Cardinal Tetra Facts:

Scientific Name : Paracheirodon innesi
average adult size:2 inches long
average life span:2-5 years
diet:omnivore - flakes/pellets
minimum aquarium size:10+ gallons
water parameters:


pH: 5-8


A well-balanced Tetra diet consists of:

  • Food may be flaked, pellet, frozen or live.
  • Avoid exclusive food which is not nutritionally complete.


Things to remember when feeding your Tetra:

  • Feed small amounts 1-3 times daily, no more than fish will eat in 3-5 minutes.
  • Thaw frozen foods if you choose to feed frozen.


  • Keep in an appropriate size aquarium; provide plants for hiding, various species may prefer sparse or thick vegetation.
  • Stable water quality, water temperature, and pH levels are critical to the health of the aquatic life. If you are unsure of your water quality or pH levels, Home Aquatics offers water testing.


  • Males are generally more slender and though that is difficult to spot. Males also have a hook protruding from the anal fin.
  • A mature female's belly will become nicely rounded when she is full of eggs.
  • They will spawn in the evening, generally laying between 130 and 500 eggs. Eggs will be scattered, and the parents will eat them if not removed.

Habitat Maintenance

Daily: Check filter, water temperature and other equipment.
Weekly: Check water quality at least once a week.
Monthly: Change 10-25% of the total volume of water every 2-4 weeks, or as needed.
Introduce new inhabitants to the aquarium gradually.


Tetras are compatible with most peaceful species of fish.


Signs of a Healthy Fish

  • Clear eyes
  • Healthy appetite
  • Bright, even coloring
  • Clean in appearance

Avoid overcrowded conditions; they are a major cause of stress and disease. Maintain good water quality with regular water changes and adequate filtration.

Red Flags

  • loss of color or appetite
  • spots or fungus on body or mouth
  • erratic swimming
  • frayed fins

Common Health Issues

Health IssueSymptoms or CausesSuggested Action
Fin rotFrayed or disintegrating fins; the base of the fins usually reddens.Improve water quality; consult your aquatic veterinarian for treatment.
IchWhite spots appear on fins and body; fish rubs against hard objects or swims awkwardly.

Quarantine fish immediately; use a commercial ich remedy for at least two weeks

The Cardinal Tetra is a good, schooling community fish that gets along with everyone. The bigger the school, the better its coloration becomes. They should always be kept in a group of 5 or more individuals, with larger groups of at least 10 or more being best.

Keep in mind that it will be eaten by most any fish that can fit it in its mouth, so choose tankmates carefully. The Cardinal Tetra is the natural prey of many fish, even of many other tetras. it does best with other small tetras, pencil fish, hatchet fish, dwarf cichlids, small Loricariids, small rasboras, and anabantoids.

The Cardinal Tetra has been bred in captivity, but breeding them successfully in home aquariums can be very tricky. An aquarist who wants to attempt breeding them must be sure to have optimal water conditions and compatible pairs. These fish require highly specific water conditions that match those of its natural habitat. Obtaining compatible breeding pairs is not always easy either. However, given the right conditions, these fish will spawn in a community tank. Unfortunately, the eggs and fry will most often be eaten. A separate breeding tank is best.

There are no reviews for this product.

Write a review

Please login or register to review

Cardinal Tetras

  • Brand: Home Aquatics
  • Product Code: Cardinal Tetras
  • Availability: In Stock
  • $1.99