Best dither fish for Angelfish

In this post, we will meet four of the Best dither fish for Angelfish. We will also discuss the best ways to choose your dithers.  

Best dither fish for angelfish 

Dither fish is the term used for fish that are placed in the same space to reassure other fish, usually used with a genetic potential to encourage spawning, transmitting security, or can serve as a “target” for the displacement of aggressive behaviour of other species. In free translation, dither means “to tremble” or “to shiver”, indicating that it is a fish that is in a state of indecisive agitation.

The best dither fish for angelfish are:

·      Danios;

·      Hatchetfish;

·      Silver Dollar;

·      Rainbowfish.

What is Dither fish?

Technique to reassure other species, which stay hidden for a long time or are quite shy, and can even be used in other situations as spawning stimulation and to redirect aggressive behaviours. 

Once the shy fish notice that other fish are swimming openly, they come to understand that there are no predators around there and will gradually become reassured by exposing themselves more and more to the open environment. In nature, many species depend on others that inhabit the same environment, to feel safe and comfortable. Cichlids, for example, use the behaviour of other fish species as an environmental safety measure. 

Everything that happens around them is based on the behaviour of other fish species that inhabit the same environment.

This idea works relatively well in an aquarium, especially with cichlids or large shy fish. We often introduce new fish into the aquarium and they spend most of their time holed up and hidden, frustrating the hobbyist who wants to see them displaying all their size and colours. 

Obviously, in the first few days, it is normal for the introduced fish to become shy until they are fully acclimated to the new environment to which they were inserted. But there are cases, in which the fish, excessively spends most of its time hidden, especially when we get close to the aquarium. Species such as loaches, catfish such as Corydoras, among others, do not apply to this rule, as they notoriously have sedentary characteristics and prefer to stay hidden most of the time.

Why and how to use Dither fish? 

As indicated above, this strategy works relatively well especially with cichlids, although other medium and large fish can take advantage of it. If you have a fish whose characteristics are to stay in open areas, and that has been in your aquarium for more than a week, it remains hidden most of the time, then consider the idea of using dithers fish.

The negative factor of a fish being holed up most of the time is that it will possibly feed less than it should and thus, become more likely to get sick and less likely to be enjoyed by you, after all, you put it there to enjoy it.

Tips for choosing your Dither fish

–       Too many fish can be even more intimidating, do not over-insert fish, especially medium-sized dithers.

–       The size of the chosen species is important. Too small fish can become food and larger fish can become the focus of the aquarium, which can be a positive or negative point. Larger fish can impose themselves and eat fingerlings if they reproduce in your aquarium.

–       Get fish you like. It is useless to acquire fish indicated in this article or by other aquarists who have been successful with certain species if later you will find them “ugly and boring”. There are a large number of fish you can use. Just take the time to study their compatibility with other fish in your aquarium and their requirements.

–       Often, dithers encourage other species to spawn, as it ends up reassuring the breeding species. But it is important not to add fish that are very active, they can scare or stress the breeding fish. Often, the breeders themselves end up eating or losing eggs due to the stress caused by the excessive movement or agitation of other fish.

–       Opt preferably for species that frequent the same natural environment, especially if the shy fish is a wild specimen, captured in nature. In this way, they will be more familiarized with the other species that inhabit the same space and will feel more at ease.


Danio likes to live in schools. Thus, it is recommended to have at least five in the same aquarium, so they can interact with each other. Besides being beautiful to see the synchronized movement. Extremely peaceful, they can also be placed in aquariums with other species.

The size and life expectancy of Danios vary from species to species. However, on average, a fish in this family lives for three to five years. They are good fish for most aquariums and are strongly recommended for beginners in the aquarium world, trying to set up their first aquarium. 

They withstand a very wide range of temperature and pH. The pH can range from 6.5 (slightly acidic) to 8 (very basic). As beginners are still learning to deal with the parameters of water, these are fish that will not suffer from this.

Furthermore, these fish are not very prone to diseases. Among those that can affect small animals are some types of fungi, which attack the scales and fins, in addition to mycobacteriosis and, the best known, Velvet Disease.

Like other fish, it is also recommended to quarantine the Danios before introducing them into the aquarium, to monitor during this period if they will not develop any disease. In addition to always keeping control of the water, it is important running partial water changes to avoid having too much organic matter in it.


Hatchetfish are schooling fish native to South America. Hatchetfish lives up to their name, with a thin, hatchet-shaped body that serves a very special purpose. 

Not only can they cut through the water with immense speed, but Hatchetfish can also actually make assisted glides, similar to Flying Fish, to snatch flying insects from the air and escape predators. This behaviour will not work well in an aquarium lid, no matter how large.

Hatchetfish occupy the top layer of the water, waiting for some prey to fall or some other fish foo, as flakes. They are good dither for fish that occupy the mid and bottom layer of the tank.

Silver Dollars

The Stethaprioninae subfamily is composed of small fish, with a tall and very long body, distributed throughout South America.

The Poptella genus is characterized by having a cell-shaped dorsal spine, embedded in a depression on the back, with a high body, caudal fin lobes covered with small scales. The anal fin is long with the anterior rays non-branched.

An aquarium with minimum dimensions of 32 inches in length and 12 inches in width is desirable. The aquarium decoration should contain roots and plants, very appreciated by the species.

They are somewhat peaceful and can be kept in community aquariums. Silver dollars have gregarious behaviour. Thus, it is suggested to keep at least eight individuals to show their natural behaviour. 


They are fish with peaceful behaviour that spend most of their time fighting for territory or the attention of females. The males face each other and display their fins and colours in the maximum possible splendour.

They prefer planted tanks with dense vegetation and open areas for swimming. These are fish that must be kept in groups of at least six individuals. The larger the school, the more natural their behaviour and colour enhancement.

They are omnivorous fish. In captivity, they will readily accept dry and live food. Live and frozen foods help accentuate their colours.


In this post, we met a few of the Best dither fish for Angelfish. We also discussed the best ways to choose your dithers. 

If you have any thoughts or doubts, feel free to drop us in a comment below!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Best dither fish for Angelfish

Which fish can live with Angelfish?

Angelfish tankmates are peaceful non-fin-nipper fish. Some possible tankmates are rainbowfish, Corydoras, larger tetras and rasboras, and peaceful Gouramis and Barbs. 

What cichlids can live with Angelfish?

Several species of Cichlids can be kept with Angelfish. Some of them are the small rams (i.e. Bolivian or Blue German), Kribensis, and Keyhole Cichlids. 

What size fish do Angelfish eat?

Angelfish are omnivores and do not hesitate on eating smaller fish. They will eat anything that fits into their mouth, thus, fish smaller than 2 inches long will be at risk.

What is a dither fish used for?

Dither fish can be used for many purposes. From reducing the hiding behaviour of shy fish to redirecting/reducing aggressiveness. They can also be used for spawning stimulate purposes.

Are Harlequin Rasboras dither fish?

Harlequin rasboras can work as the dither fish. They are awesome looking fish.



Jason. 2020. Dither Fish: What Are They and What Are the Best Types?