Home » Fish Guides » Ultimate Guide on What cardinal tetras eat and cardinal tetra food?

Ultimate Guide on What cardinal tetras eat and cardinal tetra food?

Cardinal Tetra is the most beautiful and most popular aquarium fish species in the world. you can add Cardinal Tetra to your tank and make it more beautiful. Even if you like Cardinal Tetra, are you fear to raise them because you do not know how to feed them? Do not worry, this article definitely helps you to be a good Cardinal Tetra keeper. What cardinal tetras eat?

What does Cardinal Tetra eat? 

Cardinal Tetra is an omnivorous fish. This type of fish eats virtually anything that floats on the water surface. Normally Cardinal Tetra fish eat eggs, small crustaceans, algae, mesofauna, detritus, and prepared fish foods.

There are special fish foods that produce for Cardinal Tetra. Further to feed your Cardinal Tetra, flake foods, small and granulated pellets are the best selections.

In addition to these, Cardinal Tetra eat frozen and live foods like bloodworm, brine shrimp, Daphnia, and mosquito larvae. Cardinal Tetra is fond of cyclops and marine zooplankton too. 

What does cardinal tetra eat in the Wild?

Cardinal Tetra eat plant matters as well as animal matters, because they are omnivorous. In the wild, Cardinal Tetra eats algae, zooplankton, phytoplankton, plant detritus, animal detritus, small crustaceans, mesofauna, crustacean and fish eggs, and some other types of prey.

Mostly they feed on Cladocera including small, spherical moinids, daphnids, and macrothricids. Further, they eat some copepods (benthonic Harpacticidae). Mesofauna (Rotifera and benthonic) also is eaten by Cardinal Tetra. 

This fish species eat plant matters too. Cardinal Tetra eat unicellular diatoms such as Navicularia, Pinnularia, and also some green algae types including Chlamydomonas, Conjugatophyta, and Valvocaceae.

In wild, Cardinal Tetra eats dead fish too. They feed on the dead fish’s detritus such as muscular and membranous tissues. 

Cardinal Tetra also eats fly larvae or pupae, ants, and mites. Furthermore, in wild, Cardinal Tetra likes to eat fungus, fruits, newly hatched shrimp larvae, and fish larvae. 

What cardinal tetra eat in the Aquarium?

Cardinal Tetra virtually eats anything that you put into their tank and they accept many small foods. Because Cardinal Tetra fish are omnivorous. You can feed your fish by using plant matters as well as animal maters. You should provide a balanced diet for your fish.

You can use dried foods to feed your Cardinal Tetra and those are the cheapest feed type. Dried foods are easy to find. But when comparing with live and frozen foods, the nutrients contain in the dried foods are bit low.

Frozen and live foods such as bloodworm, black mosquito larvae, Brine shrimp, and daphnia. Moreover, you can add green vegetables like spirulina, lettuce, spinach, cucumber, and peas to your Cardinal Tetra. You also can provide flakes and pellets food to your Cardinal Tetra. 

How long can cardinal tetra go without food?

Generally, most fish can live without food for at least a week or tuwo weeks. But this time can be changed due to some factors including water condition, the health of the fish and others. 

But when concern Cardinal Tetra, this time period can be changed. Cardinal Tetra can live about 4-5 days without feeds. But if you do not provide the foods to your Cardinal Tetra fish more than 5 days, they still have a chance to survive.

If your tank has live aquarium plants, these plants are able to be a diet for the fish. But you should highly consider water quality changes rather than lack of food. Because water condition or water quality can badly affect your Cardinal Tetra. 

Best cardinal tetra foods 

There are many types of foods that suit for the Cardinal Tetras like live foods, frozen foods, package foods, and vegetables. You can create a balanced diet by using these foods. Because anyone including fish does not like to eat the same food every day.  

Live Food

Cardinal Tetras eat live foods such as insect larvae, daphnia, small insects, fruit fly and anything that they can grab by their little mouth in the wild. But in the aquarium, you can give brine shrimp or artemia.

daphnia to feed neon tetra
daphnia

Brine Shrimp

Cardinal Tetras eat brine shrimps. Brine shrimps are a good protein source for your adult Cardinal Tetras. 

As a first step, you should purchase brine shrimp eggs from a fish store. After that, you should follow the below steps to hatch the brine shrimp eggs.

