Category: Tetera

Tetra is the common name of many small freshwater Characiform fishes. Tetras come from Africa, Central America, and South America, belonging to the biological family Characidae and to its former subfamilies Alestidae (the “African tetras”) and Lebiasinidae. The Characidae are distinguished from other fish by the presence of a small adipose fin between the dorsal and caudal fins. Many of these, such as the neon tetra (Paracheirodon innesi), are brightly colored and easy to keep in captivity. Consequently, they are extremely popular for home aquaria.

Tetra is no longer a taxonomic, phylogenetic term. It is short for Tetragonopterus, a genus name formerly applied to many of these fish, which is Greek for “square-finned” (literally, four-sided-wing).

Because of the popularity of tetras in the fishkeeping hobby, many unrelated fish are commonly known as tetras, including species from different families. Even vastly different fish may be called tetras. For example, payara (Hydrolycus scomberoides) is occasionally known as the “sabretooth tetra” or “vampire tetra”.

Tetras generally have compressed (sometimes deep), fusiform bodies and are typically identifiable by their fins. They ordinarily possess a homocercal caudal fin (a twin-lobed, or forked, tail fin whose upper and lower lobes are of equal size) and a tall dorsal fin characterized by a short connection to the fish’s body.[Additionally, tetras possess a long anal fin stretching from a position just posterior of the dorsal fin and ending on the ventral caudal peduncle, and a small, fleshy adipose fin located dorsally between the dorsal and caudal fins. This adipose fin represents the fourth unpaired fin on the fish (the four unpaired fins are the caudal fin, dorsal fin, anal fin, and adipose fin), lending to the name tetra, which is Greek for four.While this adipose fin is generally considered the distinguishing feature, some tetras (such as the emperor tetras, Nematobrycon palmeri) lack this appendage. Ichthyologists debate the function of the adipose fin, doubting its role in swimming due to its small size and lack of stiffening rays or spines.

Although the list below is sorted by common name, in a number of cases the common name is applied to different species. Since the aquarium trade may use a different name for the same species, advanced aquarists tend to use scientific names for the less-common tetras. The list below is incomplete.

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African long-finned Tetra- Brycinus longipinnis

Primarily known as long-fin tetra, Brycinus longipinnis is also described as African long-finned tetra among other terms. Distribution Brycinus longipinnis is native to the western coastal regions of Africa from The Gambia to Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is found in...

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Adonis tetra (Lepidarchus adonis)

The Adonis tetra (Lepidarchus adonis) also known as the jellybean tetra, is a very small African fish of the family Alestidae.[ It is the only member of its genus. Range Lepidarchus adonis is native to freshwater habitats near the Atlantic coast in Ghana, Sierra...

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Columbian Red Fin Tetra, Blue Flame, Blue Red

Common name: Columbian Red Fin Tetra, Blue Flame, Blue Red Scientific name: Hyphessobrycon Columbianus Average Adult Fish Size: 2 inches  /  6 cm Place of Origin:Appears to be known only from the Río Acandí in Chocó Department, northern Colombia, close...

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Green Neon Tetra, Green Tetra

Common name: Green Neon Tetra, Green Tetra Scientific name: Paracheirodon Simulans Average Adult Fish Size:  1.5 inches  /  3.8 cm Place of Origin: The Green Neon Tetra is native to the upper Orinoco and Negro Rivers in...

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Rummynose Tetra, Banded Rummy-Nose Tetra

Common name: Rummynose Tetra, Banded Rummy-Nose Tetra Scientific name:Hemigrammus Bleheri Average Adult Fish Size:  1.5 inches  /  3.8 cm Place of Origin: South America Typical Tank setup: Well planted with rocks and driftwood/bogwood. They love playing in...

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Glowlight Tetra

Common name: Glowlight Tetra Scientific name: Hemigrammus Erythrozonus Average Adult Fish Size:  1.5 inches  /  3.8 cm Place of Origin: Native to Essequibo River in Guyana, South America. Typical Tank setup: Well planted with rocks and driftwood/bogwood. They...

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Gold Neon Tetra, Gold Tetra

Common name: Gold Neon Tetra, Gold Tetra Scientific name: Paracheirodon Innesi Average Adult Fish Size:  1.5 inches  /  3.8 cm Place of Origin: South America Typical Tank setup: Well planted with rocks and driftwood/bogwood. They love playing in...

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Emperor Tetra

Common name: Emperor Tetra Scientific name: Nematobrycon Palmeri Average Adult Fish Size:  1.5 inches  /  3.8 cm Place of Origin: Columbia. Typical Tank setup: Well planted with rocks and driftwood/bogwood. Still water or very slight current in the...

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Albino Buenos Aires Tetra

Common name: Albino Buenos Aires Tetra Scientific name: Hemigrammus Caudovittatus Average Adult Fish Size:  2 inches  /  5 cm Place of Origin: Argentina. Typical Tank setup: Well planted with rocks and driftwood/bogwood. Moderate water movement is beneficial although...

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