Cardinal Tetra



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Cardinal tetra

The cardinal tetra, another member of the characin family is found in the wild in small schools in the tributaries of the Amazon’s Rio Negro and Orinoco Rivers.

Cardinal tetras are peaceful fish that get along well with most other fast swimming fish, which makes them a great addition to a lively community tank. However, because of their small size (the adults get just 1 inches long) it’s very easy to have too much of a good thing! Although a hardy little fish, the cardinal tetra won’t thrive if it’s forced to live in over-crowded conditions! Be aware that although they look much alike cardinal and neon tetras are two different species. Actually they don't mix very well. Never keep the neon and the cardinal tetra in the same aquarium.

 Another consideration when keeping more than one species in your tank is to be careful of the nocturnal predator like the catfish, which will readily munch your cardinals as they rest at night!

Cardinal tetras, like their other family members enjoy a tank that is well planted around the back and sides with plenty of room in the center for free-style swimming. They are a fast moving fish with a red stripe that starts at the eye and reaches to their tail and a blue-green luminous stripe (much like the neon tetra) that looks like a lightning bolt as they zip around their tank!

In the aquarium, your cardinal tetras will eat dry flake food. However to really bring out their colors and bring it to spawning condition, you’ll need to feed it live food. Brine shrimp are a favorite live food of the cardinal tetra.

All characins, including the cardinal tetra are fast eaters. Never feed them more than they can finish in three minutes. Although fish will not overeat, left over food drops to the bottom of your tank and pollutes the water. It’s best to feed your cardinal tetras several times a day as long as they finish what you give them within the three-minute limit.

The cardinal tetra is an egg-laying fish that will spray its eggs randomly in any fine-leafed clump of plants.

Be aware that breeding this fish is a real challenge. It demands a lot of patience and exactly the right water chemistry.

When breeding the cardinal tetra, it’s best to separate males and females. The male cardinal tetra is slenderer and often more colorful than the female. Offering live food, feed the female until she’s round and fat and the male until he is in brilliant color.

Then put them together in a special spawning tank prepared with clean, aged water and the fine-leafed plant clumps. Remove them as soon as the eggs are laid. Characins are notorious for eating their eggs as fast as they lay them!

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