  1. Take a small tank or container and fill it with 2 litters of water
  2. Then put brine shrimps’ eggs into the tank 
  3. Add two spoonful of salt
  4. Keep the temperature of the tank at 70 degrees Fahrenheit for 24 hours.
  5. After 24 hours, the shrimps’ eggs will hatch
  6. After hatching, strain the shrimps through the mesh
  7. Wash the shrimps by using freshwater
  8. Put brine shrimp into the tank to feed the Cardinal Tetras 
Brine Shrimp
Brine Shrimp

Micro Worms

Micro worms provide high protein to your Cardinal Tetra. After purchase the micro worms in the store, you should follow the below steps to increase the worms amount and keep them live.

  1. Take the shoebox or another box that similar to the shoebox. The plastic one is better.
  2. Spread some oatmeal in the middle of your box. 
  3. Put some brewer’s yeast to the top of the oatmeal
  4. Then put micro worms into the box and keep it for a few days
  5. The reason is to the above is, in a few days micro worms eat oatmeal and alive in the box. 
  6. You can feed your Cardinal Tetra on micro worms when you need 

Frozen food 

You can feed your Cardinal Tetra on frozen foods such as bloodworm, tubifex. But frozen foods have a lower amount of nutrients than live foods. You can make frozen beef hearts at home.

To make this, you can buy beef from the cold food store and chop it and keep them in your freezer. You can add 5-10 drops of gelatin to beef mixture. It helps to improve food texture.

After that, you can add frozen beef tiny pieces to your Cardinal Tetra tank. You can follow the same process to make frozen foods with other meats like chicken, lamb and fish. 

Frozen fish Foods for tetra
Frozen fish Foods for tetra

Commercial package foods 

Under this fish food category, you can use fish flakes, fish pellets and wafers to feed your Cardinal Tetra. Among them, you can buy high-quality fish foods that suitable to Cardinal Tetra. You can buy fish foods that contain required nutrients such as protein, omega fatty acids, and fibers. Also you should keep in mind to avoid barley, gluten, wheat, and soy packaged foods.

 Here are some Commercial package foods:

  • API Tropical Pellets
  • Tetra Min Plus Tropical Flakes
  • Omega one freeze-dried blood worms 9.6 oz
  • Fluval a6577 bug bites tropical fish small granules 1.59 oz. – this specific to small and medium fish.
tetra Fish flake food

Vegetable Diet 

Cardinal Tetras eat vegetables too. Thus, you can add vegetables to their diet occasionally. They eat Spinach, Spirulina, Cucumber, Lettuce, Peas, and Other green vegetables. 

How many times a day should I feed my cardinal tetra or feeding frequency?

You should feed your Cardinal Tetras two times a day. You can feed them in the morning and the evening time. Always add the correct amount of food that your fish are able to finish within 2 minutes.

After 2 minutes, if there are any excess foods in the tank, you should remove it by using a fishnet. It helps to maintain water quality. First, you can put a small amount of food. If Cardinal Tetra completely eat foods very quickly, you can add more foods to them.

How to Feed cardinal tetra?

Cardinal Tetras mainly eat anything you put in their tank. The only requirement is that feed can be grabbed from their small mouth.

You are easy to feed them because they are omnivorous. They eat plant matters as well as animal matters. In wild, Cardinal Tetra eat algae, detritus, small crustaceans, mesofauna, eggs, and some other types of prey. But in the aquarium, you should provide a balanced diet to your fish.

Here you should keep in mind to provide the best quality foods with balance nutrients. Because Cardinal Tetra needs vitamins too. Thus, you can use high-quality fish flakes and fish pallets to feed your fish.

Moreover, they accept frozen and live or fresh foods like bloodworm, black mosquito larvae, Brine shrimp, and daphnia.

Also, they eat plant matters. you can put green vegetables including spirulina, lettuce, spinach, cucumber, and peas. The special thing is you should feed your Cardinal Tetra twice a day. Also, you should keep in mind to feed them what your fish have the ability to finish in about 2 minutes

How much does cardinal tetra eat?

You can measure the required food amount roughly according to the number of the Cardinal Tetras in the tank. First, you can put a small amount of food. If your Cardinal Tetra eats foods that are given by you very quickly, you can add more foods to them until the 2 minutes mark.

After 2 minutes, if there are any excess foods in the tank, you can remove them by using a fishnet. If you are able to provide several feedings to your fish, it is recommended. But the very special thing is you should remember the 2 minutes mark. 

Furthermore, the foods that you provide to your fish should be in small pieces. Because Cardinal Tetra has a little mouth.  

