Can Turtles and Oscars Live Together?

Turtles are a great pet choice for people who want to teach their children about responsibility. They can also be helpful as therapy animals.

But what if you already have an Oscar?

Both turtles and Oscars can live together, but their differences will cause a problem. Oscar fish are aggressive and will eat a smaller turtle if provoked. The younger turtles have a hard time fighting back as they are unable to swim away due to their bulkiness.

On the other hand, turtles will also chomp off any part of an Oscar that comes within reach.

They might even eat them whole if hungry enough.

It is, therefore, best for you to switch the tank into a divided one or take it out.

Here you can see turtles and oscar fish living happyly together in the same tank.

Through this post, we will show you the nature of both animals and how they can co-exist with each other.

Can Oscar and Turtles Live Together

Here are the most common challenges you’ll experience when having turtles and Oscars live together:

Behavior and Aggression

There is a high chance that your turtles will attack your Oscar fish.

When provoked, the turtle will attempt to bite at the Oscar’s fins.

Also Read -> Do Red Eared Sliders Bite?

However, Oscar fish are very territorial creatures that might attack, injure, or even kill your turtles.

This is especially true if you have a baby turtle.

Regardless of who attacks first, both Oscars and turtles are so aggressive and violent that confrontation usually leads to the death of both creatures.

Unfortunately, this increases the chances of your turtles dying from starvation.

This can occur if you don’t tend to their needs or feed them regularly because you’re worried about leaving your fish unattended.

Size Differences

An adult Oscar fish is around 12 inches, making them a threat for baby turtles.

Meanwhile, turtle sizes range from 5-12 inches.

Depending on the turtle you’ve bought, the size differences between your turtle and oscar fish shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

However, you should get rid of the oscar fish if your turtles grow up to be bigger than the tank size.

You don’t want any injuries from a turtle that is outgrowing its home.

Tank Conditions

If you already own Oscars and turtles, you’ll know that they have specific needs to be met.

They have requirements such as dry areas, UVB light, and heat lamps.

You should not rush to place your turtles in your Oscar tank unless you’ve made the necessary adjustments.

On average, they live in water temperatures ranging from 60-90 degrees F.

In lower temperatures, turtles can survive in areas up to 50 degrees F.

Aim for a tank size of 80 gallons if you’re planning on having both turtles and Oscar fish in the same tank.

You’ll be surprised how large turtles can grow over time, especially if they were introduced to the tank when they were young.

Turtles are not as sensitive as Oscar Fish when it comes to their living environment. In fact, they tend to thrive and live in dirty conditions.

Make sure to get a good filtration system, or the water in the tank will grow smelly and murky over time.

A tank filled with turtles and Oscar fish will require a lot of attention.

While turtles and Oscar fish can live peacefully, having a tank with both of them requires more work than what the average fish owner would like to do.

How Can Turtles and Oscar Fish Coexist?

If you’re willing to put in the time and effort, here are some steps to ensure that turtles and the Oscars can live together peacefully.

Use the Right Tank

Get a large tank for your turtles and Oscars.

A smaller tank will cause more conflict because they’re more likely to clash against each other.

Search for the largest tank you can afford so your turtles and Oscars can roam around freely.

Also, consider getting a reliable filtration system.

Clean out the water 1-2 times a week. Without a robust filtration system, your tank will become filled with waste; the environment will become uninhabitable for your Oscar fish.

No Feeder Fish

If you don’t want your turtles to attack your Oscars, make sure there’s no feeder fish inside the tank.

Otherwise, the turtles will become more aggressive towards fish, Especially if they’re smaller.

The same advice goes for Oscar fish as well.

To avoid any hostility, do not put feeder fish in the tank.

Instead of feeding the Oscars live fish, you can buy frozen food such as pellets at your local pet store.

Select the Right Turtle

The relationship between your turtle and Oscar fish is dependent on the turtle’s species.

There are some turtle species that are less aggressive than others.

For example, painted turtles will only attack smaller fish.

As a result, they are less likely to fight with Oscars.

Red-eared sliders only tend to eat aquatic food. You can see how good their friendship is in the video below. 

On the other hand, snapping turtles do not get along with fish (including Oscars!).

If you can find a turtle that is compatible with your Oscar, you’ll greatly reduce the number of problems you’ll have to deal with.

Include Decorations and Plants

Aquatic decorations and plants reduce the chances of a turtle attacking an oscar fish.

By placing large rocks, plants, and other objects in the tank, your Oscars will have a safe place to hide.

While some turtles are large enough to barge through the objects, it’s better than nothing.

Reduce Hunger

Keep your turtles and Oscars well-fed.

Since turtles are omnivores, their diet ranges from leafy greens to crickets and mealworms.

Like most aquatic animals, turtles are the most aggressive when they are hungry.

Include a Ramp

A lot of turtles have difficulty climbing out of the water to get to land.

To make it easier, get a ramp so they can easily get out of the tank.

Adding a ramp for your turtles can add some space between them and your Oscars.

Check Temperatures

Turtles and Oscars have very different temperature requirements.

