How to breed cardinal tetra?


How to breed cardinal tetra?

Cardinal tetra breeding is not an easy process. This is mainly due to the fact that spawning takes place in very soft water, otherwise, the eggs are simply not fertilized. Caviar is also sensitive to light, so the aquarium must be shaded.

The difficulty begins at the stage of selection of producers, because sexual dimorphism is not expressed in fish. Males are slimmer than females, and the edge of their anal fin is convex.

It is better not to breed a cardinal tetra in a common aquarium, so you should need a separate spawning tank with a volume of 15-20 liters with a water level of approx. The water is “old”, with stable parameters: T=24-26°C, pH=5.0-5.5, GH<3. At the bottom, you have to place small-leaved plants such as java moss.

A week before breeding cardinal tetra, the pair is plentifully seated and fed. After the transfer to the spawning area, the long courtship of the male begins for the female, which lasts up to 7 days, after which spawning occurs in the dark. The female can lay up to 400 small eggs that fall to the ground. Producers should be removed from the aquarium so that they do not eat their own caviar. Red neon eggs do not tolerate bright light, so it is advisable to shade the container from three sides.

The incubation of eggs takes about a day. Fry go to independent feeding 5-6 days after hatching. First, small fish hide under plants, the light strip appears at the age of 3 weeks and the adult color-after another two weeks. Cardinal tetra becomes sexually mature at the age of 8-10 months. Hope you got an answer to the question how to breed cardinal tetra and you will have a ton of new fry.

How to Breed Neon Tetras: Getting the Eggs (Part 1)

Cardinal tetra

These extremely beautiful fish can be found on the upper reaches of the Rio Negro. We have had it since 1961.

Externally, the cardinal tetra resembles the usual neon, the body is elongated, the Red Stripe does not break off, from the head to the tail fin, it covers the entire abdomen. They love thickets and lower water layers, staying in a pack. They prefer shaded areas of the aquarium. They are not very sensitive to temperature changes and transplants.


How to breed cardinal tetra, you need several large spawners with a water layer of 25 cm. Water hardness during spawning should be at least 3°, pH = 6.4. Lighting with 90 W light bulbs switched on via an autotransformer or voltage regulator, sideways, oblique, near the spawning ground. Adjust the thread to a red glow in the dark. It is best to take several manufacturers-up to 12 pieces. Before spawning, fish should be actively fed a variety of food.

Planted in the afternoon in the spawning ground, the cardinal tetra spawn the next day, in the morning. The water temperature is 25°C. pink caviar in the amount of 200 pieces. The larvae hatch after 25 hours and after six days the fish begin to swim.

Feed the fry should be” dust”, infusoria, rotifers, young Artemia. The feeding process requires the special attention of the fishkeeper. With good feeding, you can easily breed cardinal tetra in your aquarium. First, lie on the ground in the dark and can suffocate in a thick, even thin layer of mud so that you can not turn off the light. Secondly, living food that usually rushes to the light leaves the places where red neon fry accumulate (mostly in the shade of plants). In this regard, the light must be placed so that it is scattered and falls from above.

Water from the first days of feeding young animals should be replaced by long-term, with a hardness of up to 6°.

Aquarium for cardinal tetra

The equipment of this version of the aquarium is described earlier and is similar to the previous type. You can change the vegetation and the background. In addition to Cryptocoryne, you can also plant Echinodorus, Ludwigia or Limnophila. The combination of fish is the red neon, Royal Tetra, Hyphessobrycon bentosi, and loricaria.

Water with a hardness of 5-8° with a slightly acidic reaction, pH = 6.0, and a temperature of 25°C. to do this, boil the water for a week, the upper layers of the tank for a quarter of an hour, put it for another day or two. Then take the top three-quarters of the water and add distilled in the ratio 1.5: 1.0.put pieces of boiled peat and Alder in the filter. After the steady-state balance in the aquarium, you should test the acid.

In the aquarium, a quarter of the water should be replaced two or three times a month. If you will follow all the rules you will successfully breed cardinal tetra in your aquarium.


Small characinae from South America are popular with aquarium friends. These are active fish with a bright, eye-catching color. Among them, cardinal tetra stands out, the special feature of which is the presence of a special Shiny Strip on the body that flashes like a light in the reflected light. It is so bright that it resembles the lights of neon displays in a night city. Also, you will find out the complete answer on the question How to breed cardinal tetra in the late part of the article.

General Information

The red neon or cardinal Tetra (Paracheirodon axelrodi) is a tropical freshwater fish of the family Characinae. It can rightly be called one of the most beautiful aquarium fish. A large flock of neon lights, especially against the background of thickets of aquatic plants, looks so fascinating that it is difficult to take your eyes off them. The character of red neon is peaceful.

In appearance, the fish resembles its relative – usual neon. The main difference is the length of the bright red stripes on the sides of the body. If it comes out in blue neon from the center of the body, it expands in the red through the entire lower part of the body. Unlike its counterpart, the cardinal tetra is larger.

