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FAQs on the Neon Tetras Stocking/Selection

Related Articles: Cardinal Tetras; A School of Beauty, Part II, by Alesia Benedict, Neons, Cardinals & Their Kin; Selection, Maintenance & Healthcare by Neale Monks Characid Fishes

FAQs on: Neon Tetras 1, Neon Tetras 2,
FAQs on: Neon Tetras Identification, Neon Tetras Behavior, Neon Tetras Compatibility, Neon Tetras Systems, Neon Tetras Feeding, Neon Tetras Disease, Neon Tetras Reproduction/Breeding,

Related FAQs:  Cardinal Tetras, Characid/Tetra Fishes,


Glowlights vs. neon tetras    2/1/12
I notice some people here keep Glowlight tetras with angelfish without problems, yet neon tetras are angelfish food.
<Yes. Or at least, big Angels will eat small Neons. Many farmed Angels fail to reach the full size of the adults -- i.e., 15 cm/6 inches in length -- so many people will keep farmed Angels and Neons together without problems.>
I always thought there was no difference between neons and Glowlights except color.  What is it about Glowlights that make them a good fish to keep with angels?
<Glowlights are a bit bigger. They're also more tolerant of warm water (Neons prefer to be kept between 22-25 C, which is a little cooler than Angels enjoy).>
Thank you!
<Cheers, Neale.>

Keeping Rams and Neon/cardinal tetras. Sel., sys. mostly  1/24/09 I have a basement tank, 36/ 18 by 14, 52 gallons. I plan on using a river sand bottom, <Soft sand will be appreciated; the name Mikrogeophagus means "little eartheater", and like the true Geophagines cichlids, these fish (in the wild) sift the sand for algae, invertebrates and decaying organic material.> my tap pH is around 6.8 to 7. but I plan on using RO water (With a ph of 6.0), they make for you at World of fish, (its voted best LFS in twin cities). At the store they sell blue angel rams, $30 a pair, from a local breeder. These fish look much better, more vigorous and brightly colored then the regular rams they also sell (blue/German) they keep the angel rams in RO water but the others they do not. <Locally bred fish infinitely better and worth the expense. Farmed Mikrogeophagus ramirezi are of variable quality and often "juiced" with hormones and antibiotics; consequently their survival rate after shipping is dismal, even though they look nice in the shops.> The tank they are in is labeled NFS, as they are treating for Ich, but all fish on the mend, no signs of Ich on the rams at all (Corys had it), rams are showing territorial/natural behavior and they use the same RO, water I'll be using if I get them, at the shop. <If you have locally bred fish available, buying farmed specimens would be dumb.> I'm planning on buying a high intense light, and planting with live plants and driftwood. What kinds of plant do Rams like or that grow well in their water? <In the wild they live in sun-baked shallow pools with mostly amphibious vegetation that mostly grows above the waterline. So there's not really much "authentic" you can go for. Instead, concentrate on species that will tolerate the conditions in the aquarium. The very high temperature (minimum 28 C/82 F) will stress some plant species, while the necessary soft water will stress others. To be honest, I'd probably go with floating plants initially, such as the Limnobium, and leave rocks and hollow ornaments across the bottom for the fish. If you wanted rooted plants, buy species in pots that you can easily fertilise with tablets since the sand itself will contain no nutrients (unless you put a layer of pond soil or whatever underneath the sand). Cryptocoryne species would be ideal.> What are good foods for these guys? <These are quite fussy fish that tend to have favourite foods. I've never seen Mikrogeophagus show much interest in flake or pellets, though I dare say some will eat the stuff. Mostly they seem to require a varied diet of live or (wet) frozen foods: bloodworms, glassworms, mosquito larvae, daphnia, etc. Remember to vary the diet; if they get just bloodworms, you're setting them up for a vitamin deficiency in the long term.> I talked to the staff at the LFS and they said add tetras first after cycling then wait a month or more before aiding rams/ change like 5 to 10% of the water a week. <Likely far too little in terms of water changes. Mikrogeophagus ramirezi are acutely sensitive to nitrate, and tend to develop things like Hexamita at the first sniff of high levels of nitrate. In part this is surely why they die so quickly in most community tanks. So rather than estimating a water change, grab a nitrate kit and keep track of the nitrate level each week for the first few months. You'll get a picture of how quickly nitrate levels rise, and can act accordingly. You're aiming for under 20 mg/l nitrate, and ideally 0-10 mg/l. Part of this is avoiding overfeeding: these fish need only small amounts of food to do well.> I was think 1 or 2 pairs of rams and 12 to 15 tetras in a school. <Ok.> I was wondering if a school of neon, rummy nose or cardinal tetras would be good dithers ? Are there any other good tetra-like fish to keep with them or is it best to keep the Angel rams separate? <Neons need cool water, so they're not an option for use alongside the warmth-loving Mikrogeophagus ramirezi. Cardinals can work well, and probably make the best bet. Rummynose tetras would be good in some ways, but they're hyperactive fish, and need to be kept in a decent sized group to school properly; if they just mill about looking nervous, that'll have the reverse effect on your Mikrogeophagus. If you don't mind switching continents, Harlequin Rasboras work well too.> I do understand the fancy type of rams are less hardy but I will be moving in five years + anyway.( though I am planning on taking the tank with) <You'd be lucky if most of the farmed specimens last 5 months, to be honest. They really are abysmally poor fish. I wouldn't touch them with a barge pole. Like pouring money down a drain.> thanks <Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Keeping Rams and Neon/cardinal tetras. 1/24/09
Thanks I will research more, I'll also make a video of it- the tank I mean. <Sounds good. Look forward to hearing/seeing more in due course. Do try and pick up one of the books on Dwarf Cichlids, there are many. Even the old TFH one by Jörg Vierke (used, less than two dollars on Amazon) will be a useful read in terms of understanding the ecology of these fish in the wild and their specific requirements in captivity. Mikrogeophagus ramirezi are nice fish, but the reality is most people fail to keep them alive for more than a few months, at best. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Keeping Rams and Neon/cardinal tetras. 1/24/09
When/if I get them should I use jungle parasite clear on them when they go into the main tank, or should I use a separate, tank.? <"Scattergun" approaches to healthcare rarely work. Quarantine all new livestock, and if signs of illness appear, diagnose and treat as required. The main killer with Mikrogeophagus ramirezi is Hexamita, and it is likely latent in all specimens, certainly those produced on fish farms. Hexamita becomes a problem when the fish are kept too cold, exposed to high nitrates, given a poor diet.> Also is it better to use fake plants then live? <No difference so far as the fish are concerned. Use whichever you want.> I know if I did so it would save on lighting and help reduce care in an already "Demanding" setup. <Cichlids would prefer tanks without lights at all, so do whatever you want so long as there are shady places for the fish to swim. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Keeping Rams and Neon/cardinal tetras, Ram sel.    1/28/09
Do you know of any local Ram breeders that sell decent/or excellent quality rams? I'm going to wait a few years before getting them, but I wanted to look for breeders. I live in St Paul MN. <Well, since I live in Hertfordshire, England, I'm afraid I can't comment on the local fish breeders in Minnesota. Obviously the first step is to find your city or state fish or aquarium club, and get in touch with them. There is certainly a Minnesota Aquarium Society for example: http://www.mn-aquarium.org/ Join up and attend their meetings. They'll surely be able to get you in touch with people in your area who breed fish. One of the great things about this approach is that the people in aquarium clubs are typically advanced hobbyists, and so are likely to be breeding fish you've never heard of, or don't see in aquarium shops. There are lots and lots of lovely dwarf cichlids that rarely get traded, so you might find some real treasures this way. Cheers, Neale.>

