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Big Ole question from a newbie
I'll just comment on some of your fish selection/stocking. I am a plant
I would definitely forget corys or catfish if there are sharp objects in
substrate. Will tear those guys all to pieces. It will be a nightmare
with the infections from their wounds. If you were to change your
substrate to something more catfish friendly (smoother) it has been my
limited experience that corys are happier in schools. I just bought my
first ones (5 adolfois, and I am not sure that is even enough but all
they had...) and everything I have read says get several so they can
In terms of the Rams, they are Microgeophagus ramirezi (older literature
lists them as Papillochromis). They are beautiful and I have always
loved them. Plan to put them in my new plant tank. Anyway, they are
very uncichlid like in their behavior. Very reserved, shy and probably
not the best choice to put with the Diamond Tetras (I like them too).
Just my opinion of course. The Diamonds get larger and are a bit more
rambunctious and may make the rams uncomfortable. If they are scared,
you won't see them obviously. They are not as aggressive at dinner time
also. If they don't eat... Anyway, iIf you put them together and they
are fine however, I would like to know. I opted out for that particular
combination for the reason mentioned but would love to be proven wrong!
As long as you have a decent sized group of the cardinals, they
shouldn't nip at the rams. Some tetras are notorious about nipping if
they are in too small a school. Obviously not being able to school and
being a schooling fish makes them uncomfortable too.
The other comment is it sounds like you are considering too many fish.
Remember, tetras have to be in schools and you have to take into account
what size everyone is going to be (not what they are now). If you
overstock, you will experience alot more problems. 25 gallons is not a
lot of water.
I'll let the gurus address everything else. Just my 2 cents. Good