Question Is anyone else going through such trouble to keep neons alive?

endlercollector

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I've had 2 neons make it through the last 5 years and have lost around 37 (!) or so in multiple attempts to restock. Foolish me, every time I looked them up (until I found this site), people kept repeating that they're "hardy."

We have really hard water (it comes from our mountains, which are granite), and the LFS's around here tell me that they'll adapt because the stores have them in local water, but I've had some die even on the trip home. Ugh.

I gave up on trying to have a nice sized school in our 30-gal and went down to a 10 in hopes of maintaining a small group. I finally got 4 out of the last new batch of 20 (because the first 10 had to be replaced!) through the last 5 weeks, but I'm doing 1-2 gallon water changes (half of it purified and half tap water treated with Prime) every other night in the dark (!), adding an extra ml of Prime into the tank, and scooping water and netting debris rather than vacuuming. I even changed from gravel to Carib Eco Complete because they said it doesn't have to be vacuumed as I've had too many neons go belly up right after a bigger water change.

It seems to be working so far (knock on wood) and 2 of the 3 otocinclus affinI (which the LFS's around here have stopped carrying because they're "difficult") are still alive, too. Is anyone else have to jump through such hoops or am I just a neon killer?
 

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Neon tetras nowadays are notoriously delicate. Natural-born examples could potentially live up to 10 years, but farm-bred specimens are lucky to last 5 in the aquarium. Because of heavy overbreeding, some strains are genetically weaker than others, and are more susceptible to diseases, parasites, deformities, or stressors.

I've given up on trying to own neon tetras or zebra danios for any appreciable amount of time. Wholesalers don't really care for the optimal health of their stock, especially when selling to chain retailers. If I had a dollar for every dead fish I've seen left floating in a PetCo or PetsMart tank mere days after a shipment arrives...

Were I to get any more, I would probably look for a reputable mom-n-pop or individual breeder and try to buy from them.
 

Akari_32

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I've had great success with Florida Raised Neons. They are about twice as much, but they look 100x better and mine were wanting to spawn the day after I brought them home.

I've been doing pretty good with PetSmart Neons, actually. I've only lost about 5 out of 20 or so. Not too bad considering the source. Just gotta get good batches, and apparently only buy them when they are on sale.
 

scotty b

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I had a horrible time keeping neons alive until I found a lfs that had some wild stock , all are well and happy
 

Tsyklon

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I suppose another factor is that, tank bred or not, the species as a whole prefers soft, acidic black-water conditions with humic acid and low mineral content. Keep a species like that in hard water typical of most taps, and they're bound to have issues no matter how long you acclimate them.
 

JeffK

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While researching neons over a year ago I came across a quote from a veteran fishkeeper that stated, "If you want 10 neons, better buy 20!"
 

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I've had about 50/50 luck with them. The ones that did die, usually did within the first day. The others that died ended up with ICH and fungus within a few days of me putting them in my QT tank.

So, out of the 20 or so I got in November, I still have 10
 
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endlercollector

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How were you able to find a supplier who could get FL raised neons? Do you live there or nearby?

Akari_32 said:
I've had great success with Florida Raised Neons. They are about twice as much, but they look 100x better and mine were wanting to spawn the day after I brought them home.

I've been doing pretty good with PetSmart Neons, actually. I've only lost about 5 out of 20 or so. Not too bad considering the source. Just gotta get good batches, and apparently only buy them when they are on sale.
 

scotty b

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I had gotten 10 wild caught neons driped my water in the bag at 1 drop every other second and they have all made it 7 months and are well colored up in a ph of 8.1
 

Akari_32

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endlercollector said:
How were you able to find a supplier who could get FL raised neons? Do you live there or nearby?
I live in Florida. Seagrest Farms is who has the Florida Raised. I've heard there are also California Raised Neons and that those are great too. All you have to do is go to the lfs and ask for them. Florida Raised ones run about $3 a pop here, but it's very worth it.

Heres a little story about my run with FL Neons.

I needed a nice small schooler that I wasn't going to pay out the nose for for my 10 gallon planted tank. PetSmart only had the usual, but I was considering their rasboras if I found nothing else, though they were a bigger than I wanted. I drove out to a really awesome LFS, a bit of treck, but it's neat place and the guys could talk fish all day.

So I was walking around the freshwater room, and all the way in the back corner where these rightly colored, active, playful neons. I'd never seen them that colorful and active. The tag caught my eye as well: "FL Raised Neon $2.99."

