Are Cardinal Tetras Suitable For Your Aquarium?

In the hobby of fishkeeping, there are many different species of fish to choose from. One type that is commonly present in pet stores and even on some fish farms is cardinal tetras. No doubts there are many positive aspects to keeping these fish. But are Cardinal tetras suitable for your aquarium?

The cardinal tetra is a freshwater fish that originates from the Amazon region. They love to live in water with warmer temperatures and high humidity levels, which means they are not suitable for colder waters such as those found in Europe or America.

But the answer to whether Cardinal tetras are suitable for your aquarium depends on what kind of aquarium you have and what other fish are already living in it. Cardinals prefer to live in schools with their kind, so if you’re looking to keep just a few individuals, then this might not be the best choice for you.

Pretty much, Cardinal tetras can fit in well in most aquariums. But you want to know whether they are suitable for your aquarium. Read on to get your answer.

What Type Of Fish Is Cardinal Tetras?

The cardinal tetra is a small fish native to the Amazon River. It grows up to two inches in length and has a bright red stripe that runs the length of its body. They are vibrant with personality and make a great addition to any aquarium.

Cardinal tetras live in groups in the wild, so it is best to have a group of at least six. However, they are compatible with most community aquarium fish and will get along well with cory catfish, hatchet fish, rasbora, and glass catfish.

Cardinal tetras need an environment that has plenty of plants for shade and gives them cover from their predators. They will also thrive in a tank that provides plenty of space to swim around and provide them with some open areas as well.

The cardinal tetra is an omnivore fish. So, they need plants and meat-based diets for optimal health. They usually eat small crustaceans and algae on the bottom of the river in the wild. But in captivity, you can feed them various flake foods, freeze-dried bloodworms, and tubifex worms.

Are Cardinal Tetras Suitable For Your Aquarium?

This question can be challenging to answer as it depends on the specific needs of your tank. However, cardinal tetras are generally a good choice for most aquaria setups.

Some of the reasons why Cardinal tetras are suitable for most community aquariums should be:

Cardinal Tetras Are Peaceful Fish

One of the best things about cardinal tetras is pretty peaceful fish. It means that they will not bother other fish in the tank and live with various species.

They Are Vibrant

Cardinal tetras are one of the most colorful fish, and they will add a vibrant splash to your aquarium.

They Are Small

Cardinal tetras are small fish at just two inches long and will not take up too much space in your tank. So, you can keep them comfortably without worrying about crowding.

Cardinal Tetras Breed Easily

Another great thing about cardinal tetras is that they breed quickly. So you do not need much to breed them. Just maintain a proper male and female fish ratio, and they will do the rest.

Cardinal Tetra Fish Are Energetic

Another great reason cardinal tetras make good community fish is their natural energy levels. They tend to be very active during the day, making them fun for you and other fish in the tank.

They Are Easy To Care For

Cardinal tetras are generally very easy to care for. They will do well in most water conditions and only need the occasional feeding so you can enjoy them without any hassle.

Cardinal Tetras Are Hardy Fish

Another plus for cardinal tetras is that they are hardy fish. It means that they are less susceptible to disease and can tolerate fluctuations in water conditions.

Cardinal Tetras Are Interesting Fish

Cardinal tetras have interesting behaviors that make them even more appealing as community fish. First, they form small groups with a distinct hierarchy, making them fun to watch.

They Are Also Affordable

Finally, cardinal tetras are also affordable fish. It means that you can add a few of them to your tank without breaking the bank. You can easily buy them in the local pet store or online at around $1-2 each.

So, overall, cardinal tetras are an excellent choice for most aquarium setups. If you are looking for a colorful fish that is peaceful and easy to care for, then the cardinal tetra should be at the top of your list.

What Are Some Considerations While Keeping Cardinal Tetras?

