Diamond Tetra

Diamond Tetra

Diamond tetra (Moenkhausia pittieri) is a community tank fish but can adjust well in home tanks. Here is a complete description of diamond tetra, which is a better choice for your aquarium.

Diamond tetra is unique, stunning, and beautiful freshwater fish that adds sparkle and glamour to your aquarium. Diamond tetra requires low maintenance, easy-care, and mesmerizing in visual, and is a suitable choice for beginners. These small, beautiful creatures swimming in a dim light tank give a glittery outlook to the fish tank.

Diamond Tetra

It is a common pet fish and is a favorite among aquarists and hobbyists as it does very well in captivity. Diamond tetra is famous for its most attractive, flat-body and mid and bottom-dwelling nature.

You should know everything about the fish before adding it to the tank, and once you get aware of its requirements, it comes out the best choice and worth trying in your aquarium. 

 Diamond tetra Profile

Scientific name Moenkhausia pittieri
Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Order Characiformes
Family Characidae
Genera moenkhausia
species pittieri
Shoaling Yes
Common name Diamond tetra
Care level easy
Temperament Calm and peaceful
Diet omnivore
origin Venezuela
size 2-2.5 inches
Minimum tank size 15-20 gallons
Lifespan 3-5 years
Water conditions Temperature 75-82 F

pH 6-7.5

Water hardness 4-8 KH

Plant safe Yes
color Shimmery silver like a diamond
Water type Freshwater
Reproduction Sexual reproduction
Hearing range 200 Hz

Scientific and other names of Diamond tetra

Diamond tetra has the scientific name Moenkhausia pittieri and common-names, like diamond characin, timanttitetra, brillantsalmler, or diamond fish. All these names are famous among different continents and countries. It has a diamond in its name because of its shimmery appearance.

Origin of Diamond tetra

It originates from the northern area of Venezuela, South America, or the coastal area of lake Valencia, Rio tiquiriti, and Rio bue rivers.


Eigenmann is the man behind the discovery of diamond tetra in 1920. Valencia is a lake between two chains of mountains and is the second largest lake in Venezuela. The lake surface has an altitude of 410m, and the maximum depth is 39m, and has numerous small islands. 

The temperature of the lake ranges from 75-82 degrees Fahrenheit. The lake water is not very pure due to human activities, agriculture, and industrial wastes. It subjects the lake to regular algae blooms that contaminate fish habitat.   

The lake is going through a constant eutrophication process that is the process of degradation of water quality. It is because of the excess of biogenic elements such as nitrogen and phosphorous. Diamond tetra species are reducing because of this reason and are endangering but readily available due to their mass production.


Diamond tetra is an inhabitant of slow-moving streams with an abundance of vegetation and leaf litter. It lives in shallow, vegetative parts of the lake and its surrounding tributaries.

The appearance of diamond tetra

Diamond tetra is stunning, shiny, glittery, and outstanding fish, as the name indicates. Its body is flat and has a black horizontal line running across the midpoint starting from the tail.

The silver-gray scales have an iridescent shimmer that flash colors of orange, blue, green, purple, and gold. The overall body appears silver in color but reflects multi-shades when light hits.

The young fish is not that bright and vibrant as the mature one and is comparatively dull in appearance. The color and shades enhance as the fish ages. The iridescent shimmery appearance starts developing from nine months of age. The more old it gets, the more it becomes fascinating and mesmerizing.

Their fins are semi-transparent with a violet tint. The anal fins are lengthy as compare to the abdomen, typically in male fish. The wide-arched pectoral fins are clear transparent, and the eyes have a splash of red on the upper half, which makes it unique.


The average size of adult diamond tetra is 2.5 inches in the wild habitat, and in the tank, it grows up to 2 inches long. These are small in size, which makes them easy to care for and manage. These fish are most suitable for small tanks because of their smaller size.

Behavior and temperament

Diamond Tetra is a peaceful and non-venomous fish, and its most active behavior increases the interest of aqua-spacers. Like other tetras, it does not take up too much space because of its small size and peacefully cohabit with other fish. 

Diamond tetra loves to live with the fish of its kind as it feels more comfortable with them. It is preferable to add five to seven diamond tetras with more females than males in a tank. Tank bred fish are more tolerant and adaptable than the wild ones.

The male has a habit of depending on his place by delimiting a small territory due to jealousy. Males will spar with each other but do not harm their sparing. Also, the fish possesses a gregarious instinct, and you must keep it in the shoals. 

