Care Level: Advanced
Live Plant Safe: Yes
General Description: The Cardinal Tetra is a delicate and elegant fish that brings undeniable beauty to the freshwater aquarium. Native to forest streams and tributaries in Brazil, many Cardinal tetras available within the aquarium trade are commercially produced. These aquacultured specimens are somewhat hardier than their wild counterparts. The Cardinal tetra has a slender elongated body, with a bright blue-green stripe and red stripe that runs the length of it. These characters distinguish it from the closely related Neon Tetra (Paracheirodon innesi). Cardinal tetras are natural schooling fish, requiring at least 8 to 10 individuals but the more the merrier when it comes to this species. A larger group of Cardinal tetra does make for a bigger statement! An adult Cardinal tetra can reach a size of approximately 1.5″.
Diet Requirements: In the wild Cardinal tetra are omnivores. A diet made up of various high quality vegetable based and protein based flake foods, sinking micro pellet foods and bug bites are ideal, in addition to offering frozen foods such as bloodworms, brine shrimp and daphnia. Variety is the spice of life in order to maintain color, immune function and longevity of your fish.
Care Requirements: An extremely established minimum 15 to 20 gallon aquarium is ideal for a group of Cardinal tetra. While these tetra are small, this size aquarium better provides a stable environment. Size up accordingly to accomodate a larger group. Cardinal tetras are very intolerable of nitrite or ammonia spikes, and will not endure deteriorating water parameters. Weekly water changes are encouraged to keep water parameters pristine (Nitrates < 15 ppm). Given the environments in which they come from, Cardinal tetra like gentle water flow, softer water and a more acidic pH. The aquarium should be aquascaped with a fine substrate, driftwood and dense vegetation (artificial or live, though live plants are preferred). Cardinal tetra would also benefit from some floating plants to dim the lighting. Cardinal tetras are extremely peaceful and rarely conflict with tank mates. Their timid nature, however, may make them not suitable for community aquariums that have overly rambunctious or competitive species. Mix Cardinal tetra with other peaceful shoaling tetra and rasbora species to provide them with security. In the wild, Cardinal tetra are observed around non-predatory dwarf cichlids, such as German blue rams or apistogrammas. Given that Cardinal tetra are always out and about, they serve as a good “dither” fish for more shy fish species. Extra care should be taken acclimating Cardinal tetras. Recommended water conditions, 74-82° F, KH 2-8, pH 5.5-7.0.
Purchase Size: Medium: 1”
Note: Your item may not look identical to the image provided due to variation within species. Purchase sizes are approximate.