Characins

Neon Tetra

The neon tetra was the first wild-caught fish that really set the tropical fish hobby into a dither, and contributed much to establishing the "tropical" fish hobby. When the neon was first introduced in Europe and then America, this fish commanded incredibly steep prices. Now that it is produced in huge quantities, the fish is a common staple and always available. Keep them in good-sized schools, at least 10 to 15 fish and preferably more, and give them plenty of thickets of plants to hide in.

Cardinal Tetra

The cardinal tetra is probably the world’s favorite tropical fish in terms of numbers kept. Many hobbyists have at some point in time, kept cardinal tetras. And, while they have been bred, they have never been bred in commercial quantities. Therefore, millions of cardinals are caught wild and exported from Brazil every year.  Even though millions of cardinal tetras are caught every year, the fishery is managed very well. Keeping a cardinal in the home aquarium is very easy as long as two conditions are met. First, do not keep it with larger fish (such as angelfish or other large cichlids) that quite naturally look upon the cardinal as food. And second, the cardinal needs soft, acid water.

Congo Tetra

The Congo Tetra is a strikingly beautiful fish, large and full-bodied with flowing fins. The basic background coloring of the fish is silver, with the bottom half suffused with an aquamarine blue, and the upper portion a gold. These colors deepen as the fish gets older and larger, and in dominant males the colors are very deep, and the fin edges extended; the tail in males gets long and feathery, and with mature fish it is very easy to tell males from females, and to see which male is dominant. Congo Tetras do best in groups of six or more fish, and they are very active, making an excellent display for a large and long aquarium. 

Rummynose Tetra

The Rummynose Tetra (Hemigrammus bleheri) is a small and popular tetra known for its ruby red coloration that exhibits well in a heavily planted aquarium. It is native to quiet and slow creeks of Brazil and Columbia that have plenty of aquatic vegetation. The Rummynose Tetra is sensitive to temperature fluctuations as well as Ph, so keep this in mind when performing water changes. While they do best in schools, also include hiding places where they can rest and keep to themselves.

Penguin Tetra

The penguin tetra is a lovely fish that comes from many places in the Amazon River drainage throughout South America. Swimming at a nose up angle, penguin tetras do best in groups of six or more of their own kind. Penguin tetras make a wonderful addition to any tank of community fishes. They are large enough not to be bothered by most other fish, and they will never do any harm to any of their tankmates.

Glowlight Tetra

The glowlight tetra is one of the most beautiful and easy to keep fish offered in our hobby. If you want an absolutely spectacular tank, put a school of glowlights in with black gravel, lots of plants and subdued lighting. You will understand the “glow” part of their name. They look almost unearthly, like some form of phosphorescent orange/red lines surrounded by fish.

Black Tetra

The black tetra has been a popular staple of the aquarium hobby for many years. Commercial breeders have developed different color varieties (unfortunately, including the “blueberry” and other dyed fish), and there are long-finned specimens. Along with the zebra danio, the black tetra is probably one of the easiest egg-laying fish to get to breed. It is not at all particular about water conditions.

Serpae Tetra

The Serpae tetra is a small and popular tetra known for its propensity to nip at other fish, especially those with long, flowing fins. It is native to waterways of Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay with stark colors. The Serpae tetra is easy to keep in a community tank that doesn't include fish with long and flowing tails, such as angelfish and guppies because the Serpae tetra is fairly fast and enjoys nipping at the fins of other fish, including other Serpae tetra. It is ideal in groups of six with plenty of plants. 

 

Red Eye Tetra

This active shoaling fish inhabits the aquarium’s middle waters and is a peaceful addition to a community aquarium (although it may nip at slow fish with long, flowing fins). The red-eye tetra has a mostly silver body, but its back displays green iridescent scales with dark edgings. This species has a black vertical band on the base of the forked caudal fin and a thinner yellow band on the caudal peduncle (giving it its other common name of yellow-banded tetra). Keep a group of six or more red-eye tetras in a spacious aquarium (at least 20 US gallons for a small shoal) that has plenty of swimming room. The red-eye nibbles on soft plants, so provide hiding areas with plastic plants or hardy, tough-leaved plants that can withstand their nibbling. Also keep a dark substrate to help their silver bodies stand out in the aquarium.

Bleeding Heart Tetra

The bleeding heart tetra is a hardy, peaceful, schooling species that should be kept in groups of six or more. It does extremely well when kept with other peaceful fish. The bleeding heart tetra prefers a somewhat dark environment. It is best housed in a tank that contains several bunches of large plants (either live or plastic) in the back and on the sides of the tank, with smaller plants in the front, leaving plenty of open space for swimming.

Rosy Tetra

The rosy tetra is a hearty somewhat thick-bodied tetra with a light salmon-pink body, red fins except for the dorsal fin which can be black or white. They also feature a faint vertical black line that bisects the pupil of each eye. Although the rosy tetra is quite a forgiving and hearty fish, its colors will quickly fade if stressed or unhappy. It is a loose schooling fish and should have at least a half dozen others of its species in the tank, although close tetra species (bleeding heart tetras for instance) can serve as consorts. These middle-level swimmers prefer moderate heavy plant coverage around the edges of the tank.

Emperor Tetra

These are beautiful fish. Peaceful, easy to breed, colourful, hardy, and long lived. They do a lot of hiding in the undergrowth, apart from the adult males that come out to fight 'duels' in the open spaces. It looks impressive because it involves lots of fin shaking and circling (like fighting Bettas), but it is always completely harmless and a pleasure to watch, the worst that ever happens are a few fin nips and tears. 

Silver Dollar

The silver dollar is a peaceful, schooling fish that can be kept in groups of three to six with most other community tank species of similar size. It should be housed in a medium to large tank with subdued lighting provided by floating plants (live or artificial) — which it may nibble on — and adequate hiding places in the form of rocks, flowerpots and driftwood.

Black Pacu

The Black Pacu is a beautiful and generally peaceful game fish that grows huge (can weigh up to 25 kg) and should only be kept in equally huge aquaria – 275 US gallon or more for a single specimen. Furthermore, a Pacu is essentially a way overgrown Tetra...just like its little cousins, it only feels really happy and secure when surrounded by a good number of its own kind. 

Red Belly Pacu

The red belly pacu is a cousin to the Piranha, but generally lacks the aggressive quality. They will make a mess of a tank if the tank is too small. They are very fast swimmers. The Red Pacu is actually smaller than the Black Pacus. It may fade in color as it ages. Pacus in the wild enjoy eating the fruits that fall off trees in the Amazon. They will eat a large variety of foods including grapes, peas, pellets, live foods, meaty foods, cherry tomatoes, plants, vegetable matter.