It is a schooling fish that usually likes to live in small groups. Add them in an odd-number grouping, so it is better to keep them in three, five, or seven-member group. It explores the tank and searches for food throughout the day with its group. It exhibits some playful fighting but is nothing to worry about as their aggression is mild.

It is an excellent shoaling fish but exhibits a typical fin nipping behavior at the beginning that corrects with time when living with more species. The fin nipping habit is dangerous for it as it can cause harm and make them susceptible to diseases due to open wounds. 

Diamond tetra care

Diamond tetra care is easy because it is convenient and adaptable to tank conditions. The fish is tremendously resilient and novice that makes it an appropriate choice for home and community tanks.

The reason behind this is its origin from a low water quality lake, which makes it hardy. When you become familiar with the needs and requirements of diamond tetra, it becomes an effortless animal due to its undemanding nature.

Tankmates for Diamond tetra

Diamond tetra usually likes to live with their species but can also live peacefully with others. Never keep them with too large or aggressive fish as they are calm and small and can become the food of larger fish. The best tank mates of diamond tetra are:

  • Celestial pearl danios
  • Molly fish
  • Most tetra species
  • Cory catfish
  • Peaceful bottom dwellers
  • Livebearers- platy, swordtail
  • Rasboras
  • Rosy barb
  • Odessa barb
  • Zebrafish
  • Characidae
  • Plecostomus
  • Hatchetfish
  • Pencilfish
  • gourami

Keep in mind not to keep them with large cichlids and shrimp as they can east up your small diamond tetra. It can compete with slow-swimmers and slow-eaters for food.

Also, avoid keeping them with too long-finned fish and wing species. It may nip at guppies, angels, and siamese fighters, be careful while adding them with diamond tetra.

Are Diamond tetras aggressive?

Usually, diamond tetra is a calm-loving fish and is non-aggressive. It becomes mild-aggressive to more aggressive only in the situations of threat.

Also, they do not like large fish and exhibit slight aggression when other male fish grows larger. You can see fighting and rivalry in the tank between males when you add three or more male diamond tetras.

Life span

An average life span of diamond tetra is three to six years in captivity, but it depends upon the quality of the life you provide them in your aquarium. You have to fulfill all the requirements of the fish to ensure its health and long life.

A well-maintained environment and balanced diet play a vital role in increasing the life quantity and quality of life. An interesting fact about tetras is that the one who lays eggs lives longer than those who do not lay eggs.

Diamond tetra male vs female

Male fish is large, thinner, and brighter in appearance with large, elongated abdominal, dorsal and anal fins. These features appear when they become reproductive. It has a saturated violet tint on the body, which makes it more shiny and silvery.

The scales on the male diamond tetra are more reflective and sparkly. The overall length of the male is greater than the female and has a sickle-shaped, pointed body. The male does not have greenish-gray stripes on the body.

Female fish has short, fuller abdomen and becomes more gravid in appearance at the time of reproduction. The females are more rounded and are not very bright in vibrant color. It does not have a saturated violet tint on the body, and its body scales are less reflective than male. It has a slight greenish-gray lateral stripe starting from the tail fin base and goes along the whole body.

What do Diamond Tetras eat?

In the wild, diamond tetra is a natural omnivore that eats everything from plants-litter to insects and spineless species. It eats small crustaceans, worms, insect larvae, cyclops and daphnia, and anything you offer. It is an aggressive feeder and can eat the food of weaker fish in the tank. 

In the aquarium, provide a balanced and nutritious diet to the fish like dry flakes, granules, or pellets. You should give them food that contains vitamins to enhance natural coloration.

Plants and protein-based serve occasional snacks for them. Lettuce is an acceptable vegetable, and dried, freeze-dried, or live foods are the best proteins source.

Brine shrimp or blood worms are perfect for the fish 2-3 times per week. Feed them multiple times per day and provide an amount they can consume in 3 minutes or less.

Remember, they live in the middle of the tank and do not eat anything from the bottom, so provide them feed on time. If you feed them in large quantities, they can not finish, which results in increasing biomass at the bottom. 

Diamond tetra breeding

The breeding of diamond tetra is a bit difficult as the big challenge is the pairing of fish. It does not make a pair easily and is picky in terms of choosing a partner. It spawns only with the fish of the same size and age, so the owner has to take trials.

