Neon Tetras & Cardinal Tetras

Neon Tetras and Cardinal Tetras

Incorporating a colorful fish into your tank can make it pop and stand out. Your tank can be the centre 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

Two of the Tetra fish are great for adding color to your tank. Two popular options that you can incorporate into your tank are the Neon Tetra and Cardinal Tetra.

These fish have similar characteristics and require the same tank conditions. Both the Neon Tetra, and the Cardinal Tetra are schooling fish. Schooling fish need more friends than just a few. 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. To thrive, the Tetras must be able follow the crowd. As well, both the Cardinal and Neon Tetra like plants. They should have plenty of plant cover so they can hide in the tank.

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

The full name for this Tetra is the Paracheirodon axelrodi Tetra, though you can also refer to them simply as the Cardinal Tetra. Although the Cardinal Tetra is usually wild-caught, you can also find them captive-raised. These fish are harder to raise in an aquarium setting and the retail price is reflected in this element.

The Cardinal Tetra is bigger than the Neon Tetras. It has a blue-red stripe running from the head to its tail. They are visually more appealing than the other Tetras due to their unique appearance. Though don’t be fooled! 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. Most fish are sold at a price of $3-$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.

You must also take responsibility for stocking fish with enough to make a school. These fish are best cared for by those who respect their natural habitat and ensure their safety.


Neon Tetra

The Neon Tetra differs from the Cardinal Tetra in several ways but they have the same appearance. The Neon Tetra has a smaller body than the Cardinal Tetra, and the red and blue do not extend to their entire length. Neon Tetras have a blue head with a redtail. Although their colors aren’t as vivid as those of the Cardinal Tetras, they are striking nonetheless.

The majority of Neon Tetras are also raised in captivity. This makes them more available, as they do not have to be sourced from the wild. Because of this, their price is lower than that of the Cardinal Tetra. Neon Tetras will be most commonly sold for $1-$2 per fish.

It’s up you

It is up to the individual to decide which school of fish they want to add to their tank. 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. Remember that the Neon Tetras and Cardinal need to be kept in a school with plenty of plants. This will ensure that they will live happily in your aquarium!