Tetras - Friendly Undemanding Tropical Fish
Tetra fish are fresh water tropical fish that are native to South America and
Africa. Tetras are members or the large fish characin family, Characidae, which
includes pencilfish, hatchetfish and the piranha. However, unlike some of their
larger relatives, tetras are typically small and unaggressive.
Schooling fish which prefer a colony of at least half a dozen in its species,
the South American tetra fish are lively and colorful fish that instantly
transform any fresh water aquarium into a bright and active community.
The Neon Tetra is a good example. Like
other characins, one distinguishing trait of Tetras is their adipose fins, which
are small fins located behind the dorsal fin and just above the tail fin.
Another characin characteristic is that Tetras have no barbels or whiskers but
they do have both teeth and scales. However, since these small fry range from 1
½ to 5 inches, depending on species, neither teeth nor scales normally are easy
to see. Nevertheless, because they are omnivorous, Tetra fish put their teeth to
good use with a diverse diet that can include insects, bits of fruits or
vegetables, bloodworms, and brine shrimp as well as tropical fish food flakes.
Tetra fish prefer clear, slightly acidic water with strong currents, lots of
oxygen and good surface movement. They have a very acute sense of hearing due to
their Weberian Apparatus, which is an assemblage of bones between their swim
bladder and inner ear. In fact, their hearing is so acute, that some smaller
species can become so stressed out by loud noises to the extent that they are
literally scared to death! Tetra fish are egg-laying fish that scatter their
eggs on the bottom of their habitat. Good hearing combined with agility and
diversity in diet give the fry a good chance of surviving if they have adequate
cover to hide from other tank predators.
Even the smallest of the Tetras have a lifespan of up to five years if given the
proper care. Because of their easy care, bright colors, and lively antics, tetra
fish are a favorite choice of veteran fresh water fish keepers and a natural
choice for the beginning aquarium keeper.
Betta or Siamese Fighter Fish
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