Information, Characiformes (Characins), Freshwater fish, Species, Tetras

Diamond Tetra: Complete Species & Care Overview

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by Jason Matthews



Diamond Tetra (Moenkhausia pittieri) is a freshwater fish originating from the tropical regions of South America. This fish is friendly, social, and easy to care for due to its hardy nature. It also possesses a shimmery body that looks gorgeous in aquariums. 


Origin South America – Brazil and Venezuela
Care LevelEasy
Temperament Mostly friendly and social
Diet Omnivores
Tank LevelMid-dwellers 
Water pH6 to 7.5 pH
Water Temperature72°F – 82°F
Water Hardness2 dGH – 15 dGH
LightingDim, subdued
Tank MatesDanios, Tetras, Guppies, Rasboras, Mollies

Fun Fact Corner

  • Even though Diamond Tetras originated from Lake Valencia, they have almost disappeared from there.
  • Initially, Diamond Tetras have a dull appearance but they attain a proper body color once they turn nine months of age!


Diamond Tetras are native to the inland waters of South America. They originated from Lake Valencia in Venezuela. You will find them in Brazilian rivers like Rio Taquari too.   

Hence, this freshwater fish species is accustomed to slow-moving, highly-vegetative, and shallow waters.


Diamond Tetras are mostly friendly, peaceful, and social. You can easily house them with other fish in your aquarium. They are also pretty active, and swim around a lot!

As Diamond Tetra is a shoaling fish, it prefers to stay in groups. The peculiarity here is that they thrive best in odd-numbered groups of three, five, and seven.  

Keep in mind that male Diamond Tetras may get slightly aggressive and territorial towards each other. So, try to keep more females to balance out the numbers.


On average, Diamond Tetras can live for three to six years. Their longevity depends on the level of care and maintenance you’re providing them.  

Size and Appearance

Image: Tommy_Rau, Pixabay

Diamond Tetras can grow up to 2 to 2.5 inches. This fish species is typically larger than other Tetras as many of them only reach about 1.5 inches in captivity. 

Body Shape

Diamond Tetras, like other Tetra species, possess a flat, laterally-compressed, and torpedo-shaped body. However, they have more bulk when compared to other Tetras.

Body Color

As the name suggests, Diamond Tetras have a shiny appearance

The body possesses a silver base color. Apart from that, the scales also shimmer due to the presence of various gold, orange, blue, and green tints. This makes the fish appear like a glowing diamond in the water!

Moreover, if you look at the eyes of Diamond Tetras, you’ll notice a unique red-orange spot towards the upper half.

Diamond Tetras also have beautiful semi-transparent fins with purple tints. The anal fin is elongated and noticeable, whereas the dorsal fin is either long or short depending on the fish’s gender.

Differences Between Male and Female Diamond Tetra

It is easy to differentiate between male and female Diamond Tetra due to the obvious sexual dimorphism present in the dorsal fins. 

CategoryMale Diamond TetraFemale Diamond Tetra
Body SizeLarger and thinnerPlumper
Dorsal FinLong and pointedShort and rounded
Body ColorBright with a violet tintSlightly dull with almost no violet tint


Even though taking care of Diamond Tetras is easy, breeding them can get a little tough for beginners. 

This fish species is picky about who they choose to breed with and requires someone of the same size and age. However, once the pairing is done successfully, spawning takes place easily.

Given below is how you can breed Diamond Tetras.

  1. Take another 20-gallon tank for breeding. 
  2. Keep the water pH slightly acidic (5.5–6.5) with low hardness
  3. Turn off the lights, and introduce the fish to the tank.  
  4. Once they’re in the tank, turn on the lights slowly to induce spawning.
  5. Allow the male and female Diamond Tetras to breed. 
  6. Once the females will release the eggs, the males will fertilize them. 
  7. After the fertilization of eggs is done, remove both the male and female Diamond Tetras from the breeding tank. 
  8. The eggs typically hatch in 36 to 48 hours. Once hatched, the new fry will consume the egg sac initially. 

Once the fry is free-swimming, provide them with infusoria or newly-hatched brine shrimp!

Nutrition and Diet

Diamond Tetras are omnivores and feed on both plant matter and insects in the wild. 

However, when in captivity, try to provide your Diamond Tetras with high-quality dry flakes or pellets twice or thrice a day. 

Apart from commercial fish food, you can also feed them vegetables and protein-rich frozen/live foods every three days. Some of the best options are listed below.

VegetablesLettuce, spinach, zucchini, other leafy vegetables
Live/Frozen FoodBloodworms, daphnia, brine shrimp

Tank Requirements

Diamond Tetras are mostly mid-dwellers. Despite their tiny size and fragile-looking body, they’re quite tough! This makes it easier to care for them, especially for beginners. 

Tank Size

Diamond Tetras are pretty small, and a group of three can easily thrive well in a 15-gallon tank

Similarly, you require a 20-gallon or 30-gallon tank for five to six Diamond Tetras.

Keep in mind that it is always better to opt for a more spacious aquarium as Diamond Tetras are active and love to swim around!

Water Requirements 

Diamond Tetras are native to the tropical streams of South America. Therefore, they prefer warm and neutral water conditions. Due to their adaptable body, they can thrive well in alkaline conditions too.

  • Water Temperature – Keep the water temperature between 72°F and 82°F, preferably around 75°F to 76°F
  • Water pH – The ideal water pH for Diamond Tetras is around 6 to 7.5. Although they can thrive in alkaline water, it is best to provide slightly neutral to acidic (below 7) conditions. 
  • Water Hardness – Keep the water hardness between 2 dGH and 15 dGH.
  • Water Flow – Diamond Tetras prefer slow-moving water. So, opt for slow and mild currents.

Decoration and Plants 

As Diamond Tetras originate from Amazonian regions, they require highly-vegetative environments. So, add different types of live plants like Java moss, Java Fern, Brazilian Pennywort, Anubias, and Christmas Moss to the aquarium. 

Apart from plants, provide some hiding places for your Diamond Tetras like driftwood, branches, and natural caves. This fish isn’t a huge fan of bright lights and loves to seek shelter. 

When it comes to the substrate, the best option is sand as it mimics their natural environment. 


Diamond Tetras don’t prefer brightly-lit tanks. So, ensure dim or scattered lighting. You can do so by introducing floating plants in your aquarium that can scatter the light.

Best Tank Mates

Diamond Tetras are extremely friendly and easy-going. But, they are also quite tiny and can quickly become prey to bigger and more aggressive fish. Therefore, it is best to house them with friendly fish species of roughly the same size. 

Some of the best tank mates for Diamond Tetras include:

On the contrary, Diamond Tetras may feed on shrimp. So, avoid keeping shrimp in the same tank as Diamond Tetras.


Jason Matthews

My name is Jason Matthews, and welcome to my website. When other kids were bragging about how their dog could sit and roll over, I was bragging about my latest Betta Fish and the cool sea castle I just added to his aquarium. 

Jason aquariume

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