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  1. #1

    Post Shoaling and Schooling Fish

    0 Not allowed!
    Differences between shoaling and schooling fish.
    Schooling fish are fish that swim in synchronized patterns and bunch up together to look fiercer or bigger so they don’t get eaten in the will or slim down their chances of getting eaten. A good example would be Tuna.

    Shoaling fish are fish that swim closely together and in a similar direction. Fish in the Shoal may go out and scavenge for food as they please. A good example would be tetras. This being said these shoaling fish still need to have a certain amount of their GENUS/SPECIES. A common question is can I keep 3 neon tetras (Paracheirodon innesi) and 3 Black Phantom tetras (Megalamphodus megalopterus) together and they will form a nice shoal. The answer is NO they are way different. Just because they are a part of the same family does not mean they are like the same fish. Because those two fish have two completely different genus and species to them. Another misconception is black neon tetras (Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi) and neon tetras (Paracheirodon innesi) will shoal. Once again two completely different species and genus. So next time keep in mind when you are buying fish just because they both have the word tetra in their name does NOT mean they are the same thing. Corydoras are also shoaling fish. But there is a catch to these catfish. They CAN be kept with their different family members and be counted as shoal BUT keep in mind they will more likely shoal with the same Species. Corydoras is their Genus so the only thing that is different is their species. Keep in mind I’m not saying go out and buy 1 of each species till you get a shoal of five. That is NOT a good idea you should at least keep 2 of the same species at the BARE MINIMUM. For optimum happiness I would keep a group of six of the same species.

    Shoaling Fish- Tetras, Barbs, Corydoras, Some sharks example Bala’s, Loaches, Hatchetfish, Danios, Minnows, Discus, Rainbowfish, and Rasboras. Keep in mind even those these fish are shoaling fish at the BARE MINIMUM these fish should be kept in groups of 5 or more. On a side note some of these fish may REQUIRE MORE due to their different species and genus.
    Another thing Platies, Swordtails, and Mollies like to be with their species. They are a lot happier with more than one of them. Also some Cichlids like to be kept in pairs or in small shoals.

    The key is do you research. Just because they are shoaling fish does not mean they are always community fish. Some can be aggressive like Tiger Barbs and Serpae Tetras.

    Hopefully this gave you a better understanding of shoaling and schooling fish and helps you on your research being now you know what to look out for.

    Works Cited
    Verhoef-Verhallen, Esther. The Complete Encylopedia of Tropical Fish.The Netherlands: Rebo Punlishers,

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Central California

    Awards Showcase

    Here's my favorite! And apprently your first fish LOL! - homemadepopcorn Grapes are best when shared :-D - 850R Guessed correct Avatar! - BigPoppa Nice guess, you know your fins! - FinalJenemba Don't forget to QT this one as well, Good call with the QT tank - Cliff 
    You need more than three neons for a proper school :) - MLBfan more are needed :) - MLBfan 6... the dreaded number... 6 - PhillipOrigami 7... thats better. - PhillipOrigami slowly but surely - PhillipOrigami 


    0 Not allowed!
    Wow, thanks!
    I never understood the difference, and thanks for the advice :D!

  3. #3

  4. #4


    0 Not allowed!
    Your welcome Phillip origami glad I could clarify and thanks lady hobbs that is a great illustration of schooling vs shoaling fish

  5. #5


    0 Not allowed!
    Nice write up es31710
    American League Champions! TIGERS!

  6. #6


    0 Not allowed!
    Thanks MLBfan

  7. #7


    0 Not allowed!
    Thanks es31710!

    I was recently watching my neon tetras and wondering if I should be concerned that they weren't swimming in the same patterns. Now that I look closer...they are shoaling! YAY!

    I have a question though. With the species that you mentioned that prefer to be with others of their same kind (like swordtails) would it be okay to keep ALL males? I have read many places that you should have 3 females to 1 male. I am going to be getting a 55 gal tank eventually and I would like to have several swordtails, but don't want to deal with the complication of fry.
    120 gallon FW bowfront in progress

  8. #8


    0 Not allowed!
    Unfortunately male swordtails can be agressive toward each other. From what i know it is the best to keep 3 females to 1 male but you probably could do all females but yet again you could by a pregnant one. How big is your tank I mean you could try and keep males together but from my knowledge they can be agressive towards each other.

  9. #9


    0 Not allowed!
    My current tank is only 10 gallons and almost fully stocked. I am planning on getting a 55 gallon as soon as I save up the money to do it right : P
    What about keeping groups of the same gender with guppies and mollies?
    120 gallon FW bowfront in progress

  10. #10


    0 Not allowed!
    what do you have in your ten gallon. Mollies no guppies not sure on. Honestly the males will most likely fight it was 2 males and one female. But i have heard male swordtails and mollies can fight. I mean you should be fine with all males but i mean their is still that chance. also one thing about mollies do not get balloon mollies bc they die way younger than older ones due to their genetic defect. But if it was me i would do platies they are smaller very colurful. and the females are bigger. So if it was me i would do platies i feel as though it would be easier keeping a big group of female platies.

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