TETRAS PROFILE ( How to Care Tetras )

TETRAS PROFILE ( How to Care Tetras )

Here are 24 Tetra species to help you decide:

  • Black Neon Tetra
  • Black Phantom Tetra
  • Black Skirt Tetra
  • Bleeding Heart Tetra
  • Blind Cave Tetra
  • Bloodfin Tetra
  • Bucktooth Tetra
  • Buenos Aeres Tetra
  • Cardinal Tetra
  • Congo Tetra
  • Diamond Tetra
  • Ember Tetra
  • Emperor Tetra
  • Flag Tetra
  • Glowlight Tetra
  • Head and Tail Light Tetra
  • Lemon Tetra
  • Neon Tetra
  • Penguin Tetra
  • Pristella Tetra
  • Red Eye Tetra
  • Rummy Nose Tetra
  • Serpae Tetra
  • Silver Tip Tetra

In the table below, a Beginner is someone who has never kept aquarium fish before. An Intermediate is someone who has successfully kept fish for at least 2 years.

An Advanced fish keeper is someone who has kept multiple fish species healthy for several years, and knows what to do in times of emergencies. The species marked ‘Advanced’ cannot tolerate water that goes out of their preferred range, and will die in a short time if that happens.

What to feed them: Pellets and flakes designed for Tetras (you need to crush pellets before putting them in the tank, as the Tetras’ mouths are too small to eat them whole), fish, shrimp, Bloodworms and Tubeworms (Freeze-dried or Live), Brine shrimp, deshelled peas, Algae wafers. (The fish, shrimp and peas should be cut small enough to be swallowed whole by the Tetras, otherwise the Tetras won’t be able to eat and the food will quickly make the water dirty.)

What not to feed them: Worms or fish that have been caught from outside shouldn’t be given directly. You can keep them in a separate tank for a week to ensure they don’t carry any parasites, and are in good health. Wild-caught food could transfer parasites to your Tetras!

Where they eat food from: Middle of the tank and bottom. They are infamous for being a bit difficult to feed, so it’s best to ask what they are fed (and how) from the store you are buying them and continue that pattern form the most part.

They do well with these plants: Any plant which will offer space for the Tetras to hide.

Min number of this species that should be kept together: 6 (Because they are schooling fish and feel safe in groups. Keeping them in smaller numbers or in small tanks tends to make them behave aggressively. In such cases, they will bite the fins and tails of other fishes, stressing them out.)

Is this a schooling fish? Yes

Will do well with these tank mates: (for the peaceful species) Other Tetras, Danios, Rasboras, Guppies, small Loaches.

(For Bucktooth Tetras) None. Best kept in a species-only tank. They will eat smaller fish, harass bigger fish and eat the scales off other fish, regardless of their size!

Do not keep with these tank mates: Shrimp, Goldfish, any aggressive fish like Cichlids. Any fish more than 4 inches in size can eat or severely injure Tetras.

Special care that needs to be taken, if any:

(for the peaceful species) They make great pets. However, don’t keep them with other fish that can fit Tetras in their mouths. They will eat the Tetras!

(For Blind Cave Tetras) Although they can be housed with other species, they are best kept in a species-only tank. It takes them longer to find the food, so other fish may gobble everything up quickly, leaving these guys hungry. To better simulate their natural environment, you can keep the tank in an area where there is only a little ambient lighting, without bright lights.

(For Bucktooth Tetras) Although they do accept plant matter, most of their diet needs to be meat. Worms, Daphnia, etc. are happily eaten. They are hardwired to eat the scales off other fish. It is not a behavioural issue, it’s just the way they are!

1. Black Neon Tetra

These Tetras look very similar to the Neon Tetras. While the Neon Tetras have a shiny blue stripe and red at the middle, Black Neons have a silver stripe and a black the middle. Contrary to what the name might suggest, Black Neons are completely different species to the regular Neon Tetras.

Species Name

Black Neon Tetra (Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi)

Water Temperature Range

75-82 °F or 24-28 °C

Water Hardness Range (°d)

6 to 15 dGH

pH Range

5.0 to 7.5

Hobbyist Level

Beginner

Max Adult Size

1.6 in

Min tank size

15 Gallons

Temperament

Peaceful

Lifespan

5 Years

2. Black Phantom Tetra

The Black Phantom Tetras live in Brazil. They have a small black stripe just next to their gills. This stripe is surrounded by glittering iridescent scales, giving it a unique appearance. The parts of their fins and tails that extend away from the body are black in colour.

