Fish and other aquatic creatures

Cardinals - aquarium fish that are almost gone


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Aquarium fish cardinal Originally from the southeast of China. Its habitat is mountain streams. In 1938, the Cardinal was first brought to Europe. This fish is so popular with aquarists that its veil form has appeared and got accustomed. The cardinal got its name due to the fact that there is a red color in its color, resembling a mantle. The cardinal fish is one of the few aquarium fish that can withstand significant temperature drops, from 14 ° C to 30 ° C.

Cardinals - a kind of unpretentious fish that do not require high water temperatures with aquarium content as necessary for tropical species, became popular pets and began to be sold under various trademarks and with different names around the world: they were called Contonian or Chinese zebrafish, false neon and cardinal In China, these fish are known as a whale.

The size of this aquarium fish is quite small - from 3 to 4 centimeters. Males differ from females in color and size: they are slimmer than females and much more beautiful. The color of the cardinal has many options, but the main distinguishing feature is that a bright, shimmering strip passes from the head to the tail of the fish, which disappears when it reaches puberty, which occurs at 4 months.

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But a more detailed description of this fish. The cardinal has a rather slender body, with a slightly elongated, slightly oblate sideways. His mouth is top. The tail fin consists of two blades. The back has a brownish-olive tinge, the sides are slightly brownish, and the belly is silvery.

Along the entire body, from the stigma to the caudal fin, stretches a narrow shiny golden strip, along the edges of which pass strips of blue-green color. The end of the tail stem is marked by a dark spot, it is surrounded by a zone of bright red color. The dorsal fin has a lemon-yellow color, edged with red. The anal and ventral fins are of the same color, and the gill fibers are transparent, but with a gleam of lemon color and thin black edging. On the caudal fin of reddish color there are lemon-yellow stripes.

Fry of the cardinal fish, when they grow up to 3-5 mm in length, acquire a luminous blue stripe on the side, which then disappears as soon as the fish reach puberty. Sexual differences: the male has a flat belly, his fins are more brightly colored than the female, whose belly has a rounded-convex shape. In home aquariums, these fish live from 1.5 to 2 years.

Cardinal - content and care

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Cardinals are considered to be peaceful and non-aggressive aquarium dwellers.which is recommended to contain flocks of pieces of 6-8. They get along well with ternetii, red neon, rhodostomusami and danios. Basically, the cardinals are kept in the upper layer. You should not have any difficulties with the maintenance of the aquarium fish. Prepare a small aquarium, based on the proportion of 30 liters of water per pack of up to 7 pieces. Make it the water level in centimeters 25.

Aquarium soil can be used in the form of river sand, which must be processed before being laid in the aquarium. It is also possible to use small pebbles as a substrate. It is also recommended planting aquarium plants, but not very thick. As a rule, they put an elodea, ludvigia, hornpole or vallisneria into an aquarium. The parameters of aquarium water in an aquarium with fish cardinals should be the following: hardness: 4-20, pH: 6.5-7.5, water temperature: 18-21 degrees. In an aquarium, filtration and aeration of water are necessary, as well as weekly changes of up to 20%. Cardinals also like bright lighting, especially light is needed in the winter.

There is a cardinal live and dry food. Perfectly eats cyclops, bloodworm, dry daphnia. In nature, there is almost all the time small insects.

Cardinal - breeding

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Sexual maturity in cardinal fish occurs upon reaching 4 months of age. Reproduction of the cardinal is possible in general and in a separate aquarium. If you decide to breed these fish in the general aquarium, do not forget to put a separator net on the bottom.

Spawning aquarium should be brightly lit. Put dark sand on the bottom. Plant plants with thin leaves along the walls. Water parameters in spawning should be as follows: water hardness - 4-15 °, pH 6.0-8.0, water temperature - 21 - 23 ° C. It is also necessary to regularly replace a certain amount of water, not very large.

