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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am setting up a 20 gallon buce tank that has lots of driftwood in it. While the wood gives me a great framework to attach plants to, it also potentially sets up an area for the fish to hide behind never to be seen.

Can anyone recommend brave fish who don't mind medium light? I've got harlequin raspboras and green neons in another tank. The raspboras are always active and would be perfect, but I would like to try something different.

Open to a school of nano fish (maybe chili raspboras) or a few larger ones (maybe Rams? Rainbows?)

Thanks for all suggestions!
 

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When I saw the title of your post, my first thought was harlequin rasboras lol. They are always out front and center for me and I see they are for you, too.

Next, from my tanks, I would say rosy barbs. They are quite colourful and active. Always get more females that males. I have some long finned ones that are quite spectacular. They breed easily, too. Black neons have also been good for me, as have been lemon tetras. Danios were always good, too.

On the bad side, black phantom tetras hid. Very pretty, but timid even in a heavily planted tank.
 

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2nd the lemon tetras, they're always front and center flashing and chasing each other.

Cardinal tetras will usually swim out in the open, but can be a little jumpy with sudden movements.

No personal experience with nano fish, but from what I've read they tend to be the shyest.
 

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Lol, that is because danios are dumb as a nougat bar. I have to start every day by looking for them inside my hob filter.
When your fish are new, feed really tiny amounts every time you go past the tank.
After a week or so, you will wish for shy fish. My fishes are all intimidating me.

I feel guilty if I walk through the house without a pot of fish food.

My opinion is that very small fish don't work so well in a 20 gal.
Its not big enough for a decent school, and they are too small to enjoy from anything past a few feet.
I wouldn't go for fish much smaller than a little finger. Say about swordtail size, or in rounded fish, about a tiger barb (which along with the rosy barbs suggested make for a pretty tank).

Have you given thoughts as to weather you would prefer a species tank or community?
 

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If I may make a suggestion. Oliotius/Puntius oligolepis, common name Checkered Barb. I am going to get a school of these to go with my espei rasbora. These are not as common as a lot of fish so you may not be able to go to petsmart to get them but if you decide you want to stock some and cant find them let me know and I can point you to a good solid source I have used and where I am going to get mine from.
 

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What about the gold form of the white cloud mountain minnow? Readily available, adapts to a variety of water conditions, always out and active. It looks good too! Or you could go with the regular white cloud if you want a more subtle look.
 

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One of my favorites are cherry barbs 2 females for each male.they are to busy chasing each other to be afraid of anything.
I love my cherry barbs. I have a dozen of them. They hid for the first few days after I got them mainly due to the bright light and my floaters having not grown in yet, but after they settled they are all over the place and typically at the front begging for food like everyone else. I also like them because the males and females look totally different so it feels like you have two different fish in your tank
 

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I have gold pristella tetras and they are awesome! They never hide and swim in group almost all the time everywhere in the tank.The reason I say "almost" is because I have five of them only (I lost three), but when they were eight they always swam together. I want to get five more when they get back in stock.

They look quite similar to the lemon tetras. I "think" they are smaller than the lemon tetras, but I'm not so sure. They look paler at the petstore, but once they establish in your tank, they will look so much prettier. = )
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I was thinking a species tank as opposed to community with possibly a centerpiece fish. The gold version of white cloud minnows is definitely a possibility. Rosy and/or cherry barbs are a great suggestion too.

What about dwarf rainbows or spotted blue eyes?
 

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Another suggestion is silver tip tetras. These are very active with great coloring. Larger than the nano fish. But get a bunch 10-12 at least. They may spar with each other and chase a lot at first. Mine took a couple of days to settle down, but the chasing was among the group and never with any of the others in the tank (diamond tetras and bentosi tetras).

For a smaller species, look at some of the pencilfish. I have dwarf pencilfish (Nannostomus marginatus), which do hide a bit, but there are others - Beckford's, one line (Nannostomus unifasciatus), dip tail or brown (Nannostomus eques), or three-lined (Nannostomus trifasciatus). There is also a coral red and purple pencilfish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I love pencil fish. They are so fun to watch. I had them in another tank. Unfortunately the was rimless with no lid and several of them jumped to their deaths. This tank doesn't have a lid either so I'm wary to try them again. Has anyone successfully kept them in a lid free tank?
 

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Fish that don't hide IME are fish that can easily hide if/when they feel threatened. A densely planted tank, e.g. >1/3 of the tank planted, will encourage fish to swim out in the open more freely vs a sparsely planted tank. In thinly planted tanks fish tend to be more apprehensive and closely hug what little plant cover is available.
 

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When choosing fish, there may be a bit of nature to look at on these. If the fish is a common bait fish in nature and meant to be eaten, it is quite likely to behave the same in our tanks. In nature a small fish has two options if they are bite sized. They can hide or be eaten so that can give us a clue. Neon tetras are often mentioned as a fish who are eaten when we put them in tanks with larger fish. They don't know how to hide. Then there are the fish who hide. If we give them enough other fish to all feel safe, they may be out and about or they may still all hide when we come around as they see us as a danger. Some can be retrained with food, some not.
One way to avoid fish that hide is to get fish who are not the main dish in nature.
 

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I have a 20 long. It has 6 neons, 6 albino cherry barbs and 6 blue eyed fork tail rainbows. Carpet in the center with higher plants along the periphery. The neons school tightly in the center front. They rarely hide. Barb's school loosely and are all over the place. The Rainbows school loosely and stay towards the top of the tank. The rainbows and Barb's can be a little aggressive because I have too many males . I don't have that problem though with the neons. The rainbows are extremely active.
 
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