Species Name

Black Phantom Tetra (Hyphessobrycon megalopterus)

Water Temperature Range

72-82 °F or 22-28 °C

Water Hardness Range (°d)

1 to 18 dGH

pH Range

6.0 to 7.5

Hobbyist Level

Intermediate

Max Adult Size

1.75 in

Min tank size

20 Gallons

Temperament

Peaceful

Lifespan

5 Years

3. Black Skirt Tetra

The Black Skirt Tetras have a laterally flattened body. Due to this, a school of them can make a great eye-catcher in an aquarium. Their fins and tail are completely black, and they have 2 to 3 vertical black bands on either side. The rest of their bodies are silver, although there varieties that are fully white in colour, without any markings.

Species Name

Black Skirt Tetra / Black Widow Tetra (Gymnocorymbus ternetzi)

Water Temperature Range

68-79 °F or 20-26 °C

Water Hardness Range (°d)

6 to 15 dGH

pH Range

5.8 to 8.5

Hobbyist Level

Beginner

Max Adult Size

2 in

Min tank size

15 Gallons

Temperament

Peaceful

Lifespan

5 Years

4. Bleeding Heart Tetra

The Bleeding Heart Tetras have an unusually large dorsal fin, which is curved. The outer part of the curve is silver, with the remaining fin being black. This gives the dorsal fin the appearance of being highlighted. On the sides, they have pink coloured spots from where they get their name.

Species Name

Bleeding Heart Tetra (Hyphessobrycon Erythrostigma)

Water Temperature Range

72-80 °F or 22-27 °C

Water Hardness Range (°d)

6 to 15 dGH

pH Range

6.5 to 7.0

Hobbyist Level

Beginner

Max Adult Size

3 in

Min tank size

20 Gallons

Temperament

Peaceful

Lifespan

10 Years

5. Blind Cave Tetra

One of the most unique of all freshwater aquarium fish, the blind cave tetras do not have eyes at all! They have the typical body shape of most tetras and are light pink in colour. They are native to Mexico as well as certain parts of southern USA.

Species Name

Blind Cave Tetra / Mexican Tetra / Blind Cave Fish (Astyanax mexicanus)

Water Temperature Range

68-77 °F or 20-25 °C

Water Hardness Range (°d)

20 to 30 dGH

pH Range

6.5 to 8.0

Hobbyist Level

Advanced

Max Adult Size

4.7 in

Min tank size

30 Gallons

Temperament

Peaceful as juveniles, but tend to become aggressive as they grow older

Lifespan

10 Years

6. Bloodfin Tetra

A school of Bloodfin Tetras is very striking to look at, even though the colours are relatively subdued compared to many other tetra species. Their bodies are a dull silver, but their fins and tails are bright red, making for a beautiful contrast.

Species Name

Bloodfin Tetra (Aphyocharax anisitsi)

Water Temperature Range

64-82 °F or 17.8-27.8 °C

Water Hardness Range (°d)

10 to 30 dGH

pH Range

6.0 to 8.0

Hobbyist Level

Beginner

Max Adult Size

2.5 in

Min tank size

15 Gallons

Temperament

Peaceful

Lifespan

5 Years

7. Bucktooth Tetra

The Bucktooth Tetra, like other Tetras, doesn’t really have teeth. It is among the larger Tetras in size and has a beautiful iridescent body with red on the fins and two black patches on either side.

Species Name

Bucktooth Tetra (Exodon paradoxus)

Water Temperature Range

75-82 °F or 24-28 °C

Water Hardness Range (°d)

5 to 20 dGH

pH Range

5.5 to 7.0

Hobbyist Level

Intermediate

Max Adult Size

4.7 in

Min tank size

40 Gallons

Temperament

Aggressive

Lifespan

5 Years

8. Buenos Aires Tetra

Buenos Aires Tetras originated in South America, which is where they got their name from. They look similar to the Bloodfin tetra, as both species have silver bodies and red fins and tails. However, there are 2 main differentiating factors. There is a horizontal black stripe that runs through the tail and into the body, and the fins and tails on the Buenos Aires are not as bright as the Bloodfin.

Species Name

Buenos Aires Tetra (Hyphessobrycon anisitsi)

Water Temperature Range

64 – 82 °F or 17.8 – 27.8 °C

Water Hardness Range (°d)

20 to 30 dGH

pH Range

6.0 to 8.0

Hobbyist Level

Beginner

Max Adult Size

3 in

Min tank size

25 Gallons

Temperament

Aggressive

Lifespan

5 Years

9. Cardinal Tetra

The Cardinal Tetras, along with Neon Tetras, are among the most striking looking fish in the freshwater aquarium hobby, with their shiny blue lines and bright red colouration. A school of these can immediately grab anyone’s attention, reducing their stress levels. They are often mistaken for Neon Tetras, which look very similar except the red colour on the Neons only covers the rear lower half of the body. In Cardinals, the red covers the entire lower half of the body.

