Five groups that classify all living things
A group of animals within the animal kingdom
A group of animals within a pylum
A group of animals within a class
A group of animals within an order
A group of animals within a family
Most widely used name for this species
The name of the animal in science
The area where the animal first came from
What kind of foods the animal eats
How long (L) or tall (H) the animal is
Either freshwater, brakish or salt
|Optimum pH Level:|
The perfect acidity conditions for the animal
How long the animal lives for
The likelihood of the animal becoming extinct
The colour of the animal's coat or markings
|Black, Silver, Red, Blue, White|
The protective layer of the animal
The preferred food of this animal
The specific area where the animal lives
|Clearwater streams of South America|
|Average Clutch Size:|
The average number of eggs laid at once
The food that the animal gains energy from
|Algae, Brine Shrimp, Plankton|
Other animals that hunt and eat the animal
|Fish, Eels, Crustaceans|
Characteristics unique to this animal
|Small body size and brightly coloured markings|
Map of South America
The tetra is a small and colourful fish native to the freshwater rivers and streams of South America and Africa. The tetra is one of the most well known and popular freshwater tropical fish kept in tanks and aquariums all around the world.
There are around 150 known species of the tetra fish native to the clearwater streams and slow-moving rivers of both Africa South America. There are more than 100 different species of the tetra in Africa alone and even more in South America. The two groups of fish are classified as the characidaes (the tetra of South America) and the alestiidaes (the tetra of Africa).
Tetras are very commonly found in aquariums around the world and due to the hardiness of the tetra, they are easy fish to keep. The neon tetra is among the most commonly bred commercial species of tetra out of all of the tetra species.
The tetra is an omnivorous animal eating a mixture of both plant and animal matter. The tetra primarily feeds on algae and brine shrimp and picks out the larger food particles that are part of the plankton in the water. Tetras also eat small invertebrates such as worms.
Due to their small size, tetras are prey to many predators in their watery world. Larger fish, eels, crustaceans and invertebrates all prey on the tiny tetra which is often easy to spot due to its brightly coloured body. When a tetra feels it is in danger, it will often try to find something to hide in or travel into water that is slightly darker so that the tetra is harder to spot.
Tetras live in schools of many tetra individuals, sometimes in the hundreds, in order to help to protect each other and to find food. Tetras kept in tanks should be kept with at least 6 or 7 other tetras. Male tetras tend to be smaller in size than the female tetras.
Tetras breed in pairs that spawn together for about a year. Female tetras lay an average of 130 eggs usually on a leaf in the water, which are then fertilised by the male tetra. The baby tetra are called fry and hatch within a couple of days.
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First Published: 14th November 2008, Last Updated: 8th November 2019
1. David Burnie, Dorling Kindersley (2008) Illustrated Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 14 Nov 2008]
2. David Burnie, Kingfisher (2011) The Kingfisher Animal Encyclopedia [Accessed at: 01 Jan 2011]
3. Dorling Kindersley (2006) Dorling Kindersley Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 14 Nov 2008]
4. Richard Mackay, University of California Press (2009) The Atlas Of Endangered Species [Accessed at: 01 Jan 2009]
5. Tom Jackson, Lorenz Books (2007) The World Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 14 Nov 2008]