Diamond Tetra – Care, Tank Mates & Full Details!

Diamond Tetra (scientific name: Moenkhausia pittieri) are freshwater fish species celebrated for their shimmering beauty. Originating from the tranquil water bodies of South America, these fish bring a touch of exotic allure to your home.

Diamond Tetras are truly a sight to behold in the world of freshwater fish. Their iridescent scales and vibrant personalities make them a highly desired addition to any aquarium.

Whether you’re an amateur aquarist or a seasoned hobbyist, the Diamond Tetra’s resilience and low-maintenance nature make it an ideal addition to your aquarium.

Diamond Tetra is a beautiful addition to any freshwater aquarium. Their shimmering scales and playful demeanor make them a joy to own.

However, they are more than just a pretty face in your tank, they require appropriate care and attention.

Let’s dive into the captivating world of Diamond Tetras and explore the various aspects of their appearance, habitat, origin, and more.

Quick Stats About Diamond Tetras

Care Level: Beginner
Temperament: Peaceful
Color: Silver, with reflective fins and scales
Lifespan: ~3 to 6 years
Size: ~2.5 inches
Diet: Omnivore
Family: Characidae
Minimum Tank Size: 15 gallons
Tank Setup: Freshwater, plants, caves
Compatibility: Similar sized peaceful fish

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The Appearance of Diamond Tetras

Diamond Tetras are aptly named for the radiant, shimmering scales that adorn their bodies. These freshwater jewels are a spectacle, especially when sunlight or artificial light dances on their iridescent scales, creating a spectacle akin to precious gemstones.

Unlike many of their Tetra cousins, Diamond Tetras exhibit a robust body structure. They are characterized by a slightly elongated, laterally compressed body.

Their most striking feature, their dazzling scales, glows with hues of orange, blue, green, and gold, creating a mesmerizing display of colors.

What truly sets Diamond Tetras apart is the evolution of their iridescence. As they age and mature, their scales’ radiant sheen becomes even more pronounced, making older Diamond Tetras an even more stunning sight.

Complementing their radiant scales are their semi-transparent fins, tinged with a delicate hint of violet.

A closer look will reveal that the males flaunt longer and pointed dorsal fins, an easily identifiable sexual dimorphism that proves useful during breeding seasons.

Interestingly, the allure of Diamond Tetras is not confined to their body alone.

Their eyes, too, carry a subtle hint of red on the upper half, creating a unique accent that adds to their overall charm.

Natural Habitat of Diamond Tetras

To understand Diamond Tetras and their needs fully, it is crucial to explore their natural habitat. These magnificent creatures hail from the serene inland waters of South America, where they are accustomed to the tranquil environment of slow-moving tributaries.

They thrive in shallow waters, often found in the Rio Bue, Rio Tiquiriti, and Lake Valencia.

Their preference for such habitats has a significant influence on their care requirements in an aquarium setting, especially concerning the tank’s setup and water conditions.

In their natural environment, Diamond Tetras coexist with an array of plant life, using them as hiding spots and shelter from the light.

Thus, when setting up a tank for these fish, it’s recommended to replicate an Amazonian biotope as closely as possible, complete with ample plant life, to mimic their native environment.

Origin and Distribution of Diamond Tetras

Diamond Tetras (scientifically known as Moenkhausia pittieri) are indigenous to South America.

They are often referred to by several other names, such as the Diamond Characin or the Timanttitetra, but no matter what name they go by, their beauty is universally acknowledged.

They have a broad distribution, typically found in the inland water bodies of South America, primarily in the shallow and slow-moving tributaries mentioned earlier.

Despite their South American roots, these sparkling fish have become a common sight in the global pet trade, thanks to their captivating beauty and low-maintenance care requirements.

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Growth, Size & Lifespan of Diamond Tetras

Diamond Tetras may not be the largest freshwater fish, but they certainly make up for it with their radiant beauty. As adults, these shimmering delights grow to an average size of 2 to 2.5 inches in length. However, in optimal conditions and with proper care, they can grow slightly larger, reaching up to 3 inches.

