Next to the Neon Tetra, the Cardinal Tetra is one of the most popular of all freshwater aquarium fish. They resemble closely to a Neon Tetra in color but the red stripe on the Cardinal Tetra runs the full length of its body. They are peaceful schooling fish and are great in a community tank. Because they are small in size they should only be kept with other smaller community fish.
Cardinal Tetras will not tolerate high ammonia and nitrite levels that are common in tanks that have yet to establish a bio-cycle. Be sure to completely cycle the tank before purchasing any Cardinal Tetras. Good tank maintenance is also necessary to keep water conditions good.
The tank should be well planted with some tall plants and floating plants to provide protection if the fish feel threatened and also help subdue the lighting. There should also be an open area for the fish to swim. The tank water should be soft, acid with a temperature between 72 and 79 degrees.
Female Cardinal Tetras normally have a much more round and fuller body than males. Breeding them is difficult but can be done by using subdued lighting with very soft, acid. After spawning the female will scatter eggs among tank vegetation. Remove the adults after spawning. The eggs will hatch in about 1 day.
Cardinal Tetras will eat all types of food, but they will show the brightest colors if given a wide variety of flake, frozen and live foods. These fish are not hard to keep and a school of 10 or more looks great in any home community aquarium. If you are considering buying a school of small brilliant color fish for your tank, you should consider Cardinal Tetras.
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