Neon Tetras & 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.
The fish are similar in nature and require similar tank conditions. Both the Cardinal and Neon Tetra are schooling fish. Schooling fish need more friends than just a few. To feel safe and live happily, you’ll need to invest in the proper number of fish for your tank. The absolute bare minimum you could have is 6, but it is best advised that you add even more to your tank within a few weeks. The Tetras need to be able and willing to follow the flow of the crowd in order to thrive. 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
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 distinctive look, and they are often the most visually appealing of both Tetras. Though don’t be fooled! From a distance, both fish do look similar and are hard to tell apart.
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. Many stores would much rather stock and provide captive-raised fish but because of their cost, source, and difficulty raising them most stores do not usually stock them.
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. Respecting these fish’s natural instincts and providing them with safety in large numbers is the best way to ensure their survival.
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.
The majority of Neon Tetras are also raised in captivity. Because they are not wild-sourced, this makes them more accessible. Their cost is less than the Cardinal Tetra. Neon Tetras are more likely to be purchased at $1-$2 per piece.
It’s up 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. The vibrantly colored Cardinal Tetras may appeal to you and you might be open to considering a lower price. You can be certain that they will add color to your tank, no matter what you choose. 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!