Will cardinal tetra overeat or eat too much?

Yes, Cardinal Tetra can eat a lot. They will swallow any amount of food that you give to them. Thus, you should avoid overfeeding because it is danger. If you overfeed your fish, their stomach will swell. It also caused to reason for many diseases. Furthermore, excess foods create ammonia. Ammonia is caused to the imbalance of water parameters. Also, as a result of the excess foods, water in your tank become cloudy. 

What human’s foods can they eat?

Cardinal Tetra is omnivores verity. Therefore, they eat both plant matters and animal matters. They eat some human foods such as:

  • Beef 
  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Lamb
  • Spinach
  • Spirulina
  • Cucumber
  • Lettuce
  • Peas

Is Flake Fish Food Suitable For cardinal tetra?

Yes. Flake fish foods are the best food for your fish because it contains all nutrients that your Cardinal Tetras need.

To feed your fish, you should purchase high-quality flake foods that free from fillers. It is better to buy flakes fish foods that contain protein, omega fatty acids, and fibres. There are many commercial flakes fish foods like Tetra Min Plus Tropical Flakes 2.2. 

What Kind of Mouth does cardinal tetra have?

Most of the omnivores including Cardinal Tetras have terminal mouths. This type of mouth situated in the middle of the fish head and it points forward. This type of mouth helps to grab the foods easily from middle water column. 

Frequently asked questions

Can Cardinal Tetras eat betta food?

Yes, Cardinal Tetras can eat betta foods. Betta fish is not much more different than other community fish like Cardinal Tetras. You can use high-quality betta pellets and betta-specific foods to feed your Cardinal Tetras. 

Are Cardinal Tetra eating vegetables?

Yes. Cardinal Tetras eat vegetables. Because they are omnivores. Because you can add vegetables to their diet occasionally. Here are some vegetables that Cardinal Tetras eat:

  • Spinach
  • Spirulina
  • Cucumber
  • Lettuce
  • Peas
  • Other green vegetables

Feeding Frozen Foods to Cardinal Tetras

Frozen foods are also the best choice to feed Cardinal Tetras. Because frozen foods are packed with more nutrients rather than formulated foods. You can feed your Cardinal Tetras by using frozen foods such as bloodworms, tubifex. 

Will cardinal Tetras eat algae?

Yes, as an omnivorous feeding behaviour, Cardinal Tetras can eat algae. Further, they eat plant matters too. Algae grow inside the fish tank. It also a good option for you Cardinal Tetras.

The algae types that are eaten by Cardinal Tetra are unicellular diatoms such as Navicularia and Pinnularia. They also eat some green algae types including Chlamydomonas, Conjugatophyta, and Valvocaceae. 

Do Cardinal Tetra eat algae wafer?

Yes. Cardinal Tetras eat algae wafers. Cardinal Tetras are omnivores. Therefore, they eat plant matters and algae.

Does Cardinal Tetra eat mosquito larvae?

You can feed your Cardinal Tetras on mosquito larvae. Cardinal Tetras eat live foods such as insect larvae including mosquito larvae. Because they are omnivores and they eat animal maters. 

Does Cardinal Tetra eat plants?

Cardinal Tetras are eating plant matters because they are omnivorous. Anubis Nana, Amazon Swords, and Java Ferns are the best live plants for your Cardinal Tetras tank.  

Cardinal Tetra eat shrimp

Cardinal Tetras eat brine shrimps. Brine shrimps are a good option for your adult Cardinal Tetras. Because they contain much protein than other live foods.

As a first step, you should purchase shrimp eggs from a fish store. After that, you should follow the below steps to hatch the shrimp eggs.

  1. Take a small tank or container and fill it with 2 litters of water
  2. Then put shrimps’ eggs into the tank 
  3. Add two spoonsful of kosher salt
  4. Keep the temperature of the tank at 70 degrees Fahrenheit for 24 hours
  5. After 24 hours, the shrimps egg hatch
  6. After hatching, strain the shrimps through the mesh
  7. Wash the shrimps by using freshwater
  8. Put required amount of brine shrimp into the tank to feed the Cardinal Tetras 

What to Feed Fry and Juvenile Cardinal Tetras?

You can use infusoria, rotifers, egg yolk, commercially prepared fry and juvenile fish foods to feed fry and juvenile stages of cardinal tetras.

Credits to Aquarium Co-Op

Also see Smallest Goldfish Types And Care

Share and Enjoy !

0Shares

Leave a Comment