The diamond tetra (Moenkhausia pittieri) is a small fish native to to Lake Valencia and surrounding waters in Venezuela. It inhabits shallow, vegetated parts of the lake, as well as several slow moving tributaries. Most of the fish sold in the aquarium trade are mass bred on commercial farms in Eastern Europe or the Far East.This fish grows to an adult size of up to 2.4 inches long. Males tend to be larger and more slender than females, with a greater proportion of the reflective scales that give the species its common name. Males also develop beautiful, extended ventral, dorsal and anal fins as they mature. These fins are suffused with a violet sheen, while those of the female are almost entirely clear.
The diamond tetra should be maintained in an aquarium of 20 to 29 gallons or larger. Smooth rocks, driftwood (ZM2000) and live or artificial plants may be used, as well as a sand substrate (CS7538). These fish look great in a heavily planted tank with a dark substrate and floating plants to diffuse some of the light..
The diamond tetra prefers a temperature of 75°F to 82°F, a pH of 6.0 to 7.5, and a hardness of 5 to 12°H. Be sure water is clean and well oxygenated. Captive bred specimens can survive quite well in fairly alkaline water, but will display the best colors when maintained below neutral.
The diamond tetra is a generally a peaceful fish suitable for a community aquarium. Good tank mates include most livebearers, danios, rasboras, other tetras and peaceful bottom dwellers such as Corydoras or smaller Loricariids. It can also be kept with most commonly available gouramis and dwarf cichlids. Due to its rounded shape and adult size it can also be used as a dither for non-aggressive, medium sized cichlids such as discus or Geophagus species. Diamond tetras should be kept in schools of at least 6 to 8 individuals to promote schooling behaviors and encourage males to color up and discourage fin nipping behaviors.
The diamond tetra is easy to feed in the aquarium and will readily accept just about any appropriately sized food item such as flakes (AL165) and frozen brine shrimp (SF6777). For maximum color, growth, and health these fish will look their best when given probiotics (AL169) in addition to a balanced diet.