Do Cardinal Tetras Need A Lid?- 10 Ways To Keep Your Aquarium Safe

Cardinal tetras are very popular for their beautiful red color. In addition, they have dynamic, schooling behavior that can be interesting to watch in a tank with many other brightly colored fish species. Usually, these fish have a peaceful attribute and do not cause much trouble in the tank. But do you think Cardinal tetras need a lid?

Cardinal tetras are not jumping fish, so you don’t have to worry about them escaping from your tank. But still, they need a lid because cardinal tetras can be skittish and jumpy when startled by loud noises or activity in the room around your aquarium. So it would be best if you kept your cardinal tetras safe, and the best way is by keeping a lid on your tank.

In this article, we’ll talk about Cardinal tetras’ need for a lid and ten ways to help keep your aquarium safe.

What Type Of Fish Is Cardinal Tetra?

Cardinal Tetras are a type of freshwater fish that is very popular in aquariums. Most people have seen them or at least heard about them one time or another. They are small, peaceful, and colorful fish with red coloration on their fins and tails, which gives the Cardinal tetra its name.

Cardinal tetras belong to the family Characidae and the genus Paracheirodon. They are a type of fish that is native to South America, specifically Brazil. They do not require a lot of care because they are hardy fish. Thus, they can easily thrive in a variety of different aquarium setups.

Do Cardinal Tetras Need A Lid?

Cardinal tetras can do well in an open-top tank, but it is probably best to have them in a fish tank that has some lid. This will stop your pet from jumping out and prevents attacks and injuries by other pets outside the aquarium-like cats, dogs, etc. If your pet is jumping out of the tank, you will want to look into getting a lid or another way to cover it up to keep them safe.

Cardinal tetras are also famous for being jumpers. Thus, if they have enough room in their fish tank, this can be an issue that needs attention. First, make sure that there are no ways for them to escape the aquarium. So check it over and over again until you are sure that they cannot get out.

What Are The Benefits Of Putting Lid In Cardinal Tetras Tank?

Cardinal tetras are active fish, so they need a lid for their aquarium, but there are other benefits.

Proper Lighting

Proper lighting in the cardinal teat tank will create natural habitats to find these types of tropical freshwater fish living in nature. Make sure also to consider this when you are purchasing your lighting fixtures.

Proper Heat

Proper heat in the cardinal tetra’s aquarium will keep them healthy and happy, just like they would be in nature. You want to make sure that you know what temperature requirements these tropical freshwater fish have so that you can provide the best environment for them when keeping them in an indoor tank at home.

Proper Water Flow

Proper water flow in the cardinal tetra’s aquarium is important if your fish are healthy. These types of tropical freshwater fish usually live with their fins constantly moving to stay afloat and avoid predators. You will also need this for proper filtration because these little guys create a lot of waste.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Putting Lid In Cardinal Tetras Tank?

There are some disadvantages to having a lid on your cardinal tetra tank that you need to know before purchasing one for yourself.

Water Loss

One disadvantage is water loss because the cardinals like to jump. This is because the cardinals are very active fish and will spend most of their day swimming around.

Bad Quality of Water

Another disadvantage is that the lid prevents oxygen from getting in. So if there isn’t a filter with an air pump for your cardinal tetra’s tank, you are at risk of low-quality water.

Not To Mention The Risk Of Getting Ill

Another disadvantage is that there’s a chance they could fall ill if you have to take out your lid for any reason at all, which could result in death or significant illness for them. So if you have to take off the lid for any reason, it is best to be very careful because your cardinals will likely jump out.

What Size Lid Do I Need?

For a ten-gallon tank, you need at least an 11″ lid to ensure that your Cardinal Tetras are safe from predators and other animals in the household. If you have more than one aquarium or if it has a canopy, then follow these instructions:

  • First, measure the top of your tank.
  • Add at least an inch to this measurement, ensuring that you have enough space for a proper fit.

For larger tanks, make sure not to use flimsy lids or anything else that might fall on your fish and hurt them. You should also ensure that it is strong enough to withstand any weather or humidity changes.

What Do I Need To Know About Keeping The Lid On?

You must never try to remove the lid. Also, be very careful while transferring your fish into another tank. This is because it could potentially harm them by letting airflow in and out, making it very difficult for them to swim.

