The Diamond Tetra is one of the most underrated Tetra fish known to the hobby today. This small, silvery beauty is stockier than other types of Tetras and is often overlooked in favor of brighter-colored fish.
However, what the average aquarist doesn’t know is that the Diamond Tetra is a fish with lots of spunk and personality. Given enough time, the Diamond Tetra will begin to swim around with absolute confidence.
In this article, you’ll discover all there is to know about the Diamond Tetra. We’ll tackle all the factors you need to consider when it comes to caring for this unique Tetra fish. Plus, our experts will also share their top recommended tank mates for this unassuming Tetra.
Getting To Know the Diamond Tetra
The Diamond Tetra is yet another fish that hails from the rich aquatic ecosystems of South America. Its natural habitat is Lake Valencia, as well as nearby bodies of water scattered around Venezuela.
Like other Tetra fish, the Diamond Tetra prefers slow-moving waters that are warm, soft, and slightly acidic. This fish is known by other names in the fishkeeping hobby. It is sometimes referred to as the Diamond Characin, while a few aquarists prefer to call it by the name Pittier’s Tetra.
The scientific community recognizes the Diamond Tetra by yet another name: Moenkhausia pittieri. This fish is famous for being capable of adapting to various water conditions and surviving some of the most nutrient-deficient habitats. Today, the Diamond Tetra can be found in most local fish stores. Be careful not to confuse it for its rarer cousin, the Diamond Neon Tetra!
Stats, Facts and More
Here are some more facts and figures about the Diamond Tetra for you to get acquainted with this beautiful freshwater fish.
– Scientific Classification
– Fish Overview
|Size||2.0 to 2.5 inches in length|
|Lifespan||3 to 6 years|
|Care Level Needed||Easy; low-maintenance|
|Minimum Experience Level Needed||Suitable for beginners|
|Minimum Tank Size Required||10 to 20 gallons|
|General Community Behavior||This fish is shy at first, but eventually, the Diamond Tetra becomes more active; this fish can be included in a community tank that has plenty of live plants.|
While the Diamond Tetra often lives in the shadow of its more colorful cousins, it is one of the flashiest species in the Tetra family. Its silver-gray scales glimmer when hit by light, causing them to temporarily exhibit blue, gold, red, and yellow hues.
There’s so much more elegance and beauty to this fish than initially meets the eye! You’ll learn more about what to look for in your potential Diamond Tetra in the next section.
Appearance and Features of Healthy Diamond Tetras
If you find yourself attracted by the idea of raising happy and healthy Diamond Tetras at home, don’t just barge into your local fish store and take the first fish you see. Instead, spend some time observing the fish that are available. Take note of the following physical and personality features that are common to all healthy Diamond Tetras. This should help you make a more informed decision when it comes to selecting fish to form your first school of Diamond Tetras.
– Stocky Build, Strong Body
Diamond Tetras are stockier or chunkier to look at than other types of Tetras. This means that they also appear larger than the usual nano Tetra fish. The Diamond Tetra’s body exudes strength instead of the usual delicateness associated with tiny Tetras.
Choose Diamond Tetras that appear to have a good size and weight. There should be no nicks or wounds on their bodies and faces.
– Sleek Fins, Silver Scales
Diamond Tetras have fins that are sleek and semi-transparent. Males tend to have long and tapered dorsal fins, while females have shorter, rounder fins. Both male and female Diamond Tetras have long anal fins that give them more stability when they streak past plants and neighboring fish.
As mentioned previously, Diamond Tetras are called such because of the shiny, silver finish of their scales. Depending on what angle you look at these fish, you might notice that their scales have a metallic sheen to them as well. However, because the scales of Diamond Tetras are highly iridescent, they are sometimes confused with another Tetra of a similar hue: the Blue Diamond Tetra.
Be sure that the school of fish you want to purchase is made up of legitimate Diamond Tetras, and not any of their similar-looking cousins.