The gender of Diamond Tetras can influence their size. Typically, females tend to be slightly larger and rounder than males.

This difference is most noticeable during the breeding season when females fill with eggs, appearing fuller in the belly region.

One of the main attractions of Diamond Tetras is their longevity. With proper care, a balanced diet, and a stress-free environment, these glistening beauties can live up to 5 to 7 years, sometimes even longer.

This makes them a rewarding choice for aquarists looking for a long-term aquarium resident.

Diamond Tetras experience steady growth, with their dazzling coloration becoming more pronounced as they mature.

Their radiant scales and the iridescence they’re renowned for truly come to life as they grow, making them even more of a spectacle in your aquarium.

The Importance of Proper Care

To ensure your Diamond Tetras thrive, it’s essential to replicate their natural habitat as closely as possible.

A densely planted tank with plenty of hiding spots, combined with a diet rich in protein and vegetable matter, can significantly contribute to their health, growth, and lifespan.

While Diamond Tetras are generally hardy and adaptable, it’s crucial to maintain stable water parameters, ideally mimicking the slightly acidic and soft water conditions of their native South American habitats.

By providing optimal conditions and care, these gleaming gems of the freshwater world will grace your aquarium with their captivating beauty for years to come.

And, in turn, they will provide you with an unforgettable aquatic experience, filled with shimmering colors and engaging behaviors.

Diamond Tetras Behavior and Temperament

Diamond Tetras are peaceful and social fish. They love to live in groups, and their behavior reflects this social nature.

When kept in a school of at least five or more, Diamond Tetras are most at ease, showing off their best colors and most natural behaviors.

Their social interactions are a sight to behold. They playfully dart around the tank, swimming together in harmony. Diamond Tetras are also known for their ‘flashing’ behavior.

This involves them swiftly moving their bodies side to side, flashing their iridescent scales in the process. It’s a delightful spectacle and one of the many reasons why aquarists adore them.

They are not aggressive but can stand their ground when needed. Their calm demeanor makes them a fantastic choice for community tanks, where they can coexist with other peaceful fish species.

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Tank Setup for Diamond Tetras

Creating an ideal tank setup for Diamond Tetras is key to their well-being. They prefer environments that mimic their natural habitat.

Here’s a detailed guide on how to set up your tank:

Tank Size

The minimum tank size for Diamond Tetras is 20 gallons. They are active swimmers, and this size allows them enough space to swim freely. For every additional Diamond Tetra, add at least 2 gallons of water.


Diamond Tetras aren’t too fussy about the substrate. However, a dark-colored substrate, like fine sand or smooth gravel, can help highlight their dazzling colors.

Decorations and Hiding Spots

To mimic their natural habitat, include plenty of live plants, driftwood, and rock formations. These provide them with ample hiding spots and help them feel safe. Floating plants can also help diffuse bright light, which Diamond Tetras appreciate.

Water Parameters

Diamond Tetras prefer soft to moderately hard water, with a pH between 6.0 and 7.5. The water temperature should be kept between 72°F and 82°F. Regular water changes are also necessary to keep the environment clean.

Filtration and Aeration

A good quality filter is essential to maintain water quality. A gentle current will also replicate the flow of their natural habitats. Regular aeration is beneficial but not overly strong as it may stress the fish.


Diamond Tetras do best in subdued lighting conditions. Too bright light can stress them, while a darker setting will highlight their iridescence.

Tank Mates

Diamond Tetras are peaceful fish and do well with other non-aggressive species. Good tank mates include Guppies, Mollies, and other Tetra species.


Diamond Tetras are omnivores. They thrive on a varied diet of flake food, frozen food, and live food such as brine shrimp or daphnia.

They should be fed 2-3 times a day, giving only as much food as they can consume in 3 minutes.

By following these guidelines, you can provide a comfortable and engaging environment for your Diamond Tetras. This will not only ensure their well-being but also let their true colors and personality shine.

