Paracheirodon Axelrodi

Last updated: March 8, 2023
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
© Aka / Creative Commons / Original

Native to the freshwater streams of South America!


Tetra Scientific Classification

Scientific Name
Paracheirodon Axelrodi

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Tetra Conservation Status

Tetra Locations

Tetra Locations

Tetra Facts

Main Prey
Algae, Brine Shrimp, Plankton
Optimum pH Level
Clearwater streams of South America
Fish, Eels, Crustaceans
Favorite Food
Common Name
Average Clutch Size
Native to the freshwater streams of South America!

Tetra Physical Characteristics

  • Red
  • Blue
  • Black
  • White
  • Silver
Skin Type
2-5 years

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Tetra is a general name for tropical freshwater fish of the Characidae family.

They are popular because they are peaceful species that can live with many other types of aquarium features. Aquarium enthusiasts also love them because they are easy to maintain, particularly the ember tetra. They come in many bright colors, like yellow, cardinal, and bright greens and blues.

Tetra Infographic

Five Tetra Facts

1. Tetras are among the world’s most popular aquarium fish.
2. Rummy-nose tetras love to shoal.
3. Tetras tend to act livelier when they are in bigger groups.
4. The ember tetra, discovered in 1987, was named after explorer Heiko Bleher’s mother.
5. Glow tetras, also called GloFish tetras, are genetically modified and can reach six inches long.

Classification and Scientific Name

Ember Tetra

Ember tetras are omnivores, and they are micro-predators that feed on other small invertebrates.


All tetras are members of the Chcaraciformes order and the Characidae family. The scientific name of the neon tetra, probably the best known of these aquarium fish, is Paracheirodon innesi. Scientific names of some of the other tetras are yellow tetra, Hyphessobrycon bifasciatus; rummy-nose tetra, Hemigrammus rhodostomus; cardinal tetra, Paracheirodon axelrodi; ember tetra, Hyphessobrycon amandae; and glow tetra, Hemigrammus erythrozonus.


The small yet vibrant ruby tetra fares best in small groups of its own species.

Tetra is a descriptive word used to refer to numerous species of small, freshwater characiform fish. These fish are native to Africa, Central America, and South America and belong to the Characidae family, as well as the two former subfamilies Alestidae (or African tetras) and Lebiasinidae. The Characidae family is characterized by a small adipose fin located between the dorsal and caudal fins. Tetra fish such as the neon tetra (Paracheirodon innesi) are popular amongst aquarium hobbyists due to their vivid colors and low-maintenance care requirements. The word “Tetra” is derived from the Greek term “Tetragonopterus” which means “square-finned”.

Many different types of fish are commonly referred to as tetras, even though they may not be related to each other. Tetras are native to South and Central America, Africa, and the Amazon Basin, except for the blind cave tetra that was found in Mexico. Each species of tetra has its own unique range and distribution, but some species may inhabit the same areas. They usually live in regions rich with vegetation and shaded areas.


The black skirt tetra gets its name from its black, skirt-like fin.

More than 150 species of fish considered tetras live worldwide. Although there are many different species, less than 20 are commonly found in aquariums worldwide. Most pet stores sell neon tetras at a low price as they are plentiful. Other popular tetra species among hobbyist fishkeepers include black, cardinal, rainbow, blue, flame, rummy-nose, emperor, and bloodfin tetras. The most popular tetras also have a low price in pet stores, making them affordable.


The neon tetra gets its coloration from guanine crystals found inside their cells that reflect off of light.

The neon tetra gets its coloration from guanine crystals found inside their cells that reflect off of light.

©Grigorev Mikhail/Shutterstock.com

Tetras are small fish, generally ranging in length from one to four inches. The one exception is the genetically engineered glow tetra, which can grow up to six inches in size. Tetras have a small adipose fin between their dorsal and caudal fins, distinguishing them from other fish. You’ll find a few differences between male and female tetras. Males are usually thinner, while females are more rounded and tend to be larger. Colors are varied, ranging from silver and yellow to deep black.