However, there are a few things to keep in mind if you are considering adding cardinal tetras to your aquarium:

Cardinal Tetras Require Clean Water

Cardinal tetras will do best in a well-filtered and established aquarium. You should test the water quality regularly. Also, perform water changes as it helps to maintain the highest possible water quality for your fish.

Cardinal Tetras Need Plenty of Space

Cardinal tetras will appreciate a school of at least six fish and should have plenty of swimming room. The tank measuring 30 gallons or more is ideal.

Cardinal Tetras Need Appropriate Water Condition

Cardinal tetras need to be in the water with a pH between six and seven. In addition, you should keep the water temperature at around 72 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, slightly warmer than much other freshwater fish prefer.

Cardinal Tetras Need a Variety of Foods

In addition to being sensitive fish, cardinal tetras are also small and have tiny mouths preventing them from quickly eating more significant foods. Therefore, it’s best to feed your cardinal tetra several times per day with smaller servings than fewer large meals, as they may spit out more significant portions of food.

Cardinal Tetras Need a School

In addition to being social fish that prefer the company of their kind, cardinal tetras are also schooling fish. Therefore, it would be best to always keep them in groups rather than alone or with other species. The school can have as few as four cardinals, but it typically consists of eight fish.

Cardinal Tetras Need A Well-Planted Aquarium

Being sensitive fish, cardinal tetras are also very shy and need plenty of hiding places in their tank so they can feel secure. Live plants will provide them with the cover they seek while adding beauty to your aquarium as well.

Cardinal Tetras Require Regular Maintenance

As with all fish, cardinal tetras will need regular water changes, tank cleanings, and filter maintenance to thrive and remain healthy. Make sure you are up for the commitment of regular aquarium care before adding these fish to your home.

What Factors Determines Whether Cardinal Tetras Are Suitable For Your Aquarium Or Not?

When choosing a fish for your aquarium, you need to look at various factors. Some of the factors that you need to consider when choosing a fish for your aquarium include:

Size Of Cardinal Tetra

The size of the cardinal tetra is an essential factor to consider when determining whether they are suitable for your aquarium or not. Cardinal tetras typically grow to be about two inches long, so you need to make sure that you have enough room in your aquarium for them before adding them.

Nature Of Fish Living Beforehand

Another factor you need to consider when determining whether cardinal tetras are suitable for your aquarium is the nature of fish living before them.

Cardinal tetras tend to be aggressive and eat smaller fish, so if there are any small fish in your tank, it might not be a good idea to add cardinal tetras unless they have their own space with plenty of hiding places.

Type Of Substrate

If you have a gravel or sand substrate in your aquarium, you need to ensure deep enough for cardinal tetras. This is because Cardinal tetras are larger fish, and they will not swim around freely if the substrate depth isn’t sufficient.

Number Of Other Fish In The Aquarium

Another factor determining whether cardinal tetras are suitable for your aquarium is the number of other fish you have in it. Cardinal tetras tend to school together and can become quite aggressive if there aren’t enough hiding places for them, so if you have a lot of other fish in your tank, it might not be a good idea to add cardinal tetras.

Plants Present In The Aquarium

The last factor you need to consider when determining whether cardinal tetras are suitable for your aquarium is the presence of plants. Cardinal tetras tend to be quite shy and will not swim around if there aren’t any places where they can hide. So it might not be a good idea to add cardinal tetra fish unless you have plenty of plants in your aquarium.


In conclusion, the Cardinal Tetra is a peaceful schooling fish. So, you can keep them with other calm species of similar size. It makes them suitable for most community aquariums, even the smaller ones.

Keep in mind that they are pretty active swimmers. So, they should have an adequate amount of hiding places to rest during the daytime hours.

While there are a few things, you need to consider before deciding. Ultimately, it depends on the individual fish’s needs and what you can provide for them. So if you’re looking for an active and playful fish that will add some color to your aquarium, the cardinal tetra is a good choice for you.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below, and we will get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks for reading!

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