Tank Maintenance of Diamond Tetras

Proper tank maintenance is crucial for the well-being of Diamond Tetras. A clean and well-managed environment will help ensure your Diamond Tetras thrive.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to maintain your Diamond Tetras’ tank:

Regular Water Changes

Regular water changes are a must for maintaining a healthy aquarium. For Diamond Tetras, change about 25-30% of the tank’s water every two weeks.

This helps keep the water parameters stable and removes any waste or toxins that the filter may not have caught.

Always ensure that the new water matches the existing tank water in temperature and pH to avoid shocking the fish.

Cleaning the Tank and Decorations

The aquarium’s walls, substrate, and decorations should be cleaned at least once a month. Use an aquarium-safe scrubber for the walls and a siphon to remove any debris from the substrate.

Decorations can be cleaned by lightly scrubbing them with a soft brush in a bucket of tank water. Avoid using soap or any chemicals as they can harm your Diamond Tetras.

Filter Maintenance

The filter should be cleaned every month to ensure it operates efficiently. Rinse the filter media in a bucket of tank water to remove accumulated debris.

Never wash it under tap water, as this can kill the beneficial bacteria. Always check the manufacturer’s instructions for specific cleaning and maintenance guidelines.

Monitor Fish Health

Lastly, always keep an eye on your Diamond Tetras. Look out for any signs of stress or disease, like unusual behavior, loss of color, or reduced appetite.

If you notice anything out of the ordinary, seek advice from a professional.

Remember, maintaining a healthy tank environment is easier than trying to fix problems after they arise.

With regular upkeep, you can create a thriving ecosystem for your Diamond Tetras, where they can live happily and healthily.

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Acclimating Diamond Tetras

Introducing Diamond Tetras to a new tank requires a proper acclimation process. This helps minimize stress and ensures a smoother transition for the fish.

Follow these steps to acclimate your Diamond Tetras:

  1. Turn off the aquarium lights to reduce stress.

  2. Float the unopened bag containing the Diamond Tetras on the tank’s surface for 15-20 minutes to equalize the temperature.

  3. Slowly add small amounts of tank water to the bag every 5 minutes for about 30-45 minutes. This helps the fish adjust to the tank’s water parameters.

  4. Gently net the Diamond Tetras and transfer them into the tank, avoiding any water from the bag entering the tank.

  5. Keep the tank lights off for another hour to help the fish adapt to their new surroundings.

Diamond Tetras Diet and Feeding

A well-balanced diet is essential for Diamond Tetras to thrive.

Here are the key elements of their diet:

Flake Food and Pellets

  • Offer high-quality flake food or micro pellets as a staple diet.

  • Ensure the food is specifically designed for small tropical fish.

Live and Frozen Foods

  • Supplement with live or frozen foods like brine shrimp, daphnia, or bloodworms.

  • These treats promote vibrant colors and overall health.

Vegetable Matter

  • Diamond Tetras benefit from some vegetable matter in their diet.

  • Offer blanched spinach or small amounts of spirulina flakes occasionally.

Feeding Frequency

  • Feed Diamond Tetras two to three times a day.

  • Only provide the amount they can consume within 2-3 minutes to avoid overfeeding.

Ideal Tank Mates for Diamond Tetras

Diamond Tetras are recognized for their peaceable nature, making them great additions to a community aquarium.

Here are some of their ideal tank mates:

  1. Cardinal Tetras: Just like Diamond Tetras, Cardinal Tetras are peace-loving creatures. They share similar tank requirements, making them excellent companions for your Diamond Tetras.

  2. Neon Tetras: These small, vibrant fish are non-aggressive and can coexist harmoniously with Diamond Tetras.

  3. Corydoras Catfish: These bottom dwellers are peaceful and social, making them a perfect match for Diamond Tetras. They help keep the tank clean by scavenging for leftover food.

  4. Guppies: Known for their colorful, flowing tails, Guppies get along well with Diamond Tetras, adding variety and color to your tank.

