10 Types Of Tetras For Your Tank

  • Sep 21, 2021
  • Rita
  •   239        0      0

Getting a Tetra for your tank can be super confusing. Just when you think you’ve found the perfect fish, another one catches your eye. It may feel impossible to choose. 

Don’t fret, however, help is on the way. To make your decision a bit easier, here’s a list of 10 popular Tetra species for your tank.

Choosing A Tetra

Choosing the perfect Tetra comes down to a few things. Here’s what you need to consider:

  • Tank size

The tank size only matters if you’re thinking of setting up a tank under 30 gallons. Different Tetras will grow to different sizes so make sure to check the minimum tank size requirements. 

  • Availability

Some Tetras might be really hard to find due to not being so popular in the aquarium industry. Make sure you can actually get the Tetra you want before committing to one. 

  • Species size

Different Tetras grow to different sizes. If you’d like a fish that stays relatively small, make sure to choose a small species. 

  • Ease of care

Some species of Tetras are much harder to care for than others. If you’re a beginner, make sure you choose one that is beginner-friendly. It really sucks buying a fish to only see it floating belly up the next day. 

  • Tankmates

Some Tetras are quite aggressive and have a reputation as fin nippers. If this is the fish of your choice, make sure not to keep them in tanks with slow swimming fish or fish with long delicate fins like bettas. 

  • Care requirements

Different Tetras will have different care guidelines. This means that they will like different foods, water parameters, and tank setups. Make sure to match these requirements to the fish you want to get before the fish arrives. 

10 Types Of Tetras

Here’s a summary of 10 of the most popular Tetras in the aquarium industry. 

1. Ember Tetra

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By Usien - Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=52915247

Ember Tetras stand out due to their coloration. They are almost completely covered in an orange hue. Ember Tetras are very easy to care for which makes them perfect for beginners. They do well in standard tropical water conditions with a temperature between 73 and 84 degrees Fahrenheit (23-29°C) and a neutral pH. 

Make sure to keep them in shoals. They are very peaceful which means they do well in community tanks with other fish species. You’ll never be bored watching these fish since they have quite a quirky personality. 

Fish size: 1 inch(2.5cm)

Minimum tank size: 10 gallons 

Level of care: Beginner

2. Neon Tetra

Neonová Tetra, Ryba, Pod Vodou, Zvíře, Mazlíček

Neon Tetras are one of the most popular Tetra species in the aquarium industry. They are recognized for their amazing colors. Easily confused with Cardinal Tetras, you can tell them apart by looking at the amount of red on the body. Cardinals have more red starting at the gills and go all the way to the tail where Neons only have half that amount of red starting around the middle of the belly and stretching to the tail. 

These fish make great community fish due to their peaceful disposition, but must be kept in shoals. If you plan you’re tank right, you can integrate them with quite a few other species of fish. They are also easy to care for which makes them an excellent choice for beginners. 

Fish size: 1.5 inches (3.8cm)

Minimum tank size: 10-20 gallons 

Level of care: Beginner

3. Penguin Tetra

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By Kkonstan - Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5632664

Penguin Tetras are less colorful with more natural coloration than most other Tetra species. You can pick out this Tetra by looking for a single black stripe running down the middle of its otherwise silver body. 

They need to be kept in shoals of six or more fish to keep them active and healthy. A fish kept without a shoal will spend most of its time in hiding. 

Despite the shoal requirement, they are quite easy to care for. They will accept just about any food and prefer a standard tropical setup. Keep in mind that your tank needs to be quite large due to the shoaling requirement. 

Fish size: 3 inches (8cm)

Minimum tank size: 30 gallons 

Level of care: Beginner

4. Glowlight Tetra

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By gonzalovalenzuela - Flickr, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9812201

Glowlight Tetras are another popular Tetra species for your aquarium. They look best kept in a low-light aquarium. Glowlight Tetras are identified by their predominantly silver bodies with a slight red line down the middle. If seen in bright light, they look lightly seethrough. 

Take care when playing these fish in a community tank. Some fish species like angelfish are attracted to their appearance and will try to eat them. 

Keep them in shoals with others of the same species. They are not known to shoal with other species of fish, not even other Tetras. 

