Cardinals fish


Cardinal - aquarium fish

Tanichthys albonubes, or simply cardinal - an ideal fish for those who are just starting their acquaintance with aquarist. These small and mobile creatures are not only beautiful, but also very simple in maintenance and care. But first things first.

Cardinal in nature

The rapid streams of mountain streams in southeastern China are considered to be the historical homeland of these carps.

From there, the cardinal was brought to Canada (1935), then came to the United States, and after that to Europe, and more precisely to Germany (1938).

It should be noted that from 1980 to the present, the cardinals have been considered an extinct species in China. This is due to the influence of man on wildlife and its transformation into parks, hotels, sanatoriums and so on. A small number of fish survived in the provinces of Goundong (China) and Quang Nin (Vietnam), but it is negligible. The Chinese government is taking measures to preserve and restore the population.

And all the fish that go on sale and which we see in pet stores, are raised in captivity.

What does the cardinal look like?

His body is slim. It is elongated and slightly oblate from the sides. The dorsal and anal fins are located on the same line. The tail fin is divided into two lobes. Antennae not. The mouth looks up, as these fish take food from the surface of the water. Males have a flatter belly and are colored brighter than females.

Cardinals are small. They rarely grow more than 3-5 cm. Life expectancy is also short - from 1 to 1.5 years.

The color is bronze-brown, with the stomach lighter than the rest of the body. From the eye to the tail is a luminous band, which ends with a small black dot. The tail is transparent, it has a spot of red color. There are they on other fins.

There are other artificially derived forms of cardinals, although they are not as popular as those described above. These include albinos, gold cardinals and voile varieties.

Similarity of the cardinal with neon

Undoubtedly, there is a similarity. And even some amateur hobbyists consider these fish to be related. However, this opinion is erroneous, and the similarity is nothing but the whim of nature. In fact, there is no relationship. Cardinals belong to carp and their homeland is China, and neons are characteristic and live in the waters of South America.

How to choose the cardinals of the neighbors?

Tanichthys albonubes should preferably be settled in an aquarium with a large flock of 15 or more individuals (and there should be 2-3 males in the flock, not more). If the cardinals in the home pond will be a bit, then they become fearful, most of the time hiding and losing the brightness of the color.

And so it is very peaceful and friendly creatures that do not conflict with each other, do not touch their fry, and treat representatives of other species very well.

About how to choose the right fish in the aquarium will tell our article.

We advise you to read the article Unpretentious aquarium fish.

Small neighbors, similar in temperament, will become good neighbors for them: a galaxy, a guppy, a zebrafish microassembly, etc.

Big, aggressive fish for which the cardinal will easily become food are categorically inappropriate. The neighborhood with goldfish is also not very good - they can eat. It is also better not to keep along with catfish, gourami, laliusi and similar slow-moving calm fish, in which the cardinals will divert food from under their noses.

How to create optimal conditions?

Aquarium better to choose an oblong shape. It will be enough and a small 15-liter for 5-7 fish. But the ideal is still a 40 liter spacious container. The water level should not be below 20-25 cm.

Water. Cardinals do not like warm water. In such conditions, their coloring fades and their life expectancy decreases. Also, there should be no sharp temperature changes, otherwise the fish will get a fungus. The optimal parameters of water is considered to be the temperature of 18-22 degrees, the hardness of 4-20 °, pH 6.5-7.5.

Filtration and aeration very desirable. Every 1-2 weeks is required to replace 30 percent of the volume of water.

Lighting Fish need bright, so you need additional lighting.

Priming better to choose the dark. Suitable as sand and small pebbles.

Plants. Despite the fact that the cardinals prefer dense vegetation, the algae must be placed so that the light can reach the bottom, and there is a place for swimming. Fern, myriophyllum, Ludwigia, Elodaea, Limnophila, Wallisneria and other small-leaved varieties are well suited. On the surface, you can arrange duckweed or riccia.

Decor. For decoration, you can install snags and stones.

What to feed the cardinals?

Anything These carp eat all kinds of feed: live, frozen, dry in the form of flakes or pellets. The main thing is to remember that they can take food only from the surface of the water, and not from the bottom (due to anatomical features), and the food should not be too large, as the fish themselves are small. Moth, artemia, tubule, cyclops, daphnias, small worms and insects will do. If live food is unavailable for any reason, then you can give dry ones by adding vitamin B to them.

How to get offspring?