Hm. I asked one of the guys about them, he said they had no deaths, we're eating great, and selling fast. I came back a few days later and bought a handful of them, and introduced them to my tank. No deaths, they retained their bright colors, and they were even displaying spawning behaviors on the second day.

At one point I wanted to up my school and bought some from PetSmart. They all looked good, not as pretty as the Florida raised, but healthy, etc. So I went ahead and bought five more, expecting some to die off, and put me at 6 or 7. The days passes, and one disappeared, then a second, and a third. The remaining two looked horrible, pale, bits of fluff on their bodies. The Florida Raised Neons? Completely unphased. Eating, happy, males bickering over females. In the end I lost all the PetSmart fish, and lost ZERO of my existing Neons or my Ram (bought from the same store as the Neons). No meds of nothing.

This is why I love FL Raised fish.
 
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endlercollector

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I wish I'd found the term "notoriously delicate" instead of "hardy" when I first started out! Someone needs to redo all those web pages--it's like they're all citing one person from 40 years ago. Sigh.

I'm so jealous--healthy, happy neons! I did a quick search online and only saw references to FL and a German breeder. I will keep searching, however, just in case someone, somewhere, in the huge stage of CA is breeding neons...

Akari_32 said:
I live in Florida. Seagrest Farms is who has the Florida Raised. I've heard there are also California Raised Neons and that those are great too. All you have to do is go to the lfs and ask for them. Florida Raised ones run about $3 a pop here, but it's very worth it.

Heres a little story about my run with FL Neons.

I needed a nice small schooler that I wasn't going to pay out the nose for for my 10 gallon planted tank. PetSmart only had the usual, but I was considering their rasboras if I found nothing else, though they were a bigger than I wanted. I drove out to a really awesome LFS, a bit of treck, but it's neat place and the guys could talk fish all day.

So I was walking around the freshwater room, and all the way in the back corner where these rightly colored, active, playful neons. I'd never seen them that colorful and active. The tag caught my eye as well: "FL Raised Neon $2.99."

Hm. I asked one of the guys about them, he said they had no deaths, we're eating great, and selling fast. I came back a few days later and bought a handful of them, and introduced them to my tank. No deaths, they retained their bright colors, and they were even displaying spawning behaviors on the second day.

At one point I wanted to up my school and bought some from PetSmart. They all looked good, not as pretty as the Florida raised, but healthy, etc. So I went ahead and bought five more, expecting some to die off, and put me at 6 or 7. The days passes, and one disappeared, then a second, and a third. The remaining two looked horrible, pale, bits of fluff on their bodies. The Florida Raised Neons? Completely unphased. Eating, happy, males bickering over females. In the end I lost all the PetSmart fish, and lost ZERO of my existing Neons or my Ram (bought from the same store as the Neons). No meds of nothing.

This is why I love FL Raised fish.
 
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endlercollector

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scotty b said:
I had gotten 10 wild caught neons driped my water in the bag at 1 drop every other second and they have all made it 7 months and are well colored up in a ph of 8.1
Wild caught? Where from? Are they the same size as tank bred neons? Do you have a picture to share? I'd love to see!

jwebbe said:
I've had about 50/50 luck with them. The ones that did die, usually did within the first day. The others that died ended up with ICH and fungus within a few days of me putting them in my QT tank.

So, out of the 20 or so I got in November, I still have 10
You're doing better than I have! The only ones I could save were the ones I pulled from the quarantine tank and put in my established tank. I thought for a bit there that something was seriously wrong with my QT, but then I put some other fish in there, and they're thriving, so I think the neons got calmed down going in with the old survivors. It's like they're dying of emotional trauma more than physical trauma!

scotty b said:
I had a horrible time keeping neons alive until I found a lfs that had some wild stock , all are well and happy
Where did you get wild caught neons from? I haven't had much luck doing a quick search of the Internet for California.

jesraz said:
What about cardinal tetras I heard there almost immune to neon tetra disease
I am thinking of trying caridinal tetras when (and if!!!) I ever get more tank space again. I think what's going on at my house isn't neon tetra disease so much as a combination of badly bred, incredibly traumatized fish and harsh water (along with my own fish-keeping ineptitude). Ugh.
 

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I just picked up 5 neons. I'll let you know how they do in QT.
 

psalm18.2

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So far lost 2, might be heat related.
 

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psalm18.2 said:
So far lost 2, might be heat related.
This has always been my concern, I live in an area that is frequently over 100 degrees.

