Selecting schooling/dither fish for your tropical tank may seem like an easy thing to do, but you need to consider a few things. 1. The size of the tank. 2. The size of their tank mates & boisterousness of their potential tank mates. 3.Environment suitability.

Once you take those things into consideration, you may find your list of potential schooling fish drops considerably. Here is a list of my top 5 all-round dither fish

To make this list these fish must be:

  • Inexpensive
  • Considered hardy
  • Not prone to disease
  • Suitable for a wide range of tank parameter
  • Colourful & fun to watch

5. The Cardinal Tetra

Cardinal Tetra
Cardinal Tetra School

The Cardinal Tetra look very similar to Neon Tetra with their bright red and electric blue stripes, but the cardinals a are slightly larger and instead of the stripes only reaching half way down their bodies, the stripes extend the full length of them.

They grow to a maximum of about 2 inches, making them a bit more difficult to eat than the little Neons, and they are less prone to disease than the Neons.

In a school of 10 or more, these fish add an unrivalled splash of colour and movement to your tank, easily earning them the number 5 position on this list.

4. The Zebra Danio

Zebra Danio
Zebra Danio

These fish are fast and furious! They dart around your tank quicker than you can blink, so may not be suited to aquariums with slower moving tank mates.

They are easy to keep and add real movement to your tank as they don’t stay still for two seconds. They can tolerate a wide range of water conditions and are not prone to any disease.

Easily distinguishable by their striped body, these active fish earn their spot on this list for being tolerant of water conditions, hardy, active and interesting to watch.

3. Marbled Hatchetfish

Marbled Hatchetfish

If you have an established freshwater tank with a tight fitting lid, the Hatchetfish must be considered for your tank!

These fish are peaceful, fun and unusual looking. They occupy a widely unoccupied area of a fish tank, the very upper level. They make a great centrepiece for your aquarium and are sure to turn heads with their unusual shape.

The Hatchetfish doesn’t make it higher up this list as they are known to be expert jumpers and they can be a little timid around bigger, more boisterous tank mates.

2. The Cherry Barb

Cherry Barb
Cherry Barb

These brightly coloured fish are a welcome addition to most aquariums. They add a splash of colour and movement to the middle area of your tank.

Unlike most Barb’s, they don’t have the aggressive nature that can be associated with Barbs, but they have been known to nip at longer fins which is what has kept them off of the top spot.

They are easy to care for, hardy little fish that mostly keep to themselves. A great splash of colour for any community tank.

1. The Rummy-Nose Tetra

Rummy Nose Tetra
Rummy Nose Tetra

The number one spot for Best Schooling/Shoaling fish has to go to the Rummy-Nose Tetra.

These fish are peaceful, hardy and colourful. They bother no one and spend their days cruising up and down your tank. I have never had a sick or sorry Rummy-Nose in any of my tanks.

They grow to a reasonable size, which will help prevent other fish snacking on them, but are often fast enough to keep out of their tank mates way anyway.

These fish are great all-rounders who are not overly fussy with care requirements or feeding habits, in my opinion they hands down win the award for “Best Schooling fish”


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