Question How many neon tetras?

Mii

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I have a 20 gallon tank l, currently housing 3 otos, 2 TRUE honey gourami (not thick lipped gourami, which are commonly mislabeled as honeys, my thick lipped gourami has been moved to another tank as she did not get along with the honey, i then bought another true honey to keep her company), planning to get a 3rd honey some time, i have 6 corys in quarantine that are going to be added to my 20, and I'm planning to get a school of neons, what i want to know is how many? It's fairly densely planted, also going to get floating plants too, so they should absorb a lot of nitrates, so, assuming i can have time to do weekly water changes, no more than 30% as i don't want the changes in water chemistry to be too much for my delicate otos to take, how many neon tetras do you think i can put in the tank? I would just ask AqAdvisor but it doesn't take into account weather or not the tank is fish only or a jungle of nitrate absorbing plants
 

EgorAnonymous

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Sounds like we have similar goals. I have 6 gold stripe corys and 9 otos. I just ordered a dozen green neon tetras. Here is my advice.
First, you need more otos. They do better in large groups. Tomorrow I am setting up an algae farm to grow algae on rocks because they are such picky eaters and there is no algae in new tanks.
So, this is going to be an unpopular opinion, but I have been researching since lock down began and I think I am giving you the correct advice. Double your quarantine time to two months on the neons and dose meds at least twice. Neons are the number one fish sold in America and probably everywhere else. They are WAY over bred in horrible conditions, like feeder fish and you should just assume they have internal parasites at the very least. I would start with the 3 med system by aquarium co-op. First, add an airstone and slowly turn up the heat to 81 degrees to speed up the life cycle of any parasites and dose the meds, turn off the lights, and leave it that way for a week. Feed once, late in the week. Do a couple of large water changes, vac. the substrate. feed them for a few days and then do the meds again for a week.
Bring the temp down slowly. Do several large water changes and clean the substrate. Add Stress Coat and aquarium salt and return to normal feedings and water changes. After the first water change add the carbon back into the filter to remove any left over meds.
Make sure to add an air stone or two because the meds make the water thicker. (I think that's the right word.) and remove any carbon in the filter.
I would get 10 or 15 because some will die, but once they are cleaned out you could use your quarantine tank as a breeder and increase the numbers that way. And you will know that the fish are healthy. Mark's Aquatics has a good 4 video series on breeding neons.
Anyway, that is what I plan on doing. The online store I purchased the green neons from emailed me to let me know that their entire shipment of green neons died in quarantine tank the first week and my order will be delayed. Good luck. I'm by no means an expert, just a schmuck with a lot of free time to research. - Egor
 

Redshark1

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Take care with the floaters as they rob the plants underneath of light.

I'm assuming you can get your plants growing strongly to provide cover and absorb nitrates and phosphates and that you won't drastically overfeed your fish, while ensuring they all get enough.

In my heavily planted 40g I have 20 Neon Tetras and 1 male Bristlenose (but he's big and probably the weight of 6 adult Cories).

I think I would probably put 12 Neon Tetras in a 20g with those other fish and skip the third Gourami ("three's a crowd" as the saying goes).

I think your selection of fish is a good one.

However, I don't do Ottos as I've found them unreliable and believe they may need a mature species tank to care for their needs but you might be a better fishkeeper than me.
 

JettsPapa

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I agree with around 8 -10, and I'd encourage you to consider a hardier fish. Black neon tetras are one of my favorites. The colors are a little more subtle, but they're still beautiful fish, and don't have all the health issues the regular neons do.
 
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Mii

Mii

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JettsPapa said:
I agree with around 8 -10, and I'd encourage you to consider a hardier fish. Black neon tetras are one of my favorites. The colors are a little more subtle, but they're still beautiful fish, and don't have all the health issues the regular neons do.
I would do that if i was buying from petco or petsmart, but my lfs has sold me healthy neons when i was a kid i see no reason for them to not do that now as all the fish I've bought now have been just as healthy as the ones i got as a kid just this time they don't get ammonia poisoning because i know how to keep a fish tank now.
 

Derek88242

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JettsPapa said:
I agree with around 8 -10, and I'd encourage you to consider a hardier fish. Black neon tetras are one of my favorites. The colors are a little more subtle, but they're still beautiful fish, and don't have all the health issues the regular neons do.
I actually first tried neons myself. I thought I was doing something wrong when I couldn't keep them alive. After switching to black neon tetra I never encountered the same issues again. Have a school of 10 for almost 2 years now. A fish I never have to really stress about.
 
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Mii

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Derek88242 said:
I actually first tried neons myself. I thought I was doing something wrong when I couldn't keep them alive. After switching to black neon tetra I never encountered the same issues again. Have a school of 10 for almost 2 years now. A fish I never have to really stress about.
Is there a hardyer neon alternative that's blue? I really want blue to contrast my yellow honey gouramis.
 

Tristen

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Mii said:
Is there a hardyer neon alternative that's blue? I really want blue to contrast my yellow honey gouramis.
Cardinal tetras. They look identical and don’t have the same health issues as neons. I have been trying to keep a school of neons alive for a year and have only finally accomplished this now with a small school of 12 neons in my 20gal long. Cardinal tetras are the way to go.
 
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Mii

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i suppose a 20 should be enough for cardinals, i was thinking neons because they're smaller and can have a bigger school with the same bioload, but if cardinals are that much better i suppose i should get them. how many cardinal tetras do you think i can have since they're probably higher bioload?
 

JettsPapa

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Mii said:
Is there a hardyer neon alternative that's blue? I really want blue to contrast my yellow honey gouramis.
I don't want to sound like a broken record, but to my eyes black neons are blue. They have a light blue iridescent stripe with a wider dark blue stripe below it.
 

jmaldo

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JettsPapa said:
They have a light blue iridescent stripe with a wider dark blue stripe below it.
Yep, depends on the lighting. Here is a school of mine.

Black Neons School.jpg


"Good Luck" with whatever you decide on.
 

chodovet

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Green neons have a blue stripe and are even smaller than regular neons...
 

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