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[APD] cardinal schooling behavior

Reggie Bustinza wrote:

>> When I first got into the hobby, a friend of mine told me that cardinal
tetras can make more for a very attractive species selection as opposed to
neon tetras, largely due to the fact that they are mostly wild-caught.  He
told me that, due to the fact that they are all wild caught and haven't been
captively bred for countless generations, they tend to school tighter
because their instincts were more "honed".  Is this true?   I haven't kept
neons for years, but when I go to the LFS it seems that the cardinal tetras
are schooled tighter than the neons.  What are people's opinions on this?<<

While it is true that too much inbreeding or too little attention to culling
can result in a sub-standard fish, this doesn't have to be the case... Look
at guppies, and the brighter color varieties that have been bred from some
types of wild stock.  It just takes care and planning as opposed to breeding
puppy-mill style.

As far as the schooling behavior of cardinal tetras, in comparison to other
species, I am quite sure that this is not directly related to some being
wild stock and others being farmed.  Cardinal tetras are far from the only
tetras that are wild collected.  If you go to visit an exporter in the
Amazon, you will see many, many species.  At the exporters, the fish are
kept in troughs, and can only be viewed from the top.  All you have to do to
identify which vats are full of cardinals is approach the vat, and watch the
schooling behavior.  No matter how large or small the container, the
cardinals will be whirling in a ball, in one corner of the vat.  The entire
group may move to another spot in the vat, but the still maintain their
whirling ball.  None of the other species do this, even though they are all
wild caught.

Even when you are snorkling, you can see this behavior.  Other schooling
fish move in groups, but they don't "ball up" the way cardinals do.  At this
point in time, I don't think anyone has been able to determine WHY they do
this... At one time it was thought to be spawning behavior, but we now know
they do it whether they are spawning or not.  But it isn't only a matter of
being wild stock.  I have not observed neons in the wild, but I'd be willing
to wager that they do not display this behavior even there.


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