2-3 males are planted for spawning per 4-6 females, before that they had to be kept separately for 8-10 days. Spawning in females lasts for several days. In total, they sweep out about 100-300 small transparent eggs, of which after 40-50 hours fry appear. Fish parents do not care for their offspring and do not touch it. To fry develop faster, the producers need to otsadit.

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For re-breeding cardinals, manufacturers need to replant in different containers again and feed hard 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.

The fry of the Cardinal begin to feed independently after 3-4 days. The first food they will serve as living dust, as well as ciliates and pipemaker, previously chopped. After 3 weeks, you can give daphnia and small cyclops. Later the fry are sorted by size.

Compatible with other fish

Cardinals ideally contain a large flock, preferably 15 pieces or more. If you keep a little, they lose their color and hide most of the time. Very peaceful, do not even touch their fry and should be kept with the same peaceful fish. Large fish should be avoided, as they can hunt cardinals. Similarly with aggressive species. Look good with micro samples galaxy, guppy, endler guppy and zebrafish.

Sometimes it is advised to keep cardinals with goldfish, as they also prefer cool water. However, gold can eat cardinals, as the size of the mouth allows them. Because of this, you should not keep them together.

Content in an aquarium

The Cardinal is very hardy and unpretentious, and is well suited for keeping novice aquarists. The only feature is that cardinals do not like warm water, preferring a temperature of 18-22 ° C. They may be contained in warmer water, but their lifespan will be reduced. It is also noted that the cardinal's body color becomes much brighter if it is kept at a temperature lower than recommended for tropical fish, about 20 ° C.
Aquarium with a biotope of the cardinal in nature:

In the aquarium it is better to use dark soil, a large number of plants, as well as snags and stones. Leave free places for swimming, where there will be a lot of light and you will enjoy all the beauty of the cardinal's coloring. Water parameters are not very important (pH: 6.0 - 8.5), but it is important not to go to extremes. Avoid using drugs with copper, as the cardinals are very sensitive to the copper content of the water.

In Asia, cardinals are sometimes kept as pond fish, for beauty and to combat the mosquito population. Do not forget that they can not be kept with large pond fish.

Cardinals will eat all types of feed, for example - live, frozen, flakes, pellets. In nature, they mainly feed on insects that fall to the surface of the water. And in the aquarium, they eat well the medium-sized live food - bloodworm, tubule, artemia and various flakes. Do not forget that they have a very small mouth, which is directed upwards and it is difficult for them to eat large food from the bottom.

Gender differences

There are no obvious differences between males and females of cardinals. But the sex in adult individuals is quite simple to distinguish the male from the female, the males are smaller, more brightly colored, and the females have a fuller and more rounded belly.
They become sexually mature between the ages of 6 and 13 months. When males have reached maturity, they begin to organize demonstrations in front of each other, straightening their fins and showing their most vivid colors. Thus, they attract the attention of females.


Cardinals are quite easy to breed and they are well suited for those that only try their hand at aquarism. They are disabled, they can spawn throughout the year.
There are two ways to breed cardinals. The first is to keep a large flock in the aquarium (only cardinals!), And allow them to spawn there. Since the cardinals do not eat their eggs and fry like other fish, then after a while you will have a full aquarium of these fish. Reproduction is the simplest and does not require any effort.

Another way is to put a small spawn (approximately 20-40 liters) and deposit a couple of the brightest males, and 4-5 females. Put plants in the aquarium so that they can lay eggs on them.

The water should be soft, with a pH of 6.5-7.5 and a temperature of 18-22 ° C. The soil is not needed if you use the spawning aquarium. A little filtering and over do not interfere, you can put an internal filter.

Regardless of the choice of breeding method, it is important for producers to spawn copiously and satisfyingly feed them with live food. For example, shrimp meat, daphnia or shaker. If you can not use live food, you can use ice cream.

After spawning, caviar will be deposited on plants and producers can be deposited. The fry will hatch in 36-48 hours, depending on the water temperature. To feed the fry you need a very small starter feed - rotifers, lively dust, ciliates, egg yolk. The fry grows quickly and feeds quite easily.

