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First of all want to say long time reader first time poster.

Back Story
I got 8 yellow labs from a friend 1 year ago for a 29 gallon tank. They loved it started breeding and quickly grew to a group of ~20 ranging from 1" up to 4". There were too many so we thinned out the group to only 9, keeping ~3 3" males and 2 3" females that were holding. The others are a bit small to really know what they are.

They've always been shy and it only really looks like I have rock work on display. Is there a way to get them out and more free swimming? I've heard of dither fish, but didn't want to over crowd the tank.
 

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Its true that dither fish or more relaxed species work a treat. I know its different circumstances but I had quite shy and skittish Labs and Maingano for over 6 months which were healthy, growing and breeding, but which would spend most of the time hiding.

I recently got 4 Ps. Acei from a friend and they are calm fish that prefer the open water and swim higher in the tank.

Lo and behold, all my other fish are now much more willing to also spend time out of the rockwork, and the tank overall is far more active and beautiful.
 
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