Blue Tetra Care Guide: Everything You Need to Know

Species Overview

Blue tetras (Paracheirodon simulans) are a freshwater fish species that originate from South America, specifically from the Iquitos region in Peru. These small fish are a popular choice among aquarists due to their vibrant blue to bluish-green color and lively temperament.

In the wild, blue tetras can be found in slow-moving rivers and streams with plenty of vegetation. They are a schooling fish, so they prefer to be kept in groups of six or more in the aquarium.

Here is a table with some basic information about blue tetras:

Property Value
Scientific Name Paracheirodon simulans
Common Names Blue Tetra, False Neon Tetra
Distribution South America (Iquitos region in Peru)
Size Up to 1.5 inches (4 cm)
Lifespan Up to 5 years
Diet Omnivorous – flakes, pellets, frozen and live foods
Temperament Peaceful
Minimum Tank Size 10 gallons
Temperature 72-82°F (22-28°C)
pH 6.5-7.5
Water Hardness Soft to medium
Care Level Easy
Filtration/Water Flow Moderate
Water Type Freshwater
Breeding Egg scatterers
Breeding Difficulty Easy
Compatibility Peaceful community fish

Overall, blue tetras are a great choice for beginner aquarists due to their easy care level and peaceful temperament. With proper care and a suitable environment, these fish can thrive in your aquarium for years to come.

Origins and Natural Habitat

Blue tetras are a freshwater fish species native to the warm waters of South America. Specifically, they are found in the Amazon River Basin in countries such as Peru, Brazil, and Colombia. The blue tetra is also known as Boehlkea fredcochui or Paracheirodon innesi.

These fish are typically found in rivers and streams that are filled with oxygenator plants. They prefer slow-moving waters that have a lot of vegetation, such as mosses and ferns. The water temperature in their natural habitat ranges from 73°F to 82°F, and the pH varies anywhere from 6-8.

In the wild, blue tetras are known to form large schools and can be found swimming in the middle and upper levels of the water column. They are a peaceful species and can coexist with other small, non-aggressive fish species.

Blue tetras are also bred in captivity and are popular among aquarium enthusiasts due to their striking blue coloration. However, it is important to note that captive-bred blue tetras may have slightly different care requirements than those in the wild.

Physical Characteristics

Blue Tetras are a beautiful and eye-catching freshwater fish that are popular among aquarium enthusiasts. In this section, we will discuss their physical characteristics, including their size, shape, color, and markings.

Size and Shape

Blue Tetras are relatively small fish, with an average length of about 1.6 inches. However, they can grow up to 2 inches with proper care. They have a streamlined body shape and are known for their bright blue coloration, which makes them stand out in any aquarium.

Color and Markings

As the name suggests, Blue Tetras are predominantly blue in color. Their bodies are a beautiful, even shade of blue that can sometimes appear greenish. Their fins are thin and transparent, which makes their blue coloration stand out even more. The tips of their dorsal and caudal fins may sometimes appear white or bluish-white, while the other fins are all transparent.

The Blue Tetra’s irises are shiny silver in color, with a slightly golden shade at the upper portion of the eye and a brownish-red shade at the bottom border. Some Blue Tetras may also develop pink coloration in their bodies, which adds to their unique appearance.

In summary, Blue Tetras are small, streamlined fish with a bright blue coloration that makes them stand out in any aquarium. They have thin, transparent fins and shiny silver irises with a hint of golden and brownish-red shades.

Lifespan and Growth Rate

Blue Tetras have an average lifespan of 2-3 years when given proper care. Their growth rate is relatively slow, and they reach a maximum length of about 1.5 inches (4 cm).

To ensure that your Blue Tetras live a long and healthy life, you should provide them with a stable environment and good water quality. They are sensitive to changes in water parameters, so make sure to maintain a consistent temperature and pH level in the tank.

It is also important to feed them a well-balanced diet consisting of pellets, flakes, frozen or freeze-dried food, and occasional treats like bloodworms or brine shrimp. Feed them small amounts one to two times a day, and make sure not to overfeed them.

Blue Tetras are relatively easy to care for, but they still require regular maintenance. You should change 10% of the water in the tank once a week or 25% every two weeks to maintain the quality of the water. They appreciate plants and driftwood that offer dark hiding places, so make sure to include those in their tank.

In terms of breeding, Blue Tetras are relatively easy to breed in the tank. They are egg layers, and the female will scatter her eggs among plants or a spawning mop. The eggs will hatch in about 24-36 hours, and the fry will become free-swimming in about 4-5 days. Make sure to remove the adult fish from the tank once the eggs are laid to prevent them from eating the eggs or fry.

Overall, with proper care and maintenance, Blue Tetras can live a long and healthy life in your aquarium.

Diet and Feeding

Blue Tetras are omnivores and require a balanced diet to thrive in your aquarium. They’ll eat a variety of foods, including flakes, pellets, and live or frozen foods. You should aim to feed them twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening, with only as much as they can eat in 2-3 minutes.