Distribution, Population, and Habitat

Amazon rainforest in Brazil
Many types of tetra fish live in the Amazon River Basin.

Tetras are found around the world, although they are concentrated in the previously mentioned areas. They are primarily found in the freshwater rivers and lakes of the Amazon Basin. Most species generally have stable populations, although some have shown declines, while the numbers of the rest remain unknown.

According to the IUCN Redlist of endangered species, the tetra is considered least concern.

Predators and Prey

Cardinal tetra

Because tetra fish are so tiny, they have many predators.


As tetras are small fish, many different predators hunt them. Larger fish, eels, crustaceans, and some invertebrates all feed on tetra. Because of their colorful bodies, predators can easily see tetras. When tetras feel they are in danger, they’ll often try to find somewhere to hide or swim to darker waters where they won’t be as visible.

In the wild and the aquarium, tetras eat almost anything because they are omnivores. The diets of wild and captive tetras are similar, with the exception that captive tetras eat manufactured food like flakes, pellets, frozen brine shrimp, etc. In the wild, they have access to a wide variety of foods. Among the favorite prey are common water fleas called daphnia, mosquito larvae, brine shrimp, bloodworms, and small fish eggs. In aquariums, tetras eat twice daily, consuming as much food as possible in about two minutes.

Reproduction and Lifespan


Lemon tetras are known for their neon yellow coloration and mild translucency.

©iStock.com/Juan Carlos Juarez Jaramillo

The lifespan of tetras is between eight to 10 years in the wild but considerably shorter in captivity. For example, neon tetras only live an average of five years. Tetras don’t live as long in captivity because of stress and boredom. Loneliness is also a factor as these fish do best when living in a school of other tetras.
Although most tetras are easy to care for, breeding them in captivity can sometimes be difficult because it’s hard to distinguish males from females. Even though they do not form monogamous pairs, tetras will not necessarily spawn with any other tetra they see and may reject their potential mate. The male tries to attract the female by dancing around her. If she likes him, she will take him to the spawning site. The number of eggs laid can range from 50 to 1,000, depending on the species. Tetras grow slowly. After hatching, it can take neon tetras two months to reach one-quarter inch in length. However, emperor tetras grow quickly as juveniles only take six months to become adults. Eggs take at least 48 hours to hatch.

Fishing and Cooking


The Congo tetra is one of the larger varieties of tetra fish at around 3 inches long.


Generally, fishing for tetras only occurs to bring these fish into captivity to help populate home aquariums. Like most other aquarium fish, tetras are edible, but you probably wouldn’t want to do so. First off, their small size doesn’t produce much protein, but more importantly, you can run into digestive problems when consuming aquarium fish not explicitly raised for food.

Tetra Population

The exact number of tetras in the world is unknown, primarily because many of these fish live in remote regions and dark waters.

99 Types of Tetra Fish


Neon tetras are one of the most vibrant tetra species.


