7 Best Cardinal Tetra Tank Mates To Pick From

cardinal tetra tank mates

If you wonder whether the well-known Cardinal Tetras share the tank space or not, then grasp that they certainly do. In an aquarium, where the community fish like Cardinal Tetras exists, adding some other species as their tank mates is a fine idea. But can you name a few tank mates that are suitable for them? If not, don’t worry! In this article, I will list some best Cardinal Tetra tank mates from which you can pick any for your Tetras.

‘What are some best tank mates for Cardinal Tetras?’ Some species like Neon Tetras, Guppies, Dwarf Gourami, Corydoras Catfish, Giant Danios, Loaches, etc., are the best tank mates for Cardinal Tetras. These species are peaceful, schooling, and community fish. They usually get along with the Cardinal Tetras as they have many mutual qualities. 

You can even get Mystery Snail, Cherry Shrimp, etc., as tank mates for Cardinal Tetras.

Overview Of Cardinal Tetra

  • Care Level: Easy
  • Size: 2 inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Water Temperature: 73 to 81 degrees of Fahrenheit
  • pH scale: 5.5 – 7
  • Tank Requirement: Minimum 20-gallon tank

Cardinal Tetras are hardy, active, peaceful schooling fish. They are very friendly, which addresses them as a good community fish as well. Also, they come in the catch of an eye as they have very striking appearances.

They are easygoing and don’t require an extreme level of care and maintenance. Thus, a beginner aquarist can enjoy these beautiful and gentle Cardinal Tetras as they are not very demanding.

In an aquarium, you must keep Cardinal Tetras in a shoal of at least 4 to keep them peaceful and active. Otherwise, they start feeling uncomfortable, panic and may get sick too.

Plus, maintaining the ideal water parameters, lighting, and water quality in a tank is significant to let the Cardinals thrive better. Setting up some live plants and vegetations is essential so that a touch of natural essence exists.

Besides, get a minimum of 20-gallon tanks for Cardinal Tetras so that they could comfortably stay in a large group. But be aware, don’t overcrowd the tank by adding numerous tank mates for Cardinal Tetras.

7 Best Cardinal Tetra Tank Mates

The Cardinal Tetras are peaceful community fish. They behave well and are not aggressive. That’s why adding some other species as tank mates for them can be a great idea!

You can certainly keep them with other species that have mutual traits. But be aware, don’t choose any species which is enormous than Cardinal Tetras in size. A larger fish species may nip the fins of your Tetras and bully them too.

Hence, to make a community aquarium with Cardinal Tetras, it is necessary to note the size and gentle behavior of the species.

Thus, some best tank mates for Cardinal Tetras can be:

Neon Tetras

Neon Tetra

  • Care Level: Easy
  • Size: 1.2 inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Water Temperature: 72 to 78 degrees of Fahrenheit
  • pH scale: 5.5 – 6.2
  • Tank Requirement: Minimum 10-gallon tank

Who else can be a better tank mate for Cardinal Tetras than Neon Tetras?

Neon Tetras are one of the widespread schooling fish species that must be in a group of a minimum of 6 to let them thrive better in an aquarium. They are easy to care for and not very demanding, due to which even beginner aquarists can surely prefer them.

Here, you can undoubtedly select Neon Tetras as tank mate for Cardinal Tetras as both the Tetras have many similar traits. They almost prefer related water parameters, lighting, and water quality in an aquarium. Neon Tetras are peaceful, friendly, and schooling fish, suitable to be in a community aquarium with Cardinal Tetras.

Besides, Cardinal Tetras and Neon Tetras have identical appearances where most of the people usually get confused. The similar looks of both the Tetras display the aquarium marvelously when they swim together as a group.


  • Care Level: Easy
  • Size: 0.7 to 2.3 inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Water Temperature: 75 to 82 degrees of Fahrenheit
  • pH scale: 5.5 – 8.5
  • Tank Requirement: Minimum 5-gallon tank

Guppies are the popular freshwater fish that typically prefers to stay in a group in an aquarium. They are pretty active and loves wandering around the tank without harming any of their tank mates. Their most gentle and friendly behavior makes them suitable to list among Cardinal Tetras.

Like Cardinal Tetras, Guppies are also small-sized fish that prefers living in a similar water environment in an aquarium. Plus, Guppies love to stay in a group too, as it makes them feel more comfortable.

Moreover, Guppies get along with most of the other fish species as they are non-aggressive and peaceful. They even require less care level and maintenance than for Cardinal Tetras. Both the fish share lots of mutual features that beautifully adds charm to your aquarium.

Hence, Guppies can be the suitable tank mate for your Cardinal Tetras.

Dwarf Gourami

dwarf gourami

  • Care Level: Easy
  • Size: 3.5 inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Water Temperature: 75 to 82 degrees of Fahrenheit
  • pH scale: 6 – 7.5
  • Tank Requirement: Minimum 15-gallon tank

A luxurious-looking Dwarf Gourami comes in the catch of the eye of many aquarists. The fish has a beautiful look and body color. It is not only loved because of its appearance but also due to its incredible friendly and peaceful behavior. Also, looking after Dwarf Gourami is not too hard as even beginner aquarists can easily maintain them.

Dwarf Gourami is a schooling fish that should be in a group to flourish better. This fish usually loves hiding spots and moves a bit slower in an aquarium, even in a group, than Cardinal Tetras.

Yet, Dwarf Gourami can be another decent tank mate for Cardinal Tetras. They both require a similar aquarium set up and are comfortable sharing their aquarium space as well.

Thus, Dwarf Gourami is another fish species that you can add to the Cardinal Tetras aquarium.

