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What school of fish to finish off my tank?

tomsouthall

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8 Feb 2021
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South Oxfordshire
Hi all,

My planted tank has been going about 6 months or so and I'm pretty pleased with how it is going. I want to 'finish it off' my adding a school of ~10-20 tetras or similar and was wondering if anyone had any advice on what to go for based on the plants and the current inhabitants? I'm looking for something ultra peaceful but bigger than a CPD, so I think a tetra such as Cardinal/Rummy Nose but am open to a left-field suggestions for mid-tank inhabitants. In the tank which is ~130L, neutralish pH and hard water but buffered down by Tropica substrate and no CO2 is:
  • About 10 decent sized Amano Shrimp
  • 6 Ottos
  • 8 CPD
  • 2 Endlers (+1 fry, all that survived the first brood!)

Any recommendations welcomed!! I have just seen there's a similar thread from a few weeks ago so hope no one minds me posting another one...

Tom.
 

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mort

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Hyphessobrycon elatys or the reed tetra is a nice one I've been wanting to try for a few years now. Peaceful, hardy and not gaudy.

Pentazona barbs are a firm favourite. They get slightly under 2" but are very peaceful and interesting to watch. The colours on mature fish is amazing as well.

I do like the other suggestions though, the rainbows are subtle but stunning when you look close up, and the same goes for the gourami really.
 

tomsouthall

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Hi all, thanks for these responses exactly what I wanted! I'm a big fan of the Threadfin Rainbow.... wonder where I'll be able to find them! Any other suggestions?
 

John q

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I read somewhere that Sparkling Gouramis will happily take down a shrimp....
That's really surprising, have had them for 8 months and never seen the slightest hint of fiestines from them, I even have to chop black worms up in to 10mm pieces or less before they'll attempt to lunge at them.
Mind you I don't have shrimp in the tank, maybe shrimp bring out their dark side.
 

shangman

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Sparkling gouramis seem very variable in temperament, I keep mine with crystal red shrimp and they don't eat the adults, but I've only ever seen 2 babies who were quite large. I've never seen them act predatory with the shrimp, though they go mad for daphnia and other tasty waterbutt treats.

I even have to chop black worms up in to 10mm pieces or less before they'll attempt to lunge at them.
Mind you I don't have shrimp in the tank, maybe shrimp bring out their dark side.
That's very interesting, mine will suck up a whole blackworm like spaghetti, and have done since I first got them, even without shrimp! It's a quite an amusing sight, I originally put them in not for food, but to live in the substrate and was quite surprised at how efficiently they slurped them down.

I have also found they are very variable in personality depending on the tank, though I'm not exactly sure what the change is caused by. When they were in my main tank they were never shy, and now in a different one, which is more heavily planted and in a quieter area of the house they are very shy and only come out to eat. Either way they are very sweet fish, and with lots of interesting behaviours.



Would love to know where you find your threadfin rainbows if you do, I'm very tempted by them myself!! That and the pseudomugli rainbows seem very charming.
 

mort

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I'm not sure about current supply issues but the thread fin rainbows should be easily available to any shop to order in. They used to be on the availability list when ever I looked and it's only because they don't always look their best in the lfs that they aren't in every shop all the time.

In hard water the celebes rainbowfish is another nice species although it gets a little larger.
 

milla

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My lfs arent ordering rainbows & dearer fish. Due to the increased costs of shipping they have cut imports. Customers apparently not appreciating 75% price hike so not buying.

Diamond or lemon tetra. Can't go wrong with Cherry barbs in a plsntrd tank.
 

Andy Pierce

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I have rummy-nosed tetras and 5-banded barbs and they're both great. I wouldn't describe their behaviour as "tight schooling" so much as it is "casual socialising". I got the 5-banded barbs because they have a reputation for being more peaceful than for example tiger barbs, and because I was looking for fish that enjoyed hiding in plants - which they were doing in the shop but do less of at home. The tetras and barbs used to stay relatively within their own species, but now they're pretty much all intermixed together all the time the way they hang out.

Can anyone recommend a smaller fish that really does that 'tight coordinated schooling', you know, where it looks like they're all swimming in a well-coordinated formation?
 

Wookii

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Can anyone recommend a smaller fish that really does that 'tight coordinated schooling', you know, where it looks like they're all swimming in a well-coordinated formation?

I'm not an expert on fish behaviour, but tight schooling is 'generally' associated with stress - fish school tightly when they think they are at risk of predation - think sardine balls. When they spread out foraging for food and grazing, they have become relaxed with their surroundings.

I also find a lot of tetra's often have an energy conservation strategy, and will just 'hang' out in a comfortable spot for as long as possible. My chilli's travel around a lot more, exploring the tank, and they do form a fairly tight school when doing so, probably because they are so small, but also because they seem to have a bit of a pack hunt mentality when feeding.
 
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shangman

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This may be a little left field for schooling compared to tetras or rasboras, but I have 10 pygmy corydoras and they spend a good amount of time every day all schooling together in mid water, even though there's nothing to scare them together. They're very small, very cute, and they seem to just enjoy swimming together against the flow. They're nice enough that with my bigger tank coming I'll definitely get 20+ more to add to their group.
 

John q

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That's very interesting, mine will suck up a whole blackworm like spaghetti, and have done since I first got them, even without shrimp! It's a quite an amusing sight, I originally put them in not for food, but to live in the substrate and was quite surprised at how efficiently they slurped them down
They've always been timmid feeders. They were originally in a 600mm tank and were always outcompeted at meal times by the glowlights or guppies, thats why I was surprised to hear them being called fiesty.

They now live in a bigger tank with much bigger fish and are more than happy to swim in the open, at feeding time they've figured out which side the boisterous fish tend to feed at and where the more graceful, picky feeders hang out. They usually end up dining with the rams and honey gourami.
 

mort

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Fish behaviour is also related to the number you have. Many fish we keep are naturally found in groups number hundreds or sometimes thousands and you need a decent number to replicate even a small part of this behaviour. I don't think I'd personally keep any of the normal tetra type species in a group less than a dozen. I don't think it necessarily helps with shoaling as after a while the become used to their surrounding and find their own little space.

Mokenhausia costae is a species that's relatively new to the hobby but supposedly a good "shoaler".
 

Tim Harrison

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think a tetra such as Cardinal/Rummy Nose
Cardinals are a firm favourite of mine. I have 16 and they always school in fairly tight formation. They cohabit with a pair of much larger dwarf cichlids, which aren't the slightest interest in them. But I guess their mere presence is enough to elicit schooling.
I have 10 pygmy corydoras and they spend a good amount of time every day all schooling together
They are amazing little fish. They will happily shoal with any other species as well.
 
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