Neon Vs Cardinal - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-02-2013, 02:24 AM Thread Starter
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Neon Vs Cardinal

I have 30G planted tank. Its just 1 week old setup. current PH is around 7.4, I am planning to add C02 so that should bring down the PH when its active.

Thinking of Neon vs Cardinal. Which is the better choice and hardier?
I am planning on keeping only one type of fish that will school.
Seems like Neon needs PH between 5 and 7. Cardinal between 5.5 and 7.5

Anybody have experience on both to compare?
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-02-2013, 02:26 AM
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I hear cardinals are hardier. I ended up getting some neons since they were 99c instead of 4.50 though.. trade off.. cardinals also have more orange on the bottom which makes them more colourful!
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-02-2013, 02:44 AM
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its more of a personal choise if you like more red or some red and white on the bottom of the fish. i dont thing one is hardier than the other now. maybe a long time ago there would have been but i think alot of them are not captive breed verses wild caught.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-02-2013, 02:47 AM
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Depends on where you get them from. Around here (where I live) I would say go with the Neons unless you wanted to drive to Neptune, or Aqua Forest for cardinals. Or you could find a reliable person on aquabid and have them shipped.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-02-2013, 03:08 AM
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I personally like cardinals the best....definitely b/c of the longer red sidestripe. If you're ever in NYC there is a LFS in chinatown called Win that sells cardinals for $1/fish. And they're in the best condition I've ever seen cardinals in a tank.'s way overrated.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-02-2013, 03:10 AM
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Cardinals or Green neon tetras. Cardinals are larger, nice contrast of red and blue. GNT's, I honestly think they have the best blue coloration. I dont get why they call them GREEN. I guess from an angle the light reflects green to my eyes, but.... :P
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-02-2013, 03:41 AM
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A lot of it depends on personal opinion as to the colors, but there are some differences between the two species. Cardinals prefer warmer waters and can be kept with discus. They also tend to get a little larger. Neons prefer cooler waters (below 78F) and tend to stay smaller. Both do better in acidic water compared to basic water.

As for the hardiness, it depends on where your LFS get their fish from. A lot of cardinals are still wild-caught; this tends to make them more sensitive to pH and water hardness. But neons are commercially bred which can make them hardier; however there has been a lot of inbreeding with neons in recent years and this has weakened their stock. Some cardinal tetra are captive-bred, so if you can find some of those, they might be your best bet for hardiness.

If you're looking for a tightly schooling fish, look at rummynose tetra (Hemigrammus bleheri). They are some of the tightest schooling tetra out there. And they are rather pretty, too.

-- Izzy

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-02-2013, 03:54 AM
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I went with cardinals since they tolerate higher temps than neons do. Also, the red stripe is a little more prominent so you can see them very well when they school. I keep them with rams, which need high temperatures anyway so it all works out. IME, cardinals seem to last longer, but reasons I am not sure
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-02-2013, 04:16 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the inputs.. any idea on lifespan?
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-02-2013, 04:25 PM
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Lifespan will vary but I have some pushing 5 years now. BTW cardinals/neons are not really the greatest schoolers. The school initially then not really so good. If your really set on them then that's fine, but if your want great schoolers go with rummynose or some of the rasboras like Harlequins.
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-03-2013, 12:36 AM Thread Starter
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Finally I went with rummynose... just got 8 of them.. probably will get some more in two weeks or so..
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-03-2013, 12:40 AM
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IME both are about the same as far as hardiness goes. Usually older (larger) cardinal/ neons are hardier and acclimate better. Good luck in your decision! I also agree with the fact that both species more shoal than school.

“Alive without breath,
As cold as death;
Never thirsty, ever drinking,
All in mail never clinking.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien

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