  5. Platies: These hardy, peaceful fish are easy to care for and can live in harmony with Diamond Tetras.

  6. Rummy Nose Tetras: Their calm nature and similar size make Rummy-Nose Tetras a good choice for a Diamond Tetra community tank.

  7. Mollies: Mollies are peaceful, easy to care for, and make a great addition to a Diamond Tetra tank due to their compatibility.

  8. Dwarf Gouramis: These peaceful, slow-moving fish can comfortably share a tank with Diamond Tetras.

Tank Mates to Avoid for Diamond Tetras

While Diamond Tetras get along with many fish species, there are certain fish you should avoid.

These include:

  1. Oscar Fish: These large, territorial fish can become aggressive, making them unsuitable for a community tank with Diamond Tetras.

  2. Jack Dempseys: Known for their aggressive nature, Jack Dempseys are not a good match for the peaceful Diamond Tetra.

  3. Red-Tailed Sharks: These fish can be aggressive and territorial, making them a poor choice for a community tank with Diamond Tetras.

  4. Arowanas: These large predatory fish can see smaller fish like Diamond Tetras as food.

  5. Convict Cichlids: Their aggressive nature and territorial habits make Convict Cichlids a poor match for Diamond Tetras.

When selecting tank mates for your Diamond Tetras, it’s essential to consider the size, temperament, and environmental needs of all species to ensure a harmonious aquarium environment.

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Breeding Diamond Tetras and Fry Care

Breeding Diamond Tetras can be an exciting endeavor for any aquarist. These fish have a fascinating breeding process and require certain conditions to successfully reproduce.

Here is a detailed guide on how to breed Diamond Tetras and care for their fry:

  1. Setting Up the Breeding Tank: A separate tank is needed for breeding. A tank size of 10-20 gallons works well. The water should be slightly acidic (pH 6.0-6.5) and soft. The tank should be dimly lit to mimic their natural breeding environment.

  2. Spawning Mop or Plants: Introduce either a spawning mop or fine-leaved plants into the tank. These serve as a place for the female to lay eggs.

  3. Conditioning the Fish: Feed the fish a high-quality diet of live and frozen foods. This conditioning period can last one to two weeks, and it helps to increase the chances of successful breeding.

  4. Introducing the Pair: Introduce a male and female Diamond Tetra into the breeding tank. The males are more colorful, while females are larger and have a fuller body.

  5. Spawning: If the conditions are right, the female will scatter her eggs on the spawning mop or plants. The male will then fertilize them.

  6. Post-Spawning Care: After spawning, remove the adults to prevent them from eating the eggs. The eggs should hatch in about 24-36 hours.

  7. Fry Care: Once hatched, the fry can be fed infusoria or commercially available fry food. They will grow rapidly and can be moved to a larger tank as they develop.

Signs of Stress in Diamond Tetras

Just like other fish, Diamond Tetras can also experience stress, which can lead to health problems if not addressed.

Here are some signs of stress in Diamond Tetras:

  1. Changes in Color: Diamond Tetras are known for their vibrant colors. Any fading or loss of color can be a clear sign of stress.

  2. Changes in Behavior: If your Diamond Tetras are hiding more often, swimming erratically, or exhibiting lethargic behavior, they might be stressed.

  3. Loss of Appetite: A sudden change in eating habits or loss of appetite is another sign of stress.

  4. Breathing Difficulties: Rapid or labored breathing can be a symptom of stress.

  5. Physical Signs: Look out for physical signs like clamped fins, spots, sores, or a bloated body.

If you notice any of these signs, it’s crucial to identify the source of stress immediately. It could be due to poor water quality, incorrect water parameters, overcrowding, aggressive tank mates, or disease.

Always ensure that your fish are living in a suitable and stress-free environment to promote their health and longevity.

Common Health Issues and Treatments for Diamond Tetras

Like any other aquarium fish, Diamond Tetras can face some health challenges. It’s essential to keep an eye out for any signs of illness to ensure the health and longevity of your fish.

