Neon tetras or cardinal tetras? - The Planted Tank Forum

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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-22-2014, 06:38 AM Thread Starter
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Neon tetras or cardinal tetras?

So between these two fish

1) which do you feel is more appealing?
2) which is more hardy?
3) personal experience and/or your opinion on them.
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-22-2014, 07:25 AM
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In my personal experience;

I think that Neon Tetras are more appealing, the way that the red doesn't go from "head" to "toe", and also how they have white mixed in as well. Gives the tank a variety of colors, not just the blue/red combo that is seen from just cardinals. For the size difference, they aren't that noticeably different in size, maybe a few ~.5" difference from what I've seen first hand, and they both need to be in schools of at least 6.

For being hardy, I've personally only had Neon Tetras and they seem extremely hardy. Plus after awhile they get used to you, and also have a personality (small, but noticeable). I do make sure my water parameters are always in the right zone, but if you make sure that they are kept well and feed right (in my tank, there is a "alpha" neon tetra that loves to steal food from others, and bully/take food from the smallest one) they'll do perfect.
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-22-2014, 08:00 AM
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Neon tetras get my vote. Cheaper, and better coloring. As for hardiness, I have yet to own Cardinals therefore my only points of comparison are superficial.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-22-2014, 08:04 AM
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Cardinals i find their blue and red to way crisper and they are much hardier then neons in my experiance. Plus with neons you have the neon tetra disese lost a school of 30+ in the matter of 24hrs for no reason

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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-22-2014, 12:42 PM
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I also go with cardinals. In my experience their coloring can be dull at first but after awhile they are very vivid. One of mine is almost blood red and the others are fire engine red. I recently had an ich outbreak and the cardinals survived unlike a good amount of my neons.

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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-22-2014, 12:57 PM
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I also go with cardinals. Their color is so much richer than neons. As far as neon tetra disease as mentioned, any tetra or characin can get it. If you do a black water biotope with peat granules in your filter, cardinals will literally glow in that type of setup. Cardinals, once properly acclimated, are far hardier than neon tetras.
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-22-2014, 01:45 PM
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I also prefer cardinals. With a good diet and a clean tank their colors can be some of the most vivid of all tetras and other schooling fish.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-22-2014, 03:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishkeeper01 View Post
So between these two fish

1) which do you feel is more appealing?
2) which is more hardy?
3) personal experience and/or your opinion on them.
Hi fishkeeper01,

I have kept both and I strongly prefer Cardinal Tetras; the red goes from the gill plate all the way to the tail and really 'pops' against the iridescent blue stripe.

I have found them to be equally hardy. I always buy good, healthy specimens at a LFS (not big box) at least a week or more after they have arrived, been acclimated to the local water, and are eating. I have no problems paying more for healthy, acclimated fish.

Both species are colorful, peaceful, and active. I keep a school of 12 or more Cardinals in my 30 gallon with a school of Harliquin Rasboras (Trigonostigma heteromorpha), six Apistogramma baenschi "Inka", and six Corydoras sterbai.




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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-22-2014, 03:11 PM
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Given a choice, I prefer cardinals for their color. As far as hardiness goes, they've done well for me. I have 6 in a 10 gallon and 12 in a 20 gallon. They often live 7 or 8 years for me and I have one in the ten gallon that is 10 years old.

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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-22-2014, 03:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishkeeper01 View Post
So between these two fish

1) which do you feel is more appealing?
2) which is more hardy?
3) personal experience and/or your opinion on them.

I have kept both species.

I personally prefer the cardinals. When they're happy, shoaling and fed high quality foods, their colors really make an impact. Their bright, deep red and blue seems to stand out a lot more from a distance than with the neons.

In terms of hardiness, I've had better luck with the cardinals, but that could also be because I purchased them from a very reputable place (and therefore paid a little more up front), but I have been very pleased. Initial loss after shipping and acclimating was only 2 out of 35....after that, I haven't lost any going on 2 years strong now. The neons can be prone to neon tetra disease too, and they seem to be weakened by poor breeding IMO.

Overall, I think the two species can both make a very nice impact in a shoal, but I think the cardinals give a little extra kick of color and are a little stronger genetically and in overall health.
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-22-2014, 03:56 PM
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feom what iheard from my LFS employee, is that cardinals are more sensitive for certain water parameters. thats why iwent with neon tetras

but cardinals do look pretty awesome and bigger than neons
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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-22-2014, 05:09 PM
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Neons prefer temps in the low 70s; cardinals the upper 70s to low 80s, so it also depends on which species you intend to keep them with.
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-22-2014, 05:14 PM
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+1 Cardinals
hardy & colorful

Regards,
Aquaticz
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-22-2014, 08:10 PM
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I prefer the neons personally.
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-22-2014, 08:58 PM
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I prefer the green neon, even though it isn't one of the two you mentioned. I like the absence of the red stripe, and the blue changes from blue to green depending on the lighting. They are usually a little smaller even than regular neons, which are smaller than cardinals. As for hardiness, I have heard that they are a little more sensitive to changes. I had them once a couple of years ago and loved them, but I made a stupid mistake and killed every fish in that tank except for a clown loach.
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