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Paracheirodon axelrodi
Cardinal Tetra

 Age of Aquariums > Freshwater Fish > Cardinal Tetra - Paracheirodon axelrodi

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Paracheirodon_axelrodi_2.jpg (40kb)
Photo Credit: Ale Tapparo

Neon tetras are susceptible to Neon disease, a deadly one that has no cure. Cardinal tetras are not. Cardinal tetras grow, with proper conditions, to be slightly larger than Neons. If you are a beginner, and you have a 20 liter tank to start with (not a 2 liter goldfish bowl!), adjust the water, add some java fern or java moss or amazon sword plant, and add 5-8 Cardinals. That's what I did, and they are excellent! Good luck!

Contributed by Greg Manalo

I have kept cardinals on and off for many years with reasonable success, but have found them to be a very shy fish shoaling in a back corner away from view. You can imagine how disappointing this is as the appeal of this little fish is seeing a great shoal of red and blue moving happily about the tank. After a bit of research on the net I used black gravel as a substrate in my new setup. What a difference! I have fifteen of these little guys and they seem to be perfectly happy and uninhibited, I even have fewer plants then I usually do. I should mention that I am yet to buy any bigger fish such as Angels and this may be a contributing factor in this newfound behaviour. Even with this in mind I believe that a dark substrate is important if you want to see cardinals at their best. Their colours even seem to be more intense against the black gravel!

Contributed by Matt Stone

I tried putting some cardinals in with 4 baby angels. One by one, the cardinals turned up dead. I added two more, and returned to the tank after having shut off room and tank lights. Then, I saw the 4 nickel-sized angels surround one cardinal, strike a few times, and leave. The cardinal died. They did not eat it. I would not have known if I had not "sneaked back" for a look. Apparently, angel fish eat neons and cardinals in the wild.

Contributed by Ellen Katcher

I have had a 280 L community tank for approximately seven years. Well established tank now, heavily planted, dominant plant Sagitaria. I tried introducing Cardinal Tetras a few times, they seemed to be okay, but died off within a week. I had an idea about the next time I would try. They are usually starved by the time you buy one, so I used a plastic container (like a potato salad container you get at grocery deli), and placed the fish in there to float them instead of the bag you purchase them in. I used freeze dried bloodworms and fed them before I placed them in the tank. They ate like crazy. I started adding the tank water to acclimate them. Then placed them in. Didn't lose one. All still doing fine, all thirteen of them. I have used this method on any new resident I buy. Have three tanks going, and this method seemed to work for all. Hope this little hint will help anyone who tries it.

Contributed by (no name given)

In my experience with cardinals I have learned that they do not take shipment very well. With every cardinal purchase I have ever made, about two thirds of them do not make it through the first 48 hours. Therefore, I always account for this by buying at least 10 at a time, to make sure that I will hopefully have three or four to school together for the duration of their quarantine. I do highly suggest to have a quarantine tank available for them, and make SURE that the water parameters are dead on, that it has been pre-cycled, that the water has aged 24 hours, and that you have a bottle of Quick Cure on hand! After the shaky first few days, they should become robust and durable.

Contributed by B. G. Shoemaker

I finally got a large school (20) of these. Been looking for quite some time. They usually look pretty bad in the stores where I live, and they are usually expensive, but a large group came in and they were on sale. They looked very healthy, so I bought them. The store had them in 15°dGH and pH off the scale (basic). This was a problem, so I put them in the tank, still in the bag and, with a turkey baster, I SLOWLY acclimated them to my water parameters. Took nearly half a day. Then I poured them into a tupperware with hole in the bottom, and flushed them with tank water (about 4 liters). This may seem traumatic, but it's worth it to get out most of the diseases and parasites which inhabit all dealers' tanks. Then I put them in. I quarantined them for 4 weeks and brought that water chemistry to par with my main tank. Of the 23 that I bought (he gave me 3 extra because they are sensitive), 1 was dead on arrival, and 2 died in the acclimation process. They had sunken bellies, so they were on their way out anyway. So now I have 20 in a 280 liter tank, and no more deaths. Good fish...

Contributed by Chris Spurgeon

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