Red Eye Tetra Care: Complete Guide for Beginners

This Red Eye Tetra care guide is dedicated to beginners! In this comprehensive guide, you’ll find everything you need to provide a healthy and thriving environment for your Red Eye Tetras. From setting up their tank to understanding their dietary needs, you’ll be well-equipped to give your aquatic pets the best care possible.

red eye tetra

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Red Eye Tetra Species Profile and Identification

The Red Eye Tetra, scientifically known as Moenkhausia sanctaefilomenae, is a freshwater fish native to South America. These beautiful fish stand out with their silvery bodies, black tail markings, and iconic red eyes, making them a popular addition to many home aquariums.

In terms of size, Red Eye Tetras generally grow up to 2.5 inches (6-7 cm) in length. These schooling fish prefer to swim in groups of at least six or more, creating a stunning visual effect in your aquarium.

Some key features for identifying Red Eye Tetra include:

  • Body color: Silver body with a slight green or yellow hue.
  • Eye color: Red, often with a bright orange or yellow ring.
  • Tail markings: Distinct black marking on the upper part of the caudal fin.
  • Anal fin: Prolonged and slightly colored, often with a hint of yellow or red.
  • Size: Grows up to 2.5 inches (6-7 cm) in length.

In addition to their lovely appearance, Red Eye Tetras are known for being hardy and easy to care for, making them great for beginner aquarists. Just be sure to keep their water clean and their environment stable, as they can be sensitive to dramatic changes in water parameters.

To set yourself up for success, make sure you are prepared with the right supplies and tank setup for your new finned friends.

Red Eye Tetra Supplies

To set up a suitable environment for your Red Eye Tetra, you’ll need several supplies. These supplies will help ensure the health and well-being of your fish.

  • Tank: Red Eye Tetras require at least a 20-gallon tank, as they like to swim in groups. Opting for a larger tank will provide them with ample space and accommodate their active nature.
  • Filter: A reliable filter is necessary to maintain good water quality. Choose a filter with adjustable flow, as Red Eye Tetras prefer gentle water currents.
  • Heater: Since these fish thrive in temperatures between 72-79°F, a suitable aquarium heater is crucial. Make sure to monitor water temperature regularly.
  • Lighting: Moderately bright lighting is ideal for these fish. It is important to have a consistent light cycle to maintain their natural rhythm.
  • Substrate: Red Eye Tetras are comfortable with dark, fine-grained substrates. Sand or smooth gravels are recommended.
  • Plants and Decorations: Provide your fish with ample hiding spots using plants and decorations. Live plants like Anubias and Java Fern are excellent options.
  • Water Test Kit: To ensure a healthy environment for your tetras, a water test kit is necessary. It allows you to monitor water parameters and make adjustments as needed.
  • Food: A varied diet of high-quality flakes, pellets, and live or frozen foods is essential. Red Eye Tetras appreciate bloodworms, brine shrimp, daphnia, and tubifex worms.
  • Net and Bucket: Invest in a good quality net and clean bucket specifically for fish care. These items will assist you in safely moving your fish during tank maintenance.
Supply Details
Tank At least a 20-gallon tank
Filter Reliable filter with adjustable flow
Heater Suitable aquarium heater
Lighting Moderate brightness
Substrate Dark, fine-grained substrate like sand or smooth gravel
Plants Live plants such as Anubias and Java Fern
Test Kit Water test kit to monitor water parameters
Food High-quality flakes, pellets, live or frozen foods
Net and Bucket Good quality net and dedicated, clean bucket for fish care

Properly equipping your tank with the essential supplies will help you maintain a healthy living space for your Red Eye Tetras. Remember to regularly clean and maintain your aquarium to ensure continued well-being of your fish.

Red Eye Tetra Tank Setup

Setting up the perfect tank for your Red Eye Tetra fish is vital to ensure their health, happiness, and well-being. The ideal tank size for Red Eye Tetras is 20 gallons or larger, as they are a schooling fish and thrive in a community.

When preparing the tank, it’s essential to create the most natural environment possible, replicating their Amazon River Basin habitat. To achieve this, follow these steps:

  • Substrate: Start by laying a layer of dark and soft substrate, like fine gravel or sand, as it resembles their natural habitat.
  • Plants: Add live plants, such as Anubias and Java Fern, to provide your Tetras with shelter and hiding spots.
  • Driftwood: Incorporate driftwood and roots to provide more hiding spaces and a sense of security for your fish.
  • Lighting: Opt for moderate lighting, as Red Eye Tetras are not used to bright light due to their dense habitat in the wild.
  • Filtration: Install a high-quality filtration system to ensure optimal water quality and to keep the water moving, mimicking their natural environment.
  • Heater & Thermometer: Maintain the temperature between 72-78°F (22-26°C) by using a reliable heater and monitor it with a thermometer.

