Do Cardinal Tetras Need An Air Pump? Do They??

Cardinal Tetras are a prevalent species of fish in the aquarium hobby. They come from South America, specifically Colombia and Brazil, within the Amazon River Basin. Cardinal tetra care is not overly complex, but there are some aspects that you must take into consideration to keep them healthy long term. Such as whether Cardinal tetras need the air pump.

So, do Cardinal tetras need an air pump? Short answer, no. Cardinal tetras do not require an air pump to thrive and survive long-term in the aquarium. They can get enough oxygen if you expose their tank water to the atmosphere. In nature, Cardinal Tetras live in slow-moving waters where they can use the atmosphere for supplemental oxygen.

In this post, we will discuss Cardinal Tetras, their native environment, and whether Cardinal Tetras need an air pump or not.

What Type Of Fish Is Cardinal Tetras?

Cardinal tetras are freshwater fish that originate from the Amazon River. They have a small size, and they only grow up to an inch in length. These fish are among the most popular aquariums because they stay small and don’t require a big tank. Cardinal tetras also come with different color variations such as red, blue, and golden.

What Do Cardinal Tetras Look Like?

Cardinal tetras have a vivid red color with a dark line going down their body. Cardinal tetras also have a dark line at the tail and fins, making them really unique looking fish among other freshwater species. They are active schooling fish that swims in large groups of up to six or seven cardinal tetras. Cardinal Tetra is also one of the smallest aquarium fishes available with no special requirements. Cardinal Tetra is a peaceful community fish that requires the same tank size as any other tetras in your aquarium.

Do Cardinal Tetras Need An Air Pump?

Yes, but an air pump is not a compulsion. Cardinal tetras prefer to live in groups, and therefore, keeping them with other cardinal tetra is not a good idea.

Cardinal tetra is an active swimming fish, and it usually avoids sounds; therefore, the moment they hear any sound of air pumps or filters, their mood turns So they. So they try to avoid such sounds as much as possible, which ultimately leads to stress and depression.

Why Do Cardinal Tetras Need An Air Pump?

Cardinal tetras need an air pump to stay healthy and thrive in your tank. Cardinal tetras are schooling fish, meaning they like to be with other cardinal tetras. Keeping them as pets requires you to provide them with enough space for all their friends.

However, some of the reasons why Cardinal tetras need an air pump are:

To Maintain Suitable Environment For Cardinal Tetras

Cardinal tetras have a body adapted to living in water with low levels of oxygen. Cardinal Tetras require an air pump for this reason, as they need the extra oxygen produced by the pumps to thrive and stay healthy!

To Reduce Stress

Cardinal tetras are susceptible fish when it comes to changes in their environment; any sudden changes can cause them stAs a result, they. As a result, they have several adaptations that help them survive in their natural habitat. But these same traits make it very hard for Cardinal tetras to adapt and stay healthy when placed in different conditions.

Cardinal Tetra fish will do much better if you keep them at the right water temperatures, pH levels, and oxygen content. An air pump is a great way to keep Cardinal Tetras comfortable and happy.

To Promote Cardinal Tetra’s Natural Behaviors

Cardinal tetras are very active fish who like to explore their surroundings. Cardinal Tetras enjoy swimming through low-lying plants and perching on the leaves of tall aquarium plants. An air pump will keep your Cardinal tetras’ water well oxygenated, allowing them to swim freely in your Cardinal Tetras aquarium.

An Aquarium With An Air Pump Is a Better Place For Cardinal Tetras

Cardinal tetras are schooling fish, and this means they like being with other cardinal tetras in their natural habitat. However, they are also susceptible fish who require the right environment to be happy and healthy. These fish will do much better in a well-planted aquarium that has a strong air pump to provide them with oxygen levels.

An Air Pump Can Prevent Your Cardinal Tetras From Getting Sick

Cardinal tetras are susceptible fish that can get sick from bacterial infections or diseases easily. An air pump can help combat this by providing your Cardinal Tetras with the right environment that will keep them healthy and happy.

What Is The Best Air Pump For Cardinal Tetras?

Cardinal Tetras, as cute and colorful as they are, require a lot of care. Cardinal tetras need to live in schools of at least five individuals to thrive, and their colors will also be more visible this way. The color combination on these little fish is just gorgeous.

A good option for Cardinal tetra tanks would be the Tetra Whisper Air Pump which has adjustable flow settings that allow you to control the aeration of your Cardinal Tetras’s tank. It is also tranquil, with noise levels comparable to a regular household fan, so it will not stress out your Cardinal Tetras at all.

Another great option would be the Superb Choice Quiet Air Bubble Air Pump. This air pump is also very quiet. In addition, it has an adjustable flow rate, so you can adjust the Cardinal Tetras’s tank aeration as needed to maintain your Cardinal Tetra’s health without causing any stress or damage to them at all.

Things To Consider When You Choose An Air Pump For Cardinal Tetras

As for the best air pump for Cardinal Tetra tanks, there are two factors to consider.

First of all, you need an air pump that does not produce too much noise because Cardinal Tetras can be very sensitive to loud noises, stressing them out and making it harder for them to thrive in their environment.

Secondly, Cardinal tetras like moving water, but the best type is a gentle flow rather than a powerful stream. Finally, Cardinal Tetras are also more likely to thrive in an environment where the water is not too deep. Hence, it’s best if you can find an air pump that has adjustable options for how much power and flow of your aquarium’s aeration system there will be.

Some FAQs

How Long Do Cardinal Tetras Live?

Cardinal Tetras can live for about five years in captivity. However, it depends on how well you take care of them. Cardinal Tetras will be happier and healthier if they receive the right tank size (30 gallons or bigger) with proper filtration.

What Is The Best Tank Size For Cardinal Tetras?

The Cardinal Tetras will need a 30-gallon tank or larger. The tank should contain lots of live plants and driftwood for them to hide in and feel secure. This is so they can establish their territories, which means all Cardinal Tetras will be happy with the size of the aquarium that you provide.

What Type Of Lighting Is Best For Cardinal Tetras?

Cardinal Tetra Fish prefer softer lighting that does not reflect off the top of their aquariums. They like dimmer lights and dimmer rooms. Cardinal Tetras do best in slightly acidic water. You can achieve it by using peat moss or driftwood substrate and having lots of live plants.


In conclusion, Cardinal Tetras do not require an air pump. Cardinal tetras are hearty fish and will survive in low oxygenated water as long as they have enough food to eat. However, if you want your Cardinal Tetra experience to be the best it can be, we recommend that you use an Air Pump for your Cardinal Fish Tank!

Hopefully, after reading this post, you feel like you have a more clear answer of whether or not Cardinal Tetras need air pumps. We trust that you will make the right decision when it comes to Cardinal Tetra care.

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