Tetras are some of best fishes for beginners. For the ease of taking care, feeding, and keeping them healthy, you will have an effortless time starting out on your way to having an aquarium you’ll be proud to show to your friends.
Tetras are a schooling species. The recommendation from many guru’s is for customers to buy at least six of them and that they should not mix different species of this fish in one tank. The appropriate size of the tank and the water acidity depend on the type of tetras.
This fish is a peace-loving type. Make sure that you place your aquarium in a room with moderate lighting and free of loud noise. Otherwise, they won’t breed as fast as they should. Also, they would love to cover themselves with whatever is available in the water, so don’t forget to look around for plants and arrange the interior of the aquarium so that some corners are dense with living plants.
Tetra Species and Their Acidity Levels
There are probably a hundred or more tetra types all over the world, and more frequently than not, the ones coming from aquarium shops are natives to Africa, South America, and Central America.
In those places, the water inhabited by tetras is soft and acidic, which means that it has a pH that’s below 7. Tap water is neutral, meaning that its pH is zero, which is good for most tetras. Do check the acidity of the natural habitat of your chosen species or variety and ask the shop owner if they have water treatment products suitable to the species.
- Cardinal Tetra – pH 5.5 – 7.5
- Neon Tetra – pH 5.0 to 7.0
- Rummynose Tetra – pH 5.5 – 7.0
- Glowlight Tetra – pH 5.5 – 7.0
- Silver Tip Tetra – pH 5.8 – 8.5
- Black Neon Tetra – pH 5.5 – 7.0
- Green Fire Tetra – pH 6.6 – 7.0
- Bleeding Heart Tetra – pH 6.0 – 7.0
- Emperor Tetra – pH 6.0 – 8.0
- Head and Tail Light Tetra – pH 5.8 – 8.5
- Gold Neon Tetra – pH 5.0 – 7.0
- Black Skirt Tetra – 6.0 – 7.5
- Penguin Tetra- pH 5.8 – 8.5
- Black Phantom Tetra – pH 6.0 – 7.5
- Splashing Tetra- pH 5.0 – 8.0
- Congo Tetra- pH 6.0 – 6.2
- Gold Tetra (Captive-bred) – pH 6.0 – 6.5
- Diamond Tetra- pH 6.0 – 7.5
- Diamond Head Neon Tetra- pH 5.0 – 7.0
- Red/Blue Columbian Tetra- pH 6.0 – 6.5
- Buenos Aires Tetra- pH 7.0 – 8.3
- Ember Tetra- 5.5 – 7.0
- Filigree Bloodfin Tetra- pH 6.6 – 7.0
- Gold Pristella Tetra- pH 5.8 – 8.5
- Red Eye Tetra- pH 5.8 – 8.5
- Red Minor Serpae Tetra- pH 6.0 – 7.5
- X-ray Pristella Tetra- pH 5.8 – 8.5
Top 5 Tetras
You would obviously have a difficult time choosing because all tetras are not that expensive and most of them have the same bright, irresistible colours. As a beginner, you probably have to focus more on the ease of management and keeping your pets healthy.
The Cardinal Tetra is one of your cheapest choices. At a little less than $4 per piece, you can easily take home 6 pieces of them, which would increase to about 70 pieces in less than 6 months. Feeding is relatively easy. They accept small flakes, pellets, daphnias, and brine shrimp. Daphnias are excellent to bring the fish to a faster spawning condition. The Cardinal has red and blue stripes that run from the upper part of its body down to the tail. The Neon Tetra looks like the Cardinal, save from the red stripe that can be seen only at the lower part of the body. A female Cardinal can produce over 100 eggs at a time. Hatching takes place within 24 hours.
If you’re aiming for a well-decorated and densely-planted aquarium, you might as well pick this species. That’s how the surrounding is in their natural habitat. Add a little more to your budget, since you probably have to spend money for driftwood and stones. Feeds are pretty much the same as those of the Cardinal, but you may also consider stacking freeze-dried bloodworms. Have a separate breeding tank as these fish are omnivores. They are known to eat the newly-hatched ones.
Bleeding Heart Tetra
The marking on this fish’s body is the reason why it got this unique name. There’s a blushing red colour close to its gills. Like the others above, the aquarium keeper should create a surrounding that mirrors its South American habitat – heavy with plants and driftwoods that provide small quick places for cover and relaxation. Provide for it a slightly acidic water condition. Food provisions are the same as above.
Another tetra with solid bright colours is the Serpae, also known as Red Minor Tetra or Blood Tetra. Serpaes are a bit versatile than other versions of Tetras as they can thrive well in neutral water, so you can utilize tap water.
One drawback for this fish is that they are fin nippers, meaning that they slowly tear away the fins of their tank mates with their sharp teeth.
Another cheap option is the Ember from the Araguaia river basin. Its translucent colour at the base of its pelvic fin combined with its overall orange colour makes it a stand out among its peers.
This peaceful fish has a habit of swimming at the middle part of the tank, so make sure that you have taller stones, driftwoods and plants to provide security and resting places.
Prices are usually within the range of $1.50 – $8.00 per piece for most aquarium shops with little variations on the cent figure. For example, one specie costs $1.39 per piece in one shop but is offered for $1.45 per piece in another shop. One of the most expensive species is the Diamond Head Neon Tetra offered at $7.99.
Buy in large quantities. Some shops push down prices by $0.30 per piece if a buyer would buy more than 10. Ask your neighbours or colleagues to join you in buying for bigger discounts.