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Where to get neon tetras??


Chlo
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Hi, I want to set up a 20 gallon community tank in the future that will have neon tetras or green neon tetras. I like green neon tetras more but I'm not sure if they are harder to take care of than neon tetras (also they are more  expensive). I was wondering if it is better to get them online or at my local pet store. I'm not sure about getting them from petco because it seems like people who got neon tetras there had them die pretty quickly. I'm also wondering if I should use a mix or RO water and tap water for the tank, because my tap water is really hard and has a ph of 8.2.

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People are going to be triggered by this response, so sorry in advance to the anti-big box store folks out there. 

In my experience, I find neon tetras to be hit or miss no matter where you get them. I will always say support your local fish store and the mom and pop operations. However, if your local Petco, or PetSmart has them for a good price, I would say get them there. The reality of it is they are all coming from fish farms. Some shipments will be hardy great fish, and some will not. The key is when you go buy them, watch them for a while. Do they look healthy? Are they schooling? Are the eating (if you can request to see them eat)? If you see sick fish, they look deformed, or just don't seem to be swimming right, don't buy them there. When you find a healthy batch, make sure you quarantine and plan for a couple of losses as that typically happens. Once they make it through quarantine, and they are healthy, add them to your display tank and enjoy.  

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I agree--I think the issue with neons in general is that they are farmed in such massive numbers and then go through all the shipping stress.  You can have that issue no matter where you buy them.  For what it's worth, I bought a batch of 12 from my LFS around July of last year, and they all settled in well.  Two recently died after a big tank move caused some stress.  Everyone else is doing fine, and my water is very hard and PH is 8.0-8.2.  No guarantees, but I feel like they were worth the try for me!

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The best bet is a good LFS. The one I deal with quarantines for a week but doesn't automatically medicate, so they get the med-trio when they get home. If you can't find a LFS you trust I'd go to Aqua Huna. Everything I've bought there has been healthy. If the big box stores in your area do a good job I don't think I would be too afraid to buy fish there, unfortunately around here they tend to have a lot of dead fish in their tanks. 

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8 minutes ago, Ken said:

My Panda Corys came from Aqua Huna. I bought 6 about a year and half ago, up to about 17 now.

Oh that's cool! Do you think it would be better to buy the tetras at my local Petco or buy them from Aqua Huna? I'm new to the hobby so I'm not sure if I should risk buying fish online and from another state because I heard the shipping and adapting to the different water parameters can be really stressful for the fish. But, I would probably save a lot of money buying from Aqua Huna.

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@Chlo welcome to the forum and the fish hobby! I would highly recommend Aqua Huna. I bought 10 cardinal tetras from them in January and I live on the opposite coast. All 10 arrived very healthy. I’ve only lost three since I got them, but all to my own error—two jumped out of the quarantine tank that I didn’t have *quite* covered, and one got intestinal problems very suddenly, likely from eating some undissolved fish vitamins. I got tetras from my LFS twice before that and had much worse luck. I believe Aqua Huna breeds their fish in-house which might explain why they do better.

If you go with them, don’t forget to find  and use the Aquarium Co-op discount code! I forgot when I bought mine. 😭

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I've had just as good results from Aqua Huna as a good LFS. If I were worried at all about the locals I wouldn't hesitate to go with Aqua Huna. In my opinion acclimation is not that big of deal. I assume Aqua Huna has soft and low hardness water based on their location, mine is super hard and and 8pH, I do I standard acclimation and everybody does just fine. @Hobbit brings up a good point, go to the  Aqua Huna by way of the CoOp site to get a discount.

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Aqua huna does a great job!  If you're already planning to order other fish from there, I'd go ahead and get the neons there too.  I had a shipment from them that got delayed by USPS, and the fish were in the mail 9 days--all but 1 bag survived.  That should give some idea of how healthy their fish are and how well they pack and ship them!

