Type of fish with best personality?

  • #1
The stay-at-home order in my area started just as I was getting ready to plan another tank, so I put everything on hold. I thought I knew what I wanted to do, but with all the time I’ve had to think about it, I’m starting to question things and want to explore more options. We have hard water—8.1 to 8.2 pH in my tanks and both KH and GH between 12 and 17 (haven’t tested them in awhile and can’t remember the exact past results right now). I already have guppies, endlers, cories, rasboras, honey gouramis, and a betta—I’m not wanting more of the same. What I’m looking for is a fish with distinct personality. It doesn’t have to be ‘big’ personality, but one that is obvious. For example, my betta and honeys greet me and interact with me whenever I come close to their tanks, while my rasboras and guppies/endlers seem to just be ‘fish’ (interested in food and not much else). Max tank size would probably be 125g, though that doesn’t mean I want to get the max (40 to 75 is probably preferred, but I’d do 125g for something super special). It doesn’t matter to me if it’s a fish that needs to be kept solo or in a shoal/school. Just looking for opinions on personalities based on owner experience. Thanks!
  • #2
I loved my Oscar. He would jump for food and bite you. He was like a puppy.
  • #3
This isn't a fish with a big personality, but a personality for sure: pearl gourami. When I had mine, I initially got one male, and I swear he was on a suicide mission for the first week or so I had him in quarantine. He absolutely lost it every time I walked into the room or flicked on the lights.

But once he settled and I added him into my 55, over time, he grew into a personable fish. He would pay attention to you when you went near the tank, but not in the frantic frenzy sort of way the guppies would. If I put my hand in the tank, he would approach and investigate slowly and deliberately, and maybe shyly peck at it. And I just loved his giant feelers that he'd always rub all over something he was unsure about. But this is my minimal experience with just one fish.

I have never owned angelfish, but the ones in the display tank at my LFS do have very approachable personalities similar to (but a little more bold than) my pearl gourami.
  • #4
Blue Acaras have awesome personalities, they remind me of little Oscars. (I have no experience with the neon blue variety)
  • #6
A very tiny, fun to watch, cute personality fish would be the pea puffer!
Larger, my angelfish is full of personality (follows the cat from one end of the tank to the other, gets excited and 'dances' when you approach the tank.
Loaches are apparently very fun to watch & supposedly some groups swim around "like dolphins"!, although I've never kept them before they're on my list!

I should note that I am not sure with the correct pH for all three of these species but we have rather hard water and my angel does well! Never had a problem with pea puffers either.
  • #7
Iif you went 125g, a school of clown loaches would be cool (probably could fit some other fish in too).

I would've said African cichlids, but mine have decided that I'm going to spear and eat them and they hide ALL THE TIME! So right now, my guppies are more courageous and have more personality than my cichlids....
  • #8
How about Snakeskin Gourami? I wouldn’t exactly call them personable but they have very interesting personality. The two I have I believe are male and “fight” quite a lot but it’s more like two drama queens going at it
What’s interesting is for all their fighting and lip locking I’ve never seen any sort of damage to them, not even a missing scale.

Another you could do is Kissing Gourami, I don’t know anything about them but they sure look funny.

If you want a larger community maybe try a large group of Paradise Gourami. They are Betta esque when it comes to personality, very interesting fish and you wouldn’t have to heat a larger tank
  • #9
I was thinking Cichlid.

But Gourami would also be a good choice.
  • #10
I used to work in an office that had a tank with an Oscar. When we ate lunch, I swear that fish was looking over our shoulders at the food, like a dog. He used to take food from my hand, too.
  • #11
My silver dollars are like dogs begging for dinner!

They are usually very reserved and timid fish, but near 5 pm, they just all come out in front of the tank, no longer hiding and beg. Like a fish gang ready to jump you on the street for your wallet.or kale, (lol) since they usually get kale in the evenings!

Today at lunch, my featherfin catfish was swimming upright with his mouth open. I tossed in some small pellets, 6 of the group actually landed INSIDE his mouth! It was like a carney game watching the food float down and be swallow! But I'm easily amused.

he was like 'oh food, nom, nom, nom'
  • #12
Puffers are my favorite, they can notice you the moment you enter the room and come to greet you, and when I feed it's fun to see them "think" about which piece of food to attack first while hovering and analyzing with their googly eyes.

They're also very curious and are keen to investigate new things, and learn quickly. They do a lot more than go "food? food?" like many other fish.

There's a puffer for every size of tank from pea puffers to mbu puffers, and many of them, especially the brackish ones, like hard water.
  • #13
Oh, definitely pufferfish. They all are fairly intelligent and aware as far as fish go, they will pay very close attention to what's going on outside of their tank. Once they recognize you as their feeder, they tend to come right up to the glass to wiggle and beg like a puppy. My pea puffer tank used to be close to my bed, and it would watch and wiggle for attention every morning when I woke up.

Personality aside they're also fascinating to watch because they're quite different from your typical guppy or tetra... heck, they're really different from most general ideas of what a fish looks and moves like.

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