Cardinals can breed throughout the year. They are considered sexually mature from four months of age. You can breed them in two ways:

The first way. In the general aquarium. And keep there only cardinals. Due to the fact that these fish do not touch their eggs and fry, their numbers very quickly increase.

Second way. In spawning. It is a small container (approximately 20 liters) with soft cool water (pH 6.5-7.5, t 18-22 ° C), plants, filtration and aeration. Soil is optional.

2 males and 4-5 females are placed there. They are abundantly fed. After some time, the female lays about 300 eggs. After that, adults can be planted, but they can also be left in the spawn. Approximately in 36-48 hours fry will appear, which can independently eat in 3-4 days.

For starters, they can be given rotifers, live dust, ciliates and egg yolk. Later it is worth translating into small cyclops and daphnids. As they grow, they are sorted by size and deposited.

A special feature of the fry is a shiny blue strip on its side. When the fish reaches puberty, this band disappears.

Cardinal diseases

These carp can occur characteristic disease, the origin of which is not clearly understood. These are tumors in various parts of the body. It all begins with the appearance of a tumor the size of a match head on the upper lip. It can be light gray or black. No other symptoms. The fish is active and does not lose appetite. As a rule, all (or almost all) individuals become ill at the same time. This is not transmitted to other species.

Interesting Facts

  1. In Asia, cardinals are sometimes kept as pond fish. They are not only beautiful, but also help in the fight against mosquitoes.
  2. These carp are able to withstand temperature drops from 14 to 30 degrees.
  3. The name Cardinal is a commercial move. The merchants gave it to these fish so that the goods sold better. Such a name was often found in German books on aquarism of the time, from which it got into Russian and took root.
  4. In China and England, fish are called minnows, mountains of white clouds, or Guangdong minnows. They are so named because of their habitat. Cardinals can be found in fast and cool water flows on Baiyunshan Mountain, which is also known as White Mountain Clouds.

As we can see, it’s really easy to care for cardinals. They are loyal both to the volume of the dwelling, and to the parameters of the water, and to the stern. The only thing that is important is to maintain the purity of the water. And so these fish will delight the owner not only at home, but even in a mini-aquarium in the office on the desktop.

Aquarium Cardinals

Cardinal (fish) - fish of the carp family, of the class Ray. The name got its due to the desire of easy money merchants, who hoped that it would be better sold for industrial purposes. The Latin, classical specific name is more consonant: "alba nubes", which literally translates as "white clouds". For the first time these fish were found in China.

In Guangdong, China, in 1930, the leader of a pioneering movement named Tang Meng Yo made the first entries about cardinals. In the description, it was stated that this fish survives well in water with a low temperature, and, as it turned out later, aquarium conditions for it are also not a bad place. Later it was sold under different names, and the "cardinal" was not the only one. Chinese danios, false neon, magnificent minnow - such names are often found on the market.

The fast south Chinese rivers are the natural habitat of the cardinals. Keeping and breeding them is available only in aquarium conditions, since they are almost wiped out in the wild. Since the 1980s, there has not been a single notification about the places of their population. In China, this species was temporarily considered extinct. Miraculously, it turned out that a small school of fish was found in some Chinese and Vietnamese provinces. All fish sold today are bred.


Despite its unremarkable size, the cardinal is a bright and colorful fish with an elongated and slender body, which is slightly flattened in front, on the sides. On top of the muzzle - a small mouth, which is located as in nature, it collects insects from the upper layers of water. The fish has no antennae, the dorsal fin is in line with the anal fin.

Color bronze brown, with a bright strip passing through the axis of the body. On the tail there is a bright red spot, part of the tail is transparent. The abdomen is lighter, in contrast to the rest of the body, the fins are slightly veiled, also colored in raspberry red. There are artificially derived colors, even albinos.

When the fry reach a length of 4-5 mm, a shiny silver-blue strip appears on their body, which disappears when reaching a length of 2-3 cm, that is, upon reaching puberty. Males are slimmer and more elongated than females, the differences between them are mild. The nature of the aquarium fish active, mobile.

Can they live with other fish?

The small golden cardinal, despite its miniature size, can live with other small fish. Guppies, zebrafish, microassemblies of the galaxy can become his housemates. You should not keep them with goldfish and larger aggressive fish.

Look at how beautiful the cardinal fish is.

For a comfortable existence within a limited aquatic environment, there should be a lot of cardinals, preferably 15 individuals in one flock. If there are few of them, fear will not be avoided, because of which the color will deteriorate. Cardinal is a fish that does not like to eat its offspring, so it is even easier to breed.

