Tropical Fish for Freshwater Aquariums: Cardinal Tetra
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Cardinal Tetra
(Paracheirodon axelrodi)
Cardinal Tetra
Due to variations within species, your item may not look identical to the image provided.
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Quick Stats

Care Level Moderate
Temperament Peaceful
Color Form Blue, Red
Diet Omnivore
Water Conditions 73-81° F, KH 2-6, pH 5.5-7.5
Max. Size 2"
Origin Captive-Bred, South America
Family Characidae
Minimum Tank Size 10 gallons
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Overview

The Cardinal Tetra brings delicate beauty to any home freshwater aquarium. It has a bright blue stripe contrasted by a lower red stripe that runs the entire length of its body. This coloration differs from its cousin, the Neon Tetra, which has a red stripe that runs only halfway down the body. Equally as peaceful as Neon Tetras, Paracheirodon axelrodi will school together for a brilliant display of activity and color to dress small to large aquarium systems.

Native to the slow moving waters of the various, well-vegetated tributaries in South America, the Cardinal Tetra needs at least a 10-gallon aquarium that is densely planted with areas of low or subdued lighting. Though relatively hardy, the Cardinal Tetra does best in soft, acidic water with few fluctuations in water parameters. The Cardinal Tetra should be kept in groups of six or more and be housed with equally peaceful tankmates.

Breeding the Cardinal Tetra requires very soft water in the 1-2 dH range, a pH of 5-6, and low lighting levels. The female may lay as many as 130 eggs and the adults should be removed at this time. The eggs will hatch in about 24 hours and will become waterborne in approximately five days. Feed the fry baby brine shrimp and other suitable small foods.

The Cardinal Tetra will accept many small foods such as brine shrimp or daphnia, freeze-dried bloodworms and tubifex, micro pellet food, and high quality flake food.

Approximate Purchase Size: Small: 1/2" to 3/4"; Medium: 3/4" to 1" Large: 1" to 1-1/4" Jumbo: 1-1/4" to 1-3/4"

Customer Testimonials

John L Miami , FL
This is my favorite freshwater fish and has been since I was a kid. I currently have a school of 20 of them in a 20 gallon tank with some live plants and some red guppies. They are very colorful and healthy. I would not say they are exactly easy to keep because they need an aquarium that is very well established and that receives regular water changes as they do not tolerate any ammonia or nitrite in their water. They also prefer water on the warmer (at least 78, preferably 80+ side so a tank with a heater is necessary. They are absolutely stunning in large school in a well maintained planted aquarium. Extremely peaceful and do not bother anybody.
Alex M Grove City , OH
This is the most colorful fish I have in my tank. We have 4 of them. They look cool swimming in a school.
S. Anderson Tampa , FL
Very, very cute and not aggressive to each other. Also seem quite hardy though I have a set-up specifically for tetras (UV sterilizer with wet-dry; pH 6.0 and hardness less than 10). Only problem - they arrive as fry and very, very small. Be careful if you have anything larger than an inch in the tank or they might become a quick meal!
David D Antrim , NH
A beautiful schooling fish. Like the Neon, very colorful and hardy.
Lional Saunderstown , RI
In order to increase survival rates, acclimate for a week by keeping them shallow. By maintaining them for a week at the top of your tank, they do not succumb to the increased pressure at the bottom of large tanks (my case 55 gallon), an area they naturally prefer to swim in but are not ready for upon receipt.
Adrienne W Mesa , AZ
I had 6 Cardinals in my 55 gallon tank and liked them so much I decided to order 4 more from LiveAquaria. They are so beautiful especially when they all swim in a school together. I was worried about ordering fish online but the Cardinals and all the other fish I ordered came in good shape and are all still doing very well.
Layne D IN
My favorite fish! I have a shoal of 45 and they're great! Not the hardiest fish, experience is required. Overall, pretty amazing fish.
Deana
Wonderful fish. Very good for a community aquarium. This is one of my favorite fish.
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