Aquarium arrangement

It is better to start several Cardinals at once, the schooling fish endures bad loneliness. The optimal amount will be from 5 to 20 pieces. For the comfortable existence of a bevy of such tiny fish, a quite small, from 8 liters, tank is enough. Cardinals prefer to live on the surface, too deep aquarium is not needed, sufficient water level - up to 25 cm. In some they feel great and even multiply in a simple glass jar. With a small volume of water, aeration is very desirable, in the natural environment of these fish (tropical streams) there is clearly enough air.

The bottom should be filled with thoroughly washed and thermally treated sand, river pebbles, small pebbles. Tap water must be passed through the filter or allowed to settle, chlorine impurities are very harmful for aquarium fish.

Conditions of detention

The lighting from above must be made bright enough so that the bottom is not too shaded, despite the vegetation. So the cardinals will behave more actively. Sporting a flock of bright fish in the beautiful greenery of water plants - a fascinating sight. For swimming, leave them plenty of space. The average water temperature is 20 degrees, but the cardinals tolerate coolness as well. Males in the aquarium, to eliminate unnecessary conflicts, should be much smaller than females.

Bushes of green plants should be planted in the ground so that the timid cardinal fish felt more comfortable. Breeding will require a separate aquarium where fragile fry will live. Among the algae, the most suitable for cardinals are ludwigi, nitella, perististini, myriophyllum, hygrophil, elodea, or other plants with small leaves. Temperature extremes, hardness or softness of the cardinals withstand water perfectly. These fish are accustomed to the rapid flow of clear streams, so an aquarium that looks like a stagnant swamp can cause illness. Every week, it is desirable to partially change the water.

Addiction to a new place

In the first days after the resettlement, the cardinals get used to the new environment. It is worth remembering that timid fish are under severe stress. They, gathering in close flock, will swim restlessly, getting acquainted with new conditions. No need to worry them with sudden movements or noise.

Normally, if the cardinals are suspicious of food and even refuse it, in a couple of days the food will be adjusted. The flock will then disintegrate into several smaller ones, it will be possible to observe the normal behavior of the cardinals (with battles and fun) when they feel really at home.

It is undesirable to disturb the fish "moving" too often. In addition to stress and the possibility of injury, there are other adverse factors. A constant change in the composition of the water will not do them good. The aquarium forms its own microflora, which is necessary for the health of its inhabitants.

Preparation for breeding

Even the breeding of these fish does not require much trouble. It is necessary to separate the males and females using an additional aquarium. Give plenty of live food for several days and slightly increase the water temperature to about 25 degrees. Such favorable conditions will trigger a natural reproduction mechanism. During the preparation period you should not expose the fish to stress.

Cardinal fishes: breeding

Combine different sex fish can be in 5 days. A female cardinal will be ready for breeding when her sides are noticeably rounded. In the spawning aquarium, small thickets of small-leaved algae are obligatory, which will then serve as a shelter for the larvae and fry, in the same place the cardinals will be able to hide their eggs. The nest - a kind of "family" of these fish - consists of a male and 2 females. It is better to prepare several groups for spawning. In 10 liters of water 2 nests are quietly located. After two days, the female will postpone all the eggs. Cardinals can be replanted, only the period of preparation for reproduction should be increased to one and a half weeks.

Fry care

Cardinals are not caring parents of the fish, but cannibalism among the representatives of this species is very rare. Manufacturers are deposited more for recreation. Larvae will appear in 2 days. They are almost invisible and motionless. This developmental stage of the Cardinals lasts up to 60 hours.

Malkov need to feed the culture of ciliates or other "live dust". Monthly juvenile cardinal can feed on small cyclops, daphnia, bloodworms, artemia, and pipe-maker. At this stage, you can gradually add ordinary food for adult small fish. After six months, the fry of the cardinal are considered adults.

The cardinal fish is very unpretentious, the maintenance of its especially difficult conditions and manipulations does not require. This species did not have time to acquire the aristocratic fragility of those breeds that have been in captivity for too long. The humility of funny fish will really like aquarists who do not have enough experience and time.