How to keep in an aquarium

If you are a beginner in aquarism, then keeping and breeding a cardinal will not cause you any particular trouble. They are hardy and unpretentious creatures. However, they do not like to swim in warm water, so the temperature should be maintained within 18-22 degrees Celsius. Warm water reduces their lives, spoils the color.

At the bottom of the aquarium you need to lay out the dark ground or river sand, snags, stones and many plants for shelter (elodey, ferns, myriophyllum). Before placing the sand in the aquarium, it is better to rinse it thoroughly and boil for 40 minutes to destroy the parasites. You can leave a soft spot to watch their game.

Water parameters: pH 6.0-8.5, hardness 4-20 dH. Regular change ¼ of the water required. Additionally, install a compressor for aeration and water filtration. Cardinals are very sensitive to copper, so do not use it for preventive procedures. In Asia, cardinals are kept in ponds as fighters against mosquitoes, but not near large fish.


For cardinals suitable food, which is eaten by many aquarium fish:

  1. Small crank;
  2. Daphnia;
  3. Cyclops;
  4. Flakes;
  5. Tubber;
  6. Artemia;
  7. Small granules.

It should be remembered that they have a very small mouth, so that large food with large pieces will not work.

About breeding cardinals

As a short-lived aquarium fish, the cardinal can spawn all year round. Breeding is simple because they do not eat their caviar. There are several ways to breed cardinals. The first method is that adults begin to breed themselves, provided that no other species of fish live in the aquarium. The second way is to prepare a small tank for a spawn (from 20 to 40 liters in volume), where you can transfer the most active and vibrant males and 4-5 females. Spawning lay out the plants, they will be laid caviar.

Look at the marriage dances of the cardinals.

Dilution is possible at a water temperature of 18-22 degrees, pH 6.5-7.5. Soil for such an aquarium is not required, the internal filter will improve water filtration and aeration, a small flow will be a plus.

Spawning is possible when producers are ready. Feeding live food (shrimp, daphnia, pipe maker) stimulates readiness for spawning.

They become sexually mature at the age of 4 months, only after that spawning is possible. In adult females, the belly becomes “full”, and the males become brighter. Over the course of several days, females spawn eggs, which fertilize males. The problem is that spawning in the general aquarium will be difficult when the young fry eat the eggs of their younger relatives. Therefore, it is better to spawn in a prepared, safer place.

When spawning takes place, the producers are sifted. After 3-4 days, the fry will appear, which is fed with rotifers, egg yolk pounded, live dust, ciliates, nauplii, oat flour.

Colorful and live aquarium fish as representatives of the exotic water world, are easily recognized by many lovers due to their peaceful behavior and ease of breeding.


The cardinal aquarium fish is the only species in the genus. The fish belongs to the carp family, the genus Tanihtis, has a very narrow habitat. Home of the Cardinal are fast mountain streams in the vicinity of Canton, South China. Usually individuals reach 3 cm, the maximum length is 4 cm. These nimble fishes are in active, continuous movement during the daytime. The cardinal feeds on small live food - crustaceans and larvae of aquatic insects. For the first time in Europe, this species appeared in the late 30s in aquariums of exotic fish lovers.


Cardinals are very beautiful and, at the same time, unpretentious. The maintenance of cardinals does not cause difficulties even for beginning aquarists. Aquarium fish cardinals can withstand temperature changes in the range of 6-7 ° C, can live in water at room temperature without heating. Cardinals can be kept in an aquarium with a volume of 20-30 liters in a small flock of 5-10 individuals. They willingly feed on any kind of food, but prefer live moth and pipe worker.

Cardinal fishes have a simple but very attractive color. The pectoral fins are framed in black edging, the overall color of the fins is lemon-colored. The rest are partially painted red. The lower part of the abdomen is colored silvery white, and the upper part is reddish brown. Young fish cardinals have a beautiful strip of emerald color throughout the length, in adults this strip is golden in color.

It is best to keep cardinals in a large aquarium thickly planted around the perimeter with aquatic plants with small leaves. In the aquarium should be enough space at the front glass for swimming. Fishes can peacefully coexist with other small species, but for predators they become easy prey. Aeration, filtration and replacement of 30% of the volume of water in an aquarium every week is necessary for maintenance.

Breeding cardinals

Being in the general aquarium, the fish may be undernourished, therefore special conditions are necessary for the breeding of cardinals. In the spring, females and males are deposited in separate tanks. For these purposes, you can use three-liter jars, with defended fresh water that needs to be aerated. The temperature of the water in the chalices must be between 22-23 ° C. Two nests are prepared for spawning, fish readiness is determined by females with a rounded belly.

