Questions For Experienced Cardinal Keepers

Discussion in 'Cardinal Tetra' started by filtered_light, Jul 13, 2017.

  1. filtered_light

    filtered_lightValued MemberMember

    I have always loved tetras, including neons, but cardinal tetras are possibly my favorite visually. They are just gorgeous. I'm planning a tank that will be mostly one type of tetra, plus a few peaceful bottom feeders/cleanup crew.

    My questions are: 1) Are cardinals much more delicate than neons?
    2) Any special warnings or advice for someone who has kept tetras and rasboras before but not cardinals specifically?
    3) Where have you had good luck buying healthy, sturdy cardinals from? (Breeders, LFS, other? Any recs on finding sturdy stock?)
  2. OP

    filtered_lightValued MemberMember

    PS - I'm in eastern Massachusetts
  3. DoubleDutch

    DoubleDutchFishlore LegendMember

    Cardinals are often still wild caught and not as overbred like neons. In my opinion that's why they are hardier than most of sold neons.

    Coming from warm / acidic water not providing that some diseases / bacteria could be given a chance.

    Have a good look in the LFS how they look.
    Any doubt about their health : leave them.
    If healthy buy a decent school.

    Be aware of Ph-shock if yours differs a lot with the one from the LFS !!! in that case very slowly acclamitize them.

    And one thing : dark substrate, a bit stained water and enough coverage (plants) will color them up awesome !!!

    Green neon is a good option as well !

    Succes !

    Last edited: Jul 13, 2017
  4. KeeperOfASilentWorld

    KeeperOfASilentWorldWell Known MemberMember

    I have 24 Cardinal Tetra's and 12 Otocinclus Arnoldi's in my 30 gallon Iwagumi tank. I am very satisfied with how it turned out. I strongly advise getting wild Cardinal's. They are super tight schoolers and they have incredible coloration. If you can get them from a breeder, you could probably get much healthier Cardinal's compared to the ones from your LFS.

    I also think you could do a pair of wild German Blue Ram's together with the Cardinal Tetra's. It would add a lovely intricacy to your tank. They are from the same part of the Orinoco and complement each other perfectly :)
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2017
  5. OP

    filtered_lightValued MemberMember

    Thanks! This is super helpful and your tank sounds amazing! This may be a dumb question but do you (or anyone) know if boards or groups where one might find people who breed them? I'd be jazzed to get my future fish from a responsible breeder if one could be found.
  6. bigdreams

    bigdreamsWell Known MemberMember

    I bought mine from LFS, I believe they were all tank raised, not sure. Bought them six months apart. They were extremely sensitive at first but the survivors are very hardy. I would avoid neons, just get cardinals.

    My first batch seems more colorful than the second. I lost 75% of my first batch when I first got them. I got too many in one shot and screwed up the acclimatization. Second bacth I got 12 for a 10 gallon QT, lost 25% in first three days, probably from acclimization.. I only temperature matched then netted them and added them to tank. Much faster, and less stressful for me (and I think for them). I can live with 25% loss. Next time if there is a next time I may try a different approach. Not sure. Plop and flop was pretty good. So Cardinals are going strong, had them for a year now, the newer batch for 7months. Larger schools are best. Got 20 in 55 gallon community planted tank, pH around 6.4, soft water, they spawn regularly. (No breeding though). They tend to hover. When spawning they are super energetic.. . Really cool to watch.
  7. OP

    filtered_lightValued MemberMember

    Thanks @bigdreams ! What temp do you keep them at?
  8. KeeperOfASilentWorld

    KeeperOfASilentWorldWell Known MemberMember

    I am a drop and plop supporter. I had zero losses with wild cardinals and wild otocincluses. If you are looking to get the highest quality cardinals, it is better to find the breeder in your area who supplies to all the fish stores and buy directly from his wild stock. They usually have a website of their own, it is not a fancy one but they have a list of stock in there. Cardinals do best in 78.

    These loss rates sound very high, you probably had a bad batch. I would try a different store next time. Sorry for all the losses.
  9. bigdreams

    bigdreamsWell Known MemberMember

    Yeah, my first batch didn't go well for a couple of reasons... First they had arrived at LFS a day or so before, so I took the hit on weak or stressed stock. Second, took me a couple of hrs to get home, I should have added Prime to the bag to detoxify ammonia etc. Took too long acclimating and temp probably dropped in bucket without me realizing it. I added an airstone as per my LFS advice which probably caused a pH swing. Think it took me like three hours. Again, plop and flop less stressful for everyone. No losses doing that for my kuhli loaches or lemon tetras. If people do it for discus it must be ok for others. My water TDS is similar to my LFS. I do think it would problematic if there's a big difference between the two.

    I keep mine at 78 degrees, but tank goes upto 80 in the summer. I have learned not to stress about it. I wouldnt go lower than 77 with them.
  10. OP

    filtered_lightValued MemberMember

    Really appreciate the replies, it is great to hear what people have experienced. Trying not to screw up too much. :)

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