  1. Adonis Tetra – Lepidarchus adonis
  2. African Moon Tetra – Bathyaethiops caudomaculatus
  3. African Red-Eyed Tetra – Arnoldichthys spilopterus
  4. Arowana Tetra – Gnathocharax steindachneri
  5. Black Chin Tetra – Piabucus melanostoma
  6. Black Darter Tetra – Poecilocharax weitzmani
  7. Black Emperor Tetra – Nemotobrycon palmeri
  8. Black Line Tetra – Hyphessobrycon scholzei
  9. Black Neon Tetra – Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi
  10. Black Phantom Tetra – Hyphessobrycon megalopterus
  11. Black Widow Tetra – Gymnocorymbus ternetzi
  12. Blackline Tail Tetra – Moenkhausia costae
  13. Bleeding Blue Tetra – Hyphessobrycon margitae
  14. Bleeding Heart Tetra – Hyphessobrycon erythrostingma
  15. Bloodfin Tetra – Aphyocharax anisitsi
  16. Blue Eyed Congo Tetra – henacogrammus aurantiacus
  17. Blue Purple Emperor Tetra – Inpaichthys kerri
  18. Blue Spot African Tetra – Brycinus poptae
  19. Blueberry Tetra – Hyphessobrycon wadai
  20. Brittanichthys Axelrodi Tetra – Brittanichthys Axelrodi
  21. Broken Line Tetra – Hemigrammus ulreyi
  22. Bucktooth Tetra – Exodon paradoxus
  23. Buenos Aires Tetra – Hyphessobrycon anisitsi
  24. Cardinal Tetra – Paracheirodon axelrodi
  25. Cochus Blue Tetra – Boehlkea fredcochui
  26. Coffee Bean Tetra – Hyphessobrycon takasei
  27. Columbian Redfin Tetra – Hyphessobrycon columbianus
  28. Congo Tetra – Phenacogrammus interruptus
  29. Copei Tetra – Moenkhausia copei
  30. Costello Tetra – Hemigrammus hyanuary
  31. Dawn Tetra – Aphyocharax paraguayensis
  32. Diamond Tetra – Moenkhausia pittieri
  33. Domino Tetra – Neolebias powelli
  34. Eilyos Tetra – Hyphessobrycon eilyos
  35. Ember Tetra – Hyphessobrycon amandae
  36. Emperor Tetra – Mematobrycon palmeri
  37. Exclamation Mark Tetra – Bryconella pallidifrons
  38. Fire Ant Tetra – Hyphessobrycon myrmex
  39. Fire Green Tetra – Aphyocharax rahbuni
  40. Flag Tetra – Hyphessobrycon heterorhabdus
  41. Flame Tetra – Hyphessobrycon flammeus
  42. Flameback Bleedig Heart Tetra – Hyphessobrycon pyrrhonotus
  43. Frankei Terta – Hyphessobrycon frankei
  44. Glass Bloodfin Tetra – Prionobrana filigera
  45. Glowlight Tetra – Hemigramus erythrozonus
  46. Gold Shoulder Rosy Tetra – Hyphessobrycon paepkei
  47. Golden Mascara Tetra – Cyphocharax multilineautus
  48. Golden Tetra – Hyphessobrycon moniliger
  49. Green Neon Tetra – Paracheirodon simulans
  50. Head and Taillight Tetra – Hemigrammus ocelifer
  51. Hummingbird Tetra – Trochilocharax ornatus
  52. Imperial Tetra – Hyphessobrycon nigricinctus
  53. Infernal Tetra – Hemigrammus/Hyphessobrycon Infernalis
  54. Jellybean Tetra – Ladigesia rolofii
  55. Kitty Tetra – Hyphessobrycon loweae
  56. Kogal Blue Eyed Tetra – Moenkhausia sp.
  57. Lemon Tetra – Hyphessobrycon pulchripinnis
  58. Lipstick Tetra – Moenkhausia cosmops
  59. Long Finned Tetra – Brycinus longipinnis
  60. Loreto Tetra – Hyphessobrycon loretoensis
  61. Mexican Tetra – Astyanax mexicanus
  62. Montags Tetra – Hyphessobrycon montagi
  63. More Code Tetra – Hemigrammus sp ‘morese code’
  64. Mountain Crystal Tetra – Proteocheirodon pi, leptagoniates pi
  65. Nego Dagua Tetra – Hyphessobrycon negodagua
  66. Neon Tetra – Paracheirodon innesi
  67. Ornate Tetra – Hyphessobrycon bentosi
  68. Penguin Tetra – Thayeria boehlkei
  69. Phoenix Tetra – Hemigrammus filamentosus
  70. Pink Lemon Tetra – Hyphessobrycon itaparicensis
  71. Pretty Tetra – Hemigrammus ulcher
  72. Racoon Tetra – Hyphessobrycon procyon
  73. Rainbow Copella Tetra – Copella vilmae
  74. Rainbow Tetra – Nematobrycon lacortei
  75. Red Base Tetra – Hemigrammus stictus
  76. Red Devil Tetra – Hyphessobrycon piranga
  77. Red Eye Tetra – Moenkhausia sanctaefilomenae
  78. Red Laser Tetra – Hemigrammus coeruleus
  79. Red Line Lizard Tetra – Iguanodectes geisleri
  80. Red Line Tetra – Hyphessobrycon amapaensis
  81. Red Phantom Tetra – Hyphessobrycon sweglesi
  82. Red Tail Hemiodus Tetra – Hemiodus gracilis
  83. Redfin Congo Tetra – Micralestes occidentalis
  84. Redfin Penguin Tetra – Thayeria sp.
  85. Reed Tetra – Hyphessobrycon elachys
  86. Rosy Tetra – Hyphessobrycon rosaceus
  87. Ruby Tetra – Axelrodia riesei
  88. Rummy Nose Tetra – Hemigrammus rhodostomus
  89. Sailfin Tetra – Crenuchus spilurus
  90. Serpae Tetra – Hyphessobrycon eques
  91. Silvertip Tetra – Hasemania nana
  92. Six Stripes Tetra – Hexastichos
  93. Splash Tetra – Copella arnoldi
  94. Steel Blue Tetra – Hyphessobrycon weitzmanorum
  95. Toucan Tetra – Tucanoichthys tucano
  96. White Skirt Tetra – Gymnocorymbus ternetzi
  97. X-Ray Tetra – Pristella maxillaris
  98. Xingu Black eon Tetra – Moenkhausia heikoi
  99. Yellow Tailed Congo Tetra – Alestopetersius caudalis

