Neon Tetras & Cardinal Tetras

Neon Tetras & Cardinal Tetras

Incorporating a colorful fish into your tank can make it pop and stand out. Tanks can be the focal point of attention. However, adding more than just a few new fish may not be bold enough for you. Adding a whole school of fish to your tank may give it the look you want. From far away, your tank can be eye-catching as a school of small, colorful fish dance their way into view. A school of Cardinal or Neon Tetras could be your next perfect addition to your aquarium.


The Tetra Family

There are two Tetra family fish that will add color to your tank. You can easily add the Neon Tetra or the Cardinal Tetra to your tank.

These fish have similar characteristics and require the same tank conditions. Both the Neon Tetra and Cardinal are schooling fish. Schooling fish require more than a few friends. You need to have the right number of fish in your tank to feel secure and happy. You can have 6 fish, but it’s best to add more fish in the next few weeks. For the Tetras to thrive, they need to be able to follow the crowd. As well, both the Cardinal and Neon Tetra like plants. The tank they are housed in should ideally have plant coverage in which they can use to hide.

Apart from these two basic requirements, adequate numbers of fish or plants to start an aquarium, there are some differences in the Cardinal and Neon Tetras. Here, we have highlighted details about each Tetra that can help you decide what best suits your aquarium needs.

Paracheirodon axelrodi Cardinal Tetra

This Tetra’s full name is the Paracheirodon axelrodi Tetra. However, they can be referred to simply as the Cardinal Tetra. The Cardinal Tetra is typically wild caught, though you can find some that are captive raised nowadays. These fish are harder to raise in an aquarium setting and the retail price is reflected in this element.

The Cardinal Tetra is larger than the Neon Tetras and features a blue and red stripe that runs from the head to the tail. They have a unique look and are often the more visually appealing of the two Tetras. But don’t be deceived! Both fish look very similar from a distance and can be difficult to distinguish.

Stores with good ethics are usually torn about taking them from the wild. The average price for a fish in most stores is between $3 and $4. While many stores would rather stock and sell captive-raised fish than not, most stores don’t stock them due to their high cost, difficulty, and source.

Again, it is important that you take the responsibility to stock the fish with the correct amount to make a school or not to keep them at all. These fish are best cared for by those who respect their natural habitat and ensure their safety.

Neon Tetra

In several ways, the Neon Tetra is different than the Cardinal Tetra, but they both have the similar appearance. The Neon Tetra is smaller than the Cardinal Tetra and the blue and red does not run the length of their body. Instead, Neon Tetras often feature a blue head and a red tail. Their colors are not as vibrant as the Cardinal Tetra, but they are still striking.

Many Neon Tetras can also be raised in captivity. They are more readily available because they don’t have to be sourced wild. Their cost is less than the Cardinal Tetra. Neon Tetras are most likely to be sold at $1-$2 per fish.

It’s Up to You

Ultimately, the choice of what school of fish you want to add to your tank is up to you. Both Tetras will make an excellent addition to an aquarium. The Neon Tetra is a better option if you are looking to save money. You may be tempted to buy the brightly colored Cardinal Tetras. Whatever you choose, you can be sure they will be a colorful addition to your tank. Keep in mind that both the Cardinal Tetras as well as the Neon Tetras must live in a school environment with lots of plant cover. This will ensure that they will live happily in your aquarium!