Tetra Fish Care



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Tetra fish care

When learning the ins and outs of tetra fish care, it helps to know something about the family history. Tetras are basically small, fast-moving fish in a family that contains hundreds of genera and thousands of species in a multitude of colors, shapes, and sizes. Tetra keepers generally fall quickly in love with these characins and keep several species at a time. Although some tetra species have individualized care needs, many thrive with common methods of tetra fish care.

The tetra is in the family Characidae, familiarly called characins. Some of the differences in tetra fish care stem from location. Part of the family, for instance the Congo Tetra and Blue Diamond Characin, is from Africa although most tetra species kept in community aquariums are indigenous to the rivers of South America. Many tetras, especially the African characins, are easily stressed by outside environmental factors like loud noises and bright light. Never tap on the glass of a tetra tank. Water magnifies the noise and which literally scares some smaller species to death!

All tetras have teeth and scales, but none has whiskers or barbels (whisker-like growths used for locating food). Tetras are typically mid-tank swimmers but come to the top to feed. Food that falls to the bottom of the aquarium is ignored. For this reason, it is very important not to over-feed tetras. Feed tetras as much as they will consume in three minutes. It’s a good idea to feed them small portions several times a day in lieu of feeding them a large feeding that goes to waste. Although no fish will overeat, leftover food rots and pollutes your aquarium water causing extra tetra fish care for you and stress for your characins.

Tetras can live on a diet of tropical flake food and freeze-dried treats, but many species show signs of stress, the first being noticeable color loss, if their diet isn’t supplemented with live food. In addition, most species need a live diet before breeding and most tetra fry need to be weaned from live feedings to the standard adult diet. In addition, tetras are omnivorous and enjoy an occasional treat of living plant matter. Live plants also offer the characin places to hide. Providing plants and other features like strategically placed pieces of driftwood for hiding is an important aspect of tetra fish care. However, just as important is to make sure that your tetras aren’t overcrowded.

Most tetras are schooling fish that thrive best when kept with at least half-a-dozen of their peers. A good rule-of-thumb for tetras is five inches of fish per gallon of soft to medium-hard water at a temperature of about 75F. Since most tetras are from 1 to 2-inches as adults, this means that you can stock a twenty-gallon tank with 50 to 80 tetras. Still, consider the displacement of water by aquarium features, plants, and strata and also leave a little space for evaporation when stocking your tank for optimal tetra fish care.

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