Although I've had bad luck in the past, really bad luck. I just decided to buy 12 of them the about 3 days ago and I've already lost one or two (they are hard to count). And I have absolutely pristine water conditions in an established aquarium and almost neutral 7.2 pH. Oh and I acclimatized them over the course of two hours. I can't think of anything else I could possibly do.
 
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endlercollector

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LetDiceFly said:
This has always been my concern, I live in an area that is frequently over 100 degrees.

Although I've had bad luck in the past, really bad luck. I just decided to buy 12 of them the about 3 days ago and I've already lost one or two (they are hard to count). And I have absolutely pristine water conditions in an established aquarium and almost neutral 7.2 pH. Oh and I acclimatized them over the course of two hours. I can't think of anything else I could possibly do.
I live in Riverside, too, and I think it's the hard water on top of the stress that kills them. They don't put them into soft water and gradually acclimatize them in the big chain stores. You can check with Fish Fantasy--I know they do it for other types of fish. After my last fiasco, I'm not getting any more, just changing out 1 gal after dark, half treated tap and half purified from vending machines outside Sprouts.
 

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endlercollector said:
I live in Riverside, too, and I think it's the hard water on top of the stress that kills them. They don't put them into soft water and gradually acclimatize them in the big chain stores. You can check with Fish Fantasy--I know they do it for other types of fish. After my last fiasco, I'm not getting any more, just changing out 1 gal after dark, half treated tap and half purified from vending machines outside Sprouts.
Just so has it I bought them from Fish Fantasy, they have a very limited selection of freshwater fish and supplies, and maybe a little expensive, but their customer service makes it worth going there if they have what I want. They are a mile from me. I use one bucket of RO water for every bucket of tap when I change water. With the water here I had to install an RO filter, not just for the fish, I drink water too. Riverside water also tests positive for nitrates much of the time (depending on season).

Note to anyone who doesn't know, pure RO water is bad. Pure water is unnatural. There are things common in water that fish and plants need.
 
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endlercollector

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LetDiceFly said:
Just so has it I bought them from Fish Fantasy, they have a very limited selection of freshwater fish and supplies, and maybe a little expensive, but their customer service makes it worth going there if they have what I want. They are a mile from me. I use one bucket of RO water for every bucket of tap when I change water. With the water here I had to install an RO filter, not just for the fish, I drink water too. Riverside water also tests positive for nitrates much of the time (depending on season).

Note to anyone who doesn't know, pure RO water is bad. Pure water is unnatural. There are things common in water that fish and plants need.
Sounds like you've been trying everything that I have then. No more neons for me!
I do wish someone would breed neons in southern CA, but I guess the ThaI ones are just too cheap for anyone to take this on.
I've never been able to drink the water in Riverside. I'm from HI, and the water here is like licking baking soda!
 

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I just want to say that I bought 10 neon tetras for $1 at Petsmart...and they have survived establishing a tank with (safestart) and being transferred to another tank....

I've found guppies more fragile.

Granted my tanks are co2 injected with a PH of 6.5 and 78-80 temps.
 

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What is really funny is I bought 12 and 2 died. I went in there and bought more a few too many figuring that a few would die and I would be good. Well now none of them have died, so I will have to move the extra ones to another tank.. Go figure.
 

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Seagrest Farms is where Petco in PA gets their fish. I have not been able to keep Cardinal Tetras alive from them or Petsmart of course it could have to do with the trauma of shipping.
 

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Akari_32 said:
I've had great success with Florida Raised Neons. They are about twice as much, but they look 100x better and mine were wanting to spawn the day after I brought them home.

I've been doing pretty good with PetSmart Neons, actually. I've only lost about 5 out of 20 or so. Not too bad considering the source. Just gotta get good batches, and apparently only buy them when they are on sale.
Akari, how do you get a hold of these breeders? Do they have websites?

I am tired of getting fish from PetCo and PetsMart. I am lukewarm on LiverAquaria.
 

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I bought 8 neons at petco for 1 dollar each back in december. So far not one has had any problem whatsoever. I'm so happy.
 

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I have had no problem with neons now that I keep them in softer water with neutral 6.8 ph (RO+equilibrium) where they mostly died in the same tank when I was using tap water that was extremely hard and pH 8.2+.
Maybe coincidence, but I have found I have very few mystery deaths (any species) now that I don't use my local tap water which is rather bad in a number of ways.
 

