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Best Schooling Fish for Planted Tanks

391691 Views 245 Replies 185 Participants Last post by  lennaquino
What do you think is the best schooling fish, that is an absolute must in any planted aquarium?!
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A bunch of glass cats are nice. You can see the plants through them! :)
I don't know about an absolute must for a planted aquarium, but there are plenty of schooling species I am particularly fond of:

Cardinal Tetras (P. axelrodi): the classic and most used schooling fish for planted aquaria. Not exactly tight schoolers, but they are very social fish that group together very tightly when they perceive a threat. They look spectacular in schools of twelve or more. Relatively hardy. They live about 2-3 years on average when well kept.

Rummynose Tetras (H. rhodostomus): probably the second most used schooling fish for planted aquaria (the fish I like most other people seem to like, too...). Excellent, tight schoolers with more subdued colors than the cardinal tetras. The brightness of their red noses is indicative of the water quality of the aquarium. There is also another species (P. georgiae) which grows slightly larger, but the nose is never as bright. A sensitive species --acclimate to your aquarium slowly.

Green Neon (P. simulans): lively, tiny little fish with a cool, green-blue neon stripe and less intense red on the belly than the cardinal tetra. Does not grow nearly as large as the cardinal (about half the size). Very social. Great for small planted tanks.

Red Phantom Tetra (M. sweglesi): not really a schooling fish, but still a very social tetra which tends to form loose groups. Their more ovate body shape and deep red color contrasts excellently with the more slender shape of the cardinal tetra. Not nearly as nippy as the serpae tetra.

Tube-mouthed Pencilfish (N. eques): another fish that forms loose groups. Very dainty, small species of delicate appearance. Not exactly very colorful but the unusual way in which they swim (at a 45 degree angle with the head pointing up) is very cool.

Silver Hatchetfish, Marbled Hatchetfish (G. sternicla and C. strigata): I have always loved hatchetfish! Unfortunately, since both of my current aquariums have openings in the back, I have been unable to keep any for a very long time. They will jump out of the tank given the slightest chance. The silver hatchetfish schools particularly well, in my experience.

Those are my favorites. I love most of the fish I've kept, really. Each seems to have its proper place.

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I know they don't school in the traditional sense, but Sailfin mollies generally group themselves together rather informally at various locations in the tank. Fifty mature male Sailfin mollies in a 75 gal, or 75 in a 125 gal aquarium sure look nice together. Plus they are free for the taking down here.

I guess there's a lot of fish that can be locally caught that school nicely. I once had some pretty red shiners that schooled nicely.

I guess the classic schooling fishes for an aquascaped tank are tetras, like the Neons, Cardinals, Rummy Nose, or Scissor tails.

Steve Pituch
What do you think of Ember Tetras, or how about Von Rio Tetra?
Dont forget the harlequin rasbora ;-)
My favs would be...

Rummy nose Tetras, they constantly stay in a group swimming back and forth.

Black Neon Tetras, school almost as much as the Rummy Nose

Harlequin Rasboras, they're just so pretty.

White Cloud Mountain Minnows, also very pretty.

And for a species tank because they are a bit nippy, Serpae Tetras. Once they settle in they get a beautiful smokey pink in color.

And if you put at least 6 cory cats in a tank they will almost never leave the side of their buddies.

Cheers, CD
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Best schooling fish

The best schooling fish I ever worked with are the following.
1. Rummynose Tetras - Barnone the best.
2. True SAE - amazing long lines.
3. Cardinal Tetras - I use this a lot.
4. Glowlight Tetras - Nice orange w/ white tips
5. Rasbora Hengeli
6. Veiltail Angels
schooling fish

I know they are not your traditional schooling fish, but a group of Dwarf neon rainbows are beautiful in a planted aquarium :) Neon tetras are another of my favorites...

What do you think of Diamond tetras or Congo tetras? Under the right light these guys are beautiful!!!

Blood Fin, Congo and Lemon Tetra have worked well for me in the past, but the 'must have' has got to be Harlequins. IMHO, the best schooler (and they look so good with Crypts!).
I'm partial to darker colored small less active schooling fish for my tanks. Harlequin Rasboras are #1 with Cherry Barbs a close 2nd. I'm getting a school of H. maculatus soon so I may have a new #1.

1. rummynose tetra are the BEST group fishes. they stay as group all the time. for my observation, they are not as strong as harlequin rasboras.

2. harlequin rasboras are another nice group fishes. they are very easy to keep. when i put a group of 16 in my tank, they couldnt stop eating flakes after 15 mins.

3. pencil fish are group fishes. my favorite is banded pencil fish (Nannostomus espei). they are the only pencil fishes with spots.

4. pygme cory are group fishes. they are very cute!!!

i just saw some ember tetra in LFS. they used to be little bit expensive. the price is ok now. their transparent bodies look cool.
Not to sure what the contest is here...

But for keeping the tightest or most densely packed schools, who wins?

Spituch, I envy you! lol
the Cardinal Tetras are quite nice in contrast with the green of the plants.
I like very much the rasbora arlequim

now i have a school of carnegiella strigata, don't give much effect but is a nice fish. pruming the plants is dificult with im.
molahs4 said:
Does anyone have any experience with Broken Line Tetras (Hemigrammus ulreyi)?
I got some in the local auction last fall. Funny, they were really brave in the bare Q tank, I though they had a lot of spunk. But when I moved them to the planted 10 g tank they got spooked. Now they hide a lot. No other fish in that tank, maybe that is their problem.
Pigheaddd said:
i just saw some ember tetra in LFS. they used to be little bit expensive. the price is ok now. their transparent bodies look cool.
I have these! They are so pretty, in a planted tank they color up just like a new penny. Newly minted copper. That plain transparent shrimp-grey color changes when you start feeding them dried bloodworms and brine shrimp.

When they were with the zebra danios, they never schooled. Now the danios are gone and there are rams and A. borelli in the tank and 4 cories and they school very tightly.

That may change in a few days, all that changed recently.
In my 75 all of my rummynose, ottos, and SAE's school together a lot of the time. Its pretty cool :)
Cherry barbs!

If you have a half filled tank Half beaks are awesome fish, they are surface dwellers and they are pretty fun to watch, they are not common but if you can get some you will surely enjoy them.

Killies, they have he most awesome colors, it is said they are the most beautiful tropical fish.

Cories, I think hey are the most close schooling fish i've ever seen if you get a group of 6 they stick together all the time, and they are so easy to keep and also there are many kinds

YoYo Loach, This is a personal favorite, it just glows in highly light tanks and i just think they are awesome then they are near any plant! Get many of these!!!
Depending on the design of the aqualayout, select the best color...
My favourites are...

Paracheirodon axelrodi
Paracheirodon simulans
Harlequin Rasboras
Rummy nose tetras
white cloud mountain minnows

Most tetras make excellent schoolers...
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