Corydoras Catfish

corydoras catfish

  • Care Level: Easy
  • Size: 2.5 inches
  • Temperament: Calm & Peaceful
  • Water Temperature: 72 to 80 degrees of Fahrenheit
  • pH scale: 7 – 8
  • Tank Requirement: Minimum 20-gallon tank

Another fish on the list is the wonderful-looking Corydoras Catfish. This fish usually attracts people’s attention in the aquarium due to its striking color and whiskers.

The Corydoras Catfish is a perfect fish for a community aquarium. This tiny-looking fish may not look so gentle, but it is not accurate. In actuality, it shares the aquarium space without much hassle.

In an aquarium, the Corydoras Catfish usually adapts most of the aquarium environment. But maintaining absolute conditions will help the fish to live a healthy life. Also, this fish even helps to keep the tank clean as they are bottom feeders.

Besides, the tank environment essential for Cardinal Tetras and Corydoras is equivalent, which makes both fish species suitable to share the aquarium.

Giant Danios

  • Care Level: Easy
  • Size: 4 to 6 inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Water Temperature: 72 to 78 degrees of Fahrenheit
  • pH scale: 6 – 8
  • Tank Requirement: Minimum 30-gallon tank

Don’t confuse with the name of this fish as the fish is pretty small-sized, not giant. It is a small schooling fish that usually minds its own business in the aquarium. It is a swift swimmer that doesn’t involve in any conflict and stays calm.

As Great Danios stays quietly, their chances of being aggressive are pretty low. They are not very demanding and easy to care for and maintain.

However, Giant Danios generally require a large tank size even if they are not so large. But a large tank has always been a better place for fish, even for Cardinal Tetras. So, if you would pick Giant Danios as their tank mates, it will eventually benefit Tetras.

Besides, Giant Danios are active and social fish that would definitely won’t mind sharing their tank. Thus, you can pick them as tank mates for Cardinal Tetra.

Angelfish (With Caution)

  • Care Level: Moderate
  • Size: 6 inches
  • Temperament: Semi-aggressive
  • Water Temperature: 78 to 83 degrees of Fahrenheit
  • pH scale: 6.8 – 7.8
  • Tank Requirement: Minimum 20-gallon tank

Angelfish is a group of fish that has a variety of shades and stripes. People mostly love the vertical shaded black lines upon their silver bodies. Adding this species in your aquarium certainly makes the tank pretty attractive.

Angelfish are somewhat peculiar as their living style, spontaneous behavior, and swimming style is different than other community fish. They require a large tank size to stay conveniently and may not feel comfortable sharing the tank space with a random small-sized fish species. In unsettled conditions, they might even attack their other mates recklessly. Thus, I won’t call them peaceful fish as their peace can turn into aggression in no time.

Yet, this dangerous behavior holding Angelfish can be one of the tank mates for Cardinal Tetras, wondering how? Angelfish are semi-aggressive only, not wholly aggressive. If you introduce Angelfish and Cardinal Tetras from their early stage and keep them together, they probably can be each others’ best tank mates.

Besides, their tank requirements are comparable, and the care level is not very challenging. Thus, you can choose Angelfish as a tank mate for Cardinal Tetras if you are ready to care for them with all your heart!


  • Care Level: Easy
  • Size: 4 to 6 inches
  • Temperament: Semi-aggressive
  • Water Temperature: 72 to 78 degrees of Fahrenheit
  • pH scale: 6 – 8
  • Tank Requirement: Minimum 30-gallon tank

If you are unfamiliar with Loaches, then they are a kind of scavenger fish. Being a scavenger fish, Loaches are generally a great addition to any aquarium as they can help you cut cleaning the aquarium. They consume the remaining algae and waste left by other fish in an aquarium.

Loaches are easy to care for and maintain too. They are mostly friendly and get along with many fish species. Thus, adding some Loaches species like Zebra Loaches and Yoyo Loaches in the Cardinal Tetras aquarium can be a great idea!

However, Loaches are not entirely peaceful as they can get aggressive if you keep them in distressing situations. Such situations may occur due to the small-sized tank, lack of hiding spots, and other aggressive tank species.

Thus, maintain a suitable aquarium environment for Loaches before you introduce them to Cardinal Tetras.

Other Species As Tank Mates For Cardinal Tetras

Apart from the mentioned species as tank mates for Cardinal Tetras, you can add some other aquarium lives in your tank as well.

Some other species like Mystery Snail, Cherry Shrimp, Panther Crab, etc., can fill a vacant space in your Cardinal Tetras aquarium. You can call them a sort of Cardinal Tetras tank mates too.

But be cautious if other species like snail or shrimp are likely to fit in the mouth of Cardinal Tetras, then avoid keeping them together. Your Cardinal Tetras may swallow them unknowingly while wandering or swimming around the aquarium.

What To Avoid While Choosing Cardinal Tetra Tank Mates?

Choosing tank mates for Cardinal Tetras would be beneficial for them but a bit complex task for you! Because there are certain things that you must know and avoid while choosing tank mates for them. Otherwise, the same tank mates can affect the physical and mental health of Cardinal Tetra severely.

  • You should avoid choosing a larger size fish than Cardinal Tetras as they may nip the fins of your Tetras and bully them.
  • Don’t go for the fish of having an aggressive temperament.
  • Avoid choosing such crabs, snails, etc., which are tiny in size and easily swallowable by Cardinal Tetras.
  • Chosen tank mates and Cardinal Tetras should not be in an overcrowded tank setup.


Cardinal Tetras are an absolute peaceful schooling fish that usually brighten the aquarium look. It can glow more better if you add some best tank mates for your Tetras.

Thus, you can choose any species from the list mentioned above as Cardinal Tetra tank mates with certainty. Getting tank mates makes the life of Cardinal Tetras more convenient, which of course, you would love to see!

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