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BW'sFishTank said:
I bought 8 neons at petco for 1 dollar each back in december. So far not one has had any problem whatsoever. I'm so happy.
I'm really jealous. I gave my last batch of neons absolutely optimal conditions and they still all keeled over unexpectedly. I've given up on them. I think they're great little fish... just not great little fish for me
 
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endlercollector

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junebug said:
I'm really jealous. I gave my last batch of neons absolutely optimal conditions and they still all keeled over unexpectedly. I've given up on them. I think they're great little fish... just not great little fish for me
There would be a market for them if someone decided to breed neons in So Cal! Or else very hardy guppies with the same coloring
 

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Over the summer I bought 12 neons in 2 lots of 6. I think we've lost one (can only count 11 when I look), but I'm not sure because they have plenty of places to hide. I was scared to get them because of reading the horror stories about how delicate they are. However, I ordered them from my trusted fish person, trinsfish on eBay, and I've never had problems with any fish I got from her.

I would suggest, if you decide to get more, that you use peat moss either in the filter or in the substrate or use distilled water for at least part of the water in the tank. You can also use catappa leaves and driftwood to help soften the water. I would also recommend using a slow drip method for acclimation or maybe, instead of bagging the fish at the store, taking a small bucket or something that offers more room with treated water from your house to put the fish in.

Or you could always get some cardinal tetras, they look very similar and are supposed to be more hardy than most neons these days.

I should add that the tank my neons are in has terribly low pH. The water straight from the tap has a pH reading of between 7.6 and 8.0, but after 'aerating' it drops drastically. This tank in particular has a pH of 6.0 before AND after a 50% water change, telling me that it is much lower than 6.0. Too bad they don't make a low-range pH test, or if they do I've not found one.
 
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endlercollector

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shelleyd2008 said:
Over the summer I bought 12 neons in 2 lots of 6. I think we've lost one (can only count 11 when I look), but I'm not sure because they have plenty of places to hide. I was scared to get them because of reading the horror stories about how delicate they are. However, I ordered them from my trusted fish person, trinsfish on eBay, and I've never had problems with any fish I got from her.

I would suggest, if you decide to get more, that you use peat moss either in the filter or in the substrate or use distilled water for at least part of the water in the tank. You can also use catappa leaves and driftwood to help soften the water. I would also recommend using a slow drip method for acclimation or maybe, instead of bagging the fish at the store, taking a small bucket or something that offers more room with treated water from your house to put the fish in.

Or you could always get some cardinal tetras, they look very similar and are supposed to be more hardy than most neons these days.

I should add that the tank my neons are in has terribly low pH. The water straight from the tap has a pH reading of between 7.6 and 8.0, but after 'aerating' it drops drastically. This tank in particular has a pH of 6.0 before AND after a 50% water change, telling me that it is much lower than 6.0. Too bad they don't make a low-range pH test, or if they do I've not found one.
Where is your seller located? Are the fish bred in the U.S. or wild caught?

I tried peat moss once, but it turned my water yellow. I was warned that it would, and it looked terrible

Hmm, your pH is so low that you could try some of those persephone Bettas that people here have been talking about. They love super soft water!
 

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She sells on eBay and is located in Ohio. I don't think she breeds them and am not sure where she gets them but they all survived 2 days of postal handling and are thriving. Like I said, I think we've lost 1 of the 12 but I'm not sure. We got the first group in early July then the second group about 6 weeks ago I guess.

Peat moss, leaves, driftwood, etc will make your water look yellow. That's what helps make the water softer However, you can use active carbon in your filter and it will help remove some of the tannins.

My tanks are all over the place and I can't figure them out. 2 of them are consistently very low (6.0 before and after large water changes with 7.6-8.0 water), most range in the 6.0-6.6 range. However, when I tested them the other day I had to use the high pH test on one of them, the pH in that tank was 7.8/8.0 for some unknown reason.

Usually my tanks are 6.0-6.4 but the 2 tanks that have been up and running the longest have pH below 6.0. Guess it's good that those are the tetra tanks

I've been trying to sell some mussel shells that my son picked up by the river, I think I'll just start using them as decorations. That should help bring my pH (and GH and KH) up some. GH is around 2-3 and KH is around 5-6 out of the tap.
 
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endlercollector

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That is odd how your pH bounces around like that. But you have peat moss in your tanks?
 

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No, no peat moss. They don't bounce around, they are just all different. My biggest tank (45g) has a piece of driftwood but it also has a lot of plants, about 30 fish, and untold numbers of snails. This one is usually very low. The other very low tank has probably 20 fish with ramshorn and trumpet snails. It's not planted per se but does have a lot of hornwort floating and a large bunch of Christmas moss. The other tanks are all just different with their pH, I don't know what causes them to be different but as long as they are stable I don't really care
 

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