04-18-2010, 08:20 PM
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There is some fact in the relationship between fish and plants--not meaning "live" plants necessarily but just "plants" and branches, at least with the cardinals (don't know about the barbs).
In their native habit, Paracheirodon axelrodi are always and only found among plants, be it aquatic in some streams or overhanging vegetation in other streams, and branches and roots along the streambank. They are never found in open water unless forced into that situation by something.
I posted a video on this a while back, from the collector in Venezuela. There is also an article in one of the issues of TFH from a couple years back with photographs. And many scientists have written about the habitat and its relationship to the fish.
In my 115g Amazonian stream aquascape, the cardinals only come out into the open at feeding time. Aside from this, they are always under cover of plant leaves, close to the substrate and pieces of bogwood. I have observed basically identical behaviour in Hemigrammus bleheri, the Rummy Nose Tetra. This is a large enough tank at 5 feet in length to provide options for the fish, and their clear preference is significant.
As I frequently write when members ask about what to put in their new tank, it is very important to research the fish species and understand what they require to be free of stress. Stress causes health problems; it affects the immune system making disease and parasites more likely; and it contributes to shorter life spans.
When those Echinodorus are twice the size they are now, the cardinals will be very happy because they will feel even more at ease.
Last edited by Byron; 04-18-2010 at 08:26 PM..