11-06-2010, 12:35 PM
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Kitten has linked the profile, so that covers everything; I'll point out highlights.
Cardinals need soft, acidic water; I have mine in water with a GH of 1 dGH, and pH is around 6.2-6.4 although I feel this pH is a bit high for them. You'll see in the profile the pH of their native water is below 5. And most are still wild caught.
Another issue is plants. They need plants, more for the security. They occur in natural waters either thick with plants, or well shaded by overhanging vegetation with lots of roots, branches, etc in the water. They occur in very dim light. In a tank with no "cover," a white substrate, and direct overhead light, they will always be stressed.
In a suitable environment, they will live more than 10 years.