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Fish with personality/character?

bushaaayyy

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25 Dec 2020
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74
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Warwick
I’m planning the stock list for my tank I set up recently. Id like to focus on fish that are interesting to observe rather than just looking pretty.

so looking for recommendations, which of your fish has the most personality/character?
Or which have some interesting behaviours?

Currently residents are 8 green neons, 5 Amano and about 20 RCS, all of which came from a second hand set up I bought before setting up my current tank. Current tank is 140l.
 

zozo

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16 Apr 2015
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There are many, best recommendation is to research the specific species natural habitats, behaviour, compatibility, preferred numbers and diet.
Arrange your aquarium a close as possible to these parameters to make the fish feel at home as best as possible and they will show their natural behaviour.

Thus research which fish you would like to have as a centre piece and build your aquarium regarding plants and hardscape and choose tankmates according to what they need. This could be anything, from open space to broken lines of sight or caves in the rock or driftwood, dense vegetation and or floating plants, dim light, lots of flow or lesser flow, is it open top and are they known to jump etc.. Simply give them closest to what they need to feel safe and at home and they will show at their best.

Seriously Fish — Feeling fishy? is one of the best databases out there describing these requirements.

Or build an aquarium and research this database to find out which species would fit best in what you made.

For example, a known fish that absolutely has a character and a personality are the Pea Puffers... But give them the wrong environment and wrong tankmates it will turn into a horrible disaster.
 

bushaaayyy

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Great advice and I definitely intend to do my research before making any decisions. However I’ve already set up and scaped the tank so creating a species specific biotope is not an options unfortunately.

a known fish that absolutely has a character and a personality are the Pea Puffers...
Yes this is one of the fish I was initially considering, but I’ve read that they are likely to prey on the RCS. Though some people report keeping both without issue.

I will definitely check out the database I was just hoping some people might have recommendations from personal experience
 

zozo

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Great advice and I definitely intend to do my research before making any decisions. However I’ve already set up and scaped the tank so creating a species specific biotope is not an options unfortunately.


Yes this is one of the fish I was initially considering, but I’ve read that they are likely to prey on the RCS. Though some people report keeping both without issue.

I will definitely check out the database I was just hoping some people might have recommendations from personal experience

I do have quite some experience over the years, or rather say decades. And till now I never had a fish species that wasn't interesting to observe. But it really comes down to the environment and parameters you can provide.

And the same thing goes for me, if I want new fish in my already 6 years old tank I have to research what will fit in its properties. And there are quite some fish on my wishlist I love by the looks but simply can not give a decent happy home with what I have. If I ever do I need to build them something new. So I have to skip on them for now.

I was tended to say, Trychopsis pumila - Croaking Gourami is a very interesting fish by character and behaviour. But now seeing the picture of your tank it's a no go it need a totally different environment to feel happy. And I actually wouldn't know what to advise, I have no personal experience with setups like yours. :) It's good you posted a pic. Thanks.

It looks nice by the way.
 
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tam

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Scarlet badis? They will threaten baby shrimp but they are too small for adults. They so of skulk around and have a bit of personality.
 

jaypeecee

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21 Jan 2015
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Bracknell
Hi @bushaaayyy

May I suggest that you take a look at Panda Garras? They are attractive fish that ooze character. And they'll shuffle on your arms and hands when you clean your tank. Of course, you will need to check that they'll be suitable for your tank water hardness, pH, etc. @zozo has pointed you to the best site from which you should be able to get all the information you need.

JPC
 

tiger15

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14 Mar 2018
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When it comes to intelligent and personality, cichlid is in the top of list. Some cichlids are kept as wet pet, as they can recognize and follow owner. All cichlids exhibit parental care for young, diverse courtship and breeding behavior, many are territorial, build nests and form pair bond for short or long term. Unfortunately, except for discus, angel and dwarf cichlids, most cichlids are considered too rough for plants and avoided by plant keepers. Im a long time cichlids keeper before expanding my hobby to include plants, and learned a few tricks to enable peaceful coexistence of plants and large cichlids.
 

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castle

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If you want a fish to recognise you, and show anthropomorphic traits; there are a few fish I've had that will - My old black moor certainly knew who I was, but would hide from my mother (hoover, I think).