Turtles need a water temperature that ranges from 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, while Oscar fish thrive at temperatures up to 81 degrees Fahrenheit.

To prevent any danger, do not let the water in their tanks reach over 80 degrees Fahrenheit or fall below 74 degrees.

It’s also best if you place a thermometer into each tank, so you know exactly what they’re going through.

Get a Filter

Remember, you’re trying to create an environment that works best for them.

While a turtle can survive in water without any filtration, it would mark doom for your Oscars.

Oscar fish and turtles may not be compatible due to the size difference, but adding a filter can create plenty of beneficial places for the Oscar fish. 

A filter will remove any excess food or waste that your turtle produces while keeping things more oxygenated. 

This way, both animals stay happy and healthy!

Keep Your Water Parameters Consistent

Varying the water parameters will make your turtle’s life more stressful.

The best thing to do is maintain a consistent temperature, pH value, and hardness in their environment.

A fluctuation of even 0.1 can be uncomfortable for them. 

If you start changing one of these, then it’s better to find a way to get everything back to normal before adding any fish into the tank.

If you’re going on vacation or something similar, consider temporarily moving your turtles into a temporary holding tank while the Oscars are present until you return home.

Can an Oscar Kill a Turtle?

Fish owners should know that Oscar fish can be aggressive.

This means that they could eventually attack the turtle and even kill it.

Turtles usually have hard shells to protect them from predators.

Some turtles, however, do not have hard shells but still live in water for protection.

If you are planning on keeping turtles with oscar fish, make sure that the tank is large enough so as to provide plenty of space for both of them.

The tank must also be well maintained and cleaned frequently so as to minimize stress and prevent disease outbreaks.

This setup will provide a lot of work on your part, though it will definitely be worth it when you see how happy your pets are living together

What Fish Can Live With Turtles?

While Oscar fish is a common enemy to turtles, there are some fish species that make good tankmates:


Guppies are small, beautiful fish that make perfect tankmates for turtles. Since they swim fast, your turtles won’t be able to catch them.

They would readily eat shrimps which might disrupt your turtle’s ecosystem, but you don’t have to worry about that because turtles are herbivores anyway.

If you want to save money and if you are going to get Guppies as well, buy at least three of them because they tend to live in groups of ten or more in the wild.

Please note that these fish do not like planted tanks, so it is better for the plants’ sake to keep them separately from any aquatic vegetation.

Also read – > Can Turtles And Guppies Live Together


Turtles and Catfish are compatible as long as there is a good size difference between them.

Depending on the species, catfish can be a threat or a good tank mate for your turtle.

For example, the Asian Stone Catfish (a medium-sized species) will be a threat to your turtle because it is large and can eat adult turtles.

But still, it is not recommendable to keep these two together in the same tank because they could fight.

However, the Pictus Catfish would be a suitable tankmate.

They are agile and fast, and they swim in the upper layers of the water column.

They eat live foods and infusoria while at times scavenging for dead food on the tank floor.

If you want catfish and live in a warm area, or if you are willing to maintain a big tank, then there are several types of catfish that would be good for your turtle tank.

These include Corydoras Catfish, Otocinclus Catfish, Clown Plecoes, Bristlenose Plecos, Vampire Plecostomus, Pterygoplichthys.

Also Read -> Do Catfish Eat Turtles?


Ropefish are known for their ability to wriggle out of a predator’s jaws, but they also spend plenty of time hiding in the tank.

They can grow up to 10 inches long and make it difficult for turtles with smaller mouths to capture them.


Plecos can grow up to 18 inches, making them too large to become turtle food.

However, they can also interfere with turtles by eating the aquatic plants in your tank and sucking on your turtle’s toes.

If you place them in a tank with a turtle of similar size, they will be fine.

However, you must also provide them with the right amount of food to eat and the proper hiding places.

Also Read -> Can Algae Eaters Live With Turtles

Rose Barb

Rose Barbs are approximately 3 inches in size.

They prefer to eat algae and plants, but they will consume tadpoles and baby turtles that are small enough for them to munch on.

They are relatively hardy fish, and you have the option of introducing them to a tank with your turtle.

Since they are alert, fast, and active, they will stay out of your turtle’s jaws.

Neon Tetras

Neon Tetras are fast swimmers, which makes them too frustrating to be a good meal for any turtles.

A rare species of fish found in the Amazon River is known as the Neon Tetra.

These small-bodied freshwater biorhythms swim much faster than most creatures and have sharp bites that can penetrate turtle shells with ease if they were able to catch one!

Also Read -> Can Turtles Eat Neon Tetra


Turtles and Oscar Fish can live together, but it will require a lot of maintenance on your end.

If you want to maintain a successful tank, make sure it is of good size and notice any signs of violence between either species.

By doing so, you can keep them separate from each other while giving your turtle a healthy place to live.

This blog post has provided plenty of information on how this co-habitation could work out for both the fish and turtle, as well as what to do if there are clashes in their living environment.

Have you experienced turtles and Oscar Fish living together? Comment below!

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