Here are some options for feeding your Blue Tetras:

  • Flakes or Pellets: These are the most common types of fish food and are easy to find at most pet stores. Look for a high-quality brand that contains a variety of ingredients, including spirulina, which provides essential nutrients and enhances the fish’s color.

  • Live or Frozen Foods: Blue Tetras enjoy live or frozen foods, such as brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms. These foods are high in protein and provide the fish with essential nutrients. You can find these foods at your local pet store or online.

  • Vegetables: Blue Tetras also enjoy vegetables, such as blanched spinach, zucchini, or cucumber. These foods provide fiber and essential nutrients that are not found in other types of food.

It’s essential to provide your Blue Tetras with a varied diet to ensure they receive all the nutrients they need. Avoid overfeeding them as it can lead to health problems and pollute the water. If you notice any uneaten food, remove it from the tank to prevent it from decomposing and affecting the water quality.

Behavior and Temperament

The Blue Tetra is a peaceful and friendly fish that is an excellent addition to any community tank. They are known to be very active swimmers, and they love to explore their surroundings. Blue Tetras are also very social and love to be in groups, so it’s best to keep them in schools of at least six individuals.

These fish are not aggressive and will not harm other tank mates. They are gentle and will coexist peacefully with other peaceful fish species. However, they may become stressed and anxious if kept with aggressive fish or in a tank that is too small. So, it’s essential to choose tank mates carefully and provide them with adequate space.

Blue Tetras are also known for their unique swimming position, where they swim at a slight angle with their heads pointing downwards. This behavior is entirely normal and is not a cause for concern. It’s just their natural way of swimming, and it’s quite fascinating to watch.

In terms of feeding, Blue Tetras are not fussy eaters and will readily accept a variety of foods. They enjoy a diet that includes both dry and live foods, such as flakes, pellets, and brine shrimp. It’s best to feed them small amounts of food several times a day rather than one large feeding, as this will prevent overfeeding and keep the water quality in check.

Overall, Blue Tetras are peaceful, active, and friendly fish that are easy to care for and make great additions to any community tank. With proper care and attention, they can live for up to four years, providing you with many years of enjoyment.

Care and Tank Requirements

Taking care of Blue Tetras is relatively easy, but you need to ensure that you provide them with the right environment to thrive. Here are some things to keep in mind when setting up their tank:

Tank Size

Blue Tetras are small fish, but they are also active swimmers. You should keep a minimum of six Blue Tetras in a tank that is at least 10 gallons in size. For each additional fish, add two gallons of water to the tank.

Water Parameters (Temperature and PH)

Blue Tetras are freshwater fish that prefer slightly acidic to neutral water. A pH range of 6.5 to 7.5 is ideal for them. The water temperature should be between 72°F to 82°F. It is essential to maintain stable water parameters to keep your fish healthy.

Tank Setup and Decorations

Blue Tetras prefer a well-planted aquarium with plenty of hiding places. Live plants like Java Ferns, Anubias, and Amazon Swords are great options. You can also add driftwood and rocks to create caves and crevices for your fish to explore. Make sure that any decorations you add to the tank are aquarium-safe and do not leach harmful chemicals into the water.

Filtration and Aeration

A good filtration system is essential to maintain the water quality in your Blue Tetra’s tank. A gentle filter like a sponge filter is ideal for them. You should also provide adequate aeration to ensure that the water is well-oxygenated. You can use an air pump and air stone to create bubbles in the tank.

By following these guidelines, you can create a healthy and comfortable environment for your Blue Tetras. Remember to perform regular water changes and monitor the water parameters to ensure their well-being.

Suitable Tank Mates

When it comes to choosing suitable tank mates for your Blue Tetra, it’s important to consider their peaceful nature. These fish are social and thrive in groups, so it’s best to keep them with other peaceful species that won’t bully or harass them.

Some great tank mates for Blue Tetras include:

  • Other small, peaceful fish such as Neon Tetras, Cherry Barbs, and Harlequin Rasboras.
  • Bottom-dwelling species such as Corydoras Catfish and Kuhli Loaches.
  • Shrimp and snails can also make great tank mates, but be sure to monitor them closely to ensure they aren’t becoming a snack for your Blue Tetras.

It’s important to note that larger, aggressive fish should be avoided as they may attack and harm your Blue Tetras. Additionally, avoid keeping them with fish that have long, flowing fins as they may mistake them for food and nip at them.

Overall, choosing peaceful tank mates for your Blue Tetras will ensure a harmonious and stress-free environment for all your aquatic friends.

Breeding Process

Breeding Blue Tetras is not a difficult process, but it requires some preparation and attention to detail. Here are the steps you need to follow to breed Blue Tetras successfully.

  1. Prepare the Breeding Tank: You need to set up a separate breeding tank to breed Blue Tetras. The tank should be at least 10 gallons in size and should have a sponge filter to provide gentle water flow. The water temperature should be between 72°F to 82°F, and the pH should be between 5.5 to 6.0. You can add some plants and a breeding cone or a spawning mop to the tank to provide hiding places for the fish.

