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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well 5 months after my last post, my 33 gal tank is now up and running and nearly ready for fish (finally!). After getting some advice from this forum with regards to stocking, I was hoping for some follow up advice on dither fish.
My first thought was a small group of dwarf neon rainbowfish, but after reading that they prefer softer water, I was thinking about using celebes rainbowfish instead. Does anyone have any idea how well suited they would be or, better still, experience of using these fish as dithers?
Also, what are peoples thoughts on using livebearers, such as mollies or even guppies as dithers for a tanganyika tank? As far as I can figure, they'd be perfectly suited to the water chemistry, they tend to stay in the open, they're as hardy as anything and they'd even help keep algae under control... To good to be true??!
Other than the above, any other suggestions would be appreciated :)
 

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I have used swordtail and platy as dithers in my tang rockdweller tanks with good success. The first time I used them it was to cycle a new 30g long for N. transcriptus. I included a trio of 1m and 2f black mollies. Once the cichlids were added the mollies didn't last long. I am not sure why not but I suspect with the swordtails and cichlids they didn't seem to have a "comfort zone" in the water column and were too timid to eat properly. The swordtails faired best of the three types but most died of old age. Guppies, I believe are too hindered in swim speed by their tails and would need lots of floating greens to escape harassment. That doesn't fit my idea of a good dither for rock-dwellers.

Just my observations and opinions! Never say never, but don't challenge the almost inevitable too often. :wink:
 

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I don't know what your stock will be in your 33, but I don't feel the need for any dithers in my 3 tang tanks. After 2-3 weeks (at most) to settle in, all my fish swim around in plain view.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
My current stocking idea is for a small group of shellies (prob brevis or multies) and 3 or 4 juvenile Calvus, in the hope of getting a pair. I was thinking that, from what I've read, the Calvus are one species which particularly benefits from dither fish.
The other reason is simply aesthetics, as my tank is relatively tall (18") and I don't want a big empty area in the top half of the tank!
As for the live bearers, I'm thinking the sword tails may be a little too large? Perhaps 4 or 5 good quality mollies might quite suit my set up though!
As an alternative, does anyone have any suggestions for a small (tetra size) schooling fish which would be suited to life in the upper parts of a tang aquarium?
 

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Celebes rainbows do work, a Lfs has them as dithers with no issues. Plus their size would be great for the smaller dimensions of a 33 gal
 

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I've been using zebra danios in one of my Alto tanks with great results. They occupy the upper tank and swim around all day like they've had too much coffee :D The Altos seem to enjoy their presence as well, although there is no direct interaction between the two.

Tom
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
From what I've read, zebra danios would be an excellent choice. There's only one thing that puts me off them... they're a bit, well, common! Ok, so I'm a snob, i know!
My LFS has currently got in some very healthy looking celebes for £2.50 each, so I think that they're currently front of the queue, though my mind will probably keep changing right up until I walk to the till!
 

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Actually I'm using gold danios, less drab looking than Zebra danios. Still, I agree, nothing exciting to look at, but they are in there more for function than form. I want the Tangs to be the focus of the tank, not the dither fish. That's exactly what I get with the danios. Plus at 69 cents/ea, they can be easily added or replaced as needed. You may want a more attractive dither that is more "part of the community" and that's fine too. I just prefer mine to be less noticeable.

Tom
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You raise a good point about the tangs being the focus of the tank. Plus, having just seen the gold danios, I actually think they're a rather nice looking fish! If I was to follow your advice, how many danios would you personally recommend for my setup?
 

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3 to 5 danios for your tank is plenty. I started out with 5 in a 36" tank and have since lost 2 of them (stuck to the filter intake). I like it better with just the 3 that are left, 5 of them were kind of overpowering the tank with activity, too distracting. Three do the job just as well, my Calvus are out and about all the time.

Tom
 

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Danios are good. I've been using goodeids recently and they're quite hardy successful fish with the bonus that they enjoy the same water parameters.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Had never even heard of goodeids until recently! They do sound like another good option but unfortunately they seem to be hard to find, and pretty pricey over in this neck of the woods.
Think the golden danios might have just sneaked into the lead... Unless there's anymore good suggestions :D
 

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I have a couple Glow Pink danios in my 29g Brichardi tank. They're pretty awesome because they fill the top space the Brichardis never go. They look pretty cool with my blue LED light on and they like to nibble on my finger. During the night, they sleep down with the brichardis.
 

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A 33 gallon is only 12 inches high. I would be surprised if any dithers make it long term. Two groups of Tangs will fill this tank nicely!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
My 33 gallon is actually a bit of an odd ball size, being a bit shorter and around 18" high hence the desire to fill the upper part of the tank with something to both bring out the best of the tangs and add some movement.
On another note, water was tested this morning and nitrites finally seem to be dropping... Decision time imminent!!!
 

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Sorry, you did post 18" high. :oops:

Depending on the footprint of the tank, you could do Paracyps or Julies and one other species (either Comps, or Shellies) and not need dithers. I'm not a fan of dithers that don't match the "theme" of my tanks. Some rocks up the back wall for the Paracyps or Julies and they would fil the top space. Put some shells in the front ...a few larger ones for Comps or lots of smaller for the shellies. Just throwing out another idea!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I like the paracyps idea and, if I was starting from scratch, i would be sorely tempted to go down that route... but it'll have to wait seeing as my tank is now home to 4 juvenile Calvus and 4 Brevis :D
On the subject of dithers tho, my LFS rather impressed me by refusing to sell me anything with the tangs (primarily down to the ph difference the fish are kept in). It might seem a bit strange to be impressed by that after all my talk of dithers, but I have to admire any company that genuinely takes responsibility for anything they sell.
Anyway, the new occupants of my tank seem to be settling in pretty well (coming out into the open quite a lot, though making tracks to cover at the first sign of movement!) so while I still like the idea of dithers, I think it can wait a week or two.
Anyway, thanks again for all the help everyone. I'll try and get some pics posted soon!
 

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Your brevis will act as dithers for the calvus. Enjoy the tank!
 
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