Cardinal tetra

Неон красный

The Cardinal tetra fish is one of the most beautiful aquarium fish. Its luminous emerald longitudinal stripe in a flock of 10 – 15 fish creates the impression of micro lightning flashes, attracting the eye and mesmerizing the observer. And the predominance of red coloration gave this species a number of names, such as tetra – Cardinal.

The fish is relatively unpretentious to keep. However, if you want to get offspring from it, you will need some knowledge and skills.

In Europe, red neons appeared relatively recently – in 1956. In the Soviet Union fish neon red came in 1961. Due to its peaceful disposition and bright coloring quickly gained popularity among aquarists around the world.

classRadial fish
speciesRed neon

Latin name: Paracheirodon axelrodi

Synonyms: Cardinal’s tetra, tetra – cardinal, Cheirodon axelrodi, Hyphessobrycon cardinalis.

Described: Myers, Weitzman.


The red neon fish is distributed in fresh standing and slow-flowing waters of South America. In particular, in the basins of the Orinoco and Rio Negro rivers. The red neon fish prefers shallow waters overgrown with aquatic plants.

Cardinal tetra Description

Freshwater, peaceful, gregarious fish. Has an oblong body, which in nature can reach a length of six centimeters. In aquarium conditions, the body length rarely exceeds four and a half centimeters.

Body slightly elongated in length, flattened from sides. The back is olive-colored, the abdomen is whitish underneath. From the eyes along the entire body to the tail fin stretches an emerald band capable of reflecting light very well, so it seems to glow. Below this band, the body along the entire length of the body is colored in bright red. Thanks to what the fish and got its name. The fins are transparent. Dorsal and anal fins may have a faint blue-white border. On the back, closer to the caudal fin there is a small fatty fin. The caudal fin is fork-shaped.

Life expectancy is about 5 years.

Cardinal tetra sex determination

Red neons reach sexual maturity at the age of 7 – 9 months. It is sometimes quite difficult to distinguish the male from the female. The female is slightly larger and has a more rounded abdomen. Also her anal fin has a concave notch, the male has a small bulge in the same place.

Cardinal tetra

Cardinal tetra Aquarium keeping

Red neon, as already mentioned species gregarious. It is best to keep a flock of 10 – 15 representatives. Aquarium is desirable oblong liters for 30 – 50 liters. Along the back and side walls is better to arrange a thicket of plants such as vallisneria, Javanese moss, cryptocoryne, echinodorus, ferns. In the center it is necessary to leave a place for swimming. The soil is desirable dark shade. Suitable river gray sand, chalky gravel or pebbles. Lighting should not be bright. With relatively low light, neons will win in coloration, and will feel better. Water parameters for keeping water hardness up to 5°dH. If the total hardness will be higher than 10 °dH, the fish may lose the ability to reproduce. They like slightly acidified water pH = 6. You can acidify it with peat or arrange a peat filter. Optimal temperature for maintenance 23 – 25 ° C.

Cardinal tetra Compatibility

Due to the peaceful disposition of red neon can be kept with many other peaceful species with similar conditions and appropriate sizes, such as guppies, danio rerio, ternecia.

Cardinal tetra Feeding

They can be fed any kind of small live food – crustaceans, mosquito larvae, small worms. They will not refuse dry food either.

Cardinal tetra Breeding

Usually breed in the fall-winter-spring period from October to April. Breeding can be done either in pairs or as a gregarious method. Usually 2 – 3 males per female. For pair breeding needs an aquarium of 10 – 15 liters. For gregarious is desirable volume of about 30 liters. In the spawning tank should be a layer of water about 30 centimeters. Hardness 1-2 °dH. pH = 5 – 5.5. Temperature – 24 -26 ° C. The water should be old. It is desirable to stand the aquarium with plants in the light for two three weeks. Water should be sanitized with an ozonator or ultraviolet lamp.

A spawning net is desirable

Spawning net or small-leaved plants should be placed on the bottom. About a week before spawning, it is desirable to separate males from females. Producers are kept at a low temperature (about 22 – 23 ° C ) and abundantly fed. The day before landing in the spawning tank stop feeding.

Sometimes spawning is delayed for 5 -7 days. In the spawning tank producers should not be fed. Also keep them in the spawning tank longer than one week, there is no point. If during this time spawning has not occurred, you should remove the fish from the spawning tank and after a few days again try to put them on spawning.

With the onset of darkness, spawning begins, which lasts several hours. During this time, 300 to 500 transparent amber-colored eggs are hatched. The aquarium with eggs should be darkened.

When and what to feed the fry?

After 20 to 36 hours, larvae emerge from the eggs. They begin to swim on the fifth to sixth day. As soon as they swim they need to start feeding. Starter food for fry infusoria and nauplii crustaceans. With the beginning of feeding in the aquarium should establish a weak blowing water air. Also gradually increase the water hardness, which is necessary for the normal development of young fish.

красные неоны

For this purpose, you can add a small amount of water from the general aquarium to the spawning tank every day. As the fry grow, they are gradually transferred to larger feed. It is desirable also plant feedings. Fry neon red should not remain without food. It is better to feed them more often in small portions. The first two weeks of life fry hide under the leaves of plants. In the third week they have a longitudinal blue stripe. By about one and a half months of age, they acquire the shape and coloration of adult fish and can be transferred to a common aquarium.

As you can see breeding red neon is a troublesome but fascinating.

Despite the relative difficulty of breeding and keeping breeders to maintain their ability to reproduce, red neon enjoys the well-deserved love of many aquarists around the world. I hope you will love it too.

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