Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Victoria, Australia
There are so many neat schooling fish species available in Australia nowadays. Danios, red and blue (are you talking neon/cardinal?) tetras and a red-tail shark (wouldn't this end up big enough to eat/harass your other stock?) sound pretty stock standard and slightly same old, same old to me.
I love smaller native species. Blue-eyes are simply stunning and there are a plethora of species available. My particular favourite is Pseudomugil mellis or 'honey blue-eye'. The colour on these guys when the males are sparring is amazing. They are also extremely friendly. Mine used to mob and peck at my hand when I did tank maintenance and I use to tweezer feed them at the surface.
Species such as furcatus in my experience, are like a much more attractive alternative to a danio. They are quite feitsy, very active swimmers and boisterous. Also, if you find the right supplier they are only around $5 each.
Some other options are Microdevario kubatoi, Rasbora kalachroma, Danio nigrofasciatus, or even Green Neon Tetras.
CPDs in my experience have been pretty skittish and inclined to hide when startled, even in a heavily planted tank with lots of bolder dither fish hanging around. They are beautiful fish but I think in a 4ft tank you may be hard-pressed to see them a lot of the time.
Also, don't just be limited to what your LFS are stocking. Fishchicks, Aquagreen and Exotic Aquatic (Melb) all offer an exceptional range of fish and are all open to shipping interstate. I have had probably over 50 orders from Jodi-Lea and only one DOA. Dave at Aquagreen is awesome to deal with and always throws in a couple of free extras, and Adrian is my LFS man and he is also really friendly and his stock is always very reasonably priced.
Just thought I would throw out some alternatives as nothing worse than stocking your tank and then realising you hate every single fish in there. I've been there, done that and have the tee-shirt haha.