Skip to Content

5 Of The Best Dither Fish For Oscars!

With the popularity of keeping oscars within the fish keeping hobby increasing, the number of questions that we have noticed people asking about caring for their pet oscars has also been increasing.

We have noticed a large number of people specifically reaching out and asking questions about having various problems with aggression with their oscars recently so we wanted to publish this article to try and help as many of our readers as possible.

Oscars have a very high aggression rate no matter what you try and we would not recommend them for people new to the fish keeping hobby as they can be a challenging fish to keep.

Over the last month or so, there have been a number of people reaching out and asking for advice on choosing dither fish for oscars in a bit to try and reduce the aggression levels of their oscars.

The issues is, dither fish are not as effective with oscars as they are with other species of fish and many dither fish will, unfortunately, end up being a meal for your oscars and this is always going to be a risk with the species.

Still, there are a number of possible dither fish for oscars that you can try provided you are aware that there is about a fifty-fifty chance of the dither fish ending up being feeders so we wanted to publish this article going over the various species of fish that you can try with your oscars.

The Best Dither Fish For Oscars!

This is our list of possible dither fish options for your oscars but we would usually recommend you go with the cheapest possible option for your initial trials to see how your oscars respond:-

  • Tiger Barbs
  • Giant Danios
  • Tetras
  • Rasboras
  • Silver Dollars


Most people who are having problems with aggression levels in their oscars use tetras as their dither fish of choice.

Not only are they cheap and easy to find but for a small fish, they are rapid and have very fast reflexes making it harder for your oscar to turn the tetras into a meal.

This is why the tetras are our default recommendation for a dither fish for your oscars.

They are also available in a number of different colors depending on the type of tetra that you go with offering some choice in the color of the fish that you add.

Tetras are a schooling fish that usually need at least five other tetras to be added to the tank to allow them to feel safe and school.

Due to their small size, they will work in the majority of tank setups with an oscar without causing issues with potential overstocking.

Here is a short selection of some of the types of tetras that you are able to try as dither fish for your oscar but you can pretty much try any type of tetra that you want:-

  • Neon tetras.
  • Black neon tetras.
  • Glowlight tetras.
  • Bloodfin tetras.
  • Serpae tetras.

We put the neon tetra as our top choice due to how cheap and readily available they are where as many of the other types of tetra out there being more expensive.


Rasboras have to be the second best dither fish option for oscars as they have most of the advantages that tetras have.

Depending on the specific type of rasbora that you use, they can be a little larger and a little more expensive but for the most part, they can work as a cheap dither fish option.

They are also a fast moving fish helping to reduce the chances of your oscars eating your rasboras too.

Here are some of the types of rasbora that you can try as a dither fish for your oscar:-

  • Harlequin Rasboras.
  • Glowlight Rasboras.
  • Neon Green Rasboras.

There really are a wide range of different types of rasbora that you can try but you will usually need to add at least six rasboras to allow them to school in the tank.

Tiger Barbs

Tiger barbs are usually our default recommendation for a dither fish for any type of cichlid and they can work well but when it comes to oscars, they may just end up being food for your oscars.

Still, there are some people out there who use tiger barbs in their oscar tank as a dither fish and don’t have problems with the tiger barbs being able to help reduce the aggression levels in their oscars.

Due to the prices of tiger barbs and the fact that you usually need to add four or more to your tank, we would usually recommend one of the other dither fish species to test how your oscars react to having other fish species in their tank.

Giant Danios

Giant danios can be hit and miss as a dither fish for an oscar and there tends to be a fifty-fifty chance on if they work or not.

Some oscars will just eat the danios where as others will not be able to catch them and calm down over time.

Due to this, we would usually recommend that you go with one of the other types of dither fish on our list than giant danios.

We would not recommend that you try any of the other types of danios with your oscar as a potential dither fish option as they tend to be too small and slow and they will usually just end up as food for your oscar.

Silver Dollars

Although we have seen silver dollars recommended as a potential dither fish on social media for oscars, they have the same problem as giant danios.

They may work but there is just as much of a chance that your oscar will just eat the silver dollar so you have to keep that in mind as you may just be wasting your money by even trying them.

Still, many people use silver dollars as a dither fish for a wide range of different types of cichlids, oscars included and they can work in some tank setups.