Tetras are very popular in the home aquaria and in the fishkeeping hobby. As you may have heard tetras have a variety of characteristics in their patterns, colors, and even on the shape of their fins and tails.
This converts into an abundance of tetras for you to enjoy for your home aquarium. Each tetra type has a set of features that sets them apart from other aquarium fish.
I’ve gathered around 40 different types of tetra fish in this article. The list is not exhaustive to read and is intended to help you decide the best tetra fish for you to enjoy.
Different Types of Tetra Fish Species for Aquarium
Tetra fish are part of the biological family of Characidae family, which includes the following tetra fish species:
1. Black phantom tetra (Hyphessobrycon megalopterus)
The black phantom tetra is a popular tetra commonly seen in the aquarium trade. It has an identical tetragonal shape, light grey color, black patch, with light grey silver edge. They also enjoy being with a group of 6 or more phantom tetras of similar size.
While males may become territorial especially during mating season and expect minor battles with other male phantom tetras. Males have black fins as well as the female’s dorsal fin.
Females have reddish color pelvic, anal, and adipose fins. Some breeders developed a long-finned variety which is very popular in the aquarium trade with the males have elongated dorsal and anal fins.
2. Black neon tetra (Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi)
This fish is like neon tetras and is popular among aquarium hobbyists. it is sometimes called black tetra although it refers to different species.
They also like soft acidic water and should be kept clean at all times. Live plants should be on the fish tanks with darker substrate and more open water. This fish is more relax if they are in groups, minimum of 6 or more. Black neon tetras require 15 US gallons or 60 liters of water per group of 6.
And, if you have 8-10 fishes, you will need around 20 gallons, while the pH level requires a minimal 5-7 pH and hardness is from 1 to 2. Black neon tetra also prefers around 20-26 degrees celsius or 68-79 Fahrenheit.
There are some quirks for this fish as well, which they swim at the top level of the aquarium and will not eat at the bottom of the aquarium. That is why you will need a complimentary fish that will eat leftovers on the bottom such as pygmy corydoras.
Their food is just similar to other tetras but if you want to bring out the fish
colors, it is recommended to feed them small live worms and brine shrimp.
3. Black tetra, skirt tetra (Gymnocorymbus ternetzi)
A very energetic fish that may even chase or harass its own kind or other slow-moving fish. This fish is tough and can withstand a different variety of water qualities. Black tetras also have a strong amount of immunity to diseases. Female black tetras are larger than their male partners.
Black tetras have many names, such as:
- Black skirt tetra
- Petticoat tetra
- High-fin black skirt tetra
- Black widow tetra
This popular aquarium fish can grow up to 7.5 cm or 3 inches in length. many hobbyists preferred to provide live foods like mosquito larvae, daphnia, and frozen foods like bloodworms. they can mature sexually within 2 years. Black tetras are known to be used on genetic modification breeding and being sold as GloFish or fluorescent colored fish.
4. Bleeding heart tetra (Hyphessobrycon erythrostigma)
This fish can live around 5 years and grows around 64mm, which is larger than most tetras. This freshwater tropical tetra is native to the Upper Amazon River basin.
The male black heart tetras have longer and flowing dorsal fins compared to females. Although, both sexes have a prominent red spot on their pectoral area and a similar white and black patch on their dorsal fins. The only downside of this type is that they are prone to diseases.
5. Bloodfin tetra (Aphyocharax anisitsi)
Bloodfin tetras have a prominent blood-red feature on the tail, dorsal, anal, and adipose fin areas. While having a silver color body and can grow around 5.5 cm. These fish are known to be tough and are recommended for novice fish keepers.
You should have at least five or more bloodfins in your aquarium to get started. Since this type of tetra is sociable and you can mix them with other tetras. Although, you need to avoid mixing them with angelfish or guppies. They will usually nip the long and wavy fins of other slow-moving fish.
6. Blue tetra (Knodus borki)
Blue tetras are small in size but are very active. They also require a larger tank that can cater 29 gallons or more. They can reach around 3 inches or 5 cm in length. It is recommended to keep around 6 or more blue tetras in a large tank.
