The Diamond Tetra sparkles like a diamond due to the opalescent shine of its scales!

The Diamond Tetra Moenkhausia pittieri is considered the beauty of its genus. It is also one of the flashiest of all the tetra species. With green and goldor orange iridescents on its attractive, silvery-violet scales, this fish has a marvelous, sparkling appearance. You must be patient to fully appreciate this fish’s beauty,however, as the colors do not fully develop until it reaches adulthood. The Diamond Tetrais also known as Pittier’s Tetra and Diamond Characin.

This tetra is a very hardy and long-lived fish if kept in an aquarium to its liking. Large, well-planted tanks are best. It does not do well with hard water and preferssoft, peat-filtered water with subdued lighting. Use a dark gravel substrate with some floating plants above, and you’ll have a most satisfactory enviroment for this fish.

The Diamond Tetrais a good community fish that is very peacefulbutalso very active. Being on the go all day, this fish gets hungry. The Diamond Tetra must be kept well fed, or it may resort to munching on aquariumplants. It is a good eater, though,and as long as it is doesn’t get hungry, it will leave the plant decor alone. Like most tetras, it will appreciate a school of 5 or more of its own kind.

For Information on keeping freshwater fish, see:
Freshwater Aquarium Guide: Aquarium Setup and Care

Diamond Tetra

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Diamond Tetra in a Planted Aquarium

The most beautiful fish of its genus (Moenkhausia) due to the opalescent shine of its scales, the Diamond Tetra sparkles like a diamond! With green and gold, or orange iridescents on its attractive silvery violet scales, the Diamond Tetra or Pittier’s Tetra has a sparkling appearance. You must be patient to fully see this effect however, as this fish doesn’t get all of its coloring until it is an adult. The Diamond Tetra likes soft peat filtered water with subdued lighting. Once it is established, this fish is extremely hardy and long-lived. It is a good community fish that is very peaceful, but it is also very active. Being on the go all day this fish gets hungry. It must be kept well fed or it may resort to munching on the aquarium plants. It is a good eater and as long as it is doesn’t get hungry it will leave the plant decor alone.

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Actinopterygii
  • Order: Characiformes
  • Family: Characidae
  • Genus: Moenkhausia
  • Species: pittieri
Diamond Tetra – Quick Aquarium Care
  • Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner
  • Size of fish – inches: 2.4 inches (5.99 cm)
  • Minimum Tank Size: 15 gal (57 L)
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Aquarium Hardiness: Moderately hardy
  • Temperature: 72.0 to 82.0° F (22.2 to 27.8&deg C)
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Habitat: Distribution / Background

The Diamond Tetra Moenkhausia pittieri was described by Eigenmann in1920. This species is not listed on the IUCN Red List. They are found in South America in the waters of Rio Bue, Rio Tiquiriti, and Lake Valencia in Venezuela. Other common names they are known by are Pittier’s Tetra, Diamond Characin, Brillantsalmler, and Timanttitetra. They swim in schools and feed on worms, crustaceans, and insects.

Lake Valencia is Venezuela’s 2nd largest lake and sits between two mountain ranges wherepollution from human agricultural and industrial activities have caused the quality of the waterthese fish inhabit to be very poor.The Diamond Tetra prefersthe shallow, vegetated parts of the lake as well as slow-moving tributaries.

  • Scientific Name: Moenkhausia pittieri
  • Social Grouping: Groups
  • IUCN Red List: NE – Not Evaluated or not listed


The Diamond Tetra is a stockily-built tetra species with a laterally-compressed body. This fish will reach about 2 1/3 inches (6 cm) in length and has a lifespan of about 3 to6 years in the aquarium. Itsattractive, silvery-violet scales feature green and goldor orange iridescents, givingthis fish a sparkling appearance. This ‘diamond’ effectdevelops as it matures, so while a juvenile, it is rather unremarkable. The Diamond Tetra’seye has a red spot on top.

  • Size of fish – inches: 2.4 inches (5.99 cm)
  • Lifespan: 6 years – This characin has a lifespan of about 3 to 6 years.

Fish Keeping Difficulty

The Diamond Tetra is a moderately hardy fish that is good for the beginningfish keeper.These fish are mass produced and can tolerate a variety of water conditions, within reason.

  • Aquarium Hardiness: Moderately hardy
  • Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner

Foods and Feeding

Since they are omnivorous, the Diamond Tetra will generally eat all kinds of live, fresh, and flake foods. To keep a good balance, give them a high quality flake food every day. Feed brine shrimp (either live or frozen) or blood worms as a treat. Supplement its diet with some vegetable foods, like lettuce leaves.

  • Diet Type: Omnivore – This fish should be well fed, preferably with a vegetable or leafy diet supplement to discourage it from eating aquarium plants.
  • Flake Food: Yes
  • Tablet / Pellet: Yes
  • Live foods (fishes, shrimps, worms): Some of Diet
  • Vegetable Food: Some of Diet
  • Meaty Food: Some of Diet
  • Feeding Frequency: Several feedings per day – With multiple feedings per day, offer only what they can consume in 3 minutes or less.

Aquarium Care

Diamond Tetras are not exceptionally difficult to care for provided their water is kept clean. Aquariums are closed systems, and regardless ofsize, all need some maintenance. Over time, decomposing organic matter, nitrates, and phosphate build up and water hardness increases due to evaporation. To combat these ever-changing conditions, water should be replaced on a regular basis, especially if the tank is densely stocked. At least 25 to50% of the tank water should be replaced every other week.

