Cardinal tetra Facts, Size, Tank Mates, Care, Breeding, Water Parameters

The cardinal tetra is a freshwater fish belonging to the Characidae family of the Characiformes order. It is indigenous to South America's upper Orinoco and Negro rivers. The cardinal tetra is a popular aquarium fish, but it is less common than the neon tetra since it was difficult to reproduce in captivity until now. 

However, many breeders are now growing the fish; in most cases, damaged fins on wild-caught specimens can be used to detect whether the cardinal tetra is produced or wild-caught. 

According to some ichthyologists, fishkeepers should continue to support the Amazon Basin's sustainable cardinal fishing, as the region employs thousands of people to capture fish for the aquarium trade. If those fishermen lose their jobs capturing cardinals and other tropical fish, they may turn to deforestation as a source of income.

    Cardinal tetra Facts

    Cardinal tetras are ideal for those starting in fishkeeping. They are durable, low-maintenance, and quite colorful. Their synchronized movements are almost fascinating, and a group of them is ideal for displaying their brilliant colors.

    Cardinal Tetras are spectacularly colored shoaling fish that thrive when kept in groups of five or more. In the top and middle levels of the tank, they will swim alongside.

    They are significantly more self-assured when they are with members of their own type. In isolation, they would become nervous and timid, as well as lose some of their colors. Due to their inability to protect themselves, they are readily intimidated by aggressive fish.

    This little fish grows to a maximum length of 2 inches. Cardinal Tetras are primarily known for their vibrant colors. Their fins are tiny and don't attract your attention when you see them.

    The color of their bodies is usually red and blue. A red stripe extends from head to tail along the lower side, while the blue stripe is at the top. Because the colors are vibrant, a shoal can be quite stunning. These species may also be able to change their colors, according to researchers.

    Cardinal tetra Facts, Size, Tank Mates, Care, Breeding, Water Parameters

    Cardinal tetra Size

    In the wild, these fish can grow to approximately 1.25 inches (3 cm) in length and probably weigh 0.004 ounces. Males and females are considerably larger and broader than their male counterparts. They are schooling fish with a population that can reach thousands.

    Cardinal tetra Tank Mates

    Neon Tetras, zebra danios, hatchet fish, mollies, dwarf gourami, angelfish, and guppies are all suitable tank mates. If you're looking for inhabitants in the lower parts of your tank, zebra loaches, yoyo loaches, and Otocinclus are good choices. Cherry shrimp and mystery snails are also compatible, and they're a terrific way to mix up your tank's patterns.

    Cardinal tetra Care

    Cardinal Tetras are quite active and are speedy swimmers, so provide them with a lot of swimming room. The water chemistry is also highly important to them, with their preferred water temperature being 73-81 ° F and a pH of 4.5-7.

    Although Cardinal Tetras are small, they prefer to live in large groups, so you'll need a tank that can handle at least six of them. A 20-gallon tank will be plenty to accommodate their active lifestyle. It's fine to use two gallons per additional Tetra.

    Cardinal tetra Breeding 

    It's crucial to have a separate breeding tank with stable water chemistry, such as a pH of 5.0 to 6.0 and very soft water with a dGH of 3 to 5 or less. They breed in the evening, laying between 130 and 500 eggs on average. Even late into the night, spawning will continue.

    Cardinal tetra Water Parameters

    To provide the best possible existence for Cardinal Tetras, it is best to emulate their natural habitat in terms of water parameters. These fish originate in the slow-moving seas off the coast of South America, where the water is warm, transparent, and deeply shaded.

    The water should be somewhat acidic and extremely soft. A high concentration of dissolved minerals in the water may be harmful to the fish's health.

    These are the ideal water parameters.

    • Water temperature: 73°F to 81°F (a temperature greater than 75°F is ideal).
    • PH ranges from 5.0 to 7.5 (below 6.0 is ideal).
    • Water hardness: between 2 and 6 KH

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