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Hey bud - I think most people prefer the look of cardinals since the red runs the length of their body (whereas it stops halfway on neons). Cardinals also get slightly larger I believe. Neons tend to be cheaper and easier to acquire, which is honestly the reason I have neons instead. For your reference, I have seen cardinals at the Rt. 10 Petsmart at the far end of the tank section.

also -- :smile:

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=586145
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=433569
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=47556
 

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I prefer the look of cardinals, but they are more sensitive to higher ph and hard water. I have both (and to the extreme) so can't keep cardinals alive long term in my tanks. Neons are hardier in those conditions and do fine in my tanks, so I keep neons :)
 
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I prefer the look of cardinals, but they are more sensitive to higher ph and hard water. I have both (and to the extreme) so can't keep cardinals alive long term in my tanks. Neons are hardier in those conditions and do fine in my tanks, so I keep neons :)
I'm considering cardinals for a new tank, do you think they'd be a challenge to keep? It'd likely be harder water.
 

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I wouldn't necessarily say they are hard to keep, I just can't keep them in my water. I tried and the first batch just generally didn't do well and eventually died off. I came here and asked advice and everyone said they wouldn't do well in my water (the hardness/high ph would lead to kidney problems and significantly shortened lifespans) but I was stubborn and continued to try with a couple more batches of tank raised which lasted a little longer but eventually died out too. All of mine acclimated fine initially, but wouldn't make it past the 6-9 month mark. Most places I've read put their ideal ph range as under 6 and very soft water. They can obviously adapt to conditions that don't meet that ideal, but my water has a ph of 8.3 and a kh of 19 which is apparently just too much to expect them to live in long term. I've had luck with other soft water fish (rams specifically), but their ideals aren't as extreme as the cardinals, plus they have been captive bred for much longer so are generally more able to adapt to tank conditions than wild-caught or 1st generation fish tend to be.
 
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