Species Name

Cardinal Tetra (Paracheirodon innesi)

Water Temperature Range

73-81 °F or 23-27 °C

Water Hardness Range (°d)

2 to 10 dGH

pH Range

4.5 to 7.0

Hobbyist Level

Intermediate

Max Adult Size

1.6 in

Min tank size

15 Gallons

Temperament

Peaceful

Lifespan

5 Years

10. Congo Tetra

Among the most beautiful of all Tetras, the Congo Tetra has a unique Opalescent body. Depending on the lighting and the angle you view them from, they shine in all the colours of the rainbow! They also have long, flowing fins and tails that are transparent.

Species Name

Congo Tetra (Phenacogrammus interruptus)

Water Temperature Range

73 – 82 °F or 22.8 – 27.8 °C

Water Hardness Range (°d)

4 to 18 dGH

pH Range

6.0 to 7.5

Hobbyist Level

Beginner

Max Adult Size

3.5 in

Min tank size

35 Gallons

Temperament

Peaceful

Lifespan

5 Years

11. Diamond Tetra

The Diamond Tetras have a very shiny, iridescent body, along with long, transparent fins. At first glance it could be mistaken for the Congo Tetra, but the Diamonds have relatively shorter fins and don’t shine in rainbow colours.

Species Name

Diamond Tetra (Moenkhausia pittieri)

Water Temperature Range

72- 82 °F or 22.2 – 27.8 °C

Water Hardness Range (°d)

2 to 15 dGH

pH Range

5.5 to 7.5

Hobbyist Level

Beginner

Max Adult Size

2.5 in

Min tank size

20 Gallons

Temperament

Peaceful

Lifespan

5 Years

12. Ember Tetra

Ember Tetras are very tiny – they usually don’t even get to 1 inch in length! Due to this, a species-only tank doesn’t need to be very large. They come in various shades of red and orange. However, they have very short life spans, usually of about 2-3 years.

Species Name

Ember Tetra / Fire Tetra (Hyphessobrycon Amandae)

Water Temperature Range

73 – 84 °F or 23 – 29 °C

Water Hardness Range (°d)

10 to 20 dGH

pH Range

6.5 to 7.5

Hobbyist Level

Beginner

Max Adult Size

0.8 in

Min tank size

10 Gallons

Temperament

Peaceful

Lifespan

3 Years

13. Emperor Tetra

Emperor Tetras prefer dimly lit tanks, where their stunning purple colours show the most. Their fins and tails are outlined in black and they have a horizontal black line running through the length of their bodies.

Species Name

Emperor Tetra (Nematobrycon palmeri)

Water Temperature Range

73-81 °F or 23-27 °C

Water Hardness Range (°d)

10 to 25 dGH

pH Range

5.0 to 7.8

Hobbyist Level

Beginner

Max Adult Size

2 in

Min tank size

10 Gallons

Temperament

Peaceful

Lifespan

5 Years

14. Flag Tetra

The Flag Tetras have a laterally compressed body and 3 thin stripes, similar in colour to the Belgian Flag

Species Name

Flag Tetra, Belgian Flag Tetra (Hyphessobrycon heterorhabdus)

Water Temperature Range

73.4 – 82.4 °F or 23 – 28 °C

Water Hardness Range (°d)

10 to 15 dGH

pH Range

5.5 to 7.5

Hobbyist Level

Intermediate

Max Adult Size

1.5 in

Min tank size

20 Gallons

Temperament

Peaceful

Lifespan

5 Years

15. Glowlight Tetra

Glowlight Tetras have a radiant redo or orange coloured stripe that runs along horizontally on its sides. It appears as if it glows!

Species Name

Glowlight Tetra (Hemigrammus erythrozonus)

Water Temperature Range

74 – 82 °F or 23.3 – 27.8 °C

Water Hardness Range (°d)

2 to 15 dGH

pH Range

5.8 to 7.5

Hobbyist Level

Beginner

Max Adult Size

1.6 in

Min tank size

20 Gallons

Temperament

Peaceful

Lifespan

5 Years

16. Head And Tail Light Tetra

These Tetras have shiny red colour on the top of their eyes and shiny copper coloured scales near the base of their tails. These give the appearance of having lights, and is where they get their names from.

Species Name

Head And Tail Light Tetra (Hemigrammus Ocellifer)

Water Temperature Range

72 – 79 °F or 22 – 26 °C

Water Hardness Range (°d)

5 to 19 dGH

pH Range

6.0 to 8.0

Hobbyist Level

Beginner

Max Adult Size

2 in

Min tank size

20 Gallons

Temperament

Peaceful

Lifespan

5 Years

17. Lemon Tetra

The Lemon Tetras are beautiful fish, with bodies ranging from silver to yellow in colour. Their anal fins are a bright yellow, with a contrasting black line. The tops of their eyes are shiny red.