This fish is extremely active especially during feeding time and can be intimidating to slow-moving fish such as guppies or angelfish. They can harass slow-moving fish which they nip their long wavy fins, so it’s not advisable to mix them.
7. Bucktooth tetra (Exodon paradoxus)
Contrary to the name, bucktooth fish have no visible teeth but they are quite aggressive. They could harass larger fish by eating their scales and will eat the smaller fish. They can grow up to 12 cm or 4.7 inches long. they are best kept alone since they are not safe for other fish in the same tank.
This type of fish has an elongated tetra appearance with two distinct black spots before the tail and below the dorsal fin. it has a prominent bright red dorsal fin. They can also live for around ten years and are tough enough to live in a variety of environments as long as it is not salty.
You should at least have 8 of them in a group of the same size. If you have less than 8, expect that they will harass each other to the point where they die of injury or by catching diseases sustained from fight wounds.
8. Buenos Aires tetra (Hyphessobrycon anisitsi)
Another tropical tetra with silver metallic colored fish. The dorsal fins have a black marking and the fins are red. It is considered a good starter fish for novice fish keepers and can live around five to six years. It can also grow as large as 7.5 cm or 3 inches.
Its flashy neon highlights can be its main attraction when the lights hit the fish. While also complemented by its bold black cross shape on the tails which provide contrast to its silver body.
This fish has a reputation to nip slow-moving tankmates and plants. It is best to keep them in groups, minimum of 5 to minimize the aggression. It also a tough fish that can live in a variety of environments as long as it is not salty.
9. Cardinal tetra (Paracheirodon axelrodi)
Cardinal tetras are tough but peaceful kinds of fish. They prefer a low light environment with higher temperatures than their cousin neon tetra. They prefer to keep in groups of around 8 to 10. They have contrasting colors which makes them so good-looking. The iridescent blue line paralleled with vivid red where its name derived, makes a striking attraction.
Sometimes they are being compared with neon tetras and many novice fish keepers are often confused. However, there’s are distinctions that separate them which are very obvious. The neon tetras have a less vibrant blue stripe and the red stripe is also shorter.
10. Cave tetra, Blind tetra, or Mexican tetra (Astyanax mexicanus)
This is not your typical tetra, a cave tetra is a literal blind fish. Although they are born with eyes, they deteriorate faster and leave scars on their eye area where it once was. Even though their vision is lost, others’ senses develop as well that helps them avoid obstacles and other fish.
This type of tetra is also popular among aquarists. They are hardy fish, even when out of sight, their blindness cannot hinder them from getting their food.
In order to avoid fin nipping, they must be in a shoal where they will feel safer as well. This tetra also prefers low to moderate lighting since they are blind. They can grow up to 12 cm or 4.7 inches with a pinkish-white color body. It’s great to see them when a little light hits their body and it shines beautifully.
11. Diamond tetra (Moenkhausia pittieri)
Both sexes of diamond tetras are very popular and attractive to aquarists. Their prominent eye mark is red above the pupil, while there is a dark band running along the midline of their body. This fish is an omnivore and easy to care for as they can eat almost anything as the usual aquarium fish does.
Diamond tetra also prefers soft acidic water in the pH range of 5.5-6.5 and the temperature of around 26-29 Celsius or around 80-84 Fahrenheit. They are generally peaceful and durable fish to maintain.
12. Ember tetra (Hyphessobrycon amandae)
This fish prefers a heavily planted environment where they are known to live around 10 years or more. This type of tetra swims in the middle of the aquarium and does not eat at the bottom of the tank. Therefore, you need to mix them with tankmates that can eat at the bottom of the aquarium.
They can grow at around 2 cm or 0.8 inches and exhibit a striking orange with reddish coloration. You should not mix ember tetras with larger fish as they are small and are usually fit for standard nano aquariums.