How many Neons would live healthy and happy in a ten (10) gallon tank,  - 04/19/2006 with proper filtration and a heater.  Tank is fully cycled too. Don't want to overload. <You can probably do 1 per gallon...they are tiny fish and like to school :), IanB>

Neons vs. cardinals 7/21/05 Hello, wondering if I could get an opinion on these tetras. I'm planning on a 108 gal. community and want to have either neon tetras or cardinals as the main schooling species. What would be your recommendation with these fish for overall color, adaptability with other community fish and most of all hardiness? I know both require the same water conditions. That's it. Neons or cardinals? Appreciate any input on this subject?..........Regards, Craig P. <Mmm, am a big fan of both species, but will side with the Cardinals... for bigger size, greater longevity, relative hardiness. Bob Fenner>
Re: Neons vs. cardinals 7/22/05
Mr. Fenner thanks for your response and the cardinals sound good to me as well. I received a response from you on the Hagen lights for my tank last week; again ty. I realized that your name was familiar and dug up one of my FAMA magazines from years past and found your article. Showed the e-mail I sent you to my son and then your picture and he was really impressed!! "Dad he's an expert", <Heeee!> were his words. He's 11. I've been in the hobby for about 10 years now and still enjoy it very much...... just ask my wife, lol. It's good to know expert advice is a click away.......... Thanks again. I live in the province of Newfoundland Canada and the hobby has really taken off here this past few years; both fresh and saltwater, but I find staff with any knowledge are few and far between. Anyway, I had to drop you this note to let you know, it's great to get advice from the "expert"..................... much regards.....Craig P. <Hmm, whenever I hear the term, I always think of "ex spurt"... as previously married and flow under pressure... Thank you, Bob Fenner>

Neons, Frogs, & Snails Hello to all at WWM, I have a few questions. First I have a 10g established tank with three neon's.  I wanted more so I went to the pet shop and bought 3 more neon's, a blue mystery snail and 1 African dwarf frog.  They assured me this would not overcrowd my tank (but they have given me bad advice in the past so I thought I would ask you guys) <This should be fine as long as you don't add anything else to the tank. Also make sure the tank is fully covered so your frog can't escape.> I am getting very conflicting info on the frog.  They told me at the pet shop that it would eat fish flakes but what I've been able to find on the web suggests otherwise.  I guess what I need to know is what's some really good food to feed this little guy. <This site http://allaboutfrogs.org/info/mypets/dwarfs.html has a lot of information and suggests frozen bloodworms as an excellent food for them.> They also suggested frozen brine shrimp when I asked about frozen treats for my neon's. Your site said these are junk food and when I asked if there was anything else that would be suitable for my neon's they said no.   <As a treat once in a while brine shrimp will be fine, just don't count on it providing much nutrition. Frozen Daphnia is also small enough that your Neons should be able to eat it too.> Another question do I need to buy special food for the snail?   <Nope, he'll eat stuff that's in the tank.> One last question, the new neon's I got are a lot bigger than my original ones.  One of my original neon's is hiding out in the weeds.  It has done this on and off since I have had it (about 3 months) and seems fine but just seems to be hiding more since I added the others.  Do you think they could be bulling it since they are bigger?   <The bigger one might be bullying it but probably not. The original one is probably just nervous and will come out more as he adapts to the new critters in his tank.> Thank You So Much for all your help. Amy <You're welcome! Ronni>

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