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About the Author

Heather Hall is a writer at A-Z Animals, where her primary focus is on plants and animals. Heather has been writing and editing since 2012 and holds a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture. As a resident of the Pacific Northwest, Heather enjoys hiking, gardening, and trail running through the mountains with her dogs.

Tetra FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Are Tetras herbivores, carnivores, or omnivores?

Tetras are Omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and other animals.

What Kingdom do Tetras belong to?

Tetras belong to the Kingdom Animalia.

What phylum do Tetras belong to?

Tetras belong to the phylum Chordata.

What class do Tetras belong to?

Tetras belong to the class Actinopterygii.

What family do Tetras belong to?

Tetras belong to the family Characidae.

What order do Tetras belong to?

Tetras belong to the order Characiformes.

What genus do Tetras belong to?

Tetras belong to the genus Paracheirodon.

What type of covering do Tetras have?

Tetras are covered in Scales.

In what type of habitat do Tetras live?

Tetras live in clearwater streams in South America.

What is the main prey for Tetras?

Tetras prey on algae, brine shrimp, and plankton.

What are some predators of Tetras?

Predators of Tetras include fish, eels, and crustaceans.

What is the average clutch size of a Tetra?

Tetras typically lay 130 eggs.

What is an interesting fact about Tetras?

Tetras are native to the freshwater streams of South America!

What is the scientific name for the Tetra?

The scientific name for the Tetra is Paracheirodon Axelrodi.

What is the lifespan of a Tetra?

Tetras can live for 2 to 5 years.

What is the optimal pH for a Tetra?

The optimal pH for a Tetra is between 5.5 and 7.5.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.


  1. David Burnie, Dorling Kindersley (2011) Animal, The Definitive Visual Guide To The World's Wildlife / Accessed November 14, 2008
  2. Tom Jackson, Lorenz Books (2007) The World Encyclopedia Of Animals / Accessed November 14, 2008
  3. David Burnie, Kingfisher (2011) The Kingfisher Animal Encyclopedia / Accessed November 14, 2008
  4. Richard Mackay, University of California Press (2009) The Atlas Of Endangered Species / Accessed November 14, 2008
  5. David Burnie, Dorling Kindersley (2008) Illustrated Encyclopedia Of Animals / Accessed November 14, 2008
  6. Dorling Kindersley (2006) Dorling Kindersley Encyclopedia Of Animals / Accessed November 14, 2008

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