  2. Choose the Breeding Pair: You need to select a healthy and mature breeding pair of Blue Tetras for breeding. You can identify the male and female fish by their size and color. The male fish are usually brighter and more colorful than the female fish.

  3. Condition the Breeding Pair: Before breeding, you need to condition the breeding pair by feeding them high-quality live or frozen foods such as brine shrimp, daphnia, or bloodworms. You should feed them several times a day for at least a week before breeding to ensure that they are in peak condition.

  4. Introduce the Breeding Pair to the Tank: Once the breeding pair is conditioned, you can introduce them to the breeding tank. You should turn off the lights and cover the tank with a dark cloth to simulate the natural breeding conditions of Blue Tetras.

  5. Observe the Breeding Process: Blue Tetras are egg scatterers, which means that they will lay their eggs on the plants or spawning mop in the tank. The male fish will chase the female fish and nudge her to release the eggs. The eggs will then stick to the plants or spawning mop.

  6. Remove the Breeding Pair: After the breeding process is complete, you should remove the breeding pair from the tank to prevent them from eating the eggs. You can transfer them back to their original tank.

  7. Care for the Eggs and Fry: The eggs will hatch in 24 to 36 hours, and the fry will become free-swimming in another 24 to 36 hours. You should feed them infusoria or liquid fry food for the first few days, and then gradually introduce them to crushed flakes or baby brine shrimp.

Breeding Blue Tetras can be a rewarding experience for aquarists. With the proper preparation and care, you can successfully breed these beautiful fish in your home aquarium.

Common Diseases and Treatments

Blue tetras are generally hardy fish, but they can still be susceptible to some common diseases. Here are a few diseases that you should watch out for and their treatments:

Ich (White Spot Disease)

Ich is a common disease that affects many different types of fish, including blue tetras. It’s caused by a parasite that attaches itself to the fish’s skin and fins, causing white spots to appear. If left untreated, ich can be fatal. Fortunately, it’s easily treatable with medication that you can purchase at your local pet store.

Fin Rot

Fin rot is a bacterial infection that can affect the fins and tail of blue tetras. It’s usually caused by poor water quality, so it’s important to keep your tank clean and well-maintained. If you notice that your fish’s fins are frayed or discolored, you should treat them with a bacterial medication.

Velvet Disease

Velvet disease is another parasitic infection that can affect blue tetras. It’s characterized by a yellowish-gold dusting on the fish’s skin and fins. If left untreated, velvet disease can cause your fish to become lethargic and lose its appetite. You can treat velvet disease with medication that contains copper.

Anchor Worm

Anchor worms are parasites that can burrow into the skin of blue tetras. They can cause irritation and inflammation, and if left untreated, they can lead to secondary infections. To treat anchor worms, you can use medication that contains copper or malachite green.

Remember, prevention is key when it comes to keeping your blue tetras healthy. Make sure to keep their tank clean and well-maintained, and monitor them closely for any signs of illness. If you do notice any symptoms, act quickly to treat the problem before it becomes more serious.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some suitable tank mates for Blue Tetras?

Blue Tetras are peaceful fish that can coexist with other small, non-aggressive fish such as neon tetras, guppies, and dwarf gouramis. Avoid keeping them with larger or aggressive fish that may bully or attack them.

How often should you feed Blue Tetras?

Feed your Blue Tetras small amounts of food two to three times a day. They are omnivores and will eat a variety of foods such as flakes, pellets, frozen or live foods, and vegetables. Be careful not to overfeed them as this can lead to health problems.

What is the ideal water temperature for Blue Tetras?

The ideal water temperature for Blue Tetras is between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. They prefer slightly acidic water with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0 and a water hardness between 5 and 10 dH.

Do Blue Tetras require any special water conditions?

Blue Tetras do not require any special water conditions, but they do appreciate a well-maintained tank with regular water changes. They prefer planted tanks with plenty of hiding places and driftwood.

What is the lifespan of Blue Tetras?

Blue Tetras can live up to four years if well taken care of. They require a balanced diet, suitable tank mates, and proper water conditions to thrive.

How can you tell if a Blue Tetra is male or female?

Male and female Blue Tetras are the same size, but females are rounder or plumper than males. Females also have a more pronounced belly when they are carrying eggs.


In conclusion, Blue Tetras are a great choice for beginner aquarists due to their hardiness, peaceful nature, and easy care requirements. They are also a beautiful addition to any freshwater aquarium with their vibrant blue coloration.

When it comes to their care, it is important to provide them with a well-maintained tank with plenty of hiding spots and plants. They prefer a slightly acidic to neutral pH range and a temperature between 72°F to 82°F. It is also recommended to keep them in groups of at least six to reduce stress and promote natural behaviors.

Feeding Blue Tetras is easy as they will eat most types of quality flake or pellet food. They should be fed two to three times a day and any uneaten food should be removed from the tank to maintain water quality. Additionally, regular water changes and proper filtration are crucial for their health and well-being.

Overall, Blue Tetras are a great addition to any community aquarium and with proper care, they can live up to five years. Remember to always research and understand the specific needs of any fish species before adding them to your aquarium.