13. Emperor tetra (Nematobrycon palmeri)
The emperor tetra above is a male tetra. You can easily tell difference as the males have metallic blue eyes. While the females in the picture below with blurred neon tetras as background have metallic green eyes.
They preferred to be in groups with larger tanks since they can become aggressive with the same members that are smaller than them if the tank is under 40 gallons or below.
14. Flame tetra (Hyphessobrycon flammeus)
Flame tetra can grow around 2.5 cm or 1 inch. The name itself came from the fish body where its rear half is flame red. The dorsal fin in the front area has two dark vertical bars crossed by two prominent silvers.
All its fins are red with the exception of its pectoral fins that are colorless. The male flame tetra can be identified with its black anal fin. While the females have lesser red color but the pectoral fins are darker.
15. Garnet tetra, pretty tetra (Hemigrammus pulcher)
Garnet tetra is a peaceful type of tetra fish. They prefer to be in a school of around 6 or more with a medium to a large aquarium. This fish is an extremely hardy and undemanding species which is good for novice fish keepers.
They usually swim actively on the upper part of the water column in the aquarium. Their beauty is one of their best attraction which only a few aquarists can resist.
16. Glass bloodfin tetra (Prionobrama filigera)
The bloodfin tetra is an easy-to-care freshwater fish and very hardy. They can live around 5 to 7 years and can reach about 2 inches long. This is why they are popular to recommend for novice fish keepers. Their silver greenish tone bodies and red fins are one of its finest attractions. They often swim at the middle and upper sections of the tank.
17. Glowlight tetra (Hemigrammus erythrozonus)
The glowlight tetra is larger than its cousins neon and cardinal tetra. It can reach up to 4 to 5 cm or 1.6 to 2 inches long and can reach a lifespan of two to four years if kept in good condition.
Its main attractions are its silver and bright iridescent orange line in the middle section of its body. They are also popular for being non-aggressive fish and can be mixed with other peaceful types of fish.
18. Golden pristella tetra (Pristella maxillaris)
Also known as X-ray tetra due to its translucent body. They are also adaptable to a variety of environments. It is a small type of fish and can grow up to around 5 cm or 2.0 inches long.
Due to its small size, you need to keep it away from aggressive tankmates. You must keep at least 6 of them in the group with a minimum aquarium size of 60 x 30 cm or an equivalent of 15 gallons.
19. Green neon tetra (Paracheirodon simulans)
This fish is very similar to its cousin neon tetras, in care, size, and behavior. However, this fish does not usually breed in captivity and those sold in pet stores are caught in the wild. They also need a good water quality and would prefer a low light environment.
Compared to neon tetras, its red patch are fewer. While the blue-green portion of its upper body is more pronounced and is also slimmer than neon tetra.
20. Head and tail light tetra (Hemigrammus ocellifer)
This freshwater tetra has other common names like beacon fish, beacon tetra, head-and-tail light tetra, and head-and-taillight tetra. You can expect this fish to reach around 5 cm or 2 inches.
Like most tetras, mature females are distinguished by their fuller bodies than their male partners. They need to be with at least 6 in the shoal. It will accept standard fish aquarium micro-pellets, flake, and frozen foods.
21. January tetra (Hemigrammus hyanuary)
This fish was named in the Lake Hyanuary (Lake January) in Manaus Brazil, where it was found. This peaceful shoaling fish is ideal for soft water aquaria. You also need plenty of driftwood in order to create shady areas and help acidify the water gradually.
To make them feel more secure, you should at least have 6 minimum members of the group, and 10 would be better.
22. Lemon tetra (Hyphessobrycon pulchripinnis)
This fish is quite active you should prepare some floating aquatic plants for this fish is likely to jump out of the tank. But don’t be discouraged, this fish has been a long favorite in the aquarium world since 1932.
Even though they are small, at around 5 cm in length, the lemon tetras belong to the deeper-bodied tetras. The notable features of the fish are its intense red upper half iris and its prominent color lemon-yellow body.
