Diamond Tetra Care (Moenkhausia pittieri): Diet, Habitat & Breeding

Diamond tetra.
Diamond tetra. Michael Palmer, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Diamond tetra is my favorite tetra! Compared to other tetras, the Diamond tetra has a lot more personality to show and are typically very engaged with their owners. Due to their size and veil-like fins, a school of Diamond tetras can be the highlight of an aquarium.

The Diamond tetra is endemic to Venezuela and is typically found in shallow streams and lakes. They tend to prefer dimly-lit and densely vegetated waters.

The scientific name of Diamond tetras is Moenkhausia pittieri.


Diamond tetras are completely stunning. Their coloration is a brilliant mixture of dark greens, blues, and black.

Quite unlike many other species of tetras, the fins of Diamonds are long are veil-like, comparable to those of Congo Tetras.

As is the case with many other species of tetras, the Diamond tetra is sexually dimorphic. This means that males and females have different appearances. Perhaps the most obvious difference is the male fins, which tend to be bigger and more ornamental than those of the female. This makes the female appear smaller when compared to males.  Females also tend to be a lot less colorful than males.

Diamonds are quite large when compared to say Neon tetras. At sexual maturity, Diamonds will generally be 5 to 6.5 centimeters in length or 2 to 2.5 inches.

Habitat & Tank Condition

Sparkling Moenkhausia pittieri.
Neale Monks, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Since its tetras are schooling fish, it is important that you group them with others of its own species. Diamond tetras should be housed in a 20+ gallon aquarium. This tank size is adequate for the housing of at least 5-6 tetras, which is the minimum required amount for school fish.

Diamond tetras are tropical fish, best adapted for life in an aquarium whose temperature ranges between 22 and 26 degrees Celsius (72 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit). To provide an environment warm enough for your fish, you may need an aquarium heater.

If you feel that this is the case for you, then there are several adequate heaters that you can purchase either online or at a local pet store. We typically recommend the Fluval-E or the EHEIM Jager.

Indian almond leaves can help you lower the pH of your aquarium.

The diamond tetras are typically found in waters whose pH ranges between 6 and 7. This means that these tetras, like most tetras, will prefer slightly acidic water parameters. This can be done using pH buffers, like the Seachem Acid Buffer, or blackwater botanicals like Indian almond leaves or blackwater extracts.

Your aquarium should have a filter, as this will maintain water conditions, along with the health and happiness of your tetra fish.

Diamond Tetra Diet

Diamond tetras are omnivorous, which means they will eat practically anything you give them.

It is recommended, as with all fish, that you fish your Diamonds a varied diet, which provides all the nutrients that they need. This will help you maintain the health of your fish and have them show strong coloration.

The diet of your tetras should mainly consist of dry foods like pellets, granules, flakes, algae wafers, and crisps. 

Protein foods should complement their diet. Live foods, frozen or freeze-dried food are all good choices. Examples of protein foods include, but not limited to, brine shrimps, daphnia (water fleas), tubifex, earthworms, bloodworms, and infusoria.

If need be, break up the foods of your tetras so they can fit in their tiny mouths.

Feed them twice a day, using the 5-minute rule. Provide them only with enough food to feed for 5 minutes. If the fish are still eating after minutes, then make sure to adjust the amount of food you give them during the next feeding.


Two Male Moenkhausia pittieri.
Two Male Moenkhausia pittieri. Elma, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Diamond Tetras is a relatively peaceful fish in a community setting. Due to their bigger size, they may be a little nipper than other smaller tetras. The best way to reduce aggression on their part is to put them in groups of 6 or more. As schooling fish, they much prefer to be in groups, allowing them to feel at ease and thus reduce aggression.

Breeding Diamond Tetras

Diamonds tetras are quite difficult to breed. Females are oftentimes disinterested and will refuse to spawn.

To increase your chances of success, prepare a breeding tank where the pair will be left alone. The water should have pH levels between 5.5 and 6, and water hardness should have a dGH of 1.5 or less.

Diamonds like many other tetras, prefer sheltered environments. Ensure that the aquarium has plenty enough plants. Adding java moss or a spawning mop may be beneficial during the spawning phase.

When you have chosen your breeding pair, introduce them to the tank. Leave the lights of the aquarium off. You may use paper to cover the aquarium to further reduce the amount of light in the aquarium.

A day or two later, slightly begin to increase the amount of light the aquarium daily. This will encourage spawning behavior.

Once the parents have spawned, remove them from the aquarium. This will prevent them from eating the eggs. You should expect less than 100 eggs per spawn with a hatch rate between 25 to 50%.

The eggs of Diamond tetras will attach themselves to vegetation like java moss, rocks, or the glass of the aquarium.

Generally, the eggs will hatch within 24 hours give or take. The fry will typically stay near the egg and feed on the yolk sack.

Once the fry has left their egg, you may begin to feed them live foods like infusoria. You may also feed them commercially available prepared foods for fry fish.

Always maintain low dimness of light in the aquarium, as the egg and fry are sensitive to light.

A few later, the fry will be big enough to eat bigger foods like brine shrimp.

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