– Bright Eyes, Brighter Personalities
You should also select Diamond Tetras that have bright, clear eyes and an active personality. A Diamond Tetra’s eyes have a red upper semicircle, and a white or gray lower half. Any yellows or blurriness in the eyes can be a sign of illness. Steer clear of fish with these kinds of characteristics as well as their tank mates.
Now, while Diamond Tetras are generally shy, you can observe their livelier side by asking the storekeeper to toss in a few fish flakes or pellets. Watch the Diamond Tetras and take note of which ones eagerly swim towards the food, as well as which fish are slower to respond to the new stimulus.
You can choose to purchase a small group of three Diamond Tetras, or better yet aim to bring home seven or more specimens of this gorgeous fish. This will not only make it easier for your fish to adapt to their new home, but it will also increase your success at breeding these beauties later on. In fact, there is a higher chance that your school of fish has at least a healthy male and female.
Setting up Your Diamond Tetra’s New Home
Once you have selected your school of Diamond Tetras, you might want to consider temporarily housing them in a quarantine tank. You can leave your new fish in the quarantine tank for around 48 to 72 hours.
This will be enough time for you to ensure that your main aquarium has the right parameters for your Diamond Tetras. In addition, the time that your fish spend in the quarantine tank will allow you to observe them for any signs of sickness or strange behavior that you might have missed at the fish store.
Below is a table of figures that you can use as your reference when you adjust the water and tank parameters to welcome your new Diamond Tetras home.
|Temperature||72 to 82 °F; 22 to 27 °C|
|pH Level||6.0 to 7.5 pH|
|Water Hardness Level||9 to 20 dGH|
|Light Level||Dim to Moderate|
Aside from hitting all the right parameters, our experts have lined up a few tips that you might want to apply when preparing your Diamond Tetras’ main aquarium.
1. Use a Fine, Sandy Substrate
While Diamond Tetras rarely stay at the bottom layer of the tank, they will appreciate a substrate floor that mimics their natural environment. You can opt to use a fine, sandy substrate or a dark gravel substrate.
2. Include Live Plants and Other Places To Hide
You should also add live plants to your Diamond Tetra tank. This will help you keep the water clean and oxygenated enough for your fish to thrive. In addition, the plants will provide your Diamond Tetras with places to hide and swim through.
You can also decorate your tank with rock caves, wood debris, and other such natural materials to help your Diamond Tetras feel at home. Walking the extra mile in decorating your Diamond Tetras’ tank will encourage them to feel safe and avoid hiding or staying in closed spaces all the time.
3. Install a Standard Filtration Device
Finally, when building an aquarium for Diamond Tetras, you should always make sure that the water is properly filtered. You can do this by simply installing any standard filtration device of your choice. If you want to keep a minimalist aquascape, then you could opt to add natural filters such as sponges and live plants.
Care Guide for Diamond Tetras
– Encouraging Tetra Activity
It might take a few days for your Diamond Tetras to swim freely in their new aquarium. If you want to make sure they feel safe and comfortable, you can apply the following care tips:
Use Dim or Low Light Levels Only
Diamond Tetras usually shy away from bright light sources and are less likely to explore their surroundings if their environment is constantly under harsh lighting.
Avoid Housing Diamond Tetras With Aggressive and Overly Large Fish
Having larger and more boisterous fish around will only push your Diamond Tetras into hiding. This can also stress them out and result in sickly Diamond Characins. Favor more peaceful companions to bring their sociable site into the light.
– Diet: The Diamond Standard
Diamond Characins are omnivorous fish. This is great news for beginner aquarists. Omnivorous fish thrive on a mix of live food, commercial food, and the occasional serving of leafy vegetables. Take a look at what our resident experts feed their Diamond Tetras to have a better idea of how to create an optimal diet for your new fish.
