than you do of the JD. This is entirely normal behavior, and is not a result of the Oscar 'scaring the JD'. Now, depending on size and temperament, a JD may try to bully an Oscar. Some are even successful, others not so much.

In my case, I have a larger Oscar fish and a JD about half the size. This has proven to be a fairly successful mix. Whilst the JD did try to bully the Oscar at first (the Oscar was a late addition to the tank), the Oscar quickly showed him who was boss. Younger, smaller Oscars may fall prey to bullying more easily.

The long and short of matters is that it largely depends on the temperament of the fish, the lay out of your tank, and most importantly, its size.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Brodie 

      8 months ago

      What if the JD is bigger?

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, pethelpful.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://pethelpful.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)