Top 5 Benefits of Schooling Fish at NAFB Ontario

Schooling fish have several benefits for both the fish and their owners. There’s more going on than a stunning visual display.

Top 5 Benefits Of Schooling Fish

Schooling fish are a captivating addition to any aquarium because of their fascinating behavior, and striking appearance creates a mesmerizing spectacle. Keeping groups of fish in your aquarium can offer several benefits for both the fish and their owners.

1. Natural Stress Reduction

One of the most significant advantages of keeping schooling fish in your aquarium is their natural stress reduction. As these fish are inherently social creatures, they rely on the company of their own species to feel safe and secure. Keeping a group of schooling fish together provides them with a comfortable environment replicating their natural habitat. This sense of security reduces stress levels and improves the fish’s overall health.

Aquarium owners can also enjoy stress relief as they observe the soothing and mesmerizing swimming patterns of schooling fish. Watching them move in unison can have a calming effect on our minds, making it an ideal way to unwind after a long day.

2. Enhanced Aesthetic Appeal

Schooling fish are known for their striking appearance and unique markings. When kept in groups, these vibrant colors create stunning synchronized swimming patterns, which can enhance the aesthetic appeal of your aquarium. Their coordinated movements create a living art form as they effortlessly glide through the water, adding life and motion to your aquatic display.

From the bright neon hues of cardinal tetras to the iridescent sheen of rainbowfish, these schooling fish can bring a splash of color to your underwater world.

3. Encourages Natural Behavior

In the wild, schooling fish constantly interact with their surroundings and other group members. Keeping them in an aquarium environment that mimics their natural habitat can enhance their natural behavior and instincts. In a group setting, schooling fish are more likely to engage in activities such as foraging, exploring, and interacting with their environment. This can lead to a more enriching and fulfilling life for the fish. By replicating their natural habitat, schooling fish can exhibit their instinctive behaviors, which is fascinating to watch and beneficial for their overall health and vitality.

4. Deterrent for Aggressive Fish

Another benefit of schooling fish is their ability to deter aggressive behavior in other fish species. When fish feel threatened, they are more likely to become aggressive, leading to increased stress and potential injury. Keeping schooling fish together creates a peaceful and harmonious environment that can help deter potential aggressors.

5. Help Timid Fish Feel Secure

Schooling fish can have a calming effect on other fish in the aquarium, especially those that are naturally shy or skittish. When other fish see the school swimming together in a synchronized manner, they may become more confident and less likely to hide. This can be especially helpful for shy or timid fish to feel less anxious and relaxed. Additionally, the activity and movement of the schooling fish can stimulate other fish to swim and explore, which can help to maintain their health and well-being.


Community-Friendly Schooling Fish for Your Aquarium

These are just a few examples of the many community-friendly schooling fish that you can consider for your aquarium. They all have unique characteristics and benefits, but they share a common trait: they thrive when kept in groups. By choosing a group of schooling fish for your aquarium, you can enjoy the benefits of a peaceful, harmonious community and an impressive display of natural behavior and instinct.

1. Neon Tetras – These are one of the most popular types of schooling fish due to their bright, neon colors and peaceful nature. They are easy to care for and get along well with other peaceful fish.

2. Rummy Nose Tetras – These schooling fish are known for their distinctive red noses and silver bodies. They are active and social, making them a great addition to community tanks.

3. Harlequin Rasboras – These fish have a beautiful orange and black coloration and are very peaceful and easy to care for. They are also active swimmers and tend to school in tight groups, making for an impressive display.

4. Cardinal Tetras – Similar in appearance to neon tetras, these fish have a deeper red color and a longer lifespan. They are peaceful, easy to care for, and tend to be less sensitive to water conditions than other tetras.

5. Zebra Danios – These are very active and fast-swimming fish, which can make for an exciting display in your aquarium. They are also hardy and easy to care for, making them a great choice for beginners.

6. Cherry Barbs – These are peaceful, active fish with beautiful red coloration. They tend to stay near the bottom of the tank, making them a great choice to balance out the upper-level swimmers in a community tank.

7. Corydoras Catfish – These peaceful bottom-dwelling fish can help keep your aquarium clean by scavenging for leftover food and debris. Tetras and rasboras are typically mid-level swimmers in the aquarium, but cory catfish can be found near the bottom of the tank, constantly scavenging for food in plain sight. This unique behavior makes them a great dither fish for other bottom-dwelling species, such as Apistogramma and Kribensis Cichlids, who are protective of their young and need to know when it’s safe for them to come out and feed.


Pairing Schooling Fish with Larger or Semi-Aggressive Tankmates

It’s important to note that when pairing up schooling fish with larger or semi-aggressive fish, choose tankmates carefully and make sure that the tank is large enough to accommodate all the fish and that everyone has adequate hiding spots. Additionally, it’s always a good idea to monitor the behavior of all the fish in the tank to ensure that there are no signs of aggression or stress.

1. Black Skirt Tetras – These are active schooling fish that can be paired up with larger fish such as Dwarf Gourami, Honey Gourami, Celestial Pearl Danio, or Bolivian Rams. They are hardy and adaptable, making them a great addition to a semi-aggressive community tank.

2. Serpae Tetras – These are colorful schooling fish with bright red fins. They are active and social and can be paired up with larger fish such as Bolivian Ram Cichlid, Rainbowfish, or Barbs. However, they can be slightly aggressive towards other smaller fish, so it’s important to choose tankmates carefully. Avoid keeping this species with fish that have long, flowing fins or that are slow-moving.

3. Congo Tetras – These are larger schooling fish with striking metallic coloration, are easy to care for, and are peaceful. They can be paired up with larger fish such as Silver Dollars, Tinfoil Barbs, Pearl Gouramis, Elephant Nose Fish, or larger Catfish.

4. Tiger Barbs – These are active and colorful schooling fish that can be paired up with larger fish such as Dwarf Gouramis, Apistogramma, Kribensis Cichlids, or Clown Loach. However, they can be slightly aggressive towards other smaller fish, so it’s important to choose tankmates carefully.

5. Giant Danios – These are larger, more active schooling fish that are easy to care for and hardy. They can be paired up with larger fish, such as Dwarf Cichlids, Gouramis, or larger Catfish.



A school of fish means having a minimum of 6 of the same species, but try to aim for 8 fish if your aquarium is large enough to include them plus the rest of the community. The general rule of thumb for fish to gallon ratio is one inch of fish per gallon of water, although it can vary depending on the type of fish, their size, and their behavior. To ensure your fish are happy and healthy, it’s a good idea to review the specific needs and requirements of each fish you plan to keep in your aquarium. This will help you determine the appropriate size of the tank and stocking levels, as well as the necessary equipment and maintenance routine to keep your fish thriving. Overcrowding can lead to stress, disease, and higher ammonia levels, so it’s always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to stocking your aquarium. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to ask one of our knowledgeable staff members at NAFB for assistance.

Incorporating schooling fish into your aquarium can offer numerous benefits, from reducing stress for both fish and owners to enhancing the visual appeal of your underwater world. By providing a suitable environment for these social creatures, you can promote their natural behaviors and create a more harmonious ecosystem within your aquatic display.

Additionally, schooling fish can be a great way to teach children about the natural world and the importance of living peacefully as a community. Overall, adding a school of fish to your aquarium is a decision that you won’t regret, as it can bring joy, relaxation, and beauty to your home.