Looking for a top level fish for community tank

chadcf

I have a 125 community tank mostly stocked with cardinal tetras, rummynose tetras and pearl danios. The tank has really grown in with a lot of crypts and the fish mainly stick to the lower and mid levels in the plants where I rarely get to see them... I'd like to stick some options that would stick to the higher levels of the tank and be nicely visible and colorful. However given the fish in there are fairly small (pearl danios are particular pretty small) and I have a lot of cherry shrimp I don't really want any fish that are too big and would chow down on other tankmates. The tank is kept at 78 degrees with a ph around 7.8.

Any suggestions for small, colorful fish that would stick to the upper level?
 

BigManAquatics

Leopard danios aren't suprer colorful, but mine have mostly stuck to the top level of the tank. Maybe hatchet fish as an option as well. Also, i think clown killifish is a top level fish, they certainly have some color and they don't get real big.
 

GlennO

Do you have any floating plants? A lot of the surface dwelling community fish that I can think of really only do well if they have floating plants for cover. E.g. hatchets, halfbeaks, some killifish, honey gourami.
 

chadcf

I have a pathos growing out of the tank in one corner and then some floating stem plants and java ferns that aren't technically floating plants but are currently floating....

The clown killifsh look like might be a good choice. I like hatchets too but from what I'm reading they are big jumpers and I definitely have some gaps in the lids. Gouramis I'm pretty sure would eat shrimp.
 

GlennO

I have honeys with cherry shrimp. Like most fish they will eat a shrimplet if they get the chance but they are pretty inefficient hunters and my shrimp population is booming. The shrimp have plenty of cover though.
 

chadcf

Well I do have quite a bit of cover for shrimp and others.
 

ProudPapa

I'd recommend pearl gouramis. The young fish for sale in the store may not look like much, but they're beautiful when they get older, and they spend most of their time near the top of the tank.

I have shrimp in my 40 gallon breeder tank with 8 pearls (there are photos of them at School of Pearl Gouramis? | Aquarium Stocking Forum | 479129). While they may pick off the occasional juvenile, the colony is thriving. I suspect the two pea puffers eat more shrimp than the gouramis.

They're also much more peaceful than some other gourami species. You have room for a good sized group in your tank.
 

chadcf

I love pearl gouramis and have always wanted them but have been nervous about them with the smaller fish because the pearls can get bigger.
 

ProudPapa

I love pearl gouramis and have always wanted them but have been nervous about them with the smaller fish because the pearls can get bigger.

I of course can't make any promises, but I'd be very surprised if they bother mature danios or tetras. Some of mine are about two years old, and they ignore the serpae tetras, pristella tetras, Corydoras trilineatus, and pea puffers in the tank with them.
 

Mudminnow

In addition to what have already been mentioned Dwarf Indian Hatchetfish, Laubuka dadiurjori, and Emerald Eye Rasboras, Brevibora dorsiocellata, are a couple of smaller species known to stay up in that upper third of the tank nearer to the surface.

I have Blue Panchax Killifish, Aplocheilus panchax, in my 150 gallon. These stay right up near the surface most of the time. I have some smaller Zebra Hovering Loaches in this tank, and the killies don't bother them.

Also, consider halfbeaks. They mostly stay right up against the surface too.

And, I agree that Pearl Gouramis can work well for you. I have a school of 10 of them that squabble a little amongst themselves sometimes, but they totally ignore all other fish species.
 

A201

Red Eye Tetras would be my choice for a group of flashy upper level schoolers.
 

MacZ

Well I do have quite a bit of cover for shrimp and others.
Seeing the tank, I think for most surface dwellers much more surface vegetation and cover (twigs) will be necessary.

And my recommendation are (of course!) Pencilfish. Nannostomus are great, and e.g. in comparison to hatchets not as prone to jumping.
 

Thunder_o_b

You have some good suggestions from members here.

Pearls (I keep one male at a time) have never bothered fish the size of glow light tetras when I had them.

The golden wonder killie was always a good fish, though not overly long lived. And was peaceful. Even the glass catfish would hang out with them.

First shot is a golden with one of the glass cats in the 150 tall. With the last two there was an incandescent light on that the flash did not over come so it is a bit warmer than the first two shots.
 

jpm995

To me hatchets are the ultimate top dwellers. Their unique shape, busy behavior and ease of care are pluses. For a smaller tank Marbled hatchets are half the size of the silver ones. Be careful though they seem to be prone to ick in many stores. Edit to add their jumpers, tank has to be well covered. Even doing water changes you have to beware of them leaping out of the tank.
 

Thunder_o_b

To me hatchets are the ultimate top dwellers. Their unique shape, busy behavior and ease of care are pluses. For a smaller tank Marbled hatchets are half the size of the silver ones. Be careful though they seem to be prone to ick in many stores. Edit to add their jumpers, tank has to be well covered. Even doing water changes you have to beware of them leaping out of the tank.
I have been thinking about a school of marbles myself. The 150 tall is rather sparse as age has claimed most of its inhabitants. But no one around here has them. All the independent shops are gone. So all you can find are the chain stores with the usual fish.
 

jpm995

I have been thinking about a school of marbles myself. The 150 tall is rather sparse as age has claimed most of its inhabitants. But no one around here has them. All the independent shops are gone. So all you can find are the chain stores with the usual fish.
I only have one, the other jumped out the filter opening. He tries to school with the 3 silver hatchets but they ignore him. They rarely are in shops around me and there's many independents on Long Island.
 

chadcf

All the independent shops are gone. So all you can find are the chain stores with the usual fish.

My local independent shop closed recently too. I've started ordering all my fish from The Wet Spot in Portland because it's only a few hours away so mailed fish arrive overnight, and they seem pretty good about quarantining and selling only healthy fish. Plus generally a decent selection.

Otherwise I just have petco and other online sellers and with current shipping issues I don't like ordering online from anywhere more than a few hours away. Nothing more depressing than getting a late delivery with a bag of dead fish.
Seeing the tank, I think for most surface dwellers much more surface vegetation and cover (twigs) will be necessary.

I'd be fine with adding some more surface plants, any suggestions on what would be good?
 

MacZ

I'd be fine with adding some more surface plants, any suggestions on what would be good?
The unbeatable 4: Salvinia, Hydrocotyle, Limnobium and Pistia. (Fern, pennywort, frogbit, water lettuce). You can also get a Nymphaea lotus additionally.
 

jpm995

At least you have a great mail order place not too far away. I been to their web site, they have an amazing selection of fish. Their site is a little tricky to navigate if you don't know scientific names of fish, and then need more pics.
 

chadcf

The unbeatable 4: Salvinia, Hydrocotyle, Limnobium and Pistia. (Fern, pennywort, frogbit, water lettuce). You can also get a Nymphaea lotus additionally.

Will they take over the full surface of the tank and block light to the plants below?
 

MacZ

Will they take over the full surface of the tank and block light to the plants below?
If you let them. But they are easy to manage. If you keep them at a not too dense level they make the fish much more confident and the plants below have no problems. As far as I can tell none of your plants need enormous amounts of light.
 

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