Boehlkea Tetra Care: Complete Guide for Beginners

The Boehlkea Tetra (Cochu’s Tetra), a fascinating and vibrant freshwater fish, is an excellent choice for beginners. In this comprehensive guide, we will cover all the essential information to help you embark on a successful fishkeeping journey with your Boehlkea Tetra.

Boehlkea Tetra

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Boehlkea Tetra Species Profile and Identification

The Boehlkea Tetra, also known as the Blue King Tetra or Blue Tetra, is a beautiful and peaceful species native to the Amazon River Basin in South America. This small, schooling fish has an elongated body with a metallic blue color, a black stripe that extends from the tip of the nose to the caudal fin, and red accents on the fins.

  • Scientific Name: Boehlkea fredcochui
  • Family: Characidae
  • Size: Up to 2 inches (5 cm) long

Their striking appearance and relatively easy care requirements make them an excellent choice for beginners looking to add some color to their freshwater aquariums. However, it’s essential to understand their specific needs and preferences to maintain a healthy and thriving environment for them.

cochu tetra

When identifying Boehlkea Tetras, look for the following key features:

  1. Elongated body shape with blue, metallic sheen
  2. A prominent black stripe that extends from nose to tail
  3. Red coloration on the fins, especially the caudal and anal fins

Remember, Boehlkea Tetras are schooling fish, meaning they prefer to be kept in groups of at least six to truly exhibit their natural behavior and create a dynamic, colorful display in your aquarium. In the next sections, we’ll go over everything you need to know to set up the perfect tank and care routine for your Boehlkea Tetras, ensuring they live a happy and healthy life.

Boehlkea Tetra Supplies

In order to properly care for your Boehlkea tetra, it’s essential to start with the right supplies. This list will guide you through the necessary items to ensure a healthy and comfortable environment for your fish.

  • Aquarium: Choose an appropriate size tank, preferably at least 20 gallons, as Boehlkea tetras are schooling fish and require adequate space to swim.
  • Heater: A good quality aquarium heater is crucial, as Boehlkea tetras are tropical fish and require a stable water temperature of 73-81°F (23-27°C).
  • Filter: Make sure to select an efficient aquarium filter, such as a hang-on-back or canister filter, to properly maintain water quality and circulation.
  • Lighting: A suitable LED light fixture will provide the necessary illumination for your Bettas and any live plants you might choose to include.
  • Substrate: A soft and dark substrate, like sand or fine gravel, is ideal for Boehlkea tetras because it mimics their natural environment.
  • Decorations: Incorporate plenty of plants, rocks, and hiding places to provide shelter and stimulation for your fish.
  • Water Testing Kit: This is essential to ensure proper water conditions are maintained for the health of your Boehlkea tetras.
  • Fish Food: Invest in high-quality flake or pellet food, specifically designed for tetras, to provide an optimal diet for your fish.
  • Water conditioner: Using a water conditioner is vital for neutralizing chlorine and other harmful chemicals found in tap water.
Supply Purpose
Aquarium Housing
Heater Temperature regulation
Filter Water quality and circulation
Lighting Illumination
Substrate Comfort and environment simulation
Decorations Shelter and stimulation
Water Testing Kit Water condition monitoring
Fish Food Optimal nutrition
Water conditioner Safe and chemical-free water

Now that you have all the necessary supplies, you’re ready to set up the perfect habitat for your Boehlkea tetras.

Boehlkea Tetra Tank Setup

Setting up a comfortable and suitable tank for your Boehlkea Tetra is crucial for their health and happiness. To start, choose a tank size of at least 20 gallons to provide sufficient swimming space for a group of these active fish.

When it comes to selecting a substrate, go for fine-grained sand or smooth gravel to prevent injuries to your Boehlkea Tetra. Add a variety of hiding spots using driftwood, rocks, and live or artificial plants, as these fish appreciate multiple hiding places. Also, ensure a moderate water flow within the tank to mimic their natural Amazonian river habitat.

Providing proper lighting is important for your Boehlkea Tetra’s well-being. A combination of natural and artificial light helps regulate their day and night cycle. Make sure to maintain a 12-hour light and 12-hour dark cycle.

Lastly, monitor the tank temperature consistently, as Boehlkea Tetra thrive in stable conditions. A suitable heater and thermometer will help maintain a temperature range of 75-81°F (24-27°C). An adjustable heater is recommended to maintain the optimal temperature throughout changing weather conditions.

By setting up the right environment, your Boehlkea Tetra will be well on its way to a happy, healthy life. Remember to monitor and adjust the tank setup as your fish grow to ensure their continued well-being.