Diamond tetra is egg-laying fish and needs favorable conditions for breeding. It is preferable to separate the breeders for six to eight days before spawning and provide them high quality frozen or live food.

Tank conditions for breeding

The best way to breed the diamond tetra is to place them into a separate tank of about 20 gallons-size. Dropping the pH to slightly more acidic to 5.5 to 6.5 is favorable for the breeding process.

Set the tank with forming a bottom layer with spawning mops or java moss as these mops or moss provide the female a place to lay eggs. Also, these mops or moss protect the eggs from hungry adults. 

Set the tank temperature between 79 to 84 degrees F and water hardness of 4 dGH or less. Install a small sponge filter to improve filtration, water flow, and water quality.

Keep the lighting dull or better to turn off all lights in the tank, and gradually increase lighting to induce spawning. You can breed a pair at a time, or a group of twelve fish depends upon your ease. It is better to choose bright color males.

Spawning may occur immediately or after two to three days until the eggs are ready. After spawning:

  1. Remove the parents out of the tank and leave eggs to hatch and release the fry.
  2. Add some methylene-blue into the tank to prevent bacterial or fungal infection.
  3. Continue aerating the tank and renew 60-70% of tank water.


Diamond tetra produces up to 300 eggs per clutch and these eggs hatch after 20-40 hours depending on the water temperature. Remove the adults after laying the eggs because they can eat the eggs if you do not provide them sufficient feed.


The fry becomes free-swimming after three to four days until then it survives on the egg sac. They are dark-colored with cross-hatching, and enduring at this time. Feed the free-swimming fry infusoria or baby brine shrimp foods as they cannot eat micro-worm or large brine shrimp at this time. After a few days, the fry grows and looks like a mini adult, feed then worms and shrimps.

When the juvenile becomes 1 cm long on the 20th day of life, it can not swim properly. At the age of one month, it gets shape and color but not as vibrant as its parents. Add it to the nursery-tank, and gradually increase water hardness.

Equalize the water parameters of the adult and nursery tank with time. By the age of 6-7 months, it has distinct sexual and reproductive features and can breed.

Diseases of diamond tetra

Like all other fish, diamond tetra also suffers from many diseases, but it is hardy and resilient that combats and withstands a lot before succumbing to health issues.

It suffers from all the common freshwater-diseases and infections. The most common are ich disease, parasitic and bacterial infections, and others.

It can also develop cloudy disease due to stress and other skin flukes, which can spread to other fish. Quarantining the infected fish is the best approach to prevent the spread of disease. You should know methods to calm down a stressed fish.

The new addition of fish, plants, substrate, and other decorations can increase the risk of infections or diseases. Early detection and a thorough inspection are necessary to prevent it from dying.

Also, clean and maintain the tank to the best possible level. You can avoid and prevent these diseases by maintaining water quality and tank environment. A healthy diet is also necessary to combat and fight common diseases. 

Tank and water requirements for Diamond tetra

The tank setup for diamond tetra is easy, as it is not very sensitive to water conditions and parameters.

Tank size

It is a small fish, so the preferable minimum tank size is 15 gallons. You can also make a large tank for it as you can add several at a time but avoid larger fish. Although it is small in size, it needs more room and a spacious tank.

Water parameters

It is essential to maintain constant water parameters according to its habitat to ensure its health. Maintain the parameters between:

  • Temperature- 72-82 degrees F
  • pH level- 6.5-7.5
  • Water hardness- 4-8 KH 
  • Lighting- low, subtle, dark tank brings out the diamond coloration
  • Water movement- moderate

The substrate, driftwood, and plants

A sand substrate is preferable as it provides a natural feel. You can also use gravel or soil substrate as the tetra does not go down too much. Add a dark substrate as it better coordinates with the fish iridescence.

You can add driftwood branches and twisted roots and some dried oak or beech trees to give their natural habitat look. Floating plants and a clumsy grassy bottom correspond to their natural habitat. Plastic aquarium plants can kill fish, so you should not use them.


Filtration is essential for every tank to prevent algae and other toxins. Install an efficient filtration system into the tank.

Cost of diamond tetra

These fish are not too expensive, and most people can easily afford them. A pair of diamond tetras will not cost more than $8 to $9 dollars anywhere since you have to keep them in groups for schooling, so better to buy five to seven at once.

It will cost a maximum of $28 to $35 for five fish. Though the fish is gorgeous and easy to handle, it is worth the price.

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