Here are some common health issues and their treatments:

  1. Ich: Also known as white spot disease, Ich is a common parasitic disease in aquarium fish. Affected fish may show white spots on their bodies and exhibit symptoms like rubbing against objects or rapid breathing. Treatment includes raising the water temperature slightly and using an Ich treatment available at pet stores.

  2. Fin Rot: Fin rot is a bacterial or fungal infection that causes the fins to become frayed or discolored. If caught early, it can be treated with water changes and medications designed to treat fin rot.

  3. Velvet Disease: This is another parasitic disease that can affect Diamond Tetras. It’s characterized by a yellow or gold dust-like appearance on the fish’s body. Treatment involves using a specific anti-parasitic medication and possibly dimming the aquarium lights, as the parasite is photosensitive.

  4. Swim Bladder Disease: If your Diamond Tetra is having trouble swimming or is swimming at an odd angle, it may have swim bladder disease. This can be caused by various factors, including overfeeding or poor water quality. Treatment usually involves fasting the fish and then feeding it a high-fiber diet.

Additional Tips for a Healthy Aquarium

Maintaining a healthy aquarium is key to ensuring the wellbeing of your Diamond Tetras.

Here are some additional tips:

  1. Regular Water Changes: Regularly changing a portion of the tank water helps to keep it clean and free from toxins.

  2. Monitor Water Parameters: Keep a close eye on water parameters like temperature, pH, and hardness. Any drastic changes can cause stress to your fish.

  3. Feeding: Feed your fish a varied diet of high-quality foods. Overfeeding can lead to poor water quality and health issues.

  4. Watch for Signs of Illness: Regularly observe your fish for any signs of illness or changes in behavior.

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Should You Get Diamond Tetra for Your Aquarium?

Diamond Tetra is a wonderful addition to any freshwater aquarium. Their stunning colors and peaceful temperament make them an excellent choice for both beginners and seasoned aquarists.

They are relatively easy to care for and can live for several years if kept in the right conditions.

However, they do require a bit of attention to their diet and water conditions, so be prepared for that responsibility.

Overall, if you’re willing to provide the care they need, Diamond Tetras will undoubtedly add a touch of sparkle to your aquarium.

Conservation Status

Diamond Tetras are not currently listed as an endangered species. However, they are native to a specific region in Venezuela, and their habitats could potentially be threatened by environmental changes or human activities.

To ensure the sustainability of this species, it’s recommended to purchase Diamond Tetras that have been bred in captivity rather than those caught in the wild.

Availability & Pricing

Diamond Tetra are quite popular among aquarists due to their beautiful appearance and peaceful temperament. As such, they’re widely available in pet stores and online.

The price can vary depending on the size and overall health of the fish, but generally, Diamond Tetras are reasonably priced.

On average, you can expect to pay anywhere between $5 to $10 per fish. However, prices can fluctuate based on availability and market demand.

Frequently Asked Questions About Diamond Tetras

1. How long do Diamond Tetras live?

With proper care, Diamond Tetra can live up to 5-7 years in a well-maintained aquarium.

2. What do Diamond Tetras eat?

Diamond Tetra is omnivorous and thrives on a varied diet of high-quality flake food, brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms.

3. Can Diamond Tetras live with other fish?

Yes, Diamond Tetras are peaceful and get along well with other non-aggressive fish of similar size.

4. How many Diamond Tetras should be kept together?

Diamond Tetras are schooling fish and should be kept in groups of at least 6. They’re more comfortable and display their best colors when in a group.


Diamond Tetra is a stunning addition to any freshwater aquarium. Their shimmering colors, peaceful nature, and moderate care requirements make them a popular choice among aquarists.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced fish keeper, Diamond Tetras can add a touch of elegance and beauty to your tank.

Just ensure you provide them with the right care and environment, and these aquatic gems will thrive, providing you with many years of enjoyment.