Fish Flakes and Pellets
Diamond Tetras are eager eaters. You can keep them happy and healthy on a diet that consists mainly of high-quality fish flakes or pellets. If you are feeding pellets, make sure to choose appropriately small sizes for their mouths. Otherwise, their gluttony could lead them to choke. This type of food will form around 80 percent of your Diamond Tetra’s diet and should be provided daily.
Aside from commercial food, however, you should also provide your Diamond Characins with a wide variety of live food. This will be their main source of protein and fresh minerals. You can feed your Diamond Tetras bloodworms or brine shrimp every three days. Live food should amount to at least 10 percent of their entire diet.
It’s also a good idea to stock up on frozen food. This will ensure that your Diamond Tetras always have something to eat, even if you run out of commercial pellets or are unable to source any live food at the moment.
Finally, know that you can feed your Diamond Tetras leafy vegetables as well. Cut these up into bite-sized portions, and watch your Diamond Characins snack on them. These fish are known to nibble on lettuce, spinach, and zucchini. Feed this type of food sparingly.
Tank Mates and Compatibility
One of the great things about Diamond Tetras is that they can be raised in community tanks alongside different kinds of fish and aquatic creatures. Here’s a short list of our experts’ top-recommended tank mates for your Diamond Characins.
- Mollies: These fish will occupy the same layer of the tank as your Diamond Tetras but will not pose any threat to the latter.
- Guppies: Similarly to Mollies, Guppies are peaceful fish that make for wonderful neighbors.
- Corydoras Catfish: The Corydoras Catfish is a bottom-dweller that will neither threaten nor disturb your Diamond Tetras when they swim about.
- Zebra Loach: Also a bottom-dweller, the Zebra Loach is a fantastic tank mate for your Diamond Characins due to its gentle behavior and timid personality.
Breeding Diamond Tetras in Three Steps
Diamond Tetras are relatively easy to breed. You can follow the steps detailed below to increase your chances of successfully breeding and rearing new Diamond Tetra fry for your aquarium.
Step 1: Condition the Breeding Pairs
Select healthy breeding pairs that are active and that match in terms of their body size and relative age. Condition your chosen Diamond Characins for breeding by feeding them fresh, live food for at least seven days.
Step 2: Deposit the Breeding Pairs in a Separate Tank
Move your selected breeding pairs to a separate tank. This tank should be situated in a dark area, and have soft, warm and acidic water. The tank should also have a lot of Java moss or soft plants on which the female Diamond Tetras can lay their eggs. Gradually increase the light level daily to encourage spawning.
Step 3: Remove the Parents and Support the Fry
Once the male Diamond Tetras have fertilized the eggs, remove the parents from the breeding tank. This will prevent them from eating the fry once they have hatched. The eggs should hatch within two to three days.
Support the growth of the new fry by feeding them infusoria and micro worms. Transfer the juvenile Diamond Tetras back into the main tank when they are big enough to fend for themselves and swim independently.
The Diamond Tetra is a great addition to any freshwater aquarium. They will add a touch of spark to your tank, and surprise you with their curious and friendly attitude. Here’s a quick rundown of the main points we discussed about Diamond Tetra care:
- Diamond Tetras are freshwater fish that were most abundant in the rivers of South America.
- These fish prefer environments with warm, soft and slightly acidic water. They thrive in aquariums that have low to moderate exposure.
- Diamond Tetras are omnivorous. You can feed them a mix of commercial food, live food, and leafy vegetables.
- This type of fish can be housed in a community tank with aquarium members of the same personality type and disposition.
- You can breed Diamond Tetras by conditioning a breeding pair and providing that pair with a separate tank for spawning.
As you can see, it is delightfully easy to raise Diamond Tetras and care for them in your aquarium. If you are a beginner aquarist, you will definitely fall in love with the unique personality and appearance of this freshwater beauty.
Badman’s tropical fish is the largest and most comprehensive aquarium related resource on the web. We focus on making the lives of aquarists and fish keepers easier.