HOW TO CARE FOR CARDINAL TETRA

How to care for cardinal tetra - http://fishlaboratory.com/fish/cardinal-tetra

Looking like a beefed-up neon tetra, cardinal tetras (Paracheirodon axelrodiare) are often the shoaling fish of choice in any amazon effect or community aquarium. Native to the upper Orinoco and Negro Rivers in South America, it is a freshwater species most usually found in blackwater environments. Blackwater streams and rivers are characterised by a low mineral content and humic acids.

Blackwater stream - http://www.seriouslyfish.com/
They grow to a considerably larger size than the similar marked neon tetra with an approximate adult length of 5 cm. There are differences with the iridescent colouration also. Where the red lateral stripe of the neon tetra is limited to only half its length, the cardinal tetras red stripe extends along its whole body length. There is even a selectively bred gold strain that sometimes becomes available.

Like most tetra species, cardinal tetras are a shoaling species in the wild, so when introduced to an aquarium environment they will need to be kept in groups of at least six but preferably far more. Low shoal numbers, combined with a lack of suitable places to flee to, will result in nervous behavior which can subdue its immune system leading to stress-related illnesses. That being said they will shoal with other tetra species but most successfully, and rather unsurprisingly, with neon tetras. It should go without saying that you should not keep cardinal tetras in the same aquarium as boisterous or aggressive companions.

Cardinal tetra - http://justpetsappleton.com/
They prefer their water warmer compared to many other tropical fish, so provide a temperature of between 75-82 °F. While captive bred cardinal tetras are fairly tolerant to hard water conditions they will be at their best with a KH 2-6, a pH 5.5-7.5 and overfiltered conditions to keep the water in a relatively stable and clean condition.

Like their native environment, provide a well-planted conditions with subdued lighting and plenty of places to hide. Bogwood, and live plants such as cabomba, amazon sword and vallisneria are some of the more popular choices. Cardinal tetras are a nervous fish species and can become easily stressed, so anything that can be done to reduce their stress will improve their condition, their temperament, and their longevity within the aquarium.

Once settled in their aquarum, cardinal tetras will readily accept most forms of dry food. However to maintain the condition of your fish feed live foods such as daphnia, bloodworms and brine shrimp.

For related articles click onto the following links:
HOW TO CARE FOR CARDINAL TETRA
HOW TO CARE FOR PENGUIN TETRA
NEON TETRA
NEON TETRA DISEASE
PENGUIN TETRA
THE WORLD'S UGLIEST FISH

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