Tetra

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Tetra

Paracheirodon Axelrodi

Last updated: March 18, 2022
Verified by: IMP
Image Credit Aka / Creative Commons

Native to the freshwater streams of South America!

Tetra Scientific Classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Actinopterygii
Order
Characiformes
Family
Characidae
Genus
Paracheirodon
Scientific Name
Paracheirodon Axelrodi

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Tetra Conservation Status

Tetra Locations

Tetra Locations


Tetra Facts

Main Prey
Algae, Brine Shrimp, Plankton
Optimum pH Level
5.5-7.5
Habitat
Clearwater streams of South America
Predators
Fish, Eels, Crustaceans
Diet
Omnivore
Favorite Food
Algae
Common Name
Tetra
Average Clutch Size
130
Slogan
Native to the freshwater streams of South America!

Tetra Physical Characteristics

Color
  • Red
  • Blue
  • Black
  • White
  • Silver
Skin Type
Scales
Lifespan
2-5 years

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Tetra is a general name for tropical freshwater fish of the Characidae family.

They are popular because they are peaceful species that can live with many other types of aquarium features. Aquarium enthusiasts also love them because they are easy to maintain, particularly the ember tetra. They come in many bright colors, like yellow, cardinal, and bright greens and blues.

Five Tetra Facts

1. Tetras are among the world’s most popular aquarium fish.
2. Rummy-nose tetras love to shoal.
3. Tetras tend to act livelier when they are in bigger groups.
4. The ember tetra, discovered in 1987, was named after explorer Heiko Bleher’s mother.
5. Glow tetras, also called GloFish tetras, are genetically modified and can reach six inches long.

Tetra Classification and Scientific Name

All tetras are members of the Chcaraciformes order and the Characidae family. The scientific name of the neon tetra, probably the best known of these aquarium fish, is Paracheirodon innesi. Scientific names of some of the other tetras are yellow tetra, Hyphessobrycon bifasciatus; rummy-nose tetra, Hemigrammus rhodostomus; cardinal tetra, Paracheirodon axelrodi; ember tetra, Hyphessobrycon amandae; and glow tetra, Hemigrammus erythrozonus.

Tetra Species

More than 150 species of fish considered tetras live worldwide. Although there are many different species, less than 20 are commonly found in aquariums worldwide. Most pet stores sell neon tetras at a low price as they are plentiful. Other popular tetra species among hobbyist fishkeepers include black, cardinal, rainbow, blue, flame, rummy-nose, emperor, and bloodfin tetras. The most popular tetras also have a low price in pet stores, making them affordable.

Tetra Appearance

Tetras are small fish, generally ranging in length from one to four inches. The one exception is the genetically engineered glow tetra, which can grow up to six inches in size. Tetras have a small adipose fin between their dorsal and caudal fins, distinguishing them from other fish. You’ll find a few differences between male and female tetras. Males are usually thinner, while females are more rounded and tend to be larger. Colors are varied, ranging from silver and yellow to deep black.



Tetra Distribution, Population, and Habitat

Tetras are found around the world, although they are concentrated in the previously mentioned areas. They are primarily found in the freshwater rivers and lakes of the Amazon Basin. Most species generally have stable populations, although some have shown declines, while the numbers of the rest remain unknown.

According to the IUCN Redlist of endangered species, the tetra is considered least concern.

Tetra Predators and Prey

As tetras are small fish, many different predators hunt them. Larger fish, eels, crustaceans, and some invertebrates all feed on tetra. Because of their colorful bodies, predators can easily see tetras. When tetras feel they are in danger, they’ll often try to find somewhere to hide or swim to darker waters where they won’t be as visible.

In the wild and the aquarium, tetras eat almost anything because they are omnivores. The diets of wild and captive tetras are similar, with the exception that captive tetras eat manufactured food like flakes, pellets, frozen brine shrimp, etc. In the wild, they have access to a wide variety of foods. Among the favorite prey are common water fleas called daphnia, mosquito larvae, brine shrimp, bloodworms, and small fish eggs. In aquariums, tetras eat twice daily, consuming as much food as possible in about two minutes.

Tetra Reproduction and Lifespan

The lifespan of tetras is between eight to 10 years in the wild but considerably shorter in captivity. For example, neon tetras only live an average of five years. Tetras don’t live as long in captivity because of stress and boredom. Loneliness is also a factor as these fish do best when living in a school of other tetras.
Although most tetras are easy to care for, breeding them in captivity can sometimes be difficult because it’s hard to distinguish males from females. Even though they do not form monogamous pairs, tetras will not necessarily spawn with any other tetra they see and may reject their potential mate. The male tries to attract the female by dancing around her. If she likes him, she will take him to the spawning site. The number of eggs laid can range from 50 to 1,000, depending on the species. Tetras grow slowly. After hatching, it can take neon tetras two months to reach one-quarter inch in length. However, emperor tetras grow quickly as juveniles only take six months to become adults. Eggs take at least 48 hours to hatch.

Tetras in Fishing and Cooking

Generally, fishing for tetras only occurs to bring these fish into captivity to help populate home aquariums. Like most other aquarium fish, tetras are edible, but you probably wouldn’t want to do so. First off, their small size doesn’t produce much protein, but more importantly, you can run into digestive problems when consuming aquarium fish not explicitly raised for food.

Tetra Population

The exact number of tetras in the world is unknown, primarily because many of these fish live in remote regions and dark waters.

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About the Author

AZ Animals is a growing team of animals experts, researchers, farmers, conservationists, writers, editors, and — of course — pet owners who have come together to help you better understand the animal kingdom and how we interact.

Tetra FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Are Tetras herbivores, carnivores, or omnivores?

Tetras are Omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and other animals.

What Kingdom do Tetras belong to?

Tetras belong to the Kingdom Animalia.

What phylum do Tetras belong to?

Tetras belong to the phylum Chordata.

What class do Tetras belong to?

Tetras belong to the class Actinopterygii.

What family do Tetras belong to?

Tetras belong to the family Characidae.

What order do Tetras belong to?

Tetras belong to the order Characiformes.

What genus do Tetras belong to?

Tetras belong to the genus Paracheirodon.

What type of covering do Tetras have?

Tetras are covered in Scales.

In what type of habitat do Tetras live?

Tetras live in clearwater streams in South America.

What is the main prey for Tetras?

Tetras prey on algae, brine shrimp, and plankton.

What are some predators of Tetras?

Predators of Tetras include fish, eels, and crustaceans.

What is the average clutch size of a Tetra?

Tetras typically lay 130 eggs.

What is an interesting fact about Tetras?

Tetras are native to the freshwater streams of South America!

What is the scientific name for the Tetra?

The scientific name for the Tetra is Paracheirodon Axelrodi.

What is the lifespan of a Tetra?

Tetras can live for 2 to 5 years.

What is the optimal pH for a Tetra?

The optimal pH for a Tetra is between 5.5 and 7.5.

Sources
  1. David Burnie, Dorling Kindersley (2011) Animal, The Definitive Visual Guide To The World’s Wildlife
  2. Tom Jackson, Lorenz Books (2007) The World Encyclopedia Of Animals
  3. David Burnie, Kingfisher (2011) The Kingfisher Animal Encyclopedia
  4. Richard Mackay, University of California Press (2009) The Atlas Of Endangered Species
  5. David Burnie, Dorling Kindersley (2008) Illustrated Encyclopedia Of Animals
  6. Dorling Kindersley (2006) Dorling Kindersley Encyclopedia Of Animals

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