spottedsilver 150x150 Dither Fish

Silver Dollars.

A dither fish is a fish added to the aquarium with the intent of relieving the stress of some other fish. First used to calm the aggression in cichlids, a dither fish can find itself fitting into any aquarium these days. A dither fish should be used when you want to distract a fish in your aquarium from doing its normal behavior.

In small community tank setups, this can mean adding a confidant open water swimming fish to bring out your reclusive delicate fish. In this type of tank, the dither fish will relieve stress by showing the timid fish that there are no predators around. If other fish are swimming out in the open, it shows them it should be safe for them as well. Guppies, Endler’s Livebearers or other peaceful slow moving fish work well here.

In a breeding tank, the dither fish plays an important roll. While your fish are not breeding, the dither fish are there to take the male frustration.  This will usually alleviate stress on the female. Either before they breed, or after they’ve bred. Sometimes a second male of the breeding species acts as the dither fish. The courting male, will always have one eye on the other male to make sure he doesn’t lose his lucky lady to this sly fish. Medium sized tetras such as black skirts work well here for most mid sized fish.

Or perhaps you just have that 10 inch brute in the tank who wants to dominate everyone? Adding a group of dither fish can help this as well. Often times if the brute cannot keep everyone in check, he will simply give up. All or nothing is a common mentality for these fish. Silver dollars work well for this. Sometimes convicts can serve this purpose as well.

Take a look at your aquarium and see if changing the fish dynamic can alter the behavior into something you’d favor more. Besides, who doesn’t like another reason to buy more fish?

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