Tank mates for tetras? - Page 2 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #11 of 14 Old 11-16-2009, 12:43 AM
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Must remember, your bristlenose pleco is your algae eater/bottom feeder. If you add another then the one already there will have competition for food and territory. Bristlenose plecos eat a good amount of algae and in that size tank, I wouldn't be adding another algae eater/bottom feeder.

The reason you will want a larger group of neons would be because they are a heavy schooling fish. If their group is too small they tend to die rather quickly. The larger the group the better the survival rate.

If you're thinking along the lines of cardinal tetras then watch your water hardness first. Cardinals are not as accepting of harder water (pH, KH, Gh) as what neons are. I don't typically suggest cardinals to a beginner.

There are a wealth of options out there, please don't limit yourself so quickly. If you are looking for color there are male live bearers, and if stick to just males, such as guppies, you get all the color and none of the breeding. There are also other smaller fish that would do well with or without the skirts in that size tank, but are sturdier and easier to keep than neons.
Glo-lite tetras
galaxy rasboras *otherwise known as celestial pearl danio
danio species (zebra, leopard, long fin blues)
green fire tetras *one of my favorites
and also small species of rainbows that are options, such as
and celebese if you keep the skirts would also be an option, but I wouldn't mix celebese with neons or small peaceful, vulnerable fishes such as the galaxy rasboras..

If you really like loaches, maybe something like a small botia species.. lochata is a good one. While they do like to eat snails, they also do just fine on flake foods, frozen brine, and live black worms (not to be confused with blood worms) if u can find them.

There are alot of small colorful options for a tank that size. If you are looking for further interesting critters for the bottom feeding without adding another type of pleco/algae eater, you could try ghost shrimp, which are compatible with everything listed here... or ammano shrimp. Cherry shrimp would also be an option without celebese rainbows (adult celebese eat them sometimes).

There are many easy combinations I think would be much easier than neons, and surely easier than cardinals.
Please don't think you're out of options.

If you have questions about any of these species, please let me know and I can give you a basic run down on each of them.

Dawn Moneyhan
Aquatics Specialist/Nutritionist
Juneau, WI
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post #12 of 14 Old 11-16-2009, 11:03 PM Thread Starter
Thanks for the feedback...bummer I just read it though because I already purchased cardinals! Oh dear, hopefully I will be able to keep them alive. I'll go and buy a water testing kit. I already had one of the six I bought die within the first probably 12 hours of adding it (and I added them very slowly to acclimate to the temp and all). If any more die too much sooner (within the next few days) then maybe I'll just start adding another variety (like the ones you mentioned). I hate to have them suffer in a small group, though, as they die off. Any suggestions on this point?

Now that I know I don't want to get ottos then my options open up a bit. My pleco doesn't do such a good job cleaning the tank but maybe that's because he's still quite young. What do you think about the approach of not feeding the pleco (algae tabs, etc) in order to make it eat the algae in the tank? Is that cruel?

Stephanie's updated tank profiles:
29 gallon 10 gallon
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post #13 of 14 Old 11-17-2009, 01:37 AM
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Ok, first let me address the cardinals. The sooner you can post test results for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and especially pH, the better... if you can add Gh & Kh in there, those will be important too. I am hoping you purchased liquid test kits... can you let us know what type they are? (brand name)

Cardinals require softer water than many of the other commonly found tetra species, and are a more suitable mix with fish such as discus. Cardinals also thrive at much higher temps that most other tetras require or more than some can handle... in the 82 - 86 degree range. It is not a common thing to acclimate cardinals to harder water successfully.

Personally, if it were up to me, the remaining cardinals would go back to the store and would be replaced with fish that are more suitable to the environment you already have established for them. I would also strongly suggest testing the water before adding any other fish, so you know what type of enviornment you already have to work with. If the water is soft, how soft... if its hard, how hard... and work within those limits and find fish that can thrive within those limits.

In regards to the pleco... if you provide plenty of food there is no need for the fish to scavenge for food, as in algae in the tank. How much algae growth do you currently have in this tank? If there is a large amount of algae on rocks, glass, etc. then my next quesiton would be why is there such heavy algae growth in a tank with very few fish and a pleco species known to have a heavy appetite? This answer is also likely going to show itself in your water chemistry, and possibly in your lighting. Another question to ask in this sort of situation, what type of algae are we talking about? Is it slimey and soft, covers everything in a sort of blanket as it grows... is it hard and covering the tank walls, seen as a green "sheen" on the glass and possibly rocks... or is it hariy/fuzzy.. growing in various places, specific places, etc?
Please remember that an algae eating fish will not eat all species of algae, and this applies to any algae eating animal. Each species of animal has its food preferences, which are usually limited to a few specific species of algae. Once I have a better description of the algae growth in your tank, then I can better suggest if you should slow down the feeding of your pleco. Until we identify what type of algae you are dealing with, I would continue to feed it, just be sure to limit the amount of food. A very small pleco will not eat a large amount at a time. If offered a large amount, whatever that fish doesn't eat within the first 1 - 2 minutes will begin to break down into the water and can pollute the water, add to an already existing problem, etc.

Can you post any photos of this tank? Visuals can often lend a lot more light to a situation for those of us who cannot see it first hand. Please try to get the clearest photos possible. Blurry pictures make it difficult and sometimes impossible to determine a problem.

Sorry I can't be of more help yet, but the one thing I will strongly urge is to not add anymore new fish until we first have a better understanding of your water chemistry. Your water chemistry in that given tank should be the overall determining factor in what fish are options for you to keep in there.

Dawn Moneyhan
Aquatics Specialist/Nutritionist
Juneau, WI
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post #14 of 14 Old 11-17-2009, 08:21 PM Thread Starter
Thank you for the very thorough questions. I have only tested the following parameters on my water:

ammonia: 0 or very trace levels
nitrite 0
nitrate 7ish
pH 7.8
temp 26'C (79F?)

I have posted pix on my profile (can everyone see those or just me?) The cardinal shot : ( is almost completely outdated.

The algae: there is a non-visible coating of soft slime on almost everything, but colorless or I just can't see it. Not very thick, just noticably sleek on surfaces. Two plants have reddish strand algae on them...I usually just prune off the parts that get a good coating. For the first time yesterday I saw the pleco eating algae from a plant (a new plant that I added a couple days ago, so maybe it was a different variety of algae transported in from the store). I've tried giving him zuccini but he's not interested.

The cardinals are the only fish who have died in this tank (I've only had the current inhabitants so far). There are only two left. I feel terrible. If I can bring them back to the store tonight I will...I'll call and see if they'll take them.

I'm thinking about going with guppies...how do I tell if they are male or female?

I was thinking of the otos also because I gravitate toward the bottom dwellers aesthetically speaking. Any suggestions on a fish in that category? If I could have a separate tank with cooler, breezier climates I'd have the white-cheeked goby...I find this fish the most attractive.

I also really like schooling fish although when I refine my expertise I'd like a discus tank some day.

Thanks for your help and encouragement...I'm trying not to feel horrible about the fish losses.

Stephanie's updated tank profiles:
29 gallon 10 gallon
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