Another Stocking Issue
I need one more school of fish to complete my stock. My wife really wants either neon tetras or cardinal tetras. I always read on these forums about neons and cardinals dying and I really want something a little less common. So, I need to find a schooling fish that would work well with cherry barbs, odessa barbs and cory cats and it needs to rival the color and beauty of the neons and cardinals.
There are not many fish to rival the colour of the Paracheirodon species (neons, cardinals, green neons). You might want to have a look through the fish profiles; there are photos with each species, so you can find ones you like. Characins and Cyprinids are the two categories you will find such fish under, and the info there indicates the numbers, compatability, and water parameter requirements for each species. The latter is important, and you haven't mentioned it. Some tetras, rasbora, etc. will manage with slightly basic water, some will not (strictly soft acidic water), but this is indicated in the profiles.
The water is soft (4) and slightly acidic (6.8). I think I could sell her on tiger barbs. I think they would do well with the odessa's but I am not to sure about the cherry's and the cories.
With those water parameters almost any of the peaceful characins and cyprinids wold be fine, subject to sizes, tank size and numbers in the shoal.
I've kept and bred commercially raised Neons, Corydoras Catfish, and other usually soft/acidic water fish in water with a quite high PH (around 7.4 according to my Freshwater Master Test Kit.) As long as your fish aren't wild caught you shouldn't have an issue with them at any reasonable parameters as long as they are acclimated slowly.
Of the fish I've got, you could consider dwarf neon rainbows or black neon tetras. Their colours are more subtle in that you don't get the big splash of bright red of the neons or cardinals, but I think they are better in your tank than they look in photos or even the shop.
The rainbows look pretty ordinary and then the light hits them and you get a look at their beautiful pale blue colour and the red of the fins (for the males). There's an element of suspense involved - I've had visitors look at my fish and suddenly go "wow, look at that!"
The black neons just look like they've got a white stripe in photos, but it's really a fluorescent pale blue. They've also got a flash of red in their eyes. Their colour in real life is better than the photos depict, I think.
Also, it isn't just the colour of the fish that appeals. Both of these fish are really "friendly" and swim around the whole tank. I'm a bit disappointed with my rosy tetras, who like to swim at the back of the tank so I don't see them as much. My rainbows and black neons are always at the glass if I come by (want food, no doubt!) so I feel I "get my money's worth" with them. Even though they aren't vivid coloured, you might consider them anyway.
Check out the Serpae Tetra profile. I've got 7 in my 75 gallon community and they're very pretty and active fish.
I haven't seen any signs of agression or nipping by them but I have no long finned fish in this tank.
Serpae tetra is another questionable fish, in much the same category as the Tiger Barb. In larger tanks (like a 75g) it can sometimes be OK, but sometimes a terror to everyone else. Most recommend groups of 8 or more because this has often been shown to lessen their aggressive behaviour. As noted in our profile, behaviour can vary in this fish, possibly due to its origins.
It is too bad both these fish are so unpredicatble, as both are very attractive fish. When they settle in, they're fine; but just ask anyone who has had them not settle in what they can be like.
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