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Diamond Tetra (Moenkhausia pittieri)

The Diamond Tetra, scientifically known as Moenkhausia pittieri, is a visually captivating freshwater fish that adds both elegance and charm to any aquarium. Native to the warm, slow-moving waters of Venezuela, this species is renowned for its shimmering scales and peaceful nature, making it a favored choice among aquarists worldwide. In this detailed guide, we cover  various aspects of Diamond Tetra care, including their profile, coloring, aquarium setup, breeding, diet, and compatibility.

Diamond Tetra Facts

Fact Category Details
Scientific Name Moenkhausia pittieri
Common Name Diamond Tetra
Family Characidae
Native Habitat Lake Valencia and surrounding areas in Venezuela
Adult Size Up to 2.5 inches (6.35 cm)
Lifespan 3-5 years
Water Parameters pH 6.0-7.5, Temperature 72°F-82°F (22°C-28°C)
Temperament Peaceful
Diet Omnivorous – flakes, live food, and vegetable matter
Breeding Egg scatterer
Tank Setup Planted, with open swimming spaces
Compatibility Good for community tanks with similar sized fish

Diamond Tetra Profile

Diamond Tetras are small, typically growing up to 2.5 inches in length. They belong to the Characidae family and are known for their resilient nature, making them suitable for both novice and experienced fish keepers. These tetras have a lifespan of about 3-5 years, and their shoaling behavior is a sight to behold, as they gracefully navigate the aquarium in groups.

Diamond Tetra Coloring

The most striking feature of Tetra Diamond is their iridescent scales that glisten in the aquarium light, resembling sparkling diamonds. They display a blend of silver and gold hues, with hints of green and blue when the light hits them at certain angles. Their fins are usually transparent with a delicate fringe of black and white, enhancing their overall beauty.

Diamond Tetra Habitat

The Diamond Tetra, native to South America, specifically inhabits the Lake Valencia basin in Venezuela. They thrive in warm, slow-moving waters, often found in densely vegetated areas. This environment, characterized by soft, slightly acidic water, provides a perfect backdrop for their shimmering scales. The abundance of plants and organic debris offers ample hiding spots and a rich source of food.

Diamond Tetra Aquarium Setup

Creating an ideal environment for Diamond Tetras involves several key elements that mimic their natural habitat. This includes considering the tank size, water parameters, lighting, and the aquarium’s overall ecosystem.

  • Tank Size and Water Capacity

Diamond Tetra fish thrive in tanks that provide ample space for swimming and shoaling. A minimum tank size of 20 gallons is recommended for a small group of these fish. This size ensures enough space for their swimming behavior and helps in maintaining stable water conditions.

  • Water Parameters

The water in the tank should resemble the soft, slightly acidic conditions of their natural habitat. A pH level between 6.0 and 7.5 is ideal, with a temperature range of 72°F to 82°F (22°C to 28°C). Regular monitoring of water parameters is crucial to ensure a healthy environment.

  • Filtration and Water Movement

Efficient filtration is necessary to keep the water clean and free of harmful toxins. However, Diamond Tetras prefer a gentle water flow, so it’s important to choose a filter that doesn’t create excessive current. A hang-on-back filter or a sponge filter can be a good choice for these conditions.

  • Lighting and Environment

While Diamond Tetra fish enjoy well-lit environments to show off their iridescent colors, they also appreciate areas of subdued lighting. This can be achieved with floating plants or partially shaded areas. An environment that includes a variety of live plants not only adds aesthetic value but also provides hiding spots and maintains water quality.

  • Substrate and Decorations

The choice of substrate can vary, but soft sandy substrates or fine gravel are preferable, as they mimic the natural riverbeds found in their habitat. Decorations like driftwood, rocks, and caves offer additional hiding spaces and help in creating a more natural and engaging environment for the fish.

  • Maintaining the Aquarium

Regular maintenance is key to a healthy Diamond Tetra tank. This includes routine water changes (about 20-25% weekly), checking filter function, and monitoring water parameters. Pruning and managing plants will also ensure that the tank remains a clean and hospitable environment for your fish.

Diamond Tetra Breeding

Breeding Diamond Tetra fish can be a fascinating and rewarding venture for aquarists. These fish are known to breed in captivity under the right conditions. Understanding and creating the ideal breeding environment is key to successful spawning.

Preparing the Breeding Environment

To encourage breeding, Tetra Diamond require a separate breeding tank. This tank should be dimly lit and contain soft, slightly acidic water with a pH around 6.0 to 6.5. The temperature should be slightly higher than the main tank, ideally around 80°F (27°C). Fine-leaved plants or a spawning mop are essential for providing places where fish can lay their eggs.

Before introducing them to the breeding tank, it’s important to condition the breeding pair with high-quality food, such as live brine shrimp and bloodworms. This diet helps to improve their health and increases the chances of a successful spawn.

Spawning Process

Spawning usually occurs early in the morning. The male will display vibrant colors and perform a mating dance to attract the female. After spawning, the female scatters her eggs among the plants or on the spawning mop. Diamond Tetras are egg scatterers, and a single female can lay up to 500 eggs per spawning session.

Post-Spawning Care

Once spawning is complete, it is advisable to remove the adult fish from the breeding tank to prevent them from eating the eggs. The eggs will hatch in about 24-36 hours. Initially, the fry will consume their yolk sacs and then can be fed with infusoria or specially formulated fry food. As they grow, they can be introduced to finely crushed flake food.

The fry should be closely monitored and maintained in clean water with stable conditions. Regular water changes and careful feeding will ensure their healthy growth. As the fry develop, they will begin to show the characteristic shimmering scales of the Diamond Tetra, making the breeding process a truly rewarding experience.

Diamond Tetra Diet & Feeding

Diamond Tetras are omnivorous and not particularly fussy eaters. A balanced diet should include high-quality flake food, frozen or live foods like brine shrimp and bloodworms, and vegetable matter. Regular feeding, ideally two to three times a day with only as much food as they can consume in a few minutes, will keep them in optimal health.

Diamond Tetra Compatibility

These tetras are generally peaceful and do well in a community tank with other similarly sized and tempered fish. Ideal tankmates include other small tetras, rasboras, mollies, swordtails, guppies, and dwarf cichlids. It’s important to avoid housing them with large or aggressive species that may bully or stress them.

Tetra Diamond Common Diseases

Diamond Tetras, like many aquarium fish, are susceptible to common diseases such as Ich or White Spot Disease, fungal infections, and fin rot. These ailments often arise due to poor water quality or stress. Symptoms include white spots, frayed fins, and listlessness. Maintaining clean, stable water conditions and a balanced diet is crucial for prevention and maintaining their health.


Diamond Tetras are a splendid choice for both beginner and experienced aquarists. Their resilience, combined with their striking appearance and peaceful demeanor, make them an excellent addition to a community aquarium. With proper care, a well-set-up tank, and compatible tankmates, these shimmering jewels of the aquatic world will thrive and bring a dynamic beauty to your underwater oasis.