23. Neon tetra (Paracheirodon innesi)
This fish is one of the most popular with about 2 million sold each month in the US alone. Neon tetras can live up to ten years but they normally live for 2 to 3 years in the aquarium. You can start with at least 10 gallons with at least 6 neon tetras in the group. If you can afford around 8 to 12 or more neon tetras, they became more active.
You should prepare more plant tanks for them to become more secure and healthy. They can eat standard fish foods since they are omnivores. Neon tetras are peaceful fish and you should not mix them with large or aggressive fish. They are also sensitive to water quality, so make sure to provide proper water maintenance.
24. Ornate tetra (Hyphessobrycon bentosi)
Ornate tetra is similar to rosy tetra, except for its silvery pink and dark spot around the gills. It has a black dorsal fin with a white tip on it. Male ornate tetras have longer dorsal and anal fins which appear slightly larger than females.
They are also omnivores and can eat standard aquarium fish foods. They can reach and grow up to 4 cm or 1.6 inches long. They are also sold in these names – white tip tetras, bentos tetras, and false rosy tetras.
25. Penguin tetra, blackline penguinfish (Thayeria boehlkei)
Due to its popularity among aquarium hobbyists, this fish became known for many names, including the following:
- blackline penguinfish
- blackline thayeria
- hockey-stick tetra
- penguin fish and
- penguin tetra
They need to be in the school of at least 5 or more with other similar size or non-aggressive tank mates. The Penguin Tetra is a small fish that can reach up to 1.2 inches or 3 cm. They can eat flakes and micro-pellets or standard aquarium food.
26. Red Eye tetra (Moenkhausia sanctaefilomenae)
This fish is very hardy and peaceful, that is why it is an excellent fish to care for novice fish keepers. Their active lifestyle may disturb slow-moving and timid tankmates. Although they are peaceful, some redeye tetra’s are fin nippers on rare occasions even with fellow redeye.
Therefore, you should keep them in groups for at least 6, since they may likely nip the fins of their tankmates.
27. Red phantom tetra (Hyphessobrycon sweglesi)
This fish has a beautiful red translucent body color while having a prominent dark rounded spot behind the gill plates. The red phantom tetras are less prone to exhibit fin-nipping behaviors.
They are not picky eaters and can eat small insects, worms, and crustaceans. You will also need around 20 US gallons or 76 liters to maintain a mixed group of males and females with at least 8 to 10 specimens of the same sizes.
28. Rosy tetra (Hyphessobrycon rosaceus)
The Rosy Tetra has a salmon-like color body with red accents and intense white tips on the fins. They will be a rewarding addition to the peaceful community of fish on your fish tank.
Although it is known to be hardy, it usually needs pristine water and cannot tolerate wrong water changes. You also need to keep them in small groups of 6 tetras is recommended.
29. Royal tetra (Inpaichthys kerri)
This fish will be pleased if you give them a dense plant on the tank so they can hide and the fish will feel more secure. Royal tetras also like a strong current so spend power on the filtration to guarantee the higher flow of oxygenation.
You will also need some driftwood, river sand substrate with dried leaves (beech or oak) to tint the water and make a slight tea color. It would also be best to renew the leaves before it rots. This fish is usually active and sometimes involved in a fight with fellow royal tetras in the group.
30. Rummy-nose tetra (Hemigrammus rhodostomus)
The rummy-nose tetra is an interesting fish since it can be your indicator when your aquarium water is not good anymore for the inhabitants.
The fish is strangely changing its redness into a more visible paleness when the water is at a critical level of ammonia and other harmful chemicals. Therefore, you need to change the right water requirements for the fish to become redder.
31. Splash tetra (Copella arnoldi)
This fish is known to be active near the top of the tank. They are sensitive to water quality and may prefer moving water.
Splash tetras are literally named after their unusual mating system where the couple tetra will leap to deposit their eggs on the overhanging leaves. So they may likely jump on the uncovered tanks. They can reach up to 3 to 4 cm (1.2 to 1.6 in).
32. Serpae tetra (Hyphessobrycon serpae)
Serpae tetras have a reddish body and a black spot near the gills. Their fins have darker red mixed in contrast with black outer fins. Their colors will amplify if they are in soft, neutral to slightly acidic water.