Sensitive to the conditions of the contents of the fish, which does not like changes in water parameters. It is not recommended to put cardinal tetra in freshly-released tanks. You won’t be able to breed cardinal tetra in that water but also it won’t be able to acclimate to water like that.

The first scientific description of cardinal tetra was made in 1956. Initially, individuals caught in nature were put on the market. Nowadays they are mostly grown on specialized farms.


Cardinal tetra has a slightly elongated and flattened body on the sides. The fins are small, completely transparent, sometimes with a white-blue border. The head is small, with bluish-green eyes. The maximum size of the fish is approx.

Of all representatives of the genus, cardinal tetra stands out the most vivid color. The back has an olive green color and two wide stripes run along the sides of the body: blue above with a characteristic neon glow through reflected light and bright red below, from head to tail.

The life expectancy in an aquarium is 3-5 years.


Cardinal tetra comes from South America. Fish are widespread in the basins of rivers such as the Rio Negro and Orinoco.

This species prefers slow forest channels and Backwater. Cardinal tetras are kept in flocks in the middle water layers. The rivers in which they live flow under a dense canopy of tropical rainforests, which creates a semi-darkness in the water. You do not need to create a complete analogy of nature basin in your aquarium to breed cardinal tetra, don’t worry. Rotting leaves, regular rain, and a large layer of mud make the water soft and acidic. It is rich in humic substances and therefore has a characteristic brownish hue (“black water”).

Care and maintenance

Cardinal tetra school fish, you need to keep at least 6 fish in the flock. Aquariums with a volume of 60 liters or more are best suited. The tank must be equipped with a lid, as the fish are very active and can easily jump out of the aquarium.

When decorating, it is best to focus on the natural style, IE to use natural decorations: stones, driftwood. It is better to fill the soil with sand or small pebbles. With the help of decor, you need to create a large number of accommodations with them it will be easier to breed cardinal tetra. A flock of red neon looks best in aquariums with dense thickets of aquatic plants. They can be planted along the back and side walls and leave a place in the middle for swimming. You can use any popular species: Vallisneria, Echinodorus, Cryptocoryne, Ferns.

Cardinal tetras do not like bright lighting, but plants need it, so it is best to create a bright semi-darkness with floating species on the surface.

They are very sensitive to the content of nitrogen compounds in the water, so they are not recommended to be planted in freshly released aquariums. The more stable the water parameters are, the more comfortable the fish will be. In the aquarium you need to install a filter suitable for electricity, but it is better not to generate strong electricity. Additional ventilation of water with the help of an air pump (especially at night) will not be superfluous. Also, install a thermostat to maintain a pleasant water temperature (23-26°C). Once a week you need to replace 20% of the water in the aquarium. In order to create the “black water” effect, we recommend a special conditioner with natural peat extract — Tetra ToruMin.

Optimal water values for the contents: t = 23-26°C, pH = 6.0-7.0, GH to 5.


Cardinal tetra is a peaceful schooling fish that copes well with most of the proportional species. They can easily be used with other types of neon (black, blue), tetras, X-ray tetra, Pencil fish, Apistogramma, Seluang fish, bristlenose pleco, babaulti shrimp.

In any case, you can not put fish with cardinal tetras that can fit in neons in mouth, not only cardinal tetra won’t be able to breed they won’t be able to survive. They are most likely eaten because they are one of the links in the food chain in nature.

Well compatible with live plants they do not bite and do not pull them out.

The feeding of cardinal tetra

The natural diet of tetras consists mainly of small crustaceans, worms and other invertebrates.

When kept at home, fish eat perfectly high quality dry food. It is better to reject live and frozen food because they are not balanced and can threaten an infection of the aquarium. When feeding, remember that the mouth of cardinal tetra is small, so the food should be of the appropriate size.

A good choice would be:

  • Food from the Tetra Micro Food series. This line was specially designed for feeding small large-mouthed fish. The food is available in the form of chips, pellets, pellets and sticks. It is fully balanced, combining ingredients of animal and plant origin to maintain the health and vitality of fish.
  • Food with natural carotenoids such as Tetra Rubin and TetraPro color enhance the natural color of fish. The red stripe of neon will look even brighter.
  • TetraMin basic feed in flakes is also suitable for feeding red neon. It consists of more than 40 high quality ingredients, enriched with vitamins and prebiotics.
  • Natural treats in a nutritious jelly from the Tetra FreshDelica series help to diversify the diet of your pets. Cardinal tetra will definitely breed eating naturas food like a delicious bloodworm, Daphnia or Artemia. At the same time, there is no danger of bringing an infection into the aquarium.

Feed the cardinal tetra several times a day with a small portion of food that the fish eats completely in a few minutes. Do not overfeed your Pets, because neons are prone to obesity!