Albino Cardinal Tetra (Paracheirodon axelrodi 'Albino')

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Albino Cardinal Tetra
Paracheirodon axelrodi 'Albino'
Albino Cardinal Tetra (Paracheirodon axelrodi 'Albino')
Name Albino Cardinal Tetra
Name Lat. Paracheirodon axelrodi 'Albino'
Synonym Cheirodon axelrodi
Family Characins
Family lat. Characidae
Order Characins
Order lat. Characiformes
Origin NW-South America
Habitat Forest streams, ponds
Diet Carnivore
pH 5.5-7.5
Behavior Peaceful
Keeping Group
Care Level Moderate
Reproduction Egg scatterer
Breeding Moderately difficult
Life Span 3-5 years
Protection No
Metric Units
Size 5 cm
Temperature 24-29 °C
Hardness 5-15 °dH
Aquarium ~ 80 l
US Units
Size 2"
Temperature 75-84 °F
Hardness 89-267 ppm
Aquarium ~ 20 gal

Distribution and habitat

The albino Red Neon is a color morph. Red Neon are native to the watersheds of the upper Rio Orinoco (Venezuela) and the upper Rio Negro (Brazil, Colombia). There they live in stagnant tributaries in densely forested areas, with brown, tannin-rich water and dense riparian vegetation.


The aquarium should have a varied, partly dense planting, with shelters and hiding places (roots) and provide sufficient swimming space. Soft, slightly acidic water, a dark substrate covered with some foliage (e.g. sea almond leaves) and shaded light (floating plants) is ideal.

No ammonia, ammonium and nitrite should be detectable, the nitrate value should not exceed 100 mg/l. To ensure water quality and oxygen content, a filter and heater adapted to the aquarium size is required, as well as lighting for the species-appropriate day-night rhythm of the animals.


In the wild, neon tetras feed primarily on small insects, insect larvae and plankton. The food supply consists of live, frozen and dry food. For a balanced diet, feed once a day with a high-quality, protein-rich dry food (flakes, granules, pellets) as well as cyclops, moina, daphnia, artemia, mosquito larvae, etc. (live or frozen)

It is recommended to feed small portions several times a day. Only feed as much as will be eaten within a few minutes. A regular and varied diet promotes health and increases resistance.

Behaviour and compatibility

They are swimming, peaceful schooling fish and well suited for a community tank with other, not too large and peaceful fish. At least 5, but preferably much more Red Neon should be kept together.

In principle, only mutually compatible fish species with similar requirements to the water condition and water temperature may be socialized.

Sex dimorphism

The sexes are difficult to distinguish. The females are somewhat stronger and larger

Reproduction and breeding

They are free spawners. In soft, slightly acidic peat water they usually spawn between fine-feathered plants. The larvae hatch after 24-36 hours and swim freely after 3-4 days. The parents do not perform brood care and should be separated from the fry after spawning, as they are spawn predators.

Fry must be fed several times a day with special rearing food (dust food). Breeding is hardly possible in community tanks, as the spawn is easy prey.


The blue stripe serves as a signal to keep the group together in the dark brown black water. The stripe contains pigment cells (iridophores) that can reflect light. At night, without light, the animals are gray-brown, the red stripe then appears black and serves as camouflage (camouflage). In the morning it takes about 15 minutes until the blue stripe starts to glow.

The foliage (sea almond tree, oak, etc.) enriches the water with humic substances, naturally lowers the pH and, when rotting, promotes the development of microorganisms, which are a valuable secondary food source.

The well-being of the fish should be monitored regularly. Temperature should be checked daily, pH, hardness and nitrate levels at least every 14 days. Regular partial water changes are recommended, even when contaminant levels have not yet reached the upper limit. Sudden changes in water quality should be avoided. Newly introduced fish must be accustomed slowly to the water in the aquarium

Further literature can be found in your pet store.


Text: petdata; Image: Franz Lowak

Source: BMEL (1998): Tierschutzgutachten - Haltung von Zierfischen (Süßwasser); RIEHL & BAENSCH (2006): Aquarien Atlas Bd. 1, Mergus Verlag; ENGELMANN (2005): Zootierhaltung - Tiere in menschlicher Obhut: Fische, Verlag Harri Deutsch 

  • Gemäß § 21 Abs. 5 Tierschutzgesetz idgF