The Cardinal Tetra is one of the most famous and popular species in the hobby. It is a truly magnificent fish, which forms the cornerstone of the Brazilian Amazon ornamental fishery. It is also bred commercially in several countries, most notably the Czech Republic. Various forms of the species are known within its natural range, and may represent several, rather than a single, species. A cultivated golden variety is sometimes available.
- Cheirodon axelrodi, Hyphessobrycon cardinalis
- From the Orinoco (Venezuela) through the northern tributaries of the Rio Negro (Brazil) to western Colombia.
- Up to 2in (5cm).
- Peaceful shoaler.
- Wide range of foods accepted.
- Well planted, with open spaces and subdued lighting. These fish are often found in tannin-stained water. Soft, acid water recommended, but harder, more alkaline conditions tolerated if adjustments carried out gradually. Temperature range: 73-81 °F (23-27°C).
- Challenging in aquaria. Subdued lighting and very soft, acid, tannin-stained water will enhance chances of success. Eggs are scattered among vegetation and may be eaten by the parents. Hatching takes about 1 day.