Can Cardinal Tetras Live In A 10 Gallon Tank?

Cardinal tetras are prevalent fish that are readily available in most pet stores. However, many people have questions about the size of the aquarium these lovely little fish should live in. These fish are minor and do not need much to live. But do you think Cardinal tetras can live in a 10-gallon tank?

Yes, Cardinal tetras can live in a 10-gallon tank. Like most tetra species, Cardinal Tetras will be okay in a tank around the size of ten gallons. However, it would be best if you kept them with other cardinal tetras. It is because more aggressive types of tropical fish such as guppies and angelfish might bully them.

However, to make sure they stay healthy and happy, you should keep some things in mind when keeping cardinal tetras in a 10-gallon aquarium, such as the water conditions, temperature, lights, plants, decorations, substrate, and tankmates.

In this post, we are going to deal with the most common question about Cardinal tetras. If you are a beginner, then, hopefully, this post will provide you with everything you must know.

Can Cardinal Tetras Live In A Ten Gallon Tank?

The short answer to this question is yes; they can. You can keep cardinal tetras in an aquarium as small as ten gallons if the tank has plenty of decorations and plants to provide hiding spots for your cardinals to feel safe. Also, try not to use any strong filters or pumps with this size tank because they will cause too much water flow, stressing your cardinal tetras.

If you are new to the fish-keeping hobby, it is best not to start with a ten-gallon tank. Instead, choose something more extensive like a 20 gallon or 29-gallon tank because cardinals need plenty of space for swimming around and they also enjoy having many decorations and plants in their environment.

How Many Can Cardinal Tetras Live In A 10 Gallon Tank?

Cardinal tetra is a schooling fish that needs to be with at least five other members for the most successful results. However, some choose to keep them alone after they mature and establish dominance over any other fish in the tank.

Ten-gallon tanks are a good size for one or two cardinal tetras, provided you have all of their needs met and understand how to care for them. After knowing all this, let’s look at what it takes to keep these beautiful but fragile fish happy and healthy.

Is 10-Gallon Perfect Tank Size For Cardinal Tetras To Live?

No, the perfect size of a tank for cardinal tetras is from 20-gallon to 30-gallon.

Cardinal tetras are South American freshwater fish. So, they need more space to swim around in their home environment. The perfect size for them is about a 20-gallon tank or bigger like 30-gallon with at least six cardinal fish living together in one shelter. They will feel safe and comfortable when swimming around this size of tank. They can swim, jump and dive around in this space without any problems all the time.

Cardinal tetras are very peaceful swimmers with attractive colors like blue, red, and silver on their bodies. So all cardinal tetras living together will make your home environment filled with the beautiful color combination at every corner inside the aquarium room for sure.

What Should I Do To Keep Cardinal Tetras Happily In 10-Gallon tank?

Cardinal Tetras are a prevalent fish to have in your tank. You can keep them with other non-aggressive species, and they do well in many different water conditions. However, some of the tips that can help Cardinal tetras to live happily in a 10-gallon tank are:

Maintain The Water Parameters

Regardless of the species you have, water conditions are essential to keep your fish healthy. Cardinal tetras in a small tank can vary from slightly acidic (pH) to neutral (pH). But it is best if you aim for something closer to neutral. They prefer more challenging water with medium hardness. You can test the water parameters with a liquid or digital test kit.

Use A Water Filter

Even if you have a small tank, it is best to use a filter to keep your fish safe from ammonia and nitrite. The waste from aquarium plants, dead animals, or even uneaten food releases these types of chemicals. The filtering system breaks the chemicals and makes sure that your water is clean.

Use A Heater

Cardinal tetras prefer warmer waters, ideally between 75-82 degrees Fahrenheit (24-28 Celsius). It is best to keep the temperature at its desired level by using a heater. If it falls below or above this range, then they will become stressed out and sick.

Use Cleaning Crew

Cardinal tetra requires a lot of maintenance and tank cleaning, but many types of clean-up crew such as snails, shrimp, and worms can help you with this task. You will need to make sure they don’t eat or harm your Cardinal Tetra fish, though. They also require frequent water changes.

Keep Plants And Decoration

Cardinal tetras are very active and playful fish. This means that they need places where they can hide, swim around or rest when needed. Make sure you have enough plants in the aquarium along with driftwood for them to feel safe at home.

Supply Suitable Food

You will need to feed your Cardinal Tetra flake food, bloodworm, or brine shrimp. They also eat some algae. They are omnivorous fish and will require food from both plant-based and animal sources in their diet.

Keep Them With Non-Aggressive Fish

Aggressive fish provokes Cardinal tetras and causes fin nipping and injuries. So, it would be best to keep them with many other non-aggressive species of fish as tankmates. This includes other tetras, gourami, and occasionally even some non-aggressive catfish.

Some FAQs

What Can Species Of Cardinal Tetras Live In 10 Gallon Tank?

Cardinal Tetras that live in the wild can easily live in a ten-gallon tank. If you are keeping other fish species with them, make sure to add more cardinal tetra and more minor non-cardinal tetra species. Some species of Cardinal tetras that can live in ten-gallon tanks are Black Neon Tetra, Cardinal Tetra, Rummy Nose Tetra, etc.

What Is The Minimum Size Tank For A Group Of Cardinal Tetras?

A group of cardinals will do best in a twenty-gallon tank or, more significantly. Of course, they will still live well in a smaller tank, but they need enough space to spread out and swim without bumping into each other frequently (which can be stressful for them).

Can Cardinal Fish Live In A Community?

Cardinals are excellent community fish that can live with different types of fish. However, it would be best if you also had a tank that has a dark background. This will help your fish see well and feel safe even when there are other fish in the same tank.

How Many Cardinal Tetras Should I Put In My Tank?

The general rule of thumb is to keep one inch of fish for every gallon (two inches per variety of other tropical fish. It would help if you stuck to peaceful species around the same size as your cardinals, and you will have a healthy community tank in no time.

What Is The Best Tank Setup For Cardinal Tetras?

Cardinal tetras prefer tanks with a dark substrate and lots of plants for them to hide in. They particularly enjoy places near the top of the tank to feel secure even if there are more than one species of fish in their community tank.


If you are looking for popular beginner fish, Cardinal Tetras would be on the top of your list. They are inexpensive and great community tank inhabitants. However, they need at least a 30-gallon aquarium with weekly water changes to thrive in an average home environment. Nevertheless, these little charmers will give you many years of enjoyment with their vibrant colors and peaceful demeanor.

Thank you for reading this blog post.

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