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Cardinal Tetra

The Cardinal Tetra is one of the aquarium hobbies most popular schooling fish. This is due to their striking blue and red color that stands out great in any aquarium. They look closely to a Neon Tetra yet the differences are evident.  The Cardinal tetra is a bit larger than the Neon Tetra to start.  Cardinals come from warmer water than Neon Tetras.  In coloration, the Cardinal Tetra’s red line runs the whole length of the body.  The red in the Neon Tetra only goes from the tail to about the middle of the body then the color changes to silver. Finally, Cardinal Tetras enjoying warmer water makes them a great choice for aquariums that house Discus (Symphysodon aequifasciatus) or one of the many color strains of Rams (Mikrogeophagus ramirezi).  They are a stunning addition to aquariums because of their high contrast against planted tanks and dark substrates. We recommend them to anyone that wants an easy to care for and beautiful fish. They prefer to be kept in schools of 5 or more to make them feel the most comfortable.

Please Note: All fish shipments have a 100% Live Arrival Guarantee when shipping with Overnight (1 Day) option. All other options void our Live Arrival Guarantee for fish. 

The Cardinal Tetra originally came from the warmer streams of South America. To replicate their natural habitat, the use of rock work, plants, and driftwood should be included in the aquarium. They also enjoy tannins in their water, so the use of Indian Almond or Guava leaves is highly recommended. We would not recommend keeping this fish with shrimp colonies due to the likeliness of the cardinal tetra eating baby shrimp and potentially picking at adult shrimp.

The scientific name for the cardinal tetra is: Paracheirodon axelrodi

We feed our Cardinals a mix of frozen foods including daphnia, baby brine, cyclops, and Bloodworms.

Our Tank Parameters

  • Ph:7.2 to 7.5
  • Gh: 8 to 16
  • Kh: 4 to 7
  • TDS: 180 to 250
  • Temp: 74 to 78

Tank Recommendations

  • Leaves: Indian Almond or Guava
  • Wood: Mopani or Malaysian
  • Cones: Alder Cones
  • Other:Buffered substrate to lower pH, not required

Customer Reviews

Based on 35 reviews
Walter Becker
Received two Santa Claus swordtails and 6 Cardinal Trtras.

Both swordtails are of good size and have eaten with the rest of my tank and seem to be non stressed and healthy so far. I received 6 cardinal tetras. They are small, about 1/2 inch fry. My other tank gouramis chased them initially because they must have looked like food. That seems to be a matter of adjustment. I will monitor the tank for any signs of stress. I will say also that the web site pictures of the Cardinal tetra shows a fully colored, older, attractive fish. What I got were 6 small fry. I am surprised at this and was not expecting to get fish that were not represented by my purchase.


Ordered 40 cardinals and couldn’t be happier!!! First shipment arrived DOA. I live in Colorado and it was an especially cold night so not surprised. 3 survived going to show how healthy they were to begin with. The staff here took great care of me and included my 40 with my next order and they even sent 50! Absolutely blown away with the the customer support, ease, speed of shipment and overall health of my fish. HIGHLY recommend ordering with these folks, even if you have a hiccup they make it right! Such a great experience


Team was very responsive to my questions. Cardinal tetras arrived in great shape and adapted and are thriving in their new home! Very quick, efficient and helpful process well done! Definitely going to be a return customer!

Gold fish king
Cardinal tetra

Cardinal tetra came in Excellent condition and they have good customer service 👍 will buy again

Brian Stanley
Excellent Quality

Fish came nicely packed and healthy. After acclimating to my tank water, they were good to go! I will definitely be buying again from Flip Aquatics!