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Fish - Cardinal Tetra - (Paracheirodon axelrodi)

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Order: Characiformes Family: Characidae
Type locality is ‘stream near Tomar, Rio Negro, near Porto Velho, Brazil’, although this appears to be erroneous since Porto Velho is located on the rio Madeira and P. axelrodi has never been recorded from that drainage.
It’s current confirmed range extends westwards (upriver) from the area around the municipality of Santa Isabel do Rio Negro (formerly Tapuruquara) in the middle rio Negro basin, Brazil to lower parts of the Ríos Vaupés (aka Uaupés in Brazil), Içana, Guaviare, Inírida, Meta and Vichada.
It also occurs in the Casiquiare Canal and parts of the Orinoco watershed in Venezuela with the latter populations exhibiting some morphological differences compared with those from the Negro (see ‘Notes’).
Cooke et al. (2009) conducted a phylogeographic analysis of rio Negro populations and found those inhabiting the upper part of the basin to represent genetically distinct lineages of far older origin than those in the middle basin.
As a result six populations from the tributary headwaters Vaupés, Paduá, Marié, Curicuriari, Ferrinha and Tea, respectively, were recommended for conservation priority due to their genetic uniqueness.
A more-or-less exclusive inhabitant of forest streams and minor tributaries containing relatively slowly-moving water.
In the rio Negro system it inhabits so-called igapó and igarapé habitats characterised by thick, often overhanging, riparian vegetation and substrates covered in fallen branches, tree roots and leaf litter.
The water is typically acidic, of negligible carbonate hardness and conductivity and stained brownish due to the presence of humic substances released by decomposing organic matter.
In the Orinoco system it’s more commonly-associated with habitats known as morichals which tend to contain transparent, clear water and sandy substrates, often with dense growth of aquatic plants or riparian vegetation among which the fish take shelter.
Although the water is acidic it is less so than in the Negro with typical values of 5.5-6.5.
Both types of habitat are highly-seasonal in nature and during the dry season the fish tend to form large schools in the main stream channels, among the layer of leaf litter and other organic detritus which forms due to the lack of flow.
When the wet season rains begin water depth and flow increases and the streams flood the surrounding terrain.
The leaf litter tends to disperse, exposing the underlying sand, and the fish swim higher in the water column, moving into areas of inundated vegetation or taking cover among submerged roots (Mikolji, 2009).
This seasonal hydrological cycle also permits mixing of cardinal tetra populations that would otherwise remain isolated from one another.
In nature P. axelrodi is considered a virtually annual fish with individuals over a year old rarely-encountered, although it can live considerably longer in aquaria.
It occurs alongside hundreds of other species but some of those occurring in the Río Orinoco and available in the aquarium trade include Corydoras delphax, Platydoras costatus, Baryancistrus beggini, Hypancistrus inspector, Panqolus maccus, Panaque nigrolineatus, Hemigrammus rhodostomus, H. stictus, Hyphessobrycon sweglesi, Pristella maxillaris, Copella nattereri, Biotodoma wavrini, Geophagus dicrozoster, Heros severus, Mesonauta insignis, Satanoperca daemon and Uaru fernandezyepezi, for example.
Maximum Standard Length
20 – 35 mm.
Aquarium Size
An aquarium with base dimensions of 60 ∗ 30 cm or larger is recommended.

Acclimating fish, shrimps and snails to the new aquarium is extremely important. This is because most of the time, the water in the shop has different parameters to the water in our homes. Many species are sensitive to sudden changes in water parameters, therefore, acclimation to aquarium water is essential.

Acclimating method 1

Place the plastic bag of the animal bought in the shop (fish, shrimp, etc.) in the aquarium for 15-20 minutes to equalise the water temperatures. After heat equilibration, carefully pour out the animals into a clean vessel (separate vessels if there are several bags). Then, add 1 dl of aquarium water every 20 minutes. Acclimate your new creatures for at least 2-3 hours. Use a net to transfer the fish/shrimp from the vessel to the aquarium.

tip: The Seachem Stress Guard product can reduce the acclimating time to 30-60 minutes.

Acclimating method 2

Place the plastic bag of the animal bought in the shop (fish, shrimp, etc.) in the aquarium for 15-20 minutes to equalise the water temperature. After heat equilibration, carefully pierce 4-5 small holes in the bag while it is floating on the top of the water in the aquarium. Turn it over to allow the aquarium water to flow through the holes. Allow at least 2-3 hours for the water to mix. Release the fish/shrimp into the aquarium.

What is the ideal time of the day to settle the new residents?

The best time is before the lights are turned on. The fish are not active yet, so this is the best time to let the new residents in. They will find a hiding place sooner and have time to get to know the new aquarium before the active part of the day.
Of course, they can also be let in at other times of the day, but take good care of how the old residents react to the new ones. If you have a CO2 system, it is important to stop the carbon dioxide supply 2-3 hours before acclimation.

When is the earliest time I can feed my fish and shrimps?

Freshly introduced fish and shrimps should be fasted for 24 hours. They might not even accept food, but stress can also cause problems with digestion.

How many fish can I put in the aquarium?

Read our blog post on this.

What should I feed my fish?

Read our blog post on this.

More Information
NameFish - Cardinal Tetra - (Paracheirodon axelrodi)
Weight (kg)0.010000

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