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Similar to the more common neon tetra the cardinal has more stunning
stripes. More demanding in their water requirements and usually twice
as expensive the Cardinal is not a beginners fish. Once established
they are relatively hardy and can make a stunning display.
| Quick stats:
Listed tank sizes are the minimum
||Up to 2" (5cm)
||4.5 to 7.0
||Soft dH range: 2.0 - 8.0
||75°F to 84°F (24-29°C)
Northern South America, Venezuela, through Brazil Into Eastern Colombia.
Found in the tributaries of the Rio Negro and the Orinoco river.
General Body Form
This species is more elongated than the Neon Tetra. Which it otherwise
resembles in shape. These fish can reach a length of about one and one
half inches. Sexually mature females are more stocky than males and
are generally a little longer.
The fins have no color and the upper-side is a Brownish-Red. A wide
single stripe extends along each side of the fish from the upper parts
of the eye to just below the Adipose fin. This stripe can appear Sea-Green,
Yellow-Green or Turquoise-Blue, depending on the angle that the light
hits it. Below this stripe is a wide bright Red band that can be seen
on the lower half of the body , running from the underside of the mouth
including the throat, and all the way back to the base of the Caudal
fin. This fish is often confused with the Neon Tetra, but in the Neon
the bright Red band is shorter, only running to the middle of the body.
A somewhat delicate fish that is sensitive to water conditions. The
tank should be a planted aquarium, with some floating plants to cut
down on the light intensity. A darker substrate material will bring
out the Cardinals colors best. Tankmates should consist only of other
peaceful species,with no Cichlids. A temperature of 75° to 84° degrees
F (24° to 29° c.) should be maintained and water of middle hardness
to soft is recommended.
Found in slow-moving, clear and blackwater creeks with much vegetation
Soft water, with 1° - 2°of hardness, Ph of 5.0 - 6.0 and a water temperature
of about 82° f. Use Java moss or a synthetic substitute over the bottom
of the tank and reduce the lighting. Cardinals usually spawn at twilight.
The male embraces the female when spawning and about 500 eggs are scattered
among the Java moss. Remove the parents. The eggs hatch in about 24
hours and the fry are free-swimming in about five days. Feed the young
on Infusoria and later on , newly hatched Brine Shrimp. The Cardinal
is not easily bred and most specimens are still imported from their