Top 5 Dither Fish to Help Shy or Aggressive Fish
If you have timid or territorial fish in your aquarium, try calming them down with dither fish. Dither fish are outgoing and will swim in the open. Dither fish are confident and show that they don’t fear danger. A large group of dither fish also helps to distract and diffuse the hostility from fish bullies so that they can’t single out any one fish. Learn more about the best dither fish that can change the dynamics of your fish tank and give you a more active community aquarium to enjoy.
The livebearers are fish that can bear young and are friendly and colorful. They reproduce easily and their eggs will swim anywhere without fear. They are more likely than ever to emerge when they see the brave babies of their livebearer parents, which is why skittish fish will often be drawn to them.
You can try adding some mollies or swordtails to your angelfish tank to break up the fighting. The livebearers will be able to swim around and easily invade their space. The angelfish will not be able to keep every dither fish from entering their territory. Therefore, it is possible for them to give up trying hard to maintain their boundaries. Although the angelfish might eat some livebearer eggs that are too close, this helps to keep them under control and ensures that they don’t become overrun with babies.
Many livebearers have a carefree, easygoing temperament that can help semi-aggressive species like angelfish chill out.
2. Tetras and Rasboras
Both schooling fish groups are well-known for their sleek, torpedo-shaped bodies. They can escape from even the most angry tank bosses with ease. Some rasboras and tetras can be wary, as they are usually less than 3 inches in length. You can make them braver by increasing the number of fish in their school. So, get at least 6-12 fish of each species.
You might choose a small schooling fish to help a shy nanofish feel more confident. If you want to calm a large and aggressive fish, choose a bigger schooling fish that won’t be eaten. Depending on your needs, here are some suggestions categorized by size:
Rummy nose Tetras are known for being very close-knit schooling fish, which swim in a tight group and then change direction like a huge herd. This behavior can confuse predators since they find it harder to catch one fish when there are a lot of them.
Nothing is more beautiful than watching large groups of rummy-nose Tetras gracefully swimming in synchronization.
While tetras and rasboras often swim in the middle level of the aquarium, cory catfish stay down low near the floor, constantly scavenging for food out in the open. They are great for bottom dwellers, such as Apistogramma and the kribensis Cichlids. Corydoras make great crew members and can do well with 6 or more of their species. There are many varieties to choose from. Brochis catfish, which are larger than blood parrots and can swallow smaller corys well, is a good choice for you. You can actually keep corys, livebearers and tetras together in a tank with dither fish.
Albino are the most social catfish you’ll find. They love frozen bloodworms, freeze dried tubifex worms, sinking pellets, and freeze-dried tubifex.
4. Danios and Rainbowfish
Sometimes medium- to large-sized predators like Jack Dempsey and oscar cichlids can be uncharacteristically shy and prone to hiding. You will need larger, faster-schooling fish such as giant danios, Devario aequipinnatus, and hill trouts, Barilius spp. that have a better chance of escaping their jaws. Dither fish can be seen darting around at a millionmph and breaking into people’s territory. This gives the impression that they are smaller than other fish and allows them to communicate that. Rainbowfish, a calm and confident schooling fish that swims around calmly and can be used to calm nervous species.
Hill trout are speedy swimmers capable of traveling in fast-flowing streams, so try not to pair them with slower fish who may get outcompeted during mealtimes.
5. Pencilfish and Hatchetfish
You have timid fish that you want to spawn but don’t want them to eat your babies. Look out for fish that live at the top of the aquarium, such as hatchetfish or pencilfish. These surface dwellers mostly swim in the upper third of the aquarium and have tiny, upward facing mouths that prefer eating floating foods from above. This is a great place for Apistogramma dwarf Cichlids or Ram, who are protecting their babies near the substrate. Hatchetfish or pencilfish rarely make it down to eat and will not eat fry unless they are accidentally swam up on top. When you feed the aquarium, the skittish fish will see the dither fish rushing to grab a bite, so then they will feel more comfortable coming out to feed as well.
Nannostomus eques are known for swimming near the surface at a 45-degree angle, which is why they are sometimes called the diptail or hockeystick pencilfish.
Dither fish can bring out the best behavior in your aquarium by coaxing fish out of hiding, putting the tank bosses at ease, and increasing the activity level overall. Visit our Edmunds, Washington retail store or browse our favorite online fish sellers if you’re looking for fun fish.