Asking people who have had success in keeping cardinal tetras.

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dougall

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Mar 29, 2005
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they are around, just get wild ones, not captive bred. try to support the environments where the fish are coming from, they are likely going to be genetically stronger too.

Check out project Piaba for more info.
 
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dereks

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Mar 7, 2006
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29 GAL well planted well established tank. All cardinals with 3 Cory cats.

I believe my mistake was bright lights since water parameters were within acceptable range.
 

dougall

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Mar 29, 2005
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I think you need to provide some numbers rather than stating bright, and acceptable range


I expect I have seen them kept in far brighter light than you are using, so I doubt that is your problem.
 

the loach

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You're not gonna find wild caught cardinals. When economic conditions improved in Brazil prices went up, and along with the start of mass farmed cardinals in Indonesia, which are very cheap and give wholesalers a bigger margin, almost all wholesalers went with farmed cardinals (never mind the poor condition) Along wiith neons, they are the fish that are sold the most and are also the cheapest (±$0.25-$0.35 per piece wholesale price) yes they are even cheaper as guppies...
Nobody is going to pay $3 to $4 retail for a cardinal, so if you want them wild caught you need to look for one of them L number speciality stores that still import rare fish directly from Brazil.

I know it is in the books that neons are for cooler water and cardinals for warmer and I don't know who came up with that. For over 2 decades I have kept my cardinals in the lower 70's and they are fine... they got between 7 to 10 years old. When people have problems with cardinals I tell them to drop the temperature and often they do better. Now the farmed cardinals are a different story they are much weaker and poorer in condition as the wild ones used to be. Be prepared to buy twice as many as you need... and don't buy the smallest sizes get the largest ones you can get.
 
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fishorama

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Jun 28, 2006
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There's another place we disagree, TL. I prefer to buy younger, smaller fish when both adults & juveniles are available. It may be that my experiences with both species was before both were heavily farmed...& that can make a huge difference!

Neons are often listed as being in the same habitat as angels, mid to upper 70s, but not cardinals. They're from shallower, warmer water...like discus. I know that's comparing farmed vs wild caught fish, so may not apply as much anymore. It depends on where they are farmed too. It's not that fish can't survive the "wrong temp" & as you've seen, farmed fish are more adaptable for the most part. But if I had hard tap water, I'd opt for Fla. bred fish; if I had (as I have now) softer water, I'd go with Asian bred fish...IF I knew where the fish came from at my lfs...That's not always available info.
 

the loach

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There's another place we disagree, TL. I prefer to buy younger, smaller fish when both adults & juveniles are available.
I don't disagree with you; but this advice is specifically for farmed cardinals. Losses are less when you buy adults.
When wild caught was still the norm (before ±2010) I always got the smallest size as well...
 

fishorama

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See, we often agree, lol! But I'm not convinced dereks is talking about farmed vs wild caught...There are still wild caught cardinals "out there" & available. What makes you say his are necessarily farmed? I will still always prefer juvenile fish, I want to keep them for as long as possible in my tanks. There's no telling how old adults of any species are...
 

tanker

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I believe my mistake was bright lights since water parameters were within acceptable range.
Sorry, I do not think your lights are the problem. My tanks have over 500watts of light over them and my Cardinals are fine.
 

the loach

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What makes you say his are necessarily farmed?
It is just statistics, something like 95+% of all cardinals on sale is now farmed.
The other day we were talking about porthole catfishes and how difficult they are to get. I know more wholesalers that have portholes as wild cardinals...
Before ±2010 100% of the cardinals were wild caught.
 

ustabefast

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I've been keeping my Cardinals in coolish water, like 73-74 degrees, for years now.
They do prefer lower lighting and lots of plants or hardscape in order to feel comfortable long term.
Water changes are important, of course, but Cardinals get the same weekly 25% change as the other fish.
 
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