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Cardinal Tetras

Last Updated: 8/2/21

Quick Information
Setup and Water Preferences
My Cardinal Tetras
Links and Pictures

I am new to these fish, so most of the sections below are empty until/unless I have time to fill them in.

Quick Information

Common names: Cardinal Tetra
Scientific/Latin name: Paracheirodon axelrodi
Maximum length: 2 inches
Colors: Red, blue, and white
Temperature preference: 73 to 82 degrees F
pH preference: 5 to 7
Hardness preference: Soft
Salinity preference: Low to medium
Compatibility: Good
Life span: Five years
Ease of keeping: Moderate
Ease of breeding: Moderate


Setup and Water Preferences



My Cardinal Tetras

On 1/27/21, I bought 12 cardinal tetras for my newly renovated 65 gallon aquarium. It did not go well. See that link for details. I will only put Cardinal-specific information here so I am not just repeating the information.

Only two of those initial 12 cardinal tetras survived. The reason is not known. Two were removed on 1/30/21, two on 1/31/21, two on 2/1/21, two on 2/2/21 (one 2/3 eaten in morning, another in afternoon), and two on 2/3/21.

On 2/23/21, I bought 6 cardinal tetras. I put them in a 20 gallon quarantine tank with 8 other new fish. They were moved to the 65 gallon tank on 3/6/21. The two cardinal tetras were very happy to have 6 new friends.

I counted the cardinal tetras on 3/13/21. There were only 7 total! This was confirmed the next day. One must have died and been consumed before I ever saw him/her. If I had to guess, I would say it was most likely one of the newer cardinals.

I went more than a month without any cardinal tetras dying when, suddenly, a dead one was stuck to the filter intake on 4/29/21. I did notice that he/she had some damaged fins as do the others although I have never seen any of the other fish chase or bite at them.

Another cardinal tetra died suddenly on 5/8/21. The remaining five are missing pieces of fins. It looks like the other fish have been nipping at them but I have never once seen them do that!

On 5/22/21, I found a chewed up cardinal tetra floating in the tank! And, now another one has dropsy-like symptoms. There are four alive including that one. The sickly one died on 5/27/21. There are three left. In case you are wondering, no I am not going to ever buy cardinal tetras again.

On 6/25/21, I found a half-eaten cardinal tetra with no eyes. Who would do such a thing? The discus? The congo tetras? I do not know for sure. Only two cardinal tetras remain.

On 7/17/21, there was only one cardinal tetra! I found the other one floating on the surface with half his body missing! I do not know if it is the discus or the congo tetras who are acting like sharks and eating the poor tetras! Only one remains, and he is not in good shape with missing fins and white bumps (look like infections from sores).

Alas, the last cardinal tetra was found floating dead on 7/30/21. I will not have them again.

Links and Pictures

Photos of my Cardinal Tetras:

Photos are listed from newest to oldest.

I have not processed any photos as of yet.

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