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19 hours ago, Chlo said:

Hi, I want to set up a 20 gallon community tank in the future that will have neon tetras or green neon tetras. I like green neon tetras more but I'm not sure if they are harder to take care of than neon tetras (also they are more  expensive). I was wondering if it is better to get them online or at my local pet store. I'm not sure about getting them from petco because it seems like people who got neon tetras there had them die pretty quickly. I'm also wondering if I should use a mix or RO water and tap water for the tank, because my tap water is really hard and has a ph of 8.2.

Just a side note: Don't trust any of the other reviews on PetCo.com. People writing negative reviews usually do not keep the fish correctly, do not cycle the tank, etc., and will write a negative review saying their fish had died. This being said, big box stores like PetCo or PetSmart more than often don't keep their fish in healthy conditions either.

I would go for AquaHuna like members above suggested.

34 minutes ago, Chlo said:

Ok, I'll definitely go with Aqua Huna! I just hope 14 neon tetras and 6 panda cories in a 20 gallon isn't overstocking...

Don't worry this is a perfect stocking plan! If you have plenty of plants, you might also be able to accomodate for the babies that the panda cories might have as well!

34 minutes ago, Chlo said:

I've learned that the fishkeeping hobby is kind of expensive...

Haha I quickly learned this too!

Hope this helps, and good luck!

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18 minutes ago, CorydorasEthan said:

Just a side note: Don't trust any of the other reviews on PetCo.com. People writing negative reviews usually do not keep the fish correctly, do not cycle the tank, etc., and will write a negative review saying their fish had died. This being said, big box stores like PetCo or PetSmart more than often don't keep their fish in healthy conditions either.

I guess that makes sense. Some of the reviewers gave one star ratings and said things like their tetras got sucked into the intake of their filter, which isn't Petco's fault.

15 minutes ago, CorydorasEthan said:

Don't worry this is a perfect stocking plan! If you have plenty of plants, you might also be able to accomodate for the babies that the panda cories might have as well!

Ooh yay! I'm planning on doing mostly easier plants like java fern and anubias... I'm not exactly great at keeping plants alive, I killed all of my "super easy beginner plants" when I first got my betta 😂 

That would be cool if they had babies, I just hope I can take good care of them!

I was also thinking about adding a honey gourami, but I'm not sure if that's pushing it. They are pretty small though.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, Chlo said:

Ooh yay! I'm planning on doing mostly easier plants like java fern and anubias... I'm not exactly great at keeping plants alive, I killed all of my "super easy beginner plants" when I first got my betta 😂

I keep killing my Amazon swords and Cabombas too, so you're not alone! However, I did find success with water sprite. It grows in pretty much anything. Same with the dwarf aquarium lily. I'd say that these are worth trying out.

3 minutes ago, Chlo said:

That would be cool if they had babies, I just hope I can take good care of them!

They are relatively easy to take care of. Just post if you happen to find eggs, and I'm sure we can walk you through it!

4 minutes ago, Chlo said:

I was also thinking about adding a honey gourami, but I'm not sure if that's pushing it. They are pretty small though.

You could probably do a honey gourami as well. It might be pushing it a little, but it would probably do fine. Here is a stocking calculator that might help: http://aqadvisor.com/. Just add in your tank size at the top and add in the fish. It will calculate how stocked your tank is, and also how often you need to water change. Unfortunately, it doesn't take into account the great benefits of plants, sponge filters, or even airstones, so you could potentially have way more fish than the calculator recommends. So I would pair this calculator with Cory's video:

This video covers upgrades you can make to your filters to provide much more surface area for bacteria to grow, thus increasing the bioload of your tank.

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11 minutes ago, Chlo said:

I was also thinking about adding a honey gourami, but I'm not sure if that's pushing it. They are pretty small though.