For spawning grounds, you can use a low aquarium with a volume of 10 liters or more, the bottom of which must be covered with well-washed coarse-grained river sand. Part of the aquarium should be taken under the small-leaved plants - Nitella, Rogolodnik or perististochnik. The lighting should be moderate, the temperature of the water in the breeding ground is the same as in the breeder. Breeding cardinals is an exciting process that is fun to watch. Cardinals placed in a breeding ground become animated and active. Males begin ritual courtship, making graceful turns around females.

Spawning can last for about 2 days, the female for this period spawns about 30 eggs. For re-breeding cardinals, manufacturers need to re-sit in different containers and feed heavily with live food. Breeding cardinals can be carried out up to 10 times with 8-12 day breaks. After spawning, the fish are placed in a common aquarium with the usual temperature and feed regime.


Incubation of caviar lasts from 30 to 50 hours, which directly depends on the temperature of the water, which can not be subjected to sharp fluctuations. Cardinals' larvae are almost invisible to the naked eye, they are so small. Личиночный период продолжается около двух суток, причем личинки неподвижно висят на каком-либо субстрате. Поплывших мальков рыбки выкармливают сначала пылевидным комбикормом, коловраткой и 2-3 дневной артемией. Затем переводят на нематод, мелконарезанного трубочника, мотыля и обычный комбикорм.

It is possible to alleviate the natural appearance of ciliates for feeding fry right in the aquarium. To do this, hang a piece of banana peel or carrots (approximately 1 cm2) on a stainless steel wire in the upper layer of water. After the first portion disintegrates, you can hang a new one. It is necessary to monitor the purity of the water in the aquarium.

Cardinal fish: content, compatibility, photo-video review

Cardinal fish tanichtys albonubes

Detachment, family: Carp.

Comfortable water temperature: 20-22 C.

Ph: 6,5-7,0.

Aggressiveness: not aggressive 0%.

Cardinal fish compatibility: with all the peaceful fish (danios pink, terntion, catfish speckled, neons, etc.)

Useful tips: not capricious fish, suitable for beginners and young aquarists.


Homeland - China. Fish size up to 4 cm. Males are brighter colored than females and slimmer.

Cardinals contain a small flock. The fish is mobile, peaceful and unpretentious. Loves medium-sized live and dry food. Effectively a flock of cardinals looks in a spacious, planted and brightly lit aquarium.

Color: from the head to the tail of fish a bright, shimmering band passes, which, on reaching maturity (4 months), disappears. Under good conditions, the Cardinal spawns his whole life.

Comfortable parameters of water: dH 20 °, pH 6.5-7.0, t 20-22 ° C.

Breeding cardinals is not tricky. Fresh water is poured into a spawning aquarium, several small-leaved plants are placed, a sprayer is installed and a group is planted (there should be more females) or one pair of fish. Water for dilution: dH up to 10 °, pH 6.5-7.0, t 24-26 ° C.

Fish Cardinal male and female

The female lays several eggs every day. Calf and fry parents usually do not eat. When floating fry appear, the producers are transferred to another aquarium, and in the first one they begin to feed the fry. Food for the start - rotifers, cyclops nauplii, egg yolk or simply triturated dry food.

Feeding aquarium cardinals must be correct: balanced, diverse. This fundamental rule is the key to successful keeping of any fish, be it guppies or astronotuses. Article "How and how much to feed aquarium fish" talks in detail about this, it outlines the basic principles of the diet and feeding regime of fish.

In this article, we note the most important thing - feeding fish should not be monotonous; both dry and live food should be included in the diet. In addition, you need to take into account the gastronomic preferences of a particular fish and, depending on this, include in its diet ration either with the highest protein content or vice versa with vegetable ingredients.

Popular and popular feed for fish, of course, are dry food. For example, hourly and everywhere can be found on the aquarium shelves of food company "Tetra" - the leader of the Russian market, in fact, the range of feeds of this company is striking. In the "gastronomic arsenal" of Tetra are included as individual feeds for a certain type of fish: for goldfish, for cichlids, for loricarids, guppies, labyrinths, arovan, discus, etc. Also, Tetra has developed specialized foods, for example, for enhancing color, fortified or for feeding fry. Detailed information on all Tetra feeds, you can find on the official website of the company - here.

It should be noted that when buying any dry food, you should pay attention to the date of its production and shelf life, try not to buy food by weight, and also keep the food in a closed state - this will help avoid the development of pathogenic flora in it.

