Cardinal Tetras Tankmates: 7 Companions That Can Make Your Fish Happy

Cardinal Tetra is one of the most popular freshwater fish on the market. But, if you are thinking about adding Cardinal Tetras to your tank, you might be wondering if they will get lonely or bored without any other fish companionship. The good news is that Cardinal Tetras can live in a community aquarium with various species of fish. In this blog post, we will talk about ten different types of Cardinal tetras tankmates, so scroll down and read through our list to learn more!

Cardinal tetras are schooling fish that will do great when they will live in groups. Apart from their fellow Cardinal Tetras, Cardinal tetra tankmates are excellent companions that will provide them with the company they need. Some of the examples of the tankmates are Ember tetra, Black skirt tetra, Harlequin Rasbora, Mollies, Guppies, Dwarf Gourami, Platies, and many more.

Do Cardinal Tetras Need Tankmates?

Cardinal Tetras are a schooling species, and they will be much happier and healthier if they have Cardinal tankmates. Usually, these fish are fun-loving and very active. They will chase each other around the tank and swim in groups or clusters of Cardinal Tetras.

Most experts recommend keeping about 5-6 Cardinal tetras together in a tank. Cardinal Tetras are peaceful fish and will not bother other species you want to put in the same tank with them. So, you can put other non-aggressive fish also with them.

So, yes, Cardinal tetras will need some tankmates to keep them happy and healthy. You can either use different Cardinal species as tankmates or other non-aggressive fishes. It will engage your Cardinal tetra and also provide some variety in the tank to look at.

What Are The Best Tankmates For Cardinal Tetra?

Cardinal Tetras are a prevalent species of tetra that can add color and activity to your tank. You can keep these fish in the school. So you must have at least six Cardinal Tetras in the same tank (ideally more). It is best if there are several females and one male Cardinal Tetra.

However, if you want more variety and color in your tank, you can keep the following fish with them as tankmates:


Gouramis are also peaceful fish, and Cardinal Tetras like to swim alongside them. There are many different gourami species that you can keep with your Cardinal Tetra that will work well together in the tank. Furthermore, gourami is beautiful fish that are very active. It will be fun to watch Cardinal Tetras and Gouramis swim together in your tank.

Corydoras Catfish

Cardinal Tetras swim in the middle of your tank, while Corydoras catfish like to hang out on the bottom and sides. This creates a good dynamic because Cardinal Tetras will dart around while looking for food. Then, they will pick spots where they can rest when they feel tired.


Cardinal Tetras are schooling fish, so it is best to keep them with other species of the same genus. However, many different types of Rasbora can live well in your tank and create a colorful display for you to enjoy. In addition, Cardinal Tetras are a very peaceful fish, so they will not bother the other species in your tank.


Cardinal Tetras can sometimes be territorial towards members of their species or any fish that look similar. Thus, it is advisable to keep Cardinal Tetra with swordtail breeds. However, the males of these types of fish are very different, so Cardinal Tetras will not see them as a threat.

White Cloud Mountain Minnows

Cardinal Tetras are very peaceful fish, but they can sometimes be territorial towards other types of tetra. These fish will not bother white cloud mountain minnows because even though these two species look similar, their body styles and coloring is different enough that Cardinal Tetras do not see them as a threat.

Cardinal Tetras are also very peaceful, so one white cloud mountain minnow will not be enough to set off the Cardinal Tetra in your tank.


Cardinal Tetras do best when they live with other types of tetra because they like to swim alongside them and eat at the same level. Unfortunately, goldfish are often too big and active for Cardinal Tetras. But if you introduce them in the tank from a young age Cardinal Tetras will grow accustomed to them. Cardinal Tetras are also very peaceful fish that will not bother goldfish, so it is a good tankmate option for Cardinal Tetras.


Cardinal Tetra eats at the top of your tank, where there is more oxygen to breathe. Guppies like to swim in the middle and bottom of your tank because they gravitate towards the safety of slower currents. Cardinal Tetras swim alongside guppies and eat from food that falls to the ground, but they do not bother them because their body style is different enough for Cardinal Tetras to see as a non-threat.

What Are The Things To Consider Before Adding Cardinal Tetra Tankmates?

Cardinal tetras can live well with most of the fishes. But still, you must consider few things when you choose tankmates for Cardinal tetras. Such as:

Size Of Tankmates

One of the things that you must consider when you choose the tankmates for Cardinal tetras is their size. Smaller tankmates become the food of Cardinal tetras while the bigger one acts as predators. So, it is important to keep fish of similar size as the Cardinal tetras.

Water Conditions

Another important thing that you must consider is the water conditions of Cardinal tetra tank mates. Cardinal Tetras prefer slightly basic pH levels with a temperature range from 22 to 28 degrees Celsius. So, when you choose the fish for Cardinal tetra tank mates, make sure they can adapt to this specific condition in your aquarium or not.


While choosing Cardinal Tetra tankmates, you must also consider their natural habitat. Cardinal tetras are pretty active fish that enjoy swimming in the middle and top level of water. So, choose tankmates who can do well with Cardinal tetras’ activity levels.

Tank Mates Compatibility With Other Fish In The Aquarium

Cardinal Tetra tankmates must be compatible with other fish in the aquarium. They are peaceful and shy, they like to live alone or as a group of four minimum, but you can keep them with larger schooling fish without any problem.

It would be best not to keep these fish with aggressive fishes that could cause aggression on Cardinal tetras. Cardinal tetra tankmates can be other Cardinal tetras, Rummy Nosed Tetra, Glowlight tetra, and Emperor tetras.

What Are The Dishes That Cannot Be Tankmates For Cardinal Tetras?

Some of the fish that are not compatible with Cardinal tetras are:

  • Angelfish
  • Bettas (They will fight and nip Cardinal Tetra’s fins)
  • Cichlid fish (the Cardinal tetras can be prey to them due to their smaller size)
  • Gourami Fish (they also compete for food with the Cardinal tetra, plus gouramis like to eat Cardinal Tetra’s fry)
  • Goldfish (They produce a lot of waste, and the Cardinal tetras will not enjoy this environment)
  • Loaches (some loach species like to nip Cardinal Tetra fins or even kill them by biting their spine).


Summing up, Cardinal tetras have a lot of charm and are one that will add color to your aquarium. These fish are generally not picky about tank mates, but there is some important information you need to know before choosing any Cardinal Tetra tankmates.

Cardinal Tetras have the potential to live for over five years when cared for properly. So it is always best not to house Cardinal tetra with other fish in a small tank. However, if you plan to keep Cardinal Tetras in your aquarium, be cautious about what types of Cardinal Tetra tankmates you choose and make sure they are compatible.

Thanks for reading!

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