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Old 11-27-2011, 11:19 AM   #1
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Neon tetra alternative for Hard water

I would like to add a very colorful small schooling fish to go with my mostly black and white fish. I have a 30 gallon with 6 black neon tetras, 2 Bolivian rams, 3 ottos, and 4 corys. My tank is planted with Java fern and Anubias on lots of driftwood. My water is very hard and alkaline (7.5), so I am debating on whether to try Neon or Cardinal tetra's or if I should go for something else.

I really need color in my tank.

I will be buying from a well run Petsmart as my LFS has debatable quality.
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Old 11-27-2011, 11:22 AM   #2
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Your water isn't too hard, fish can adapt to pH, so they should be ok.
Just keep your pH stable
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Old 11-27-2011, 11:22 AM   #3
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You could definitely add neon and cardinal tetras. To be honest, as long as your pH stays between 6-8, most fish-with a bit of exceptions-will do fine. Although it's not the pH recommended, it's still good enough for them to adapt. IME I have kept neon and cardinal tetras in a pH of 7.6 without any problems.
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Old 11-27-2011, 11:25 AM   #4
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Thanks, assuming I get them from Petsmart, would a Neon (captive breed I assume) or a Cardinal (Don't know where Petsmart sources these from) be hardier.
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Old 11-27-2011, 11:27 AM   #5
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That's debatable. Because neons are so inbred nowadays, they have weak strains and are just a lot more sensitive, probably as much as wild ones. I would give them a good QT (if possible) and then drip acclimate them. Cardinal tetras are captive bred, and I would ask if theres are because they are a lot better than wild-caught ones, which are super sensitive.
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Old 11-27-2011, 03:50 PM   #6
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I love my neons. I have a school of 8 and they look awesome swimming around together. They add a lot of color to my tank. My ph is 7.6 and I've never lost one. Just acclimate them slowly when you bring them home. Good luck with yours
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Old 11-28-2011, 02:49 AM   #7
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Im in Chicago and we have VERY hard water... my 55g is only tetras and rasboras. Never had a problem with them and the hard water.
Have small schools of
Cardinals with a few neons
Blue tetras
Microrasbora erithromicron
Microrasbora Kubatia

All do just fine. Like it was said earlier...Very slow acclimation is the key!
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Old 11-28-2011, 03:11 AM   #8
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I have cardinals in pH 7.6-7.8 water and they absolutely radiate health.


For any fish, slightly more touchy fish like rams or cards especially, long term water quality (dissolved organics, nitrate, etc) is far more important than a pH, as long as it's constant.
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Old 11-28-2011, 04:57 AM   #9
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Neons need soft water for breeding (the eggs won't hatch in hard water) but it's not necessary for keeping them otherwise. Personally, I like Colombian tetras. They're also vivid red/blue, bit are larger and hardier than neons or cardinals. I have 8 in my 125, the severums would eat neons or cardinals.
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