Cardinals natural habitat

About natural habitat cardinals little is known. Habitat once covered shallow reservoirs in the Pearl River Delta, in the vicinity of Guangzhou. In fact, the "mountains", which are three peaks, is a very popular place among tourists, having the appropriate infrastructure: roads, hotels and public parks. Violent economic activity led to the fact that today in these places the species seems to have disappeared.
From 1980 to the present cardinals rarely found in nature, which may serve as a reason to think about their preservation.

An isolated population was found in Guangdong (southern province of China), where cardinals they are inhabited by slowly flowing, shallow, filled with spring floods, mountain streams with clear water and dense thickets of aquatic vegetation.
In these biotopes, except for themselves cardinals, Macropods (Macropodus opercularis), green barbs (Puntius semifasciolatus), native to the localities, and gambusia (Gambusia affinis) introduced into these waters were discovered.

In 2007, a small population cardinals was found on Hainan Island, which is separated from Guangdong by the Qunzhou Strait, 30 km wide.
Here cardinals dwell in clean, slowly flowing rivers and their tributaries. The sandy bottom of such bodies of water is covered with numerous nude and fallen leaves, and the depth, even at the height of the rainy season, does not exceed 60 cm.
Cardinals keep flocks in quiet backwaters, next to dense thickets of coastal plants. Water in natural biotopes, as a rule, is soft, with an active reaction (pH) of about 6.5 units.

The local flora is represented by the following plant species: Blyxa japonica, Rotala rotundifolia, Ludwigia prostrata, Ceratopteris thalictroides and Limnophila sp ..

Relatively recently, a small population cardinals was discovered in neighboring Vietnam.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection of China is considering cardinals as a threatened species, so it was listed in the Red Book of China.

A program has been developed for reintroduction into captive-bred animals, but its results are not yet known.

The guarding status of this species does not apply to fish sold, which are bred on farms.

Unfortunately, closely related crossbreeding, when breeding on farms, resulted in the resulting offspring from such cardinals genetically weaker than savages, often has physical disabilities and is more susceptible to various infections.

Coloring cardinals довольно ярка, по шоколадному фону тянется продольная голубовато-кремовая полоса, красные плавники, за исключением грудных, окантованы молочного цвета каймой.

Помимо обычных имеется несколько других вариаций, наибольшей известностью из которых пользуются длинноплавничная «Гольян метеор», золотая «Золотое облако», которая также может быть вуалевой и супер красная, условия содержания которых аналогичны традиционной форме.
The variation “Minnow Meteor” first appeared in 1950 in Perth, Western Australia, while the “Golden Cloud” was only in the 90s of the last century. The closely related interbreeding of individuals of golden variation leads to the appearance of light yellow specimens with reddish fins.

Sexual dimorphism

Sexually mature females are usually larger than males, they are fuller and have a rounded belly. Males are respectively slimmer than females, brighter colored and have wider dorsal and anal fins.

Cardinals - male and female

Content of cardinals in an aquarium

As noted above, the content cardinals not difficult. A couple can be kept even in a 3-liter jar, but it is better to keep a flock of 10-15 individuals in an aquarium with a capacity of 30 liters, with clean water.

A large number of fish in the group will not only reduce the stress of each individual, it will monitor cardinals more interesting. In addition, in the presence of females and the presence of male rivals, the latter have a brighter color.
Optimum conditions of maintenance: T = 18-25 ° C, dGH up to 18 °, pH 6-7, regular water changes for fresh ones.

There is no need for powerful filtering, which, nevertheless, should create a weak flow of water, as fish like current and fresh water.

Cardinals Ideal for a variegated mixed aquarium. Their neighbors can be any proportionate and peaceful fish.

In aquariums with a strong stream of water that simulates streams, cardinals they are lodged with danios, devarios, and creepers, who also prefer running water.

Poor fit for neighborhood with cardinals goldfish, however, they are often recommended in this capacity.