Photo selection of cardinal fish

Interesting video with a cardinal fish

Breeding cardinals

Fish-cardinals are not very impressive with their appearance. And those who prefer to see bright, beautiful inhabitants in their aquarium, rightly ignore this view. When you look at a small, bright fish, you always have a feeling of tenderness and sympathy. Especially strong feeling is caused by the smallest representatives of the breed.

This species is also good due to the fact that it gets on with almost all types of aquarium fish. And it can be kept in small aquariums. The cardinal is a fish accustomed to living in a flock, so several pairs should be wound up at once, and it is desirable to have more males.

Such fish are bred well even with a small layer of water, which may not exceed 20 - 25 cm. In order for females to safely lay eggs, in the aquarium it is necessary to make thickets of special small-leaved plants.

The only condition is that when new-born fry are found, they need to be caught, no matter what the adults begin to eat the offspring. Cardinal fry are fed with micro food, with proper care, the fry grow very quickly and reach maximum sizes in five months. For breeding, the temperature is set at 21-24 °, the aquarium is placed in a well-lit place. Cardinal - fish, breeding which does not require special costs and efforts.

As feed for the cardinal used feed for small fish. These can be live daphnids, cyclops, small bloodworm, and a tubule. If there are no live food, you can completely transfer the fish to dry food.

The babies are given cyclops nauplii, rotifers, mashed egg yolk or dry food, pre-mashed. Feed is introduced into a small amount of water, and then poured into the aquarium through a thick sieve. Whatever the food remains do not pollute the water inhabited by kids or big cardinals, you need to have a few snails in the same place that will eat the rest of the food.

Fish cardinals in a home aquarium: features of care :: aquarium fish cardinals :: aquarium fish

Fish cardinals in the home aquarium: features of care

Fish cardinals are quite popular with aquarists, these individuals received their name because of the presence of red in color. This is the only type of fish that can easily withstand temperature extremes. Before you get the cardinals, you need to familiarize yourself with the features of maintenance and care.

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Cardinal fish description

Cardinals are small-sized mobile fish (their length is up to four centimeters). The body of the cardinal is elongated and narrow, slightly flattened laterally. The sides are brown, the back is dark with a greenish tint, and the abdomen is silver in color. On the sides there is a golden reflective strip, in young fish it has a turquoise hue. Gill fins of bright lemon color with black edging, anal fin red with transparent corners. At the base of the tail is a black spot.

Cardinals content

Keeping fish cardinals is not difficult even for novice aquarists. We just need to remember that this is a schooling fish, so you need to keep them for at least ten of them, samochki should prevail (no more than two or three males per pack). The shape of the aquarium should be rectangular and elongated, not less than sixty centimeters in length, since the fish are cardinals speed, they need a place for various maneuvers. The capacity of the aquarium may be small, 30-40 liters.
The optimum water temperature for keeping these fish is 20-23 ° C, the acidity can vary between 6.5-7 pH. Cardinals are extremely demanding on the purity of the water, so it is recommended once a week to change the third part of the total. It is important to avoid sudden changes in water temperature, otherwise the cardinals can get a fungal disease. Aeration of water and use of the filter are desirable.
Fish prefer bright lighting, put the aquarium in a place with natural and good light, in the evening you can use artificial lighting. The lush and dense vegetation in the aquarium is preferable, leave some of the space for maneuvering the fish. Cardinals prefer the following plant species: fern, lyudwigia, elodiea, myrofillum, limnophila. As the soil can be used sand and pebbles. Keep the fish in the aquarium, closed the lid.

Nutrition and breeding

Cardinals are unpretentious in the diet, almost omnivorous. It is with great pleasure that they eat canned, dry and live food: moth, pipemaker, daphnia, koretra. If you feed the fish with live food, the cardinals develop much faster, their color becomes brighter.
Breeding cardinals is not particularly difficult, fish can breed in the aquarium and spawning. To do this, fill the spawn with water (up to twenty liters), put there several bushes of plants, a couple of fish, a spray. Feed the fish with live food for two weeks. Females lay thirty eggs a day. With the advent of fry, move the fish-producers to another aquarium, and feed the fry in the spawning area. Starter feed: pounded egg yolk, short haul, cyclops nauplii, live dust, ciliates.
Cardinals are very peaceful, they get along well with fish of similar temperament, small sizes: neons, guppies, fiery barbs, danios rerio. The life span of the cardinal fish is about two years.

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