Before introducing your Red Eye Tetras to their new home, take time to properly cycle the tank. This crucial step helps establish beneficial bacteria and ensures a stable environment, reducing stress and health issues for your new fish (ammonia and nitrite should be at 0 ppm).

Tip: Arrange a few groups of plants, roots, and driftwood on each side of the tank, leaving enough open space in the center for your Red Eye Tetras to swim freely. This way, their needs for both shelter and open swimming areas will be met.

Red Eye Tetra Water Requirements

Proper water conditions are essential for the health and well-being of your Red Eye Tetra. The ideal water temperature for these fish should be between 72-79°F (22-26°C).

Maintaining the right pH level is crucial, with an optimal range of 6.0-7.5. Water hardness should be on the softer side, with a recommended dH of 5-12. Although Red Eye Tetras can adapt to various water conditions, it’s crucial to keep parameters stable to avoid stress-related health problems.

It’s essential to invest in a reliable aquarium heater and a thermometer to regulate water temperature and check it regularly. Likewise, a quality pH test kit will help you in monitoring the water’s acidity or alkalinity.

To maintain water quality, regular water changes are necessary. Remember to replace around 25-30% of the tank water every two weeks, to remove toxins and replenish essential minerals. Always treat new water with a dechlorinator before adding it to the aquarium, as chlorine and chloramine can harm these sensitive fish.

Adding a gentle water conditioner can also help in ensuring that chemical levels are balanced and the aquarium is a safe place for your Red Eye Tetra. Moreover, incorporating live plants in your tank is highly recommended, as they contribute to enhancing water quality and providing a natural habitat.

Maintaining optimal water conditions is fundamental for the healthy growth of your Red Eye Tetra:

  • Temperature: 72-79°F (22-26°C)
  • pH Level: 6.0-7.5
  • Water Hardness: dH of 5-12
  • Regular water changes: 25-30% every two weeks
  • Use a reliable aquarium heater, thermometer, pH test kit, dechlorinator, and water conditioner.

Red Eye Tetra Diet and Feeding

Proper nutrition is crucial for the health and well-being of your Red Eye Tetra. These fish are omnivorous, which means they consume both plants and meaty foods. When it comes to a well-rounded diet, it’s vital to strike a balance between quality flakes or pellets and live or frozen foods.

Here’s a list of recommended foods for your Red Eye Tetra:

  • High-quality flake or pellet food (e.g. tropical fish flakes, micro pellets)
  • Live foods (e.g. daphnia, brine shrimp, bloodworms)
  • Frozen foods (e.g. brine shrimp, bloodworms, mosquito larvae)
  • Vegetables (e.g. blanched spinach, zucchini, peas)

A diverse diet will not only keep your fish healthy but also enhance their vibrant colors. It’s essential to feed your Red Eye Tetra small portions 2-3 times a day, as overfeeding can lead to poor water quality and health issues. Be sure to remove any uneaten food after a few minutes, as this will help maintain a clean environment.

Knowing when and how much to feed your fish will prevent overfeeding, which could result in obesity and other health problems. Keep in mind that Red Eye Tetras are fast swimmers and will likely out-compete other fish for food—monitor their behavior to ensure all your tank inhabitants receive adequate nourishment.

Red Eye Tetra Care Schedule

Taking care of your Red Eye Tetra involves a variety of tasks that should be performed regularly to ensure their health and happiness. Developing a care schedule will help you keep track of all the necessary tasks needed for proper care.

  • Weekly tasks: Perform a 25% water change every week to maintain water quality. Clean the aquarium glass and remove any algae buildup. Test the water parameters to ensure everything is within the acceptable range for Red Eye Tetras.
  • Monthly tasks: Inspect the filter system and replace any filter media that appears worn or clogged. Thoroughly vacuum the substrate to remove any debris and buildup. Check the functionality of the tank equipment, such as the heater, filter, and air pump, and replace anything that is not working properly.
  • Quarterly tasks: Perform a more thorough inspection of the aquarium and its equipment, including checking for leaks and other signs of wear-and-tear. Replace any aquarium decorations or plants that have become overly worn or damaged.
  • Annual tasks: Replace the aquarium light bulbs as they may lose their intensity over time, which can affect the health of both your fish and any live plants in the tank.

In addition to these regular maintenance tasks, it’s essential to observe your Red Eye Tetras daily to ensure they are healthy and active. Be on the lookout for any changes in their behavior or appearance, which could indicate illness or stress. If you notice anything unusual, consult a veterinarian or aquarium expert to address the issue promptly.

By following a consistent care schedule, you can provide a safe and healthy environment for your Red Eye Tetras to thrive in, ensuring years of enjoyment for both you and your fish.