I can't speak for every Apisto, but the Panduro I had, and the generations after it were very friendly to me. I think this is in part from the species only tank, and the layout of it. Puffers are all round inquisitive, but I question they recogise different people. I think they are really short-sighted; so unless very close they can't make out your details.

Generally, the larger the shoal the smaller their traits become; but I tent to lean on the I'd like "wilder" fish, than house fish. That said, any fish in the display tank(s) is a house fish. All fish I've kept from the the order Anabantiformes have been intelligent fish - betta, badis, gouramis to name a few.

Finally, in your tank I'd just double the green neons and look for a nice apisto pair. Wait until it's grown in a bit; also add some leaf litter if you don't mind the aesthetic.
 

shangman

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Yes if I was you I would add to the green neons school, get a pair of apistos (in my opinion the best fish - beautiful, intelligent, funny, breeds & not too big), and then set up a separate nano tank for your shrimps to live in. All the "intelligent" fish are basically that way because they're clever hunters, which don't go well with tasty cherry shrimps. Even scarlett badis, pea puffers and sparkling gouramis - which are all small with small mouths - will have a go at a medium-sized cherry shrimp, and will 100% eat the babies. I keep my shrimp in a separate tank because of this, I tried to keep my apistos with shrimp in a larger well planted tank, but they still spent all their time hunting about for exciting (expensive) shrimp meals.

You could also add a school (15+ would be fine) of pygmy corydoras, which use all of the tank and are very sweet.

The other thing is as many have said, generally these intelligent creatures like to have some caves and/or bushes to hide and relax in, to swim amongst (my tetras like to swim about branches and small delicate twigs), and to jump out at unexpected prey from. There's not harm in slowly evolving your scape as time goes on to suit the creatures that live in it a bit better, honestly it will make you happier too to see that natural behaviour that shows you've created an excellent home. Even a few larger floating plants would do it, to create that extra habitat near the top.
 

shangman

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Just to be that guy, I’ve never seen a pea puffer eat a shrimp - been keeping them for nearly 2 years now
Oh really?? That's very interesting! I've read before that they'll eat shrimp online, but if they don't maybe they can be kept in my 45L with some cherries 👀👀
 

castle

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Here’s the thing with puffs, I think you need about 8 minimum, you need to get the balance right (M/F) and they are bulky 1” fish once they’re a couple of years old.
I think 60cm is too small a tank, probabaky wouldn’t recommend these for anything less than 90cm now…

they’re adorable fish, plenty of personality but they’re ruthless hunters and can hurt each other.
 

shangman

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Here’s the thing with puffs, I think you need about 8 minimum, you need to get the balance right (M/F) and they are bulky 1” fish once they’re a couple of years old.
I think 60cm is too small a tank, probabaky wouldn’t recommend these for anything less than 90cm now…

they’re adorable fish, plenty of personality but they’re ruthless hunters and can hurt each other.
This is really interesting, I've seen one or two videos about keeping a "school" of them, will take them off the list of potentials for the 45! Out of curiousity, what is the right male/female ratio?
 

castle

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This is really interesting, I've seen one or two videos about keeping a "school" of them, will take them off the list of potentials for the 45! Out of curiousity, what is the right male/female ratio?

To be honest, I find the ladies to be tougher than the males once they're full sized, up until then you want more females. As a rule 1m/3f, but for 8, i'd go 3m/5f. @MirandaB might have other ideas 👍
 

mort

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15 Nov 2015
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Great advice already but my two cents are that "personality" means different things to different people. Some fish come out to meet you and are real pets but others go about their daily lived interacting with each other. I like the latter because I find watching the natural interactions of a group more rewarding than a fish that's constantly in your face begging for food.
So for me I'd try a nice medium ish sized tetra to add interest, with perhaps black phantom tetras my pick. They are a nice size and won't out compete the green neons, they are easy to keep, easy to sex and you get really nice sparring behaviour from the males when they are trying to impress the females. They might be boring to a lots of people but they are very calming to watch.

If this was my tank I would also really consider a group of pygmy cories like Rosie suggested.
 

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