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Aquatics: Fish Profile: Diamond Tetras

Updated on September 18, 2010

The Diamond in the Rough

Diamond tetras are beautiful tetras that are peaceful and make a wonderful display school. Unfortunately, they are relatively unknown and not frequently stocked by most local fish stores, so if you see them, you should consider giving them a try.

Diamond tetras are not colorful. In fact, they are silver and lavender with clear fins. What makes them beautiful and gives them their name is the fact that their scales are very reflective and shiny. Adult males have long, flowing fins that add to their delicate and lacy appearance.

Diamond tetras show to their best advantage in tanks with dark substrate, low light, and driftwood. They appreciate schools and the males will show off towards one enough with fin-flaring.

Adult size: 4-5" or 10.2-12.7cm

Temperament: extremely peaceful

Life Span: 4-6 years

Tank size: 20 gallons+

Breeding: Difficult

Availability: Private local fish stores

Price: if in stock, inexpensive

Quick Facts

Common name(s):

Diamond Tetra

Scientific name: Moenkhausia pittieri

Distribution: South America

pH: 6.5-7.5

Temperature: 75-80F or 24-27C


Care for the diamond tetra is fairly easy. Make sure that you introduce them to a cycled and established tank. They are hardy fish, but do not do as well with high levels of ammonia or nitrate.

Since they are carnivores, a good flake supplemented with frozen or freeze dried blood worms or brine shrimp is an appropriate diet. Diamond tetras also appreciate live blackworms.

Diamond tetras show best with dark substrate and live plants with low lights. Bright lights wash out their color and make them skittish. Live plants help shade the tank and make the tetras feel more secure.

Personal Experience

My personal experience with these guys was very positive. These were one of the first tetras I owned and I immediately fell in love with their subtle beauty and peaceful personalities. They never bothered any other fish and were always very busy cruising around the tank.

Unfortunately, I lost them in a tank crash and have never been able to replace them. I have seen them offered to sale a few times at a local Petland (but only 1 or 2 in the tank) and the Petco has a tag up but no fish.

I definitely intend to keep these guys again. I housed them in a 29 with Kerri tetras and dwarf cichlids with live plants and driftwood and they were stunning.


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