Cardinals in an aquarium

Cardinals can be kept both in a common tropical aquarium and in a non-heated specific tank, where the water temperature can drop to 15 ° C.
In central Russia, in the summer, such a reservoir can serve as garden decorative ponds.

The constant content of these fish in warm water leads to a reduction in the duration of their life.

Due to its bright color, cardinals look better in a vegetable aquarium with a dark ground. It will not be superfluous to add plants, branches and roots of trees, leaf litter to the container. This will bring the situation in the aquarium closer to their natural habitat.

Cardinals prefer to stay in the middle and upper water horizons. In the aquarium, you must provide free space for swimming. Therefore, dense group planting plants do in the corners, or in the background.

With the content cardinals With a flock, it is especially interesting to watch the competing males. For how they flaunt each other, straightening their fins. Often between them there are tournament fights, through which the strongest is revealed. To do this, the males are arranged parallel to each other and in short, quick movements, sending waves towards the enemy. Water pressure is recorded by the sideline, allowing rivals to evaluate each other's strength.

If, as a result of such a duel, the favorite is not identified, then the males begin to fight, colliding and grabbing each other by the fins. In a spacious aquarium, the weaker rival manages to flee. If the aquarium is small and has no cover, then the loser can pay with his fins.

More often males simply flaunt each other, and usually only in the presence of a female ready for spawning, which is easily determined by its rounded abdomen.

Cardinals Diet

In vivo cardinals feed on small insects, worms, crustaceans and other zooplankton.
In aquarium conditions, cardinals They will eat practically everything that you can offer them, including any live food, better if it is daphnids or cyclops, freezing, any dry food.
For proper development and acquisition of bright colors, fish should have a varied diet, with the addition of plant components.

Breeding cardinals in an aquarium

Like other carp, spawning cardinals no further parental care. If optimal conditions are created for the general aquarium for fish, they will regularly spawn.

In the corners of the aquarium which contains cardinals should plant small-leaved plants. Fry will appear in them. Becoming sexually mature cardinals spawn every day for several weeks. Manufacturers do not pursue their offspring.

In the general aquarium, along with adult fish, usually no more than 15–20 fry are present. Why it happens? Indeed, every day a few fry hatch from the caviar. The fact is that the older fry grow up and descend to the lower horizons of the water and seeing the newly emerged fry above them that swim near the surface begin to hunt them. To avoid cannibalism, fry are recommended to be caught. The easiest way to do this is with a tablespoon in the corners of the aquarium and transfer it to a separate container.

Cardinals - fight between males

To obtain the maximum number of fry, you should have a separate container with a muffled light and a separator net that is placed at a distance of 2-3 cm, despite the fact that cardinals rarely eat their caviar. For a pair of manufacturers enough capacity in size 25x15x15 cm.
Water should be slightly acidic or neutral and a temperature of 22-24 ° C. A spray compressor and an air-lift filter will ensure aeration and mixing of water.

Fish are planted for spawning in pairs, or in a small group. During the spawning period, males relentlessly pursue females. The female ready to spawn follows the male to the place he chooses, usually located among small-leaved plants (such as Javanese moss), finds a suitable site for laying eggs and settles next to him. The male closely watching what is happening, at a certain moment swims close to the female. Fish shudder quickly, releasing sexual products, and then diverge sharply. Some of the spawned caviar falls on the leaves of plants, and some falls to the bottom.
This process is repeated until the stock of the calf of the female is exhausted. Depending on the size, the female is able, for one spawning period, to postpone up to 400 yellowish eggs, 1.6-1.8 mm in size.

Tiny larvae, depending on the temperature, hatch in 36-48 hours and hang on the plants and walls of the aquarium. After 3-4 days, turning into fry, they begin to swim horizontally in search of food. Manufacturers usually do not touch their offspring.
Starter feed for fry cardinals serve as ciliate infusoria, micro-worm, artemia nauplii and dry food.

Fry grow quickly and reaching four months of age themselves are already capable of breeding.