Cardinal Tetra

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Cardinal tetra - Paracheirodon axelrodi

Scientific name: Paracheirodon axelrodi

Common name: Cardinal tetra

Family: Characidae

Usual size in fish tanks: 4 - 5 cm (1.57 - 1.97 inch)


Recommended pH range for the species: 4.5 - 7

Recommended water hardness (dGH): 0 - 8°N (0 - 142.86ppm)

0°C 32°F30°C 86°F

Recommended temperature: 23 - 29 °C (73.4 - 84.2°F)

The way how these fish reproduce: Spawning

Where the species comes from: South America

Temperament to its own species: peaceful

Temperament toward other fish species: peaceful

Usual place in the tank: Bottom levels


This omnivore will accept a variety of different foods. Cardinal tetras should be fed Microwoms and brine shrimp in addition to algae and flakes for a well balanced diet.


Sexually mature females are plumper and longer than males.


The Cardinal tetra will find a very dark and shady area to spawn because the eggs are very sensitive to light. Side by side, the male and female will release eggs and sperm. The eggs will hatch within 3 days and the fry should be kept out of light for at least another 7 days.


This species is known to live for just one year in the wild but can live up to 3 years in captivity.


Paracheirodon axelrodi originates in South America in the Orinoco and Negro Rivers.


This tetra is named after the cardinal bird because of its similarity in coloration. Another name for this fish is the Red Neon Tetra.