Schooling Fishes: Must They be Kept in Groups?

So you make your way to the aquarium shop and you see something that really interests you.  You inquire about the specimen and the person helping you mentions that the fish you like is a schooling fish.  The logical follow up questions are then……

“How many of these will I need to create a school? “

“Is it absolutely essential that I keep a group of them?”

Typically a school in your home aquarium is considered to be a group of 3 or more, however, in the wild these groups are much larger.  Schooling fish are social animals so keeping them together does have some benefits.  Fish often school as a means of safety and incorporating a group into your underwater paradise may make the fish feel more comfortable and subsequently remain more active and feed more readily.  That being said, it is not always ABSOLUTELY essential that they be kept in groups.  Very often customers will keep a single specimen with success so long as the tank conditions are right and the other inhabitants are welcoming.  

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