Red Eye Tetra Health Problems

As with any other fish species, Red Eye Tetras can experience health issues as well. The main concern with these fish is preventing diseases and maintaining their welfare. By following proper tank management and husbandry practices, you can protect your Red Eye Tetras from common health problems.

  • Parasitic infections: Red Eye Tetras might suffer from parasitic infections like Ich (white spot disease) and Flukes. Symptoms to look for include small white dots, scratching on decorations, and clamped fins. To treat these conditions, raise the tank’s temperature and use a suitable medication.
  • Bacterial and fungal infections: Bacterial and fungal infections are common in fish, and Red Eye Tetras are no exception. In most cases, these infections result from poor water quality and stress. Symptoms may include cottony growths, red sores, and ulcers. Immediate treatment with an appropriate medication will help in recovery.
  • Fin rot: This disease is caused by bacteria and can quickly lead to tissue deterioration if left untreated. Affected fish will display ragged, decaying fins. Improve water quality and administer an antibacterial medication to treat fin rot.
  • Stress: Red Eye Tetras can become stressed due to poor water quality, sudden changes in temperature, or inadequate hiding spots. Stressed fish exhibit faded colors, loss of appetite, and lethargy. Keep a stable environment, provide ample hiding spots, and maintain good water quality to reduce stress.

Preventing health issues is far better than treating them. Regular water changes, proper tank maintenance, and a well-balanced diet will significantly contribute to maintaining your Red Eye Tetras’ health. If any unusual behavior or signs of disease are observed, it is crucial to act quickly and provide the required treatment for a speedy recovery.

Red Eye Tetra Tank Mates

When it comes to selecting the perfect tank mates for your Red Eye Tetra, it’s crucial to choose carefully to ensure a harmonious environment in your aquarium. Because Red Eye Tetras are peaceful and sociable fish, they’re compatible with various other species that share similar characteristics.

red eye tetra tank mates

It’s a good idea to house Red Eye Tetras in groups of at least six, as they’re schooling fish and tend to establish a social hierarchy within their group. This helps to avoid any aggressive behavior and contributes to the overall well-being of your Red Eye Tetras.

When considering tank mates for Red Eye Tetras, consider the following ideal companions:

  • Other Tetra species: Choose similar-sized and temperament Tetras, such as Neon Tetras, Ember Tetras, or Rummy Nose Tetras.
  • Gouramis: These are peaceful and colorful fish that make great companions for Red Eye Tetras.
  • Livebearers: Fish such as guppies, platies, and mollies make excellent tank mates due to their peaceful nature.
  • Corydoras: These bottom-dwelling fish coexist well with Red Eye Tetras, as they occupy different levels of the tank.
  • Dwarf Cichlids: Species like Ram Cichlids can be compatible tank mates if you maintain the right water parameters and provide proper space.

However, avoid choosing tank mates that are too large or aggressive, like larger Cichlids and Oscars, as they may feel threatened by the Red Eye Tetras or even prey on them. Keep an eye on the conditions and behaviors in your tank, and make adjustments as needed to maintain a peaceful and healthy environment for your Red Eye Tetras and their tank mates.

Red Eye Tetra Breeding

Breeding Red Eye Tetras can be an exciting addition to your tank-keeping experience, but it requires proper preparation and care to ensure success. First and foremost, establish a separate breeding tank to provide a safe environment for the breeding pair and their offspring.

When setting up the breeding tank, keep these factors in mind:

  • Maintain a temperature range of 77-82°F (25-28°C) to encourage spawning.
  • Add floating plants or a spawning mop to provide a safe spot for the eggs.
  • Dim the lighting to create a calming environment for the mating pair.

Next, select a healthy, mature couple (one male and one female), since Red Eye Tetras do not breed as well when there are multiple males competing. Begin conditioning the pair with a high-quality, protein-rich diet consisting of live or frozen foods like brine shrimp or bloodworms, which will stimulate the production of eggs in the female.

Once the female has become plump with eggs, introduce both the male and female to the breeding tank. Red Eye Tetras typically spawn in the early morning, so keep an eye on the pair to ensure proper care after spawning. When the eggs are laid, remove the parents from the tank immediately to prevent them from eating the eggs.

Eggs will generally hatch in 24-36 hours, and the fry will become free-swimming after about three days. At this stage, feed the fry with infusoria or liquid fry food, followed by freshly hatched brine shrimp and finely crushed fish flakes as they grow.

Remember, patience is crucial during the breeding process. If you do not succeed on the first try, don’t be discouraged! Keep refining your methods to optimize the conditions for successful Red Eye Tetra breeding.


Caring for Red Eye Tetras is a rewarding endeavor for both beginner and experienced aquarists. By following this comprehensive guide, you will be well-equipped to provide your tetras with everything they need to thrive in their aquatic home. Don’t hesitate to comment down below if you have any questions or comments — we’d love to hear about your experiences with these beautiful fish!

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