20 Gallon Tank Cherry barbs vs Ember or Flame (Von Rio) Tetras?

wateriswet

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Hello! This is my first post :) I have a new-ish 20 gallon (it has taken forever to cycle!). It is destined to have have a school of dwarf or pygmy corydoras (so cute!) but I'm waiting to add them last since I've heard they are sensitive and am worried about the tank doing a mini re-cycle as I add fish. It is a low tech tank with a lot of plant cover (mostly java ferns), driftwood, homemade sandstone caves, and black sand. The only inhabitants right now are a pair of honey gourami.

I'd like to get a colorful, peaceful, not-shy, hardy (so no neon tetras), schooling, middle or upper level dwelling fish. I was looking at cherry barbs but have heard they can be kind of aggressive or ember tetras but sometimes their colors are faded and they can be very shy. So maybe Von Rio/flame tetras? Or something else?

Has anyone kept both cherry barbs and either ember or flame tetras? How did their personality and overall health compare? Is there another type of fish I should be looking at?

Water parameters:
7.5 pH
160-180 ppm TDS
~100 ppm kH
74-76*F
0-0-5

2 honey gourami (currently)
2 small nerites (currently)
6-10 cory (future, depending on if dwarf or pygmy)
???? colorful schooling fish
 

Mhamilton0911

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I find my cherry barbs to be peaceful in a good school. I had 2, and the male would annoy the female, but I've upped the numbers and they are calm, inquisitive, colorful and peaceful. I have not kept the other tetras though.
 

StarGirl

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I have Ember and Von Rios right now. The Von Rios are extreme food hogs they are my least favorite fish. The little Embers swim all over and are super cuties. They are in my final stocking in my 55.
 

Leeman75

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I have never kept Flame Tetras, so I would defer to other's assessment there. Cherry Barbs are on my wish list for some day, so I like them too.

It seems to me that the vibe in your overall tank vision would be best suited with the Ember Tetras. They are small adorable little things and I think would be right in line with the Pygmi Corys and Honey Gouramis. You could almost call the tank your "Tank of Cuteness". :)

Just my two cents. My daughter has Ember Tetras, Pygmi Cories, and a tiny little Honey Gourami and they all just really fit together well.
 

AsleepInYorkshire

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A very interesting question which piqued my interest, not least because we are sort of considering some similar options for my daughters fish tanks. She has embers in one tank with Cherry Barb and no issues. The only downside to embers is they aren't quite as robust as I was lead to believe. They are quite tiny to so the orange colour doesn't quite stand out as say a Serpae Tetra. Serpae Tetra can fin nip and be a little pushy if kept in small numbers. So we're planning 12-14 for my daughters tank. Cherry Barbs have different colours for each sex. The "Cherry" colour is the male. The females are quite a contrasting colour.

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I think Cherry Barbs are better in larger numbers albeit I couldn't say how many. Also there needs to be less males than females I think. I think it's a ratio of 2 or 3 males females to one male.

AiYn'U
 
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wateriswet

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Update: I bought what I thought were a pair honey gouramis. That is what they were labeled at my pretty reputable lfs. I keep them in quarantine for 2 weeks and recently released them into my 20gal tank. They were adorable and chill while in my 3 gallon quarantine bucket. Now that they're in the big tank, the male is a territorial jerk and I figured out that they are the larger, more aggressive but still okay for community thick-lipped gourami, not honeys. I feel emotionally attached to them after doing daily water changes while they were in quarantine and getting them to nibble algae wafers from my hand so I don't want to return them. Based on them turning out to not be honeys, I decided on the cherry barbs since I think they will hold their own better. I really appreciate everyone's input! The Von Rio feedback was funny, a tale of not living up to one's profile pic, haha. Ember tetras are in my long term want to have plan. I'm trying to convince my husband that I need another tank :)
 

Leeman75

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wateriswet said:
Update: I bought what I thought were a pair honey gouramis. That is what they were labeled at my pretty reputable lfs. I keep them in quarantine for 2 weeks and recently released them into my 20gal tank. They were adorable and chill while in my 3 gallon quarantine bucket. Now that they're in the big tank, the male is a territorial jerk and I figured out that they are the larger, more aggressive but still okay for community thick-lipped gourami, not honeys. I feel emotionally attached to them after doing daily water changes while they were in quarantine and getting them to nibble algae wafers from my hand so I don't want to return them. Based on them turning out to not be honeys, I decided on the cherry barbs since I think they will hold their own better. I really appreciate everyone's input! The Von Rio feedback was funny, a tale of not living up to one's profile pic, haha. Ember tetras are in my long term want to have plan. I'm trying to convince my husband that I need another tank :)
I think that you made the right decision for the right reasons. Enjoy the Cherries! I'm dreaming of how I can also convince my spouse that another tank is a necessity and if I'm able to, Cherry Barbs will part of the stocking for sure!!
 

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