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New guy from NJ from stocking questions


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Hello everybody!  I have recently come back to the hobby, Cory and Irene's videos were a big help to me getting info!  After having tanks as a kid, and am in the process of setting up a 55 gallon community with a lot of beginner friendly, low light loving plants.  One nice thing to coming back to the hobby as an older adult is I now have the patience and budget to do thing properly, the nice tech bump in equipment is a bonus too!

My water parameters are 74 PH, with 10 hardness.  Here in my area of NJ we have reasonably hard well water.  Which brings me to my main questions  I really wanted to have a couple groups of different types of tetras, but am worried about the water quality being bad for them.  Cory showing off the Black Neon Tetras did make me excited for them, but I am very worried the water parameters would be too much for the little guys.  I am adding a bunch of driftwood to the tank, but am concerned that would not drop things down enough.

So, instead I am getting research on suitable tetras that could work with what I have.  The following look  like okay choices, but I figured it would best to ask people with actual experience what they think.   I have already crossed of Serpe and Buenos Aires tetras for being fin nipers or turning the plants into their personal salad bar.  Here's the list:

Penguin Tetra

Lemon Tetra

X-Ray Tetra

Red Eyed Tetra

Red Phantom Tetra

Emperor Tetra

Candy Cane Tetra (seen conflicting info on these guys, some sources say they are okay, others list much lower PH requirements)

Would any of these, or other good suggestions work out okay?  Thinking of two schools, so they have plenty of friends.

For tankmates I am thinking a little group of platies, some Corydoras or Zebra Loaches, if the loaches are okay with the water (yes I know the two will not get along, so it is one or the other), maybe some dwarf neon rainbowfish ( as an alternative to one of the tetras), and a nice herbivore, so Bristlenose Pleco or Hillstream Loach pack.  Still thinking about a good centerpiece too, but right now I want the tetras locked down before I think of that.

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18 minutes ago, Averus said:

Hello everybody!  I have recently come back to the hobby, Cory and Irene's videos were a big help to me getting info!  After having tanks as a kid, and am in the process of setting up a 55 gallon community with a lot of beginner friendly, low light loving plants.  One nice thing to coming back to the hobby as an older adult is I now have the patience and budget to do thing properly, the nice tech bump in equipment is a bonus too!

My water parameters are 74 PH, with 10 hardness.  Here in my area of NJ we have reasonably hard well water.  Which brings me to my main questions  I really wanted to have a couple groups of different types of tetras, but am worried about the water quality being bad for them.  Cory showing off the Black Neon Tetras did make me excited for them, but I am very worried the water parameters would be too much for the little guys.  I am adding a bunch of driftwood to the tank, but am concerned that would not drop things down enough.

So, instead I am getting research on suitable tetras that could work with what I have.  The following look  like okay choices, but I figured it would best to ask people with actual experience what they think.   I have already crossed of Serpe and Buenos Aires tetras for being fin nipers or turning the plants into their personal salad bar.  Here's the list:

Penguin Tetra

Lemon Tetra

X-Ray Tetra

Red Eyed Tetra

Red Phantom Tetra

Emperor Tetra

Candy Cane Tetra (seen conflicting info on these guys, some sources say they are okay, others list much lower PH requirements)

Would any of these, or other good suggestions work out okay?  Thinking of two schools, so they have plenty of friends.

For tankmates I am thinking a little group of platies, some Corydoras or Zebra Loaches, if the loaches are okay with the water (yes I know the two will not get along, so it is one or the other), maybe some dwarf neon rainbowfish ( as an alternative to one of the tetras), and a nice herbivore, so Bristlenose Pleco or Hillstream Loach pack.  Still thinking about a good centerpiece too, but right now I want the tetras locked down before I think of that.

Welcome NJ!

Speaking personally, I'd be fine trying out a dozen of the Black Neon Tetras you like once your tank is all cycled. 7.4 pH is very good. The hardness sounds like you've got dream water for livebearers . . . but you'd be surprised, many tetras could easily do just fine as well. All of the tetras you've mentioned could work. You'll find, though, that some of them tend to be fin-nippers. In general, keep them in a school of 12-24, and they're really nice. Look up Blood Fin Tetras. They're glorious! Here's a video of some we've kept . . . 

For centerpiece fish, you just want to make sure your fish aren't so big that they'll snack on your tetras. We found that Columbian Tetras grow nice and large, and do not get eaten by mid-sized Geophagus, or Acaras. 

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Hi there!

I'm in South Jersey with similar water parameters, deep well aquifer water. GH 10-12, KH 10-12 depending on the day and the measurements with the kit, lol. Ph is actually 8.0 without CO2 injection. I keep tetras no problem, and my LFS uses tap water and offers tons of tetra varieties. The tetras I have in my tank are Diamond Tetras, and they even breed without doing anything special on my part.

Buy your tetras from a LFS and they all should be fine.

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Posted (edited)

I've been enjoying the dwarf neon rainbowfish I added just last week to a 40 breeder. They are so fast look like little missiles zooming around. They don't really school as a group all that much though, at least not at this point. I might not have enough either. I only have 7 but plan on adding another batch of 6. They are very young and new to the tank. Right now it's kind of like thunder-dome with like 3 fish chasing 3 other fish in all directions and lots of fin flaring. Fun to watch though. I'm also a fan of Lemon Tetras.

Edited by sudofish
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I have serpae tetras, black neon tetras, lemon tetras, and pristella tetras all thriving in hard water with 8.2 pH.

And please don't write off serpaes because of their reputation for fin nipping.  It's greatly exaggerated, and unlikely to happen if you get an adequate number of them to make them feel secure and hold their attention.  You will often see 6 given as the minimum, but I prefer 8, and more is always better, space permitting (I have 15 in my 40 gallon breeder tank).

They're beautiful fish, and I hate to see people shy away from them because of a undeserved reputation.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks everyone for the replies!  At least I know I can have more varieties in my water and it will be okay, including the black neons I was interested in from before.  Hearing from so many people with water like mine and even harder is very encouraging! One nice thing about having a 55 is I have a lot of room to work with, so I can have a couple different schools and they will still have plenty of room.

Also have included serpea and bloodfin tetras to the list of possible candidates now. Serpea may be easier to get them then red phantoms anyway.

I am setting the physical tank up this Friday, and then starting the cycling with plants.  I want the plants to get established, so it will be a bit before I get to the fish.  Will start with a small group of platies once fully cycled, the usual 3 females to one male ratio, to start.  Of course this could change to either a little molly or swordtail group instead.  I will be adding the first tetra school after the live bearer group is settled.

As for centerpiece, I am going to be keeping it small as well.  I am very happy with having a large tank with a bunch of smaller fish in it.  So I am thinking maybe a pearl gourami or a Bolivian ram, nothing super big.  Already have decided against angelfish.  Really want a good tank mate who will standout against the groups of fish in the tank.  Would an Apistograma or Kribensis be too aggressive for a centerpiece?

Edited by Averus
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13 hours ago, Averus said:

As for centerpiece, I am going to be keeping it small as well.  I am very happy with having a large tank with a bunch of smaller fish in it.  So I am thinking maybe a pearl gourami or a Bolivian ram, nothing super big.  Already have decided against angelfish.  Really want a good tank mate who will standout against the groups of fish in the tank.  Would an Apistograma or Kribensis be too aggressive for a centerpiece?

Pearl gouramis are one of my favorite fish, but I'd encourage you to get a small group instead of just one.  One male with two or three females should work well (I have 9 in my heavily planted 40 gallon breeder).

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