07-31-2012, 09:59 PM
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Rapid breathing is often a sign of stress, as is hiding. . .and could indicate ammonia in your water, I'd do a water change right away and see if that helps them. Keeping the tank lights off will also help keep their stress level down, and might help a bit.
From what I've read, Cardinals (and most Tetra) can be very fussy about parameters, and toxins in the water - including nitrate. They are often wild-caught, and it is usually recommended that they be added to a well established, planted tank. Without knowing the type of water you have (Cardinals prefer soft, acidic water), or the levels of nitrate, and possible ammonia and nitrite, it's going to be difficult to guess. Since your tank has only been set up for a short time, its entirely possible that things aren't quite as stable as they'd like them to be just yet. It might also be possible that they'd do better in a larger group - but you don't want to add to their number until you're sure about the tank parameters and double check stocking. . . be sure to keep the water extra clean for them until you get more info on your water, and keep a close eye. Hopefully someone can offer a bit more by way of help. . .I'm still new to Tetra!
Last edited by Chesh; 07-31-2012 at 10:04 PM..