Why Are My New Cardinals Not Swimming/schooling?

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Dechi

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I got 14 cardinal tetras about a week ago. I might have lost 2-3, I don’t know they’re very hard to count, plus I have 5 neon tetras that swim among them or close by, making it even harder.

I thought cardinal tetras liked to swim around the aquarium a lot, in schools. But mine seem to mainly stay in one spot (top left, as you can see in the video), or spread in different places.

Are they still shy ? Do I have too many plants (I trimmed them to give them more space, but they grow fast)? Is it the other fish ? Too much water agitation ?

I just would like them to be happy in their environment, but I don’t know what to change to please them.

Here’s a video so you can see how they behave :

Thanks
 

Rdrb

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Sometimes they say the non schooling behaviour is actually good meaning the fish are getting used to their surrounding and they school wen they feel spooked however i think you should give it more time to get used to the surroundings
 

kallililly1973

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Agree with above when they feel comfortable they will break away from their tight grouping.. see how they react when you do a WC I’m sure they will all find each other... safety in numbers
 

DoubleDutch

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Seems to be the darkest spot.
If you watch this vid, you know why.

Whrn they feel more at ease in their new surroundings they'll move around more.

 
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Dechi

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Rdrb said:
i think you should give it more time to get used to the surroundings
I will before trying anything. A good 4 weeks.

kallililly1973 said:
see how they react when you do a WC I’m sure they will all find each other..
Good tip, WC to do on Sunday, so I’ll pay attention.

DoubleDutch said:
Seems to be the darkest spot.
Hum, I hope they can get used to the light because it’s needed for the plants.

But you’re right, this is probably the darkest spot.

They’re eating well, so I guess they must be at least okay !
 

MacZ

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The current may be actually too strong. I'm still experiencing behaviour changes whenever I adjust the current strength upwards. I see almost all plants in your tank moving in the current and most fish swimming against it just to stay in one spot.

Normally my cardinals pick spots about 5-15 cm from each other, not much leaving these spots except to shush away other cardinals or feeding or browsing the leaflitter in tighter groups of 3-4. Some (i guess the wild caughts) prefer the shadier spots, some (the tankraised ones?) seem to be okay with more light. Also, they prefer lower levels. I rarely see them that high up in the water column except for feeding times or when they go for something they think is edible floating around.

Overall, as long as there was no shading at all they stayed skittish and tightly schooling, even on lowest light setting.

What I did about the lighting is taping strips of black cardboard in mostly random order on the transparent lid, leaving "spotlights" for the plants, while shading the rest somewhat evenly. I'll take those off as soon as the floating plants are numerous enough to shade most of the surface area by themselves.
 

DoubleDutch

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MacZ said:
The current may be actually too strong. I'm still experiencing behaviour changes whenever I adjust the current strength upwards. I see almost all plants in your tank moving in the current and most fish swimming against it just to stay in one spot.

Normally my cardinals pick spots about 5-15 cm from each other, not much leaving these spots except to shush away other cardinals or feeding or browsing the leaflitter in tighter groups of 3-4. Some (i guess the wild caughts) prefer the shadier spots, some (the tankraised ones?) seem to be okay with more light. Also, they prefer lower levels. I rarely see them that high up in the water column except for feeding times or when they go for something they think is edible floating around.

Overall, as long as there was no shading at all they stayed skittish and tightly schooling, even on lowest light setting.

What I did about the lighting is taping strips of black cardboard in mostly random order on the transparent lid, leaving "spotlights" for the plants, while shading the rest somewhat evenly. I'll take those off as soon as the floating plants are numerous enough to shade most of the surface area by themselves.
Then simply point it upwards !!

The answer about the cardinals lays in the color of their back. They aren't feeling safe in bright light (without enough coverage) so stay low on the leaflitter for protectionreasons.
 

MacZ

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DoubleDutch said:
Then simply point it upwards !!

The answer about the cardinals lays in the color of their back. They aren't feeling safe in bright light (without enough coverage) so stay low on the leaflitter for protectionreasons.
Who now? :) I commented on what I see in Dechi's tank. My flow seems to be adjusted fine again now and the light configuration works, too. I was just adding what I see in case I set the flow too strong.

Edit: Will still do that, though. :)
 

DoubleDutch

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MacZ said:
Who now? :) I commented on what I see in Dechi's tank. My flow seems to be adjusted fine again now and the light configuration works, too. I was just adding what I see in case I set the flow too strong.

Edit: Will still do that, though. :)
Owwww hahahaha. Misread your post a bit.
 

MacZ

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Happens to all of us sometimes. :D Still thanks for the tipp, though. :)
 
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Dechi

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MacZ said:
The current may be actually too strong. I'm still experiencing behaviour changes whenever I adjust the current strength upwards. I see almost all plants in your tank moving in the current and most fish swimming against it just to stay in one spot.
Time flies, it’s been 3 months since I’ve had bought my cardinals. They’re all doing well. Since then, I’ve changed my spray bar for a traditional nozzle, oriented upwards, and I think all the fish like it better.

The cardinals sometimes school, but they also like to do their own thing separately. Overall I’m very happy with them. The neon tetras (5) seem to have adopted them as their family too, so they all hang around together. I only have peaceful fishes, so the tank is nice and calm. :)
 
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