Tetras are a type of fish that, like most other fish, eat plants and small animals.
Tetras are carnivorous fish that eat plants and small animals. They have an unusually broad diet which includes algae, worms, insects, crustaceans and even smaller tetra fish. One exception is the Black Tetra (Hemigrammus ocellifer), which only eats plant material.
Read on to find out what tetras eat.
What Do Tetra Fish Eat In The Wild?
Tetras are carnivorous fish. They eat plants and small animals, which is not surprising since they are closely related to piranha.
There are more than two dozen fish species in the Characidae family of which most are carnivores.
Tetras mostly eat plants and small animals, but there are exceptions. Black tetra, for example, eats only plant material. The vast majority of their diet consists of small insects, larvae, dead plants, algae and even other fish.
Tetra Fish In The Aquarium
In the wild, tetras are omnivorous; they are pretty much similar to scavengers, eating anything that fits in their tiny mouth. Tetra fish are from freshwater rivers, streams, and ponds of Central America, South America, and Africa. They live in blackwater streams, so the vast majority of their diet consists of small insects, larvae, dead plants, and algae.
The Black Tetra is an herbivore fish that can eat only plant material in its natural habitat. In an aquarium environment it eats mainly driftwood and soft aquatic plants, including hornwort and Anubias barteri. It does not eat algae.
The Neon Tetra is one of the most popularly kept fish for freshwater aquariums. It is a schooling fish that should be kept in groups of at least six to 10 individuals, though they can be combined with other tetras or livebearers as long as they are given enough space to swim around.
They are hardy and can adapt to different water conditions, including temperatures between 25°C (77°F) and 29°C (84°F).
What Do Tetra Fish Need In Their Diet?
Tetras are carnivorous fish, which means that they consume meat. However, not all tetra fish require the same kinds of food. For example, Black Tetra specifically eat plants in their natural habitat.
Algae can be offered to all types of tetra, but it is only eaten by herbivores like Black Tetra. The vast majority of their diet consists of small insects, larvae, dead plants, and algae.
Types Of Tetra Fish Food
Tetra fish generally prefer live foods, but prepared foods are okay as long as they contain a high percentage of protein.
Tetra fish food should be rich in protein and low in fat. Tetras like all kinds of meaty foods such as brine shrimp, blackworms, Gammarus pulex (a type of freshwater shrimp), mosquito larvae, and tubifex worms.
Aquatic insects like mosquito larvae, fruit fly larvae, and bloodworms are ideal food for Tetra fishes. Frozen foods can be used, but they should be defrosted before feeding them to the fish.
Live foods are usually preferred by tetra fish. Different species of Tetras have different requirements for live food, but they should be at least three millimeters long.
Tetra fish food should contain a high percentage of protein. One can feed Tetra fish frozen foods like bloodworms, brine shrimp, gammarus pulex (a type of freshwater shrimp) and mosquito larvae.
How Much To Feed?
Tetra fish are not picky eaters, but if their staple food is live brine shrimp or frozen bloodworms then they will soon realize that flakes are just an unsatisfying substitute. Consequently, they will stop taking the flake foods and starve themselves to death.
The optimal feeding schedule for tetra fish varies according to species, but they should be fed twice a day. However, do not overfeed them; only feed the amount of food that can be consumed within two minutes.
Importance Of Good Quality Diet For Tetra Fish
Tetra fish are carnivorous fish by nature, which means that they require more protein than other kinds of tropical fish. Tetras also need to be fed algae and plant-based foods such as zucchini, spinach, or cucumber slices in order to keep their digestive systems moving.
Tetra species such as cardinal tetras and neon tetra feed mainly on small insects, larvae, dead plants, and algae.
The Black Tetra gets its nutrition from plant matter in their natural habitat, so flake foods containing plant-based ingredients are okay too. They should also be fed live food like brine shrimp or frozen bloodworms often to supplement their diet with additional protein.
Since tetra fish are carnivorous by nature, they require more protein than other tropical fish. They also need to be fed algae and plant-based foods such as zucchini in order to keep their digestive systems moving.
The optimal feeding schedule varies according to species but is generally twice a day with no overfeeding allowed.
Aquarist & Writer 22+ Years