diamond tetra

Diamond Tetra 101: A Comprehensive Guide to Caring for this Beautiful Fish!

Looking for an exciting addition to your aquarium? Diamond tetras are excellent choices that don’t get nearly enough attention. This hardy fish is outwardly beautiful and surprisingly easy to keep – making them great fits for both novices and experienced aquarists alike.

In this guide, we’ll go over the basics of caring for diamond tetras. You’ll learn about their tank size requirements, water parameters, diet, tank mates, breeding, and more! With each section, you’ll get closer to the confidence and knowledge necessary to own this species successfully.

Species Summary

The diamond tetra (scientific name: Moenkhausia pittieri ) is a freshwater fish that originates from South America. It’s sometimes referred to as the diamond characin or timanttitetra.

These fish were originally found in inland bodies of water such as the Rio Bue, Rio Tiquiriti, and Lake Valencia, but they do very well in captivity. As a result, they remain popular in the pet trade up until today.


Diamond tetras are laterally compressed fish with the classic torpedo-shaped body of a tetra. They are usually a bit larger than other tetras, but still maintain the same size range.

The overall appearance of the diamond tetra is what really makes it stand out. Most of the body has a silvery tone with iridescent scales that can flash colors of orange, blue, green, and gold. These colors become more vivid as the fish matures. The fins are generally semi-transparent, while the eyes feature a subtle red accent.

Average Diamond Tetra Size

Once they reach adulthood, diamond tetras typically measure between 2 to 2.4 inches in length. This small size makes them perfect for tanks even if space is limited.


The average diamond tetra lifespan is anywhere between three and six years in captivity. With proper care, you may be lucky enough to have your fish for longer! The quality of care provided significantly influences the life span of your fish.

Diamond Tetra Care

Fortunately, diamond tetra care is fairly straightforward. As resilient fish, they serve as great options for beginner aquarists. With that said, specific care guidelines should still be observed in order to give your pet the best chance of a long and healthy life.

Tank Size

We recommend keeping diamond tetras in a tank of at least 15 gallons. This should give them enough space to swim around and also make it easier to maintain water parameters. If you’re keeping a small group of three or four fish, there’s no need to move up to a bigger tank.

Water Parameters

Diamond tetras come from shallow, slow-moving rivers and streams, and prefer warm waters that are slightly neutral.

Keep the water temperature within 72°F and 82°F, but aim for a slightly lower reading around 75 to 76 degrees. Slight acidity, along with pH levels between 6.0 and 7.5, Kh levels between 4 and 8, and Gh levels between 6 and 10, can do wonders for this species in terms of health and beauty.


Diamond tetras are omnivores, meaning that their diet can consist of both meat-based and plant-based foods. Live foods, frozen foods, and flake foods are all accepted.

Live tubifex worms and bloodworms are excellent sources of nutrition, just make sure to supplement with some vegetables and algae for a balanced diet.

Tank Mates

Diamond tetras are peaceful and active schooling fish that can coexist with a variety of tank mates. Some suitable tank mates for diamond tetras include:

Other peaceful community fish like tetras, rasboras, guppies, and corydoras.

2. Small to medium-sized non-aggressive fish such as dwarf gouramis, platies, and swordtails.

3. Shrimp and snails such as cherry shrimp, Amano shrimp, nerite snails, and mystery snails.

4. Some bottom dwellers like kuhli loaches and bristlenose plecos can be good tank mates, but be sure to choose smaller and peaceful species.

Note: Avoid adding aggressive or predatory fish, such as cichlids or larger species, to the tank with diamond tetras, as they may harass or even eat the tetras. It is also important to avoid overcrowding the tank, as this can lead to stress and health problems for all the inhabitants.


Getting the water parameters correct is the key to successful breeding. This species needs acidic waters to stimulate spawning, but this can cause issues with your tank’s chemistry in the long-term. Assuming everything goes according to plan, you can use floating plants for egg-laying and add plenty of hiding places for the fry.

To initiate breeding, try encouraging natural mating rituals by following a regular schedule and providing nutritious meals. Avoid sudden changes in light or temperature as much as possible. We also suggest using live or frozen food as a reward after mating.

Author Note: Don’t forget that diamond tetras sometimes snack on their eggs. Make sure to keep an eye on them and remove any hanging eggs as soon as possible.

Habitat and Environment

Diamond tetras prefer shallow, slow-moving waters with plenty of plant life. This allows them to swim around without expending too much energy. It’s also key to have plenty of hiding places. Utilize driftwood, rocks, and plants to create natural caves or shelters in the tank.

Diamond tetras naturally occur in warm latitudes, so keep the overall temperature consistent and avoid sudden drops or increases. You should also provide plenty of oxygen by frequently changing the water and adding a filter.

Health Concerns

Diamond tetras are pretty hardy creatures, but that doesn’t mean disease cannot affect them. The most common issues include fungal infections, bacterial infections, and parasitic infestations. We also need to highlight the importance of purchasing healthy fish from trusted sources.

Signs of stress or illness include hiding away, abnormal fin movements, loss of appetite, lethargy, and discoloration. In such cases, we recommend taking some time to observe your diamond tetras and change their environment as needed.

General Care Tips

To ensure good health, keep the water parameters steady and feed the right amounts of nutrient-rich foods. Diamond tetras are incredibly active so make sure to give them plenty of space for swimming and exploring. Also, keep some live food in the freezer for special occasions and mix up the diet from time to time.

Also, remember to clean the aquarium on a regular basis. This is especially important when you’re dealing with small tanks. Remove any uneaten food, waste, and debris that accumulates on the substrate. Utilize quarantine tanks when introducing new fish and provide medications as needed.

Social Behavior

Diamond tetras are peaceful, social fish that like to live in small groups. They will enjoy exploring the tank together and interacting with their tank mates. However, they’re also quite timid and may be intimidated by larger or more aggressive species. To reduce stress levels, create plenty of hiding spots in the tank.


In conclusion, diamond tetras are wonderful fish that make excellent additions to any aquarium. They’re easy to care for and thrive in warm, slightly acidic waters.

Feed them a balanced diet, provide hiding spots and natural shelters, and keep the water parameters consistent for optimal health.

With these tips, you’ll be able to enjoy the beauty of diamond tetras for a long time!