What Genus Is The Cardinal Tetra?

The Cardinal Tetra is one of the most popular freshwater fish. It can be present in fresh and saltwater environments, but what genus does it belong to? This article will explore what genus the Cardinal Tetra belongs to and what types of habitats they live in!

The cardinal tetra is a small freshwater fish part of the family Characidae. The genus name for this fish is Paracheirodon. As with most other species, you can determine the genus it falls under by looking at its physical characteristics, what kind of habitat it lives in, what time of year you find them and what they eat.

Keep reading if you want to find out what genus the cardinal tetra belongs to!

What Type Of Fish Is Cardinal Tetra?

The cardinal tetra is a freshwater fish that originated in South America. They are about 3 to 4 inches long and can be present in the wild, living around ponds, streams, and slow-moving rivers. The coloration of these fish depends on their environment; if they live near vegetation, they will be greenish to brownish with white dots on them.

Usually, cardinal tetras love eating bloodworms, brine shrimp, and tubifex worms. However, it may also eat freeze-dried bloodworms or live foods such as mosquito larvae and small crustaceans if necessary. If you want to feed your cardinal tetra any dry flake food, then use foods enriched with vitamins and minerals first before adding the flakes.

Cardinal tetras are schooling fish, so keeping at least six of them in an aquarium is best. However, they do well in both cold and warm water temperatures, making them a good choice for a beginner’s tank.

What Genus Is The Cardinal Tetra?

The cardinal tetra is part of the genus Paracheirodon, with around six fish species. The cardinal tetra is the most common and popular one out of the six. This genus gets its name from the Greek word cheir, meaning hand, and don, meaning tooth, which refers to the appearance of their teeth. These fish live in slow-moving parts of South America, mainly in Brazil and Paraguay.

The family of genus Paracheirodon is Characidae, the most prominent fish family in the world. There are around 2000 different species in this family. This family is part of Cypriniformes’ order, containing carp-like fish.

The cardinal tetra has a deep blue body with a bright red stripe that goes from its nose to the base of its tail. This fish can grow up to two inches long and usually lives for around four years in captivity. They are schooling fish and like a lot of plants. They are a prevalent tropical aquarium fish because they will eat most food, breed quickly, and you can train them to eat from your hand!

What Are The Other Fish That Belongs To Paracheirodon Genus?

Freshwater fish belong to the Paracheirodon genus. The most common members of this genus include:

Neon Tetras (Paracheirodon innesi)

It is a small fish, and it belongs to the Characidae family. They live in black water and clear water habitats. They are present in the Amazon River basin, Orinoco River, and Central America river basins.

Cardinal tetras reach up to two inches when they become an adult. Their lifespan is about five years or more if they live in good environment conditions with caretaker attention. These fish eat both algae and small invertebrates from the wild.

Some of their common diseases are fin rot, ich, and black spot disease, which you can treat using antibiotics. They breed well in good environment conditions without any special caretaker attention required for breeding purposes. There is no need to change the water after they spawn, but you should ensure that your fish will continue to get good food.

Cardinal Tetras (Paracheirodon axelrodi)

This fish is also a member of the Characidae family, and it reaches the size up to two inches when they become adults. They are present in blackwater habitats where the pH level is acidic. The temperature range is 79-81 degrees Fahrenheit and softness ranges from very soft to complex.

Cardinal tetras eat small invertebrates and algae from the wild. They can breed if you provide them with good conditions for breeding purposes like low light, acidic water (pH between five and six), and the softness of water that ranges from very soft to complex.

Green Neon Tetra (Paracheirodon simulans)

This fish is a member of the Characidae family, and it also reaches two inches when they become adults. They belong to Upper Orinoco and Negro Rivers in Venezuela.

These species have vibrant green colors with red patches on their body. Most experts consider them one of the best fish for beginners because they are very peaceful and easy to care for. Green Neon Tetra prefers a pH of 6 and a temperature of around 77 degrees Fahrenheit.

Green Neon Tetra are relatively slimmer than other tetras and have a length of 3.5cm when they reach maturity.

What Are The Specific Characteristics Of Paracheirodon Genus?

The cardinal tetra is a small fish popular in the aquarium trade. It is present in South America, specifically in the Amazon River basin. Some of the specific characteristics of the Paracheirodon genus are:

  • It is a small, peaceful fish that can fit in the palm of your hand.
  • They are characins, and they have one nostril on each side instead of two as other fishes do.
  • They are schooling fish and need to be in groups of six or more.
  • Most of the species belonging to this genus are vibrant in color, with red, green, and blue being the most common colors.
  • They are non-aggressive fish and can live well with other fish.
  • The fishes of this genus prefer to enjoy a little vegetation in their habitat, so live plants are a great addition to the aquarium.

Some FAQs

How Big Are Cardinal Tetras?

Cardinal Tetras are small fish, typically growing to be no more than two inches in length.

What Colors Do Cardinal Tetras Come In?

Most cardinal tetras have a bright red body with silver markings. But some populations may not have yellow and blue coloration. Some Cardinal tetras like Albino cardinal tetras have a transparent color.

Where do Cardinal Tetras Come From?

Cardinal tetras are native to the Amazon River basin of South America.

How Big Should Be Your Cardinal Tetras’ Tank?

A 20-gallon tank is suitable for a small community of cardinal tetras and other compatible fish.

What Kind of Food Do Cardinal Tetras Eat?

Cardinal tetras are omnivorous and will eat most foods offered, including flake food, freeze-dried bloodworms, tubifex worms, and brine shrimp.

What Type Of tank Conditions Does Cardinal Tetras Need?

Cardinal tetras prefer water with a pH of around five to seven. So, they will do well in soft to medium hardness, along with temperatures between seventy-five degrees Fahrenheit to eighty-four degrees Fahrenheit.


In conclusion, the cardinal tetra is a small, lively fish present in the aquarium trade. If you are looking for an easy-to-care-for tropical fish, then this might just be it. It comes from South America and prefers freshwater with around 4.6-6.2.

The genus name for this species is Paracheirodon axelrodi. They are pretty famous for their vibrant color and playful nature. So, you can also keep them if you want an outburst of color in your tank.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below! Happy fishkeeping, everyone.

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