They also have their own style of swimming in which they sputter or twitch in their movements and move in relatively short spurts. They are also known to fin-nip other fish especially if they are kept in large groups.
33. Silvertip tetra (Hasemania nana)
The silvertip tetra is a small type of fish and can reach up to 3 cm or 1.2 in. The males have copper-like colors while the females have pale and silvery. Both have prominent white tips on the fins like silver. During night time, you will be amazed, since the copper and black become silver and will activate again once the fish is active in the morning.
They also like to be in groups of at least 5 to 6 more fish. Despite its small size, this fish is quite aggressive. So, you need to separate it from other larger predatory fish or slow-moving fish like guppies or angelfish.
34. X-ray tetra (Pristella maxillaris)
The fish is commonly known as X-ray tetra due to its translucent body. Unlike its other tetra relatives, this fish is adaptable to its environment. It can handle acidic and alkaline waters, sometimes on slightly brackish water.
This fish can reach around 5 cm or 2 inches small and lives in large groups, where males are thinner and smaller than females. You should keep it away from aggressive tankmates.
35. Congo tetra (Phenacogrammus interrupts)
Congo tetras are very popular among aquarium fish keepers. Their iridescent colors and distinct tail fins have made them so attractive. On top of that, the males can reach up to 3 inches (8.5cm), while the females get around 2.75 inches (6cm). Their active behavior and large size makes them unsuited for small tanks.
They also need to be maintained with good water quality similar to their natural habitat. A 40 gallon home aquarium is recommended to keep them feel secure. You should also keep them away from small or slow-moving fishes as they will likely bite them.
36. Jellybean tetra (Ladigesia roloffi)
Jellybean tetras prefer soft and acidic water, making them not ideal for novice aquarists. This torpedo-shaped tetra is small but they possessed a visually stunning design that few aquarists will likely able resist.
They can only grow at around 1.5 inches in the aquarium with a lifespan of around 2 to 5 years. They are also a shoaling fish and you should at least keep a group of around 12 and 20 which is highly recommended.
37. Long-fin tetra (Brycinus longipinnis)
Another durable and easy to keep fish you can add on your aquarium. Just make sure there are no slow-moving smaller fish, they are known to fin-nip smaller fish. This fish likes to be in a school of at least 6 to 7 of its kind.
Long fin tetras can grow around 5 inches or 12.5 cm long and can live in freshwater and brackish estuarine waters. They can eat almost all fish foods like flakes, pellets, and live or frozen fish foods.
38. Niger tetra (Arnoldichthys spilopterus)
This fish came from Nigeria, hence the name. They are shoaling fish that can reach a length of around 9.6 cm. It is recommended to keep them in groups of at least 5 or more of its kind.
You can feed them standard fish foods like pellets, worms, crustaceans, and insects. An amazing 1000 eggs can lay up by females after vigorous driving by the males.
39. Yellow-tailed Congo tetra (Alestopetersius caudalis)
Although this fish is an omnivore, they can eat crustaceans, small insects, and fallen fruits. But they have a difficulty in adjusting to standard aquarium foods. They can be feed with bloodworm, and daphnia. As well as with quality dried flakes and granules with plant or algal content.
The males are more colorful and grow faster than females. Also, the males are capable of developing extended white-tipped dorsal, caudal, ventral, and anal fins which is lack in females.
40. Yellow Tetra
The yellow tetra can grow up to 40-45 mm. They are generally peaceful making them an ideal aquarium fish. They also like to be in a group of at least 8-10 specimens in order for them to feel secure.
Many adult males are slightly more colored when they are in healthy condition while the females tend to grow larger and rounder. Their metallic gold color is one of the best attraction and makes them popular among aquarists.
If I missed anything, please let me know. There are more types of tetra fish species for aquarium out there in the market since breeders keep coming up with new varieties.
Out of 40 different types of tetra fish species for aquarium, which one is your favorite? Feel free to comment down below.