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Hi, I have a 29 gallon tank that only has a few minnows in it at the moment. I'd like to put in my first school of fish, and I was thinking barbs or tetras. Both of them, however, seem to prefer soft, acidic water. I live in Chicago, and the last time I checked, my pH was around 7.5 and the hardness I forgot but I think it was like 140 dgh or w/e.

I know most fish I'll buy now are already not in their natural state and can accept most ranges of water, but I don't really like the idea of putting the barbs/tetras in an environment they don't 100% prefer. Maybe it might impact them negatively, even if only slightly. Thoughts?

Some of you might say just go with livebearers cuz they like hard water. I really do like mollies, but I don't want to deal with so many fry and breeding. And I heard they need salt in the water too...

Thanks for advice!
 

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I personally keep my Rosy Barbs in somewhat hard water and they are doing just fine in it. I've had them for two years now and their colors are nice and bright and they appear super content. As long as they aren't wild-born they'd be fine (as they are bred and raised in different waters than they originate). I also keep Glowlight Danios and they've been doing great as well (they're also two years old).

It you really don't want to do that though, might I recommend platies over mollies? Mollies can be little jerks and do better in brackish water. Platies are much sweeter and will do better in normal water. Adding Ghost Shrimp, who also like hard water, will keep the fry numbers low should you mix the sexes.

(also, you meant 14 dGH rather than 140, right?)

The following are some that you might want to check out:
Black Phantom Tetra
Bloodfin Tetra
False Penguin Tetra
Glowlight Tetra
Red Eye Tetra
Serpae Tetra (quite feisty)
Denisons Barb

The main thing with tetras is that most like acidic water. I wasn't able to pull up many barbs because most require larger tanks or their wild varieties prefer softer water.

For other schoolers, why not try Zebra Danios?
 
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