Boehlkea Tetra Water Requirements

Optimizing water conditions is crucial for the health and well-being of your Boehlkea Tetra fish. Ensuring the water conditions are at their optimal levels goes a long way in keeping your fish happy and thriving.

First and foremost, the water temperature in your aquarium should be between 72°F and 79°F (22°C and 26°C). This range allows Boehlkea Tetra to fully thrive in their environment. To maintain consistent water temperature, it’s a good idea to invest in a reliable aquarium heater and a thermometer to monitor the temperature.

Water hardness is another factor to consider. Your Boehlkea Tetra will be most comfortable in a water hardness range of 5-20 dGH. This can be measured using a water hardness test kit.

Additionally, the pH level in your tank plays a huge role in keeping your fish healthy. Boehlkea Tetras thrive in slightly acidic water with a pH range of 6.0 to 7.0. Regularly using a pH testing kit will help ensure the water acidity remains constant.

A critical aspect of maintaining optimal water conditions is regular testing. You should continually monitor the parameters to avoid fluctuations in temperature, pH levels, and water hardness, which can stress your fish.

Investing in an aquarium test kit that checks the levels of ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates is also essential for keeping your fish’s environment healthy. These compounds can be toxic to your fish and should be kept at zero or very low levels to prevent potential health issues.

Properly addressing your Boehlkea Tetra water requirements entails:

  • Ensuring the water temperature is between 72°F and 79°F (22°C and 26°C)
  • Maintaining water hardness levels between 5-20 dGH
  • Keeping the pH level within 6.0 to 7.0
  • Regular testing of water parameters to prevent fluctuations
  • Keeping the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels low by using an aquarium test kit

Boehlkea Tetra Diet and Feeding

Boehlkea Tetras are omnivorous fish that enjoy a varied diet. In their natural habitat, they mainly feed on small insects, crustaceans, and plant material. To ensure their well-being in an aquarium setting, follow these guidelines:

  • Offer a balanced diet: Provide a mix of high-quality fish flakes or pellets, along with frozen or live foods such as daphnia, brine shrimp, or bloodworms. This variety will help maintain optimal health and vibrant colors for your Boehlkea Tetra.
  • Feed in small portions: Feed your Boehlkea Tetra small portions of food two to three times per day. Each feeding session should provide enough food for your fish to consume within two minutes.

Here are some food options to include in your Boehlkea Tetra’s diet:

  • High-quality fish flakes or pellets
  • Frozen or live daphnia
  • Frozen or live brine shrimp
  • Frozen or live bloodworms
  • Blanched vegetables, such as spinach or zucchini

Even though Boehlkea Tetras are not fussy eaters, it is essential to avoid overfeeding, which can lead to water quality issues and health problems. Monitor their feeding habits and adjust the amount of food provided if they start to become overweight or leave uneaten food.

The key to a healthy and happy Boehlkea Tetra is a combination of high-quality and varied diet options, fed in small portions multiple times a day. As long as you closely monitor their feeding habits and maintain quality water conditions, your Boehlkea Tetra will thrive and bring ample life and color to your aquarium.

Boehlkea Tetra Care Schedule

Caring for your Boehlkea Tetra requires regular maintenance to ensure their health and happiness. By following a consistent care schedule, you can keep your fish thriving and your tank looking its best.

  • Daily: Check your Boehlkea Tetra for any signs of illness, stress, or injury. Ensure their tank lights are on for around 8-12 hours per day and provide the appropriate amount of high-quality food depending on the size of your fish.
  • Weekly: Test the water parameters – pH, ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite levels – to ensure they are within the acceptable range for Boehlkea Tetra. Adjust as needed using water conditioners, buffers, or water changes. Perform a 10-20% water change to maintain water quality and vacuum the substrate to remove waste and uneaten food.
  • Monthly: Replace or rinse mechanical filter media to maintain optimal filtration and tank cleanliness. Inspect equipment like the heater, filter, and air pump to ensure they are functioning properly and replace any non-functioning or worn-out components as necessary.
  • Bi-annually: Perform a more thorough tank cleaning by removing all decorations and scrubbing them free from algae and debris. Check the health of your live plants to trim dead or dying leaves and replace them if needed. In addition, make sure to completely replace your aquarium filter’s chemical and biological media.

Important note: Always acclimate new fish and quarantine any ill or recently purchased fish to control diseases’ spread in your main tank. While following a care schedule is crucial for your Boehlkea Tetra’s well-being, do not neglect the importance of regular observation. Monitoring your fish is often the best way to spot potential issues before they become serious problems.

Boehlkea Tetra Health Problems

Boehlkea Tetra is a relatively hardy fish, but it can sometimes develop health issues if its living conditions are not properly maintained. Regular water quality testing and maintenance are key to preventing common health problems in your Boehlkea Tetra.

