Cardinal Tetra Overview, Tank Setup & Water Conditions, Diet, Tank Mates, Care Guide & Breeding:

Cardinal Tetra is a fresh water fish & they belong to the characin family. These fish usually live in upper Orinoco & Negro Rivers of South America. They can grow to about 3 cm in length. They look similar to neon tetra & people have confusion in differentiating both species. However, you can differentiate Cardinal Tetra from Neon Tetra as former has a red strip across the length of its body, but the latter only show red strip halfway on the back half of its body.

Cardinal Tetra Fish Care Guide and Breeding
Cardinal Tetra Fish Care Guide and Breeding
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Cardinal Tetra is a beautiful fish & many hobbyists keep then in aquariums. It is beginners fish but expert aquarists also like to have them.

It is simple to care Cardinal Tetra like Neon Tetra & you can keep them with other non-aggressive species in aquarium.


Cardinal Tetra Fish Tank Setup & Water Conditions:

Cardinal Tetra is a blackwater specie, & can be kept in highly bright aquariums. Keeping tank lights dim & using dark substrate can make a great addition, & you can also keep driftwood in tanks that can give natural appearance to your aquariums. Add dry leaves that can provide natural color to the tank water when tannins are released, but they require replacement every few weeks.

South American river basins are short of live plants, so your neon tetra tank does not have to be heavily planted. Cardinal Tetra show activeness in swimming so make sure you have lots of free swimming space in your aquarium.

Cardinal Tetra Fish Aquarium Setup
Cardinal Tetra Fish Aquarium Setup
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Cardinal Tetra like very soft & acidic water & they need pH b/w 4.5 to 7, & temperature of water needs to be between 73 to 81 Degrees Fahrenheit.

Cardinal Tetra likes to hang around in large schools of fish, & they feel more secure when you keep them in groups of at least 5 schooling fish, but keeping a larger community is recommended. If you are planning to keep at least 10 or more of them in same aquarium, then it can help them in developing better coloration.


Cardinal Tetra Fish Diet:

Cardinal Tetra have the habit of eating anything they can fit their mouth. They are omnivorous & like to eat little crustaceans & worms, but they can also eat regular diet including flakes & fresh diets.

Cardinal Tetra looks for high vitamins, so they like to accept best quality flakes diets.

If you want to feed this beautiful fish twice every day, then give them food that they can eat in just 5 min, but you can also offer food to Cardinal Tetras several times a day because they are hungry & like to eat more. In case of feeding them several times a day, then offer food that they can eat in only 3 minutes.


Cardinal Tetra Fish Tank Mates:

Make sure you keep Cardinal Tetras in large schools of active fish so that they feel more secure, while showing very vibrant coloring.

Keep Cardinal tetra with small good behavior fish including little tetras, Loricaiids, dwarf cichlids, pencil fish, or little rasboras.

You can keep Cardinal Tetras with other inhabitants including snails, shrimp, or crabs, that do not show aggressiveness & do not harm your fish.


Cardinal Tetra Fish Care Guide:

Cardinal Tetras are a great addition to aquariums like Neons, because of their bright colors & being very active.

Do not add bigger fish in the same aquarium that may eat your Cardinal fish, due to their small size. Even keeping Cardinal Tetras with bigger Tetras is not safe because Tetras usually eat anything that fit in their mouth.

Cardinal Tetras are non-aggressive & show good behavior with mates in the tank. You can keep this fish with other peaceful mates. Cardinal Tetra are schooling fish & do great when you keep it in large schools of similar species who like to hang around with buddies in groups, hence they feel more secure & happy this way.

If you keep Cardinal Tetra in small groups of up to 5 fish, they can still live but may get stressed & may die due to high stress. Ensure there are lots of fish in Cardinal Tetra tank. We would recommend adding other beginners schooling species in Cardinal Tetra aquarium.

If you keep Cardinal Tetra in an aquarium that has good quality water, then your fish will seldom get sickness. But in case of not suitable water conditions, they might get ill.

One of the sickness that can affect your fish is Neon Tetra illness which was first discovered in Neon Tetras, hence it has its name too. Neon Tetra diseases is a very contagious & fish get them with unknown cause, & it is not curable to this day.

Cardinal Tetra looks very similar to neon tetra as both of them look similar. However, it is easy to spot the difference as former has a red strip across the length of the body, but the latter only display red strip halfway on the back half of its body.

Cardinal Tetra Appearance
Cardinal Tetra Appearance
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Neon Tetra Appearance
Neon Tetra Appearance
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Breeding Cardinal Tetra:

It is difficult to breed Cardinal Tetra in captivity & usually pet stores have Cardinal Tetras are usually caught in the wild. However, we have provided information about breeding Cardinal Tetra in aquariums. Make sure you keep a pair in breeding tank & remove them as soon as female lay eggs so that the adults do not eat their eggs & fries.

It is difficult to find pairs that are ready to mate, but you can get them if you have patience.

Make sure breeding tank offer similar water conditions like the wild, with ideal temperature of water about 80 Degrees Fahrenheit, but ensure water temperature do not drop below 75 Degrees Fahrenheit & ensure your water pH is from 4.5 to 6, with very soft water & low brightness.

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