Cardinal Tetra
Paracheirodon axelrodi

Care Level




Reef Compatible


Plant Safe


Max Size

Less than 2"

Minimum Tank Size

10 gallon


Blue, Red, White



Water Conditions

Acidic (5.5-7 pH), soft water (3 to 6 dGH), 74 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit


General: The Cardinal Tetra (Paracheirodon axelrodi) is naturally a species that forms shoals in the acidic, slow-moving waters of the Rio Negro. This section of the Amazon River is largely-shaded with an overlying canopy of trees. It also has a benthic (bottom) layer consisting of sand, driftwood, and other natural vegetative matter. Attempting to recreate the natural habitat of a species living in aquaria will produce optimal results. The Cardinal Tetra is a great addition to any heavily-planted tank as they prefer the same water chemistry as the plants themselves.

Fecundity (Reproduction): The Cardinal Tetra (Paracheirodon axelrodi) is an egg scatterer that may produce up to 500 eggs per clutch. When attempting to breed any fish, it is best to closely mimic the natural environment of that particular species. The Cardinal Tetra breeds in an environment that is dimly lit, acidic (5 to 6 pH), and in soft water (3 to 6 dGH).

Preferred Water Chemistry: Acidic (5.5 to 7 pH), soft water hardness (3 to 6 dGH)

Aquarium Diet: Brine shrimp, baby brine shrimp, blackworms, general flakes, omnivore pellet, Spirulina

Dimorphism: Once mature, the female Cardinal Tetra (Paracheirodon axelrodi) take on a more gravid appearance.

Compatibility: The Cardinal Tetra (Paracheirodon axelrodi) is typically compatible with other Tetra, Danio, Rasbora, Pencilfish, Hatchetfish, and Corydoras.

Cardinal Tetra Photo Gallery

Cardinal Tetra Videos

Author: Aquatics Unlimited