  • Water Changes: Bi-weekly

Aquarium Setup

The Diamond Tetra needs anaquarium that is at least 15 gallons or larger. Thisadaptable species will thrive in most well-maintained tanks. The lighting should be fairly dim and the tank well-planted. The Diamond Tetradoesn’t like brightly lit or sparselydecorated environments. It will look its bestin a densely planted tank where it will develop some really intense colors.

The Diamond tetra prefers an Amazonian biotype setup. Use a substrate of river sand and add a few driftwood branches and twiststed roots. A few handfuls of dried leaves will give the tank a natural feel. Allow the wood and leaves to discolor the water to the color of weak tea. Remove the leaves and replace themevery few weeks.

  • Minimum Tank Size: 15 gal (57 L)
  • Suitable for Nano Tank: Yes
  • Substrate Type: Any
  • Lighting Needs: Low – subdued lighting – Low lighting and shadowy, dark tank decor bring out the best iridescence on this species.
  • Temperature: 72.0 to 82.0° F (22.2 to 27.8&deg C)
  • Breeding Temperature: 79.0° F – These fish will spawn at 79 to 84° F (26 – 29° C).
  • Range ph: 5.5-7.5
  • Hardness Range: 2 – 15 dGH
  • Brackish: No
  • Water Movement: Moderate
  • Water Region: All – These fish will swim in all areas of the aquarium.

Social Behaviors

The Diamond Tetraisgenerally a good community fish but will be happiest ifkept in schools of 5 or more of its own kind. The best tankmates forthis tetra are their own kind, most livebearers, danios, rasboras, other tetras, and peaceful bottom dwellers.

  • Venomous: No
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Compatible with:
    • Same species – conspecifics: Yes – This fish will appreciate a school of 5 or more of its own kind.
    • Peaceful fish (): Safe
    • Semi-Aggressive (): Threat
    • Aggressive (): Threat
    • Large Semi-Aggressive (): Threat
    • Large Aggressive, Predatory (): Threat
    • Monitor – Tetras can out compete them for food.
    • Shrimps, Crabs, Snails: Safe – not aggressive
    • Plants: Monitor – Keep these fish well fed, or they may snack on soft plant matter and new shoots.

Sex: Sexual differences

The dorsal fin of the male is long and flowing and more pointed and sickle-shaped than the female’s. The female becomes full-bodied while the male remains more slender.

Breeding / Reproduction

Diamond Tetras are egg layers. They are considered moderately easy to breed, andthe biggest challenge isgetting proper pairs together. Pairs must be the same size and age, and it may take several tries to find a compatible pairs. Most breeding failures area result of mismatched pairs.

A separate breeding tank will help to get the best number of fry. Set up a 20-gallon spawning tank with a temperature of around 79 to 84° F (26 – 29° C). Provide clumps of spawning mops or java moss, so the female has a place to deposit the eggs. A layer of mesh also works as long as the spaces are wide enough for the eggs to pass through and small enough to keep the parents out. The water should be soft and slightly acidic with a pH 5.5 – 6.5 and a hardness of 4° dGH or less. A small, air-powered sponge filter is needed for filtration and toprovide a gentle water flow. Filtering the water through aquarium-safe peat is also helpful.

They can be spawned in pairsor in groups ofabout 6 individuals of each sex. To optimize success, it’s best to condition the males and females in separate tanks prior to breeding. Feed them a rich diet and plenty of small, live foods for about 7 to 10 days. Then select a breeding pair or small group and transfer them into the breeding tank. A mature female’s belly will become nicely rounded when she is full of eggs. Choose males that are the most colorful.

Start with a dark tank and gradually increase the light level to induce spawning. They may spawn immediately or aftera day or two. The male will follow the female around, and when the female releases her eggs, the male releases sperm to fertilize them. Once a successful spawn has been achieved, remove the parents, or they will eat the eggs.

The eggs will hatch within 24 to 36 hours with fry becoming free-swimming 3 to 4 days later. For the first few days, feed the fry infusoria-type foods until they can feed on microworm or brine shrimp nauplii. The fry grow quicklyand will soon look like miniature adults. However, they will not obtain the brilliant coloring of adult fish until they are about 9 months old. See Breeding Freshwater Fish: Characins for a general description of breeding processes, and see Fish Food for Fry for information about types of foods for raising the young.

  • Ease of Breeding: Moderate – They are moderately easy to breed, but the challenge is finding compatible pairs.

Fish Diseases

Diamond Tetras are extremely hardy and disease is not usually a problem in a well-maintained aquarium. That being said, there is no guarantee that you won’t have to deal with health problems or disease. Anything you add to your tank can introducedisease. Not only other fish but plants, substrate, and decorations can harbor bacteria. Take great care and make sure to properly clean or quarantine anything you add to an established tank so as not to upset the balance.

A good thing about Diamond Tetra is that due to their resilience, an outbreak of disease can often be limited to just one or a few fishes if dealt with at an early stage. When keeping more sensitive types of fish, it is common for all fishes to be infected even before the first warning signs can be noticed. The best way to proactively prevent disease is to give yourDiamond Tetra the proper environment and a well-balanced diet. The more closely their environment resembles their natural habitat,the less stress the fish will have, making them healthier and happier. Stressed fish are more likely to acquire disease.

As with most fish, tetras can be prone to skin flukes, parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.), ichthyobodo infection, parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.), bacterial infections (general), and bacterial disease. Aquarists shouldread up oncommon tank diseases. Knowing the signs and catching and treating them early makes a huge difference. For information about freshwater fish diseases and illnesses, see Aquarium Fish Diseases and Treatments.


The Diamond Tetra is readily availableand moderately priced.