One common issue is ich, a parasitic infection that appears as small white spots on the fish’s body. To treat ich, you can raise the water temperature to around 82°F (28°C) and use aquarium salt or an ich treatment medication as directed.

Another common problem is fin rot, caused by bacteria or fungi. To address fin rot, improve water quality by performing more frequent partial water changes and consider using an antibiotic or antifungal medication specifically designed to treat fin rot.

Swim bladder disorder can also occur in Boehlkea Tetras. This condition is often caused by poor diet or constipation, and symptoms include difficulty swimming and gasping for air at the water’s surface. Feed high-quality flakes or pellets and include frozen or live foods to prevent swim bladder disorder. If your fish is showing symptoms, try fasting it for a day or two, followed by feeding shelled peas as a laxative.

Pest snails can enter your aquarium through plants or décor items, and they may carry a parasitic fluke called Gyrodactylus that adversely affects Boehlkea Tetra. Quarantine new plants or décor before introducing them to the main tank. In case of infestation, treat your aquarium with a parasite treatment medication.

Keep in mind that:

  • Good water quality is crucial for preventing most health issues
  • Observe your fish regularly for signs of stress or illness
  • Act promptly if you notice any issues, as early intervention can often resolve problems

Boehlkea Tetra Tank Mates

Boehlkea Tetras are friendly and peaceful fish that can get along with a variety of tank mates. As a schooling fish, it is important to keep them in groups of at least six of their own species. When considering tank mates for your Boehlkea Tetras, keep in mind that these fish prefer a calm tank environment with slow to moderate water flow.

Look for other peaceful, non-aggressive fish species that share similar water parameters and won’t view your Boehlkea Tetras as a food source. Suitable tank mates include:

  • Corydoras Catfish
  • Other small Tetras (such as Neon Tetras or Rummy Nose Tetras)
  • Otocinclus
  • Rasboras
  • Dwarf Gouramis
  • Livebearers (such as Guppies and Swordtails)

While these fish generally coexist well, it is essential to monitor your tank for any signs of aggression or stress, especially when introducing new species. It may be necessary to rearrange hiding spots or add more plants to maintain a peaceful environment for all of your tank inhabitants.

Avoid aggressive or large fish species that may view your Boehlkea Tetras as a meal, such as Cichlids and Arowanas. Another factor to consider is that Boehlkea Tetras are known to be skilled jumpers; therefore, having a secure lid on your tank is essential to prevent any escapes.

By taking time to research and carefully plan your tank community, you can ensure that you provide a harmonious home for your Boehlkea Tetras and their tank mates, resulting in a visually appealing and relaxed aquarium setting.

Boehlkea Tetra Breeding

Breeding Boehlkea Tetra fishes can be a bit challenging but definitely rewarding for beginners. In order to breed them successfully, you need to set up a separate breeding tank with the right conditions.

The breeding tank should be around 10-20 gallons in size, have dim lighting, and be heavily planted with fine-leafed plants or spawning mops. This setup mimics their natural breeding environment and provides the eggs and fry with shelter from potential predators.

Water parameters in the breeding tank should be maintained slightly differently from the main tank. Maintain a temperature of about 75-79°F (24-26°C), a pH level of 5.5-6.5, and a hardness of 2-4 dGH. This ensures the optimal conditions for egg fertilization and hatching.

Next, you need to select a healthy breeding pair. Look for a male with bright colors and fine features, and a female with a fuller body. Introduce the pair to the breeding tank and keep the lighting subdued to reduce stress.

Feed your breeding pair with a high-quality diet consisting of live or frozen foods such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, or daphnia to enhance their fertility. This will also help in bringing out their best colors and overall health.

Boehlkea Tetra are egg-scatterers and will naturally deposit their eggs among the plants or spawning mops. The spawning process may last a few days, after which you should remove the breeding pair to protect the eggs from being eaten.

Eggs tend to hatch within 24-36 hours and will become free-swimming in about 4-5 days. At this stage, start feeding the fry with age-appropriate food such as infusoria or newly hatched brine shrimp.

Remember, patience and attention to detail are key when breeding Boehlkea Tetra. Monitor the breeding tank conditions closely and always be prepared for potential challenges. With time and practice, you will be rewarded with a thriving population of beautiful Boehlkea Tetra fishes.


In this complete guide, you have learned the essential aspects of Boehlkea Tetra care, from tank setup to breeding practices. By applying the knowledge provided, you can ensure a healthy, comfortable environment for these beautiful fish. If you have any questions or personal experiences you’d like to share, please feel free to leave a comment below.

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