Lone Cardinal with a newbie, what would be best?

PurpleFish

Long story short, yes, I have just one Cardinal. Yes, I learned he should be in a school, which I tried and failed at (see whole story in the welcome forum). He is currently in a 10g tank with 3 platies. He is more active than when he was alone. He stands his ground with the platies at feeding time. I feed near the platies first and then put some above him (if he hasn’t already headed to the first food I put in!). And I watch to be sure he gets several bitefuls. I talked with a 5-decade experienced aquarist and she said that since he spent so much time alone before I got him, he may have adapted to it…?

I am now setting up a 10g at home also (other tank is in my classroom). I cannot currently set up a third or larger tank - the 2 10s are it. Since I’m a newbie and am just starting to cycle the new tank, I’ve been told not to get Cardinals (I did lose the 5 I got before within 6 days). So I was planning on getting 9 ember tetras.

But I want to make the best of the situation for the Cardinal, so I see three choices: 1) leave him in the classroom tank with the platies, 2) go ahead and get 5 Cardinals in the home tank and move him there when they are settled, or 3) get just 6-7 embers and move him home when they are settled (thinking they would be calmer tank mates than the platies). What do y’all think? FYI, he’s almost an inch in length.
Related, belated thought… From all my research, I’m confused because half say cardinals are hard and neons are easy, the other half say the exact opposite!?!
 

GlennO

I assume that you are fishless cycling the new tank?

It's not ideal to keep him alone but I think a 10 gal is better suited to a group of Embers rather than Cardinals which would be better off in a 20 gal. I think he'd be more at ease with Embers than the Platies though you'd have to watch that he didn't act aggressively towards the Embers. Single tetras can act a bit weird. A better outcome would be to rehome him.
Related, belated thought… From all my research, I’m confused because half say cardinals are hard and neons are easy, the other half say the exact opposite!?!
In my experience cardinals are hardier, being less disease prone and longer lived than neons, if kept in the right conditions. But neons are probably a bit more forgiving with regard to water parameters and would be a better choice for the average hobbyist who tend to buy them as community fish. Neither are a particularly good choice for the beginner.
 

PurpleFish

Yep, fishless cycle with the new home tank. GlennO, what you say makes perfect sense - thank you! I’ll put the word out in my community for a new home but it’s a small, rural one so we’ll see. Until then, looks like embers is the better choice and then maybe try him out with them and see how he acts. He’s a sweet fish, comes out when I go over to the tank, but a little behind the platies. His colors are gorgeous and he seems to be discovering he’s more agile than the platies :)

Anyone else have advice? I’m a scientist so more data is always appreciated:)
 

PeterFishKeepin

I’ll put the word out in my community for a new home but it’s a small, rural one so we’ll see. Until then
Do you have any LFS (local fish stores) which perhaps could take the 1 cardinal for you?perhaps they will let you trade it for an ember?? rural.... IK it can be quite hard to get a fish rehomed so the above suggestion may be the quickest and more efficent option?
 

PurpleFish

Do you have any LFS (local fish stores) which perhaps could take the 1 cardinal for you?perhaps they will let you trade it for an ember?? rural.... IK it can be quite hard to get a fish rehomed so the above suggestion may be the quickest and more efficent option?
I’ll call them and ask. Unfortunately they are 1.5 hrs away so not easy to get to but a friend might be able to meet me half way and then go straight to the lfs. Worth a try tho I’ll miss him. He’s figured out to hang out a few inches below the platies when I feed and catches the pieces that sink quickly (from the filter flow or the platies jostling around). So they rush around to grab food and he calmly grabs what comes below! And he’s getting more interactive with me too :). But I know that what’s best for him is what’s most important.
 

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