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The Cardinal Tetra is arguably the most popular of the small tetras, the cardinal tetra is similar in appearance to a longtime aquarium favorite, the neon tetra. Cardinal tetras are an active schooling fish and they live well in a peaceful community aquarium. Although they are difficult to breed in captivity, tetras remain a very popular aquarium fish.
Originating from South America, this species is found in the Orinoco and Rio Negro tributaries all the way to western Colombia. Other locations have also reported schools of cardinals, likely comprised of fish that have escaped from collectors. Manaus, in northern Brazil, is one such location where clusters of cardinals have made themselves at home.
Cardinal tetras, like other tetra species, are a peaceful fish and they should be kept in schools. Schools should be large, with a minimum size of a half-dozen fish. They are suitable for community tanks as long as water conditions are favorable and other species are peaceful. Potential tankmates that may be suitable include other tetra species, danios, rasboras, Darf Gourami's and small to medium members of the catfish family. Do not keep them with any fish that are known to eat smaller, slim-bodied fish. If the companion fish has a big enough mouth to swallow the cardinal tetra, it is not a suitable tank mate.