Types of Tetra Fish and Breeding Information

A detailed look into the 10 most popular types of Tetra fish as well as general breeding information.

With so many different types of Tetra fish available it can be tricky deciding which is going to be the best addition to your aquarium, so we decided to dedicate a post to one of our favorite aquarium friends to give you some insight and popular picks to consider.

Different Types of Tetras

Well there are actually over 150 different types but these are the most popular;

  1. Neon Tetra Jumbo
  2. Cardinal Tetra
  3. Rummynose Tetra
  4. X-Ray Pristella Tetra
  5. Black Neon Tetra
  6. Glowlight Tetra
  7. Bleeding Heart Tetra
  8. Red Eye Tetra
  9. Diamond Tetra
  10. Green Fire Tetra

About Tetra Fish

Tetra fish, generally speaking, will grow to a maximum of 2 inches in length, with some being slightly bigger and some being slightly water. With a few exceptions these fish thrive in soft and acidic water. They are fresh water fish most often found in South American river basins where the water is slow moving or even still.

They love to hide under and around things like plants, rocks, and floating wood and they like to eat things like small insects, larvae, and planktonic animals. However they will also eat fish pellets, flakes, tubifex, blood worms, brine shrimp, and daphnia.

Tetra fish are school fish which means that they usually do best in groups of at least 5 or 6. That is just a general overview and not all Tetra fish are the same.

10 Most Popular Types of Tetra Fish

Here we have the 10 most popular types of Tetra fish that are examined in a little more detail.

1. Neon Tetra Jumbo

Neon Tetra Jumbo

This is one of the most popular kinds of Tetra fish with aquarium enthusiasts around the world. The Neon Tetra has a bright blue body with a red tail and can grow up to 2 inches in length. The Neon Tetra is native to South American waters and prefers clear water with many plants and lots of low light areas where they can hide. UV Sterilizers are good for keeping the tank water clear and clean.

For the tank these fish need lots of plants, rocks, and wood pieces. The Neon Tetra does well in slightly acidic water and will feed on most kinds of foods including fish pellets, fish flakes, tubifex, brine shrimp, blood worms, and other foods.

To breed a Neon Tetra place a male and a female inside a dark tank and slowly increase the level of light until spawning occurs. These fish are often bought in groups of 5 or 6 to add some bright colors an aquarium. (we have done a detailed comparison on Neon’s Vs Cardinals here, if you need some help deciding).

2. Cardinal Tetra

Cardinal Tetra

Unlike the Neon Tetra, the Cardinal Tetra is bright blue and has a red stripe running along the underside of its belly as well as a red stripe on its back. The Neon Tetra will usually grow to a maximum length of 1.75 inches.

These fish are very peaceful and should only be stored in a fish tank with other peaceful fish. The fish tank for the Cardinal Tetra needs to be at least 10 gallons and at least 6 of them should be bought.

The Cardinal Tetra is home in the slow moving waters of South American rivers and river basins and it prefers lots of plant life, rocks, wood debris, and any kind of are that has low lighting where the Cardinal Tetra can hide. For everyday life the water needs to be soft and slightly acidic.

To breed a Cardinal Tetra the water needs to be very soft with a dH level of 1.5 and a pH level of 5.5; breeding also requires low light.

Cardinal Tetras will eat most things including high quality flake food, micro-pellet food, Tubifex, brine shrimp, and freeze dried-blood worms. You might also like our Homemade fish food guide, it’s great fun making your own food and definitely saves money.

3. Rummynose Tetra

Rummynose Tetra

This variation of the Tetra Fish is very beautiful due to the splash of red across their face, the silver body, and the black and white striped tail. This is an non-aggressive fish that needs to be put in a community tank with other peaceful fish.

The Rummynose Tetra will grow to a maximum length of 1.5 inches. Just like the other Tetras, this one feels at home in the slow moving waters of South America and prefers to be around many plants, rocks, wood debris, and other low light areas where it can hide.

These fish are school fish and are best bought in groups of 6 or more. This fish eats the same things as the other Tetra fish including Tubifex, flakes, pellets, blood worms, and brine shrimp.

To breed these fish they need to be transferred into a small tank, one male and one female, the water needs to be slightly acidic, and once the eggs hatch the parents need to be removed from the tank or else they will eat the young. .

4. X-Ray Pristella Tetra

X-Ray Pristella Tetra

This is a very beautiful type of Tetra fish that usually grows to a maximum length of 1.5 inches. Pristella Tetra have a variety of colors present including blue, green, yellow, and red, and they are referred to as “X-Ray” because they are seemingly transparent.

Unlike other tetra fish that don’t have substantial dorsal fins, this species has anal and dorsal fins that feature a variety of colors and are quite large. The Pristella Tetra is actually very resistant to many water types as it is found in coastal rivers in South America, meaning that they can survive in slightly salty water.

Unlike other types of Tetra fish that need to be kept in exclusively soft water conditions, the Pristella Tetra is very resistant and can be kept in harder waters as well.

Like other Tetras they like rocks, driftwood, and lots of plants, not to mention that they eat the same things too. Also, the male is often smaller than the female.

5. Black Neon Tetra

Black Neon Tetra

This is one of the smaller types of Tetra fish as it usually grows to a maximum of 1.25 inches in length. It is however one of the more beautiful Tetra fish thanks to its dark obsidian color with a stripe of varying shades of green along its side.

The Black Neon Tetra does need to be kept in soft water conditions in a peaceful community tank, or else it will not survive. These fish do the best in slightly acidic water where the parameters are kept very constant; they also need a lot of wood debris, rocks, and plants because just like other Tetras they like low light areas to hide in.

