Also as far as "dither" fish, I really don't think that you always need them. My current rams (3 females and 1 male) I got when they were about 3/4 of an inch long. At first they were a bit shy, but now when I feed the tank, they're up at the top of the water and grab anything that floats. They're more aggressive towards the food than the cardinals and rummy nose that are in the tank with them.
Also, they're living fine in my tank with a pH from the tap of about 7.6. Have layed eggs about twice per month, though none have hatched so far.