Species Name

Lemon Tetra (Hyphessobrycon Pulchripinnis)

Water Temperature Range

72 – 82 °F or 22.2 – 27.8 °C

Water Hardness Range (°d)

3 to 20 dGH

pH Range

5.5 to 8.0

Hobbyist Level

Beginner

Max Adult Size

2 in

Min tank size

20 Gallons

Temperament

Peaceful

Lifespan

8 Years

18. Neon Tetra

Neon Tetras are among the most striking looking fish in the freshwater aquarium hobby, with their shiny blue lines and bright red colouration. Looking at a school of them can immediately grab peoples’ attention, reducing their stress levels. They are often mistaken for Cardinal Tetras, which look very similar except the red colour on the Cardinals covers the entire lower half of the body. In Neons, the red only covers the rear lower half of the body.

Species Name

Neon Tetra (Paracheirodon innesi)

Water Temperature Range

68-79 °F or 20-26 °C

Water Hardness Range (°d)

2 to 10 dGH

pH Range

5.5 to 6.2

Hobbyist Level

Intermediate

Max Adult Size

1.6 in

Min tank size

15 Gallons

Temperament

Peaceful

Lifespan

5 Years

19. Penguin Tetra

Penguin Tetras have transparent fins and silver bodies, along with remarkable markings. In the upper half of their bodies, they have a horizontal black line that starts just after their gills and extends all the way to the lower tail fin.

Species Name

Penguin Tetra / Hockey Stick Tetra (Thayeria boehlkei)

Water Temperature Range

72 – 82 °F or 22 – 28 °C

Water Hardness Range (°d)

4 to 15 dGH

pH Range

6.0 to 7.5

Hobbyist Level

Intermediate

Max Adult Size

1.5 in

Min tank size

15 Gallons

Temperament

Peaceful (Can behave aggressively if their numbers are less)

Lifespan

5 Years

20. Pristella Tetra

Pristella Tetras have silver-coloured bodies that are semi-transparent! You can see their spines and ares where all the organs are. They also have striking yellow, black and silver dorsal and anal fins, along with red tails.

Species Name

Pristella Tetra / X Ray Tetra (Pristella Maxillaris)

Water Temperature Range

74 – 82 °F or 23.3 – 27.8 °C

Water Hardness Range (°d)

15 to 30 dGH

pH Range

6.0 to 8.0

Hobbyist Level

Beginner

Max Adult Size

2 in

Min tank size

20 Gallons

Temperament

Peaceful

Lifespan

5 Years

21. Red Eye Tetra

The Red Eye Tetras have a shiny silver body with red on the top half of their eyes. The bases of their tails are black followed by a thin silver line. The rest of their tails and fins are all transparent.

Species Name

Red Eye Tetra (Moenkhausia sanctaefilomenae)

Water Temperature Range

72 – 82 °F or 22.2 – 27.8 °C

Water Hardness Range (°d)

10 to 30 dGH

pH Range

5.5 to 8.5

Hobbyist Level

Beginner

Max Adult Size

3 in

Min tank size

30 Gallons

Temperament

Peaceful

Lifespan

5 Years

22. Rummy Nose Tetra

The Rummy Nose Tetras have bright red faces and dull silver bodies. Their tails have black and bright white stripes, which have a striking contrast.

Species Name

Rummy Nose Tetra (Hemigrammus rhodostomus)

Water Temperature Range

75 – 81 °F or 24 – 27 °C

Water Hardness Range (°d)

2 to 8 dGH

pH Range

6.4 to 7.0

Hobbyist Level

Advanced

Max Adult Size

2.5 in

Min tank size

25 Gallons

Temperament

Peaceful

Lifespan

5 Years

23. Serpae Tetra

Serpae Tetras have Orange bodies with black dorsal fins and black outlines on their anal fins. They also have a black patch on the sides. These fish are great for adding a splash of colour into any aquarium.

Species Name

Serpae Tetra (Hyphessobrycon eques)

Water Temperature Range

72 – 82 °F or 22.2 – 27.8 °C

Water Hardness Range (°d)

5 to 20 dGH

pH Range

5.5 to 7.5

Hobbyist Level

Beginner

Max Adult Size

1.6 in

Min tank size

15 Gallons

Temperament

Peaceful

Lifespan

6 Years

24. Silver Tip Tetra

Another striking Tetra species, the Silver Tips have a silver body and transparent fins ant tail. The midsection of the tail has a black stripe and the tips of the dorsal, anal and tail fins have a shimmering silver colour, which stands out even under dim lighting.

Species Name

Silver Tip Tetra (Hasemania nana)

Water Temperature Range

74  – 82 °F or 23 – 28 °C

Water Hardness Range (°d)

5 to 20 dGH

pH Range

6.0 to 8.0

Hobbyist Level

Beginner

Max Adult Size

2 in

Min tank size

20 Gallons

Temperament

Peaceful

Lifespan

5 Years