Once again these fish eat things like bloodworms, brine shrimp, pellets, flakes, Tubifex, and other such fish foods. To breed the fish, separate a male and female into a dark breeding tank and slowly increase the lighting; live foods like mosquito larvae are great for inducing mating in the Black Neon Tetra.

6. Glowlight Tetra

Glowlight Tetra

This type of Tetra fish can grow up to 2 inches in length and features beautiful colors such as red and orange. When the lights go down these fish are known to glow in the dark, making for a perfect choice for any aquarium.

The Glowlight Tetra is best kept in slightly soft and acidic water, yet it is quite resilient and can handle some changes in water parameters.

Just like other Tetras, this type prefers a lot of driftwood, rocks, and plants where it can hide under. They also eat many of the same foods that all of the previous Tetra fish eat.

7. Bleeding Heart Tetra

Bleeding Heart Tetra

This fish is a beautiful choice for any aquarium enthusiast because it has a pale red color that increased in intensity towards the gills, hence the name bleeding heart. This fish does need slightly acidic and soft water with very good filtration.

Also, the Bleeding Heart Tetra needs a slightly larger tank of 20 gallons to feel comfortable, but just like other Tetras it also needs a lot of plant life, driftwood, and rocks to feel at home.

This type of Tetra fish loves the same type of foods that other Tetra fish like including blood worms, brine shrimp, pellets, flakes, and Tubifex. Bleeding Heart Tetras are known to breed occasionally, but doing so is harder than with other Tetra fish.

8. Red Eye Tetra

Red Eye Tetra

This is one of the large species of Tetra fish and it can grow up to 3 inches in length, however the male is usually substantially smaller than the female. Due to its large size it also needs a larger tank of 30 gallons at minimum.

The tank should be filled with plants, rocks, and wood debris just like for all other Tetras. These fish are red, black, and silver, and just like the name implies they have a splash of bright red around the eyes.

The Red Eye Tetra is a very resilient fish that does not require soft or acidic water; they do well in many types of water parameters and are thus suited for beginners as well as community tanks with many different fish, as well they are very peaceful creatures. The favorite food of these fish is small insects or small planktonic animals.

9. Diamond Tetra

Diamond Tetra

This is another really popular variation of the Tetra fish due to its brilliant silver color with red accents that reflects light and makes them sparkle like a diamond in the bright water.

Diamond Tetras are very peaceful and do well when there are at least 3 of them. They prefer a 10 gallon tank at minimum and also prefer many plants, rocks, and other places to hide in or under.

The water does need to be slightly soft and acidic however not as much as other Tetras need. Diamond Tetras will eat many of the same foods as other Tetras including fish flakes, pellets, Tubifex, blood worms, and brine shrimp.

10. Green Fire Tetra

Just like other Tetra fish, this one likes to be in slow moving or still water that features a lot of plant life, wood debris, and rocks in order to hide under. On a side note, these fish like swimming at mid-level so slightly taller plants are preferred.

The tank size should be at least 10 gallons and the water needs to be slightly acidic and remain at a constant temperature. The Green Fire Tetra is a translucent green with a black dorsal fin and a red or orange underbelly.

These fish can grow up to 2 inches in length and both sexes are usually the same size; the only way to tell the males apart from the females is because the males will have white tips on their fins.

These fish love to breed, and in a big tank with lots of them around a spawning event is more than likely to happen.

Neon Tetra Breeding

Generally for Tetra fish to breed successfully a male and female need to be separated from the rest and put in their own tank.

Not all Tetra fish are the same, but for most of them they need to start out in dark water and the light needs to be slowly increased. Most Tetra fish need to have slightly soft and acidic water to breed successfully.

For many types of Tetra fish something like mosquito larvae is a great inducer of breeding. Something that needs to be noted is that all Tetra fish will eat the eggs or the young hatchlings, so the parents do need to be removed from the tank once the spawning is complete. All of this being said some Tetra fish may lay as little as 25 eggs while others may lay well over 100 eggs.

Commonly Asked Questions

Do Neon Tetras Lay Eggs?

Yes, indeed neon tetra fish do lay eggs, with females generally laying between 60 to 130 eggs.

Neon tetra eggs are very small, only a few millimetres in diameter, and they can be anywhere from a whitish-translucent color to tan.

From the eggs laid, you can expect roughly 50 neon tetra fry to be born, and they usually take about 24 hours to hatch.

Keep in mind that these fish are egg scatterers and do not take care of the eggs or the fry once born.

How Many Types of Tetra Fish Are There?

When it comes to types of tetras, there are currently over 150 known species of this fish, with popular ones such as neon tetras and cardinal tetras often being go to choices for aquariums.

What Is The Hardiest Tetra?

There are several tetra breeds which are well known for being quite hardy. The neon tetra fish is often considered to be the most hardy of all, with other such as the cardinal tetra, the serpae tetra, the diamond tetra, and the glowlight tetra all being very hardy as well.

What Is The Largest Tetra?

When it comes to tetra types, the largest of all is the diamond tetra, which can grow to 2.5 inches in length.

These fish should be kept in schools of 6 or more, and they enjoy dimly lit and heavily planted tanks.

What Is The Smallest Tetra?

On the other end of the spectrum, when it comes to the smallest type of tetra fish, this would be the ember tetra, which grows to no more than 0.7 inches in length.

Keep in mind that these ember tetras should never be kept with fish that are significantly larger.

Cardinal Tetra vs Neon Tetra?

Cardinal tetras and neon tetras are often confused with each other, which is because they have the same body shape, the same length and size, and more or less the same colorations too, plus they can both survive within the same water parameters.

Visually, the only difference you will see is that cardinal tetras have a red stripe on the lower half of the body and this extends the full length of the fish, whereas the red stripe on a neon tetra does not extend along the whole fish.

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