Fish size: 1.5 inches (3.8cm)

Minimum tank size: 10 gallons 

Level of care: Beginner

5. Silvertip Tetra

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By Hasemania_4.jpg: Filtropatderivative work: Kyknos (talk) - Hasemania_4.jpg, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12653039

Silvertip Tetras are quite a unique specie of Tetra. They are naturally found in areas without vegetation which means they can be kept in a tank with only rocks or driftwood as decoration. 

These fish are recognized by the prominent white tips on their otherwise colorful fins. The rest of the body is silver with a yellow undertone. In the right light, the white dots will shimmer making this fish quite interesting to look at. 

They are also quite peaceful fish making them candidates for a community tank. It is also easy to care fr these fish. They will shoal with any other small fish in the tank even if they are of different species. 

Fish size: 2 inches (5cm)

Minimum tank size: 10 gallons 

Level of care: beginner

6. X-Ray Tetras

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By Debivort at the English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1572485

If you want your fish to stand out in the looks department, consider an X-ray Tetra. These fish have unusual bodies that are completely seethrough. You can see the skeleton and organs inside the fish. The fins on the other hand are quite colorful contrasting with the body. 

They are very easy to care for due to their adaptable nature and will tolerate a large range of water temperatures and parameters. 

Fish size: 2 inches (5cm)

Minimum tank size: 10 gallons 

Level of care: beginner 

7. Cardinal Tetra

Cardinal tetra | Brian Gratwicke | Flickr

Cardinal Tetra by Brian Gratwicke

Cardinal Tetras are very popular due to their stunning appearance. Make sure you’re looking at the right species, however, since they are often confused with Neon Tetras. You can tell the species apart by the amount of red coloration on the belly. Cardinals have a completely red belly where Neons only have a red section from around mid-belly to the tail.

Cardinal Tetras are very docile which makes them perfect candidates for a community tank. They are not the easiest to care for but a beginner will still do okay with these fish as long as they put in the effort. Make sure to keep them in shoals and provide lots of plants and other decorations for them to explore and hide in.  

Fish size: 2 inches (5cm)

Minimum tank size: 10-20 gallons 

Level of care: Intermediate 

8. Black Skirt Tetra

Black Skirt Tetra Profile: Care, Size, Lifespan, Tank Mates, Breeding

Black Skirt Tetra by Jackie

If you like dramatic fins, then this Tetra is for you. This fish gets its name from its flowing anal fin and black and silver appearance. Despite looking quite intimidating, they are quite peaceful fish and do well in community tanks without any fin nippers. 

Make sure to keep them in groups of 5 or more fish to keep them healthy. Make sure to get their habitat set up just right with loads of natural plants and areas to explore. They also prefer warmer water so make sure you have a heater. 

Fish size: 3 inches (8cm)

Minimum tank size: 15-20 gallons 

Level of care: Beginner

9. Congo Tetra

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By 7TP (Krzysztof Bartosik) - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=49533183

The Congo Tetra has quite a stunning appearance with its body being hues of blue, gold, violet, and bright orange. The fins are also quite stunning to look at. 

Caring for these fish is fairly easy as long as you keep to their water parameters. They eat most fish foods and would love you for a protein snack every now and then. They aren’t the best fish for a planted tank, however. If allowed, they are notorious leave nippers. 

Congo Tetras are non-aggressive which makes them ideal for community tanks. Just make sure to keep them in groups if you want to see the full range of personalities and behaviors.  

Fish size: 3.5 inches (9cm)

Minimum tank size: 30 gallons 

Level of care: Intermediate 

10. Serpae Tetra 

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By No machine-readable author provided. Faucon~commonswiki assumed (based on copyright claims). - No machine-readable source provided. Own work assumed (based on copyright claims)., CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1271422

Serpae Tetras were once referred to as Jewel Tetras. They are excellent if you want to add some activity to your tank due to their need to swim around. These fish have a stunning appearance that can be improved with the right diet. 

They aren’t the easiest to care for, but a beginner should still be able to manage. They eat just about anything so keeping them on a good diet is simple enough. 

Fish size: 1.75 inches (4.5cm)

Minimum tank size: 10 gallons 

Level of care: Intermediate 

Final Thoughts

Now that you are somewhat familiar with some of the Tetra species, you can go ahead and pick one for your tank with a lot more confidence. Happy fishkeeping!

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