Don’t forget to cover your tank correctly. It is because the water will evaporate over time. If there is no lid on top, then your fish are going to die. If you don’t have a canopy for your aquarium, try using some sort of plexiglass or wood opaque to ensure that your fish are safe.

10 Ways To Keep Cardinal Tetras Safe In Your Aquarium

With the increasing popularity of Cardinal tetras, keeping these fish safe has become a concern of most aquarists. So, some of the ways to be safe in your aquarium are:

Keep Them In A Bigger Tank

Cardinal tetras are usually present in large groups on the surface of the water. Therefore, keeping them in a smaller tank is dangerous for their health and very stressful for these fish to live in such a small space.

Therefore, you must keep cardinal tetra fishes in tanks with enough space and a sound filtration system so they may enjoy a healthy life.

Beware Of The Water Temperature

Keeping your cardinal tetras at the right temperature is very important for their survival and health as well. Typically, they require 24-28 degrees Celsius to live comfortably in an aquarium with good water quality. You can achieve this by keeping them in a bigger tank with proper filtration and high-quality filters.

Avoid Using Chlorine

Cardinal tetras do not like chlorine. Therefore, it is important to avoid using chlorinated water in your aquarium. If you expose them to such water, the fish will most likely die or suffer from some health condition that may be very difficult for them to recover from. Thus, keep their tank clean by avoiding chlorine.

Keep Them Away From Other Fish

You need to keep Cardinal tetras away from other fish species, especially aggressive ones like Cichlids. It is because they are very peaceful, and usually aggressive fishes bullies and attack them. Thus, you must keep your cardinal tetra alone in an aquarium with just one or two of them.

Avoid Using Over-The-Counter Medications

Over-the-counter medications can be harmful to your fish. You must avoid using them in their aquarium because they effectively kill all types of bacteria, fungus, or parasites that may harm these fishes instead of curing them. Thus, it would be best to use natural remedies for their treatment that are more effective and safe for them.

Keep Them Away From Algae

Cardinal tetras are very sensitive to algae. In addition, some algae are very poisonous and can even kill other tankmates. Thus, it would help to keep the tank free from all kinds of algae, including green hair algae, which may come with certain fish species.

Avoid Using Sand

Sand is not suitable for the health of your cardinal tetras. Sometimes cardinal tetras might swallow sand with their food which can damage their digestive system. Thus, it is best to keep them in tanks made of smooth rocks and fine gravels instead of sand.

Clean Their Tank Frequently

You must keep the water in your cardinal tetra’s tank clean by changing it frequently because these fishes are susceptible to this kind of pollution. Moreover, they require high-quality food, which is possible only when a proper filtration system runs in their aquarium.

Keep Them Away From Any Type Of Noise

Cardinal tetras enjoy peace in their aquarium, which is why you must avoid using noisy sources like air pumps, filters, or lights around them.

Moreover, you need to keep them away from any disturbance. It is because these fishes can become very nervous when such things happen inside an aquarium.

Place Plants And Decorations

It is crucial to keep Cardinal tetras in a tank with enough plants and decorations. But, you should be careful and remove the sharper decorations. The skin and scales of Cardinal tetras are susceptible. Thus, the sharp edges might hurt or injure these fish.

If your cardinal tetra fish is happy, then you can expect healthy growth from it. Thus, this will not only make it look good but also make it comfortable.

Some FAQs

Can I Use A Screen Lid Or Not?

The truth is, there isn’t a screen lid on the market today which can support even one hundred pounds of weight, so it’s essential for you not to use this type of lid. For example, if someone is standing on top of it, the lid will break, and your fish will die.

What Lid Is Best For Your Tank?

If you have a fluorescent light, they might not produce enough heat, so make sure that you choose a black or plexiglass lid that will absorb any sort of sunlight in your tank. Remember that if you don’t have a lid for your aquarium, then there is no way to keep it safe and secure, resulting in the death of all of your fish.


You need to ensure that your tank has two things. One, make sure that it can protect itself from any impact. Two, make sure that it has a lid on it. These are crucial things you need to look at when putting together a tank for your fish.

Hopefully, this article settled all your doubts about whether cardinal tetras need a lid or not. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to leave us a comment below.

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