01-27-2013, 04:08 PM
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Keep a close eye on them, as "loneliness" is not likely the issue.
First on the species, there are four closely related species in the genus Paracheirodon. The neon tetra is P. innesi, the cardinal tetra is P. axelrodi, and the false or often termed green neon tetra is P. simulans. The fourth species which Heiko Bleher discovered in 2006 has as yet not been described and named, and you will almost certainly not find this fish anywhere [see profile of the neon for more on this]. These are distinct species.
Now, the neon tetra itself has a couple of colour varieties developed presumably by selective breeding. There is a "gold" neon, and I think an albino, and perhaps another or two. Whatever, these are all the same single species and have the same requirements, etc.
The Green or False Neon is a distinct species (Paracheirodon simulans) as I mentioned above, and it is very sensitive to water parameters and conditions, being wild caught. Genetically it is closer to the cardinal than the neon, as it explains in the profile here.
To the health issues. Neons have been commercially raised for decades now, largely in outdoor ponds in Florida and SE Asia, and sometimes in tanks. It is well known that the fish have weakened considerably, often said to be due to the excessive inbreeding. This happens with almost all fish that are commercially raised. There is no influx of new genes as would occur in the wild.
This is a soft water fish, and regardless of generations of commercial breeding, the fish still requires soft water to be at its best. I suspect this plays a role in all this.