Types of Tetra Fish

Tetra fish are one of several species of small freshwater fish from Africa, Central America, and South America affiliated with the biological family Characidae.

There are more than 700 known types of Tetra varying in color, shape, and size.

For instance, Glowlight Tetra (Fire Neon Tetra) can grow up to only 1.6 inches, yet  Pacu can be 36.2 inches long.

With their sleek shape and vibrant color, this fish will be a wonderful addition to keep in your aquarium.

The Most Popular Types of Tetra Fish

Neon Tetra (Paracheirodon innesi)

Type of Tetra - Neon Tetra

This fish is an omnivore that inhabits the Amazon and comes in beautiful combinations of colors such as red, white, black, silver, and blue.

It is partially transparent with an iridescent blue horizontal stripe along each side of its body and a red stripe that begins at the middle of the body and extends posteriorly to the base of the caudal fin.

They have a rather long life span for a tetra fish—an incredible 5-10 years!

This fish needs a 10-gallon tank with live plants inside.

It is highly recommended to keep them in groups of five (for 10-gallon tanks) and in groups of 10-12 for 55-gallon tanks.

Water temperature inside the tank should not exceed 81°Fahrenheit (ideally 70-77°F).

The ideal pH should be in the range of 6.0 to 6.5 and KH (Carbonate Hardness) from 1.0 to 2.0.

Commonly, they are very timid and for that reason should not be kept together with much larger fish.

Ideal tank mates would be guppies or other tetras such as the rummy-nose tetra, cardinal tetra, or glowlight tetra.

When it comes to food, it is proper to feed them with tropical fish flakes, bloodworms, pellets, freeze-dried shrimp and tubifex, a high-quality flake and micro pellet food.

Neon tetra are prone to a certain disease called Neon Tetra Disease. Find out more.

Cardinal Tetra (Paracheirodon axelrodi)

Type of Tetra - Cardinal Tetra

The Upper Orinoco and Negro Rivers in South America are the natural environment for the Cardinal Tetra.

Due to the blue and red coloration bisecting the fish, many tend to confuse it with similar Neon Tetra though there is a difference in the length of the red stripes and in the brightness of the blue coloring, yet like the Neon Tetra, the Cardinal tetra can live for ten years.

Tank volume and environment requirements are the same as for the Neon Tetra.

Due to their sensitivity to changing chemical conditions of water, it is recommended to filter the water over peat or to use reverse osmosis water.

Cardinal Tetra prefer higher water temperatures ranging from 75 to 82 °Fahrenheit, KH of 4.0-5.0 would be fitting, and pH should not go below 4.0 or exceed 7.0.

It is advisable to keep these fish in schools of more than six.

You can feed them with flakes, bloodworms, boiled vegetables, small insects, and daphnia.

Diamond Tetra (Moemkhausia pitteri)

Type of Tetra - Diamond Tetra

Diamond Tetras are found in and around Lake Venezuela in Venezuela, South America.

This species can be characterized by a clear difference between males and females with males being brighter in color and having longer dorsal fins.

Their true beauty can be experienced only when they are fully developed in which they appear to almost glisten.

The life span of a Diamond Tetra is about 3-6 years.

The water tank for this species should be at least 15 gallons with filtered water and be heavily planted.

Keep the temperature around 79 °Fahrenheit, the pH 5.5-7.5, the KH 4.0-8.0, and in groups of 5 or more for these conditions.

As far as food is concerned, the Diamond Tetra prefers brine shrimp or daphnia, freeze-dried bloodworms, and tubifex, but they can also be fed with high-quality flake food.

Glowlight Tetra (Hemigrammus erythrozonus)

Type of Tetra - Glowfish Tetra

Glowlight Tetra originates in the Essequibo River in Guyana, South America.

They are easily recognizable by their orange stripe extending from the snout into the tail and silver to transparent fins.

In perfect light conditions, this fish will literally shine like a lamp, hence its name.

This medium-sized Tetra grows to 1.6 to 2 inches and has a much shorter lifespan of only 2-4 years if kept in proper conditions.

A fifteen-gallon tank with consistent biological filtration (since they are sensitive to fluctuating water conditions) will keep them satisfied, as well as a temperature range of 72-80 °Fahrenheit, a pH between 5.5-7.0, and a KH between 4.0-8.0.

Glowlight Tetra is peaceful fish that should be kept in groups of 6 or more.

Their diet should include a variety of food such as tubifex worms, bloodworms, brine shrimp, pellets, and high-quality flakes.

Disk Tetra (Myleus schomburgkii)

Type of Tetra - Disk Tetra

Disk Tetras are inhabitants of the Amazon, upper Orinoco River Basin, and the Nanay River, all located in South America.

These fish are known for their flat shape and single black stripe on the both sides of the body.

They can live up to 10 years or even more and grow up to 16 inches long.

Given the fact that it is a schooling fish and taking into account their larger size, keeping them in captivity requires a 200-gallon or larger tank.

This fish prefers a pH of 5.0 to 7.0 and a temperature of 73 to 81°Fahrenheit.

Their diet consists of a wide variety of food such as fruits, small fish, clams, snails, and crustaceans.

Silver Dollar Tetra (Metynnis hypsauchen)

Type of Tetra - Silver Dollar Tetra

This herbivore originates in South America and earned its name from the shiny silver color and flat coin-like shape of its body.

It can grow to 8 inches long and live between 5-10 years.

If you provide them with a 60-gallon tank, caring for them should not be challenging.

Artificial plants are recommended for the aquarium’s interior since live plants would become food for these herbivores.

The best water temperature would be between 75–82°Fahrenheit and a pH from 5.0 to 7.0.  Keep the Silver Dollar Tetra in groups of 4 or more.

Although they almost exclusively eat vegetarian foods like partially boiled peas, zucchini, and lettuce, sometimes they enjoy a small insect or worm.

Bleeding Hart Tetra (Hyphessobrycon erythrostigma)

Type of Tetra - Bleeding Heart Tetra

Bleeding Heart Tetras, from the upper Amazon River Basin, draws its name from its unique red markings on its pale body.

These fish can reach a maximum of 3.5 inches long.

Females are distinguished by being full bodied and males have a longer dorsal and anal fin.

Unfortunately, their lifespan rarely goes beyond five years.

These fish require at least a 15-gallon planted tank with dark surroundings (dark gravel, plants for hiding, and subtle light will make Bleeding Hart Tetra show you the best version of its vivid colors).

Six or more other fish should accompany it in order to calm its often nippy character.

Ideal water condition parameters should be temperatures of 72°-80°Fahrenheit and a pH of 6.5 – 7.0.

This fish will consume most tropical fish food such as brine shrimp, daphnia, freeze-dried bloodworms, and tubifex.

Tetras are great addition to your tank

Whether you choose the smaller sized tetras like the Neon Tetra or the larger Disk Tetra, these wonderfully colorful and eye-catching fish will be an exquisite addition to any aquarium.

Do you have tetras in your aquarium? Share it with us via our Facebook page – TheAquariumGuide.

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