My recommendation would be to work on getting some plants established first and watching your water parameters first. But if you get a good crop of plants, you never see ammonia, and the nitrates aren’t skyrocketing, I think a honey could fit in with that group! Male honeys are smaller than females, so a male would be lighter on your bio load if you’d concerned. My female honey eats and poops a ton. 😄

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10 minutes ago, CorydorasEthan said:

You could probably do a honey gourami as well. It might be pushing it a little, but it would probably do fine. Here is a stocking calculator that might help: http://aqadvisor.com/. Just add in your tank size at the top and add in the fish. It will calculate how stocked your tank is, and also how often you need to water change. Unfortunately, it doesn't take into account the great benefits of plants, sponge filters, or even airstones, so you could potentially have way more fish than the calculator recommends. So I would pair this calculator with Cory's video:

This video covers upgrades you can make to your filters to provide much more surface area for bacteria to grow, thus increasing the bioload of your tank.

Thanks I'll check those out! Maybe I'll just start with the neon tetras and corydoras, and see how the tank does. A honey gourami would be a really cool centerpiece fish, but I don't want to overstock too much.

10 minutes ago, Hobbit said:

My recommendation would be to work on getting some plants established first and watching your water parameters first. But if you get a good crop of plants, you never see ammonia, and the nitrates aren’t skyrocketing, I think a honey could fit in with that group! Male honeys are smaller than females, so a male would be lighter on your bio load if you’d concerned. 

That's a good plan! Should I do cycling with plants then? I made the mistake of not cycling my betta tanks, so I don't want to do that again! I'm not exactly sure what the best way to cycle a tank is though. I bought fritz zyme recently for one of my betta tanks, and it's working pretty well so far. I thought the "normal" way to cycle a tank was adding pure ammonia or fish food and waiting, but apparently that is not for beginners and can take months. 

17 minutes ago, Hobbit said:

 My female honey eats and poops a ton. 😄

Haha! This is random but one time I saw my betta fish pooping......😳

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2 minutes ago, Chlo said:

one time I saw my betta fish pooping......😳

I think I see at least one fish poop every day. It’s a good opportunity to make sure they’re healthy! I also have chickens and I’m constantly looking at their poop to see if they have parasites... lovely I know. 😅

3 minutes ago, Chlo said:

I'm not exactly sure what the best way to cycle a tank is though.

I don’t think there’s one best way to cycle. The slow method is totally fine for beginners—it just takes a while.

Do you currently have any fish tanks running? If so, take a scoop of gravel, poop and all, from one of those tanks and put it in your new tank. That will jump start the cycle for you.

Cycling with plants in the tank is definitely an option! They’ll bring beneficial bacteria on their leaves that can help the cycle go faster.

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1 minute ago, Hobbit said:

Do you currently have any fish tanks running? If so, take a scoop of gravel, poop and all, from one of those tanks and put it in your new tank. That will jump start the cycle for you.

I currently have two fish tanks running right now. I was planning on replacing the carbon media in one of them for biomax so that I can grow bacteria on it and later move it to the new tank. I could move some of the gravel, but I was planning on using sand so that might look a little weird haha

5 minutes ago, Hobbit said:

I think I see at least one fish poop every day. It’s a good opportunity to make sure they’re healthy! I also have chickens and I’m constantly looking at their poop to see if they have parasites... lovely I know. 😅

 

Hahah it was kinda funny when I first saw my betta's poop in the gravel, because I hadn't seen any before. I was like "Wow, my betta fish actually pooped!"

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1 hour ago, Chlo said:

I was planning on replacing the carbon media in one of them for biomax so that I can grow bacteria on it and later move it to the new tank.

That sounds like a great plan!

1 hour ago, Chlo said:

Wow, my betta fish actually pooped!

If it lives, it poops. 💩 (Okay no plants and and fungi and bacteria and sea sponges don’t poop but in general. 😄)

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1 minute ago, Hobbit said:

If it lives, it poops. 💩 (Okay no plants and and fungi and bacteria and sea sponges don’t poop but in general. 😄)

Haha yeah!  I just hadn't seen her poop yet and it was nice to see that she actually WAS pooping normally and wasn't constipated or something

It's kind of funny that before this chat was about buying neon tetras and now we are talking about fish poop.....😂🤣

 

 

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