The Six Stages Of Cardinal Tetra Fry: A Guide

The Cardinal Tetra is one of the most popular fish among enthusiasts. What many people don’t know, however, is that there are six stages in the life cycle of this beautiful creature. What these phases are and what they mean can help you understand your pets better and take good care of them.

The six stages of Cardinal tetra are egg, larvae, fry, juvenile, young, and adult.

The egg is the most petite and most delicate stage. The larvae are slightly larger but still very small. Fry is bigger than larvae, and juvenile Cardinal Tetras look like miniature adults. Young cardinal tetras do not have a fully developed adult coloring, while adult Cardinals do have full color.

There is more to know about each stage of cardinal tetra fry. So, this article serves the best purpose for you.

Breeding Process Of Cardinal Tetra:

You can quickly determine if they are in spawning conditions during the breeding process by observing their color. The male Cardinal Tetra will be a bright red, while the female will have an orange-red hue with black fins.

So, if you notice that both sexes are displaying these colors, then the chances are that they are preparing for sex.

First, the male and female will clean an area of the substrate in the tank. It could be a flat rock, plant leaf, or even the glass itself. They will then release their eggs and sperm simultaneously into the water column, where they will hopefully meet and fertilize.

The Cardinal tetra fry will hatch within 24 to 48 hours and start feeding immediately on the same microorganisms that adults eat.

How Many Fry Do Cardinal Tetra Produce?

The average fry that a Cardinal Tetra will produce is about 50. However, this can range from as few as five to over 200. It depends on the age and health of the parents and tank conditions.

What Does Cardinal Tetra Fry Look Like?

Cardinal Tetra fry is about one millimeter long and completely transparent when they first hatch. As they grow, their color will slowly darken until they reach their adult colors a few months later.

What Are The Different Stages Of Cardinal Tetra Fry?

There are six stages of cardinal tetra fry. It is essential to know what each step entails to provide the best care for them possible. Here’s a guide on how to take care of your baby fish, from the egg until they are ready to live in your tank.


When you first get your cardinal tetras, the eggs will be the size of a pinhead. Therefore, it is essential to keep them in a warm and dark place at this stage. The ideal water temperature for egg hatching is 78-80 degrees Fahrenheit.


Cardinal tetra fry will reach the larval stage when about half an inch long. In this stage, their bodies begin to look more like fish and less like that of a tadpole. The water temperature should remain around 80-82 degrees Fahrenheit.


Once the fry is about an inch long, they will enter the fry stage. At this point, your pet will be able to eat newly hatched brine shrimp and live baby food. The water temperature should be at least 78 degrees Fahrenheit.


At about one and a half inches long, cardinal tetra fry will enter the juvenile stage. They may become territorial with other fish in their tank during this time, so it is best to keep them alone or in groups of six or more. The water temperature should be between 78-80 degrees Fahrenheit.


When cardinal tetra fry reaches two inches long, they enter the early stage. Usually, most owners consider this to be their adult, form and they will begin to look like the fish you see in pet stores. The water temperature should be between 76-78 degrees Fahrenheit.


Cardinal tetra fry will become adults when they reach about two and a half inches long. At this point, they will have all adult features such as the red on their fins and body. The water temperature should be between 76-78 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cardinal tetra fry will go through all of these stages relatively quickly. It’s important to know what each step entails so that you can provide the best care for your fish possible, from the egg until they are ready to live in your tank.

Some Tips To Care For Cardinal Tetra Fry

When first introduced to their new home, cardinal tetra fry will school together near the top of the tank. Then, as they grow and become more comfortable in their surroundings, they will start to explore the tank.

Caring for cardinal tetra fry is not tricky, but there are a few things you will need to consider. Such as:

  • Keep Cardinal tetra in a tank at least 20 gallons with plenty of places to hide.
  • Provide a diet that includes both live and frozen food.
  • Ensure aerate the tank well and keep the water temperature between 72 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Regularly perform water changes to keep nitrates at around 20 ppm.
  • The cardinal tetra fry will be highly sensitive to deteriorating water conditions, so regular testing is necessary.
  • Place decorations in the tank that will allow for plenty of swimming space.
  • Always use a quarantine tank when adding new fish to your main tank.
  • Keep them with small fish to avoid fin nipping.
  • Include other types of fish that will not be aggressive towards the cardinal tetra fry.
  • Regularly check for signs of Cardinal tetra diseases.

Some FAQs

How Long Will Cardinal Tetra Fry Take To Grow Into Adult?

They should reach maturity within four to six months.

What Should I Do If One Of My Cardinal Tetra Fry Die?

If one of your cardinal tetra fry dies, you should remove the dead fish from the tank and thoroughly clean the area. It is also a good idea to quarantine any new fish that you add to your tank to prevent the spread of disease.

What Temperature Should I Keep My Fish Tank At?

It is crucial to keep the tank between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are unsure about the temperature of your heater, then you can purchase a thermometer. Then, attach the thermometer directly to your aquarium glass or on top of the hood of your aquarium. Be sure not to place the thermometer in direct sunlight, as this could give you a false reading.

What Should I Feed My Cardinal Tetra Fry?

Feed your cardinal tetra fry a diet of high-quality flake food specifically for small fish. You can also supplement their diet with live foods such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, daphnia, and tubifex worms.


Overall, the six stages of cardinal tetra fry are an exciting process to watch. However, you can ensure that your fry grows into healthy and happy adult fish by understanding expectations.

If you have any questions about the six stages of cardinal tetra fry or raising fish in general, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. We love getting feedback and hearing from our readers.

Thanks for reading! 🙂

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