Tetras are one of the most popular species of tropical schooling fish kept in freshwater aquariums. Coming in an assortment of various bright colors, they highly compliment a planted tank. With the species being so broad, Tetras come in multiple sizes but the most common are very small around the 1.5 – 2″ mark. This makes it possible to keep a large school of them and enhances the experience of watching their schooling behavior in a nature aquarium. We’ve kept many Tetras in the past and present but here are our favorites.
Ember Tetra Hyphessobrycon amandae – Measuring at a maximum length of 1″ they are one of the smallest species of Tetras known to the hobby. Its bright orange color provides great contrast to green aquatic plants while complimenting red and yellow stem plants. In our experience, they are some the hardiest species and we’ve kept them in multiple tanks of various sizes. Their size, color, and hardiness make them one of the better choices for nano tanks. In terms of feeding, Embers are not picky eaters and will feed on any quality micro pellets and/or flakes.
Green Neon Tetra Paracheirodon simulans – Another small species of Tetra. Fully grown, they are about 1.2″. The most attractive feature of this species is the signature luminous green stripe that runs the length of its body. They are the perfect fit for tanks with plenty of open space and hobbyists who want a large school of fish without taking away from their overall aquascape. They swim in tighter schools by nature and don’t stray too often. For the most part, Green Neons are not bred in captivity and instead are exclusively caught in the wild. As a result, this makes them more susceptible to disease and difficult to acclimate to new environments. Despite their sensitivity, their vivid coloring and tight schooling behavior makes them highly sought after. Once fully acclimate, they are easy to care for and will accept any quality micro pellets and/or flakes.
Cardinal Tetra Paracheirodon axelrodi – Can grow up to 2″. Its contrasting red and blue coloring are perhaps what makes them a staple in the tropical fish keeping community. They are the perfect complimentary fish to any planted tank. Cardinals are lively and can hold their own amongst medium sized tropical fish and some enthusiasts have also kept them alongside large tropical fish such as Angelfish without casualty. Although not as sensitive as Green Neons, Cardinals are slightly sensitive and do require careful acclimation. However, once acclimated, they are a pleasure to watch and easy to care for as they are not picky eaters.
QUICK TIP: Feeding quality foods that include blood worms, brine shrimp, daphnia, and such will promote Tetra health and vivid coloring. If possible, the general rule of thumb is to keep at least 6 or more for social and safety reasons.